At nine in the evening, Bingxin began examining the bottle of wine. There were three groups of fingerprints on the bottle, one belonging to Mr. Huang, the other belonging to me–from serving the wine during our lunch–and the other was unknown. It probably belonged to the man who gifted the wine.
The composition of the glass used to create the wine bottle contained silicon sulfide. Bingxin googled it and found that it was probably French-made. The original bottle may have been filled with imported red wine.
As for the ingredients contained in the wine, Bingxin could only identify tannin. The rest couldn’t be identified without comparative samples. After all, there were more than twenty thousand known toxic substances in the world, and even I had never heard of such a bizarre poison.
Bingxin asked if I had a solution.
Upon further contemplation, I said, "This substance makes the same kind of protein taste extremely delicious. Could it cause some sort of reaction with the symptoms of aversion? You can try experimenting on mice."
"How should I do that?"
"Kill a mouse, get another mouse to feed on it, then extract the chemicals from their blood," I replied.
"How cruel!” frowned Bingxin. “I'll get to it straight away!"
Meanwhile, Xiaotao had been trying to reach Mr. Huang but to no avail. Mr. Huang had only been missing for less than three hours so she couldn't file a case. Because this involved her own father, she had to be all the more above-board and refrain from taking advantage of her position in the bureau.
Xiaotao stood up anxiously, "I can't wait any longer. I'll check the places my dad frequents!"
"Calm down. Have you tried contacting Mr. Mu?"
"I did but I can't get through to him either."
"Let’s go to his home," I suggested.
Just before we left, I asked Bingxin to give me a sample of the wine. Mr. Mu was engaged in the construction business and lived in a villa in Taoyuan District. In fact, this was where he housed his mistress. A few years ago, after divorcing his wife, he married his mistress and moved here.
"Your father's private life seems rather tame in comparison," I remarked.
"Tame? You think too highly of him. He’s had a string of different lovers ever since my mother died. When I was a child, I actually met several A-list actresses at home. He’s only started to take it easy these past few years. When men have money, they lose their morals." Xiaotao glanced at me, probably remembering the fact that I too was a man.
I changed the subject, "At least your dad didn't have an affair."
"He was very loyal to my mother. In fact, he started from nothing and got to where he was thanks to my mother's help," Xiaotao explained.
From outside Mr. Mu’s home, we could already hear the loud music booming through the night. It turned out Mrs. Mu had some friends over for a small party. Expensive cigarettes, alcohol and delicious delicacies were spread all over the table. The dim lights barely concealed the couples making out in the corner.
Was this the debauched life of the wealthy? What an eye-opener!
No one cared when we walked through the front door, much less stopped us. Perhaps they assumed we were also here for the party. Without the slightest vigilance, wouldn’t it be easy for miscreants to enter the villa?
Xiaotao pulled one of the guys over and asked where the hostess was. He was originally trying to pick up a girl, and upon noticing Xiaotao's appearance, he smiled and sorted out his hair with his fingers. "What’s your name, beautiful?"
"You can read it yourself!" As soon as Xiaotao flashed her badge, the guy froze, panic written all over his face as he tried to leave.
"Why are you panicking? Did you take any drugs?" I quipped.
"N-no. We’re just drinking and playing cards, that’s all!" I didn’t need Cave Vision to read the guilty expression on his face.
"You better watch yourself. Where’s the hostess?"
The boy left to look for Mrs. Mu and soon returned with the woman herself. Though sexy and seductive, she was probably younger than Xiaotao. "Officer, are you looking for my husband? He’s out and I’m not sure when he’ll be back."
"Where did he go?" I asked.
"How should I know? He’s always busy with work. Sometimes, he doesn’t come home for days," replied Mrs. Mu.
Glancing at the messy living room, I said, "You obviously knew your husband would be out tonight so you invited a bunch of your friends over to party. You better come clean with us!"
"His affairs have nothing to do with me,” she sneered. “I said I don’t know!"
Just then, one of the guests exclaimed, "Oh my God, what's in this pizza? Why is it so disgusting?!"
Xiaotao and I exchanged a meaningful look and headed over to the guest at once. There were several young men in the dining hall snacking on pizza. "No, it tastes fine. Is there something wrong with your tongue?" asked another guest.
The young man who complained about the taste declared, "It tastes like shit. Try it if you don't believe me!"
"Did you just drink something before this?" I turned to the man.
"I don't remember,” the man stared blankly. “I noticed some expensive wines on the wine rack so I tried some of them."
"What?! Why did you do that? Don’t you know my husband hates people messing with his wine?" Mrs. Mu screamed. "He’s going to kill me when he comes back!"
"Which one was it? Can we have a look?"
Faced with Mrs. Mu’s indifference, I pointed to the young man and said, "He may be poisoned so you better cooperate!”
The terrified man followed the three of us into Mr Mu's study. On the left side of the door was a wine cabinet with a wide variety of foreign wines. After glancing through, I found no such poisoned liquor.
The young man timidly interjected, "I slipped in the study to look around and happened to discover that this wine cabinet could be opened..."
Stretching out his hand, he opened the wine cabinet and revealed the hidden bottom shelf which was only noticeable upon meticulous observation.
There were three bottles of wine inside; the two other bottles were extremely rare and precious world-famous wines, while the last bottle was the poisoned liquor we were looking for. The bottle looked exactly the same as the one given to Mr. Huang without a label on it.
"I chanced upon these three bottles of wine,” explained the man. “It’s not like I usually get the opportunity to drink such expensive wines so I tried them."
By this point, Mrs. Mu was so furious she couldn’t resist beating the man. "You bastard!” she cursed. “Who said you could drink these three bottles of wine? My husband is going to kill me when he sees this!" Then, turning to me, she said, "Officer, my husband might be very kind to me but no one is allowed to touch his wine, not even me. Once, I poured myself a glass of wine from one of these bottles and was slapped by my husband. He ran barefoot all the way from our bed to the study just to check on his wines. After that, he warned me never to touch these three bottles of wine unless I wanted to be kicked out of our home. I cried all night because of this."
My guess was, the poisoned liquor was what Mr. Mu really cared about. "Do you know where he went tonight?"
"To a club. He goes there every weekend and he doesn’t come home until midnight which is why I knew he wouldn’t be here tonight."
"How long has he been in this club? Has he changed ever since joining?" I added.
Mrs. Mu mused, "It's been about half a year. And since then, he’s grown less fond of meat..."Previous Chapter Next Chapter