The two of them arrived at the construction site. At this time, the construction workers had already finished work and set up a wooden board to eat on. When they saw two strangers coming in while they were eating dinner together, they looked at the two curiously.
A foreman came over and asked, "Who are you looking for?"
Lin Dongxue showed them her badge. "We are investigating a case and want to look around."
Then, they turned around and started looking for clues. Chen Shi occasionally picked up a little soil as samples. Lin Dongxue suddenly called out, "Old Chen, look at this."
She pulled out a shovel from a pile of sand. Because it had been used for a long time, the surface of the shovel was very smooth and the edges were sharp. Lin Dongxue inserted it into the ground and said, "This thing is sharper than I thought. You can probably even cut wood with it!"
"Sand is silica and whetstones are silica as well. If it’s used to shovel sand every day, it would sharpen naturally." Chen Shi picked it up in his hands. It wasn’t light. He said, "Go that way and don't turn back."
Lin Dongxue walked straight ahead but suddenly felt like someone was rushing towards her from behind. She immediately turned around and saw Chen Shi holding the shovel as if he was about to smack it into her. Lin Dongxue was startled and held her chest as she asked, "What are you doing?!"
"Simulating the killer's movements. The shovel is pretty heavy. I don't think that the killer can hold it while following the victim before murdering her."
"So, it's an acquaintance then?"
"Or it was a planned ambush?" Chen Shi looked around while thinking to himself.
"Don’t look anymore. The construction site is dirty. At night when the lights are dim, Li Mengran wouldn’t have come here after leaving the house wearing sandals.”
At this time, Lin Dongxue received a call from Xu Xiaodong. He said excitedly, "I was released. It must be the evidence you and Brother Chen found!"
"That's great! You should get off work early and have some rest."
"Are you guys still outside? Are you investigating the case? I’ll come as well!"
Hanging up the phone, Lin Dongxue said to Chen Shi, "Xiaodong was released. It seems like he’s come out of the threatening situation unharmed."
"I’ve already said that you don’t need to worry about it. They don't have enough evidence to do anything to him unless someone was deliberately trying to frame him.”
"Hmm? It's as if you’ve experienced it yourself."
"Haha, how could that be... Let’s look over there!"
The sky gradually darkened as the two of them walked around in the dirty construction site. Fearing that Lin Dongxue would fall, Chen Shi kept holding her hand. Thankfully, nobody was around to see them.
When passing by a building foundation pit, Chen Shi shouted, "Pattern!" before jumping down. Lin Dongxue reacted and realized he had said "soil sample" instead.
Chen Shi stood up straight from within the pit and raised his right hand. "Look at this soil. Doesn’t it seem very similar to the soil found on the victim?"
"It does seem a bit like it."
After taking the sample, Lin Dongxue wanted to pull him up but Chen Shi said there was no need. He jumped up by himself like a seasoned professional before patting the dirt off his pants. He said, "This is a good place to commit a crime. The foundation pit is so deep that you can even bury the body on the spot."
"Let's ask the person in charge."
"They would have reported it if they found a corpse. I’ll dig here and have a look."
Chen Shi took the shovel, jumped into the foundation pit, and started digging. He didn't dig in the same spot aimlessly. Instead, he dug out a little and smelled the soil. Lin Dongxue squatted beside the pit and asked, "Can you smell the blood?"
"It’s thanks to you. Since I quit smoking, my nose is much more sensitive now."
"You haven’t secretly smoked behind my back, right?"
"Relax. Don’t you know my character by now?"
The weather was really hot. After digging for a while, Chen Shi was sweating a lot. Lin Dongxue felt her heart ache and went out to buy him a bottle of iced cola. She happened to run into Xu Xiaodong while she was out.
Xu Xiaodong volunteered to help. They inspected all the foundation pits that had not been filled with cement and determined that no corpses were buried there.
Chen Shi climbed up and took a sip of the cola. Feeling very refreshed, he said, "I inspected the layers of soil. This red clay can only be found one meter below the ground. It seems that this is not the place where the crime happened."
"Are there any other places around with this kind of soil?" Lin Dongxue wondered.
The person in charge ran over and said, "Officers, the construction site is about to lock up. Haven't you finished checking?"
Chen Shi asked, "Where is the soil dug in this pit generally transported to?"
"There is a rule in the city that the muck must be transported outside the city. It’s usually dumped at the temple of the fire god."
"You haven’t transported any today, right?"
"We were laying down the foundations from last week all the way until yesterday, so our last batch was transported last night."
"What time was it?"
"From 6:00 to 12:00 at night because we were in a hurry!"
"Is the driver who transports the sediment a colleague of yours?"
"No, they’re hired in for this."
"Do you have their contact details?"
"I'll have a look for you."
After getting the contact information of the truck driver, the three left. It was 8:00PM at this time. By that point, Chen Shi just wanted to go home and take a shower. Xu Xiaodong said, "It’s thanks to you that I don't have to stay in the detention center tonight. Let's go. I’ll treat you to dinner!"
"It's not my credit to take anyway since you weren’t guilty to begin with!"
"Let me express my gratitude."
"Okay then, let's go!"
When they got to a restaurant, Xu Xiaodong ordered a few dishes. They all wanted to have a few cold beers to relieve the heat, but considering that they needed to drive, they just ordered iced sodas.
Xu Xiaodong sighed, "When I was walking with Li Mengran on the street last night, I really didn't expect this to happen. I also deliberately sent her back into her neighborhood and watched her go upstairs before leaving. How could I have known... When I was called into the bureau and was taken into the interrogation room without explanation, I was completely in shock. Although they don’t suspect me anymore, when I think of her death, and so miserably of one at that, I feel awful."
Chen Shi said, "In fact, sometimes it’s not an issue to believe in superstition. Life and death are fixed numbers. We can only accept reality."
"Haii!" Xu Xiaodong toasted and bumped into Chen Shi’s cup.
Lin Dongxue asked, "What did you two talk about?"
"She just talked about her father and how she wanted to run away from home. I advised her not to do stupid things. Before she had financial stability, she still had to rely on her family."
"Why didn't she look for her classmates, but you instead?"
Xu Xiaodong frowned. "Maybe I'm a reliable adult in her eyes. In fact, you know I'm like a child inside as well."
"So, she thinks you’re like a big brother!"
"Haii, how could she die like this? It’s just hard to accept!" Xu Xiaodong sighed and shook his head. "I applied to join the task force this time. I want to help no matter what!"
"Relax, we’ll definitely catch the killer." Chen Shi said.
Early the next morning, after going to the bureau to report to duty, the three went to find the driver who transported the dregs. They were working at another site today. Chen Shi found the manager and asked for a list of names. The other party said, "Where would we find a list? They’re all from the labor market and are all just temps."
"Then who transported the dregs near Huaxin District on the evening of June 9th? Can you make a list?"
The manager seemed reluctant. Chen Shi took out a hundred yuan and said, "Please."
"Okay, I'll write a copy for you."
After getting the list, Chen Shi glanced over it and asked, "Who’s the youngest on this?"
The manager pointed to a name. "Little Zheng. They’re only 19 years old this year."
"He has a driver's license?"
"Yes, he lied about his age when he took the exam this year, but he’s able to drive quite well."
"Where is he?"
"Unfortunately, the timing isn’t right. He didn't come in today."
1. They sound the same in Chinese.
2. They don’t have contracts for them
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