Pristine Darkness Chapter 30

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More information is gathered about the murders at the animation festival. Who would want to murder these young people who were merely living out their dreams? However, it seems that these young people are not all they seem either . . .

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Chapter 30

"Yueying Animation Studio was set up two years ago," Fang Qing said. "Actually, it wasn't officially registered. These friends with similar interests and hobbies spontaneously got together to form the group . Within the animation circle, they are quite famous."

In the conference room, the gathered criminal investigators bent their heads and took notes.

"According to three of the suspects, the studio's core consisted of five people," Fang Qing slowly continued.

Another criminal investigator said, "We have more or less determined the background of these five people. They were all students at Nan Hua University. Jiang Xueran and the deceased female Rong Xiaofeng both graduated last year, and had been working for close to a year. Xu Sheng, Wen Xiaohua and the deceased male Lu Ji all graduated this year. The family financial situations are all similar – it was not possible for them to continue cosplaying after graduation. This studio is also facing dissolution."

"Is it possible that this case is connected to their probable dissolution?" A female criminal investigator asked.

Another investigator replied, "I don't think so. A lot of people pursue their interests in university, but many give these up after graduation. Reality strikes, and one has to fit into society. Surely people don't commit murder just because of this? I was in a band when I was in university, but I doubt I can play even the simplest tunes now."

The other investigators all laughed and poked fun at him. "Lao Zhang*, it's hard to believe you ever had such youthful dreams."

*T/N 老张 (lao zhang) – 张 is his surname, 老 = 'old'. It's an informal, almost affectionate means of addressing someone older than oneself, or higher in rank.

"Yeah, much better than us."

Fang Qing smiled and said, "In today's world, dreaming of dying is definitely a common occurrence."

His words caused a pin-drop silence. Even An Yan, who had kept his head down the entire time, looked up to glance at him.

An older, experienced criminal investigator lamented, "They are really still kids, just chasing the dreams and pursuing the hobbies they had while in university. Who knew that it would cost them their lives?"

Fang Qing spoke. "It has been eight hours since the crime was committed. At present, the preliminary findings are as follows:

All 5 have neither tertiary vocational qualifications nor tertiary general academic qualifications. Their family backgrounds are ordinary, and they have no access to a source of x.x.x*;

*T/N As in previous chapters, Ding Mo does not name the poison.

No apparent motives for murder;

No proof that they were not at the scene;

Whether dead or alive, their nails have no trace of the residue of x.x.x;

In addition, we have repeatedly asked them about the keys to the studio, and they insist they have never given the keys to someone else. It was not possible for an outsider to make a copy of the key and gain access."

No one spoke. A seemingly simple case had turned into an investigative deadlock.

"We are going to have to dig deeper into this case," Fang Qing said.

Everyone nodded.

"However, what we can be sure of is that the three of them have concealed something from us and have hidden secrets," Fang Qing continued.

Surprisingly, no one had any objection to this statement.

A criminal investigator said, "They claim they are pa.s.sionate about cosplay, yet, in the period before this, they suddenly threw away all the commemorative photos in the studio. There's definitely something fishy there. Moreover, their reactions to their friends' deaths are highly suspicious. Being frightened aside, it seems as if they are making an extreme effort to avoid or escape from something."

After the meeting, Fang Qing and An Yan walked out of the conference room together. Some distance away in the corridor, they could see some people raising a ruckus, and others crying.

A criminal investigator explained, "It's the parents of the deceased, Lu Ji, as well as Wen Xiaohua's parents. The other people are from outside the province, so their parents have not arrived yet."

"I told him not to involve himself in this weird playacting, and instead to study hard and get a good job, but he wouldn't listen!" Lu Ji's father sobbed as he sat in the corridor. He wore a faded s.h.i.+rt, with a white vest within that was typical of the older residents of Beijing. At one glance, it was obvious that the family was not well-off. Lu Ji's mother sat by his side. She had cried herself into silence.

"It's all over now! All over! My son, my son!" Mr Lu bellowed. "This family is finished! My son, ah! Lu Ji, why did you play those games? I hate . . . I hate myself for not stopping him! My son, if you'd studied hard and found a steady job, your mum and dad wouldn't have to suffer the pain of seeing you die before ourselves*! Ah!"

*T/N 白发人送黑发人 (bai fa ren song hai fa ren) – 白发人 = 'white haired people'; 黑发人 = 'black-haired people'; 送 = send i.e. to the underworld/ next life. This is one of the greatest tragedies in any culture, when people young.

Wen Xiaohua's parents looked more composed, and also dressed a little better. However, they had probably become extremely nervous upon arrival at the police station, and clutched at a nearby police officer to ask, "When can our Xiaohua go? How could he be involved in the death of his schoolmate? Let him go as soon as possible!"

The police officer was about to rea.s.sure them, when Mr Lu overheard them and surged forward in an instant. Grabbing Mr Wen's collar, he yelled, "My son is dead! Why is your son still alive and well? Poison! They said he was poisoned! Was it your family's doing? F**k! Why is my son dead, and your family still complete and alive?"

Mr Wen looked like a refined person. With a flushed face, he pushed Mr Lu away roughly and said, "You're crazy! What has my family got to do with your son's death?" Mrs Wen also came to help him fend off Mr Lu. Mrs Lu cried even more bitterly on watching them. The police officers hurriedly moved to intervene and defuse the situation.

It was a big mess.

Fang Qing and An Yan had been watching the scene quietly.

"These two families have been destroyed," said Fang Qing. "What do you think will be the lamentable outcome of all this?"

As An Yan stood, startled, for a moment, Fang Qing turned and walked into the interrogation room. An Yan ran to catch up with him, and asked, "Where's Team Leader and Jian Yao?"

"They went to investigate that secret," Fang Qing replied.

"What about us?" An Yan asked.

Fang Qing smiled briefly. "Us? We're going to meet the three survivors-c.u.m-suspects."

At the same time, Bo Jinyan and Jian Yao were in a car en route to Nan Hua University.

Jian Yao still had some reservations. "The interrogation of suspects is so vital, but you don't want to partic.i.p.ate in it. Instead, you're going to involve yourself in digging up background information?"

Bo Jinyan replied, "Fang Qing can handle that kind of situation, and he'll do a great job with it."

Jian Yao smiled. "I never thought that you knew how to make use of people. It's surprising to me that you have such leaders.h.i.+p skills."

Bo Jinyan glanced at her briefly as he said, "I am not interested in leading people. I simply placed a job which I dislike, which I consider to be simple and tedious, in the hands of someone who likes it, and is well suited to do it. For example, when considering you and me . . ."

Jian Yao said, "Enough."

She asked again, "Then, why are you interested in investigating this background information?"

The hint of a smile hovered on Bo Jinyan's lips. "Because, in this case, it is more important to discern clearly the hidden pain than to look into the obvious facts of the deaths."

Nan Hua University, students' dormitories.

The dormitory where the deceased, Lu Ji, had lived, had already been checked by the forensics team, and his schoolmates had also been questioned. When Bo Jinyan and Jian Yao walked in, they saw a messy upper bunk. This was where Lu Ji had slept, and was also typical of a young, male student's living quarters.

Jian Yao turned a complete circle while observing the surroundings closely. The wall was bare except for a timetable, on which the handwriting was less than impressive. There was a small hole in the mosquito netting which had not been mended. Books were messily piled up on the study table under the bed. There were several sets of basketball uniforms in the cupboard, as well as some T-s.h.i.+rts from a fairly common brand which cost USD$5 to $10 each. Some dirty clothes and socks had also been stuffed into the cupboard.

After a while, Bo Jinyan asked, "Are you done looking?"

Jian Yao nodded. "I'm done."

The two of them left the dormitory.

Next, they visited Xu Sheng's dormitory. The female students' dormitory was relatively cleaner and neater. Xu Sheng's living quarters were even more simple. The ubiquitous mosquito netting was there, there was nothing on the wall, and there were no decorations. This was in keeping with her taciturn and slow-speaking character. Books were neatly arranged in the bookcase and her computer was of an inexpensive brand. The clothes in the cupboard were in shades of black, white and grey. The worn-out sandals under the table were missing one strap, but it looked as if they were still in use.

"Just as I expected," Bo Jinyan commented.

Jian Yao nodded.

Translator: shl

Editor/ Proofreader: Artemis

Pristine Darkness Chapter 30

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Pristine Darkness Chapter 30 summary

You're reading Pristine Darkness Chapter 30. This novel has been translated by Updating. Author: Ding Mo, 丁默 already has 176 views.

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