Chapter 781: The Origin of the Legend

“Three, two, one... Haha, it's time to get off work."

The next afternoon, his partner Da Chang "got off work on time" again. He waved to Lin Qiupu and said, "I'm heading back. You should go home early as well. It’s the same if we continue investigating tomorrow."

Lin Qiupu frowned and said, "Da Chang, it's really bad for you to be like this. Everyone is looking for clues day and night. You should spend a little more time on it!"

Da Chang poked Lin Qiupu twice in the chest. "I don't need a newcomer like you to teach me how to be a policeman!"

With that said, he drove away. Lin Qiupu sighed and shook his head.

Even after busying himself the whole day, he couldn’t find many clues. Lin Qiupu personally experienced the difficulty of investigating cases. He was about to visit the next pawn shop before it was dark when a phone call arrived. Song Lang asked, "Where are you?"

"I'm on... Shangma Street."

"Don't move. I'll come find you."

After saying so, he hung up the phone. Lin Qiupu wondered why the captain was looking for him. Was there something important? However, after spending a few days with the captain, he could feel his concern for him. Every time he heard the captain’s voice, he always felt his heart pounding with excitement.

Half an hour later, Song Lang's car appeared in front of him and he was told to get into the car.

After getting into the car, Song Lang said, "Let's go and eat!"

"Captain, did you look for me because of this?"

"No, I plan to go to Taiyang pawn shop. I knew you were out, so I called you to come along. This meal is a reward for working overtime!"

Lin Qiupu was flattered.

When they arrived at a home-style restaurant, Song Lang ordered a few dishes at random, lit a cigarette, and asked, "Have you found out anything?"

Lin Qiupu opened his small notebook and said, "There are three versions of the legend surrounding this bowl. Some said it was Zhaodi, some said it was a Russian monk, and some said it was the last prisoner executed in the Qing Dynasty. The other details are the same. It’s uncertain how many bowls exist. Many pawn shop owners have received them. I suspect that someone is using the legends to scam money."

"Old Peng tested the bowl you brought back yesterday. It was made out of cow bones. As for the bowl you got from Taiyang, it was made from monkey bones."

"Ah, none of them are real?!"

"I also checked the files. This bowl had first appeared at Yuxiang pawn shop. The perpetrator was arrested long ago. This started with an unemployed lad coming up with this 'innovative' fraud method one day. He took a small crappy bowl and a story he made up to commit fraud, but was humiliated afterwards by the pawn shop owner who slapped him in the face. That night, the guy killed the pawn shop owner’s family of three in order to vent his anger. He was on the run for a few days, but was so scared that he surrendered himself and is still residing in prison today. It stands to reason that the matter is over, but the strange thing is that this bowl and this legend spread like a virus among the pawn shops of Long'an. Almost all pawn shops have received it. A small number of people paid the life-preservation fee, but most people laughed it off. A number of people who didn’t pay the money indeed met with misfortune. Based on the data, it isn’t convincing at all, but after outsiders have added details to the stories while retelling them over and over again, the stories have become increasingly strange, and there are even three versions of the origin story of the bowl." Song Lang shook his head and smiled, "This matter is simply a classic example of rumor spreading, and it can even be used for a sociology textbook. Little Lin, tell me your opinion!"

"Uh, someone is utilizing it?"

"Why are they utilizing it?" Song Lang asked encouragingly.

"Because... because this legend is very evil, and the people who operate pawn shops are particularly superstitious. Utilizing it, they can scam a lot of money."

"Correct. You’ve grasped the essence of this. The reason why this legend is alive is because it can bring practical benefits, just like all ridiculous scam tricks."

"Then is this legend... related to the case?"

"It isn’t related, because He Jingjing is lying." Song Lang said lightly.

"Ah!" Lin Qiupu was shocked. The captain knew from the beginning that there was no connection, but made him investigate for two days.

"You don't have to show a disappointed expression. Investigation is not only for proof to confirm the truth, but also to prove falsehoods. Why did He Jingjing make use of this legend and what can she get out of it? He Taiyang took out one million from the bank before he died and the whereabouts of this sum is unknown. Perhaps He Jingjing brought out this legend in order to seize the opportunity to take this money. Of course, it might have been for other purposes."

"I think we should focus on investigating her!" Lin Qiupu became agitated.

Song Lang smiled. "Don’t just focus on one person. He Jingjing is indeed suspicious, but she has no clear motive for killing. At least not right now."

Lin Qiupu took a look at his notebook and said, "A pawn shop owner said that the relationship between He Taiyang and his nephew He Jun wasn’t actually very good. The two had quarrelled a while ago, seemingly over money."

Song Lang nodded.

"There is also the owner of the calligraphy painting. I asked and these pawn shop owners seemed to know something, but they were all unwilling to say anything."

"You’re quite considerate." Song Lang smiled. "They didn't say anything because they’re afraid of offending that person. This person is really powerful."

"Captain, does Long’an still have organized crime syndicate-style groups right now?"

"They must exist in such a big city. As long as a group of people use violence for profit, they are legally considered organized crime syndicates... You should eat quickly. We still have to investigate the case after we finish eating."

At this time, the food had already been brought to the table. Lin Qiupu let out an "Oh" and lowered his head to eat.

After the meal, Song Lang brought Lin Qiupu to the Taiyang pawn shop. He unexpectedly discovered that Captain Peng was also there. Captain Peng was carrying a survey box in his hands. Standing next to him was an unfamiliar uncle who didn’t seem to be a policeman.

"Why are you so late?!" Peng Sijue complained.

"Haha, it seems that you haven't waited too long for me. You won't talk to me if it’s been over half an hour." Song Lang said shamelessly.

"Fourteen minutes. I stood here and waited for you for fourteen minutes!"

"My solemn apologies."

Song Lang said this without a trace of guilt, and then he exchanged a few polite pleasantries with the uncle. Through their conversation, Song Lang learned that he was an expert in calligraphy and painting.

After entering the pawn shop, they discovered that He Jingjing wasn’t there. Only He Jun was looking after the store. Seeing the four people coming in together, He Jun seemed a little impatient. "Why do the police come every day? Don’t we need to do business?"

"Murders don't happen in every pawn shop. Just cooperate!" Song Lang said.

"Okay, what do you want to ask about this time?" He Jun looked impatient.

"We learned that this shop once accepted a calligraphy painting of Zhang Detian's. Do you know who that customer was?"

"I know but I can't tell you."

"Why?"

"If I tell you, you’ll go looking for him and disturb the old man’s peace. He would be unhappy, and then find out that I was the one who told you guys. Then I’d meet with misfortune!"

"Haha!" Song Lang laughed dryly. "A big boss of this level will also be short of money and come pawn a calligraphy painting?"

"Billionaires also have times when they have cash-flow problems. Big Brother had sent someone here to pawn it. Uncle He didn’t do a conscientious job this time. He split the calligraphy painting into two pieces.[1]  He didn't expect the other party to redeem it after a few days. He was greedy and gave one of them to them and kept a copy for himself. Big Brother was very angry when he found out, and let word out that they were going to fix Uncle He!"

What He Jun said was yet another version of the story.

Song Lang said, "So, on the day He Taiyang was killed, he had taken the other half of the calligraphy painting and money to go and apologize?"

"No, I don't know what was in his box."

"Is that half of the calligraphy painting still in the store?"

"I’m not sure about that!" He Jun said with evasive eyes.

1. Some old paintings were done on jiaxuan, which is 2-ply xuan paper. It’s made thicker by meshing two layers of pulp together. This kind of xuan paper is more absorbent and good for very expressive brushworks. However, it also makes it possible for unscrupulous (and skilful) art dealers to split a valuable painting into two by peeling off one layer from the other for more profit. 

 

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