Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Catching Xu Lan’s glances at him, the man flashed a smile.
He then cleared his throat to draw the attention of everyone who was there.
“Let’s all introduce ourselves. This is Li Xiu, or Officer Li, who was sent by the province to help us in investigating this case.”
Hu Cheng moved aside and let the man forward. He was about one hundred eighty-five centimeters tall, wore golden glasses, had pale skin, and looked sickly sullen.
“Hello everyone, from today onward I’ll be working with together with you. I look forward to learning from everyone.”
Gentleness was not only present in his looks, but also prevalent in his manner and tone of voice, which portrayed him as a courteous fellow. It was possible that he came from a literary family, for Xu Lan felt that the man exuded a certain scholarly appearance.
“Welcome, welcome, we’ll be helping each other out, of course. Our common goal is to capture the murderer as soon as possible,” Xu Lan said as he formally went over to Li Xiu, smiled, and shook his hands.
“Nice to meet you, Officer Li. My name is Xu Renyi, but they all call me Xiao Xu.” A respectful bow followed Xiao Xu’s self-introduction.
“Pleased to meet you.”
In such a situation, Wu Wendi felt as though it would be discourteous if she did not introduce herself.
She finally decided to walk up and introduce herself after Xiao Xu was done. “Pleasure to meet you, I’m Wu Wendi, a reporter for the newspaper company,” she said bashfully.
As the two of them were about to shake hands, Li Xiu was distracted by the reporter’s voice. He heard about the case between the news company and the police which went viral two years ago. Through his refined golden glasses, he sized up the attractive reporter.
“Nice to meet you.” In a flash, Li Xiu put on an intimate smile.
Xu Lan was observing Hu Cheng’s expressions. The latter had been wearing a somewhat forced smile ever since coming in. As soon as he heard Wu Wendi’s introduction, the smile instantly turned upside down.
“Alright Officer Li, we’ll continue your little welcoming party later. We were just about to ask the victim’s father a few questions, so…”
Shrugging his shoulders, Xu Lan indicated that Li Xiu’s arrival was not very timely since it was laborious just to get Li Kui to speak up. The outcome of the investigation would be less favorable the longer it dragged on.
“Ah, I’m sorry.” Li Xiu said, then coughed some more. It was only then that he noticed Li Kui sitting at the other end of the table with his red and swollen hand. By then, Li Kui was losing his mind out of fear.
“Officer Li, let’s leave.” After hearing what Xu Lan said, Hu Cheng strained to curl his lips into a smile which revealed his yellowed teeth.
“Alright, I’ll leave you to your business.” Li Xiu was aware that he had interrupted Xu Lan and awkwardly begged pardon, after which he left the interrogation room with Hu Cheng.
“Sorry about that, Mister Li. Let’s start again, shall we? We hope you will take the initiative to cooperate with us. We want to catch the killer sooner rather than later.” Xiao Xu immediately went into character after sitting down.
“I…I will definitely cooperate.” Trembling as a result of Xiao Xu’s words, Li Kui nervously grasped his own hand then immediately let out a painful cry.
“Why isn’t Xiao Li here yet?” Anger was prevalent in Xu Lan’s voice.
If that young man messed things up, he would definitely experience the irritable workaholic side of Xu Lan. Back in Xu Lan’s original workplace, everyone – save for Meng Chengjun – was afraid of him, owing to his unobstructable Yama-like demeanor whenever his temper flared up.
“I’m here! Chief Xu, I’m here. I met Lao Hu and officer Li just now, so I was held back for a while,” panted Xiao Li, leaning against the door frame.
“Give Mister Li a cold compress. He’ll be sent to the hospital soon,” directed Xu Lan, whose expression softened slightly.
“Mister Li, we’ll ask you a few questions in the meantime,” Xu Lan said while opening a booklet and watching Xiao Li’s careful application of the compress on Li Kui’s hand.
“May I ask how old was your daughter?”
“She turned nineteen on the twenty-third of March. Oh, my unfortunate daughter!” This well-built grown man began to weep at the slightest mention of his daughter.
“May I ask how long has she been working? What was her highest level of education?”
“We were poor. Nan Nan dropped out immediately after she graduated junior high. She couldn’t be persuaded to continue studying. She insisted on earning money to support the family.”
“I see, may I ask then, whether you know what line of work she was in?”
“She…she always changed jobs. I didn’t know what she was up to.” A flicker came over Li Kui’s expression. He wanted to reach for the cup of tea but remembered the presence of the compress.
“From what we found out, your daughter took up six or seven different jobs after dropping out of school. First, she worked at an internet café, then she sold clothes and phones, and she also became a waitress at a bar, but she resigned because of the low wages. At the time of death, she was working at Lanshan.”
“What?! Her? Nan Nan?!” In the heat of the moment, Li Kui abruptly stood up. Xiao Li was startled and could only stare blankly at Li Kui.
“No, that’s impossible! Nan Nan is still young, how could she…”
All of a sudden, his voice grew weak as he dispiritedly plopped himself on the table, ignoring the pain in his hand.
“However, from what we understand, the deceased went to your construction site every week to give you some money. How much do you think an eighteen-year-old can earn in a week?”
Xu Lan paused and twiddled a ballpoint pen in his hand, saying, “Mister Li, everyone at your workplace knows that your daughter works at Lanshan. How can you, as her father, be completely unaware of this?”
Xu Lan’s professionalism and lack of expression made it seem like he was interrogating a criminal. Faced with the chilly demeanor and robust physique, Li Kui felt afraid and lost all rationality that had been present when he was being questioned by Xiao Xu the previous day.
“So it seems that you’re not at all that concerned about your daughter, Mister Li. You didn’t even lift up the white cloth to check.” Xu Lan continued with a cold smile and stared calmly at Li Kui.
“I…” With quivering lips, Li Kui looked like he wanted to explain himself. The room then erupted with the sorrowful wails that came over him when he was at the forensics lab earlier that morning.
“WHO! Who was it that asked you to do this? You clearly don’t care about your daughter, but you brought a crowd of people to the station just to cause trouble?” Xu Lan abruptly slapped the table and stood up.
The smacking sound left Li Kui shaking like a leaf.
Everyone else in the room was just as shocked that Xu Lan did such a thing.
In the surveillance room, Hu Cheng and Li Xiu watched the situation intently through the computer screen.
“Chief Xu has a good grasp of a person’s psyche. Startling the man like that to the point of causing panic, perhaps the chief may be able to get something out of him now.” Li Xiu adjusted his glasses, then smiled at Hu Cheng.
“He’s an unconventional one,” chuckled Hu Cheng.
Within the interrogation room’s confines, any sensibleness that Li Kui had was pushed to the edge by Xu Lan. Without letting Li Kui catch his breath, Xu Lan immediately took out two photographs and placed them in front of him.
One of them was shown to Li Kui earlier by Sun Fei, while the other was a picture of a Li Kui meeting the scantily-clad deceased at her workplace.
Li Kui trembled as he took the photos and looked at them. He had a dejected look and his lips were pale. With a thump, he sat back down on the chair.
“I…I’ll tell you.”