Chapter 31: Cut in Half

Shortly after, Song Longji gave me a call, and we went to Kay-Z's place together.

The police burst through the door, barging into the messy and stinky room.

Our target lived in a very simple apartment; there was only a bed, a cupboard, and a computer desk.

Kay-Z didn't seem to be at home.

We casually searched around, and something quickly attracted my attention.

It was a metallic object hanging from the ceiling fan, similar to those hand straw cutters used in the countryside. Two thin ropes kept the thing attached to the fan. The ropes were so frail that it felt they would break at the slightest movement, causing the straw cutter to fall and cut someone.

The word 'injustice' was inscribed on the straw cutter’s body using fresh blood.

When I saw that thing, I had a bad feeling. I was reminded of a capital punishment used in ancient times; execution by cutting in two at the waist!

As the name suggests, the criminal was cut into two halves at the waist. This type of punishment first appeared in the ancient Shang Dynasty (c. 1600-1045 BCE) and was abolished only during the reign of Emperor Yongzheng (1723-1735 CE) from the Qing Dynasty.

The fact that a straw cutter used to cut people at the waist had appeared in the residence of the necklace’s current owner made my imagination run wild. I felt that I’d unveiled the secret of the Human Bones Necklace!

There was a highly knowledgeable man that lived during the reign of Emperor Wen of Han, Chao Cuo.

Chao Cuo was a famous minister of the Western Han Dynasty that loyally served his homeland and made a lot of contributions, to the point that Emperor Jing of Han gave him the title of 'Pillar of the Nation'!

However, some of Chao Cuo's policies ended up harming the interests of the feudal lords.

As such, they rebelled one after another, giving rise to what would later be known as 'the Rebellion of the Seven States'.

To consolidate his power and appease the feudal lords, Emperor Jing of Han had no choice but to order Chao Cuo’s death.

He dispatched a military officer, who used the pretext of an imperial audience, to force Chao Cuo out of his home. As soon as Chao Cuo was out, the soldiers lying in ambush grabbed him, and the military officer took out the imperial edict, executing him on the spot by cutting him in two at the waist.

That day, a loyal minister died.

After his death, those that respected Chao Cuo boiled his intestines and ate them, hoping that the minister could keep living inside them forever.

The straw cutter used to kill Chao Cuo was also enshrined, and as a sign of protest, they used his blood to write the word 'injustice' on the blade.

When the Emperor heard about it, he was furious.

He ordered the soldiers to behead the peasants and string their skulls together, hanging them above the city wall.

According to the rumors, the skulls slowly eroded and gradually became smaller, finally turning into a necklace—the Human Bones Necklace.

I told everything to Yin Xinyue and Song Longji, who frowned upon hearing my theory. They hadn't expected that the Human Bones Necklace was really made from human bones!

I explained, "There are several different types of Human Bones Necklaces, and the one made from human skulls stringed together appears only in legends. After all, no matter how much a human skull erodes, it won't magically turn into a necklace."

“As a matter of fact, real-life Human Bones Necklaces are mostly made from infant skulls, cat bones, tiger bones, or rhinoceros horns.”

The duo nodded, looking pensive.

I felt that we had to clear Chao Cuo’s name if we wanted to subdue the Human Bones Necklace and prevent it from killing again.

Still, where had Kay-Z gone? Did he return to Azalea House to do drugs?

Just as I was in deep thought, Yin Xinyue said, flustered, "I can’t find my phone!"

"Hmm?" I felt that there was something fishy.

Shortly after, I remembered that a guy wearing a flu mask had bumped into Yin Xinyue on our way over. He’d totally looked like a thief…

Moreover, he’d seemed flustered. Too bad that I was too focused on Kay-Z to pay attention to him.

Was that Kay-Z? But, why did he steal Yin Xinyue's phone?

I asked, "Yin Xinyue, do you still have your purse?"

Yin Xinyue nodded.

I fell into deep thought. Why did the thief steal the phone but not the purse? There’s definitely something wrong here.

Right, Li Mazi! If the other party sends him a message with Yin Xinyue's phone, asking him out, Li Mazi would definitely take the bait!

He was the next target of the Human Bones Necklace, and the current owner would do everything in their power to deliver him the necklace.

I called Li Mazi right away, but no one answered.

This made me anxious; it meant that the other party had already contacted Li Mazi.

Song Longji told me not to worry. "I'll call the police station and have them track Li Mazi's phone."

My forehead was covered with sweat, but I was aware that being impatient wouldn't help my cause. It was better to wait for a reply from the police station.

Shortly after, the police sent us Li Mazi's coordinates. He was close to the Qinjiu River.

Song Longji gave us a hand and brought us there using a police car.

The scenery beside the river was beautiful, with a lot of pleasure boats. It was the perfect place for a date… but definitely not the best place to kill someone!

I immediately thought of the idiom, 'lure the tiger away from the mountain'.

Had the enemy deliberately led us to this place...?

I anxiously dialed Li Mazi's number, and we soon found his phone inside a trash can.

Yet, Li Mazi was nowhere to be found!

I was right. We were duped!

I said to Song Longji, "Let's quickly return to Kay-Z's apartment. That place is the execution ground!"

"Execution ground?" Song Longji looked at me in puzzlement.

I didn't have the time to explain and could only urge him to head there as soon as possible.

Song Longji also realized the gravity of the situation, and he quickly brought us to the apartment.

I was sweating bullets while praying for Li Mazi.

Aside from being a greedy pervert, the guy wasn't that bad. I’d already collaborated with him a few times, and he was like a comrade-in-arms by now.

When we arrived at the apartment, we discovered that the door was locked. Kay-Z was at home!

I gave Song Longji a meaningful glance. He pulled out his gun and forcefully opened the door.

As soon as we were inside, the smell of blood assailed our nostrils.

After a careful look, we noticed that the straw cutter hanging from the ceiling fan had fallen, and below the fan was the lower half of a human body.

The intestines of the corpse were scattered everywhere, and after following the trail, my vision fell on a distant corner, where I found Kay-Z.

The upper half of his body was there. He’d been neatly cut in two at the waist, with his intestines and blood leaking out.

He was lying on Li Mazi's body, who wasn't moving in the slightest and had probably passed out from fright.

Kay-Z had pried open Li Mazi’s mouth and had inserted his bloody hand into his oral cavity.

Seeing the scene, Yin Xinyue almost collapsed to the ground. I could only tell Song Longji to show her out as I started to check on Li Mazi.

Li Mazi had only gotten a huge scare and was fine. He woke up right after I sprinkled some cold water on his face.

He was so scared that he started to scream hysterically as soon as he woke up. Only after I’d slapped him twice did he return to his senses.

I immediately asked him, "What happened? How did you appear in this place?"

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