Pristine Darkness Chapter 14

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A blessed Easter to everyone ❤

The plot thickens! Ding Mo is excellent at ramping up the suspense . . . what new revelations are in wait for us this chapter? It’s great to see our three main characters working together, although Fang Qing seems to have cottoned on to the fact that the Bo Jinyan-Jian Yao couple can be a tad irritating when they work in tandem!

Our apologies for the missed post last Sat; real life caught up with all of us! Regular posting on Sat will resume from this chapter (we hope).

Don’t forget to join us for our , as well as the ! Join us on Discord (link to the right) to discuss the novel or just to hang out.

Chapter 14

Not able to find any other fingerprints?

Jian Yao was slightly startled.

Fang Qing sat down, poured himself a large gla.s.s of water, and drank it all in one gulp. "Even though Tong Min didn't wear gloves at that time, she didn't leave any fingerprints. The fruit knife left in the room should at least have Zhao Xia's fingerprints, but there weren't any. Someone had wiped off the fingerprints, but there are only two people who would have had that opportunity," Fang Qing said.

"Tong Min . . . and Yao Yuange," Jian Yao whispered.

"When I was in the kitchen and accidentally ran into Tong Min, she wasn't wearing gloves." Bo Jinyan glanced at Jian Yao, "We mentioned before, there are three doubtful points."

Fang Qing also looked at him.

Bo Jinyan was about to speak, but Fang Qing, with eyes alight, was already talking. "First, the spot where Zhao Xia fell isn't right. According to Yao Yuange's oral confession, Tong Min – we'll just call her that for now – once she entered the room, she pushed Zhao Xia and grabbed the fruit knife, but Zhao Xia had fallen near the doorway and landed on  her back. It's as if she wasn't even trying to defend herself."

Bo Jinyan's kept his face emotionless as he muttered, "Ahem."

Jian Yao smiled and said, "Second, there are  gaps in Yao Yuange's oral confession. He didn't  have a proper beginning or a conclusion. He started his statement with extremely specific details and then the details became vague. It's very possible he is lying. Plus, what he was saying about Tong Min was   weird."

Bo Jinyan glanced at her with a soft praise in his eyes.

Fang Qing suddenly realised  how annoying it was to work with these two people.

Seeing that Jian Yao and Fang Qing weren't saying anything else, Bo Jinyan smiled faintly  and said, "Third . . . when we in the courtyard, we noticed that Zhao Xia  was actually pretty sympathetic towards Tong Min. Zhao Xia may be the only source of warmth for Tong Minin the Yao family. Moreover,that night, when I was rus.h.i.+ng to the courtyard, I discovered Yao Yuange's room door was open. According to the others'  oral confessions, that night he had already gone to Zhao Xia's room to sleep. He always required the family to turn off the lights and close the room doors in an orderly fas.h.i.+on, so the door couldn't have been opened by him. Other people wouldn't dare to go open it, either. The door was opened by Tong Min – after she had arrived at the courtyard, the first things she did was to find Yao Yuange. It was he she wanted to kill.  Mrs. Bo, you're right, Yao Yuange is telling lies."

"But why did he…" Jian Yao muttered to herself.

"The knife didn't have any fingerprints and the crime scene only gave us two suspects. However, that doesn't const.i.tute proof  that Yao Yuange is the murderer. Furthermore, according to the current situation, Tong Min's is still the most likely suspect," Fang Qing said.

"If the murderer is really Yao Yuange, why would he want to kill his own woman?" The light in Jian Yao's eyes dimmed. "What really happened that night?"

"Once we know what Tong Min is hiding, we will know what secrets this family is hiding," Bo Jinyan said profoundly.

The three of them were quiet for a moment. The wind whispered lightly through the window. Everything was calm, but under that calm exterior lurked an indescribable peril.

"I will immediately send someone to investigate  Tong Min's real ident.i.ty and have her entire background thoroughly checked," Fang Qing declared vehemently as he stood up.

"There is no need for such trouble." Bo Jinyan smiled and said, "Mrs. Bo, turn on your laptop. We will look into her right now."

Fang Qing and Jian Yao were both stunned. "How will you investigate her? Don't tell me you can Baidu her? I've sent Tong Min's picture through the database, she doesn't have any record," Fang Qing said.

(Baidu: Chinese Google)

Bo Jinyan stood up, slowly paced around the room, his long, slender fingers lightly tapping behind his back. In the end, his smile still held a trace of arrogance, seemingly expressing his thought: how is it that you mediocre guys still don't understand the world of this genius?

He said, "Why would Tong Min, a smart, lonely woman fast approaching 50, conceal her true ident.i.ty and tolerate mistreatment from the Yao family by working as their long term servant?"

"For money? It wouldn't be  necessary for her to commit murder. In addition, Yao Yuange was very strict regarding the management of money. Pretending to be a servant for the Yao family in order to mess with money was definitely not a good method. She didn't even consider  kidnapping Yao Yuange's son in exchange for ransom. It wouldn't have been hard for her to do so, but she didn't."

"Because of her feelings? Yao Yuange usually aimed for 20 to 30-year-old women, and Tong Min clearly was not his type. In terms of looks, she couldn't  really compare to his other wives, and she was a lot older than Yao Yuange's first wife. If they had had relations.h.i.+p disputes in the early years, firstly, it would be  impossible for Yao Yuange to be unaware of such; secondly she wouldn't need to hide at the Yao house for so long, she could simply have taken action straightaway."

"She's been hiding for so long, it's certain that she's doing it to investigate something. If a woman at this age is willing to suffer so much, and it's not for money, nor for feelings, what is the greatest possible reason?"

Fang Qing's eyes darkened, and Jian Yao muttered in a low voice, "It's because of . . ."

Bo Jinyan nodded once. "There is no difference between her and Mr. Fan, who almost became a murderer yesterday. They did it for their children."

"Then, how do we ascertain her ident.i.ty?" Fang Qing asked sombrely.

Bo Jinyan lowered his head and started up the laptop, then accessed the Ministry of Public Security's internal database and handed the laptop over to Fang Qing. "She changed her name and her surname to hide her ident.i.ty and fool the Yao family. Since they didn't even know her face, she didn't have to change her name very much. Those who have suffered great loss, and who are alone and without aid, always hope to retain as much of themselves as possible. Therefore, she may not have the surname 'Tong', especially as people are more sensitive about surnames. However, there is a high possibility that 'Min' is in her name somewhere."

"Since her child is foremost in her mind, she would naturally want some way to remember her, and something to hope for. 'Tong' is very likely her child's surname, or in her child's name."

"Her birthdate on her ident.i.ty card is 12 August, 1967, and this is a fake ident.i.ty card she got someone to make for her. The year may be false, but it is highly likely that the date and the month are true. The year may even be true."

"As I've said before, she has shown some skill in avoiding detection, and is very practical. There is a high chance that, due to the case, she was in contact with the police. She might have been a witness, or a suspect, or . . . the victim's family member."

"Please search the database for fatalities, victims or missing persons with 'Tong' in their names. In this person's family, 'Min' should be in the mother's name, and the mother's birthdate should be 12 August. She is the one we know as 'Tong Min'.

Jian Yao opened her mouth. In the end, she did not speak, and simply looked into his clear eyes. Fang Qing was silent for a moment, then lowered his head and started searching the database, the fingers of both hands tapping quickly on the keyboard.

Bo Jinyan raised his tea cup in a calm and collected manner, and took a sip.

After a while, Fang Qing raised his head and said, "I couldn't find anyone matching the criteria with the surname 'Tong', or with 'Tong' in their name."

Jian Yao was startled, but Bo Jinyan just looked at him without saying anything.

"However . . ." Fang Qing's expression became immeasurably grave. He turned the computer screen towards them and continued, "I found this."

Bo Jinyan and Jian Yao took a look. It was an archived missing persons file.

Name: Tong* Sheng.

(TN: The 'tong' in the name 'Tong Min', and which Bo Jinyan asked Fang Qing to search for, is the character '童' (which means 'child'). What Fang Qing has found is a name with the character '佟' (which means 'health'). Both characters have the same sound, 'tong'. 'Tong Min' was indeed thinking about her child when she changed her name.)

Gender: Female.

Date of Birth: 5 April 1987.

Date of Disappearance: Sept – Oct 2010.

Place of Disappearance: Unknown.

Reason for Disappearance: Unknown.

Name: Xie Min.

Gender: Female.

Date of Birth: 12 August 1967.

Relations.h.i.+p to the Victim: Mother-daughter.

"Xie Min, female, 49 years old, from Xiangtan in Hunan, formerly a teacher in the primary school there." Fang Qing stern voice rang out as he briefed the criminal investigators in the meeting room. "After checking, she is indeed the 'Xie Min' we are looking for. When her husband died of an illness in 2005, her daughter went to university in A province, and she lived alone in Xiangtan. After her daughter went missing in 2010, she resigned from work and disappeared, leaving no trace."

"The police in A province led the investigation into Tong Sheng's case. From what we can understand of the case record, Tong Sheng was in the ancient city on vacation at that time. After that, there was evidence to show that she had left the ancient city to holiday in another county. However, the A province police force searched the county to no avail. They could only cla.s.sify the case as that of a missing person, and it has remained unsolved to this day."

"At present, why Xie Min sought out Yao Yuange, and how the Yao family is connected to Tong Sheng's case, is still unknown. However, when we search for Xie Min on the mountain, we need to have a good understanding of the situation, and have an accurate grasp of the suspect's psyche and way of thinking."

"Xiao Zhang, get two others and join me in quietly investigating Yao Yuange. He is also a major suspect in the Zhao Xia case."

At noon the same day, in the Yao family courtyard, the atmosphere was silent and oppressive.

The servants had prepared lunch and placed the food in the dining room. Within and without the courtyard, all was in chaos, and even the dishes looked as if they had been prepared in a rush. However, no one cared.

In the end, they all kept to routine and sat down by the table to eat. However, not a single person spoke. The ladies' faces were all grey with gloom. Zhao Xia's chair, which had originally been at the end of the long table, had already been removed.

Ming Lan's face was very calm. Her head was bowed, and her movements were slow as she ate the food and drank soup. Today, even she did not say a word, so none of the other ladies, who were all watching her, dared to say anything.

Yao Yuange's face was very tranquil, and his clothes were all neatly arranged, as if nothing like a murder had occurred the previous night. He ate a small bowl of rice, then set down his chopsticks and asked, "Has Zhao Xia's family been notified?"

Ming Lan answered, "Yes, they have."

Indifferently, Yao Yuange said, "Make sure you handle it well. Don't give them any reason to come here and make noise."

"All right."

Ming Yue bit her lower lip and asked, in a trembling voice, "Why did big sister Tong want to murder Zhao Xia? Zhao Xia was the one who treated her the best. Is she crazy?"

"She's obviously crazy," Yao Yuange coolly replied. "And I haven't even started on you, you'd better look after your son! I only have that one son, and he was so close to being harmed today! If a similar situation occurs in future, you, the mother, don't think you'll get off easy!"

Ming Yue muttered her a.s.sent, and did not say any more.

"Yeah!" Zhang Jufang seized the opportunity to speak. "You didn't even look after your son properly. Ming Yue, this time you were really too negligent. This is such a heavy responsibility, are you sure you can handle it?"

"You shut up!" Yao Yuange roared. Zhang Jufang's face changed colour, and she fell silent. As if his temper had finally been provoked, Yao Yuange icily stated, "From today onwards, no one is to speak of Zhao Xia's matter in this household! And that murderer! d.a.m.n it, what kind of f**king small thing!"

After his rant, he got up and returned to the bedroom. He left behind a group of women, each one with a clouded face, not daring to break the charged atmosphere.

In reality, what difference was there?

Who was loved more, who was cherished less. Who was given more a.s.sets, who had been given a smaller room. What was the difference?

From the time they stepped into the courtyard, perhaps they loved him, perhaps they hated him.

However, the emotion that they felt the deepest, under the cold and unfeeling gaze of that black-hearted, tyrannical man, was the faint sensation of . . . fear.

The sky is high up, and the clouds float lazily across. In the mountains, the sun is very big. The dense woods are so hot and parched that anyone in them seems to fade away in the heat.

Tong Min – perhaps we should call her Xie Min, now. Her clothes still bear streaks of dried blood, her face and body are covered in mud. This 50-year-old woman, who had once lived as an ordinary wife in a quiet, peaceful little town, was now crouched under a big tree, panting with exhaustion.

She was continually on the run, fleeing. But, she didn't know how long more she could flee.

She looked up and squinted against the blinding glare of the sun. On the mountainside far below, she seemed to make out some movement again. Were the police conducting another search?

She gritted her teeth, looked at the mud pool next to her and saw that it contained a small puddle of water. She leaned over and drank a few mouthfuls. Bowing her head, she got up and headed once again for the deep forest.

She had to run, she definitely had to run, because she could not let herself be caught at this time.

She thought about how, an hour ago, she had almost turned on her cell phone.

She thought about that night, and what that man had said then.

. . . My name is Bo Jinyan. My life's mission is to reveal the truth, to right all injustice, and to execute all criminals.

She wanted to call 110 and look for him. But, in that split second when she had been about to press the power b.u.t.ton on her cell phone, she had hurriedly stopped herself.

No. She had to find her daughter first, then make the call.

The sunlight grew harsher. Running in the forest, Xie Min suffered a moment of dizziness.

All that fresh blood, all that anguished wailing, the terror in the dead person's eyes, seemed to revolve in her mind. She felt that she had become numb to these scenes, but, they just kept appearing. They brought with them a sense of emptiness, yet, also a sense of happiness.

She opened her eyes wide, until they started to hurt. What again appeared before her were the scenes from the previous night.

Bo Jinyan's approach, and her panicked flight in the darkness of night. The empty room, the room full of light, the man and woman embracing.

At the end, when Zhao Xia was sprawled on the ground, gasping her last breath, she had held tightly to Xie Min's hand and forced herself to speak clearly, though weakly, "You go and look in the mountains . . ." Then she died.

However, the mountain range in front of her was so vast. Where should she go to find her Tong Sheng?

Xie Min felt as if her heart were a wasteland on fire, about to be burned to desolation. She ran into the deep forest without any idea where to go.

Translated by ting, shl

Edited by shl

Pristine Darkness Chapter 14

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Pristine Darkness Chapter 14 summary

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