The men turned their heads around and the man who had just harassed Gan Ping cursed, “What the fuck does this have to do with you? We’re all friends here and have nothing to do with you!”
“Is he your friend?” Lin Qiupu asked Gan Ping.
Gan Ping shook her head desperately.
Lin Qiupu sternly pointed at them and said, “This is sexual harassment and violates the law. You all need to quickly disappear from my eyes!”
“Bastard, it's not up to you to lecture me!”
Hearing this, Lin Qiupu's heart burst into rage.
The man stretched out his hand. Lin Qiupu wasn't sure whether the other party was trying to grab his collar or to beat him. He decided that the first person to attack would have the advantage, so Lin Qiupu punched him in the face, making him stumble and fall down between two aisles.
Lin Qiupu showed his police officer's badge in time to prevent the others from throwing fists at him. After seeing his badge, they assisted their fallen companion and hurried away.
Gan Ping said, “Thank you so much, Officer Lin. These gangsters often come to steal things here late at night. I use the term steal, but really, they just take things openly and force me to pay out of my own pocket. I don’t know where they drank cat urine from today but they came to cause trouble again.”
“The next time you encounter this situation, you should call the police. There’s surveillance monitoring in the store. Don't think that this is a trivial matter. These types of people will constantly bully you when they think you’re weak.”
“I’ll remember that from now on. Your hand...”
Lin Qiupu looked at his fist. He really wasn’t suited for martial arts. The punch just then seemed to hit the man's teeth and broke the skin on the back of his fingers. Because of the adrenaline, he hadn’t felt any pain at the time. He could only feel the sting now.
“I'll get you some rubbing alcohol…”
Gan Ping left for a while. Lin Qiupu saw her mobile phone on the table and picked it up. The lock screen picture was a photo of the popular celebrity, Jiang Yuqi. To be honest, he didn't know why all these girls fawned over such a feminine guy, but it seemed that Lin Dongxue also liked him quite a bit.
Gan Ping returned and wiped his hand with absorbent cotton dipped in rubbing alcohol. Lin Qiupu asked curiously, “What about your family? Did you come to Long’an to work alone?”
“My family... The situation in my family is a bit complicated. I’m a bit embarrassed to talk about it.”
“Oh, it's okay. I respect your personal privacy.” Lin Qiupu changed the subject. “Ah, yes, my sister also likes this Jiang Yuqi a lot.”
“Is that so?” Gan Ping had her eyes light up. “You have a sister? Biological sister?”
“Yes, she’s also a police officer.”
“Your family seems really happy and blessed.”
“Happy?” When he thought of Lin Dongxue and their usually rigid relationship, Lin Qiupu wasn’t so sure.
“To be honest, I came to the city to find my brother. My biological brother. When he was young, he ran away from home and never contacted the family.”
Looking at Gan Ping's lowered face, Lin Qiupu developed sympathy for her. He asked, “Have you found him?”
“I found him. I once saw him wearing a cufflink that was more valuable than my whole outfit sitting in a blindingly dazzling luxury car while being surrounded by people.”
“You didn't meet him?”
“He's done so well for himself that he’s no longer the person I knew in the past. I’m afraid to approach him.”
“What does that mean?! No matter how well your brother is doing, you’re the sister who has to work two jobs to struggle and make ends meet. Do you have any hidden dilemmas?”
Gan Ping lowered her head and played with her shirt without speaking.
Lin Qiupu continued. “I think he must also want to see you. After all, you are relatives who grew up together. Blood is thicker than water. Tell me what his name is and I’ll go back and find him for you.”
“Don't! Wait for me to deal with my own affairs. I'll see him when the time is right. Please don't let him know that I'm in Long'an, okay?”
Gan Ping's sincere words and gaze made Lin Qiupu give in. “Sorry, I was a little too emotional when I heard this kind of thing. I’m not trying to interfere with your private affairs.”
“I know you’re a good person. You must be a good brother too! Your sister must depend on you a lot.”
Lin Qiupu didn't know how to answer. When a customer came in to buy something, he switched the topic and said, “I should go. If there is anything I need from you, I’ll stop by again.”
“Be careful on the road.”
Lin Qiupu returned to the car. Gan Ping's words had touched him. If Lin Dongxue suffered and was bullied in a place he didn't know, he wouldn’t be able to stand it. He sent Lin Dongxue a message. “Sister, no matter how difficult life is, your big brother will always be your strongest backer.“
Lin Dongxue replied. “Did you drink? Or did you get dumped?”
Lin Qiupu felt that his heartfelt words had been thrown into the garbage dump. He held his mobile phone in his hand and looked up at the sky for a long time. There was a gap between his sister in reality and the ideal sister in his mind.
It was already past 10:00 PM at the bureau and all the offices’ lights were turned off. Only the forensic department’s lights were still on. Peng Sijue had just finished the autopsy and was drinking coffee. Lin Qiupu came in and sat down. “What did you find?”
Because the assistant was not present, the autopsy report had not been typed up or printed yet. There was only a handwritten note, which Peng Sijue pushed over.
Lin Qiupu read the note. “No. xxx, male, 56 years old, died at around 20:00 on the evening of February 24th, 201x, with hollow criss-cross bruises on his chest, shoulders, and upper limbs. He has a slightly swollen flank and fractured ribs, with scratches on his elbows, back, shoulders and the back of the head. There are also polka-dot shaped burns near the neck and ears. A needle wound was found on the right muscle of the right scapula. The chemical hasn’t been identified...”
“Poisoned?” Lin Qiupu asked.
“Not sure. I took a picture here. This needle wound wasn’t done by a professional. The needle seemed to have been bent, which caused swelling around the wound. The murderer's movement should have been quite rough.”
“What kind of bending?”
Peng Sijue picked up a syringe and bent it a little. “Judging by the degree of damage to the wound, this is probably the case.”
Lin Qiupu took the syringe in his hand and tried to reproduce the situation in his mind. He thought about the two people having a fierce dispute. He remembered the curved shape of the syringe and said, “I will look for it tomorrow. If I can find the weapon, it would really help with the case.“
“I don't think there’s much hope in that. Things like syringes are too easy to dispose of.”
“No defensive injuries on the victim?”
“It seems that the victim was at the mercy of the other party. Maybe the injection was an anaesthetic?”
“No, I'm sure it's poison. The wounds on the deceased were not enough to cause death. When I dissected him, I found some signs of poisoning and took a pathological sample. I will continue the test tomorrow.”
Lin Qiupu continued to read the report. “Lips and nails are purple. There’s bleeding points in the conjunctiva of the eyes... There is no bleeding in the subarachnoid space of the brain. Calcifications have formed in the brain. There’s meningeal tension. The arachnoid has heavy blood clotting. The brain gyrus swelled up. The anfractuosity sulci narrowed in, which shows obvious signs of poisoning. Pulmonary hemorrhage with bleeding spots spread widely across both lungs. The small blood vessels in the lungs I dissected are filled with blood clots. Pulmonary interstitial blood vessels were congested with extravasated blood. Significant increase in the number of white blood cells in the alveolar capillary walls. The heart and its valves still had flowing blood. Hemorrhaging in the liver, proliferation in fibrous connective tissue in the liver portal area, inflammatory cell infiltration, and spleen bleeding.”
Lin Qiupu put down the report and said, “It seems that the deceased was not in good health, but it’s understandable since he’s already so old.”
Peng Sijue shook his head. “These are all stress symptoms. The victim should have lived under high pressure for a long time, psychologically or physically.”
Lin Qiupu was a little scared. Intuitively, the victim's life should have been quite relaxed and leisurely. He couldn’t think of any reasons for stress for the victim.
He put down the report and said, “It's getting late today. We’ll continue investigating tomorrow. Let’s go. I'll treat you to supper.”
1. Here, the author actually used a term that negatively expresses that someone was raised by a mother who was a prostitute, but I’m unsure if there’s a term for that in English.
2. Typically people say “horse urine” instead, but it’s usually used to scold people who are drunk instead of using the word alcohol.
3. Over sclera
4. The subarachnoid space is the interval between the arachnoid membrane and the pia mater. It is occupied by delicate connective tissue trabeculae and intercommunicating channels containing cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).
6. Arachnoid mater: Connected to the dura mater on the side closest to the CNS, this middle layer includes a network of fibers and collagen that are part of the suspension system that helps protect the brain and spinal cord from sudden impact.
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