Chapter 94: Locking-in on the Victim

Chen Shi hung up the phone and immediately dragged Tao Yueyue out of the neighborhood. Tao Yueyue asked, "Uncle Chen, why are you in such a rush?"

"The sky is getting dark, so we need to be quick."

He flagged a taxi over and told the driver to go to the neighborhood near the Ren Men Park[1]. The driver asked, "Which neighborhood?"

"We need to go to every single one of them. I will buy out your car for an hour.”

“How much are you willing to pay?”

"Is two hundred enough?"

"Enough! Enough!" The driver started the car.

When they arrived at one of the neighborhoods, Chen Shi found that there was a stall that duplicated keys on the side of the road. He immediately jumped out of the car and went up to the owner. "Excuse me, can I see the material you use to duplicate keys?"

"What are you doing?"

"Police. We are investigating a case at the moment."

"Oh, okay then."

Chen Shi picked up a metal plate and compared it with the keys on the keychain in his hand. He shook his head and returned the plate back to the locksmith before getting back into the taxi.

Tao Yueyue asked, "Can the keys be used to find someone?"

"The keys are new and they seem to be made from a piece of aluminum that isn’t very pure."

"Oh, so that’s why."

They visited several more little communities one after another. When they arrived at the fifth neighborhood, they finally found a locksmith that had materials that resembled the keys on the keychain. Chen Shi showed the key to the owner. "Grandpa, were you the one who created this key?"

"Yes."

"Do you remember who asked for the copy?"

"How can I remember that?!"

"Do you live in this neighborhood?"

"Yes."

“Is there someone in the community that owns a rabbit or hamster?”

"I really don't know. You should ask the property managers."

Chen Shi found the property managers and discovered that there was a family that raised rabbits. Lin Qiupu called again, "Xiaodong is back. Would you like him to come over and help?"

"How can he come over? Will he fly over? Do you realize what the traffic is like at this hour?" Chen Shi said.

Lin Qiupu was very enthusiastic. "How much is your salary in a day?"

"Why do you want to know this?"

"I’ve thought about it. I will make a bet with you. If you can break the case within twenty-four hours, I’ll give you a week’s salary. If you can’t, you need to give the money to me… It’s all according to your daily salary.”

"Oh really? I have a salary of 800 yuan a day."

"800? Bullshit. Fine, let’s do it. I’ll see how you dig your own grave this time. Solving the case within 24 hours? I’m saying it’s impossible. I don’t think anyone can do it.”

"Captain Lin, it is very dangerous to arouse my motivation. I was actually quite tired and was going to go home to rest first. But now? Now I have lots of motivation. Honestly, I need to thank you so much.”

"Haha, then good luck... Have you figured out which neighborhood it is?"

"Actually, I have basically found the community where the deceased lived."

"What?!" Lin Qiupu screamed in shock.

Chen Shi and Tao Yueyue arrived downstairs from the house where the rabbit was being raised. He looked up, went upstairs and knocked on the door to explain the purpose of his visit. Chen Shi asked, "Do you have a middle-aged man in his fifties at home?"

“No.” The female owner replied, “We’re a couple in our forties with a child.”

Chen Shi observed her words and body language. He knew that the other party was not lying, and pressed, "Do you raise rabbits at home?"

"Yes, the child is raising two lop-eared rabbits."

 “Lop-eared rabbits?” Tao Yueyue’s eyes lit up. “I want to see them.”

Chen Shi glared at her as the hostess smiled. "They’re on the balcony. The rabbits smell, so we raise them there.”

"Raising them on the balcony?" Chen Shi stroked his chin. "I remember that your balcony was not fully sealed. Has anyone recently lost their pants and had them bitten by the rabbits?”

"Yes, there was! Last month, Master Lu’s pants were blown down from upstairs. When I came back from work and found the rabbits all over his trousers, I rushed to grab them. Later, I told Master Lu that I would reimburse him for the damages, but he told me he didn’t want it.”

"What does this Master Lu do for a living?"

"I hear that he’s a manager at a lighting company. I heard that he was divorced and has lived alone since.” 

“Do you meet each other often?”

“Not often. Since I’m usually busy at work, I don’t often have the time to wander around.”

"Okay, thank you."

When they went upstairs and found Master Lu’s home, Tao Yueyue asked, “How do we get in?”

"Didn’t you bring the key?"

"I deliberately asked." Tao Yueyue giggled.

Chen Shi took the keychain. When he opened the security gate, he heard the sound of shouting behind them from people who were coming upstairs. “Who are you?!”

Two policemen came up along with a neighborhood aunty. Chen Shi calmly replied, "The police of the city bureau. I am investigating a case. If you do not believe me, you can call Lin Qiupu to ask. My name is Chen Shi."

One of the officers prepared to dial over when the other officer blocked him. “Lin Qiupu is the captain of the city bureau. I’ve heard of him. It seems that this is indeed a comrade from the city bureau... What are you guys investigating?"

"And what are you guys investigating? Is Lu missing?"

"No... We have an important thing to inform him. Excuse me, but what are you investigating?"

Seeing that the other side didn’t seem to want to state their reasons, Chen Shi did not press further. "He is dead."

"What!?" The two police officers exchanged glances.

The aunty said, "In a day, the father and son are all..."

"Aunty, what are you talking about?"

"Actually, we came to inform him of his son’s death. His son died in a car accident last night."

"Was it really an accident?"

"It was an accident. We asked a few people who were racing cars with his son... Oh, those brats are still detained at the local station. They drank alcohol at night and played around on the streets. Master Lu’s son hit a truck and died.”

Chen Shi showed a surprised look. "If we’re not mistaken, the body we found today should be this Master Lu. This is the key we found on his person."

He turned around and opened the inner-door with the key. It was indeed a match with the lock.

The three behind them were ready to go in as well. Chen Shi alerted, "Don't move. This is probably the murder scene. You should all wait outside for now.”

As he said that, he and Tao Yueyue put plastic bags over their shoes on the shoe cover machine. A policeman challenged, "Why can she go in? Surely she’s not a police officer?"

Chen Shi put on a pair of new rubber gloves and turned on the lights. He instructed Tao Yueyue not to touch anything at all and to only be responsible for taking pictures, to which Tao Yueyue nodded in agreement. 

This was the home of an ordinary middle-aged man. The furniture was extremely simple. He didn’t even own a TV. In the kitchen, he saw many “old friends” – bags of instant noodles. He smiled and mused, “Why is such a gross tasting thing so popular? You can find them everywhere.”

Tao Yueyue giggled, " Instant noodles are delicious. It’s even better than the dishes you make."

"Then I’ll feed you instant noodles every day. Don't eat my braised pork, sweet and sour pork ribs, mince and eggplants..."

Tao Yueyue immediately closed her mouth when she thought about not being able to eat meat.

Chen Shi opened the cupboard and looked at it. The tableware was quite complete, but it had clearly not been used for a long time. There was an electric cooker on top of the gas stove. He turned the gas switch on and found that the gas was already cut, most likely due to owing money. He used the electric cooker to cook meals as well as boil water. 

Then, he arrived at the living room. The wallpaper at the corner of the living room was peeling off. Chen Shi checked the floor and found an Internet cable that fell to the back of the sofa. From the dust that collected on top, it seems that the cable had only fallen down recently. Tao Yueyue asked, “Did they fight here?”

"That’s about right, but the murder didn’t happen here."

1. Ren Men means People/People’s. So this park is called “People’s Park”… 

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