The uncle was caught off guard by the sudden stranger questioning him but answered anyway. “Yeah, I worked in this factory for many years. I’m an old master now and only retired a few years ago. Why are you asking?”
Chen Shi used his fingers to beckon Lin Dongxue over. She came up to show her credentials and said, “We are investigating a case.”
Upon seeing the police badge, the uncle was very excited. He patted his thigh and exclaimed, “The sky has eyes! You have finally come to investigate! That bastard director embezzled public funds and fled abroad, causing our factory to close down. Has he been arrested?”
“Uh, no. We are criminal investigation officers and are investigating a criminal case.”
“Was it the incident regarding our factory director’s family getting murdered?”
“Did that happen?!” Lin Dongxue was shocked.
“Haii, I really wish that had happened. The last name of the director is Ding. The bastard ran away with hundreds of people’s…”
“Uncle! Uncle!” Chen Shi got busy preventing him from continuing on a tangent. “I want to ask you something. Did your factory's logo glow at night? Did it flash? What color was it?”
“It glowed white and blue! At night, the words 'Yutong Autos' flashed and you’d be able to see it from far away... Why are you asking this?”
“Did some of these letters stop working? Don't ask why and just answer me first.”
“It was broken since it was so old. Why are you asking about this?”
“What was broken?”
Seeing that he was uncertain, Chen Shi changed his questioning method. He wrote the characters on his palm and asked him what parts of the words could be seen 13 years ago.
“Thirteen years ago? I can't remember that, but I remember that the ‘shi’ under the character ‘yu’ was the last to break, because the light bulbs formed a cross. When the factory was about to close down, we could only see the cross left.”
The three became excited and Chen Shi continued to ask, “Which year did the factory close down?”
“Do you know the address of the factory?”
After asking for the address, Chen Shi also asked for the uncle's contact information. The three arrived at the old site of the Yutong Automobile Factory, which had since been developed into a community. Lin Dongxue said, “Vicissitudes of fortune, where can we find the ‘shi’?”
“It's best to find the old people from the factory and ask how high the word was so we can exclude the floors below that height.” Chen Shi turned around. “Thirteen years ago, this place shouldn’t have been built so high up.”
Lin Dongxue looked at the time. They had no time to check it today. She suddenly felt that the chances were slim if they couldn’t even find this out on the first day.
Chen Shi suggested, “Let’s assign tomorrow's tasks. We won’t stick together tomorrow. I'm good at chatting with the elderly, so I’ll investigate the ‘shi’. Xiaodong will go to the local police station in the district to find out about missing persons reports. Dongxue will continue looking for details regarding Chen Guang and Yin Wen.”
“Will we disband just like this today?” Xu Xiaodong asked.
“Let’s just finish here!”
“Great. Since we got off work early today, I can go home to play!” Xu Xiaodong raised his arms in delight.
The two looked at him for a while as Lin Dongxue said, “How can you be so blatantly happy?”
“To be honest, I don't think this case can be investigated! Thirteen years have passed, the house is gone, and even if we find the body, it’d be rotten.”
“Just because you said this,” Chen Shi raised his voice, “Treat us to dinner!”
“Yes, you’re lowering the morale, so you must invite us all to dinner!” Lin Dongxue also pressed.
“Ah, I feel so wronged! Okay, okay, but don't eat anything too expensive!”
After slaughtering Xu Xiaodong’s wallet, the two returned to their apartment with a full stomach. Chen Shi went to visit the young monk beforehand while they were on their way. The young monk was doing an evening recital ritual in the hostel. Upon seeing them, he got off his bed and put his palms together as per the Buddhist greeting.
Chen Shi returned the gesture and asked, “Little master, is this an alright place to live in?”
“It's good!” The young monk was obviously looking better than yesterday and seemed to have rested well. “There was the sound of prostitution next door during the day that was unbearable. I reminded them what was appropriate and those two have already turned a new leaf.”
Chen Shi turned his head and saw the shoe print on the wall. He could imagine how disappointed the little couple next door was today.
“Do you have money on you?”
“Have you eaten? Let me buy some food for you so you can eat it at any time!”
“Something simple would be nice.”
The two took the young monk to a nearby supermarket. The young monk only picked some pickled vegetables, pickles, mantao, and pancakes. He was unconcerned about the delicate cooked food in the delicatessen counter. When he saw that there was the slaughter of live fish, he stopped, put his palms together, and recited a passage of life and death.
Lin Dongxue said, “The Buddha's heart is firm. Very much like a master.”
The young monk responded, “This female donor is praising me too much. Being obsessed with the resentment from the past, it means my six roots aren’t pure and clean.”
Chen Shi said, “We have been investigating all day today. Rest assured, we’ll give you an explanation.”
“Thank you two!” The monk said sincerely.
“Do you know how to tell fortunes?” Lin Dongxue asked suddenly.
“I don’t. However, watching the female donor's appearance and words, you will definitely form good karma and cultivate a good destiny!”
“Haha, I'm so happy! I’ll borrow your good words!”
Chen Shi said, “I know how to say that too.”
Lin Dongxue rolled her eyes at him. “Coming from your vulgar mouth, it has no effect at all.”
“Girls love superstition!”
“That’s none of your business!”
When they got home, Tao Yueyue had already solved her dinner problems by herself and was reading a book in the house. Chen Shi was going to move the computer back into her room when Tao Yueyue said, “No, you can watch TV with Sister Lin. It’s more comfortable not having a computer on my desk.”
There was no TV at home because Chen Shi felt that it was all garbage on the TV, so it was better to just go online.
He asked Lin Dongxue if she wanted to watch a movie. Lin Dongxue said, “Yes, sounds good. I haven't been online recently, so I don't know what new movies have been released.”
After finding a newly released comedy film, the two sat on the sofa and watched. For fear that the smoke would disturb Lin Dongxue, Chen Shi suppressed his urge to smoke.
Lin Dongxue was just recovering from anemia and began getting sleepy soon after watching the movie for a while. Her head slowly tilted and finally landed Chen Shi's shoulder. Chen Shi lowered his head and found that she was already making soft snoring sounds.
Tao Yueyue came out to grab a drink. When she saw this scene, she showed a smile like she was watching some sort of entertainment. Chen Shi pointed at the coffee table against their knees and asked Tao Yueyue to move the coffee table a little so that he could bring Lin Dongxue back to her room.
Tao Yueyue ran to the second bedroom, took out a blanket and covered Lin Dongxue with it before leaving. Chen Shi kept mouthing, “Bad girl! Come back!”
Chen Shi looked down at Lin Dongxue who was sound asleep and thought she was really cute. How could a girl look so nice? How could such a good-looking girl take on such a tiring and dangerous job? It was really distressing for others.
Another face that he once loved appeared in front of him. The deceased person was the curse of his heart, so he always played dumb with things regarding Lin Dongxue. He was afraid that Lin Dongxue would be killed one day just as his last love. The person who was running free right now would do this kind of thing!
He held Lin Dongxue in a different position and gently lifted the lock of hair that fell on her fair face. However, he suddenly heard a click. It turned out that Tao Yueyue had come out holding a phone in her hand and was taking pictures.
Chen Shi raised his fist threateningly and asked her to delete the photo, but Tao Yueyue poked out her tongue and made a face at him. She continued playing on the phone and then Lin Dongxue’s mobile phone in her pocket rang. It became apparent that Tao Yueyue had sent her the photo she had just taken.
Chen Shi wanted to die. He could only slowly stretch out two fingers and carefully grasp the edge of Lin Dongxue’s phone as if stealing the cushion from underneath a cat's belly, and slowly pulled it out.
When he got it in his hands, he didn’t know what to do…
Fuck, fingerprint lock!
1. Those above didn’t desert them/answered their calls/wishes.
2. “Shi” means “ten” and when written in Chinese, the character is the shape of a cross.
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