Chapter 133: The Strange Jade Buddha

After dinner at Uncle Cai’s noodle shop, Jiang Zhengkai brought A-Jiao to the alley for a stroll and also to test the effects of the makeup. In the alley, he even pretended to ask for directions and struck up a conversation with some of the ladies. Likewise, in order to completely reassure Jiang Zhengkai, A-Jiao used an accent to chat with some of the other women about fashion. Jiang Zhengkai was only at ease when he confirmed the women couldn’t recognise A-Jiao. 


The very next morning, Jiang Zhengkai went to Yao Tianyu's office. He reported the gritty details of the new homicide along with his plan to Yao Tianyu. Although Yao Tianyu thought that Wu Xiuping’s death was a great pity, it wasn't easy for a person of Yao Tianyu's age to accept that Wu Xiuping had sought out a hooker. Based on this single fact, the terrific impression that Yao Tianyu previously had of Wu Xiuping had pretty much been flipped on its head. 


Finally, Yao Tianyu looked at Jiang Zhengkai, ill at ease. “Zhengkai, have you thought this through? If something goes wrong, both you and Miss Ren will lose your lives.”


Jiang Zhengkai nodded and assured, “Don't worry Commissioner Yao! Ziyuan was the one who insisted on going with me. I tried to persuade her otherwise but she's too stubborn. I can't get her to budge!”


“It’s better to be safe than sorry! Is there really no other way?” Yao Tianyu asked with a gloomy expression. “Since pretty much all the people related to A-Xiu are dead, the killer…” Up until this point, Yao Tianyu had been drumming his fingers on the table non-stop. But he was unable to continue speaking any further. 


“Don't worry, Commissioner Yao! Nothing will happen to us.” From Yao Tianyu's body language, Jiang Zhengkai could naturally read exactly what Yao Tianyu couldn't say. However, as police officers, neither of them could say those words out loud. 


“Then that's good!” Yao Tianyu continued lightly drumming his fingers on the table. “Actually, how about this! Tomorrow… tomorrow night, bring Miss Ren over to my house for dinner. My wife hasn't seen you for a long time!”


“Actually… I have to politely decline!” Jiang Zhengkai shook his head. “Let's wait until the case is over before celebrating! After we crack it, we'll definitely visit you and your wife.” 


Yao Tianyu raised his hand in acceptance. “Sigh! Ok. You may go now! Go do whatever you need to! And make sure you’re careful.”


Jiang Zhengkai left the main bureau but didn't immediately return to the sub-bureau and go back to work. Instead, he only drove back to the sub-bureau after he had gone home to pick up A-Jiao. Regardless of how familiar and well-acquainted A-Jiao was with the case, she still had to go through the necessary procedures and formalities as an outsider. Furthermore, there were certain case notes he had to go through with her. However, A-Jiao didn’t find it boring. She was perfectly content staying by his side, watching him work.


For the past few days, Lu Xiaoqiang, Liu Na, Zhang Nan, and the other policemen from the criminal unit of the local police station were all very busy. After all, Jiang Zhengkai was going to personally go the alley and lure the killer out. If something went south, it wouldn't be a laughing matter. This was the life of their boss and his fiancée that they were talking about! 


To make the most of the day before the operation, Jiang Zhengkai and A-Jiao didn't remain idle. They went through the details of the case over and over. One by one, A-Jiao ironed out all of Jiang Zhengkai’s suspicions. In summary, the timing of A-Xiu's case actually coincided with the period when A-Tao had been injured. It was only because A-Jiao had left the alley during this period to care for A-Tao that the police did not have anything on file for A-Jiao. 


Today, after Jiang Zhengkai finished analyzing the details of the case with A-Jiao, A-Jiao gave him a bothered look. “Honey, what kind of person would help Sister Xiu get revenge on this many people?”


Jiang Zhengkai smiled at A-Jiao. “I don't know! If I knew, then I would have solved this case ages ago.” Then, he leaned back in his chair and sighed, “Aaii! This killer is too cunning. Not like your typical one at all!”


A-Jiao bit her lip and looked at Jiang Zhengkai. “But…… I feel like Sister Xiu doesn't have any relatives or friends who would help her do something like this. Moreover, the murderer is way too familiar with the situation of the alley!”


“Too familiar with the situation of the alley? What do you mean by that?” Jiang Zhengkai looked at A-Jiao slightly shocked. 


“Honey, think about it! The six that killed Sister Xiu were all very tight-lipped. I had no idea about any of their deeds even though I was in the alley for two years. Also, I've looked at your interrogation records from before. A-Sha and A-Xue were very close, but even she did not know a thing. How then, did the killer find out exactly who was involved in Sister Xiu's murder?” A-Jiao earnestly analyzed the case and even imitated Jiang Zhengkai’s mannerisms. “Plus, according to your interrogation records, the first victim, Zhao Renchu, had only contacted A-Xiu one-on-one privately. Very few people knew of this, so how did the killer learn of his relationship with her?”


Jiang Zhengkai smiled. “Yes, what you said makes sense. In my opinion, after this case is finished, I should convince Commissioner Yao to recruit you into the police force!” 


“Police force? Ok!” A-Jiao looked longingly at Jiang Zhengkai as she sweetly asked, “Then I'll be able to see you everyday in the future?”


“What on earth are you talking about?” Jiang Zhengkai jokingly felt A-Jiao's forehead to take her temperature before chiding, “You don't even have a fever!”


“It's not like I'm wrong! Have you forgotten about how you caught me the first time?” A-Jiao fluttered her eyelashes rapidly and charmingly teased, “I know that you need a female assistant; am I not the perfect fit?”


“Give me a break! How about you just obediently stay and teach at your preschool! I don't want you to run all over the town with me.” In a great mood, Jiang Zhengkai tenderly caressed her nose. “Is there anything else you find strange about the case?”


“Yep. The time taken to commit the crime is too short.” A-Jiao paused to think before continuing, “For example, even in the first case involving Xiaomei! The length of time between Xiaomei and Zhao Renchu entering the bedroom and me hearing Xiaomei's screams and rushing in was definitely less than twenty minutes. But in that short period of time, they had turned into skeletons. There's also that last case involving A-Hui. When we entered the bedroom, she was still moving.”


“That's right!” Jiang Zhengkai nodded. “This is something that I have been trying to grasp this whole time as well. The killer's actions are way too fast.” It was almost as if they weren't human. 


“Based on the killer's success rate, I feel like the killer could only be Sister Xiu. But from what we’ve seen so far, I don't think Sister Xiu would be capable of such a killing spree.” A-Jiao put the case files to the side and blinked at Jiang Zhengkai. “Honey, do you believe in ghosts? Could a ghost be killing everyone?”


“A ghost killer? Let me tell you, I’ve lived for a long time, but you’re the only ghost with killer jokes!”


“You! You're so annoying!” A-Jiao looked reprimandingly at Jiang Zhengkai and then grabbed his arm and tugged it back and forth playfully. “Honey, could it really be a ghost?” In response, Jiang Zhengkai affirmatively stated, “No! Definitely not! It has to be a human." Ha! If we ultimately concluded the case by telling the superiors that a ghost did it, they would definitely think I went insane! 


“I don't care, but I'm giving this to you!” A-Jiao unclasped a small and exquisite Buddha from her neck and put it around Jiang Zhengkai's. “You have to keep this on! You're not allowed to take it off!”


“What is it?” Jiang Zhengkai bent his head to look at the necklace. Although he knew that A-Jiao always had this around her neck, he had never really paid much attention to it. After all, he didn't believe in God or any supernatural myths so he naturally wouldn't care about Buddhist articles either. He touched the Buddha to feel it. It looked as if it was made out of jade but the texture was completely different. 


“I am not telling you!” A-Jiao replied forcefully. “At the end of the day, you just have to keep it on! You're not allowed to lose it or take it off!”


“Ok! I'll wear it then.” Jiang Zhengkai let go of the necklace. It's just a jade-like Buddha, I'll keep it on if it makes A-Jiao feel better! In any case, it won't hurt me. 

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