The employee said, "The boss said that this painting is very expensive. If it’s auctioned off, buying the entire pawn shop wouldn’t be a problem."
A moment ago when the employee was checking for lost properties, he had already put the things scattered on the floor back on the shelves. Lin Qiupu noticed that there were a lot of calligraphy paintings, antiques, and curios amongst them. He asked, "What kind of businesses do you run here?"
"It's just a pawn shop for valuable curios. We’re not like the pawn shop opposite us which does everything and even gives out high-interest loans. The owner was a cultured man who liked antiques. He used to be an antique appraisal expert. He earned some money from this and started a pawn shop by himself. The main purpose was to use this opportunity to collect some antiques and then resell them."
When he mentioned operating a pawn shop, Lin Qiupu thought of something and asked, "Has your store received a small bone bowl?"
"Police Officer, you know about this legend too?" The man was pleasantly surprised. "We have received it before. The boss said that it was fraud under the guise of a supernatural legend and not to believe in it. He didn't pay the money, but nothing bad happened."
Lin Qiupu thought that the vitality of this legend is really strong if it was still circulating in the pawn shop circle after so many years.
This reminded him of certain rumors circulating on the Internet. The people spreading the rumors had been arrested and the officials had dispelled the rumors, but these rumors were spreading quietly like a virus, and some people still believed them to be true. How absurd and weird.
"I want to see this bowl." Lin Qiupu said.
"Please wait a moment."
The employee left for a moment and brought a small bone bowl back. The surface was dirty and there were rice remnants still in the bowl. It turned out that Boss Shen had used it to feed the dog. Lin Qiupu thought about it again. This case wouldn’t also be connected to the rumor, right? He asked, "When did you receive it?"
"When the shop first opened. It was a few years ago. I heard about it from the boss and didn't see it happen myself."
Lin Qiupu nodded, thinking that it seemed that this case had nothing to do with the bone bowl.
In order to investigate this bone bowl, he had run himself ragged for a few days in a row. Lin Qiupu wanted to laugh when he thought about it. At the same time, he thought of Song Lang and felt a sense of melancholy.
"I'll borrow this bowl." Lin Qiupu said.
"Take it. It was originally trash anyway. I’ve long wanted to throw it away." The employee said.
Lin Qiupu thought for a while and asked, "By the way, was this painting owned by Boss Shen himself or pawned by a customer?"
The employee took a look at the ledger and handed it to Lin Qiupu. It was clearly written that the painting was titled "Mountain Residence XX Picture". The artist was Qian Xuan from the Yuan Dynasty. It had been pawned three days ago. The pawner was "Cao Mengde" in quotation marks.
"Who’s Cao Mengde?" Lin Qiupu asked.
"I don't know. The boss had written it himself."
Cao Mengde? The formidable man of the country? Lie Guoxiao?
Lin Qiupu was wondering if it could be the important figure whose name people didn’t dare mention again. He remembered that there was a little episode in the case seven years ago. Lie Guoxiao had pawned a painting in Taiyang pawn shop and He Jun had swapped it for a fake. He had pawned a painting again this time and it was stolen?
Wasn’t Lie Guoxiao a bit unlucky? Every time he pawns something, things have to undergo twists and turns. However, the matter of pawning the painting itself was even more strange. It stands to reason that Lie Guo Xiao is a rich and powerful person, so why is he often so short of money as to be constantly pawning paintings?
Lin Qiupu didn't understand these things, so he left them aside for the time being. Moreover, whether "Cao Mengde" meant Lie Guoxiao still needed to be investigated.
After all the questions that needed to be asked had been asked, Lin Qiupu asked the employee to leave his contact information and told the others to leave first. Lin Dongxue wanted to stay and wait for Chen Shi. Lin Qiupu had to send her away, but he couldn’t use blunt methods or his sister would get suspicious.
Thus, Lin Qiupu coughed, "Dongxue, go to the telecommunications bureau to check the call records of Shen Liqun before his death."
"Will you stay behind and wait for Old Chen?"
"Yeah, this guy is really late. When he comes, I’ll hear what he has to say about the case, then we’ll go to the bureau together, and we’ll all meet at the bureau."
Lin Dongxue smiled, "Since when did you respect Old Chen's opinions so much? The mighty captain is actually waiting just for him to come?"
"Nonsense. Hurry and go!" Lin Qiupu complained.
After everyone was gone, Lin Qiupu walked to the door of the pawn shop and lit a cigarette. Song Lang loved to smoke this brand of cigarettes. After Song Lang disappeared, he unconsciously started to smoke this brand because when he smelled the scent, it seemed as though Song Lang was beside him.
Unwittingly, it became his favorite brand. Of course, his addiction to cigarettes wasn’t as bad as Song Lang's. Song Lang once mocked himself, saying that he wasn’t smoking but eating cigarettes as if they were food.
Someone raised a ZIPPO lighter to his mouth. Lin Qiupu was startled and turned his head. The person standing beside him with a smile and offering the lighter was actually He Jun. He Jun said, "I saw you just then. You police were working on a case, so it wasn’t convenient for me to come over and say hello."
"You still remember me?" Lin Qiupu said.
"How can I forget you? Back then, Liu Feng was about to force me to eat glass shards. You saved me. I failed to appreciate it at the time. Now that I think about it, I really need to thank you." He Jun grinned, showing a healthy mouth of teeth.
"That long-haired man is called..."
"Liu Feng. Lie Guoxiao's godson... one of them."
"You dare to mention this name nowadays?"
"Why wouldn’t I dare to mention it? This old bastard has done a lot of harm to us in recent years."
"We won’t talk about this for now." He Jun waved his hand and pointed inside, "What's the matter? Was Boss Shen killed?"
"Yes, we’re still investigating it."
"Liu Feng did it!" He Jun lowered his voice mysteriously.
"You saw it?"
"It’s definitely him, I can assure you. If you really find out it was him, I will talk about my reasons."
He Jun seemed to know something, or he was just guessing blindly. Lin Qiupu took out his mobile phone. "Give me your contact information."
After leaving his contact information, He Jun said, "Officer Lin, aren't you curious why Jingjing and I are together?"
"Partners in notoriety?"
"Those words are too insightful!" He Jun smiled, "Actually, I was mad after finding out that she wanted to frame me back then. I really wanted to take revenge on her, but I couldn't do it. After all, we dated for a while. That was a big blow to me, so I left. Over the years, I was still working in various pawn shops and for loan sharks. This circle is so small so I often heard about her. It was not easy for her to run Taiyang pawn shop alone. How can it be easy for a woman in this industry? They say that time is a good medicine to dilute everything. I gradually grew to forgive her for what she did in the past. After all, she was also to be pitied at that time. Then I came back to help again. With my help, Taiyang has finally been able to prosper over the past two years..."
"Then you got back together with her?" Lin Qiupu said, following the topic.
"Being together every day, falling in love was only a matter in time." He Jun smiled. At this moment, his gaze fell on a car that stopped at the side of the road. When Chen Shi got out of the car, He Jun was momentarily startled. "Hey, isn't this what’s his name?"
1. The actual phrase used means “birds of a feather flock together” in a negative way.
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