“How did Uncle Wang die?" Chen Shi asked.
"One year, Uncle Wang was building a loft on top of his original small building. At that time, Uncle Wang had just paid off all his debts. I asked him where the money for building had come from. He smiled and said that he had borrowed it, but it didn’t matter, since he will have the money soon. The two rice collectors came that evening and entered Uncle Wang’s house. I saw the three of them standing on the unroofed top of the building talking. I didn’t know what they were talking about. Anyway, Uncle Wang got more agitated as he talked. When I was sleeping later, I heard a loud bang. I thought that someone’s cured pork had been blown down by the wind. However, early the next morning, the villagers found that Uncle Wang had fallen to his death from the upstairs of his own house and the door was locked from the inside. The police came to investigate. It was determined to be suicide, and it was discovered as well that Uncle Wang had drunk a lot of alcohol. The case just ended this way. However, I’ve been anxious ever since. When harvesting rice that year, I asked the rice collectors in a roundabout manner about how Uncle Wang had died. That Chu Wei patted my neck and smiled at me. ‘Don't ask things you shouldn't ask about. Otherwise, you might accidentally fall downstairs someday as well.’"
"Uncle Wang found out about their secret, used it to blackmail them and got himself killed instead?" Chen Shi speculated.
"I also thought this way at the time. Thinking about it is one thing, but I absolutely didn't dare to say it out loud. I’m a cowardly person and didn't dare to provoke them... In fact, Uncle Wang wasn’t the only rice farmer who withdrew halfway. At one of the team building events, I found that an uncle with a brandy nose who had come year after year hadn’t come that year. I asked about it casually, and the people from his village shook their heads desperately and told me not to mention it."
"You were so afraid, but you still dealt with them?"
Old Jia Number Four lowered his head in shame. "Haii, I earned that fifty thousand in the first year, and another fifty thousand in the second year. If I couldn’t earn that sum in the third year, I didn't know how I could survive that year... You won't arrest me, right?"
"What did you do that is worthy of arrest?"
Upon hearing this, Old Jia Number Four breathed a sigh of relief. "Thank you, thank you Officer."
"Don't be happy too early. Whether your actions are considered failure to report intelligence that you knew and shielding criminals or not depends on your attitude towards cooperating with us. Just stay here obediently, give us your contact information and wait for us to figure out the case. When we need you to testify, you will come and testify. Don’t conceal anything, just like today."
"By the way, I have another question. Do you know where the rice farmers live?"
Old Jia Number Four shook his head. "They’re very mysterious and never reveal anything about their affairs. I’m still not sure if they are men... Ah, I mean that they won't even go to the bathroom in front of me."
"Okay, I understand."
Leaving the motel, Chen Shi suddenly looked into the distance and said, "Damn". Lin Dongxue asked what was wrong. Chen Shi replied, "I'm starving!"
The two found a restaurant and ordered some local specialties. Restaurants in small towns were often one of two extremes. They either had very delicious or very unpalatable food. Today, they were lucky. The restaurant they found had food that tasted pretty good.
"We've finally made some progress. Where should we go this afternoon? Back to Wangchenggang?" Lin Dongxue said.
"Is what I want ready?"
Lin Dongxue took out her phone and called Lin Qiupu while she was eating. After exchanging a few words, she said, "My brother said that the mobile phone signals of the rice collectors couldn’t be tracked. We don't need to go back to Wangchenggang. The team has already gotten ready to leave."
"Haii, I knew it wouldn’t be so easy. There are no security cameras in these places, so we can only check using the most primitive means."
"The good news is that the murderers left behind DNA, and there’ll be results tomorrow at the latest. If they have criminal records, we will be able to confirm their identities."
"Then we’ll go back as well after we’ve eaten. It’ll probably be dark by the time we return to Long'an from here."
"Spending six hours a day on the road, this case is really difficult to investigate." Lin Dongxue smiled bitterly.
After dinner, the two rushed back to the city. Lin Dongxue took the opportunity to practice driving again so Chen Shi was able to take a nap in the passenger seat. In the May afternoon, the glare of the sun shining through the windshield was very hard on the eyes, and Chen Shi woke up from a nightmare. Lin Dongxue, who was concentrating on driving, asked him what he had dreamed of. Chen Shi said, "I dreamed that something happened to Yueyue. Fortunately, it was just a dream. It scared me."
"Haha, it means that the person you care about the most right now is her. How long have you not dreamed of me?"
"Dreams originate from anxiety. I have nothing to worry about with you, so I won't dream of you."
"Cunning explanation! We're almost there."
At this time, Lin Dongxue's cell phone rang, but she couldn't spare a hand to answer. Chen Shi pressed the speakerphone button for her. Lin Qiupu asked over the phone, "Have you guys returned to the city?"
"We’ll be there in twenty minutes."
"Come back to the bureau!"
He hung up after he said this. Although Lin Qiupu has always been very serious, he rarely spoke to Lin Dongxue in such a grave tone. She couldn't help but wonder what was so important. Could it be that she had done something wrong recently?
"Do I need to go?" Chen Shi said.
"Up to you."
At this time, Chen Shi’s cell phone rang. It turned out that the agronomy professor was the one calling. He put it on speaker mode. The professor said, "Mr. Chen... I’ve read these documents, and also performed several routine tests on the rice. There’s... There's no problem. It’s just ordinary rice."
"Didn’t you say it was genetically modified?"
"Ah, it’s just ordinary genetically modified rice."
"Where are you now? The university? At home?"
"Don't come and look for me!"
The call was cut off.
Chen Shi held his cell phone suspiciously, and said, "Is he being threatened?"
"We only looked for him in the morning, and someone threatened him in the afternoon. Isn’t that too fast?"
"If things are really like this, it means that someone has been following us."
Lin Dongxue glanced at the rearview mirror, and Chen Shi said, "Go back to the bureau and then locate the professor's cell phone signal. I’ll go and find him."
Thus the two operated separately. Lin Dongxue returned to the bureau. After settling the matter, she went straight to see Lin Qiupu.
Lin Qiupu was sitting in his office, tapping on the table and frowning. Seeing Lin Dongxue come in, he told her to close the door, and asked, "Do you still remember how Mom and Dad died?"
Lin Dongxue raised her eyebrows slightly. Lin Qiupu never mentioned this topic. She said, "A car accident."
"Yes, it was a car accident. A truck transporting cement pipes hadn’t been bolted properly. Several tons of cement pipes rolled down from the side and crushed the car they were riding in. The bodies of the two were totally unrecognizable..." Lin Qiupu recalled this gloomily. That incident had a tremendous impact on him. At that time, he was about to enter junior high but Lin Dongxue was only seven years old, so her impression of it had long since been blurred.
"Why are you mentioning this suddenly?"
Lin Qiupu flung over a document with detailed information on a wanted criminal on the loose. Lin Dongxue looked carefully and saw that one of the columns stated that he was involved in the accidental death of a couple whose names happened to be that of Lin Dongxue's parents.
In addition to this incident, this person had also murdered other people. When he caused the car accident, he was already guilty of murder.
"The results of the DNA matching came out. He’s one of the rice collectors we’re looking for. What shocked me was not that he was actually the one who caused the deaths of our parents, but that he’s a habitual offender. Our parents’ death may have been murder!"
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