When we arrived at the railway station, the train to Lanzhou was just about to leave. There was no time for questions so we flashed our IDs and immediately rushed out onto the platform and spread out in search.
Since there were few people on the platform, I entered the carriage until the train attendant said the train was about to leave and urged me off.
As I watched the train leave, I felt disheartened. But that quickly changed when I heard Wang Yuanchao’s voice from behind. "Stop moving!" I turned around to see the two men handcuffed.
The screenwriter smiled, "Detective Song, what's wrong? Why are you arresting us?"
"What do you think, Xiao Gang, Xiao Lie?!" I sneered.
As soon as they heard their real names, the men immediately panicked, though they refused to admit to anything. "Detective Song, what are you talking about? I don’t understand," the screenwriter smiled sarcastically.
Startling the man, I stared at him with Cave Vision. "What's the use in pretending at this point?"
Finally, he seemed to budge. "Well, I admit that we aren’t from a film and television company, and our documents are forged. I am Xiao Gang, the son of Officer Xiao, and this is my cousin Xiao Lie."
"With your acting skills, you can be an actor. Go on then, why all this pretense?" I asked.
After Officer Xiao committed suicide, his uncle from Lanzhou adopted him. Officer Xiao's death was a great blow to the entire family. For him personally, his childhood was filled with loneliness and sadness at the loss of his father.
This whole time, his uncle had lied to him, claiming that his father was a martyr. He didn't learn the truth until he grew up. His father was no martyr, but a coward who committed suicide, while his mother had been brutally raped and murdered, a case which was never solved.
Xiao Gang fell into depression and lost confidence in public security and society. His cousin who worked in the media learned through certain channels that the case wasn’t without a suspect, but the man was released.
Unable to accept the fact, Xiao Gang decided to take revenge with his own hands and give the murderer a tit for tat. After more than a year's preparation, he and his cousin came here disguised as employees from the film and television company. They were granted access to the case files under the pretext of gathering materials, found Officer Xiao's partner, Officer Nie, and inquired about the suspect's name.
Unfortunately, the suspect had disappeared, so they left in despair.
Upon hearing their story, I snorted, "No, you did quite a few things before you left!"
Xiao Gang shook his head, grinning, "Detective Song, don't lie to me. After all, I am the son of an officer. I wouldn't do anything illegal."
"Did I say it was something illegal?" I retorted.
Beads of cold sweat dotted Xiao Gang's forehead as his breathing sped up. "This is a legal society!” he yelled. “What charges are there against me? Show me the evidence! You have no right to restrain our personal freedom."
"Well, excuse me!" Xiaotao said, "We’re the special team that works directly under the Ministry of Public Security. We have the right to detain and interrogate criminal suspects."
"What criminal suspect!" Xiao Gang strained his neck, "What crimes have we committed? Let's hear it."
I had expected his reaction, but from his expression, he was lying. At this moment, I noticed Xiao Lie make an indecent move, scratching his crotch from time to time.
A thought suddenly struck me. I never expected the evidence to be in front of me. "Take them away first!" I waved.
When they were taken away, Xiao Gang was still violently protesting. There were staff members on the platform staring at us so I said, "The more you shout, the more attention you attract. There will be more people as we leave the station. You might as well save yourself some dignity."
Xiao Gang behaved at once. We decided to divide our forces; Wang Yuanchao and Bingxin would escort the men to the station while the three of us headed to the scene. Just before I left, I whispered to Bingxin, "When you get to the station, make them change their underwear!"
"Huh?" Bingxin’s dull eyes suddenly brightened, "Haha, I got it!"
Placing my index finger on my lip, I reminded, "Don't say anything for the time being. We’ll give them a blow."
Xiaotao, Song Xingchen and I headed to the scene of the second murder: a small motel. There was still a seal on the door which we bypassed. There were almost no clues left on the scene. The bloody bed had been removed and the footprints on the ground extracted.
I sniffed the air, "The room was air-conditioned, and the temperature was quite low. Look at the water droplets in the corner."
Xiaotao smiled, "Using air conditioning to manipulate the time of death isn’t anything new."
"The question is, how did they do it? They were with us at the time." I voiced my doubts.
Song Xingchen interjected, "The Blade Master assisted them!"
I nodded thoughtfully for a moment. "The two sides are mutually beneficial. They placed the bug while the Blade Master killed the victim. This makes sense, but the logic isn’t perfect."
"You’re such a perfectionist!" cried Xiaotao.
"No, the Blade Master is the perfectionist. Killing in such a clumsy way, and an innocent person at that. Is that something he would do? I don't think so."
When we left the room, I found no surveillance cameras in the motel. We spoke to the manager, showed him photos of the two suspects and asked if he had seen them.
Unfortunately, the manager couldn’t recall. Then, I asked if anything out of the ordinary happened last night.
"Out of the ordinary?" Upon further reflection, the manager said, "Oh, yes, the electricity stopped for a while last night. The fuse burned out. It was fine after we changed the fuse. I mentioned this to the police in the morning."
"Are you still using those old-fashioned fuses? Did the police check the circuit box?"
"They looked at it but found nothing," replied the manager.
"Could you please show it to us?"
We opened the circuit box to have a look. There were no signs of tampering, though I couldn't see clearly so I asked the manager to turn off his flashlight. He looked at us as if we were weirdos.
Song Xingchen and I began observing the circuit box with Cave Vision. I found a scorch mark under the fuse and some sort of reflecting substance around it, as if it were coated with something.
Reaching out to pull the switch, I leaned in for a whiff. It smelled like chemicals, some sort of cosmetics. I asked Xiaotao for her opinion. Upon sniffing, she looked incredulous. "That’s impossible!"
"What is it?" I asked.
"Why does it smell like nail polish to me? It's impossible!" exclaimed Xiaotao.
I turned to the manager, "How did the fuse blow? Was the voltage too high or had the fuse aged?"
"It probably blew because of how old it is," the manager seemed unclear.
I smiled, knowing exactly how the suspects did it. It was a very clever technique indeed.Previous Chapter Next Chapter