Old Lady Liu opened her mouth but quickly stopped herself. After thinking for quite some time, she asked, “Will it affect Dog Egg’s schooling and job prospects in the future?”
“No. I assure you, it’s just to cooperate with the investigation.”
“What if the murderer takes revenge? I only have this grandson.”
“Rest assured. With our protection, you guys are absolutely safe!”
Old Lady Liu was relieved and touched Dog Egg’s head. “Dog Egg, tell everything you saw last night to uncle and aunty. They are the police. They are here to catch the bad guys.”
Dog Egg stared at Lin Dongxue with an alert look in his eyes. Chen Shi whispered, “Post traumatic stress disorder. It will take some time.”
Chen Shi said, “Old Lady Liu, you can live in my house for now. The food, drinks, and accommodation will be provided by the police. They don't charge for money... Do you need to contact your family back home?”
“I want to make a phone call to my son,” Old Lady Liu said. She held Chen Shi's hand. “Master, it's a blessing that I must have had to accumulate over eight lives to have met you. You helped us yesterday and we’re troubling you again today. I’m so sorry.”
Chen Shi responded, “You're very welcome. Who asked me to be a friend of the police? I’ll give you my phone to make your call!”
After Old Lady Liu made the phone call, Chen Shi drove the two of them as well as Lin Dongxue back to his residence. The kitten Maoqiu saw the strangers coming in and went under the sofa with a squeak. Chen Shi vacated his bed for the two of them. He told them how to use some of the electrical appliances. The only regret was that there was no TV, but he told them that anything they wanted to watch could be searched for on the computer.
Old Lady Liu was immensely grateful and expressed her gratitude. When she saw the ground was dirty, she picked up the broom and swept it up. Chen Shi said, “No need!”
Old Lady Liu smiled. “It's okay, I’m someone who can’t rest.”
After that, Chen Shi left her alone. Lin Dongxue said, “An old person who has been busy all their life. She is just like my grandmother.”
Chen Shi said a few things to Tao Yueyue and left 200 yuan of pocket change for her. He got ready to return to the bureau to continue investigating the case when Tao Yueyue pulled his clothes. Chen Shi crouched down and asked, “What's wrong?”
“Having people at home, I'm afraid.” Tao Yueyue glanced at the kitchen.
Chen Shi knew that Tao Yueyue had a huge sense of insecurity with strangers because of her childhood experience. He said, “Would you like to go to the bureau with us and come back together at night?”
Tao Yueyue thought about it and Chen Shi could tell that she was hesitating. She responded, “Don’t worry. I’ll stay at home and overcome it.”
“You’re such a good girl!” Chen Shi touched her head. “Don't bully that little brother.”
Back at the bureau, Lin Qiupu asked, “What about the witness?”
Chen Shi said, “It's a little boy. He was too scared and couldn't say anything. I let him live in my house for a while. Oh yes, this is their fingerprints. Lao Peng should be able to extract it!” Chen Shi raised his hand holding a plastic bag with the lunch box touched by Old Lady Liu and the paper cup used by the little boy.
Lin Qiupu took the bag. “We must get his testimony as soon as possible!”
“Has the murderer been found?”
“You may not know who it is, but it’s definitely a heavy bomb!”
“Don't act all mysterious and just spill it.”
“Ji Chunma. Have you heard this name before?”
Chen Shi's eyes widened. Wasn't this the mastermind behind the kidnapping case of Lu Qixing’s second son five years ago? Not long ago, Old Man Lu had also mentioned him, and now he actually appeared in Long'an of his own volition. Was this really fate’s arrangement?
“Five years ago, the Ji Chunma of the Lu kidnapping case?”
“Yes! How did you know?”
“Old Man Lu told me about it. I want to look at the file that year to understand the case.”
“Dongxue, take him to the archives. When that’s done, I have some tasks for you to do.”
They took out the dusty case file from the archives room, opened it, and saw the words “Song Lang” within the string of names. Chen Shi thought about how it had already been five years. He never expected that the case would be reopened.
Lin Dongxue sneezed because of the dust and rubbed her nose, saying, “The last thing I wanted to do is to come here. This room is full of unsolved cases. When I think of how many dangerous people are floating around the world, I can't sleep well at night.”
“Dongxue, how would you spend five million?”
“Five million! That’s more than enough to buy a full house.”
“You can buy a very spacious house in Long'an.”
“Why are you suddenly asking that?” Lin Dongxue laughed.
“Let me tell you something, but don't cause a commotion!”
“In your eyes, am I not a calm person?” However, after Chen Shi finished, Lin Dongxue exclaimed, “Old Man Lu said he’d give you five million?!”
“Calm down, Lin Dongxue. Do you reckon I should take it or not?”
“Yes, why not? You’re not a policeman. It is reasonable and legal for two citizens to give each other property and assets.”
“But I don't want to owe anything to that old bastard.”
“When you catch the murderer, it’s him returning what he believes he owes you.”
“This kind of haystack case is impossible to solve on my own. I would have to use the resources of the entire police force and in the end I would personally get paid. How would that look...? Let me think about it and choose a conscientious and practical method.”
“When you’re rich, invite me to dinner!” Lin Dongxue poked at him with a smile.
“Okay, I’ll invite you to a French meal.” Chen Shi put a finger on his lips. “Keep it a secret from your brother!”
The archive room was so cold that his feet grew cold. Thus, Chen Shi decided to move to another place. He decided to go to the police canteen to continue looking at the file. The yellowed paper showed a sense of age. The police officers involved in the case were either already dead, promoted or retired.
In this kidnapping case, the gangsters demanded a ransom of 60 million. The strategy developed by the task force was to succumb to it first and then capture the kidnapper when they were baited by the money. Song Lang was not in the task force that handled the case, but Old Man Lu had heard that his ability was comparatively at a higher level, so he asked him to be on the case as a consultant.
On the day of the ransom payment, Mr. Lu's secretary kept receiving calls from the gangsters, changing the place of transaction five times. Then, the gangsters demanded that the money be divided into ten portions and put in ten locations. Song Lang immediately noticed that something was wrong and warned the task force to stop immediately. According to his reasoning, the purpose of the gangsters was only six million in ransoms. They would take one-tenth of it, quickly kill the victim, and then make their escape.
The police force was not unlimited. If they were to divide the team into ten and go to the ten separate locations at the same time, their manpower would be greatly reduced.
In addition, Song Lang made an even bolder guess based on Lu Zhenjie's disappearance and his recent economic situation. The kidnapping case was likely a farce directed by Lu Zhenjie himself.
The dedicated team adopted Song Lang's first suggestion and immediately suspended the operation until a finger wearing a Lu’s ring was sent. Old Man Lu could no longer keep his calm and claimed to not let the police step in again. Then, he sent someone to pay the ransom.
“Don't say 60 million, 600 million is not as expensive as a little finger of my family’s Zhenjie!” Old Man Lu had said.
The subsequent development was exactly as Song Lang predicted. The gangsters took one-tenth of the ransom and disappeared without calling them again.
The next day, according to a report by a forest ranger, a gunshot was heard in the mountains. The police arrived and found three dead bodies in an abandoned log cabin. Two of them seemed to be the escapee’s fellow gang members. One was the second son of the Lu family.
Traces at the scene showed that another person was missing, and it was later found that this person was named Ji Chunma, who was a friend of Lu. The two other victims who died were the same. The second son of the Lu family wasn’t tied up nor abused at all, and the little finger that was removed belonged to one of the others.
It’s inconceivable for the kidnappers to have chopped their own finger off to threaten the Lu family, so there could only be one truth. The entire kidnapping case was directed, produced and performed by Lu Zhenjie.
It was just that there was an irregularity during this farce. This outlier was Ji Chunma, who saw the fortune of money and backstabbed him!