When they were going out, Lin Qiupu found that the film crew happened to be messing around in the corridor and had gotten a group of policemen to rush out, taking footage of them doing so from various angles. This activity was more grueling than the interviews. Those entangled policemen turned to Lin Qiupu with expressions asking for help.
Lin Qiupu looked as though he had seen a ghost and made Chen Shi follow him into the basement. They went to the parking lot from the basement. Chen Shi smiled, "The next time you send reporters to me, I’ll expose you as having a sister complex.”
Lin Qiupu took this seriously, and said after a long time, "Behave like a human being!"
Lin Qiupu was finally relieved when they drove away from the Public Security Bureau. Lin Qiupu sat in the front passenger seat and after some time, he asked, "You haven’t quarreled with my sister, right?"
Chen Shi laughed loudly.
"Why are you laughing? Is it funny?"
"I was just thinking that you’d definitely ask about Dongxue after getting into the car, and it came true."
"Answer my question!"
"Relax, we have a very good relationship and we’re very harmonious. We only quarrel over trivial matters and make it up with each other after a few minutes.”
Except for the absence of the corpses, the scene remained basically the same. Numbered signs had been placed on the floor. Chen Shi walked around the house. He went to the kitchen. The kitchen wasn’t large. The blood stains had covered the entire floor. Chen Shi said, "The murderer had washed the drugged pot carefully before they committed the murder. They were very meticulous and had come prepared.”
Then he returned to the living room and studied the blood-stained sofa, recreating the action of slitting the victim’s throat, and asked, "What was the cutting angle of the wound?"
"The report says that the incision was slanted forty degrees from the midline of the spine, and the cut was very deep. The esophagus and veins were all cut open. It should have been a very sharp knife with some curvature. It might have been a folding knife."
"That means they had slit the victim’s throat after dragging his head up... It's cruel to kill by slitting people’s throats. Novices generally can't do it. The murderer was calm and decisive. They just wanted to kill them, almost without any personal feelings involved. I think they’ve done this before."
"Serial killings?" Lin Qiupu's tone was a bit hesitant. The last thing he wanted to come across as a police officer was indiscriminate killings.
"Was there such a case before?"
"I’m not sure. I have sent someone to get the files from the branch office."
"What was that?" Chen Shi pointed to an empty gap amid the blood stains on the ground. There should have been something left there, which was then taken away, leaving a blank space with square margins.
"It was a property guide. The deceased intended to buy a house and it had already been brought back for identification."
"Where's the house?"
"It was something like Tiancheng International District. It’s a newly-built real estate development."
"I heard that the housing prices there are expensive..." Chen Shi glanced at the sofa. "Is operating a pharmacy so profitable? So much that they can buy a house and pay in full?"
Chen Shi looked out of the window and stood there thinking. He said, "The murderer should be someone that the deceased knew. They were invited to the house. They drugged the porridge and left. They stole the deceased's key and waited for the drug to take effect before they returned to kill and clean up the scene... I haven’t seen such a professional technique for a long time. Was it a hitman? Who would benefit from his death?"
"Of course it’s the wife. Zhang Chao is not her biological son. If both father and son die, the wife would legitimately gain all of the inheritance, including the pharmacy, property and insurance payout. Perhaps Wang Zhenlong will also get a share."
"They also had insurance?"
"Zhang Chao has a life insurance policy, which was bought by Zhang Haichang's wife two years ago and it has now already come into effect."
"If that’s the case, the wife is definitely the most suspicious..."
"Old Zhang is now looking for Zhang Haichang's wife for investigation."
"It seems that you’ve already sent people to find the targets of suspicion. What am I here to do? Is there something missing?"
Lin Qiupu came up with a list of the people whom the deceased had contacted before he died. Most of them have been ticked off and he had already sent people to visit them. There was only one number that had not yet been checked. She was a staff member from the housing sales department. She had been responsible for signing the house purchase agreement with the deceased.
Chen Shi said, "Let’s go and check it out. You’ve always liked to leave no stone unturned. Don't miss this blind spot."
The two went to the sales department of Tiancheng International and asked to see the sales lady named Gong Jianqin, but they didn’t reveal their identities. When the girl politely asked if they had come to buy a house, Chen Shi nodded to say yes.
"What size are you looking for? Sir, what is your budget? Perhaps I should bring the two of you to see the model house, so that you can have a feel for it before you make a decision." The sales lady had memorized these recited lines long ago. Chen Shi only needed to nod throughout the whole process to complete the communication.
They arrived at a 120 square meter model house. The whole house had been renovated to be bright and spacious, and the waxed floor shining that they were almost afraid to step on it. It was also fully furnished. Of course, this was just for display. Customers could buy minimally-renovated or unrenovated houses.
"How much is this?"
"One square meter is 13,000 yuan. The full payment is about 2 million, and the minimum down payment is 30%. The larger the down payment is, the higher the discount. It depends on your needs and how much you can afford." The sales lady smiled, exposing a row of white and bright teeth.
"It’s a bit expensive!"
"Therefore, it’s generally recommended to pay in instalments. Are you planning to live in it as a couple? How many people will live here? Do you want to look at a smaller apartment?" The sales lady noticed that Chen Shi was hesitating and immediately recommended another opportunity.
"Ahem!" Lin Qiupu pulled out his badge. "Actually, we’re not here to buy a house. We would like to ask you something."
"What is it?"
"You have among your clients a father and son pair surnamed Zhang, don’t you?"
"Mr. Zhang Haichang?"
"Yes, have you been to his house recently?"
"I haven't. What's wrong with him?"
"Actually, he was killed, and we’re investigating the matter now."
The sales lady covered her mouth in horror. "All the contracts of intent have been signed. What about the house? Will his son buy it?"
"I'm afraid that won’t be possible. His son is also dead. Both the father and the son were killed. Don't spread this news around."
The saleswoman widened her eyes in surprise, and Chen Shi asked, "Which house were they looking at?"
"None of these."
"There are other model houses besides this?"
"No, that house is unique. Do you want to see it?"
Chen Shi and Lin Qiupu exchanged glances and decided to take a look at this one-of-a-kind house. The saleswoman took them to the floor that had not been opened for sale yet and they took the elevator to the 18th floor. The structure of the 18th floor and the other floors were not the same. There was a sky garden on one side, and only one apartment on the other side. Opening the door, Chen Shi was stunned by the bright and spacious living room, huge landing and suspended balcony. There were three bedrooms on one side, and the other side had a kitchen and bathroom as well as a utility room. The sunlight was particularly abundant and penetrated almost every nook and cranny. Since it was facing South, the morning sunlight wouldn’t disturb their sleep.
"How much is this house?!" Chen Shi asked sincerely.
"If you want to buy it, it’s a little over two million."
"The model house just now was not as big as this and it was two million. Why is this so cheap?" Chen Shi was already tempted and thought that his savings should be enough for the down payment. If his current house was sold, he could buy it directly.
Thinking of Tao Yueyue and her cat playing in this spacious living room, a more beautiful image could not be imagined.
And this floor only had this one house, which means that the corridor and the balcony on the other side were all their own. This house was simply a garden villa hidden in an apartment building!
"As this floor is the eighteenth floor, everyone feels that it’s unlucky, so when designing it, they made it into a special apartment type. The price is also favorable.”
1. The 18th floor is considered unlucky due to feng shui numerology. It also reminds people of the 18 Levels of Hell in Buddhism which has widely influenced Chinese culture. You’re more likely to see the 4th floor, 14th floor, etc omitted in buildings because the number 4 sounds like the word “death/die” AKA ‘死’. There’s developers that actually keep the 18th floor in because 8 is considered an auspicious number as it sounds similar to fortune/wealth and 18 sounds like “To get rich for sure”.
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