BttC Chapter 2

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Volume 1: Case 502 – The Intoxicated Frozen Corpse

Chapter 2

Yan Xie, the Vice-Captain of the Criminal Investigation Unit under the Jianning Public Security Bureau, cum a 3rd-Class Inspector and a Leo—God had blessed him with the talent of a memer, yet he ran off to become a cop.

“This freezer? The freezer is used to store ice bags for the kitchen. The manager asked me to get some ice, but the instant I opened the door, this young man fell out all of a sudden and collided headfirst into me— Officer, I really don’t know anything. I was terrified to the point that I even wet myself. If you don’t believe me, look! The crotch of my pants is still wet now! …”

The flashlights of the trace specialists from the sub-bureau were flashing all over the place as the technicians bustled about collecting fingerprints, footprints, and any other possible evidence that could be found on the scene. With his shoe covers on, Yan Xie went over the investigation barriers and crouched down next to the body, then indicated to the corpse with his chin.

The sub-bureau’s forensic officer formally greeted him as ‘Vice-captain Yan’.

“What’s the situation?”

“The deceased seems to have gone through paradoxical undressing; judging by the bright red colour of the post-mortem hypostasis, and the small line of blisters visible where the naked torso and waistline meet. For now, the only thing we can say for sure is that he suffered from a severe case of hypothermia. It’s difficult for us to determine the time of death. Moreover, he was bleeding from all this facial orifices. To know more, we’ll need to do an autopsy on the body after getting back.”

Yan Xie prodded the hypostasis with his gloved finger, then narrowed his eyes slightly, the tip of his brows raising close to the hair at the edge of his temples. With his deep-set eyes and the high bridge of this nose, the angle made his countenance appear quite solemn for moment. Then he said, “That’s not right.”

Yan Xie, the Vice-Captain of the Criminal Investigation Unit under the Jianning Public Security Bureau, cum Head of the Primary Investigation Team; he was of a Deputy-Division-Head level, a 3rd-Class Inspector, and a Leo on top of that—he was well renowned within the public security system. After being a cop for more than a decade, he had garnered a string of legendary achievements worthy of being materials for Zhihu memers! At one point, he was voted one of the ‘Annual Top Ten Influential Figures’ of the city bureau because of a fight that broke out between him and a drug dealer during a booze raid.

The forensic officer from the sub-bureau didn’t dare neglect him, so he hastily asked, “What are your thoughts, Sir?”

“Paradoxical undressing—is basically when a person suffers severe hypothermia, a state where the core body temperature drastically drops and their mind becomes disoriented and confused. The hypothalamus, part of the brain that regulates body temperature, malfunctions and begins sending out wrong signals as a result. However, the problem here is that our stark-naked young man didn’t dump his clothes in the freezer. Could it be that he had already frozen to the point of going mad before diving into the freezer?”

The forensic officer was at a loss for words.

Yan Xie didn’t seem to mind that the forensic officer couldn’t answer his question, and simply gave an order, “Old Wan. Seal off the KTV and the back door to the small alley. Order your team to find the deceased’s clothes and any personal belongings he had on him. The most important items to look for are his wallet, keys, and mobile which will greatly help in identifying the deceased. When the technicians are retrieving the surveillance data, ask them to keep an eye out on any missing persons records reported to the centre recently, as well as those being reported in the next 24 hours. I’m sure people will notice that a living being has vanished all of a sudden.”

Wan Zhengguo, the Chief Investigation Officer of the sub-bureau’s team, followed his orders and dispatched his subordinates. Turning back, he said, “I doubt it. If he didn’t sneak in through the back door, then there is a high chance that someone already took the deceased’s belongings. There are many drunkards out there who become high and strip their own clothes off in such places.”

Both of them were crouching next to the body bag, their gaze fixed in consternation at the young man who had died in naked injustice. After a pause, Wan Zhengguo wondered aloud, “Say. Do you think this guy is a burglar? In the middle of a burglary, he must have fled into the freezer in a panic when he heard someone coming and killed himself without realizing it.”

Cases of accidental death during theft was a common sight and occurence to the police. Yan Xie didn’t reply instantly. After inspecting the body a moment longer, he answered, “Doesn’t seem like it.”


Yan Xie pulled down the waistband of the deceased’ pants and, using two fingers, pulled out the band with the brand logo of his underwear. “The work on this fabric is top notch. Even at a discount, it would cost 400-500 yuan. It’s easy to explain the high-end branded clothes and shoes he was wearing, but getting undergarments of this quality? That’s already an issue of his spending habit. If he was so loaded and still came here to be an ‘fingersmith’, isn’t that being a little too capricious?”

Wan Zhengguo let out a long ‘Hehhhh—’. Crossing his arms, he narrowed his eyes and sized Yan Xie from head to toe a few times before eventually saying, “Say, Deputy Yan.”

“What Deputy Yan? Call me Detachment Vice-Captain Yan. Who the hell is a deputy to a Chief Investigative Officer like you?”

Wan Zhengguo replied, “Fine. Detachment Vice-Captain Yan. You’re really a Detective Conan.”

Yan Xie’s remained unmoved by his words. “You flatter me too much. I know our comrades from the sub-bureau have always respected and admired me…”

Wan Zhengguo snorted, “People die wherever you go. You can even bumped into someone who froze to death in a freezer after sneaking in, just by singing karaoke. Are you sure you’re not the killer? Hurry up and confess so our comrades can finish this up and go home to bed.”

Yan Xie gave him a hard slap to the back of his head and berated him with a laugh, “Bah!— with your Brother Yan’s skills, if I did kill someone, would I even give you lot a chance to know I’m the culprit? ” After having his say, he fished out a cigarette and sauntered away.

“The surveillance camera at the rear entrance of the kitchen leading into the back alley kept breaking down. There really wasn’t anyone else apart from an illegally parked car and two trash bins. As time went on, I lost the patience to repair it as well… Wait just a moment, Officer. Tell me, why should I repair it? Am I waiting to catch illegally parked cars? That’s the traffic officers’ job!”

“Lose something? We place all the expensive drinks in a secure wine cellar. Who would want to steal these kitchen pots and pans? —yeah, yeah; I’ve never seen this guy before. I’m sure he’s not a regular. Our bar is aware of the compliance laws and operates within the regulations;  we don’t sell drinks with more than 40% alcohol in them. Officer, please tell me first; since this man was found dead in our bar, do we have to give a payout?!”

The KTV had already been cleared of people and sealed with tape barriers. An officer from the sub-bureau was currently taking down Yang Mei’s statement in the lounge. The officer instantly stood up the moment Yan Xie walked over with a cigarette in his mouth. “Vice-captain Yan. Please have a seat.”

Yan Xie acknowledged him with a curt ‘yeah’. Just as he was about to sit down, he suddenly caught sight of something not far from them that made him immediately pause in his tracks.

A young man sitting in a wheelchair with his side to them, was currently being interrogated by an officer.

The recently evacuated music lounge looked like a complete mess, with stench of years worth of cosmetics, tobacco and alcohol still lingering in the air. A lonely spotlight shining from the other end highlighted the man’s jet black hair and brow, and his excessively pale skin. A character in stark contrast to the surrounding environment that looked extremely conspicuous.

Yan Xie point at him with his cigarette butt, “Who’s that?”

The police officer gestured for Yang Mei to respond.

“…” Yang Mei, who had been anxious about whether she had to fork out cash earlier, swallowed the lump in her throat. Her voice sounded a little faint as she replied, “He’s my fiance.”

The officer’s pen fell to the ground with a clatter.

Appearing unfazed, Yan Xie continued to ask, “Why is he in a wheelchair?”

“We got engaged… in a county town. Afterwards, he came to Jianning to find me and got involved in a car accident. He fell into a coma for some time and only recently regained his consciousness, so he can’t freely move around just yet…” Yang Mei toyed with her hair nervously before continuing, “I just brought him home from the hospital today. For now, he’ll be staying at the living quarters we have upstairs.”

Sizing Jiang Ting up and down for a moment, Yan Xie asked, “Which county are you from?”

Yang Mei told him the name of a remote county. Yan Xie replied with a non-committal sound before saying, “Your county town seems to be quite renown for giving birth to great men.”

Yang Mei felt her gut squirm, not quite understanding what he was trying to say by those words. Her eyes trailed after him as Yan Xie stood and strolled over to them.

“You saw the deceased pacing about in the back alley?” said the interrogating officer as he jotted things down. “How did you see him? What was the deceased doing at that time?- Ah, Vice-Captain Yan!”

The officer was just about to give his seat away to him, when Yan Xie abruptly pushed him back down by his shoulders. As he swept over, Yan Xie grabbed the half-complete statement he was writing, and without raising his head, his mouth still holding onto the cigarette butt, he ordered, “Continue.”

Jiang Ting eyed Yan Xie for a while before calmly withdrawing his gaze.

“….he seemed to be waiting for someone back then.”

“Oh?” said the officer.

“We didn’t talk. We only saw at each other’s faces. He was wearing a blue jumper and carrying a black backpack on his back. It looked kind of like a school bag. I only managed to catch a glimpse of him from afar before he immediately left. From the way he was acting, it seemed like was being very watchful of something.”

The sub-bureau’s investigators soon came over with evidence bags in hand. “Vice-captain Yan! We found this next to the trash bins in the back alley. Chief Wan told us to let you examine it first!”

Grabbing the evidence bag, Yan Xie took a look and discovered a linen blue jumper inside. “There was no wallet, mobile phone, or keys?”

The investigator shook his head a few times.

“Did you find a black backpack?”

The investigator uneasily answered, “We searched the area multiple times. There’s only this jumper.”

“Alright.” Yan Xie handed the evidence bag to Jiang Ting. “Is this the one you saw?”

Jiang Ting did not make a move to take it. He merely glanced at the item held in Yan Xie’s hand and nodded.

Yan Xie returned the bag to the investigator. “Give this to the technicians and also remind the trace specialists to get a trace of the fingerprints on the inner walls of the freezer’s door and compare it with the deceased’s. If there is a match, the deceased is the one who snuck into the freezer. Otherwise, the freezer’s door was shut tight by the perpetrator. Then the whole nature of the case will change.”

The investigator scuttled off in a hurry. Turning around, Yan Xie didn’t say a word and instead, stared at Jiang Ting as he towered over him.

The officer getting the statement was confused. Jiang Ting didn’t say anything either. Suddenly, their surrounding became extremely silent. After a period, Yan Xie indicated the wheelchair with his cigarette-butt. “What happened?”

“Car accident.” Jiang Ting calmly replied. “I was speeding and collided with a truck.”

“Can you still stand?”

“The doctor says I need some time to recuperate.”

Yan Xie gave a nod. His eyes narrowed as though deep in thought; then out of the blue, he asked, “Have I seen you somewhere before?”

Jiang Ting faced his penetrating stare straight on, and perfectly feigned a blank expression.

“What’s your name?”

“Lu Chengjiang. It’s written on the statement.”

Yan Xie repeated the name one word at a time. “Lu, Cheng, Jiang.”

In that instant, the air became extremely strange. Yan Xie’s face was hidden behind the cigarette smoke, so nobody could tell what this sloven leader of the investigation team was mulling over in his mind. Even the inspectors from the sub-bureau could only blink and stand there, at a complete loss over what to do.

Not far behind them, Yang Mei had completed recording her statement and was walking over nervously.

As the lingering clouds shroud all in gloom, as the seasonal rain pours; darkness encroaches from the eight cardinal directions, reshaping the land into a river. [1]” muttered Yan Xie. He brushed his chin with the palm of his hand before blurting out, “What an excellent name.”

Yang Mei’s footsteps came to an sudden stop.

Jiang Ting calmly replied, “Thank you, Officer.”

“That’s enough. Tell your Old Wan to get ready to leave.” ordered Yan Xie as he shoved the statement back at the officer. Turning on his heels, he headed straight to the back. “Deliver the body back to the sub-bureau for analysis. Every personnel involved in the case need to prepare to be on standby duty! Little Ma!

His subordinate, Ma Xiang, had been speaking with the technician from the sub-bureau just then. He hurried over in an instant after hearing his name called. “Ho! Brother Yan!”

“Grab the car. Let’s go.”

“—Hey, Officer?” Yang Mei was at a loss. Without thinking, she reached out to stop him from leaving. “That’s it? You’re going home?”

Yan Xie coldly retorted, “Oh right. I haven’t paid you yet. Bring the POS machine here and print me an invoice. Ma Xiang, remind me to make a phone call to the 315 Consumers Association tomorrow…”

“Don’t, Handsome!” Yang mei, who loved money as much as her life, was terrified in an instant. “I’m already very sorry for troubling you all to come over this late in the night. How can I ask for your money? So no-no-no! Don’t! Take it back! Take it back! Don’t- Takeitback!”

Looking like a disaster-stricken victim forcefully shoving soft boiled eggs to the liberation army, she forced the card back to Yan Xie with a charming smile on her face, “Oh my! Look at you, why are you being so cold… Honestly, all I wanted to ask was when the investigation results will be released, and how soon we can get an explanation for this incident?””

Yan Xie pulled out a couple of bills, flinging it at the counter. “Ask the sub-bureau.”

“You’re not in charge?”

“Cases not involving guns and drugs, with less than three deaths will not be escalated to the city bureau.” Yan Xie waves his hand as he made straight for the entrance and, without turning his head, continued, “Of course, if guns and drugs were involved, the scam you’re running here would be done for! —Ma Xiang. Let’s go!

Rooted to the spot, Yang Mei stared blankly as the police carried the corpse away and sealed off the site. After everyone left, she was almost in tears as she asked, “What’s going on? Brother Jiang. Brother Jiang?”

Hands clasped together, Jiang Ting remained silent. Under the lights of the hollow money-grubbing den bereft of its people and music, the line of his pointed jaw visibly trailed along the side of his neck, arcing down into the collar of his shirt.

After a momentary pause, he croaked out, “I’ve seen him before.”

Before she knew it, Yang Mei found herself blurting out, “What?”

“Yan Xie.”

Stunned, she watched as Jiang Ting’s brows knit slightly; then after a good while, he began explaining. “Five years ago, there was a big case. A joint-operation between Gongzhou and Jianning that I was in charge of, this man charged in alone and clashed with an armed drug dealer. He beat the man to death using a wine bottle. During the celebratory event, he sat on stage while I sat down below, so I’ve seen him once from afar. He later got promoted to Vice-Captain of the Detachment because of that incident.”

Yang Mei’s heart skipped a beat.

“That person doesn’t play by the rules. I used to…”

“Used to what?” asked Yang Mei.

He broke off with a short pause, then finally continued, “I don’t agree with the fact that he got promoted to Vice-Captain because of that incident. However, I do rather admire him as a person.”

Unable to pinpoint exactly where, Yang Mei’s women intuition told her that Jiang Ting seemed to be hiding something from her. But as to what he was hiding and why, he wouldn’t tell her. Jiang Ting didn’t explain further. After waiting for quite a while, Yang Mei could only awkwardly say, “Then it’s fortunate. Fortunate that this case won’t fall into his hands.”

Yet, as Jiang Ting maneuvered the wheelchair along, he turned back as though catching sight of something. Then shook his head and said, “Maybe I should have listened to you and stayed in the hospital for a couple more days.”

The sirens stuck onto the Grand Cherokee was switched off as the vehicle sped down the deserted streets this late night. Yan Xie rode shotgun, flipping through each of the pictures taken on site with the car lights on. All of a sudden, he looked up and stared ahead, deep in his own train of thoughts.

Hands on the steering wheels, Ma Xiang shot him a glance. “Brother Yan, what’s wrong? Want to go eat some noodles to sober up?”

Ignoring him, Yan Xie abruptly asked, “Did you get a look at the guy in the wheelchair earlier?”

“Hey Brother Yan, I know you want to talk about this. Don’t you worry! Those kind of weak and sickly beauties are not the popular type to go for nowadays! You will always be the number one Jiangning city bureau’s police hottie in our hearts…”

“Don’t you find him familiar?”

Surprised, Ma Xiang replied, “Nope.”

“Yet I have this nagging feeling that I’ve seen him somewhere before.”

Yan Xie shut his eyes for a long moment, before fluttering them open again. He had tried searching deep within his mind but to no avail. Amidst his chaotic memories, an indescribable palpitation accompanied by a strange taste spreaded out from the root of his tongue, as though there used to be a faintly discernible figure there who was almost within his reach yet difficult to attain. It slipped away in a flash, the figure submerging back into the depths of his memories.

A while later, he took in a deep breath and mumbled, “But I can’t remember for now.”

Meanwhile at the outskirts of the city.

At the end of this desolate land, lay the city’s sea of lights; the night breeze brushing against the mountaintop. In the distance, the stars shone resplendently; a grid-like galaxy of stars spanning across the sky overhead.

“That’s Dubhe, Mizar, Alkaid, and the Big Dipper. Going down following the curve of the handle of the Big Dipper is Arcturus, the brightest star in Bootes. If you continue to look on, that white star over there is Spica.”

The young lady tilted her head to the side to gaze at her lover, her beautiful eyes filled with love and admiration. “It’s so pretty!”

“Yeah. Spica is the brightest star in Virgo, two hundred and sixty light years away from Earth.”

Her lover paused slightly as though recalling something, a small smile then formed at the corner of his lips.

“Brave and courageous, great at campaigns and wars, the Horn mansion was known as the first amongst the twenty-eight Mansions in ancient times. Yet, did you know? No matter when you see it, Spica is always a flawless shade of pure white, similar to a virgin.“

His voice was deep and low; yet mellow, rich, and tender; akin to an intoxicating night breeze. As though her heart was under a spell, the girl mustered her courage, abruptly taking a small step forward. Tilting her head upwards, she trembled as she said, “You…”

Just then, the satellite phone rang in the car not far from them.

The man smiled, gesturing for her to wait a moment before heading towards the off-road vehicle. Picking up the phone, he questioned, “Hello?”

The girl hesitated for a moment before trailing after him. Half of her lover’s body was hidden behind the shadows, so she couldn’t see his expression clearly. She could only manage to hear some of the conversation coming from the receiver, “… Patient No. 538’s condition, after …”

A moment later, he responded, “Understood.”

Hanging up the phone, he stood by the car for a time.

From a distant place, both the short and long cries of insects sounded out from the underbrush. A breeze filled with a lingering fragrance of both spring and early summer swept past the plains and river, brushing back the young lady’s soft hair.

Unaware of how much time had passed, the man finally turned back to face her and said, “It’s time to head back.”

But tonight you said…

Yet, her lover very gently said, “Let’s just get in.”

Pursing her lips, the girl didn’t dare deny him, so she could only unhappily move ahead.

Under the night sky, a remodeled H2 sped across the meandering barren lands, driving towards the boundless sea of lights and world of the living at the end of the horizon.

Translator’s Notes:

As the lingering clouds shroud all in gloom, as the seasonal rain pours; darkness encroaches from the eight cardinal directions, reshaping the land into a river. [1]: The lines came from Tao Yuanming’s Lingering Clouds. It goes like this:

停 云 霭 霭 时 雨 濛 濛。

八 表 同 昏 平 陆 成 江。

Ting yun ai ai Shi yu meng meng

Ba biao tong hun Ping lu cheng jiang

The first and the last character of the stanza spells out Jiang Ting’s name while the last three characters (Land reshaping into a river) spells out Lu Chengjiang (Jiang Ting’s pseudonym). I don’t want to go too deep into this poem so I will just let the plot unfolds on its own. 🙂

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13 thoughts on “BttC Chapter 2

  1. Hmmm.. it feels like that guy at the end is the villain.. tho why did he not kill JT though? Hahaha anyway ufufu i wonder who’s our shoushou and gong xD

    Thanks for the chapter!!~

  2. Keep up the translation work! Support Poyun all the way <3

    Fyi, the two lines of poem Yan Xie recites is interesting in the native Chinese. The first and last characters make up Jiang Ting's name while the last three his alias. Also, the first two characters is a hint for the greater plot.

  3. Hi, I finally got around to reading~
    Also, I suggest ‘fingersmith’ instead of ‘artisan’ to translate 手艺人, since fingersmith is English slang for a petty thief and gets the message through.

  4. I loved the Detective Conan reference lol, didn’t the ban the anime in China? I think I read that somewhere ages ago. Anyway, love the work you’re doing, I just found this so I’m trying to read it all in one go before I start stacking again 🙂

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