The next day, the special investigation team went to investigate the nine men. Lin Dongxue and Chen Shi were "assigned" to investigate a man named “Little Four”.
When they called him, Little Four said lazily that he was in a certain bathing center, and that if they were looking for him, they had to go there in person. Lin Dongxue was very upset by this. After Chen Shi hung up the phone, she said, "His attitude is so arrogant. It’s best for him if we don’t find evidence of his crimes."
When they got to the bathing center, Lin Dongxue unexpectedly discovered that the other groups of policemen had also arrived. After asking each other "Why are you here?", they realized that all the nine men were taking a bath there that day.
These nine people lived in different parts of the city, yet they were all gathered together that day. Lin Dongxue said, “They suddenly got together. I'm afraid they’re discussing countermeasures and colluding their testimonies.”
"I hope they really are colluding. That proves that they are indeed problematic."
"It’s best if we find evidence and arrest this whole group of disgusting, bad PUAs."
Soon after, a man walked out. They couldn’t say he wasn’t handsome, but he belonged to the “pretty boy” category that wasn’t Lin Dongxue’s type. He scanned the police waiting in the lobby and said, “Yo, there are so many policemen. No wonder guests don’t dare to come in."
"What is your name?" Chen Shi asked.
"Liu Qiang. My English name is Tony. Of course, you can also call me ‘Little Four’."
"I was the one who called you. I’ve been waiting for you for a long time."
Little Four saw Lin Dongxue, whistled and smiled, "If I knew that Miss Police Flower was waiting here for me, I wouldn't have taken a bath!"
Lin Dongxue frowned in disgust. "Let's talk elsewhere!"
"Wait a minute. I have to pay the bill first."
The three of them went outside. There was no café or tea house nearby, so they stood on the sidewalk and talked. Little Four looked at the passing cars. "If you have something to ask, then please hurry up. The street is dusty and I just had a bath!"
Chen Shi retrieved a photo from his phone. "Do you know her?"
"No. Who would know this kind of ugly girl?"
"Be honest with me! Zhang Xiao has already confessed. At the end of March, all nine of you each received a part of the girl's body. Then you discarded the body parts on Heping East Street together on the evening of April 1st. Do you know how much social panic it caused? A neighborhood committee aunt was so frightened that her blood pressure shot up."
Little Four raised an eyebrow and remained silent.
"What do the nine of you do?"
"We’re an interest group."
"What interest group?"
"Mushroom cultivation interest group." Little Four actually laughed when he said this. The skill of this lying was too low.
"Mushroom cultivation?" Chen Shi sneered. "Can you tell me the names of four kinds of commercially cultivated mushrooms?"
"Well, Ice-shroom, Doom-shroom, Puff-shroom, Fume-shroom..."
"There are also Sun-shrooms, right?" Lin Dongxue crossed her arms. Her expression showed that she was already impatient.
"Oh, Beauty, you also play Plants vs. Zombies?!" Little Four raised his eyebrows.
"Be honest. If you don't confess, we can talk slowly in another place."
Berated by Lin Dongxue, Little Four finally got a little serious, spread out his hands and said, “Duan Lin’s death has nothing to do with us. We did receive her body, and we were also scared crazy. This motherfucking person is framing us, so the boss thought of an idea to dispose of the corpse. In fact, we’re also victims..."
"Who is the boss?" Chen Shi asked.
"You know her name is Duan Lin. I would like to ask, if she has nothing to do with all of you, why would the body be sent to you?"
Little Four frowned and shook his head impatiently. "Okay, okay, I admit that we are a PUA Association. Yes, yes, yes, it’s the kind that you frown at when you hear about it. I’m an art student and had very low self-esteem in college. I never dated a single girlfriend. I felt sour as though I had eaten a lemon when I watched other couples. A senior said to me, ‘Little Four, how can you produce good art if you don’t sleep with women?’ So I signed up to join this group. This group is simple and crude. We don’t play around. Everyone just discussed together about how to trick a girl into bed..."
"Talk about serious matters!" Chen Shi interrupted.
"Don't be so impatient. I’m almost there... Someone among us had toyed with this girl called Duan Lin. We don't know who it was. We usually move quickly. For example, I have dumped a lot of women. They’ve always been very simple breaks. For example, when I met my last girlfriend, we slept together that night. I left the next morning and sent her a text message dumping her. I don’t even know what her name was..." Little Four smiled triumphantly, "I guess Duan Lin had been dumped by one of our brothers and couldn't bear it, so she committed suicide. Afterwards, some fallback guy of hers couldn't accept it, so he chopped her up and sent the parts to us. He probably meant that he wanted us to repay with our lives. Fuck, this motherfucker is a psycho. You should be investigating this person instead of us!"
His wording and testimony made Lin Dongxue disgusted as if she had swallowed a fly. She sarcastically said, "You’re quite self-aware."
Little Four spread out his hands and said, "I know that we aren’t good people in your eyes. I got tired of being a nice guy long ago. Nice guys will only end up in the friend zone. The reason why PUA appeared is also related to you women. Take a look at the girls on the streets. All of them are so proud with their noses turned up towards the sky. All day long, they only fantasize about marrying a rich second-generation or some young CEO. If it weren’t for their own lack of caution, how could they be fooled and allow us scum to take advantage of them?"
Noting that Lin Dongxue was clenching her fists in anger, Chen Shi warned him, "Don't promote your distorted values any longer, or I will beat you!"
"Fuck, the police beats people!"
"I'm not a policeman." Chen Shi showed him his consultant’s ID.
Little Four's expression changed drastically for a moment. "Okay, okay, I know you don’t like to listen to this. Anyway, I still maintain that we didn’t break the law by picking up girls. Chopping up a person and sending it to us is illegal! You should go and arrest him instead!"
"Who was Duan Lin's boyfriend?" Chen Shi asked.
"I don’t know!"
"In that case, how did you know Duan Lin’s name?"
"Someone in the group mentioned her."
"Don't you have names in the group?"
Little Four frowned, as if he was caught in a self-contradiction, so he simply quibbled, "If I don't know, then I don't know! I don't know even if you ask me ten thousand times!"
"Okay, we’ll investigate how Duan Lin died and who dismembered her. If we find out that her death is related to you guys, we won’t be so polite. You will have no chance to talk, even if you want to."
Little Four made an indifferent gesture, and the questioning ended just like that.
The other groups of police investigated the other people and obtained similar information. Several of them confessed to the PUA Association, but they were very secretive about whose girlfriend Duan Lin was.
There was another detail. Duan Lin's body parts had been placed in food storage containers and sent to their respective residences. That had happened on the morning of March 27th.
Chen Shi speculated that these people were covering up for one another. If Duan Lin had really committed suicide after being dumped, there was no need to cover it up. Thus her death was probably due to someone imposing "death control" on her and inciting her to commit suicide!
Over the following days, the police called on them several times. Several of them were even summoned over for questioning, but the group of men were extremely stubborn, as if their defenses were as tough as steel boards.
This reminded Chen Shi of the saying that the alliance between men is the strongest, because men know one another's secrets, and this kind of check-and-balance relationships means that they will never betray one another.
The case entered a stalemate, and what broke the calm at this time was an unexpected murder...
1. All mushrooms from the game Plants vs. Zombies.
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