Chapter 782: Grudges Between Relatives

Song Lang said, "In that case, we’ll investigate the store ourselves!"

He Jun looked reluctant. "All of the things in the store are valuable. If you search around here and something is lost, how will I explain to Jingjing when she comes back?"

Song Lang smiled, "Just tell her that the police had come here with a search warrant." Song Lang took out a document. He Jun had nothing to say after he saw the red seal on it.

The calligraphy and painting appraisal expert went to check the calligraphy paintings in the cabinets. Song Lang took a few account books and asked Lin Qiupu about his mathematics skills. Lin Qiupu said, "I don’t make mistakes when it comes to accounting."

Song Lang asked He Jun to open the safe and check the cash inside.

After a while, the two had verified that there was about 1.3 million cash missing from the safe. He Jun muttered, "I haven't taken the money inside. Jingjing has probably taken and used the money."

Song Lang looked at his face with a sneer, "We were here that night. He Jingjing couldn't open the safe. Only you can open it."

"I told her the password later on. Uncle He is no longer here, so she’s the one in charge..."

"You’re still pretending?!"

Under Song Lang's penetrating gaze, He Jun could only admit, "After Uncle He died, I took 300,000 yuan, but the money originally belonged to me anyway."

"You just took 300,000?"

"I just took 300,000. How could I take 1.3 million, unless I have gone nuts?"

Song Lang observed his expression. This time, he didn’t seem like he was lying. He Taiyang did withdraw a million in cash before he died. Perhaps he had other purposes for the money, and the sum of money might have been taken away by the murderer.

The calligraphy and painting appraisal expert found the painting in question. He spread out the painting on the table and examined it carefully with a magnifying glass. Everyone in the room was waiting for the result.

After looking at it for a long time, the calligraphy and painting appraisal expert said, "This painting is the original and hasn’t been split."

"Nonsense. Uncle He had asked someone to split it. This is just one of them. Stop showing off here with your low skill level." He Jun said.

"Young man, let me teach you a lesson. Not every piece of paper can be split into two pieces. It has to be done on jiaxuan[1]. This painting is made of sandalwood bark paper and is very thin. How could you split it?"

He Jun remained silent, looking extremely embarrassed.

"Little Lin, bring that book over." Song Lang asked Lin Qiupu for an account book, opened it, and it was recorded that a customer had pawned a Qing Dynasty ink painting on June 14th for half a million cash. The customer's name was written as "Old Gentleman".

Song Lang thought, what immortal is this? The pawn shop owners dare not even mention his name.

Then on June 25th, the "Old Gentleman" redeemed the painting again.

Song Lang walked up to He Jun, staring into his eyes and asked, "Hasn’t this painting already been redeemed? Why does it still appear here? What did He Taiyang do?"

"Uncle He has always wanted this painting. He bought a copy from an auction and kept it at home. He had always thought it was real. After the real thing appeared, he knew that the one in his possession was fake. He might have gotten greedy and gave the old man the fake one. After finding out that the old man had redeemed a fake, I persuaded Uncle He, telling him that he couldn’t do that. After offending the old man, he wouldn’t be able to make a living in Long'an, so..."

"‘So’ what? Did he go to apologize?"

"I... I thought he had already returned the painting. I don't know why this painting is still here. Or maybe the expert has appraised it wrongly."

"Why did you say that the original painting had been split into two in the first place?"

He Jun became angry. "I don't know! I don't know! Uncle He was the one who did it and I’m not very clear about it. Besides, is this related to the case?"

Song Lang sneered. "He Jun, ever since we came in, you haven’t spoken an ounce of truth. I heard that you had a very poor relationship with He Taiyang. He Taiyang even wanted to find a professional hitman to kill you. I think this is what happened: You switched the paintings, wanting to use someone else to get rid of him. Therefore, you know that the one left in the store is the genuine one. In order to patch up your lie, you made up the story about splitting the painting."

He Jun was sweating profusely, and stammered, "Slander... Uncle He is my biological uncle. Even if we have small disputes, I wouldn’t go to this extent."

"Captain!" Lin Qiupu suddenly shouted.

It turned out that there were several photos pressed under the glass of He Taiyang’s desk. One of them showed He Jun wearing sunglasses and peeling an apple with a dagger in his hand. Lin Qiupu pointed to the dagger and said, "Captain, isn’t this the murder weapon?"

"What are you talking about?! What murder weapon?! Do you suspect that I have committed murder?" He Jun panicked.

Song Lang smiled and asked him, "Where were you on the night of September 2nd?"

"An alibi? I was drinking in a small bar nearby and chatting with a woman."

"Do you have her contact information?"

"I didn't ask for it and I don't know what her name is, but asking the bartender will definitely prove that I’ve been there. It's the Feiyang Bar close by!"

"He Jun, I want to summon you back to the bureau right now. We’ll chat slowly there."

He Jun frowned. "A man standing straight doesn’t worry about his shadow slanting!"[2] 

Song Lang asked Lin Qiupu to go to the bar to investigate, and gave him a hundred yuan, asking him to take a taxi and return to the bureau after the investigation. He could also go home as well. It was up to him to decide.

He Jun was taken to the interrogation room. Song Lang raised the murder weapon in the evidence bag. "Do you have any impression of this knife?"

Seeing the blood on the knife, He Jun suddenly widened his eyes, "I didn't kill anyone!"

"Was I asking that question?!" Song Lang berated him.

He Jun lowered his head. "I bought this knife when I was traveling in the Northwest. I’ve had it with me for many years. I only use it to peel apples and cut mutton, but I’ve never killed any living creatures."

Song Lang played with the murder weapon in his hand. The blade was very sharp. It seemed that it had been sharpened recently. At this time, his mobile phone rang. Song Lang answered the phone and said, "Little Lin, please repeat your investigation results again."

Then he pressed the speakerphone button. Lin Qiupu said via the phone, "The bar staff didn’t remember He Jun coming here that day, and there are no security cameras here. Asking a few guests, none of them know He Jun."

He Jun immediately jumped up. "How could they say that they don't remember me when it’s a matter of life and death? I swear to God that I was really drinking that night. If there’s even half a lie in my words, may I be struck by the heavens with lightning!"

"Alright!" Song Lang hung up the phone. "Not having an alibi doesn’t necessarily equate to your having committed murder. You should honestly explain what happened between you and He Taiyang previously. Don't tell me any more lies. Only facts can save you!"

He Jun lowered his head and said hesitantly, "I had just been released from prison and couldn't find a job anywhere back then. Uncle He took me in. He needed a bodyguard and debt collector in this business. I have a few buddies in the underworld. He Taiyang was a stingy old man. He often found ways to deduct money from my pay. Whenever I mentioned money, he uses "Blood is thicker than water", "Why draw such clear lines between relatives", "What’s mine is yours" to perfunctorily assuage me. Motherfucker, how many debts have I have collected for him over the years? His life was getting better and better, but I don’t even have a house to my name. The year before last, He Taiyang offended someone and he was beaten by a bunch of little hooligans when he was out. He lay in the hospital for three weeks. When I went to visit him, he actually asked if I did it. Have you ever seen such a bad person?"

1. 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 skillful) art dealers to split a valuable painting into two by peeling off one layer from the other for more profit. 

2. An upright person fears no gossip, accusations and slander. 

 

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