The afternoon sun shone into the detention center compound. The detainees were all wearing blue as they walked in groups of twos and threes. There weren’t many people talking to each other. You could only hear the rustle of people stepping on the sand. Most people had faces that showed numbness and indifference as they had become accustomed to this.
The patrolling armed police had live ammunition. There were barbed wire high walls and slogans painted with lime on the walls. They had long grown accustomed to this.
This was the twenty-fourth day that Chen Shi spent in the detention center. He was impressed by the strong adaptability of human beings. In the first few days of coming here, he experienced a huge psychological gap. He lived a regular and rigid life like a clock every day and studied with other detainees. The meals were also tasteless. He was full of resistance to these.
Gradually, all this was no longer annoying and unfamiliar. He had formed a standard biological clock. He would wake up when it was time to get up, get hungry when it was time to eat, and even go to the toilet on time.
Of course, habit didn’t equate to liking. The air here was full of emptiness and boredom. The daily repetition of life made people feel weak and pained as if getting roasted by a small fire. Most of the time, he thought silently by himself. He made a list in his mind about what to do after leaving here. He looked forward to the days when he would meet with Lin Dongxue and Tao Yueyue again. It was these expectations for the future that supported his spirit and made every morning have significance.
Several detainees were kicking homemade sandbags, yelling as happy as elementary school students. This was a sport allowed by the detention center. A man wearing glasses greeted, "Brother Chen, let's play together!"
"I have something to do." With a smile, Chen Shi declined the invitation of the inmate in the same cell and walked straight to the southeast corner.
Many people stopped to look at him and murmured in surprise. Few people usually dared to approach that area because the feared serial killer was sitting alone on a pile of old tires. His growing hair hung down and covered his eyes, making his expression even more gloomy. In the subconscious imagination of some detainees, even the air that Zhou Xiao exhaled was poisonous.
Zhou Xiao and Chen Shi came in at the same time. It was a long-standing tradition in the detention center to give the newcomers a show of dominance. Both of them received varying degrees of a "friendly" welcome in their respective prisons.
After Chen Shi performed several grappling techniques on those "hospitable" roommates, everyone was finally able to get along with each other in peace.
In contrast, Zhou Xiao's counterattack was more brutal. On the second night he entered, he bit off one of his roommate's ears.
After three days of confinement and punishment, he pierced another roommate’s eyes with his bare hands. Since then, no one dared to blindly provoke him. No matter when it was free-time, studying in groups, working, or eating, he would always be alone like a lone wolf drifting away from the crowd.
So, seeing Chen Shi walking towards him made everyone nervous for some reason.
Hearing the sound of footsteps, Zhou Xiao woke up from his state of daydream, raising his head. Chen Shi stopped half a meter away from him, neither greeted nor approached him, and the two looked at each other.
Zhou Xiao took the lead in breaking the silence. "What? Are you waiting for me to tell you a joke?"
Chen Shi took out a pack of cigarettes from his pocket and threw it to him. Zhou Xiao caught it with a suspicious expression. Chen Shi said, "Yueyue sent it in. She said she promised to buy you cigarettes."
"Did you get to see her?"
"You probably don't know this, but you can't see your family before the trial begins."
Zhou Xiao understood Chen Shi’s veiled mocking and laughed. He sniffed the cigarettes deeply and put it in his pocket. “Song Lang, don’t think you can use a pack of cigarettes to get something out of my mouth."
"Don't worry. I don't have any thoughts about a person who can’t be helped."
"Song Lang, you have to admit that we made you what you are today. Without us criminals, how could you be a police legend?"
"I admit it, but I would rather not be a police legend. This empty moniker isn’t as important as the lives you’ve ended."
"Although you say these words, when the criminals were caught and the medals were put on, weren’t you still very happy? Don't the police want more people like me?" Zhou Xiao mocked him as a counterattack for earlier. "We complement each other, just like light and shadow."
"Zhou Xiao, do you know where you went wrong?"
"Your good education for Tao Yueyue?" Zhou Xiao grinned and responded with sarcasm.
"You lost to yourself. You killed Gu You and arrogantly told Yueyue. You can't imagine how much it affected her. You forced her to make up her mind to arrest you. A life is nothing in your eyes. If you ignore life, your end is both accidental and inevitable."
Zhou Xiao nodded slightly and appeared indifferent. He said, "If my life could be repeated again, I would still choose this kind of life. This is my nature, and nothing can change it."
Chen Shi didn't want to talk about this more in depth. They weren't people of the same world at all, and there was no need to reason with beasts in a cage. He just said indifferently, "Good luck to you."
When free-time ended, an armed police officer called Chen Shi's number. This string of numbers was as sensitive to him as when he heard someone calling his name, so he went out. The armed police officer said, "Your lawyer has come to see you."
When he arrived at the meeting room, a fat middle-aged man in a suit and glasses sat at the table and nodded to Chen Shi. He smiled and said, "I still don’t know whether to address you as 'Mr. Chen' or 'Mr. Song'."
"It's still ‘Mr. Chen’." Chen Shi also smiled.
"Mr. Chen, your case will have to wait a month before the trial. I hope you can be patient."
"I'm very patient." Chen Shi said. "What about Zhou Xiao's case?"
"His case has caused a huge sensation in the outside world. It’s estimated that it will be held before yours. Speaking of this matter, the media has been trying to interview the person you’re acting as a guardian for during this period. Officer Lin used ‘needing to obtain the consent of her guardian’ as a reason to reject all of these requests. I also want to ask about your opinion on this."
"I don't want her to be surrounded by the media every day, so just get rid of it all unless she herself has the urge to confide in the public. However, I don't think it would be likely based on her character."
The lawyer nodded and wrote it down on his laptop. He said, "The most important evidence in your case is Zhou Xiao's confession, but he said nothing during the pretrial. The forensic pathologist did find the gunshot wound that Captain Peng mentioned four years ago on Zhou Xiao, but this is still just solitary evidence. It’s difficult to prove your innocence."
Chen Shi's heart sank until he heard the lawyer say the word "however".
"However, when the police were investigating the case of Lie Guoxiao, a man named Wang Xi provided some strong evidence. Lie Guoxiao had hired Zhou Xiao’s gang to kill police Officer Han and Li because they were in possession of evidence against Lie Guoxiao’s crimes at the time. The same person cannot be killed twice, and you never received Lie Guoxiao’s money. As long as we can prove that Zhou Xiao killed Officer Han and Officer Li, there’ll be hope for you to be acquitted. This hope is substantial because many people outside are helping you, including some people you don’t know of."
"What?!" Chen Shi was startled. "Zhou Xiao's goal back then was Han Luoxi?"
"Yes, it was."
While Chen Shi felt a tingling pain in his heart, but he also felt a little relieved. It turned out that the framing portion was just them pushing the boat along the river. They were killed while battling against the criminals.
The recollection of the past presented itself as a sigh and was exhaled from Chen Shi's mouth.
"How are they?" Chen Shi asked.
The lawyer knew who he was referring to, and answered, "During this period of time, Officer Lin has been living in your house with Yueyue. Officer Lin is very concerned about the progress of the case. On average, she comes to our office every three days. Sometimes, I don’t even know how to answer their questions. By the way, they brought you some more things. I handed them to the management staff of the detention center. They will send them to you after they have checked them."
"I also wrote a letter to Yueyue. They will hand it to you afterwards."
"There’s one more thing..."
"An old man asked you if you want to go back to being a policeman after the lawsuit is over."
Chen Shi was happy. "I’m unsure of my life and death, and the worst result is that both Zhou Xiao and I will be shot together."
"Mr. Chen, don't question my abilities, okay?"
"Okay, okay, you understand what I wanted to express. It’s still early. I will answer him after the lawsuit is over!"
"The old gentleman hopes that I will bring back an answer with me today."
Chen Shifei stroked the table with his hand. "Can I continue to assist the police as a consultant? By the way, is Little Lin awake?"
"He’s awake, and he really wants to see you too."
Chen Shi shook his head and smiled bitterly. "I’m under so much pressure, I suddenly want to stay here for a while longer."
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