Chapter 96: A Money Pit of a Game

The aunty said, "There were a lot of witnesses at the time. Should I ask people to come over and talk about the situation with you further?”

"No need... Where did he go after that?"

"Out of the neighborhood. It was so cold that day and his body was entirely wet. Wasn’t he scared of getting arthritis?[1] He didn’t even go home to change his clothes!”

"See? We don't have to ask the others. We just needed to ask you… Thank you!”

"Don’t mention it. Oh yeah, officers, how did Lao Lu die?”

"It’s inconvenient to disclose at this stage. I’ll tell you about it later. Why don’t you leave me your contact details?”

After exchanging contact information, the aunty took her leave. He sent the contact information of Lu Jianye and his wife to Lin Dongxue, then called Lin Dongxue. "Dongxue, can you check the husband’s income situation and whether he has any savings? Can you also call his wife and understand the situation a bit?”

"Why don't you just call her yourself? Are you trying to save on your phone bills?"

"No. It’s just that if I were to make the call, I would have to explain the situation as well as spend time comforting her. The thing I lack the most right now is time. I can’t waste even a second of it.”

"Alright." Lin Dongxue said with a lack of motivation and interest.

"Thank you. I’ll treat you to dinner when I come back!”

"I don’t care for that."

After hanging up the phone, Tao Yueyue looked at Chen Shi with a teasing look. "You like the aunty you just called?"

"What do children know?!"

"I understand! You don't smile when you talk to other people. You only smile when you call her.”

"Nonsense, I smile with everyone."

"The smile you give out is not as sincere."

Chen Shi was thoroughly speechless, "Let’s stop talking about this, okay?"

"Okay, I’ll keep this secret." Tao Yueyue naughtily winked.

It was already eight o'clock and time was tight. Chen Shi left the community and went directly to an Internet café nearby. He asked the boss whether a person named Lu Jianye came here last night. The boss checked and replied, "Yes, he used the computer at 7 o'clock last night."

“How long was he here for?”

"Two hours."

"What did he do?"

"How would I know? Why are you asking that? Are you a policeman?"

Chen Shi’s took out his “documents” and the boss became flustered. “I only rent out computers to people who register their IDs with me. I don’t lend them to minors!”

"I’m not here to check this. Just give me a computer."

Tao Yueyue pointed to the shelf behind the counter. "Uncle Chen, I want to drink Coke."

"A bottle of cola and one bottle of mineral water please."

The boss poked his head out from the counter and saw the child. "How could you bring a child in here? Children can’t enter this place. If the police came and investiga-”

"I am the police!"

"Right, right, I forgot." The boss laughed nervously.

Chen Shi got on the computer and opened up some music. He crossed his hands over his head as Tao Yueyue knelt on the chair next to him and drank her coke with a straw. “Uncle Chen, why aren’t you investigating the case?”

"Just taking a break."

"Then, can you win the bet?"

"Did you know? Waiting is also an essential part of investigating cases."

"Can I wait regarding the going to school thing as well?”

"No!"

Tao Yueyue wrinkled her nose and pulled a face.

Lin Dongxue called and reported, "We can’t contact Lu Jianye's wife. As for his financial situation, the monthly income we found on his card is about 40,000 yuan. It should be his salary amount... Wow that’s pretty high! Two years ago, he sold a BMW, and he sold his house a year ago. As for where the money went, I found out that his credit card had been blown up and all the money was credited to a foreign account called Sheng Shi Electronics."

"Is it a regular payment?"

"Regular... Let me check. The sums are about 30,000 yuan per month. Sometimes it even reaches to about 100,000 yuan. There was even one transaction that was one million yuan! Jesus!”

Chen Shi did a search on the computer. "Sheng Shi Electronics Co. Ltd. is the agent of online games. This guy is an Internet-addicted uncle."

"Internet-addicted uncle? You mean, his car and house were all sold to play games? Also, why is it so noisy on your side?"

"I am at an internet cafe."

"Did you already guess as much?"

"Yes, it was a guess... Upon hearing about his family situation, and the fact that his son took the computer away, I made a guess. I still needed to confirm what game it was though.”

"This person in his fifties who had a successful career was actually indulging in his game addiction? Doesn’t that only happen to children?"

"Regardless of gender or age, you can be addicted to games. This is a key point in this case. Okay, I’ll stop talking now. I have to investigate the case."

"Right, Captain Peng is already in the neighborhood."

"Tell him to drop my car keys with the security guard and I’ll pick them up later.”

Chen Shi hung up the phone and quickly registered for an account on the online game. Tao Yueyue said, "Do you think that the uncle was killed by the friends he made in-game?"

"Not necessarily, but it may be relevant."

Chen Shi was also taking a gamble. He picked this lead out of everything because his intuition told him that this was most likely the reason for the murder. 

After the new account was registered, the opening started up. When that was finished, a full-screen system prompt popped up with a skill bar that he couldn’t understand. Tao Yueyue remarked, "This is so boring. Even Pokemon is better than this.”

"This kind of game does not rely on gameplay, but the sense of accomplishment it gives its users. You can buy a sense of accomplishment by spending some money."

"The world of adults is really difficult to understand."

After completing a novice mission, the system prompted saying that if you spend 15 yuan to buy the "Straight to the Clouds Gift Package", you can skip all the novice missions and rise up straight to level 20. Chen Shi said, "Fucking hell!"

"Don't swear."

This kind of investigation wasn’t good enough. You needed to go through multiple maps in-game in order to find some clues, making the efficiency really low.

He called Lin Dongxue again, Lin Dongxue complained, "I don't think I can finish this bowl of noodles today."

"When I’m finished here, I’ll treat you to eat shark fin... Can you contact the company for me? They use a real-name system for this game. What is the role of Lu Jianye in the game? When was the last time he logged in? Also, did he transfer any equipment or items recently?”

"Do you think they’ll care about what I say or ask?"

"It’s good to say that you are a criminal police officer and that you are investigating a murder case. It’s a tried tactic."

"You make it seem like you’ve tried it before."

Lin Dongxue laughed and hung up the phone as Tao Yueyue giggled, "There’s no need for words[2]... Are you two like those people in the TV series where you both like each other but won’t say so?"

"How do you know so many idioms?"

"Through watching TV... You haven't answered my question yet."

"I have the right to remain silent."

"Oh, silence is like a default agreement."

Chen Shi smiled bitterly. This little girl was too difficult to deal with. He even considered whether to find a boarding school to throw her in or not.

While they waited, Chen Shi saw that there were a lot of system prompts in the game. It was nothing more than system announcements of users that had obtained certain artifacts through opening boxes and chests or winning duels. He asked, "Do you know why people play such low-quality games?”

"For a sense of accomplishment!"

"More specifically, it is a gambling mechanism that is not easy to discover. The center of the human brain will release a lot of dopamine during gambling, which will bring pleasure and make people addicted."

Tao Yueyue seemed to understand but blinked and asked, "What is dopamine?"

"It's the sweetness that the brain gives you. In order to stimulate you to do something, the brain will give you a little sweet. But what the human brain thinks should be done is not necessarily beneficial to the body. For example, if you drink cola and eat burgers, you’ll be happy. The brain will then think you should eat more of it. However, when you gain weight, it’s not necessarily a good thing.  So, when you feel happy drinking coke, it’s not because coke is good, but because your brain is lying to you.”

Tao Yueyue looked at half-finished of the coke in her hand, and Chen Shi asked, "Do you understand?"

"Understood." Tao Yueyue handed over the Coke bottle. "I don't want to drink this ever again."

1. They believe that arthritis can be due to getting blown by the wind when they are wet. 

2. An expression which basically means that there’s an unspoken or secret understanding between them 

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