Because A-Jiao had made more requests for the room, Jiang Zhengkai and A-Jiao had no choice but to delay their plans. A week went by very quickly and peacefully. No more cases occurred within the alley besides the business transactions between men and women. It was also very quiet in the police department. Jiang Zhengkai and his team didn’t make any progress in the case.
During the week, Jiang Zhengkai went to visit Sui Zhongyi again. Unfortunately, the latter was still worried about the cause of his three subordinates’ deaths and was unable to provide any more clues. Meanwhile, A-Ping had recovered mentally and boarded the train back to her hometown under Lu Xiaoqiang’s protection. As for A-Lian, Jiang Zhengkai had no use for her anymore. Her facial expressions remained deadpan and she merely repeated the same words that Jiang Zhengkai had already memorized in his heart.
“Inspector Jiang, Sergeant Zhang is calling.” Lu Xiaoqiang walked into Jiang Zhengkai’s office and said, “The room in the alley is ready. Do you want to see if sister-in-law has time today and inspect it with her?”
“Ok!” Jiang Zhengkai smiled and agreed. “It’s finally done. Tell Zhang that we will go in the afternoon. She went out with her colleagues this morning. Hopefully, A-Jiao won’t come up with new ways to torment us.”
“Heh. Inspector Jiang, don’t be worried,” Lu Xiaoqiang laughed in response. “Sergeant Zhang promises that sister-in-law will definitely be pleased this time.”
A-Jiao and Cui Jing were strolling around in the mall, bored out of their minds. Women tend to meet up whenever they feel bored. Then, they would roam around all over the place looking at new and odd items, clothes, and shoes.
“Ziyuan, what have you been so busy with? You never come out anymore even when I call you.” Cui Jing grabbed a clothing item and held it up to herself. “Do you think this looks good on me?”
“It looks pretty good. My honey is busy so I obviously have to stay by his side.” A-Jiao smiled at Cui Jing. After that, she squinted her eyes. “Tell me. How are you doing with that dim-witted man of yours?”
“Ai! He’s busy and doesn’t have any time to hang out with me either.” Cui Jing placed the clothes back on the clothing rack. Then, she pursed her lips and shook her head as she complained, “He appears and disappears randomly throughout the day. I don’t even know what he’s busy with.”
“Really? The Cui Jing I know wouldn’t make this expression. Weren’t you always visualizing a future with a man?” A-Jiao was obviously teasing Cui Jing. If A-Jiao had said something like this back when Cui Jing and Li Hongbin were together, Cui Jing would have always argued that men have to work harder when they’re young since it was all for them and such. Back then, Cui Jing’s eyes would always light up whenever this topic came up. It was as if there was really a mountain of gold in front of her. But now, whenever A-Jiao mentioned the ‘dim-witted man,’ Cui Jing would always put on a resentful face. Could Cui Jing really be transforming into a dainty and delicate woman?
“Stop teasing me! When are you going to get married?” Cui Jing glanced at A-Jiao, peeved. “Probably soon, right? Your policeman really loves you to the death. By the way, does he really feel at ease letting you out by yourself?”
“Huh? By myself?” A-Jiao looked around in feigned surprise as she exclaimed, “Are you not a person?”
“Oh my goodness… Stop!” Cui Jing chased after A-Jiao. Young women were like this. When they gathered together, they could turn something small and sweet into a full-on romantic drama.
However, the romantic atmosphere ended the moment Jiang Zhengkai called. “Honey, where are you? Do you have time this afternoon?”
“Why? We haven’t seen each other since this morning and you already miss me?” A-Jiao teased happily as Cui Jing held onto her arm. “Cui Jing and I are still shopping around. If you promise to be on your best behavior, I may consider spending the afternoon with you. ”
“Wow, you value your lover over our friendship!” Cui Jing pulled A-Jiao’s arm and yelled at the phone before Jiang Zhengkai could respond.
“It looks like your friend disagrees?” Jiang Zhengkai’s voice rang from the other side.
“Don’t mind her.” A-Jiao freed herself from Cui Jing’s nagging grasp and replied, “She needs to go home in the afternoon to be with her pretty boy. She doesn’t have any time to spend with me.” A-Jiao squeezed Cui Jing’s nose while Cui Jing rolled her eyes and simultaneously waved her fist.
“Ok, then come to the bureau in the afternoon,” Jiang Zhengkai quickly replied. “Zhang has already prepared everything. He wants us to check the room out this afternoon.”
“Okay!” A-Jiao hastily responded as well. Meanwhile, Cui Jing stood by the side, bored. She was sizing up a pair of shoes on the shelf. Although women were curious by nature, Cui Jing didn’t like eavesdropping on someone’s private business. If this wasn’t the case, she probably wouldn’t be good friends with A-Jiao.
“Ok. Miss Cui, I need to accompany my honey in the afternoon. As compensation, I will treat you to lunch before I go.” A-Jiao hung up and gave Cui Jing a pat.
“Aii! That is so kind of you!” Cui Jing pursed her lips and glanced at A-Jiao and then offered, “Since you’re so kind, just buy me a pair of shoes instead of treating me to lunch.”
“Shoes?” A-Jiao looked in the direction that Cui Jing was pointing. A price tag of ‘$1280’ displayed itself in front of her eyes. “Hah! How about I simply sell you? You’re not even worth 1280 pennies! What are you thinking? Psh.” Then, A-Jiao headed towards the mall exit. “Look at you acting as if you’re a great person! I’ll treat you to Spicy Hot Soup for lunch!”
“You! You’re the one who isn’t worth a pair of shoes!” Cui Jing placed her hands on her waist and yelled behind A-Jiao. Seeing that A-Jiao had no intention of answering, she chased after her and yelled, “I want a large bowl, ok?”
In the afternoon, A-Jiao went to the sub-bureau as planned. Jiang Zhengkai was already waiting for her in the office. Before the two of them left, Mu Mingyuan appeared in front of Jiang Zhengkai’s office to give A-Jiao a makeover as usual. Jiang Zhengkai had thought over this many times. Since A-Jiao used to work in the alley, the makeover would also prevent her past sisters from recognizing her and stop any unnecessary problems from cropping up. From another perspective, Jiang Zhengkai could also use the excuse that A-Jiao was helping him solve the case or beat around the bush if someone did happen to recognize her.
Actually, Jiang Zhengkai hadn’t thought of all these excuses in one go. Most of the time, people had a tendency to second guess themselves. Some people would choose to follow through, while others might give up. Some opportunities come too early and others too late. But some also come just at the right time.
Once Jiang Zhengkai was finished making arrangements within the bureau, he brought A-Jiao to the room within the alley under Lu Xiaoqiang’s escort. The room appeared pristine despite being completely refurbished by the police. Police officers had to handle criminals every day. If they weren’t better than criminals at the art of disguise and concealment, they wouldn’t really be adhering to the philosophy that ‘constant vigilance is needed to stave off evil,’ would they?
“Miss Ren, what do you think?” Zhang Nan looked at Jiang Zhengkai first, before asking A-Jiao. “We tidied up the room again. Does it look the same, at least on the surface?”
“Yes.” A-Jiao nodded her head. However, the moment her hand made contact with the wall, she felt an unusual slight chill.
“There’s a fine metal screen mesh inside.” Seeing A-Jiao’s astonished expression, Zhang Nan smiled and added, “I spent a lot of thoughts on what to do with the walls, ceiling, and the floor. On the surface, they don’t look any different from before. But in reality, there’s a layer of fine metal screen inside. I doubt the killer’s head would be hard enough to knock its way out of a metal screen. We also changed the door to steel. The window panes are now also bullet-proof. Besides the glass, we also added a metal screen there too.”
“Heh, Zhang.” Jiang Zhengkai pursed his lips and laughed, “Aren’t you afraid that the killer won’t be able to get in after what you’ve done?”
“It’s good if they can’t get in,” Zhang Nan sighed. “I’m ok if we can’t catch the killer, but I don’t want anything to happen to you guys. It’d be better if they can’t get in.” Zhang Nan seemed to have remembered something and then urged Jiang Zhengkai and A-Jiao, “Be careful when getting on the bed. The floor, wall and the ceiling’s metal wires are all connected to an electric grid. The moment you guys get on the bed, I will tell the officers to turn it on.”
“Then… when we’re doing the deed… the officers…” At this point, A-Jiao’s face blushed a crimson red. “They… can all see this?”
“Oh! You don’t have to worry about that!” Zhang Nan awkwardly laughed, “All the officers in the duty room are old and grizzled. Also, I will be personally leading the team. I will make sure to protect your privacy.” Truthfully, this was the issue that gave Zhang Nan the biggest headache. He knew that as long as she was a woman, she would think of this issue and it would definitely generate a psychological urge to refuse.
“Oh,” A-Jiao responded, then lowered her head. She didn’t say anything else. Jiang Zhengkai saw through A-Jiao’s discomfort. He reached over to hold her hand. “It looks pretty good. There shouldn’t be anything was overlooked. Ziyuan, do you have any other requests?”
“It’s just that…” A-Jiao was still looking down. However, in the end, she didn’t object to anything. She shook her head softly and faintly answered, “It’s pretty good.”
“Then let’s leave it like this.” Jiang Zhengkai placed his arms over A-Jiao’s shoulders and brought her into an embrace, “Ok. Zhang, we have something else to do so we won’t be staying here. You guys go clean up and make sure that the surveillance and whatnot is all working. Then, we will start the operation in the morning.”
“Sure, no problem.” Zhang Nan let out a sigh. As long as A-Jiao is ok with it, then this one week’s worth of trouble won’t have gone to waste. Of course, he’ll still be thinking of ways to protect their privacy after they go in.
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