Early the next morning, Lin Qiupu got up on time as usual. After washing up, he found that there were a few stray hairs on the corner of his eyebrows. He held his tweezers in his hand and looked at the mirror as he fixed himself up for a long time. He felt a bit better before he ate breakfast. Then, he watered and pruned the plant on his balcony.
This was a honeysuckle plant that Song Lang gave him to improve the office environment. It was originally just a small potted plant, but after careful cultivation and nurturing, it had now grown into a large pot.
Lin Qiupu had a stubborn idea. He believed that as long as this honeysuckle was still alive, Song Lang would still be alive somewhere in the world. Just like how honeysuckle is also known as “Lonicera Japonica”, he believed that Song Lang must be dormant and getting ready to fight back against destiny one day.
When he arrived at the bureau, it had just hit 8:00 on the dot. He greeted the colleagues from other teams along the way to the second team’s office. When he arrived, there were only a few people there that were either reading the newspaper or having breakfast.
“It’s just you guys?”
“The police station called and said that they found people that looked like Ji Chunma. Dongxue took everyone away.”
Lin Qiupu was very helpless. After all, Ji Chunma was the current major case. He said, “People who don't have a serious case on hand need to come to conference room No. 3 later on. We found the body of a middle-aged man on Shuangta Road last night.”
After a while, everyone available arrived. Everyone was very busy with work during this period of time. There were only five officers available to be mobilized.
In the face of five or fifty people, Lin Qiupu still debriefed the case with his usual serious tone and then assigned each of them some tasks. The first was to review the crime scene and find missing clues and physical evidence. The second was to investigate the victim’s interpersonal relationships, especially with his ex-wife and children. The third was to investigate the current clue that a suspicious man was seen around the house and determine the identity of the person.
Lin Qiupu went to the forensics department and Peng Sijue handed him a formal autopsy report with a poison appraisal certificate. Lin Qiupu said, “You’re very efficient. You got it done so early in the morning… The poison you found on the victim hydrocyanic acid? Cyanide, the king of poison!”
“There are not many channels to obtain cyanide, but the deceased was an electroplater and had cyanide where he worked.”
“I hear bitter almonds also contain cyanide.”
“Yes, so cyanide has a strong bitter almond flavor. In fact, it’s the taste of cyanide itself. However, it is very difficult to extract enough cyanide from bitter almonds. At least one ton of almonds is required.”
“Haha, it seems unrealistic then. I'll investigate starting from the unit where the victim lived!”
“Look at the autopsy report again. I added a detail. The water-based lubricant was found in the rectum and anus of the deceased, but the walls of the rectum were intact and there were no signs of violation.”
“The murderer is gay?”
“It's not conclusive yet.”
Lin Qiupu put on his coat and drove to the place where Zhou Taiyang worked. The air was full of the pungent smell of heavy metals. He thought that it wouldn’t be too great for the body to work here. The person in charge here didn’t know that Zhou Taiyang had been killed yet. When Lin Qiupu mentioned the name, the person in charge said, “He didn't come to work the whole morning. I made several calls to him but no one answered. I don't know if he’s sick or something.”
“Actually, Zhou Taiyang was killed last night and died at home. I came to try and understand the situation.”
“What?! Old Zhou...” The person in charge was shocked. Lin Qiupu felt that his expression didn’t seem fake.
“Who had a close relationship with Zhou Taiyang?”
The person in charge listed a few names. Lin Qiupu called each one of them and questioned them. After spending the whole morning questioning them, he felt that they weren’t suspicious and wouldn’t have any motivation for killing him. However, they mentioned one person: Zhou Taiyang's apprentice, Lu Yicai. This person had already resigned.
“Why did he resign?” Lin Qiupu asked.
The respondent replied, “I remember that he seemed to have messed up a batch of orders and caused the factory to lose a lot of money, so he was asked to leave.”
“Do you have the contact information of this person?”
After getting the contact information, Lin Qiupu kept looking for Lu Yicai nonstop. He bought a pancake and fruit to deal with his hunger while on the road. He called the bureau and asked them to check Lu Yicai's call history.
At two in the afternoon, he found Lu Yicai in a Mah-jong hall. It seemed that Lu Yicai didn't work a serious job and only strayed around.
Lin Qiupu called Lu Yicai outside and said, “I came to find you about a certain situation. How’s your relationship with Zhou Taiyang?”
Lu Yicai scratched his dishevelled hair and said, “It's a pretty good relationship. He used to be my master and guided me. I go to his house and drink with him every New Year.”
“When was the last time you two made contact?”
“Officer, you know I’ve resigned already. I haven’t contacted him much ever since. The last time I met him was three months ago.”
“Surely not!” Lin Qiupu glanced at the call log sent by his colleague on his mobile phone. “The telecommunications bureau records show that you have been making calls to each other for the past week and fairly frequently at that. The last time was the day before yesterday. Is there anything you’re hiding from me?”
Lu Yicai looked flustered and kept scratching his face. Lin Qiupu asked, “What is your sexual orientation?”
Lu Yicai instantly fumed. “What does that have to do with you?”
“It has to do with the case. I can’t not ask.”
“I have a normal sexual orientation... I don’t know what nonsense you’re on about.”
“You haven't answered my last question. What were you talking about recently?”
Lu Yicai frowned. “This is personal privacy.”
“Now that your master is dead, I must ask about your personal matters as well, private or not.”
“I didn't kill him. He was the one who almost killed me!”
“What did you say?!”
Lu Yicai knew that he had misspoke as he became pale and scared. The more Lin Qiupu looked at this guy, the more suspicious he was of him. “Sorry, you’ll have to take a trip with me to cooperate with the investigation.”
“Aiya, how could you do this? I already said I didn't kill anyone. I was here playing Mah-jong last night. If you don't believe me, you can ask around.”
Lin Qiupu was afraid that this guy would take the opportunity to run away and insisted. “Please cooperate with me.”
“You’re so troublesome!”
Lin Qiupu took Lu Yicai back to the bureau. Some of the police officers dispatched in the morning had returned and reported their investigation progress to Lin Qiupu.
Zhou Taiyang's ex-wife Li Su had two children. The eldest was a son named Li Chao and the younger daughter was named Li Mei. When the account book was opened, the two children were still young and did not have ID numbers yet.
Li Su later became mentally ill and the two children ran away from home. The account had not been updated ever since, so the police could only find these two names. The amount of people with the same name was too high. There were thousands found in the province, and this was without taking into account the possibility of them changing their names.
As for Li Su, she suffered from schizophrenia and aggression in 2002. While at the psychiatric hospital, her condition improved significantly. The doctor believed that the root cause of Li Su's psychological trauma lay within the family. The doctor also found that Li Su had signs of being domestically abused for a long period of time. Upon hearing this diagnosis, Zhou Taiyang immediately took Li Su home to “recuperate.” In the same year, Li Su died at home. Zhou Taiyang quickly held a cremation without even telling their relatives.
In the ten or so years after that, Zhou Taiyang had been looking for big real estate agents to take Li Su's house as his own. He had only achieved his wish this year.
“It's just a bastard who killed his wife!” Lin Qiupu whispered to himself.
1. Rendongteng is the name used in Chinese medicine, which means “winter enduring vine”.
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