The Yao family case finally draws to a close and some loose ends are tied up. Bo Jinyan and Jian Yao share a sweet moment as they reflect on the case, but it is not without a tinge of melancholy. Fang Qing, on the other hand . . . well, read on to find out . . .
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“Team Leader Fang, there’s been a new development!” An inspector ran to face Fang Qing.
Fang Qing had been having a hard time due to Ming Yue’s insanity, and was also very busy extracting a large amount of evidence from the Yao household. Right now, he was in a pitiful state.
“Previously, didn’t someone mention that Fu Wei had a girlfriend in university whom he met online? Later, the girl suddenly lost contact with him, so that was that. We couldn’t locate this girl in Fu Wei’s QQ account. The account had already been deleted, so we needed more time to retrieve it. Then, we were busy investigating the case, and didn’t follow up on this.”
Fang Qing raised his eyes to look at the inspector.
“Today, news came from the Beijing police. They’ve discovered the identity of this online girlfriend.”
“It was Tong Sheng,” Bo Jinyan said.
He and Jian Yao were sitting on a dyke by the Jiang River. The gently rolling waves of the river reflected the state of their minds and emotions.
“How did you know?”
Bo Jinyan looked into the distance and replied, “Fu Wei’s university schoolmates testified that he had an online girlfriend while at university, but also that they lost contact later on. In the investigative records of that time, there was nothing out of the ordinary about Fu Wei’s situation, except that small item.”
“What’s the big deal about that?”
“In her testimony, the front desk receptionist at the Yao Family Inn said that Fu Wei had hit on her before, and left behind his QQ number. A waiter and a chambermaid nearby at that time also heard them. Two days ago, I checked with the Inn staff. The chambermaid on duty that day was Xie Min.”
Jian Yao’s heart surged with emotions as she finally learnt the whole sequence of events. However, she did not know whether to feel relieved, or sad.
Thus, Xie Min had inadvertently heard Fu Wei’s QQ number while undercover and secretly investigating the Yao family. She definitely recognised it as the QQ number of the man who had established an online relationship with her daughter before her disappearance. Consequently, late that night, in the pouring rain, she had waited for Fu Wei. Moreover, because she was wearing the Inn uniform, Fu Wei recognised her on sight. Being surprised, he stopped along the road, and, due to his having just returned from a bar, he braced himself against the wall in his drunken state and left his handprint behind.
It was unknown whether Xie Min had interrogated Fu Wei on his relationship with her daughter that night. However, the final outcome was that she had personally killed this man who might have played with her daughter.
How did Xie Min find out about the Yao family? How many people had she investigated over the years? Why did she decide to act at this time? These were all questions that could no longer be answered.
“Let’s go for a boat ride,” Jian Yao said as she stood up.
Bo Jinyan followed her line of sight. Several canoes had leisurely come into view on the surface of the light-dappled river. He had initially wanted to make a comment about such a boring, useless activity. However, on looking at her calm and peaceful face, and remembering the words she had said softly while on the phone with him: I want to be alone with you for a while . . . He shut his mouth and pulled out a bill from his wallet.
The weather in the ancient city was appropriately cool. When the little boat reached the middle of the river, they encountered a gentle breeze. The boatman stood at the bow and rowed with gentle motions. The two of them sat opposite each other in the cabin, with Jian Yao gazing at Bo Jinyan. One arm was resting on the window sill, and his eyes reflected the blue-green of the water. It was impossible to tell whether he was bored or focused.
They had been in the ancient city long enough and the case was also drawing to a close. They should return to Beijing tomorrow.
With each passing year, with each case encountered . . . even more blood, even greater shock. They would still press onwards and not be deterred in any way.
Moreover, they felt that the distance between them and this case in the ancient city was widening, just like the boat was moving further away from the shore.
“Hey,” Jian Yao said, “Do you still remember something else that happened on a boat? Something very important?”
Bo Jinyan thought for a while. “You are talking about . . .”
Jian Yao smiled slightly.
Who could have guessed that his face would become icily calm. “I was still a student at the University of Maryland. I was with the FBI on a boat, in pursuit of a serial killer. In the end, we only found a shipwreck. The serial killer and the final victim he had seized had met with the perils of the sea, and their bodies were never found. To this date, this is the only unresolved case I have handled.”
Jian Yao was speechless.
What she was talking about was clearly not a case. On such a fine, warm day, with such beautiful surroundings, why on earth would he still think about cases?
Who could have guessed that he would continue, “The victim was only true love of Fu Ziyu’s life, his fiance, Han Yumeng.”
Jian Yao was stunned. So, it was that case.
His face was still serious. Jian Yao gently held his hand, and the two of them gazed at each other momentarily. He took a look at the boatman, and pulled the curtain across. Then, he lifted her onto his lap and bent his head to kiss her. They were both smiling; even as they kissed each other, they smiled against each other’s lips with their eyes shut.
Against the backdrop of the river they kissed for a substantial period of time. Bo Jinyan suddenly moved, and said, with a hint of annoyance, “Oh, you’re talking about that . . .” Jian Yao pulled on his collar and continued kissing him calmly, indicating that she really didn’t care.
Yes, I was talking about our first kiss.
That was two years ago.
She had secretly liked him, but the possibility of that had clearly never entered his head. It was only when frustration had led her to the point of giving up that he suddenly started the engine and pursued her vigorously. In the words of Fu Ziyu later: that day, it was as if someone had knocked a hole in Jinyan’s skull, and all the rare and precious hormones came pouring out.
Their first kiss thus took place on a boat in Beijing’s Shicha Hai*. Jian Yao still remembered him looking like a little boy with the satisfied expression of having finally eaten sweets, asking. “Don’t you like how I kiss you?”
(T/N 什刹海 Shicha Hai – a scenic area of northwest Beijing with 3 lakes)
After that, they kissed the entire night, until their lips were red and swollen.
His heart had such a huge capacity. It was in the immediate moment, as well as at the other end of the world.
His heart was full of so many cases, so many victims. It doesn’t matter. I will be his constant companion in the quietest corner, that will be enough.
At the same time, their good friend Fu Ziyu was sitting alone in his home in Beijing, watching the sunrise and the shimmering light.
“Ah-choo –”. He rubbed his nose vigorously. Who could be thinking of him? Or, was someone reproaching him?
(T/N it’s an old wives’ tale – if you sneeze, it means someone is thinking of you)
The only friend he had who was as childish as this (T/N to believe in this old wives’ tale?) was Bo Jinyan. There was an eighty percent probability that ‘three-year-old Bo’ whom he had ridiculed a few days ago was currently telling tales about him to Jian Yao.
With a mocking smile, he suddenly felt, once again, that being by himself was a bit lonesome. He had not had a girlfriend for about a year. When he was younger, he could still play around. Now that he was almost thirty, he had gradually lost the desire to do so.
There were so many clouds in the sky, so much light on the ground.
Who was looking at him?
Yumeng, my little girl.
Is the ocean cold?
I’m thinking of you again.
With the departure of Bo Jinyan and Jian Yao and the conclusion of the Yao family case, the ancient city seemed to resume its usual tranquility.
The police station also resumed its leisurely atmosphere, and the criminal investigators founds themselves with time on their hands. At most, they provided support to the police officers, caught petty thieves and tackled pornography. The days were long and bright, and it was a period of ease and comfort once again.
At noon on this particular day, Fanq Qing was in his office as usual, wearing his earphones as he watched the female lead of a television series in the ‘cut scenes’ episode. From beside him someone said mockingly, “Team Leader Fang, you’re such a rabid fan, too? Tsk tsk. This Jin Xiaozhe, she’s really beautiful as well as temperamental.”
Fang Qing didn’t explain anything to them. They would understand nothing*.
(T/N the actual words used are ‘他们懂个屁’ – they know (understand) as much as a fart/ what they know (understand) is worth as much as a fart)
After watching for the entire noon hour, just as before, his mood was troubled, and he also felt bewildered. Since he had a few minutes before his lunch break was over, he rushed to the balcony to smoke a cigarette.
A criminal investigator ran over to him. “Team Leader Fang, there’s a document for you.”
Fang Qing did not exhale as he opened the document bag and extracted the document. After a while, he carefully replaced the document in the bag with especial care, lifted his head, and gazed at the distant clouds and rays of light.
He stayed in a contemplative silence for a period of time. Then, he took out his cellphone and called that woman.
“What is it?” Her tone was neutral, and he couldn’t tell if she welcomed or loathed him.
“You were saying . . . what kind of work would I do in Beijing?” Fang Qing asked.
Jin Xiaozhe was silent for a long heartbeat before asking, “Have you thought about it carefully?”
Fang Qing grasped the transfer approval letter in his hand. His rascally nature took over, and he said unhurriedly, “Not really, I’m still thinking about it.”
Both of them did not speak for a while. On her end of the line, the sound of music and people could be heard. She was probably attending some high class event.
“My friend’s company is looking for a security manager. A few days ago he was asking me to recommend someone. If you are willing, you can give it a try. But I can’t guarantee that you will be interviewed. The contract includes food and accommodation, and the monthly salary is 10,000 dollars (about USD 1500).” Jin Xiaozhe said indifferently.
Fang Qing froze for a moment, then suddenly laughed. He replied, “There’s no need to think. I will never become a security manager!”
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