Volume 1: Case 502 — The Intoxicated Frozen Corpse
Considering our differences in physique, I can just peek at you whenever I want. There is literally no need for me to arrange it on purpose.
Edited by AlexPT
If witnessing Jiang Ting “doing drugs” last night was the most unnerving ten seconds of his life, then right now was the time to test if Yan Xie, as a man who understood responsibility, dependability, and professionalism, possessed basic ethical standards.
With great restraint, Yan Xie tamped down the urge to seize Jiang Ting’s hand, force him to hurl the earpiece out the car and then brutally run it over twenty times. Due to the immensity of the effort put into exercising such control, his facial muscles were now a bit strained. “… Have … have you washed it?”
“?” Jiang Ting replied, “I thought electronics of this type would be ruined if you run it through water.”
Yan Xie, “…”
The two shared a lengthy stare. Jiang Ting started getting impatient. “Do you still want it or not?”
Yan Xie lifted his arm inch by inch, an uncontrollable tremor in his fingers. With knuckle-whitening strength, he forced himself to pinch the edge of the sealed bag, then shoved it whole into his trouser pocket with a speed that could vie with lightning. In that moment, he felt like what he grabbed was a sizzling lit fuse and a whole ten kilograms of C4.
Jiang Ting mulled it over and over, and still he couldn’t figure out what might have caused the other man to act like this. So, he asked, “Are you germophobic? Those who have germophobia won’t make it as a criminal investigator.”
Yan Xie tugged on a smile, one that looked as though his facial muscles were convulsing.. “N-no, uh, it’s just the case is really stressing me out.”
“No need to be too worried.”
Yan Xie was still absorbed in the panic of about-to-be-detonated C4s. “What?”
“… Are you really okay today?” Jiang Ting’s brows knitted together. “I said there’s no need to worry. With Hu Weisheng dead, this case is not far off from being cracked soon.”
Yan Xie stared at him with a guileless look.
Under such a look, Jiang Ting ultimately grew quite helpless. He asked with a glance at the time, “You haven’t eaten yet, have you.”
“Ah? Yeah, no?”
“Treat me to a meal.” Jiang Ting started the car, saying, “Give me a rundown of every clue up till now.”
Premier House, a private room.
The waitress collected the menu from Jiang Ting, turning and leaving with light footsteps. Only after that, did Yan Xie finally pick back up and finish the sentence that he had abruptly cut off.
“— And that’s the full recap. The dispatch center records show that in just the recent two months, the Yihe Road police station had received two calls placing reports against behaviors relating to prostitution at ‘Three Spring Trees KTV’. The jurisdiction’s police brigade and command center have both corroborated this fact, so this can prove that last night’s raid wasn’t premeditated.”
Jiang Ting opened a moist towelette packet, meticulously wiping every single finger.
“The raid was most likely not.” He paused, and continued, “But the call was.”
“I thought so too, so I followed up on that police call. It came from a public phone booth, paid with change. Placing a police report this way is quite unusual, yet also very deliberate. The roadside CCTV didn’t catch the caller’s face, and judging from his body shape and form, all we can tell is that it’s some old fellow about fifty to sixty years old.”
Yan Xie nodded.
“…It’s not so much the reporting method that’s noteworthy — suppose he’s an ordinary bystander, afraid that the club owner may have connections and that there will be retaliatory actions afterwards, so he then purposefully uses a coin-operated payphone to place the police report — that just about makes for an acceptable reasoning.” Jiang Ting paused for a beat in contemplation, then added, “But normally when it comes to anti-vice reports, for the most part they’re made by young people or old ladies; middle- to old-aged male complainants in their fifties are relatively rare.”
Yan Xie inclined his head in agreement. Then, as if struck with a sudden grievance, he objected, “What do you mean by that? If it was me, even when I’m seventy or eighty, if I see someone soliciting prostitution I will resolutely report it just the same!”
“…Sir, your onsen egg over rice and your marbled beef barbecue set.”
The waitress set down the food with a face aglow with red. She lit up the small barbecue rack, and retreated out of the room in the conspicuous silence.
Jiang Ting mixed the egg yolk and rice with his chopsticks, commenting languidly, “It’s fine, she was just overwhelmed by your righteousness.”
Yan Xie, “………”
“How many people at your police department were in the know about last night’s operation?” Jiang Ting asked without even raising his head, taking a bite of his rice that had been stirred to extra fluffiness.
Yan Xie stared at him eat while barbecuing his own beef, thinking that, truly, this man’s appetite was fussy to the point where it was exceedingly unmanly. It was just rice. What was with all the demands? Not only had it needed to be steamed till soft with an egg yolk cracked on top, but also it had to be low in oil, low in salt, and no green onions — god knew if this guy also had to have twelve blankets tucked under him when going to sleep at night, as if he was that princess with the pea.
“It wasn’t confidential, but it wasn’t like a large group of people knew either, at least not large enough to explain how even you turned up at Three Spring Trees.” Yan Xie forcibly dragged his eyes away. “That night’s operation task force, the logistics department, the command center — altogether that makes it roughly over fifty people who knew that Three Spring Trees was the location, but only the people carrying out the operation knew the actual details.”
Jiang Ting thoroughly chewed and swallowed that bite of rice. Only then, did he say, “On my end, I just had Yang Mei assign people to wait in front of the city bureau and monitor every move of that Phaeton of yours, is all.”
Yan Xie, “… Next time I will switch cars.”
“Then what about the people who handled Hu Weisheng’s vial of diamorphine?”
In short order, Yan Xie cooked his marbled wagyu beef, gobbled down half a bowl of rice with the meat and the sides, swiped up a napkin, ran it across his mouth, then said, “Way too many to count. Normally, with seized drugs that haven’t gotten around to being destroyed yet, there’s the stockkeeper, inventory regulator, lab, technicians, forensics, Counterdrug Unit, Criminal Investigation Unit, K-9 Specialist Unit…”
Jiang Ting’s expression was displeased.
“According to the usual procedure, as long as they made sure that the total weight of drugs at final disposal matched the kilos that were confiscated, then all’s fine. And it’s only with this thing happening that Chief Lü finally realized there are flaws with our management in this area. He’s now ordering Huang Xing and his men to do an in-depth review.”
Jiang Ting ate his rice unhurriedly, pretty much chewing down every single grain before swallowing, the very embodiment of prim and proper table manners. It formed a great contrast with the other side of the table, where Yan Xie was demolishing the battlefield with all the force of a hurricane.
“Gongzhou used to handle it this way in the early days as well,” he said. “Though the damage has been done, a stitch in time will still save nine. Your Chief Lü is quite the figure in the police system.”
Yan Xie’s mouth was stuffed full of meat. “Mm-hmm?”
Jiang Ting lowered his chopsticks. He rang the bell for the staff to come and clear away his dish, a little less than half of his food still left over.
“Eh?” Yan Xie lifted his head incredulously. “You’re done eating just like that? It’s not to your liking?”
“No, I’m full.”
“Full? Why are you like a cat?”
The moment the words were out, the room became extraordinarily quiet. Jiang Ting was expressionless, while Yan Xie wore an expression brimming with straight male cluelessness.
After a long while, Jiang Ting finally managed to ask, “… Why do you always take issue with the way I eat?”
“What? No I don’t, that’s nonsense,” Yan Xie immediately denied it. “Why would I care about your eating, what’s that have to do with me?”
“…” Alas, Jiang Ting wasn’t stupid; this habit of Yan Xie’s where he just had to bitch a couple times whenever they ate, it was simply him finding something to pick on because he had nothing better to do.
“Honestly it’s just that I feel like…” Yan Xie swallowed his mouthful of food. He then poured himself a cup of sake and drank it in one gulp, and continued as if nothing of note had just happened, “Usually when you get back even a little late, Yang Mei’ll have worried herself into a frenzy. And today you’re out eating with me, if it happens that you’re still hungry when you get back, then Yang Mei’s definitely gonna curse out me and all my ancestors behind my back. If that happens, that’ll be so unfair on me, now won’t it?”
Jiang Ting said mildly, “How does this have anything to do with Yang Mei.”
“How does it not? She’s your girlfriend, isn’t she?”
Yan Xie persisted, “She really isn’t?”
Jiang Ting’s hand that was raising a teacup halted in midair. It seemed as though he came to a realization, and he went on to rest a scrutinizing gaze on Yan Xie for a moment, a peculiar look in his eyes.
“… You seem particularly invested in Yang Mei’s relationship status. You’re interested in her?”
“Huh? No no no, none of that, none of that, none of that, I’m purely …”
“She used to be my informant, she has a good character, and she’s not bad all around either. If you want to chase her you could try your hand at it.”
“No no no, listen to me, it’s really not that.” Yan Xie frantically waved his hands to protest his innocence, saying with a grin, “Although I do lack a girlfriend, but if it’s someone like Miss Yang, I’m gonna have to pass — what about you, Captain Jiang? If you’ve got any sisters or something, wanna introduce them to me?”
From Jiang Ting’s expression he was probably thinking that Yan Xie was off his rockers again. But the good thing about someone who had superior self-control and etiquette lay in that, even if he was conversing with a madman, he could still maintain a relatively graceful equanimity. “I don’t have sisters.”
Yan Xie followed without missing a beat, “Then brothers?”
Jiang Ting: “………”
Yan Xie sat there shamelessly, a look full of eager anticipation on his face.
“None,” Jiang Ting said word by word, “I am an only child.”
The disappointment in Yan Xie’s eyes wasn’t false, whereupon Jiang Ting imperceptibly scooted backwards, as if to sit as far away from the man as possible.
“Ai, I’m also the only progeny of my family, so there sure is a lot of pressure from the folks to get married and start a family,” Yan Xie lamented so-very-naturally. “You get it, right, Captain Jiang? Men like us, we’re already this age after all — hey I say, how about the two of us first…”
He hadn’t even gotten out the second half of the sentence, “first go back to the bureau”, when suddenly he was interrupted by a clang from the other side. He looked over to find that Jiang Ting had shot up from his seat, and was for some reason standing ramrod straight, wariness emanating from his every pore.
“You carry on eating.”
Yan Xie, “???”
“I’m going to the restroom.”
Yan Xie was left scratching his head as he just sat there and watched Jiang Ting do an about-face and march away, deserting him without even a backwards glance.
“Gotta take a dump right after he eats?” so said Heterosexual Yan.
He waved over the waitress for the bill. While paying, he made a comment critiquing how “your place’s onsen egg rice was so terrible my friend didn’t even finish it”. But he then gave a tip under the indignant waitress’s silent glare, and received the other’s one-sided exoneration for all past transgressions.
He got his things and was ready to get up and leave, when suddenly his phone rang.
“Hello?” Yan Xie answered, a cigarette between his lips. “Ma Xiang?”
Jiang Ting stood in front of the washbasin methodically washing his hands. Suddenly there was a “whoosh” sound behind him, and in came Yan Xie barging through the door, saying, “Come with me, someone reported —”
Jiang Ting spun around with a start. His first reaction was to look down, making sure his fly was properly zipped up.
“Next time, could you knock first, Captain Yan?” Jiang Ting’s voice sounded a bit like it was squeezed out between gritted teeth. “I don’t believe we’re close enough to the point where we can admire each other relieving himself yet.”
“The chemical plant just made a report. Last night, taking advantage of his familiarity with the loopholes in the management, the victim Feng Yuguang’s roommate Chu Ci stole a control room employee’s access keycard, stabbed and wounded a security guard, then disappeared after stealing large quantities of controlled chemical substances.”
Yan Xie waved his phone, then fixed a droll gaze on Jiang Ting’s face. With the utmost politeness and penitence, he said, “Sorry, but considering our differences in physique, I can just peek at you whenever I want. So really, my apologies for just then, it truly wasn’t intentional.”
Jiang Ting: “……”