Several pawn shops all kept silent about how Lie Guoxiao had extorted Boss Shen’s ancient painting. Judging from the reactions of these bosses, they had clearly pretended to be ignorant to protect themselves.
Later, Chen Shi and Lin Dongxue went to the Taiyang pawn shop. Standing at the counter was He Jun, whom they had met once the other day. An old man was pawning something. He Jun said, "Old Sir, your old watch isn’t worth 40,000. "
"Please. This is a souvenir from the time I joined the army and fought in the war. It was produced in the Soviet Union and it has never been damaged. My wife urgently needs 40,000 yuan to pay for surgery. I really can't gather this much money, otherwise I wouldn’t take this out to pawn." The old man begged.
He Jun sighed. "Okay, okay, then we’ll pawn it for 40,000!"
The money was transferred to the old man’s card on the spot. The old man thanked him and left with the pawn ticket.
"This boss is quite righteous." Lin Dongxue commented in a low voice.
He Jun looked up and saw Chen Shi as well as Lin Dongxue standing at the door. "Are you the police officers who were investigating the case opposite that day? What can I do for you?"
"We just want to find out about something."
"Come in and sit down!" After they entered the door, there was a sofa and coffee table for entertaining guests on the left. He Jun politely served tea and poured water for them. He sat down opposite the two of them. He smiled, "The police have been coming over every day for the past two days. Have you found out anything yet?"
"It isn’t convenient to disclose the progress of the case for now."
"Haha, the police will always use this excuse."
"It sounds as though you’ve had a lot of dealings with the police?" Chen Shi said. "I looked through the files. A case had happened in this pawn shop before. The boss who had named this store was killed. It was quite a complicated case."
"Yes, the memories of this case are still fresh to me. The police even suspected me because I had been impulsive when I was young and went to jail for fighting. However, as I grew older, my temper gradually mellowed. Look, I’ve even gotten rid of the tattoos I got to appear cool when I was young." He Jun rolled up his sleeves to show them. Faint traces of tattoos could be seen on his arms.
Chen Shi smiled. "I'll ask something serious. On the evening of May 12th, did you see anyone walk into Boss Shen's shop?"
"Um... I answered this question before. I stayed in my room with Jingjing that night. I don’t know if there was anyone outside. Who would stare at the street for no reason? This street doesn’t even have dogs roaming around at night. It’s very deserted. Only a few pawn shops and sex toy stores will be lit up."
"By the way, who is the boss, you or He Jingjing?"
"Of course it's her. I'm just a deputy manager, hahaha!"
"What's the relationship between you two?"
"Our relationship is hard to explain in a few words..."
At this time, a woman's voice said from behind, "He Jun and I are going to get a marriage certificate next month, and we will be a legally married couple then."
Turning around to have a look, it turned out that He Jingjing had come back. She was dressed in ordinary clothes and carrying two supermarket bags, as if she had gone shopping. However, Chen Shi found that the bags didn’t seem to contain vegetables. He vaguely saw a pair of rubber gloves.
"Jingjing, you’re back!" He Jun went over to welcome her.
"Take them to the refrigerator and I'll cook later." He Jingjing handed the two bags to He Jun. She signalled him with her eyes in an almost imperceptible way.
After He Jun left, He Jingjing sat down on his seat, lit a cigarette, leaned on the sofa and said, "Ask me if you have any questions. He Jun and I live together. There are no secrets between us."
"It doesn't matter to me anyway. We’re just trying to understand the situation as usual." Chen Shi wondered if He Jingjing had sent He Jun away because she was afraid that he would say the wrong thing.
In fact, smart people are more likely to show their flaws, because they overthink. Chen Shi decided to test He Jingjing.
He Jingjing glanced at Chen Shi. "I was wondering about this when I saw you that day. Have we seen each other somewhere before? You seem a bit familiar."
"It’s probably your imagination. I’ve never pawned anything before... By the way, the information you provided about Lie Guoxiao was very helpful. He does have a lot of paintings in his collection. We suspect that their origins were shady."
Lin Dongxue was slightly surprised. Why did Chen Shi reveal the progress of the investigation? Though it wasn’t anything that had to be kept secret.
"Will Lie Guoxiao be arrested?" He Jingjing asked with interest.
"I don't know, but someone has been arrested."
"It's the employee who works for Boss Shen." Chen Shi's gaze sharpened, observing the subtle reactions on He Jingjing's face.
He Jingjing smiled and asked, "What did he commit?"
Hearing these three words, He Jingjing's hand shook and cigarette ash fell onto the table. She rubbed her finger over the ashes and flicked them into the ashtray. She smiled again. "Rest assured that I won’t commit perjury. I’ll answer everything you ask."
This minute reaction was enough to make Chen Shi suspect her. He stopped probing and asked other questions.
The conversation lasted for half an hour before the two of them took their leave. Lin Dongxue said, "Do you suspect these two people?"
"Don't you think they fit our idea of the murderers?"
"They do fit..."
"I know there’s no evidence. It was just a test."
The process of confirming a suspect is the accumulation of suspicion. At present, He Jingjing had already caused suspicion in Chen Shi’s heart.
"It turned out that you didn't come to investigate the case today. You came to test them. You have long felt that these two were suspicious. So why did you have to question them all one by one? Why didn’t you go to them directly? Have you become cautious like my brother?" Lin Dongxue smiled.
Chen Shi was slightly startled. He seemed to have been a little too careful in order to cover up the fact that he knew these two people.
However, Lin Dongxue didn’t pry further into this matter. She looked at the gloomy sky that was about to rain. "I suddenly remembered that we could investigate the finances of these pawn shops? You said that motivation is actually a demand in disguise. If a person needs a large sum of money in an emergency, then they may have criminal motives."
Chen Shi smiled and shook his head. "You understand it too rigidly. I don't think the murderer is short of money. If the conspiracy is due to an urgent need for money, then they should have found a way to exchange "Mountain Residence XX Picture" for money. Whether it’s medical expenses, buying a house or paying off debts, such ordinary economic needs can basically be solved by doing so."
"Then, conversely, suppose that the murderer had sought Boss Shen to conspire about something other than money, such as revenge against Lie Guoxiao?"
"Why do you have such an assumption?"
"Because Boss Shen was about to ‘offer a gift’ to Lie Guoxiao. Did the murderer want to take advantage of this and put Lie Guoxiao in a bad position? However, Boss Shen was timid and did not dare to agree. Isn’t this speculation very innovative?!" Lin Dongxue waited for Chen Shi's praise with a smile on her face.
Chen Shi had a sudden realization. The motorcycle rider who was monitoring them last night flashed through his mind. The real goal was Lie Guoxiao, or Lie Guoxiao’s property...
What is more valuable than an ancient painting is of course a whole pile of ancient paintings!
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