The Yu Brother's Case Book

Volume 3 Prologue + Chapter 1


Translated by: TaffyGirl13

Prologue

“Buy a little hope.”

A young woman in the advertis.e.m.e.nt was reaching her hands out to the people pa.s.sing by. She stood next to a Lotto Machine with a sweet smile on her face.

“Deliver your compa.s.sion by buying more hope for yourself or someone else. There will be a prize for today, and a new one tomorrow. There are also new ways to play that will allow you to receive more hope the more you spread your love. Would you like to find some hope today?”

Yu Yin glanced at the ma.s.sive wall television as he walked by. This commercial was an advertis.e.m.e.nt for selling lottery tickets and talked about how much money the prize was worth. It had gotten extremely popular recently.

After becoming popular overseas, this new game was now taking over Taiwan…or rather, this game had actually always existed. However, it was now being glorified as something that anyone could access, and also allowed people needing aid to live their lives by selling lottery tickets in exchange for scanty earnings.

The flashing neon lights were extremely radiant as they twinkled in the night, making it seem as if the entire television wall was enshrouded by a thin layer of light. This sight was one that n.o.body pa.s.sing by could resist being drawn to.

He stopped to look at the advertis.e.m.e.nt. This lottery commercial had just been released a few days ago. Aside from the old ones, they were adding new and different ones each time.

The bartender at a nearby bar just so happened to be walking out to take care of some matters. Since the two of them recognised each other, they exchanged greetings.

Just as he was about to take his leave first, a voice broke him out of his previous reverie.

“Ah Yin.” A person was waving at him from the far corner of a street. As soon as the traffic light turned red, the person ran over while shouting this loudly, making it impossible for Yu Yin to pretend he hadn’t heard. “It’s so rare to see you over here…oh? Did you go get your hair dyed?” Ah Guan, who even had a girl with blonde hair and doe eyes by his side while he had been looking around for something fun to do in the middle of the night, laughed and gave his friend a pat.

Yu Yin tugged at his brown hair that had just been dyed at the salon and was still slightly warm, and nodded. “Yeah, the dark parts were coming out. Since it’s been so hectic recently, I reserved tonight to re-dye it.” The young fellow named Shao Di Yu had frozen and stared at him in shock when he had seen the black parts coming out. Please, it’s not like I was born with this natural hair color, okay?

To prevent that little rascal’s probing gaze, Yu Yin finally reserved a salon appointment to redo his hair after enduring for about a week.

“Your hair color seems to have changed?” Ah Guan asked in slight curiosity as he stared at the hair color that seemed similar to what it had been before, but also somewhat different. “This one looks better.”

“Haha, the person wanted to test a new color so they offered to do it for free; I figured it couldn’t go badly, so I just let them try it.”

Because the salon was owned by a certain senior, he had been introduced to this new color that had been sold by the manufacturer to the salon before it had been put on the market. It was pretty similar to his previous color, just a bit lighter with a slightly different l.u.s.ter. As a result, Yu Yin had agreed to it.

However, because it was a formula designed to not harm the hair, it look a bit longer to apply. By the time his whole head of hair was done, it was already 8 or 9 PM.

“Want to go singing with us? We booked a place nearby,” Ah Guan asked, having lost interest after receiving the answer to his previous question. He had his arm wrapped around the girl next to him.

“I’ll pa.s.s, I’ve been trying to save money to buy some things; you guys go ahead and play without me.” The girl was reeking with strong perfume that made Yu Yin feel slight disgust, so he quickly bid farewell to the couple and left.

This area was close to downtown, so there were quite a few people. Now that it was evening, it was even more crowded. There were even vendor stands selling street food. He looked around and recalled a small vendor stand nearby that sold handmade pastries.

If he went home now, everyone had probably already finished eating. Buying some snacks to bring back as dessert would be perfect.

Yu Yin quickly arrived at the dessert stand and took a number. When he glanced at it, he saw that there were still seven or eight people ahead of him, so after writing down his order, he wandered around nearby.

In the crowded area of the district, there were a few newly opened lottery ticket businesses. Since evening just happened to be when the prize-winner was announced, the shops specifically extended their business hours and turned on the televisions. A lot of partic.i.p.ants were crowded around the front desk in the storefront to pay close attention to the screen.

“h.e.l.lo, Yu?” After dialing a number in his phone, Yu Yin waited a moment and heard no response. Thus, he immediately figured out who had picked up the phone. “I’m still waiting for something in downtown area. Tell Dad and Uncle that it’ll probably be another half an hour or so before I get back.”

As before, there was no response on the other end. Wait, if Yu doesn’t speak, why do Dad and Uncle not pick up the phone themselves? Pfft, people really do get lazier as they age.

“Then that’s all for now, bye.” After hanging up, Yu Yin realised that he’d wandered quite far.

On his way back, Yu Yin bought some soy sauce marinated snacks then began to walk back towards the dessert stand.

As he neared the area, a figure suddenly dashed out of one of the shops and slammed straight into Yu Yin. The two people immediately crashed down next to each other.

“F*ck! Watch where you’re walking!” Yu Yin cursed out in anger as he reflexively put his hand on the wall next to him.

“Sorry, sorry, I didn’t do it on purpose.” The person that had charged straightinto him and sent them both flying was using his hands and feet to crawl back up while apologising non-stop, “Sorry, I was just too excited just now and wasn’t careful. I’m really very sorry.”

Yu Yin furrowed his brows as he looked at the situation in front of him that could only be called “strange”.

The person that had sent him flying was apologising to him with a ridiculously large smile on his face. The person then stood up and helped to pull Yu Yin up as well and patted down his clothes. “You’re also a university student, I see. It’s really nice to meet you, fellow student.” He then gave a huge hug.

Yu Yin pushed the other guy’s face away with his palm and hurriedly took a few steps back. “Fellow student, are you on drugs?” There were several bars nearby, and he knew quite a few people would take drugs to the point where they damaged their brains.

“I’m not on drugs, fellow student. Just look, I’ve never been any better!” The young male pa.s.sed a piece of paper over.

Puzzled, Yu Yin accepted the piece of paper. All he saw was that it was a lottery ticket, before it was immediately grabbed back by the owner. “Oh, you won the prize. Congratulations.” He figured it was probably something like a hundred thousand or so yuan. College students these days were so poor; being this happy by such a prize was normal.

“That’s right, I won the prize.” The male held back tears as he excitedly shook Yu Yin’s hands. “My family’s loan can finally be paid back in full, my mom can buy the laundry machine she wants, and I can continue studying without trying to gather enough funds for tuition…”

Yu Yin discreetly retracted his hands and looked at the person that was excited to the point of acting high. “Then…I’ll have to congratulate you again. Here, I’ll give you this to eat. Go home and get some poroper rest, then you plan you exactly how to use the prize money tomorrow. Have a good night,” Yu Yin generously told him while handing over the soy sauce marinated snacks to the boy, placing it on top of the lottery ticket in his hands.

Many people spent lottery money recklessly and would instead end up in a greater shortage of money, so he kindly gave a reminder.

The other person hugged the snacks and looked at Yu Yin with teary eyes. “Fellow student, you are really a good person. Please tell me your name, I will definitely repay you.”

“No need, thank you.”

“Don’t be like that! Just tell me!”

“There’s really no need, thank you!”

Yu Yin blocked off his ears and quickly fled.

“Fellow student! Don’t be like that!”

The boy hurriedly began to chase after Yu Yin, on his heels for about two more streets. Only after Yu Yin turned the corner and dove into a random bar was he finally able to shake the other person off, who finally gave up and left.

After hiding out for around ten minutes, Yu Yin eventually walked out of the bar.

He once again confirmed the saying “in unprosperous times, there are tons of strange people”.

“Nutjob.” He stepped back out onto the street and after reconfirming the other person wasn’t in sight, he summed up his conclusion regarding the situation just now with a single word. Hmph, I even lost a bag of soy sauce marinated snacks; forget it, I’ll just buy some more later.

Having wasted a decent amount of time, he finally returned to the desserts stand to receive his half cold pastries. He thanked the owner and then began to walk towards the street where he had parked his motorbike.

Oh right, the guy just now looked to be around my age. I wonder what school he goes to?

“Why are students nowadays so weird?”

Perhaps over-studying to the point where they fry their brains?

This was the second conclusion Yu Yin made that night.

Chapter One

“The more you buy, the more hopes you will have.”

This was the most popular commercial on television nowadays.

After waking up at daybreak, Yu Tong turned on the television with a yawn to watch the news channel as usual. It was currently broadcasting the new lottery advertis.e.m.e.nt circulating around, as well as the previous night’s prize winner. A few seconds later, it transitioned back to the anchor reporting the news on the major fire that had broken out in the south last night.

The time was a bit past five according to the clock on the wall.

Yu Tong watched the television news with his gla.s.ses on as he turned the answering machine on next to the sofa. At the same time, he began to debate about what to prepare that morning for the other three people that were still sleeping.

There was a single message left on the answering machine. It was from an hour before he had woken. “Tong, what time are you coming in today? Before you come to work, could you make a detour around to the western district? There was a case yesterday in the western district with someone jumping off a building. The investigation people that went over declared it as a suicide and closed the case today. Could I trouble you to pay a visit to the family of the deceased? I’ve sent the doc.u.ments in the mail…”

Yu Tong stood up to turn on his laptop and indeed saw a bunch of emails from his colleagues. After connecting to his work server, he printed out the items.

The files were short and simple. There were a few pictures of the deceased, as well as notes from the investigation and some material related to the location and such. Because they weren’t for official use, the notes weren’t particularly detailed.

However, the bottom also had the doc.u.ments from yesterday’s on-site investigation. Each report clearly indicated towards the direction of a suicide.

After scanning through the files, he automatically clipped the doc.u.ments together and placed them on the cabinet. He then turned to walk towards the kitchen. It was nearly 5:45.

Not long after he entered the kitchen, Yu, who had woken up second that morning, stumbled into the bathroom like a lost soul. Ten minutes later, he collapsed on the sofa to watch the news.

Roughly ten more minutes pa.s.sed before Yu Yin also walked out from his bedroom and walked into the bathroom while yawning. Soon after, he also staggered into the kitchen. “Morning, Dad.”

“Morning. Do you have cla.s.ses early today?” Typically, Ah Yin would sleep in a bit more if he didn’t have anything to do in the morning.

“No, it was too hot to stay asleep,” Yu Yin replied while staring at the fruit juice on the table.

“Isn’t there air conditioning installed in your bedroom?” Yu Tong looked at his son and poured a gla.s.s of fruit juice to pa.s.s to him.

“When the room gets cold, strange things typically run in, so I don’t really like turning on the air conditioning.” Yu Yin accepted the chilled fruit juice and walked over to help take the bread out of the oven with his spare hand.

It was true that their home had installed air conditioning ages ago, but they rarely turned it on.

His dad’s expression made it seem like temperature was something from another dimension and therefore never used it. His uncle always went on about protecting the environment and turning on the cold air meant countless evils. If anything, Yu turned on the air a bit more; as for Yu Yin, he wouldn’t turn it on if he didn’t need to. As soon as the temperature dropped, strange things would always follow over, and so he began to dislike it after seeing this happen several times.

Upon hearing his son’s answer, Yu Tong simply smiled and did not say anything else. “Xia was stuck with a case until very late last night, don’t wake him.” Everyone knew that Yu Xia’s sleep schedule was the most inconsistent. If he had something to do, he could get up by himself at a certain time; otherwise, he would sleep until he naturally woke up. However, there weren’t many chances he could do so.

Everyone knew that Yu Xia spent 350 days in a year on cases. He only slept around five hours a day, and sometimes would pull consecutive all-nighters. He had acc.u.mulated so much vacation time at this point that it exceeded the limit, and he could probably take a break for half a year without a problem.

The other 15 days were commonly days he took off due to sickness or injury. Actually, Yu Xia rarely got sick, so probably 14.5 of the days were used to rest from injury, while the other half day was probably used as an excuse to avoid the annoying higher-ups.

So Yu Yin always cheekily joked that his uncle’s life was like an especially thick candle that could burn for an extremely long time.

“Does Uncle still need to go to work today?” Yu Yin asked as he prodded at the bread that was still too hot to touch.

Yu Tong stopped and let out a sigh. “There was a collective armed confrontation yesterday. Two people died, and the bullets indicate they were shot by the same person. Because we got there quickly, we were able to catch most of the people, but the person that had fired the gun managed to get away. The higher-ups are pressuring Xia to quickly find the person to hand over to the authorities, so his work will be a bit more exhausting for a period of time.”

“Oh.” Yu Yin knew of this matter, since it had been a pretty big case on the news report yesterday. It seemed like it was in the western district; the reason had seemingly been because they had looked at the other party unfavorably while grabbing a late-night snack, and then both sides broke into an all-out fight.

Fortunately, the incident had occurred at night. The result would have been more disastrous during the daytime.

The person that had fled was also carrying a weapon, so he had a general idea of the pressure his uncle’s boss was under.

After all, the media was repeatedly broadcasting this news, which greatly influenced public opinion. If the case wasn’t dealt with quickly, things would go bad.

Yu Tong tilted his head in thought before suddenly chuckling, “Xia showed his martial prowess at the station yesterday.” He had been dropping off a doc.u.ment and just happened to pa.s.s by to see the reenactment of a joke.

Yu Yin let out an exaggerated sigh and asked in reply, “Did an idiot mistake Uncle for a high school student again?” He was pretty used to this, since his father and uncle were twins with G.o.dd.a.m.n baby faces, the kind that made them seem even younger than him. There were often people mistaking Yu Xia as a high school student, oblivious they were courting death. Since Yu Tong wore gla.s.ses, he could at least pa.s.s off as a university student.

When they had first joined the station, Yu Xia had demonstrated his martial prowess nearly every day. Any officer that called him a high school student had probably been disciplined; probably eighty percent of the staff had suffered through this evil. Now, only newcomers would be stupid enough to make this mistake, while the old officers probably didn’t bother bringing it up with them so that they could watch the show.

After all, they had all gone through the discipline, so they obviously wanted to see others go through the same destruction…no, go through the journey of seeking death’s door.

“The people that were caught from last night’s armed confrontation. After seizing them, Yu Xia demanded for their identification to be handed over, and ended up getting the response: ‘d.a.m.n high school student, watch out or I’ll kill your mother’.” Yu Tong felt that these words were so cliche that they were definitely enough to blow his younger brother’s fuse into the highest level rage.

Yu Yin didn’t need to ask any further; he felt that he could guess exactly what kind of carnage broke out in the police station.

But Yu Xia was most terrifying because although impulsive, his actions would never leave any scars, especially on criminals.

“I hope that person can peacefully leave the station.” Yu Yin inwardly gave a moment of silence in tribute to the victim before carrying the bread out of the kitchen.

The television outside was still repeating the same news.

After setting the plate of bread down on the table, he noticed the doc.u.ments clipped on the adjacent cabinet.

Yu Yin didn’t typically look at Yu Tong’s and Yu Xia’s work doc.u.ments unless for a specific issue. However, the instant he saw these files, his right eyelid twitched, and a fairly bad premonition began to flood his heart like an ever-flowing basin of water.

He didn’t know what case these doc.u.ments were for, but by the time he had come back to his senses, he was already flipping through the simple reports and reading its text.

The very first page said the investigation resulted in a conclusion of suicide. When he continued flipping to the photos, Yu Yin felt his entire scalp go numb.

“Ah Yin, you’re looking at the place I need to visit for work later. I haven’t recorded the mourning family’s address yet, so don’t lose anything,” Yu Tong nonchalantly said as he walked out of the kitchen with a bowl of thick soup. He was already used to having his doc.u.ments randomly flipped through.

“This person committed suicide?” Yu Yin stared at the photo of the skull that had basically shattered to pieces, unable to connect it with the person he knew.

“Yes, the results from the on-site investigation indeed say that. They also looked into some information and know his family was heavily debt-ridden. Perhaps the tragedy was because of this extremely large burden.” Yu Tong often dealt with similar matters as he said in an indifferent tone, “The suicide location was below the building rooftop of a loans company. It’s probably related to not having completely dealt with the situation. We’ll follow up with the company and ask for clarification on their related responsibility.” So aside from paying a visit to the family of the deceased today, he also had to make a trip to the loans company.

How devious of his colleague, to dump this kind of troubling matter on his head.

“How much money did this person’s family owe?” Yu Yin asked as he flipped to the next photo of the deceased.

“If I remember correctly, over twenty million or so. He took out a loan to buy an early-phase house, in addition to a debt that his father had. Because they borrowed money from various underground money farms, the debt became that high. Later, they transferred all of the debt to this company.” Yu Tong quickly replied, then walked over. “Why are you suddenly interested in this case? It’s already been closed as a suicide,” he said as he took the files back.

Yu Yin didn’t answer immediately. He narrowed his eyes as he thought back to the person he had encountered that night. It was impossible for him to connect that person with a suicide.

No way, definitely not.

“Dad, are you going to pay a visit to the mourning family later?” He raised his head, feeling like he had to go clarify some things.

“Mhm, I need to inform them about matters related to the case’s closing.” Although unsure of the reason for this question, Yu Tong still nodded.

Upon hearing the answer, Yu Yin immediately followed with the reply, “Good, then I’ll go with you.” Yu Yin cupped his chin in his hands, ignoring his dad’s puzzled expression as he thought back to that strange evening and that strange person.

“I think I know the person that committed suicide.”

***

His impression remained on that evening two days ago.

He vaguely remembered the male that had crashed into him was around his age. After winning the prize, the boy had seemed as happy as if everything good in the world belonged to him. Based on Yu Yin’s impression of him, there was absolutely no way he seemed like the type that would commit suicide.

“Ah Yin.”

While lost in thought, a voice from Yu Yin’s side broke his reverie. He turned around to see Yu Tong, who was now dressed in a black, formal suit, calling to him. “Could I ask you to refrain from speaking as you please when we go in later? Only the mother and little sister are left in the family. The mother’s side of the family is a.s.sisting with the funeral arrangements.”

After that morning, Yu Tong had agreed to Yu Yin’s request, and he had driven them both to the residence of the mourning family.

He had always been better at speaking than Yu Xia, as long as he didn’t randomly mess around with anything.

“Oh, ok.” Yu Yin returned to his senses and tugged at his black clothes as he looked out at the scenery.

Beloved ones that died outside could not enter according to tradition. The parents could not see them off either, so simplistic mourning halls were typically outside. There were a few people that were presumably the deceased’s cla.s.smates helping to arrange the flowers and tablecloths. The entire scene was cold and quiet. There were only a few people uniformed in white walking back and forth to wordlessly hand over various things.

Even though Yu Yin and his dad were currently sitting in their car, they could sense the stifling atmosphere.

Yu Yin suddenly felt that it was really good that Yu hadn’t come along this time. His dad had recently gotten Yu a library card, and since then, Yu was rarely seen. He spent his entire time holed up in the library without paying much mind to Yu Yin.

After parking the car, Yu Tong and Yu Yin got off. They quickly saw people with nametags nearby who appeared to be the funeral professionals a.s.sisting with the service.

“Wait here a minute.” Yu Tong patted his son and walked over to the front desk to give his regards before walking back. “Do you want to go light incense? I’ll go in to give my greetings to the deceased’s mother later.”

“Oh, ok.” Yu Yin nodded and asked for one of the workers nearby to lead him over to the funeral hall to light incense. After looking around and confirming there wasn’t anything strange, he returned back.

It seemed like the deceased’s life hadn’t been bad, since there were many boys and girls around his age. Many girls were holding white paper cranes to place onto the platform after lighting incense, until the platform was packed with thousands of them. Some of the boys brought over flowers and small objects as a final gift to their friend.

For some reason, Yu Yin felt like there was something strange about the atmosphere, but he couldn’t quite place what. It wasn’t related to the deceased; rather, it was the fairly odd atmosphere that these cla.s.smates gave off.

How to put it in words? He felt like these people weren’t here for as simple a reason as simply seeing this person off. While each one of them expressed grief and sorrow, the air seemed to contain the faint scent of an oddly tranquil wrath.

It was as if they were mulling over something that stirred up their hearts.

After retreating out of the simple mourning hall, Yu Yin went to talk to Yu Tong, the latter of whom had been asking the professionals about some matters and had quickly finished.

“Do you want to go in?” Yu Tong asked as he pointed at the home.

“I’ll stay outside. I don’t know his mom, so going in would be weird.” Yu Yin shrugged, as he had no desire to disturb another person’s work.

“Alright then, I’ll be out soon. You can just wait here,” Yu Tong quickly replied, likely not wanting Yu Yin to go in either. He entered the home, and soon a little girl came out to welcome him and lead him through the house.

With nothing to do, Yu Yin surveyed the quiet hall. He had no interest in going back inside to look around, so he just paced outside the home.

The deceased’s family situation was clearly as bad as Yu Tong had described before. The small residence was only a single story, and probably not many square meters in size. There was what seemed like an iron scaffolding around it, but only half had been built. The work had probably just started recently.

The home was old and small. Without someone’s guidance, Yu Yin probably would’ve never found this kind of place.

That’s right, if I remember correctly, their family has an extremely large debt…the reason being part of it was left by his dad. But how come I don’t sense the existence of this father figure?

After scanning the surroundings, he looked to his side and saw some chairs in a small resting area. He automatically walked over to sit in the empty chair.

Following this, a person approached him.

“Excuse me…are you also Yong Hao’s friend?” It was a girl around his age. She had short hair clipped up and she wore a plain, black dress. Her appearance seemed like that of an ordinary university student.

Yong Hao…Chen Yong Hao was the strange person that Yu Yin had b.u.mped into at night two days ago, as well as the person that had committed suicide in today’s case.

“I guess you could say I am.” Yu Yin thought about it, but he didn’t quite feel that their situation could be called a friendship.

The girl sat down next to him. “Most of the people here are those that have a relationship with Yong Hao. Some are his cla.s.smates, while others are those he has helped before.”

Sounds like the deceased is someone that often does good deeds.

Yu Yin scanned the group of people present as he internally reached this conclusion.

“Then, which type are you?” He tentatively asked as he was guessing what kind of good deeds this person had done before.

“I’m someone that has received his help before. He’s a great person, and very optimistic. I got dumped before and when I couldn’t move on, I jumped down from the fifth floor. He held onto my hand for an entire ten minutes, shouting at me to bravely continue living, and think about my family. Then the fire department rescued me…I really can’t believe that Yong Hao would commit suicide like this. It’s just not like him at all.” As the girl spoke, she blinked her eyes and transparent tears rolled down her cheek. “Because he was afraid that I hadn’t moved on, he had brought me to all different kinds of places to lift my mood. I knew that he was very busy with work…but he always said with a smile that it was fine…”

“So you also don’t think he’s someone that would kill himself?” Yu Yin was surprised to find that this sentence immediately attracted the attentions of others. A bunch of people that were originally lingering in front of the hall quickly rushed over.

“You also think he’s not someone that would kill himself, right?!” One of the boys emotionally said then gave Yu Yin a heavy pat on the shoulder. “None of us here think he committed suicide. There’s definitely something wrong. How could someone that optimistic and hopeful just kill himself that easily? It’s because he helped me before that I didn’t do anything foolish like that!”

“All of us here are pretty much the same. n.o.body that came here thinks he committed suicide. It must be a trick set up by someone else. The useless police couldn’t figure out anything, and even closed the case as a suicide,” a boy standing in the middle of the crowd said. Everyone else immediately echoed something similar.

Yu Yin noticed that the more they spoke, the more resentment seemed to build up, and he quickly stood up. “Mm…I think it would be better if you guys consulted the police about these things. Perhaps they can do some more investigations on this.” c.r.a.p, if the situation has already turned into this, it’ll likely be hard for Dad’s side to close the case.

“We already told them, but the police said that there are no traces on-site of him being killed, so it’s a suicide. They didn’t pay attention to anything we said.” The girl from the beginning said indignantly, “Yong Hao really wouldn’t commit suicide. He said that he would repay his family’s debt in full and then bring them travelling around the world.”

“That’s right! Everyone here knows that too, so he couldn’t have killed himself.” The boy grabbed Yu Yin’s shoulder and said, “Since the police won’t take care of this, we’ll have to use our own ways to help Yong Hao complete one final task.”

So that’s why I felt like the atmosphere was somehow off earlier.

“Do you want to join?” The girl that had sat next to him earlier asked.

Yu Yin looked at the crowd that was focused on him and subconsciously swallowed hard. “What do you guys want to do?” He felt his luck recently was really disastrous; to think that even this kind of matter would involve him.

The boy pa.s.sed over a piece of paper with a phone number written on it. “Go back and think about it carefully. If you want to join, give me call, and I’ll tell you what we are planning to do.”

Yu Yin took the piece of paper and put it in his pocket. “Alright then, I’ll consider it.” His current situation wasn’t very good; it seemed like if he misspoke, it would be very hard to walk out from this crowd.

He checked his watch; it had been a while since his dad had walked in. Yu Yin smiled and began to sidle off to one side. “Excuse me, I need to go in and give my condolences to his mother. See you later.”

As soon as he finished saying this, he hurriedly ran away from the group of people.

“What’s wrong with these people?”

***

The Chen family’s home was even smaller than he had thought.

Upon entering the home, all Yu Yin saw was a tiny, narrow main room with its walls so close together that there weren’t many things that could be crammed inside. Most things were piled high and had not been organised properly.

He looked around; the little girl that had led the way earlier wasn’t anywhere to be seen. He figured they were probably in the back room.

Because he didn’t want to interact with the people outside anymore, he followed the walkway to the back room and walked in by himself. The back room was split by a simple part.i.tion, the cheap kind. The doorway on the other side used a large cloth rather than a wooden slab. Faint voices could be heard from behind.

Yu Yin quietly walked over to glance behind the cloth. He saw a small room about the size of his home’s bathroom behind. It contained only an empty bed and a tiny path that one could only walk by turning sideways. The end of the path was filled with clothing and bedsheets, which one could tell were extremely old after looking closely.

Yu Tong stood in the small path next to the bed. There was a bunch of scattered junk next to his feet which made him look out of place.

An extremely aged, married woman sat on the bed. Perhaps due to the blow of hearing about the death, she didn’t seem to have any energy. The little girl from earlier was sitting next to her and supporting her by the arm.

The room was dim. There was a lightbulb hanging from above that wasn’t turned on, and no sunlight was present.

It had been a while since Yu Yin had last seen this kind of home. He vaguely remembered seeing this kind of place when he was little, but after the government reorganised the city, most such homes had been dealt with. Now, only apartment buildings and larger single-story houses remained. Most people would find it hard to imagine this kind of scene.

“I refuse to sign.” The married woman sitting on the bed was shouting at Yu Tong in a very unfriendly manner, “My son wouldn’t kill himself…he definitely would never kill himself! You people must have been mistaken. My son couldn’t possibly commit suicide!” She then began to weep.

“Gēgē didn’t kill himself!” The little girl chimed in from the side and tightly gripped the woman’s hands. “We agreed to travel the world together; Gēgē said that we could go travel the world after he repaid the debt!”

Yu Tong looked at the mother-daughter pair in front of him, somewhat troubled. He bent down and tried to explain, “I understand how you two must feel. After all, this kind of situation is never easy to deal with. If my own son were to suddenly die out there for an unknown reason today, I would refuse to believe he committed suicide either.” Because my son’s toughness is really too strong, excessively so. “But according to the report from the on-site investigation, nothing suspicious was discovered…”

“Then you go look!” The woman suddenly grabbed Yu Tong’s hand. “Please go and take another look, I beg of you! You’re so young, probably around my son’s age, so I plead you to go search again! My son really wouldn’t commit suicide!”

Somewhat startled by her sudden action, Yu Tong subconsciously wanted to retreat and his back banged into the wall behind him. Without any way out, he instead straightened himself up. Since the woman was extremely emotional, her hand was gripped onto his with abnormal strength. He didn’t dare to use too much force to shake it away either for fear of injuring her, so he could only warmly smile in response. “Please calm down a bit. Our on-site investigators have confirmed they have inspected the place carefully. There really aren’t any suspicious spots.” Moreover, I’m much older than your son, and probably just slightly younger than you are.

“I plead you to please go and look. He was still so young. I beg you to go, please, he really wouldn’t kill himself!” Her hold on his hand was like a person on the verge of drowning that refused to let go of the floating plank support. She was crying and shouting as she repeated, “Go and take another look, I ask of you, please.”

Yu Tong looked at the woman in slight embarra.s.sment and let out a sigh. It looked like he wouldn’t be able to smoothly close the case with the family today after all. He put the doc.u.ments back into his bag and crouched down to pacify her. “Alright, I’ll help you and take care to look for anything strange regarding this matter…after all, the deceased will not come back to life. Please don’t be too distraught, I believe that student Yong Hao wouldn’t be happy to see you this hurt either.”

He patted her hand and then pa.s.sed her some money. “This is just a small token. Funeral arrangements cost quite a bit, so I hope this can be of some help.”

The woman lowered her head and continued to cry. The girl by her side that was lending her support wept as well.

Knowing very well that it would be extremely difficult to complete the procedures today, Yu Tong simply left the room after relaying them some more information.

As soon as he walked out, he immediately saw Yu Yin standing outside, who had seemingly heard everything. “It looks like I’ll have to come back another time.” He helplessly shrugged. It wasn’t that he didn’t empathise with the mourning family, but the official procedures still had to be carried out.

Yu Yin nodded, understanding his father’s troubles.

The two exchanged a glance and Yu Tong let out another helpless sigh.

“That’s right, whose room is that?” To change the topic, Yu Yin asked this question as he pointed at the room on the side that had a door.

“That’s Gēgē’s room.”

The one who replied wasn’t Yu Tong, but a much softer and more delicate voice. The girl that was just inside the room had also walked out and answered from behind them. “My mom said that Gēgē was working very hard in school, so Mom and I crammed into one bed to give Gēgē a room to himself for studying.” She walked over and opened the wooden door.

The room was about as small as the other one; the s.p.a.ce was just as narrow. There was a bunk bed, with the top bunk being a bed and the bottom being a desk and a chair.

The lighting in this room wasn’t any better either. The shut window blocked out most of the sunlight, which made the entire bedroom seem dark.

Putting these points aside, the room itself was very tidy. The books were neatly lined up in a row or piled on the desk. The bed was made, and there was a small shelf on the side that contained some clothes and other simple personal items.

There was a small path next to the bed like the other room, and it was absolutely clean.

“I’ll go pour some tea for Mom.” The girl glanced at the other two in the room and walked out, letting them stay inside.

Yu Tong scanned the entire room like his son, with his gaze lingering on the desk. “This person is indeed very disciplined.” One could tell from his living quarters that work and life habits were neat, with nothing overlooked.

But he didn’t dare say this indicated the person didn’t commit suicide. Many people would often tidy up their room prior to killing themselves.

“He’s pretty popular, to the point where it’s somewhat weird. The people outside are all those he has helped before.” Yu Yin gave a brief summary of the situation from outside, intentionally leaving out the details involving the phone number.

Yu Tong knit his brows together as he mulled over this. “Those kids wouldn’t be thinking of doing something stupid, right…”

“Should be ok. After all, they all seem like mere university students,” Yu Yin chuckled, somewhat uncertain.

“I hope that’s the case. I need to go back to the station to report back. You probably need to go home and get ready for cla.s.ses too.” Yu Tong didn’t want to continue on this topic, and he walked out of the room. “I’ll bring you back first. Don’t foolishly create any disturbances with those people, you understand?”

“Alright.”

As Yu Yin was the last one to walk out of the room, he closed the door.

But the moment the door was about to shut, something cold suddenly leapt out and grabbed onto Yu Yin’s wrist.

Yu Yin was startled by the feeling of something touching him and tried to retract his hand. However, that thing had an extremely tight hold and refused to let go.

When he turned around, he saw a single eyeball looking at him through the tiny crack left between the door and the room.

The hand that was reaching out from inside was white and cold. It was also covered with dark, dried up patches of blood.

Yu Yin felt chills shoot down his spine.

“Ah Yin, what’s wrong?” The voice of the person that had already walked out into the living room called back.

In that second, the hand and eye both disappeared. It was as if Yu Yin had merely made up the whole thing.

He immediately pulled his hand back, and without caring about whether the door was properly shut or not, ran straight out to the living room. “Nothing, nothing at all.”

“Your expression is a bit strange, any issues?” Yu Tong asked in slight concern after noticing there was something off about his son’s complexion.

“No problems at all, don’t worry.” Yu Yin shook his head and decided to pretend the matter just now had simply been his imagination, without thinking about it anymore. He knew that the more he thought about it, the more uneasy he would cause himself to feel.

Yu Tong glanced at him once more but did not continue asking. “Alright then, let’s take our leave.”

After bidding farewell to the girl, the two of them left the home.

Just before getting onto the car, Yu Yin took one last look at the small house.

He wasn’t sure if it was just a figment of his imagination or what, but it seemed like there were no signs of light inside the house. The entire s.p.a.ce was filled with boundless darkness.

The type of darkness that was so deep it could swallow people.


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