Early in the morning, Lin Dongxue, who was sleeping on the sofa in the conference room, was awakened by Xu Xiaodong's yelling. She rubbed her eyes and sat up. The sunlight came in through the gaps in the curtains, which was very glaring. It was 6:00 or 7:00 in the morning.
"What happened to you?"
Sitting on the reclining chair, Xu Xiaodong breathed a sigh of relief. “Fortunately, it was just a dream. I dreamed that my mother was... No, I have to make a call.”
Xu Xiaodong took out his cell phone. His brows were tightly knitted while he dialed through. Lin Dongxue was also anxious for him. Xiaodong’s mother was a good person and Lin Dongxue sincerely didn't want her to come across trouble.
"Hello, the number you have dialed is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later."
"Something happened to my mother!" Xu Xiaodong was so flustered that he almost cried. "No, I have to go home and have a look."
"She might still be sleeping. Right, didn't your mom install the tracking software on her phone?"
Lin Dongxue opened an app, clicked a few times, and said, "Look, your mother is at home right now."
Xu Xiaodong was still worried. "What if only her phone is at home?"
"Do you have to think in the worst possible direction?"
His phone rang. It was his mother. Hearing her voice, Xu Xiaodong's heart finally felt relieved.
At this moment, Chen Shi came in from outside carrying a bag of breakfast. He sat down on the sofa and smiled. "You definitely didn't sleep well, right?"
"You’re talking about us? Aren’t you also sporting two dark circles?" Lin Dongxue rebutted.
"Eat some breakfast! You’ll feel refreshed when you’re full."
Chen Shi bought sandwiches and coffee. He said that the porridge shop he usually visited hadn't opened yet. She drank too much coffee last night, so Lin Dongxue tasted a sourness in her mouth even after drinking coffee.
After eating, Chen Shi wanted to go out to investigate the case, and Xu Xiaodong also followed. He said that he would be more refreshed when going out for a bit.
The three returned to the scene of the first murder case and asked around. An aunt who sold marinated eggs said, "Small workshop? I’m not sure! But I saw two people in blue overalls walking in that night. One of them was standing under this telephone pole. I wondered whether they were thieves so I took a few more glances at them."
"What did they look like?"
"Probably..." The aunt couldn't describe them clearly. Lin Dongxue retrieved Zhou Xiao's previous photos from her phone. The aunt shook her head. "It's not him!"
Lin Dongxue found Song Lang's photo this time. This one was taken from Lin Qiupu's desk. The aunt still shook her head. "No, younger than this with a bumpy face, but just as tall as him!" She pointed to Xu Xiaodong.
Chen Shi asked, "Were there any words on their work clothes?"
"Something, something Noodle Company?"
"Can you be more specific? Please."
"There was the character ‘ri’ somewhere in there. I can’t remember anything else."
The aunt only knew this. After thanking her, the three of them started up a discussion. Lin Dongxue said, "The person described by the aunt doesn't seem to be Zhou Xiao."
"Maybe it's a helper. Maybe... it's a mistake, but we still have to investigate even if it’s a mistake!"
"A noodle company with 'ri' in the name. I’ll ask the bureau to check it out."
Xu Xiaodong said, "I’ll ask around more to see if there are any other witnesses."
The bureau contacted the industry and commerce department and found these names: "Wu Yaori Noodle Company", "Jiarimei Noodle Company", and "Rijinsheng Noodle Company". The addresses were far away from each other. According to Lin Dongxue’s experience in investigating cases, it would take a full day to make the trips to those three companies. However, in these situations, it’s always a good thing to have clues to investigate.
"Let's pick one!" Lin Dongxue said.
"The aunt glanced at it and only remembered the character ‘ri’, indicating that the other two characters aren’t as impressive. They may be complicated in structure, so let's go to the first one!" Chen Shi said.
"But I have a strong instinct for this 'Jiarimei' one." Lin Dongxue said.
"Okay, then we’ll follow your intuition!"
Thus, Lin Dongxue handed over the other two companies to her other colleagues to investigate. The three went to Jiarimei Noodle Company. Upon seeing the factory building, which was a very large company, Lin Dongxue was very depressed. The machines in the factory were humming and a ton of noodles were being produced. It was impossible for people to hide there.
"It seems that my intuition is wrong. Let's withdraw!" Lin Dongxue said.
Chen Shi said, "I know why you have this intuition. This company has been advertised on TV. It has a small reputation, so you had a sense of familiarity subconsciously... This is exactly the effect of advertising! But since we’re here, let’s inquire about it!"
They found the person in charge of the company and questioned them. The director shook his head and said, "We haven't sent a vehicle to that address."
"Do you have a warehouse or branch office in the city?" Chen Shi asked.
"The warehouses are here. We mainly take orders. After all, it’s food. Generally, there’s no large stocks held here as it’s easy to go off."
As they walked out, some conversational phrases arrived at Chen Shi's ears.
"Still haven't found them yet? You can borrow a set. Some district leaders will come to inspect this afternoon. It’ll be ugly to wear a different outfit."
"Damn thieves. They could have stolen anything, but they chose to steal clothes."
Chen Shi looked over in the direction of this voice. A man who looked like a workshop director was talking to two workers. He walked over and replaced his greetings by handing out cigarettes. He said, "Excuse me, I just heard you talking. Did you lose your work clothes?"
"Wow, does this kind of small matter also have to be filed? The police are so dedicated!"
"Can I ask where you lost the clothes?"
"We went to take a shower two days ago and found that the coats were missing after we came out."
Chen Shi noticed that the two of their expressions looked slightly unnatural. One of them was peeking at the leader next to them. He said to the workshop director, "I want to interview them alone."
"Okay, go ahead."
After the workshop director left, the expressions of the two workers visibly relaxed. Chen Shi said, "I hope you don't conceal anything. This is related to a human life. The clues you provide may be key clues even if they’re small."
"Was it poisoning?" Worker A asked.
"No, it's murder."
"Murder? Oh, oh, I see. It turned out to be like that." Worker A's face was stunned.
"What do you mean?" Worker B didn't react.
"The one who stole our clothes that day was definitely not a good person." Worker A explained to Chen Shi. "The situation was like this. When we were out for delivery that day, we stopped the car and entered a restaurant. When we came back, we found that the car was missing. I was so frightened! That was the company’s car. What would we have to pay if we lost it? We looked for it and eventually found it in an alley. The car was fine, but the clothes on the car were gone..."
"There’s also the credentials." Worker B added.
"Yes, there were also the credentials. However, the thief actually left our wallets, which was strange. We were in a rush to deliver the stock. Later, when we thought about it, we were so scared that the thief might have poisoned the goods we sent. If it poisoned people to death, wouldn’t we be held accountable? So... So, we just made up the shower lie to the leader. Our hands are tied."
Chen Shi asked, "Can you tell me the address?"
"South of Tai'an Road, in the direction of Shengshi Studios."
Chen Shi knew the place and recalled, "I remember that street’s a red light district!"
"There’s also places to eat..." Worker A’s face flushed red.
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