After thanking the manager, Xiaotao, Song Xingchen and I left the motel house.
"Why the suspense? How did they do it?" Xiaotao asked impatiently.
"I’m just afraid others might hear us. It's quite simple actually. They painted a layer of nail polish on the fuse."
"Nail polish?" Xiaotao looked confused.
If the voltage was too high, the fuse would burn when it reached the melting point, which was about 500 degrees. The suspects coated the fuse with transparent nail polish. Since the melting point of nail polish was only 300 degrees, when the voltage reached a certain level, it burned up, so the capacitor was burned out, and so did the fuse. But laymen wouldn’t be able to tell.
The victim was murdered before nine o'clock. The murderers placed her in the room, turned the air-conditioning to the maximum, and tampered with the fuse before leaving. At nine, the fuse blew and was replaced by the staff. Since the air conditioner was controlled by the remote, it remained off even after the electricity returned. The room temperature rose back to normal, delaying the time of death and creating an alibi for them.
"Thank goodness you’ve seen through such clever means…” gasped Xiaotao. “But this isn’t direct evidence."
"The direct evidence is on them,” I smiled. “Bingxin may have obtained it by now. Let's go and expose them!"
When we arrived at the station, it was already noon. The fat officer stood at the entrance, yawning. Upon noticing us, he gave a thumbs-up, "Consultant Song, you’re amazing. You’ve caught the criminals in one night."
I waved my hand, "It’s pure luck. By the way, where are they?"
"They’ve been feigning ignorance and won’t admit to anything, claiming they don't know what they’ve committed."
Right then, Bingxin walked in.
“Have they changed out of their underwear?"
"Yes, I’m testing now!" replied Bingxin.
"What?!” blurted the fat officer. I invited him to the laboratory with us.
On the table was a row of test tubes that contained several bugs. Realization dawned upon Xiaotao. "Didn’t we find this on the victim?"
"Yes, it's the pubic lice from the victim! I noticed earlier that every so often Xiao Lie would scratch his crotch, so I speculated that he’s probably infected with the parasite. As long as we can prove that the lice on his body and the victim are ‘related,' we can prove that he raped the victim. He won’t be able to escape the crime of committing murder."
Xiaotao smiled, "I never imagined the humble louse would be our breakthrough!"
For the time being, we didn't intend to enter the interrogation room until Bingxin obtained the lab results. The fat officer sent officers to delay them. Meanwhile, Xiaotao pulled out her cell phone and ordered barbecue. In our state of nervousness, we didn’t mind eating barbecue next to Bingxin who was testing their underwear.
After finishing three grilled mutton and a sheep kidney skewer, I reached out for a roasted bun and found Xiaotao staring at me, grinning from ear to ear.
"What are you looking at? Do I have sauce on my face?" I asked.
"No, you’re in a much better mood now," Xiaotao took a bite of her saury. "I’ve come to realize that your whole mental state changes as soon as you solve a case.”
Xiaotao was right. Although I was depressed earlier, I felt much better now. For me, the sense of accomplishment in solving crimes was just as euphoric as smoking for smokers and drinking for alcoholics.
"Will you continue to investigate the murders that happened twenty years ago after we solve the case?" asked Xiaotao.
I said, "Why do you think the Xiao brothers imitated the murders?"
"Why?" Xiaotao put down her grilled fish.
"My intuition tells me they’re trying to lure the real murderer out. The most intolerable thing for any criminal, especially one who has become an urban legend, is poor imitation of his crimes!" I said, narrowing my eyes.
"Are you planning on staying here to wait and see what happens? But I don’t think Ma Sanyou is still alive," replied Xiaotao.
I shook my head, "I have absolutely no intention of whitewashing my grandfather’s mistakes, but whether Ma Sanyou is a criminal or not is still a question mark until I personally confirm it. Once I figure this out, then our trip is over. I won’t struggle over the matter anymore, regardless of whether or not we catch the real murderer!"
“Alright then, we should set a deadline. We can't stay in this small county indefinitely."
After further contemplation, I suggested, "What about three days?"
I directed the question to the others as well. Everyone had no problem with the deadline.
After indulging in barbecue, Bingxin shouted, "The results are out! The pubic lice found on Xiao Lie and the ones from the victim have a DNA match of 99.9%, indicating they were born from the same batch of eggs."
I stood up at once, "Let's go and interrogate those two bastards who think they can play God!"
Xiaotao and I entered the interrogation room to examine Xiao Gang first. As soon as we were seated, I cut straight to the chase and mentioned the lice and nail polish we found. In front of ironclad evidence, Xiao Gang finally removed his pretense. "They deserve it!" he yelled.
"Who do you think you are, a judge? Whether Ma Sanyou is really the murderer is still unknown. Even if he is, why do you harm his loved ones?"
"Then who should I seek revenge for the pain of losing my parents? For twenty years, has anyone stood up and claimed justice? You, Song Yang, are the least qualified to sit here and judge me. I know that the corrupt man who abused the law was your grandfather!"
"Shut up!" I warned.
Xiao Gang assumed I was guilty and continued pushing his luck. Shaking his handcuffs, he went on and on about social injustice and police corruption. When my patience finally ran out, I used the Eyes of Yama, which sent Xiao Gang screaming in horror.
Afraid that I would drive him crazy, Xiaotao held my hand. About ten seconds later, I stopped. Xiao Gang looked as if he had been soaked in water. "W-what did you do to me?" he shivered.
I rubbed my sore temples, "Would you like to try it again?"
"Twenty years have passed and not only has the world failed to improve, but it has also regressed,” he gritted his teeth. “Justice, fairness and conscience have long ceased to exist in this dark era, and it’s all caused by you policemen."
I held up three fingers, "First of all, my grandfather and I aren’t policemen. So don't use us as representatives of the police. Our lack of morality is a personal matter and has nothing to do with the police. Secondly, whether I am an officer or not, a murderer like you has no place in educating me. And lastly, I’m not here for a doctrine class. Keep rambling on and you can try the thirty-second torture session."
Xiao Gang finally quieted down and looked at me in fear.
"Now come clean and tell us what happened!" I slammed the table.Previous Chapter Next Chapter