Edited by Qiuxue and Noks
It hadn’t been easy finding such a significant clue, so naturally Zhuang Zhen dared not delay. He immediately led his team to make their way over to the Affiliated High School of Normal University.
Even as they boarded the police car, they were still discussing all kinds of things related to Fan Jialuo.
Some thought that he really had supernatural abilities, while some thought that he had psychological problems. Others thought that he was completely toying with the task force, and that they should have detained him for several days on the charge of obstructing official duties, thus making him suffer a little in order to teach him a lesson.
In the end, Liao Fang couldn’t bear to hear any more, and retorted, “Stop it. Fan Jialuo is not as bad as you think. I actually think he is a good person. He warned Gao Yize twice in succession and even drew a death sketch for the sole purpose of advising him not to go too high.
“If Gao Yize had been more alert, nothing would have happened. And those death notices, they weren’t games at all, they were warnings. After seeing the news of Gao Yize’s death, wouldn’t those people who had maybe participated in wicked acts alongside him become emotionally stirred?
“Even if they didn’t feel that anything was odd at first, after they saw the third and fourth death notices and learned that their companions had been killed, they should have voluntarily surrendered and turned themselves in to the police to bear the consequences of their crimes.”
Liao Fang continued, “But they didn’t, and so they were killed. Fan Jialuo said what should have been said, and did what should have been done. Because of this, he has a clear conscience now. I believe that his approach was entirely heartfelt, rather than being for reasons such as so-called conceit and playing a game.
“He left leeway for each of them, whether it was the murderer or the victim, and so long as they heeded his warnings to stop or turn themselves in, the tragedy would not have happened. You said that he didn’t try his best to stop it, but look at his Weibo. During this period of time, is the number of people who have abused him and cursed at him just a few? Could the rumours and vilification he now bears be taken by ordinary people?
“The power of a rumor is more terrible than the knife in the murderer’s hand, and that is something we of all people should know better than anyone else, since we are police officers. What else would you have him do with all the things he shouldn’t have borne?”
If Liao Fang hadn’t said these words, no one would have considered what Fan Jialuo had undergone all by himself, and would have instead kept thinking that all the injustices he suffered during these days were what he ought to have rightfully suffered.
However, where in the world would such things exist, and be acceptable, as it should be by rights? If Fan Jialuo was truly heartless and ruthless, he could have easily chosen to say and do nothing at all.
Yet he chose to take action. And carried it out to the point of self-ruin and despair.
Who would say that he had not tried? Those people who didn’t know the truth weren’t qualified to accuse him. With what right were the members of the task force saying such things?
An unspeakable silence descended upon the car.
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection. If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
Zhuang Zhen glanced at Liao Fang and warned, “Just focus on the case, don’t be emotional! Whether Fan Jialuo has a relationship with these serial killings, be it as an accomplice or otherwise, we will know once we obtain the evidence to catch the murderer. We, as police officers, will not wrong a good man or allow a criminal to escape!”
Liao Fang still wanted to argue some more for Fan Jialuo, but after seeing the Leader’s cold expression, she suddenly felt powerless. Just wait until we catch the murderer. Her sixth sense told her that Fan Jialuo was innocent.
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“If it wasn’t for Dr. Song Rui’s intelligent mind and that he was able to so quickly analyze the implication behind his words and deeds, wouldn’t a fifth person also have been killed? He’s not only playing with us police officers, he’s also been holding five lives in his hands!”
Before Liao Fang could answer, the police officer took out his mobile phone, logged into his Weibo and asked angrily, “Look, look, this time, why didn’t he send a death notice? After having played with the police, he says nothing about the potential fifth victim. What does he mean by this? Evil gets its punishment and virtue gets its reward? He really thinks he is a God.”
Liao Fang also took out her mobile phone, looked at Fan Jialuo’s Weibo—that had not been updated for a long time—and fell into silence. After a while, she whispered, “I don’t think he’s the type of egomaniac who enjoys toying with others. There was no death notice this time perhaps because he knew that the fifth person would not die. We will, most probably, be in time to save that person.”
“Look at you, so devoted to Fan Jialuo! What, you like him? You’re fascinated with him after listening to just a few of his words? He’s a human, not a God. He didn’t foresee those murders at all. He had obviously discussed and planned everything with the murderer beforehand. Only stupid swines like you would believe him!” The police officer was a little annoyed, and so he rattled off all of these sentences, without showing a trace of restraint.
“Enough! This is an investigative task force, not the vegetable market where grandmothers gather. If you want to quarrel, get out of the car and quarrel. Don’t participate in this case any more!” Zhuang Zhen couldn’t help but scold the two of them.
He held very high prestige in the Criminal Police Department. Although the male officer still appeared irate and disgruntled, he held his tongue, no longer continuing his tirade.
No one expected that after just a few minutes of silence, another young police officer would start to exclaim loudly, as if he had seen a ghost.
“What’s wrong with you?” Zhuang Zhen asked as he suppressed his anger and anxiety. At the moment, the police were still in a hurry to rescue the potential fifth victim and catch the murderer, but his team members, one by one, were falling off the chain.
The young police officer slapped himself on the head, as if he had been troubled by something, and after pondering about whether he should speak up or not for a long time, he finally couldn’t help but say, “Leader, didn’t you want us to monitor Fan Jialuo 24/7? I have never seen him buy food during my shifts, so I just wanted to ask if it was the same during other people’s shifts.”
When Zhuang Zhen heard that he was asking about such a trivial matter, he couldn’t help but add a few more intolerant strokes against this fellow to the tally in his heart and shouted, “Is this still a question? He didn’t eat during your shift because it wasn’t his meal time.”
Although Zhuang Zhen also had never seen Fan Jialuo eat, he had been in charge of monitoring him during the night, and it was quite common for some people to not eat a single mouthful of food after seven o’clock in the evening. He had inwardly thought that Fan Jialuo was the same. Moreover, as an artist, his food intake was probably extremely strict.
However, before the young police officer had mentioned this fact, everything was still fine. But now that he had brought up this issue, the others who had also monitored Fan Jialuo intuitively felt that something was wrong and hastened to add, “No, Leader! I was in charge of watching him from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., and I also haven’t seen him eat.”
“I was in charge from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and I haven’t seen him eat either.”
“I was in charge from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. in the evening. He never goes to the supermarket to buy food or order takeout. I don’t know if he cooks at home. Maybe he has a lot of food in his fridge.”
“No, didn’t he only just move in? How is it possible for his new house to have so much food stored already? I remember that the day he shifted homes, he only brought a small backpack with him.”
“Yes, he hasn’t bought any food since he moved to his new home! I’ve also gone through the garbage he threw out. It was all waste paper or other things like that. There was never any food packaging or leftovers!”
“Holy shit! I don’t want to know any more. It’s frightening me! How long have we been watching him? Has it been nearly a month? Can people survive after not eating for a month?”
“Oh my god, I’m scared!”
“Is he a human or a ghost? My scalp is about to burst!”
This time, this piece of news not only shocked those who were in charge of monitoring Fan Jialuo, but it also affected the police officer who had just quarreled badly with Liao Fang moments ago, to the extent that his face turned pale and his expression showed uncertainty.
He knew that his colleagues were atheists, and that it was impossible for them to make up fictional stories about supernatural beings without reason. In short, there really was something strange about Fan Jialuo!
This is terrifying!
Zhuang Zhen saw that the more people said, the less decent they became, and so immediately scolded, “Enough, enough, don’t talk about it! It’s impossible for a person not to eat for ten days in a row. Since he is still alive, it proves that he has eaten food, but we just haven’t discovered its traces.
“This matter has nothing to do with the case and there is no need to discuss it anymore. Be quiet. Let me nap for a while.”
Zhuang Zhen rubbed his aching temples and felt more tired in the current moment than when he had cracked the biggest drug trafficking case in Southeast Asia.
The police officers shut up at once and did not dare to disturb their leader. But in the silence that ensued, several people looked at each other with eyes full of wonder, suspicion and fear.
It was under such an unspeakable and strange atmosphere that the team arrived at the Affiliated High School of Normal University. After producing the search warrant, the members of the task force buried themselves in piles of student information.
They not only looked up the information of students who were in the same year as Gao Yize, but also investigated those from the previous year, lest any suspicious people be missed.
They needed to carefully identify which of these documents held useful information, which of them useless, and which contained information that pertained to Gao Yize’s hidden connection with Zhao Kai and Mao Xiaoming.
This was an extremely strenuous task, and it was impossible for anyone to achieve results in just a short period of time.
While the task force was busy, Fan Jialuo was sitting in Zhao Wenyan’s car and listening to music. It was a slow soothing song. The female singer sang something in a hoarse yet sturdy voice. The pitch of the foreign language being sung in the song was rich and contained a wonderful rhythm, and it enlivened the surroundings.
At this time, the sun had set, and the city was shrouded in another layer of light that did not belong to nature. The hustle and bustle hadn’t disappeared, but had instead come to life in a lively manner that was quite different from the simplicity seen during the day.
Everything was so different now compared to the past. It seemed so strange.
Fan Jialuo closed his eyes and listened to the song. His white face was smeared with vivid color under the brightness of the neon lights that shone through the window.
Originally, Zhao Wenyan had been prepared to get bombarded by Fan Jialuo’s words, yet the other party had not said a word even after having been in the car for more than ten minutes. He seemed to be sleeping with his eyes closed, which was quite an abnormal action for this person.
“Aren’t you Fan Jialuo?” Zhao Wenyan quickly responded to his own question, “Is Fan Jialuo hiding again? Are you Su Bing? Zhou Hongyu? Xie Qing?” He named several different sub-personalities in quick succession, but failed to rouse a response from the other person.
Zhao Wenyan couldn’t endure the silence and so continued, “You have already fallen to the point where you are today. You weren’t harming Gao Yize or Sun Ying. You were harming yourself. If you had kept a low profile and hadn’t offended so many people, even after being exiled by the Fan Family, you could have continued to thrive in the entertainment circle.
“It was you yourself who cut your own path short. Look at the words you posted on Weibo. Is that something normal people would say? You are becoming more and more paranoid, narrow-minded and crazy. Sooner or later, you will completely destroy yourself. I know it’s no use talking to you at the moment. When Fan Jialuo has had enough of hiding, he will come out and do what he should do.”
Zhao Wenyan pulled the car over to the side of the road, took out a recording pen, and said cautiously, “You must not lose this thing. Leave a note telling Fan Jialuo that he must listen to the words recorded in this.”
Judging from his skillful movements, this was obviously not the first time Zhao Wenyan had used this method of communication.
The originally bored Fan Jialuo finally opened his eyes and whispered, “What do you want to say?”
When this man had his eyes closed, although he was handsome, he didn’t appear to have much character, and his manner seemed somewhat bland.
However, after he opened his eyes, Zhao Wenyan looked as if he was caught in a binding spell. He was enthralled by the dense misty eyes that seemed to hide condensed starlight and the pupils that carried the endless depths of an abyss in them; he could only dully stare at Fan Jialuo as his mind fell into a blank befuddled state.
A faint enchantment sprang forth around him. It was not inherently evil, rather, it was a magical power that inspired souls, inverted the existence of all beings, and was nearly impossible to resist.