Pristine Darkness Chapter 15
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The afternoon sun shone warmly. There were not many people on the streets, just some cleaners who had gathered under a tree to rest and chat.
A young lady walked over and smiled politely. “Sorry to trouble you, may I know who is elder sister Zhang Sufen?”
Several of the cleaners looked at her while one of them stood up. “I am. Why are you looking for me?”
Jian Yao paused for a moment before she smilingly replied, “Auntie, let’s go over there to talk. It’s hot today, let me first buy all of you some bottles of water.”
She bought enough water to fill a large bag from the nearby newsstand and gave it to them. These ladies couldn’t figure out why she was treating them so well*, and felt a bit embarra.s.sed. However, Jian Yao kept smiling at them gently, and invited Zhang Sufen to walk to the side with her. While they were drinking from their bottled water, she asked, “Auntie, there’s something I would like to ask you about. Several years ago, did you work for the Yao family?”
(TN *这些大姐不知道她葫芦里卖的什么药 – literally, they did not know what kind of medicine she was selling)
Zhang Sufen sipped some water and asked, “Young lady, why are you asking this question?”
Jian Yao replied, “In recent days, there have been two deaths in the Yao household. I heard the aunties who help out in the household say that you’d worked there before, and thought of talking with you to help me understand the situation there.” In reality, the information on Zhang Sufen and the other household helpers had been obtained by the police through other channels. Where the investigation into Yao Yuange was concerned, without proper evidence, there was no need to alarm anyone. If by any chance, the Tong Sheng case were really connected to him, then wouldn’t to also be possible that maybe some household helper or insider at that time might have been his accomplice, or even intimately related to Yao Yuange?
Some comprehension dawned in Zhang Sufen’s eyes. “Are you . . . a reporter?”
Jian Yao smiled without saying anything.
“Yes, I worked there for a year, but I couldn’t carry on,” said Zhang Sufen.
Zhang Sufen was silent for a moment. “That place was no place for anyone to work. Even though sweeping the streets earns me much less, I feel much more at ease.”
“The people in the Yao household cannot be said to be human.”
Jian Yao was silent for a moment before asking, “They mistreat their workers, but you never thought of making a police report?”
“What’s the use? The Yao
family has wealth and power. Even if I were to go so far as to make a report, what would happen if they later decided to take revenge? Since it was only a few small injuries, I thought it would be better to just let it go.”
Jian Yao took out a photograph and showed it to her. “Have you ever seen this young girl?”
Zhang Sufen scrutinised the photograph carefully before shaking her head. “No, never.”
“Then . . .” Jian Yao threw out an even more daring question. “Did Yao Yuange ever bring home young girls?”
“No. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that happen before.”
Jian Yao turned and walked across the street. She caught sight of Bo Jinyan, wearing a pair of sungla.s.ses, standing by himself under the porch of a building with both hands in his trouser pockets and looking in her direction.
Let’s not talk about how his tall and upright figure carried with it an air of delicate sensitivity, nor how, in the midst of the delicate sensitivity, there was a measure of unfeeling callousness, and how it all worked together to give him a unique handsomeness that was unlike any other.
She signalled to him by shaking her head slightly.
They and Fang Qing had split into two teams, working separately to look into people with possible inside information that year. However, so far, they had come up empty-handed, as no one had seen Tong Sheng.
Bo JInyan held her shoulder tightly, and the two of them headed back.
Jian Yao said, “I’ve discovered that you look very good in sungla.s.ses.”
Bo Jinyan smiled faintly. “Naturally.”
The corners of Jian Yao’s mouth turned up and she looked up at him, but the brilliant sunlight behind him was so bright that it hurt her eyes and she had to look down again.
Bo Jinyan’s hands immediately held the back of her neck. “You don’t wear sungla.s.ses?”
“It’s not my habit to,” Jian Yao replied. “Previously, with Xun Ran and Jian Xuan, we would be running around all day under the sun, and it didn’t bother me. I’m fine.”
(TN 熏然 (Xun Ran) and 简萱 (Jian Xuan) are characters in ‘Love Me if You Dare’. Xun Ran is Jian Yao’s childhood best friend and a police officer who suffered quite a lot of trauma in the novel, while JIan Xuan is Jian Yao’s little sister. Thanks to Ting for the info!)
He looked at her, and made an ambiguous sound.
The view in front of her eyes went dark. He had taken off his sungla.s.ses and placed them on her head.
“What are you doing?” she laughed. He had taken off
off his sungla.s.ses to expose a face so distinctively handsome that it seemed to glow.
“I’m protecting the pair of eyes that I treasure dearly.”
Jian Yao was too lazy to object. She was really tired, as she had worked all through the night and into the day. She laid her head gently on his shoulder.
On the ancient city’s pedestrian walkways, on both sides, were many small shops. Jian Yao looked around aimlessly, when her attention was suddenly attracted by something.
It was a small, nondescript shop, with a cabinet at the doorway displaying hair pins and ornaments. They were all made of bra.s.s, and mostly in the shape of petals. Some were even inlaid with jade, and were unexpectedly delicately elaborate. She looked at them for quite a long time before looking away.
However, he had noticed. He stopped walking, and said, with certainty in his voice, “You like them.”
“No need.” She pulled at his hand. “We still have to investigate this case, and I’ll have no opportunity to wear such things anyway.”
“Oh,” he laughed, “This little jot of time is not going to affect the investigation.” He pulled her to the front of the cabinet. The shopkeeper watched them idly, in no hurry to hawk his wares, and allowed them to peruse the items leisurely.
Jian Yao looked the hair pins one by one, but there were so many to choose from. It was at this point in time that a bony hand stretched out, took hold of a ta.s.selled copper hairpin with a carp carved into its tip, as well as acacia flowers the colour of lotus roots, and presented it to her.
Jian Yao took it.
I like it . . . very much. It’s so beautiful. Moreover, there’s a fish.
On observing her expression, he seemed to understand her feelings. With a smile, he took out his wallet to pay for the hairpin.
Jian Yao held on to the hairpin but had no where to place it. When she was out on a case, she didn’t wear any jewellery. Bo Jinyan took it and put it in his trouser pocket, then whispered by her ear, “When we’re home, wear it for your husband to see. I think he will consider it perfect.”
Under the shopkeeper’s amused gaze, Jian Yao blushed. “Ok.” This rascal paid no heed to time or place when he wanted to woo her.
Looking up, one could see the boundless expanse of blue sky, with white clouds drifting across. This exhausting, tedious, blood-soaked and serious life of a criminal investigator, had become vivid and quietly beautiful, because of him.
At the same time, Fang
time, Fang Qing had taken another criminal investigator with him as they traversed the ancient city, tracking down leads from several years ago.
The man before him squatted in front of a small eating place, smoking a cigarette with squinted eyes. “Old Yao, huh? When he struck it big, he maintained very little contact with his old buddies.”
“Zhao Xia was with him 5 years ago, right?” the criminal investigator asked. “Did you ever hear if they had enemies?”
“Nope,” the man replied. “His fourth wife was really killed by someone? Tsk tsk . . . indeed, that’s why men should not be too greedy. One man and 5 wives!”
“Wasn’t it 6 wives?” Fang Qing interjected from the side. “I heard he held a wedding reception with a young girl a few years ago, and the girl ran away afterwards.”
The man glanced at Fang Qing. “Who’s he?”
The criminal investigator smiled as he replied, “My colleague. Old Zhang, do you remember anything about the situation with that girl?” He also offered the man a cigarette.
The man called Old Zhang squinted again, then said, “That girl . . . must have been 6 or 7 years ago. She was pretty elegant, but didn’t say very much, and not much of a brain, either. At that time, he invited us to the reception, just a few of us, but told us not to spread the news around. Tsk tsk, a whole table of beautiful women belonging to him. Not long after that, we didn’t see the girl anymore. Everyone said she had run away.”
“6 or 7 years?” Fang Qing interrupted once again. “Wasn’t it 5 years ago?”
Old Zhang thought for a moment before shaking his head. “Nope.”
Seizing the opportunity, the criminal investigator fished out Tong Sheng’s picture and showed it to him. “Was this the girl?”
Old Zhang examined the picture carefully, then shook his head, saying, “No. That girl wasn’t this pretty. This one is really pretty.”
Fang Qing and the criminal investigator exchanged glances, and remained silent.
They didn’t manage to find out anything else of value, so Fang Qing and the criminal investigator decided to go back to the station. Suddenly, Fang Qing had an idea. He walked back to Old Zhang and asked him smilingly, “Can you describe that girl in a little more detail?”
Old Zhang looked at him and took out his cell phone. “No need to keep talking, I took a picture back then. I’m not good at anything, but my memory is excellent. Wait while I look and see if it’s still here.”
In the still of the night, Fang Qing sat alone in sat alone in the office, his ashtray full to the brim with cigarette b.u.t.ts.
He was once again reviewing the information on the Tong Sheng case, looking for clues, no matter how tiny*.
*蛛丝马迹 (zhu si ma ji) – literally, spider threads and horse tracks i.e. tiny hints of a secret/ clues
However, at that time, the police in A Province had already investigated very thoroughly. Witnesses had seen Tong Sheng buy a bus ticket and leave the ancient City. The ancient city police had a.s.sisted in the investigations back then, but, after that, they had nothing to do with the case.
He took up his cell phone again and looked at the picture that Old Zhang had sent to him. It had been hastily taken during the wedding reception, and showed only one side of the bride’s face. But it was clear that the girl was not Tong Sheng.
He felt his heart lurch.
Not Tong Sheng. Then, who was she?
The thought was like a vine taking root in his heart, drawing him by magic towards a boundless depth. He tossed away his cigarette b.u.t.t and turned on the computer. First, he accessed the missing persons database, then applied the relevant search conditions, such as age and time of disappearance, then looked through the results and compared the cases one by one.
Time pa.s.sed quietly, until the sky was full of stars and the moon, while the city lights mostly were extinguished.
Fang Qing looked at the picture on the screen.
An unfamiliar name for a girl who strikingly resembled the girl in the picture on his cell phone.
Name: Tang Lian Lian.
Date of birth: September 16, 1984.
Time of disappearance: April – May 2008.
Location of disappearance: unknown.
Reason for disappearance: unknown.
What followed was relatively detailed case information. Tang Lian Lian had just graduated a few years prior, and was working in S Province. Both parents were dead, so she was alone. According to the investigation conducted by the S Province police after her disappearance, she had resigned and travelled to the ancient city, where she lived for some time. However, strangely, the report did not mention her relations.h.i.+p with Yao Yuange. Fang Qing speculated that it might have been deliberately covered up, or she may have changed her name or surname. However, there were witnesses and sufficient evidence to prove that she had bought a boat ticket to a nearby county and left the ancient city. After that, the police failed to find any trace of her.
Fang Qing stared at the information looked for a while, then felt a sudden chill enter his body, which he was unable to shake off.
Pristine Darkness Chapter 15
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Pristine Darkness Chapter 15 summary
You're reading Pristine Darkness Chapter 15. This novel has been translated by Updating. Author: Ding Mo, 丁默 already has 88 views.
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