A group of people in black suddenly walked in. They walked directly into the room that held the paintings without saying a word. When they saw the empty shelves and the writing on the wall, the leader turned around and picked up a policeman by the collar, shouting, "Where are the paintings?!"
"What are you doing? Attacking the police?!" Lin Dongxue shouted.
The man glared and slowly let go. "Why are the police here? Where did the paintings go?!"
"You’re Lie Guoxiao's subordinates? Why did you arrive in such a timely manner? Someone informed you?" Chen Shi asked.
The other party was angry and didn't want to answer questions at all. He continued to roar, "Hand over the paintings! How can the police do such a thing?!"
Chen Shi vaguely noticed that someone had secretly stirred up the situation.
A policeman prepared to explain the situation, but Lin Dongxue said, "You don't have to explain anything to them, let's go back first!"
The police exited the room and the man was so angry that he smashed things wildly in the room. The sound of his movements spread far and wide.
When they got downstairs, everyone felt very disappointed. Lin Dongxue said, "This is not your responsibility. The opponent is too cunning, but..." She looked at Chen Shi, "This also proves that our reasoning is correct."
"I just want to say that the murderer is really bold and careful. They stole the paintings right under our noses, then turned around and called Lie Guoxiao to inform him. As a result, we were stuck inside. The scene just then was rather awkward." Chen Shi said.
"What should we do now?" a policeman said.
"Let’s head back first and then discuss countermeasures. We’ll definitely be able to retrieve those paintings. Those paintings cannot be disposed of in such a short amount of time, and the murderer would definitely hide them." Lin Dongxue said.
"That's right!" a policeman said suddenly, "Speaking of suspicious people, an old man picking up bottles was always loitering around the past two days. Speaking of Cao Cao, Cao Cao arrives. Look! That’s him!" He pointed in a certain direction and they could see an "old man" in a straw hat going through a trash can with his back facing them.
Chen Shi went over and lifted his straw hat, revealing kk’s disreputable face. Lin Dongxue explained to her colleagues that he was on their side.
Chen Shi told them to go back first, as he had a few words to say to kk.
As soon as he heard that the surveillance mission was over, kk immediately took off his disguise and threw it into the trash can. He said, "You didn't make it clear earlier. It turns out that you’re monitoring things, and not people. Actually, if I had known that, I would have stolen the things and protected them instead."
"Our goal wasn’t to protect those paintings. In fact, we wanted them to be stolen, but we needed to see who stole them and catch them in the act, understood?"
"Oh, so it was like that. The police are so naughty."
"Did you take photos?"
kk took out a digital camera from under his clothes, "It's all here. You can see for yourselves whether there’s a suspect or not."
Chen Shi glanced through them casually. He couldn’t help but admit that kk's covert photography skills were getting increasingly better. All these were honed by catching mistresses every day. Chen Shi patted kk on the shoulder, "Thank you for the trouble. I will pay you the commission for this task later."
"Oh, when has our relationship become so utilitarian? Just invite me to dinner and call Little Worm and Miss Gu as well. We haven’t gotten together for a long time!"
"Yueyue’s been preparing for her junior high school examination recently."
"So you have a reason not to see us?" kk said bitterly.
"Okay, after Yueyue finishes her exams, I will invite everyone to dinner!"
kk smiled, "Sounds about right."
kk didn't drive his own car here, so Chen Shi gave him a ride. kk sniffed the seat like a pervert. "Does Sister-in-law often sit here? It smells so nice. ‘Sitting in your car and listening to the songs you listen to.’ Brother Chen’s days are so romantic."
"I don't know how to respond to your lewd talk. By the way, how much do you know about Lie Guoxiao since you used to be in the underworld?"
"Lie Guoxiao!" kk muttered the name. "This old thief’s history corresponds to a certain idiom. Stealing a small amount, you’ll get executed, but steal the whole country, and they’ll make you a prince. He’s an old thief who made his fortune by stealing, swindling and abduction. When I was still a full-time thief, he used to be an inspirational figure in our industry."
"Can you be more specific?"
"I heard, and this is just hearsay, when he was young, he took a small lousy bowl to a pawn shop to exchange for money, saying that this bowl was cursed or something. If they didn't pay up, their family would meet with misfortune. The pawn shop owner was afraid, so he paid the money obediently…This motherfucker could make money just like that. It was too easy to make money in the 1980s and 1990s!"
Unexpectedly, he was able to hear the "origin story" of that little bowl from kk, but it couldn’t be verified whether this was the true origin or just another embellished version.
"Then he seemed to have been missing for a while because he offended a certain godfather. You know what he did? He kidnapped this godfather's dog and asked for a ransom. He actually succeeded, and he had done it alone. I just want to say something about this – that’s fucking amazing! This godfather wasn’t stupid, and finally found out that it was him. At that time, the whole city was full of little gangsters holding his photos. The godfather offered a reward of 600,000 to whoever finds him. It was like the whole underworld had gone crazy! This impish old rogue hid for many years, and no one knew where he was hiding. It was not until after the godfather was arrested that he appeared again. Then he went the legal route and went into business, developing relationships with various famous figures. This guy is a bribing maniac. All the corrupt officials in Long’an have his name in the list of people they’re indebted to. I heard that a corrupt official’s mother celebrated her 80th birthday and he gave a set of gold mahjong tiles to her. Thus, his businesses got better and better, and he became increasingly influential as well. Today, he’s the No. 1 boss of Long'an... As the saying goes, people are invincible if they’re shameless."
"Where did you find so much information?" Chen Shi doubted his words.
"It’s hearsay from the underworld."
"From whom in the 'underworld'?"
"Well, it was from an online forum exposé post."
"Okay then, so it's really true and trustworthy!"
He sent kk back to the agency, and Chen Shi returned to the bureau. He saw many cars parked at the entrance of the Public Security Bureau. He thought that Lie sure took action quickly!
Sure enough, Lie Guoxiao had come to report the crime in person. He was sitting in the office, and his hands on his cane shook with anger. He said, "You police appeared at the scene. This shows that you have heard the news a long time ago. Why didn't you notify me?!"
Lin Qiupu explained, "It's not that we didn't want to notify you, but the information we had was limited and we couldn't verify it yet. However, even though the situation was like this, we sent people to monitor the scene."
Lie Guoxiao fiercely pounded his cane on the floor. "Monitor what? What did you monitor? Where did my paintings go?! You just learned the location of my paintings, and this happened immediately. Who should I suspect now? By the way, I heard that one of the police officers who went to my house that day isn’t a policeman. He was with you as a consultant. I want you to investigate this person!"
"Are you talking about me?" Chen Shi walked into the office. "Go ahead and investigate. I have a clear alibi."
It was inconvenient for Lie Guoxiao to explode with rage in front of Lin Qiupu. He just widened his eyes and glared at him. Chen Shi said, "Master Lie, please trust the police. Your paintings will definitely be retrieved, and we will definitely catch the person who stole the paintings."
Lie Guoxiao gritted his teeth silently, "Is there already a suspect in your hearts? Tell me the name!"
1. Idiom from Daoist author, Zhuangzi.
2. Exam for everything she’s learned in junior high, in preparation for senior high.
Previous Chapter Next Chapter