Author: 长洱 / Chang’er
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
More onlookers had started to gather around the entrance of Yongchuan University.
When Xing Conglian heard what Wang Shishi’s mother had said, his expression turned cold, and he turned to look at the campus security. The security guards looked at each other as if they were clueless about it.
“Do you have the specific photos you can provide to the police?”
“I have it!”
Wang Shishi’s mother was extremely prepared. She took out a stack of photos from her arms.
When Xing Conglian was about to take the photo, the woman slanted her hand and held the photo high as she shouted loudly, “Those so-called top students at Yongchuan University wantonly spread the photos of my daughter, and the school did nothing to stop them, forcing her to commit suicide!”
Hearing these words, Xing Conglian quickly took a step forward and blocked the woman and the photo she was holding from the reporters’ cameras that would rip apart the girl’s last fig leaf*.
*(遮羞布) Metaphor for something used to hide shame. Basically, her last sense of dignity.
“Please give me the photo,” he said.
Wang Shishi’s mother also didn’t expect the police’s attitude to be so tough. She raised her head and stared at the policeman in front of her and said, “Why? Does the police want to protect the school as well?”
Xing Conglian lowered his head and stared at the woman in front of him. His eyes became extremely cold.
In this world, how could a mother who loved her daughter make such a scene at the school when her daughter’s bones weren’t even cold yet and, on top of that, try to publicize her daughter’s nude photos in front of the public’s eyes? All she wanted to do was take this opportunity to use the media to blow things up, then use the power of public opinion to blackmail the school and drain every last drop of her daughter’s blood.
With this in mind, his eyes narrowed slightly. There was a deep and cold feeling behind them. “This has nothing to do with protecting any parties. It only has to do with whether the law has been broken. If you do not hand over those photos, I will arrest you for the crime of spreading obscene articles.”
“You!” The woman only said one word, but she couldn’t go on.
She could obviously say a lot more, such as accusing the police of abusing their powers or accusing the police of bullying a weak woman like her; both legally and morally, she had a lot to say… But at the moment, she suddenly realized that every word the policeman said wasn’t a bluff. He would really handcuff her in full view of the public.
As a lawyer, given the situation, being handcuffed by the police could be considered a glorious thing, but the policeman in front of her was too solemn. She even smelled an unusual indomitability in his attitude, which made her unable to resist. She trembled almost uncontrollably while her hands subconsciously handed over the thick stack of photos.
Xing Conglian lowered his head and took the photos with both hands, seeing the pale face of a young girl in them. He said gently, “Thank you for your trust. The police will do their best to investigate this matter.”
When he finished speaking, he didn’t look at the woman’s face again, but submitted the photos to Jiang Chao.
When the woman saw Xing Conglian turn around, she clenched her fist tightly. He had threatened the dissemination of obscene articles, so she could no longer use these photos even if given the chance. How could a police officer do this to the family of the deceased?!
Without being able to use these photos in the future, media reporters wouldn’t pay much attention to her daughter’s death, and she would lose the best bargaining chip to put pressure on the school.
Despite things blowing up like this, she no longer had the chance to make trouble again. No matter what, she had to take a stand. She didn’t know where she got the courage from, but she glared at Xing Conglian’s back and said coldly, ” Ha, I knew it. You won’t even give the family of the deceased a statement!”
“What do you want us to say?” Xing Conglian turned around and asked.
His eyes were sharp, and his words were like a knife. The woman was forced to turn her head and only dared stare at the old man that was standing by the door as she shouted, “This kind of thing happened at the school. My daughter was forced to kill herself. Isn’t this the school management’s negligence? Are you going to leave this matter unresolved?”
“If something like this happens at the school, our school certainly has an inescapable responsibility…” At that moment, the old man who had been standing to the side spoke.
“If you’re responsible, then say it!” The woman was overjoyed. The school had admitted fault, so she could make as many demands as she wanted. But before she could speak, the old man in front of her suddenly stood up.
“As the head of this school, on behalf of the university, I apologize to you,” the old man said as he bent down. It was a standard 90-degree bow that was done with great solemnity.
Cameras started flashing everywhere.
Lin Chen was sitting in the car as he looked at the bent back of his teacher in the center of the crowd. His hand clenched the door handle with such force that his joints bulged, exposing blue veins.
The teachers, students, and employees of Yongchuan University who were watching felt pained. They shouted one after another. Xu Guoqing hurriedly went to help the old man, but the old man forcefully refused.
The woman didn’t expect such a simple and sincere apology from Yongchuan University. She seemed to have lost her reason to continue to make trouble, but at this point, there was no turning back. She could only continue to be tough. “Can an apology solve the problem?”
Hearing this, Xing Conglian retracted his gaze from the police car that was parked on the side of the road. He glanced at the surrounding teachers and students, then said to the woman in front of him, “Since the principal is also here, you can mention any request you have. The police can also help you bear witness.”
His voice was low but clear as it suppressed the countless noisy voices in the area.
For a while, there was silence all around. Everyone’s eyes once again focused on the woman dressed in mourning clothes. The reporters leaned their microphones forward, as if waiting for her to speak.
The woman’s heart trembled as she looked at all the burning eyes focused on her. She silently cursed the policeman 10,000 times in her heart. What do you mean request? What do you mean bear witness? The policeman obviously knew she wanted compensation, but by forcing her to speak in public, how could she directly ask for money?
She took two steps back. She stroked her forehead and whispered, “I’m tired… I want to go to an office to talk.”
Hearing this, Xing Conglian didn’t speak but just glanced at the old man.
Principal Su received the signal and said very humbly, “Mother Wang, if you have any requests, please tell this old man now. If we can do it, we’ll try our best, but if you mention it afterwards…”
The meaning was, after this village, there would be no shop*.
*Idiom meaning that if you miss this opportunity, you won’t come across it again.
The woman’s heart was crossed. She said directly, “I demand 10 million from Yongchuan University.”
After she finished speaking, she didn’t care about the harsh voices that filled the air and she stubbornly met the gaze of the policeman just now.
Her daughter was dead, so she rightfully needed to be compensated!
However, the moment she raised her head, she saw the policeman’s eyes. In the gaze that swept towards her, there was no ridicule, no mockery, not even contempt. It was transcendent calm, as high as a mountain and as deep as a sea, that could take one’s breath away.
So it turned out she really wanted money!
Although everyone knew it, her daughter’s bones weren’t even cold yet, but her mother was already demanding 10 million from the school in public. This was something that “shameless” could no longer be used to describe. This was simply eating meat buns made of human flesh, and the mother who was eating it was using the blood of her own daughter.
The reporters continued to take pictures, but all they could feel was sick for a while. They silently removed the originally prepared story from their hearts and replaced it with such titles as “The bones of the weak daughter have not yet gone cold, but the cruel mother is already asking for 10 million in compensation”.
The situation suddenly reversed.
“The family of the deceased has filed a claim for compensation, so Principal Su, how do you intend to respond?” Xing Conglian was expressionless, still maintaining his businesslike attitude.
“Well, we still have to wait for the results of the police investigation.” Mr. Su bowed, then said, “But 10 million in compensation would be hard to comply to.”
When Wang Shishi’s mother heard this, her brows suddenly raised, and she turned around to make trouble.
But before she could speak, Xing Conglian bowed slightly and asked the old man, “So if the family of the deceased continues to protest at the entrance of the school, what should I do?”
The old man glanced at Xing Conglian as if to say, ‘Why are you asking such a stupid question?’. “It’s happening right now. Does it matter?”
Hearing this, both the onlookers, reporters present, school teachers and students, and even Wang Shishi’s mother herself were shocked.
Xing Conglian was taken aback for a moment before he asked, “Won’t it affect the education at the school?”
“Do they have such free time?” the old man asked rhetorically.
Xing Conglian thought, ‘It’s truly Lin Chen’s teacher.’ He really didn’t play cards according to common sense.
“What do you mean?”
“In school, you have to concentrate on studying. Does this matter have anything to do with them? Can you even be considered a Yongchuan University student if you can’t even read a book with a little bit of wind blowing grass around?” The old man’s voice was a bit loud, and his tone was stern. He seemed as if he was angry with Xing Conglian. After he spoke, he shook his hand angrily and left.
Xing Conglian felt simply wronged, but he knew that this wasn’t so much an answer to his question as it was addressing the teachers and students at the school. The old man’s meaning was simple: You’re part of Yongchuan University. You need to be tough and unshakable.
He didn’t know if it was because of the old man’s words that played a role or the woman’s naked threat that was too disgusting, but all eyes from the Yongchuan students who were looking at this farce had changed from initial surprise and curiosity, to calm indifference. Indeed, they were students from a famous school favored by the heavens. How could they waste their time on such nefarious dramatics? They found the whole thing quite comical. Those who wanted to act could act, but they certainly didn’t have the time to accompany them through that mess.
Thinking like this, the students gathered at the entrance began to follow the principal’s lead and dispersed in twos and threes. Even the surrounding onlookers felt that it was too shameless to look at this anymore and scattered one after another.
The initially good situation was about to collapse. Seeing this scene, the woman’s face turned red and green, which was quite a sight to see.
She didn’t expect that Yongchuan University wasn’t afraid of losing face, so her attitude remained tough. She couldn’t believe that the policeman in front of her was so powerful that her best trick, trying to use the photos, was so easily beaten. She was forced to hand them over and was silenced on the spot. Finally, he induced the university to take a stand, thereby crushing her dirty means. It was unfortunate that this policeman wasn’t a politician!
“Very well! Wait until you receive the lawyer’s letter!” The woman stretched out her hand and pointed them at Xing Conglian, the old man, and Vice Principal Xu, who were present. Her veiled threat pressed on each of them.
Xing Conglian smiled. “I’ll give you the address later, so you know where to send it to… But before that, we still need your cooperation in the investigation.”
His voice was polite, but when it fell on the woman’s ears, it sounded harsh.
“Why should I cooperate with the investigation? Did I do something wrong? Do you arrest people casually?!” she said angrily. “I have the right not to cooperate!””
“Because now, the owner of these photos that are in my hands is you, Mrs. Wang, according to the ‘Public Security Punishment Law’, those who spread obscene materials, if the circumstances are lighter, are subjected to detention of not more than five days or a fine of not more than 500 yuan… Of course, I know you’re providing the police with important clues to solve the case, so I hope you can follow me back to the police station to make a statement…”
The milder his voice, the less merciful the meaning of his words.
This sentence was like saying, “Either you are deliberately spreading pornographic photos and I will arrest you for it, or you’re kindly providing clues to the police, so please follow me back to the police station so we can interview you for more information…”
The woman raised her head, only to feel that the handsome policeman in front of her was a terrifying demon. She felt so suffocated that she was left completely speechless.
Xing Conglian took the photos and returned to the police car.
Lin Chen was still sitting in the back seat. Looking at Xing Conglian’s handsome face, which was as sharp as a knife, he was left speechless.
Acting as if nothing had happened, Xing Conglian naturally divided the photos in half and handed them to Lin Chen. “What do you think about these photos? Did Wang Shishi really commit suicide because she couldn’t bear it?”
Hearing his words, Lin Chen suddenly woke up as if from a dream and looked down at the photos.
In the photo, Wang Shishi was naked and entangled with two other people. One of the people in bed was Li Sa, but oddly enough, the other wasn’t Cheng Weiwei.
“These photos are video screenshots?”
“Whatever they are, we can just ask Wang Shishi’s old lady.” Jiang Chao had sent someone to escort Wang Shishi’s mother to the police station. When he heard Lin Chen say this, he slammed the door of the car and shook Xing Conglian’s hands excitedly. “Lao Xing, you’re so bold today. You dared to threaten the deceased’s mother for spreading pornographic photos. You sure got guts!”
When Xing Conglian heard this, he showed a surprised expression. “After all, this is Yongchuan. If something happens, Captain Jiang will have to bear it,” he said.
Jiang Chao’s back went cold, and he quickly changed the subject. “Are there any clues in these photos?”
“These photos seem to have been taken from a video… I don’t know if the photos are original or if they’ve been photoshopped.”
“Damn it. Everyone in the technical department of our division has been recruited to handle a large-scale internet fraud case, so there’s no spare technician available!”
Hearing this, Xing Conglian felt Lin Chen glancing at him with a strange gaze.
Well, it was true that the living treasures needed to be paired up*.
*Clarity: In reference to my previous explanation regarding their names. Ma Hao and Wang Chao (the one who serves Justice Bao) are usually seen in pairs.
“Our technician may be free…” Xing Conglian said.
Spring in Hongjing was a grand scene full of warmth.
In the newly renovated Yanjia Lane, there were parasols erected by vendors on both sides. Under a big black umbrella at the entrance to the alley, there was a young man wearing a cap.
The young man had a female calico cat in his lap. He was petting the cat’s head with one hand while holding his phone tightly with the other. He was focused on the screen, as if he were playing an interesting game, and couldn’t relax for even a moment, when suddenly, his phone vibrated.
The young man looked at the caller ID and unhappily pressed the answer button.
“Hey handsome. I’m currently on vacation. Give me 1,000 yuan to my Nuannuan account* first before you talk to me.”
*It’s some kind of microtransaction account for what I am guessing is some kind of game in the app store.
Xing Conglian was sitting in the backseat of the police car as he listened to the soft voice of Wang Chao coming from his phone.
“When did you start playing this kind of game?” He frowned, put down his phone, and clicked on his bank account app.
“I suddenly discovered a game that lets you dress up a beautiful girl. It’s very interesting! So cute, so cute, so cute!” Wang Chao said excitedly. Before he could continue, he suddenly heard a notification sound on his phone. He put down his phone and looked at it. The text message showed him that he had received a transfer of 1,000 yuan.
“Damn, Captain, what’s wrong with you? You’re making this humble servant terrified!”
“Your vacation has been cancelled. Take the money and book a ticket to Yongchuan, and report to the Second Division police station.”
“Captain, did something big happen? Is my A’Chen okay?”
“The Yongchuan police have a case that needs our assistance.” Hearing this, Xing Conglian glanced at Lin Chen, who was sitting next to him, and said, “I have some photos here. I need you to judge whether they have been photoshopped. In addition, search online for videos related to the contents of the photos. Everything has been sent to your email.”
Under the black umbrella, the young man was already one step ahead as he opened the email. He clicked on the pictures attached to it and looked at them in huge scale. He suddenly shouted excitedly, “Fuck Captain, have you finally transferred to the yellow* division? This case is so heavy this time!”
*Slang referring to vulgar, usually pornographic, things.
Perhaps it was because Wang Shishi’s mother made a fuss at the school that Xing Conglian didn’t gossip with Wang Chao as usual. He said to the person on the other line very solemnly, “Two of the people in the photo have died, and the identity of the remaining one is unknown. I have marked them out. Compare them to the database.”
“Oh… Is it a murder?” When Wang Chao heard this, he quickly swiped through the photos on the screen and said, “If I tell you now that these photos are originals and they are screenshots from a video, do I still have to go to Yongchuan?”
“No. Then I guess the lakeview suite and the buffet of a five-star hotel will be enjoyed by A’Chen and myself alone.” After Xing Conglian finished speaking, he was about to hang up.
“Wait for me!” There was a scream coming from the earpiece.
Lin Chen was used to the jumpy Wang Chao, while Jiang Chao, who had been listening on the side, could hardly close his mouth. “So powerful. He knows it was the original picture just by looking at it?”
“He has a lot of experience in this area.” After Xing Conglian finished speaking, he glanced at Lin Chen and asked, “What’s wrong? You haven’t said anything this whole time.”
“It’s weird…” Lin Chen said lightly.
Extremely strange, bizarre, weird…
These words weren’t enough to describe the case in front of them. If this was a screenshot of a video, from the angle of filming, there should be a fourth person present who recorded the video. If Wang Chao was right, these photos, both in terms of content and shooting angle, were too heavy.
The Wang Shishi in the photo wasn’t as quiet and peaceful as she looked when she died. On that purple double bed, with curling eyes, she looked wild and sexy, but could passionate sex turn a girl into a completely different look?
“What’s so weird?” Xing Conglian asked.
“Do you really think it was because of the spread of these photos at school that made her commit suicide out of shame?”
“I don’t know.” Xing Conglian paused, then said, “But I heard that college girls’ dorms never seem to be able to hide secrets.”
Yongchuan University had two dormitory areas, one old and one new.
The College of Science, where Wang Shishi attended, happened to be in the old area.
It was lunch break, but there was almost no one in the corridors of the girls’ dorm. Only a broken incandescent light was flashing non-stop.
When the dorm auntie opened the door on the third floor of the dorm, several girls who were talking in low voices were all startled.
“The police are here and want to ask you something.”
The dorm auntie was full of vigor. Lin Chen and Xing Conglian glanced at each other. It seemed that the students in the entire building probably anticipated their arrival.
The room was long and narrow, with four bunk beds and eight desks. Girls’ clothing and supplies were strewn all over the table, making the space look even more crowded.
Even an experienced police officer like Xing Conglian felt a bit helpless in the face of such a chaotic dorm.
“Look at this room. You’re girls, not dirty people. This place is so messy, all of you girls won’t be able to get married in the future!” The dorm auntie reprimanded the girls with a sharp voice. For a while, the cramped dorm suddenly became a scene of flying chickens and dogs jumping*.
*(鸡飞狗跳) Idiom used to describe panic and chaos.
Lin Chen glanced at Xing Conglian.
“Auntie, please wait a moment. I have a few questions to ask you.” The captain of the police criminal division stood at the door and tacitly pulled the auntie aside as he said this, attracting the attention of everyone in the dorm.
“Oh, if you have questions, just ask.” The dorm auntie knocked on the table and said to the girls present. “There’s been a big incident at your dorm. You all better sober up and tell the police everything. Don’t hide anything!”
“You should have heard about Wang Shishi. In your impression, what do you think of that girl?” Xing Conglian asked the dorm auntie.
“She’s very pretty. There were many people chasing her.” The auntie sighed with regret. “Several times at night, people would shout her name outside the dorm to confess their love.”
“What about you guys? Why do you think of Wang Shishi?” Xing Conglian turned his head and looked at Wang Shishi’s roommates.
Several girls stopped talking. They had obviously learned about the news of Wang Shishi’s mother making a scene at the school, and they didn’t dare to speak.
Xing Conglian dragged a chair and sat down in front of the girls.
“We’re not here to arrest anyone. We just want to understand the situation…” Xing Conglian said as he swept his gaze across the girls in front of him. When his gaze fell on one of them, his voice became softer. “I think you also heard what Wang Shishi’s mother said just now. Is what she said true? Did you spread rumors behind her back, forcing her to commit suicide?”
“We don’t know anything!” One of the girls spoke abruptly. Her face was flushed, and she looked aggrieved.
“We… We really haven’t bullied her!” Another girl finally couldn’t help but join in. “Her mother is a psychopath!”
“She… She’s actually pretty nice, but we’re not really familiar with her!”
“But you live in the same dorm. How can you not be familiar with her?” Xing Conglian asked.
“She works part time to pay for her tuition, and she leaves early and returns late every day. Except for class, she spends the rest of her time working part-time.”
“Yes, yes. It seems her family didn’t give her a single penny for her tuition, so she has to earn enough money to buy clothes and toys for her brother!”
“But I think she kind of looks down on us. Whenever she comes back, she never talks to us.”
“It’s like she lives in her own world.”
“But she wasn’t like this before. She used to go to breakfast with us…”
“Yes, she used to dress in rags. I think she was too embarrassed and didn’t talk to us because of that, but then she suddenly became like an angel and was extremely cold.”
A rush of chatter surged. Lin Chen walked to the corner of the dorm where the last bunk bed was. The bottom bunk was full of various boxes. When he looked at the top bunk, he became slightly surprised.
It was a bed that could almost be described as untarnished. Snow-white sheets were hung down slightly, the goose-yellow blanket was folded squarely, and the bedside was neatly arranged with a stack of books. Some of them were slightly worn, showing signs they had been flipped through many times.
Looking at the words Wang Shishi on the nameplate by the bed, Lin Chen took off his shoes, climbed onto the bed, and pulled out a tattered book.
<<< || Table of Contents || >>>