“Let me see!” Peng Sijue came over and checked. “Your statement is not very precise. You can only say that they’re not identical keys.”
“Take the lock and try it,” Chen Shi suggested.
“The keyhole is blocked by wire and cannot be restored... Unless the lock is sawed open in the middle.”
“Go ahead!” Chen Shi snapped his fingers.
“Are you a leader somewhere?!” Peng Sijue snapped at him.
Lin Dongxue said, “Captain Peng, can you check if this key corresponds to the lock?”
Peng Sijue then instructed his team to get tools to saw the lock apart.
At this time, Xu Xiaodong was carrying a cat bag and came in happily. He lowered the cat bag and opened it. The cat was very scared of strangers. When the cat saw them, the cat went into Xu Xiaodong's arms as he kept soothing it.
Lin Dongxue said, “You’re handling this cat quite well!”
“Of course. I’ve got a catnip body!” Xu Xiaodong said smugly. “Didn’t you say we needed to do some tests?”
Peng Sijue cut some of the hair around the cat as samples and then gave it a piece of glass to lick. The cat was indifferent and kept hugging into Xu Xiaodong's clothes. Peng Sijue changed it to a cotton swab and ordered the cat, “Open your mouth! “
“Captain Peng, you can't do it like that.”
“I need its saliva.”
Xu Xiaodong opened the cat's mouth and asked Peng Sijue to take some samples. Lin Dongxue saw the cat's mouth full of sharp teeth and dense pink barbs on his pink tongue, but Xu Xiaodong was not afraid.
Dogs are omnivores, but cats are authentic carnivores. It’s said that cats have not been domesticated properly even after millions of years. Lin Dongxue thought that it was incredible that such small carnivores existed around humans.
Peng Sijue went to conduct the test and Chen Shi said, “The victim's cell phone was licked by the cat and we also found a substance that may be the cat's favorite food. Do you have any ideas?”
“Is it sweet?” Xu Xiaodong asked.
Lin Dongxue smiled. “Sweet or salty? Do you think the lab technician would take a bite to try?”
Xu Xiaodong smiled and said, “I mean if it had a sweet fragrance, it might be a hairball remedy cream or nutrition cream. The hairball remedy cream is darker and oilier. Most of these are what cats love to eat... Brother Chen, don’t you also have a cat? You don’t know about this?”
“Yueyue takes care of the one at home and I don’t care about it at all. I only get rid of the poo on occasion.”
“Should we go to the crime scene to have a look?” Lin Dongxue suggested.
“No need to check. Just buy a hair cream and nutrition cream to compare.” Chen Shi said.
Xu Xiaodong said, “Brother Chen, please buy it at a pet store nearby. If I leave this cat, it would be scared to death.”
Chen Shi took a trip and came back and Peng Sijue said that the saliva really belonged to this cat. As far as he was concerned, the saliva of the cat was tested for the first time. Then, he compared the hair cream and nutrition cream. The result was out very fast. “The ingredients left on the phone is similar to the ingredients in that nutrition cream you bought.”
“It seems that someone applied nutrition cream to the mobile phone! Why would they do this?” Lin Dongxue wondered.
“In order to post to Weibo!” Chen Shi asserted.
“Can the cat's tongue really activate the screen?”
“You won't know until you verify.”
Chen Shi immediately took out his mobile phone, opened an app, and applied the nutrition cream on the screen for the cat to lick it. The cat hesitated for a long time before sticking out its tongue and licking the screen.
Although the experiment was successful, Lin Dongxue still had a hint of doubt. “The cat's tongue isn’t the same as a human finger. What if it doesn't lick the send button?”
“You should think about it from the murderer's standpoint. This 'time-delay mechanism' itself had a risk. The success would be the icing on the cake, but there is not much of a loss if it fails. After all, they have already killed someone... It seems that there are certain coincidences in all so-called magical criminal methods.”
Lin Dongxue mumbled. “So that's the case. This is how the killer delayed sending the Weibo post! So you’re right. The killer killed the victim in advance, set the phone up, and then left the scene.”
Peng Sijue reminded, “The liver temperature showed that the time of death was about 12:00. The margin of error wouldn’t exceed ten minutes.”
“Ten minutes is enough.”
Lin Dongxue said, “No, we were all standing outside the door at 11:50. Do you remember Xiaodong? The reporter asked us to record again.”
“Yes, we stood outside the door for about fifteen minutes.” Xu Xiaodong confirmed this statement.
Chen Shi thought silently when Lin Dongxue suddenly remembered. “Let’s go and see Miss Jiang.”
Chen Shi said, “I'm not going. I want to think about it here.”
Lin Dongxue and Xu Xiaodong took the cat away. Peng Sijue brought Chen Shi a cup of coffee and asked, “This time are you stumped as well?”
Chen Shi smiled. “No, I like this thinking game very much. The more bizarre the case, the more excited I get... How about the autopsy?”
“Nothing too impactful was found. The stomach contents showed that the deceased had eaten rice, raw fish, seaweed, chicken, bean sprouts, potatoes, etc. He drank a lot of carbonated drinks in the twelve hours before his death.”
“I'll go to the crime scene to have a look!”
Chen Shi went to the scene. The police had already investigated here and retrieved the surveillance video of the entrance to the community.
Chen Shi turned around and asked some residents. It was determined that there was only one entrance here. Of course, it was not impossible to climb the wall, so he walked around the community to check for any abnormalities.
At 1:00 in the afternoon, Chen Shi went to a nearby street and saw a Japanese food shop. He remembered that Peng Sijue said that the stomach contents of the victim contained rice, raw fish, and seaweed. Wasn't this Japanese food?
He went to the shop and there weren’t many people at noon. A waitress in a white uniform greeted with a smile and said, “Irasshai!”
The head chef yelled out, “No, she and I are both North-eastern people. We only know a word of Japanese.”
The waitress said, “Guest, please, this way. What would you like to eat?”
Chen Shi smiled. “Is there only one Japanese restaurant around here?”
“Yeah, we’re the only one around these parts,” the chef replied.
“Do you do take-outs?”
“We do. There is a take-out phone number on the wall. Would you like a take-out?”
Chen Shi glanced over and said, “You guys don’t use Meituan?”
“The people who order form us are all around this neighborhood, so we just deliver it by ourselves. Would you like something to eat?”
“Do you sell sashimi?”
“Yes, yes, salmon and tuna. Which one do you want?”
“One of each. Take-away please.”
The waitress poured a cup of matcha for him and Chen Shi asked, “How many people are there in the shop?”
“Five. The manager, the chef, two waiters, and a guy who helps the chef... Are you a policeman?”
“How do you know?” Chen Shi asked with a smile.
“Wasn’t there a murder case yesterday? I saw the police going in and out of the community early this morning. Did you find anything?”
“I know, I know!” said the chef. “The man who died was the cat-killer who was talking about it on Weibo. Such a stubborn man deserves to be dead!”
The waitress said, “The woman cheated first, so you can’t just blame the man.”
The head chef said, “You don't know the situation. Last night, the woman and a policeman ate here. I heard her. She said she didn't cheat at all. They were all fabricated by the man... By the way, I wonder if you know that female police officer. She was born good-looking. I almost cut my hand when I tried to sneak glances at her while preparing the food.”
1. The author is still calling her “Jiang” instead of “Dong” it seems.
2. Greeting in Japanese. The phrase “Irasshaimase!” is a more polite version of irasshai, an imperative form of the honorific verb irassharu (いらっしゃる) which means “to be/come/go”. The phrase was originally used by marketplace sellers trying to bring customers closer to their particular stall.
3. A food delivery service.
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