Volume 1: Case 502 – The Intoxicated Frozen Corpse
“Why did the two of you decide to serve the force?”
“I did badly in my studies,” replied Vice-captain Yan.
“I was too good at them,” answered Captain Jiang.
“Vice-captain Yan! Vice-captain Yan! Brother Gao sent news-”
A female police trainee rushed over with her head hunched low. Her call came to an abrupt stop, as her mouth comically widened into a circle.
In a corner hidden from view, between the guard rail of the highway and the car, Yan Xie was still stuck pinning Jiang Ting to the door. The two shifted their gaze towards her in that same instant.
Three pairs of eyes stared speechlessly into one another for a few seconds. Yan Xie let out a muffled cough. Stepping back a space, he straightened his clothes asking, “What’s up?”
Jiang Ting hurriedly opened the door and dived into Yan Xie’s personal car without saying a word from beginning to end, acting as though nothing had happened earlier. The female police trainee was still dumbstruck. Countless unspeakable scenes censored with mosaics sped past her mind in that instant, until Yan Xie finally called out in annoyance, “HEY! I’m talking to you here!”
“Oh. Yeah! Yeah!” The young woman shook herself a little before snapping to attention. “Reporting to Vice-captain Yan! Brother Gao from the field investigation team called in to report that they uncovered major evidence at the suspect Hu Weisheng’s home. They found several journals and textbooks on experimental chemistry, as well as an iphone of the latest model that’s been reformatted. They suspect that those were taken from the victim’s bag.”
“Have they given the phone to the technicians to be restored yet?”
“Yes! They did! Chief Technician Huang said iphones are difficult to deal with. He still has several computers from Vice-captain Qin with data related to the drug trafficking case waiting to be recovered. You’ve approved them to sort those out first, so for the phone found at Hu Weisheng’s home, you might need to wait until tonight or tomorrow for the results.”
“Alright then.” Yan Xie narrowed his eyes at the sky before turning his head to shout, “BIG DOG!”
“CALL ME HEAD GOU—!” Gou Li’s thunderous rage-filled roar came over from afar.
“My Great Gou!” Yan Xie asked, “When can you wrap things up?”
“It’s still too early to say. It’ll be lucky if we can finish before nightfall!”
Yan Xie replied, “That’s great then. My whole body’s been reeking for the past few days. It’s about time I head back for a shower and get some sleep. Otherwise, your Godfather here will die of a sudden heart attack while on duty serving the people.”
As soon as he finished, the heart of the female police trainee beside him quickly palpitated thrice. Her large round eyes kept darting towards the car incessantly, and the speed at which her eyes were blinking resembled a pair of wings of a robotic bee.
Catching sight of her in this state, Yan Xie was positive that she only managed to take in two keywords—‘shower’ and ‘sleep’—amongst what he had said earlier.
“Think clean thoughts, will you?!” After chiding her in a low voice, Yan Xie swaggered off under her wronged gaze.
Yan Xie used to be a hot candidate for the ideal son-in-law in the public security system—well… used to be. At his peak, every sub-bureau in Jianning City had female co-workers who secretly pined after him. To the point that even the leaders of the provincial departments personally made phone calls to act as matchmakers. However, ever since yan Xie drove away a good number of female trainees and reduced the Belles of the police force into tears over the smallest of mistakes in front of everyone—even going so far as to unjustly and forcefully make the female officers move badly rotten corpses at the crime scenes without even realizing what he had done wrong—his shining moment basically went down the river, never to return.
Firmly believing that all celebrities never had plastic surgery, that all the photos of cyberstars came straight from camera without filters or photoshop, and a veteran in lusting after slender waists and long legs, Yan Xie seemed born with a complete set of near-pathological alpha instincts of the highest calibre.
In reality, from head to toe, the long legs belonging to Jiang Ting, the other protagonist of the unspeakable acts flashing past the little policewoman’s mind, was the only body part that fell in line with Yan Xie’s standard of beauty.
It was currently the rush hour after work and the 3-ringed roundabout was so densely packed with traffic that not a single drop of water could trickle through. Yan Xie was simply driving his car but he had gotten excessively honked at by the other vehicles beside him and several of them had even cut into his line. Yan Xie’s entire handsome countenance turned completely tense. Suddenly bursting into action, he violently slammed on the car horn loudly and thrust his head out the window—“CUT CUT CUT! TRY CUTTING AGAIN AND I’LL CUT YOUR DICK OFF! YOU’RE NOT GETTING IN!”
“Acting so tough with a lousy Volkswagen?! If you really have what it takes, don’t be here crowding the road. Go buy a helicopter instead!”
Yan Xie shot back, “Do you think I can’t fucking afford one?!”
A middle finger arrogantly poked out from the Toyota Cherry QQ car window opposite him. Then, the car abruptly signalled, sped up and forcefully cut its way into a space not even half a metre apart between the Volkswagen Phaeton and the rear of the car in front of him.
Anyone would be alarmed by such a move. It almost made Yan Xie break out in cold sweat. He immediately stepped on the brakes, lurching the car to a stop to make way. The stream of loud honks that clamored from behind him instantly formed a sea of protests.
“FUCK YOUR ENTIRE FAMILY!” Yan Xie was in a thundering rage. “I’M DRIVING A FUCKING-”
Jiang Ting calmly spoke out, “Shout louder. Tell the world you’re driving a Volkswagen Phaeton. All the cars on the road will come to overtake yours later on, all because you’re more scared of it getting scratched than them. Go ahead and try if you don’t believe me.”
Yan Xie angrily raised his car window against the exhaust of the Toyota Cherry QQ’s victory.
Jiang Ting’s seated posture was elegant yet relaxed. Both his hands were folded on his lap and not a single trace of frustration was visible on his face. Yan Xie took several glances at him from the rearview mirror. The more he looked, the more furious he became. “Can’t you sit in front?” he asked.
“Why should I?”
“Sitting at the back like that, are you treating me like a DiDi driver ?”
“I wouldn’t dare trouble you. Now, Vice-captain Yan, can you please drop me off at the intersection up ahead?“
“Where are you heading once I dropped you off? Gongzhou City’s Public Security Department?”
Jiang Ting shifted his gaze to the window and fell silent.
Yan Xie gave a snort. Just then, it so happened that the car ahead of him began moving forward. Before he could realized it, another Toyota forcible swerved into the lane from the left. Just like that, he could only look on helplessly as he missed a green light.
“Fu- @#￥*&*…” Yan Xie was so used to driving a police car, that he practically almost choked himself to death with fury after being overtaken. He gave up on heading into the city altogether. Seeing a gap at the fork of the flyover turning right ahead, he immediately turned around to squeeze through the lane and charged down, giving a BMW such a fright that the car alarm almost went off.
Three seconds later, Yan Xie, fuming with anger, changed lanes and drove in a direction heading far away from the heart of the city.
Lakeside was a lofty residential area that was newly developed in Jianning in the last two years. Both the infrastructure and manmade landscapes were so comprehensive that one could well imagine the cost of rent was exactly like a crane in a flock of chickens. Yan Xie seemed rather unfamiliar with the roads here as he had been driving his car around for quite a while now. He eventually found the entrance to an underground car park. After parking his car, they went straight up to the 18th floor using the elevator. Yan Xie only managed to find the correct key to unlock the door after trying a total of three times.
“What’s wrong? Come in.” A bewildered Yan Xie said.“This is really my house. I won’t charge you for breaking and entering.”
Jiang Ting eventually strolled into the apartment before Yan Xie shut the door behind them with a ‘Bang!’.
“Sofa. TV. There’s water in the fridge.” Yan Xie indicated while unbuttoning his shirt. “I’m going to take a shower and wash my hair. Sit here and don’t move. We’ll talk once I’m done. If you run without me knowing, you better watch out or…”
Stopping himself, he turned to face Jiang Ting, his lips curling into a malicious grin.
Jiang Ting raised his brow.
“You’ll no longer have that black frame around your name on the public security network.”
Yan Xie curled his fingers into the shape of a heart at Jiang Ting with both his hands. Smiling, he turned away and confidently threw his shirt into his room, revealing a naked yet supple back, then headed into the bathroom with a flip of his towel.
The first time Jiang Ting noticed the hotheaded Yan Xie was several years ago. He hadn’t noticed him because of his achievements in apprehending the drug dealer during the operation back then. Instead it was due to the fearless display he put on when the rewards were being given according to merits after the operation, as well as the fortitude he showed in splashing blood all over anyone’s gravestone if they dared to take his credit away from him.
It was exactly then that he caught wind of information that this young inspector with an extraordinary name had came from a significant background. The exception was, his background wasn’t from the legal system. His family was just hella rich and loaded.
As to why Yan Xie wasn’t driving around with sports cars picking up hot models when he was loaded, and had instead come running over to serve the force as an investigator—a profession where even having eighteen lives wasn’t enough in the line of duty—Jiang Ting hadn’t questioned him more about it.
Several years back, there were too many things to consider and plan. His brain was constantly revolving around several processes. Thus, to be honest, being able to remember that someone like Yan Xie existed when he had the time to relax, was already considered a remarkable feat.
Yan Xie’s wet, black hair was sticking out in all sorts of directions, looking exceptionally wilder than before. Facing the mirror, he did a little trimming. After checking his hair over and over again to make sure that they were at a good length, he rubbed his dry hair roughly while making his way back to the living room. He was then greeted by the sight of Jiang Ting, predictably sitting there comfortably on the sofa, flipping through a book from god knows where he dug it out from; and a cup of hot, steaming tea placed before him.
“Hey you,” Yan Xie blurted out, “Why are you messing with my stuff?”
“Carl Jung’s The Red Book. ” Jiang Ting closed the book, lightly tossing the hard-copy onto the coffee table and asked, “You understand this book?”
Shooting a glance at the blood red cover, Yan Xie couldn’t recall exactly when he purchased it from. He probably bought it in bulk together with other books to decorate his study room when Dangdang.com was having a sale back then. After all, it was rather embarrassing to have a bare 900,000 yuan bookshelf left unused.
“Of course n-” Yan Xie paused just then, his gaze meeting Jiang Ting’s half-teasing look out of the corner of his eyes. He instantly corrected himself, “Of course I can understand it. You looking down on me?”
Jiang Ting’s lips curled into a faint smile.
Yan Xie flung the towel used to rub his hair dry onto the back of a chair. Dragging the chair out, he boldly seated himself before Jiang Ting with his legs crossed, sizing him up and down.
Although Jiang Ting was slightly older than Yan Xie, it was hard to immediately tell just from his appearance. He was the type of person who always paid meticulous attention to their self-discipline and health as much as possible when he was young, and his presence was more reserved than Yan Xie’s. His features were also laced with a refined and cultured disposition that was rarely found in a field criminal investigator.
“Why did you decide to serve the force?” asked Yan Xie all of a sudden.
This question could be considered small talk so Jiang Ting didn’t bother replying to him directly. Instead, he threw the same question back at him, “Why did you decide to serve the force?”
“One who doesn’t study hard can only end up in this profession.” Yan Xie’s grin was dripping heavily with unmasked sarcasm. “Captain Jiang, you of all people should know.”
This was the first time he called him Captain Jiang.
“I don’t.” replied Jiang Ting. “I messed up my college examination and got into the People’s Public Security University of China.”
Yan Xie decided not to humiliate himself further. Once the opportunity came in the future, he’s going to go look into what university Jiang Ting had written as his first choice all those years ago.
He picked up the black tea Jiang Ting had brewed and took a sip out of it without hesitation before adding, “You’ve got a good eye. If I’m not mistaken, this tea costs almost a thousand yuan per fifty grams. I would have just settled with a random Lipton tea bag.”
Unperturbed, Jiang Ting calmly responded, “I wasn’t trying to take advantage of you. This was already the cheapest brand I could find from your tea boxes. I didn’t even dare to touch that Laotongxing tea brick.”
Sighing, Yan Xie said, “Just drink it. They’re supposed to be consumed anyway. If it wasn’t for that horrible traffic jam earlier, I wouldn’t even step into this place in a year. To be honest, this community was developed by my family, and this apartment is pretty poorly furnished. Please don’t laugh at it.”
As if he found Yan Xie’s words quite interesting, Jiang Ting settled into a more comfortable sitting position and smiled, “No. I dare not laugh at it.”
“Dare not? Then let me tell you something that’s even more laughable. Do you know why I chose to become a police officer?”
Jiang Ting didn’t reply. But Yan Xie didn’t seem to mind either and continued on by himself, “I hated studying when I was a kid. Most of the time, I just played hooky, hanging out with the guys out there. I can’t even remember how many times I was taken into custody just for fighting. My family runs a small coal mine business and had some money at least. Even though they managed bail me out every time, it didn’t help. As I grew older each passing year, I would eventually reach eighteen, the age when a person can be held liable for criminal activity. As time went on, the chief officer in charge of the station around my place came to my dad and said ‘You know, there are only two options available for someone like your boy who freeloads and spends their time in police stations—to fall under the honorable people’s democratic dictatorship, or become an honored member of it’.”
Jiang Ting translated for him, “So in other words, it’s either jail time for you or serve the force.”
“Exactly.” Yan Xie acted as if he was somewhat proud of it. “Then I applied to the police academy and successfully graduated with a rank of 336 in the investigation field. Afterwards, I became an honorable district police—by the way, there were about 380 students in the investigation department in my class.”
Judging by his expression, Jiang Ting was very certain he was just trying to clarify that he wasn’t the last in his class.
“I was assigned to a local police station, helping them record telephone frauds, catch perverts who groped girls’ butts on buses, mediate between quarreling couples in neighboring communities, climbed up windows to unlock doors for the elders who forgot their keys, and the like. The biggest case I handled all those years back was the time I had to chase a blasted purse-robber all the way down four streets and, after forcing him to the ground in the end, found a small pack of white powder on him. Because of that pack of white powder, I was commended publicly for the first time after serving the force for four years. My entire body felt lifted, as though I was on cloud nine. Soon, I submitted a petition to my supervisor requesting a change of office. I wanted to join the drug enforcement unit and became part of the team.”
Yan Xie took a sip of his tea and slowly said, “But the drug enforcement unit rejected me.”
Jiang Ting didn’t bother to comment.
Nobody knew for sure why exactly the drug enforcement unit refused to take Yan Xie at that time. Perhaps it was because his “battle records” prior to age eighteen was way too glorious, or his college grades were too bad, or simply due to the fact that his family would probably go crazy if this local super rich second generation ended up becoming a martyr one day.
“I really wanted to join the drug enforcement unit, but it couldn’t be helped when they didn’t want me. Back then, Gongzhou city’s anti-drug force was doing a fabulous job. Their name was mentioned and praised in the national public security system every year. It drew a lot of envy and admiration from others. So in the end, I simply submitted an application requesting a transfer to Gongzhou.”
Yan Xie paused for a second. There was a playful tone in his voice:
“Then guess what?”
“Criminal investigation suits you better than drug control. I would say you’re in the right field.” Jiang Ting calmly said.
Yan Xie ignored his comment.
“——The third day after I submitted that request, Deputy Director Wei Yao who was sent from the city bureau all the way to local offices to polish his skills, that same chief officer who had caught me over a dozen times and told my dad to force me to apply to the police academy, came over. He asked me to withdraw that petition, saying I was absolutely not allowed to go to Gongzhou but instead told me to pack up immediately and follow him to work under criminal investigation in the city bureau. Do you know what he said to me?”
Jiang Ting’s eyes slightly narrowed.
Yan Xie leaned forward with elbows rested on his thighs and hands clasped together as he flashed Jiang Ting a faint smile.
“He said the water in Gongzhou was too deep, and outsiders could easily drown in it, especially someone like me. He said that I shouldn’t think I could brutally wade through it just because my family was rich. Even if my family was wealthy enough to buy the entire Jianning City, once I went into Gongzhou, I might not even be able to leave there in one piece.”
“Well, counting the years, you were still the leader of the drug enforcement unit when he told me this last time. You were working your way in the place where people couldn’t even ‘leave in one piece’ like a duck to water—Now, Captain Jiang, may I ask you how you were feeling if you were to think back to those days?”
DiDi driver : The mobile platform taxi-calling application was developed by Chinese mobile application company Beijing Xiaoju Keji Co., Ltd. The application is one of the major taxi apps in China, with over 100 million users in more than 300 cities. (Stolen from Google)
Carl Jung’s The Red Book : The Red Book is a red leather‐bound folio manuscript crafted by the Swiss physician and psychologist Carl Gustav Jung between 1915 and about 1930. It recounts and comments upon the author’s imaginative experiences between 1913 and 1916, and is based on manuscripts first drafted by Jung in 1914–15 and 1917. (Stolen from Wikipedia)