Apologies for the long wait. Lots have been happening in life, so it got a bit hard to find time to translate…
Anyway, enjoy this next (long) chapter!
Chapter 16: Obsession + mini side story
5pm in the afternoon.
Investigator Xiao Qi is sitting inside the monitoring truck eating bread and staring at Chen Li Jiang on the monitor screen at the same time.
“Hey, nothing fishy, right?” his partner comes over, and pats his shoulder.
Xiao Qi swallows the bread in his mouth, “Nope. Zeng Fang Ping chatted with him for a bit just now, and then the two of them got to work.”
His partner takes a seat beside him, “Keep a close watch. Xiao Bai called just now and said that Zeng Fang Ping could be the suspect of the third incident. They’ve gone to Baoan Temple to collect some evidence. We have to watch both of them. I wonder if this Zeng Fang Ping knows that he left footprints behind. If he tells Chen Li Jiang about it, he’ll be on an alert.”
Xiao Qi wipes his mouth and says, “It should be okay. You see? They’re both working fine at the factory. Moreover, we’re watching their every move.”
Just like Xiao Qi says, the next few hours pass by with everything going as normal, and it’s quiet as usual in the truck. It’s just that their truck is parked in the factory area, and there are limitations to the camera angles, so they can’t watch both suspects every moment. But after a while, they’ll appear on the screen again.
Xiao Qi is leaning against the chair staring at the monitor when he suddenly sits up straight, “Oh shit!” His partner immediately comes look, “What happened?!”
On the screen, for some reason, a young worker’s clothes is caught by the machine; his whole body is being pulled into the spinning cutting machine. He’s located in a rather unnoticeable corner. His face is full of shock and he is shouting for help, but probably because everywhere is too noisy that no one can hear him.
“Hurry and save him!” his partner opens the truck door and hops down. Xiao Qi follows.
Everything happens within a few minutes.
When the two investigators run into the factory, their ears are ringing with the thunderous sound of machinery, almost burying the faint sound of someone shouting for help. They hurry to the corner; one of them dash to turn off the machine, and the other grabs onto the worker, trying his hardest to pull him out. Their appearance finally captures the attention of the other workers; everyone comes crowding over in full of shock, watching them save the worker in the last of minutes.
“This isn’t right, Xiao Qi!” his partner investigator says staring at the cutting machine, “The blade has been detached by someone.”
Xiao Qi’s body shakes. They take a look around, but in the crowd of over ten workers, Chen Li Jiang and Zeng Fang Ping are nowhere to be seen!
“Ran off?!” Bai Jin Xi exclaims holding her phone, and makes eye contact with Han Chen, “Report this to the Branch immediately. Request for support, and seal off the area. We must not let them escape! They are reckless criminals. Tell everyone to watch their safety.”
Bai Jin Xi hangs up the phone staring at the road in front of her. They have just returned from Baoan Temple and is very close to the old city district. The alleyway is just up front.
Han Chen is driving. Zhou Xiao Zhuan’s pair of sharp eyes catch a glimpse of something. He suddenly points outside the window, “Leader, there are motorcycles!”
Han Chen and Bai Jin Xi turn their heads at the same time. There’s an auto shop at the intersection of the alley, and there are really two motorcycles parked there.
Motorcycles are obviously many times faster and more advantageous than cars when it comes to alleyways.
Han Chen parks the car in front of the auto shop; Bai Jin Xi is the first one out of the car. She hops onto a motorcycle, puts on a helmet, pulls out her police badge and throws it to the shop owner who is rushing over, “We’re chasing down a criminal! We’ll need to borrow this and return it to you later!”
The owner and his employees are in a bit of a shock seeing them and the police car parked outside, so they don’t dare to say anything; they quickly get ready to close the garage.
Zhou Xiao Zhuan hurries to go behind Bai Jin Xi. He grabs the other helmet and puts it on. Han Chen takes out his gloves and wears them. He hops onto another motorcycle, but a worker suddenly comes over, “Of-Officer, this bike isn’t fixed yet.” Han Chen gives the pedal a push; it really doesn’t work. He lifts his head, looks over, and sees that Bai Jin Xi has already started her motorcycle; Zhou Xiao Zhuan has his arms around her waist, getting onto the back.
Han Chen gets off the broken motorcycle, walks behind Zhou Xiao Zhuan, and pulls him off.
Xiao Zhuan turns around puzzled, “Super Detective Han, why did you pull me?”
Han Chen puts on a helmet and gets on, “That one’s broken. You go think of another way.”
Bai Jin Xi is putting in all her might to start the motorcycle while also planning out the best route to take in her head. Due to being highly focused, as well as wearing a helmet, she doesn’t notice what’s going on behind her at all. It’s just that no matter how hard she thinks, the roads in her mind are chaotic like a spider web. She gives up in the end and decides to rely on Zhou Xiao Zhuan behind her.
She senses weight behind her; someone has gotten on. Without hesitation, she accelerates and speeds forward.
Zhou Xiao Zhuan is standing by the roadside in a daze. A kind-hearted worker pushes out a bicycle, “Mister Officer, do you think this will do?” Zhou Xiao Zhuan grits his teeth and hops on. It’s okay, he still has a pair of legs. He’s going all out!
Bai Jin Xi drives for a while before she notices that the person behind her is awfully quiet. He doesn’t have his arms around her waist either. It’s just that their helmets come in contact with each other every now and then, so she can tell that someone is there.
Sigh, what is with Xiao Zhuan today?
She speaks, “Hold onto my waist. Or do you want to fall over? Hurry and take a look. Should we make a left or make a right?”
The person behind her keeps quiet for a few seconds.
And then, she can feel a warm body gradually leaning against her, encasing her.
And then a pair of hands in black gloves reaches forward from behind. It doesn’t wrap around her waist, but they’re right against her arms, holding onto the bike’s handles as well.
“Let me drive. Let go of your hands,” his deep voice speaks by her ear against the helmet.
Bai Jin Xi’s heart skips a beat. She then releases her hands. He immediately takes over the steering. His hands in black gloves hold onto the handles, he steps on the pedal, and the motorcycle accelerates even faster.
“Where’s Xiao Zhuan?” she asks.
The setting sun shines on the stone road. The occasional passersby quickly dodge when seeing them. Bai Jin Xi’s hands grab onto the front of the bike tightly while keeping a lookout for suspiciousness around them. As for Han Chen behind her, he’s completely in a racer mode; his arms wrapping around her, his body leaning forward, and against her back. Bai Jin Xi can feel his helmet brush across her neck a few times. This means that his head is just above her shoulder.
It’s a strange feeling because Zhou Xiao Zhuan has never driven a motorcycle with her like this. Xiao Zhuan has always wrapped his arms around her waist for support.
Perhaps the sunshine is too beautiful; leaning against his embrace, she actually feels warm inside.
No one says anything throughout the ride.
But Bai Jin Xi’s neck feels very stiff for some reason.
“We’ve found the target! We’ve found the target!” Bai Jin Xi’s walkie talkie comes on with a voice full of urgency, “Two targets are heading towards Daoli Lane. All officers nearby please provide support!”
Bai Jin Xi grabs her walkie talkie, “I’m Bai Jin Xi. Han Chen is with me. We’ll come right away.”
The motorcycle makes a quick turn; Bai Jin Xi’s body fall over to the side, giving her a fright, so she quickly grabs his arm. His arm doesn’t budge, preventing her from falling.
Bai Jin Xi repositions herself, and retreats her hand right after.
The sky has gotten darker. The road is surrounded with mostly old buildings that need to be taken down, so there aren’t many people at this hour. Taking a look ahead, there are a few homes lit, but there are also abandoned buildings falling apart.
Bai Jin Xi and Han Chen get off the motorcycle. They walk slowly forward side by side.
There are two trails of footprints on the ground; they must have stepped onto a puddle; not continuous, but clear.
Bai Jin Xi raises her head and gazes at the sparsely occupied apartments and two faces of green coloured walls. She asks in a low voice, “From the footprints, do you think it’s them?”
“Yes,” Han Chen has one knee bent down. He presses onto the ground with his hands wearing black gloves.
They both get up, and starts following the footprints.
Han Chen suddenly stops with a stern expression on his face.
Bai Jin Xi turns around and looks at him, “What’s wrong?”
“Si Si lives just ahead.”
Bai Jin Xi is stunned. They pick up their pace, and when they arrive at the front of the alley, they see Si Si’s small store.
The sky isn’t dark yet, but the store is already closed; no signs of any activity.
Bai Jin Xi’s heart pounds quickly; it can’t be such a coincidence, can it? But thinking about it again, it’s very possible. The two criminals on the run have been forced into this alley by the police; blockades and support have been set up to capture them, so they have no way of escaping. Si Si’s small store is close to the intersection with windows and doors open wide. A single mom with a child is also easy to take control of; it’s simply the best place for hiding. The criminals can dodge the police for now, and then escape later, which is the best plan.
“Follow me,” Han Chen walks leaning against the wall.
Bai Jin Xi follows closely behind.
They quickly make their way to below the window of the small store without making any noise. Bai Jin Xi glances at him. He lifts his head, showing prominent side profile.
It’s the first time she’s working with an evenly matched partner. It actually makes her feel……very satisfied.
Satisfaction from being free and unconventional.
Han Chen looks at her and makes a hand gesture. Bai Jin Xi understands right away; he’s asking her to guard the backdoor while he breaks in from the front.
This also means that he will take the more dangerous route.
She keeps silent for a second, and then pats the left side of her chest, advising him to be careful.
He nods his head.
Bai Jin Xi turns around and walks along the side of the wall. But after a few steps, the back door bangs open; someone comes rushing out of it. Seeing his look and figure, it’s no other than Chen Li Jiang! His hands are covered in blood while he’s holding a knife with a stiff face, running forward!
Bai Jin Xi’s heart shakes. Just when she is about to lift her legs to run after him, someone grabs her shoulder.
“I’ll go,” Han Chen’s voice says by her ear.
When Bai Jin Xi turns her head, she catches a glimpse of his face; his eyes are dark and deep-set.
He releases her shoulder the next second, and runs forward. He runs faster than Chen Li Jiang, so quickly chases him and disappears at the end of the alley.
Bai Jin Xi takes a moment to clear her mind. She then looks towards the opened backdoor that’s not far away, and slowly gets closer. The closer she gets, the more she can smell the scent of blood in the air.
She then hears someone crying.
Bai Jin Xi doesn’t hesitate anymore; she enters the place with her back against the wall. When she’s just a few steps inside, she is completely shocked by what’s in front of her——
The lights are on, and blood is splattered everywhere on the floor. Si Si’s clothes are ripped and in a mess while she’s hugging a child, hiding in the corner; both are crying. On the floor beside the bed, a man is lying there with a knife stabbed into his body; like a body of blood. His eyes are bulging and his face is pale, clearly indicating that he is already lifeless.
It’s Zeng Fang Ping!
Si Si is in a bit of surprise to see Bai Jin Xi come in; the child she’s hugging is crying even louder now, as if it can finally cry without holding back. Bai Jin Xi gives her a quick glance, and starts searching the place; confirming that there is no one else in the place, she immediately squats in front of them.
“Officer……” Si Si embraces her right away. It’s also now that Bai Jin Xi can see that not only her body is covered with bruises, there is also a dark strangling mark around her neck.
Bai Jin Xi embraces both her and the child; she can’t imagine what had happened just now, and in front of a child. She takes a deep breath, and says in a soft and consoling voice, “Everything is okay now, everything is okay now. The police will be here very soon. You are both fine now. Here, Si Si, listen to me, let’s go outside. We shouldn’t let the child stay inside here.”
Si Si is crying her heart out, but nods while lifting her child. Bai Jin Xi grabs a jacket from the bed, puts it across her shoulders, and walks them out.
“What happened?” Han Chen appears at the door.
The moment Bai Jin Xi sees him, her heart misses a beat. He’s standing with the light behind him, but his arms are covered with blood, and his black polo shirt is wet.
“Brother Han……” Si Si covers her face crying. Han Chen goes to her, and supports her other side like Bai Jin Xi is doing. He says in a deep voice, “Everything is fine now. Let’s leave first.”
“Mm,” Si Si nods.
With Si Si in between, Bai Jin Xi glances at Han Chen. He notices, and shifts his gaze to her.
“Is everything alright?” she asks lightly, “Where’s the guy?”
“It’s okay,” he raises his arm to look at the blood stains, and then lowers it again, “It’s not my blood. The other one has been caught. I’ve gotten Xiao Zhuan and the rest to take care of it.”
Bai Jin Xi feels relieved.
The instant they walk out, they can already see many officers standing outside. There are also two police cars parked at the front of the alley. Under the street lights, they can see Chen Li Jiang locked in the backseat of one of the cars with two officers sitting beside him.
Bai Jin Xi lets out a long breath of air.
The officers have started examining the area. Si Si has finally coax the child to sleep, letting him rest in the backseat of a police car. She turns around to look at Han Chen, Bai Jin Xi, Zhou Xiao Zhuan and the others, and then slowly sits down beside the car. Tears begin flowing from her eyes again.
Si Si saw those two men just when the sun was setting.
They looked a bit familiar; probably came by to buy cigarettes before. They stood at a corner chatting and occasionally taking a glance at her. Si Si felt uneasy inside.
They then came over.
“Give me a pack of Baisha (cigarettes),” the young man with a thinner built said.
Si Si felt relieved as she bent down the counter to fetch the cigarettes. But a shadow suddenly flashed across her eyes; the other stronger built man had actually jumped over the counter. Si Si was in fright, but it was too late.
They covered her mouth and dragged her into the house. She then watched them close up the store.
Once they got inside, Chen Li Jiang spotted Dou Dou, who was sitting on the floor playing. It also gave him a scare.
The mother and son pair was then forced to stay on the bed. Chen Li Jiang threatened her not to make any sound with a knife in his hand. Si Si didn’t dare to, so she could only hug the child and stay as quiet as she could while praying that they would leave soon.
The sky gradually became dark.
It seemed like someone had just run passed the little store.
And then another one ran passed.
The two men inside the home slowly felt restless, especially Zeng Fang Ping, who kept asking, “Brother Chen, what should we do? What should we do?”
Chen Li Jiang seemed rather calm, and replied, “We might not be able to escape.”
These words made Zeng Fang Ping even more restless.
When did Zeng Fang Ping suddenly thought about raping her? Si Si doesn’t remember. Perhaps it was because Chen Li Jiang’s words made him felt hopeless, or perhaps it was because the sky was getting darker and darker and the way he looked at her changed.
“Brother Chen,” he said, “since we can’t escape anyway, my life is over. I never once got to enjoy a woman. Let me have her.”
They both turned to look at Si Si. Si Si was devastated.
“No! Don’t be like this. I won’t tell the police. I never saw you two……” Si Si plead her hardest.
“Don’t touch her,” Chen Li Jiang interrupted her speech, “she’s got a kid.”
Si Si was relieved. Chen Li Jiang turned his head and his eyes met hers; they were peaceful and profound.
But Zeng Fang Ping wasn’t too happy. He kept staring at her with his eyes turning red.
Chen Li Jiang took out a few cigarettes and stood up, “Let’s go. If we can break free, we’ll be off. If we can’t, then that’ll be it.”
Zeng Fang Ping was already standing up, but suddenly said, “Brother Chen, let’s split up. That’ll make us become smaller targets. You should leave first.”
Chen Li Jiang thought for a moment, and probably felt that they would have a better chance of escaping this way as well, so he nodded. He glanced at Si Si on the bed, and said, “Being able to escape is more important. Don’t touch her.”
Zeng Fang Ping agreed.
Si Si’s heart felt heavy.
The moment Chen Li Jiang stepped out of the backdoor, Zeng Fang Ping turned around and stared at her.
His eyes were like a beast locked in a cage.
He pounced at her.
When did Zeng Fang Ping started strangling her? Si Si’s mind is in a complete blur and can’t remember clearly. She wasn’t planning to fight him, but Dou Dou rushed over crying, calling for mommy. When he was pushed over the bed and fell down, she started to struggle.
Her breathing was becoming harder. Zeng Fang Ping was in a bit of a panic, and wasn’t aware that he was attempting to kill someone; he was just trying hard to make her quiet.
Si Si understood that she was going to die soon.
So she used her last breath of air to say, “Dou Dou……close your eyes. Be good, mommy is fine. Uncle is just……playing a game with mommy. Close your eyes……”
Close your eyes, my child.
Close your eyes, and nothing will happen to your world.
Suddenly, everything stopped.
The hands around her neck were released. Zeng Fang Ping made a few muffled sounds, he grimaced from pain, and then his body fell on top of her.
Si Si started taking large breaths of air, and then she saw Zeng Fang Ping’s body covered in blood being pushed away by someone.
Chen Li Jiang’s face was somber. His eyes were red standing behind Zeng Fang Ping with a knife in his hand.
Si Si quickly embraced her child from fright. The mother and son pair huddled together. She covered her child’s eyes with her hand, not letting him see what was in front of them.
Chen Li Jiang stood silently for a while. Si Si didn’t dare to make any noise.
“Your kid doesn’t need to close his eyes anymore because he can no longer harm you,” he said.
The sky is already dark.
Bai Jin Xi and Han Chen stands under the streetlamp, looking not far away at Si Si, who’s sitting inside a police car caressing her child. Chen Li Jiang on the other hand, has been taken away by another police car.
“He has always been calm and restraint. It’s possible that when he saw a mother who was about to be rape, as well as hearing what Si Si said to her child at the moment, that affected him, making him lose his senses and kill Zeng Fang Ping,” she says, “He harmed a few innocent girls, yet he saved the lives of this mother and son pair.”
“A mother’s love.” Han Chen lowers his head to light a cigarette, and then waves the matchstick to put it out. He glances at her, and pulls one out for her.
Bai Jin Xi doesn’t take it. She says, “I only smoke when I’m stressed from investigating a case. Since the case is over, I need to ban myself from it.”
Han Chen smiles.
There isn’t much lighting, but his face is well lit. Bai Jin Xi suddenly realizes that he actually looks very gentle when he smiles.
Of course, very handsome too. His eyebrows, eyes, nose, lips, and the shape of his face are in clear view.
Looking at him, Bai Jin Xi feels like letting out a sigh. She turns around and looks at the old city district under the night sky. They both don’t say anything.
At this moment, an investigator standing beside a car calls her, “Xiao Bai, we’re heading back to the station, are you leaving yet?” The road is narrow, so they only drove two police cars here; one of them has already taken Chen Li Jiang away, while Si Si and her child is in the other. Other police officers will have to walk a distance to fetch their vehicles at the main intersection.
Bai Jin Xi glances at the motorcycle beside her, and answers, “You guys head back first. I still need to return this motorcycle before going back to the station.”
She gets on to the motorcycle. The weather is too hot and since she’s not in a hurry, she decides not to wear the helmet. She starts the bike, and turns around to look at Han Chen, “You……”
The seat behind her weights down; Han Chen has already gotten on. He flicks the cigarette in his hand, “Let’s go.”
Bai Jin Xi is a little startled, “You’re not leaving with them?”
There doesn’t seem to be……a need to ride together right now.
“You remember your way back?”
He hits right on Bai Jin Xi’s weak spot, “Oh.”
The motorcycle rides steadily. Bai Jin Xi holds onto the handles, and secretly takes a peek behind her. He doesn’t have his arms reaching forward this time, and he’s not holding her waist either; she has no idea where his hands are holding, and his body is keeping a small distance away from her, but she senses his aura.
After driving a while, a thought comes into Bai Jin Xi’s mind, so she says, “Why don’t we head directly to the station since we’ve borrowed the motorcycle anyway. If we return it now, we’ll have to take the bus back. We can go to the station first, and when I get off work, I’ll just take it back on my way home.”
“Mm,” he agrees, breathing out a breath of air at her neck; Bai Jin Xi can feel goosebumps on her body.
She slowly turns to the direction of the station.
His arms suddenly reach out from behind. Just like during the day, he places them right beside hers holding the handles.
He’s not wearing any gloves or helmet right now. His body leans forward, and he’s breathing just by the side of her neck.
“Let go,” he says beside her ear.
“Okay,” Bai Jin Xi releases her hands.
The night is quiet. The wind blows towards them. A big bridge is ahead of them as they drive out of the old city district. The water beneath the bridge is very dark, yet very calm; reflecting the warm lighting from both shores.
They drive on a boulevard as they head further down. Schools are around the area, and there are still people running and playing basketball at the court. There is a mall, and its fully lit and noisy. On the boulevard, the lights criss-cross each other. There aren’t many cars or people, so the sound of the motorcycle crisp and clear.
Bai Jin Xi doesn’t move as she sits in front of him. She lifts her head and looks what’s ahead of them. And he’s also very quiet, not saying a word throughout the whole ride.
It’s almost 8pm when they arrive at the station.
Han Chen parks the motorcycle, and gets off first.
“You go ahead first. I’m taking a smoke,” he says.
“Oh, okay,” Bai Jin Xi gets off as well, and they walk in opposite directions.
The interrogation room is on the second floor. Bai Jin Xi takes the side staircase. When she gets to the landing of the staircase, she turns her head subconsciously, and sees that under the dim yellow streetlight, everything is blurring, like a still painting. Han Chen is leaning against the wall, lighting his cigarette with his head down. The light stretches his shadow, and he’s wearing black from head to toe, only his fair white face can be seen. His eyelids are semi-closed as he smokes; it seems as if he’s standing close, yet far away at the same time.
Bai Jin Xi watches for a while before continuing up the stairs.
The image of the two of them riding the motorcycle floats into her mind again.
She actually felt gentleness from the Han Chen just now.
But then again, she must be thinking too much. They were riding as colleagues only. When it comes to being close, Zhou Xiao Zhuan always holds her waist, and won’t even let go when he’s scared.
She must just be thinking too much.
Mini Side Story: A Man’s Troubles
Han Chen dislikes having body contact with women not only because he has a fiancée or that he likes keeping his feelings pure. It’s because……
Ever since he was little, he has always disliked it.
When he was little, because he was good looking, from a wealthy family, played basketball well, and was good with doing homework, he was always surrounded with many girls. From kindergarten, elementary to middle school……at times it even felt absurd to him; girls would get jealous of each other and fight or scheme to harm each other……girls would fight to sit beside him in class; they wanted to hold his hands during field trips; when he was smoking in the corner of the court, a bunch of girls would secretly stand in the building above him commenting how handsome he was, which also made him get caught by the teachers.
So he understood when he was little that women are…….very, very troublesome.
Therefore, ever since elementary school, he was cold, proud and aloof. The most common things he said to girls were: “Don’t touch me,” “Go away,” and “I don’t like you, goodbye.”
Therefore, Young Master Han the thirteen had a nickname at the time called……”Han Chu” (lit. “Chief Han” on the surface, but also denotes “Virgin Han”). At first, it sounded like a name for an authoritative person. One time, his dad heard someone call him this and felt intrigued: “So what?…..You’ve even given yourself a position now? What do they call you……Chief Han?”
At the time, Han Chen was still a young lad, so his face flushed as he responded, “It’s because they’re too troublesome.”
In the end, he falls in love with the most troublesome one. She is really troublesome; she’s picky, and loves to be pretty. She’s usually cheerful, but when she’s upset, she’s extremely sensitive like a kitten, wanting someone to coax her and dote her. But Han Chen dotes her willingly. Even his buddies are in shock seeing the way he is now that he’s in a relationship and says, “Holy, Brother Han, you can’t be so good to a woman, otherwise, be careful that she’ll step all over you.” Han Chen replies, “Shut up! I’m willing to.”
A lot later, he finally understands something. The saying is true……no matter how much money, his willingness cannot be bought. The heavens made him experience girls harassing him and making things hard for him when he was little, just so that he could save up all his affections, gentleness, and good qualities. He saved them all for this one woman.
Han Chen feels that this is very good.
But after having her, sometimes when Han Chen is by himself, he would reveal a fascinating smile.
The young and handsome man feels a bit of sourness in his heart, but also a bit of excitement.
He thinks to himself: he could finally get rid of his “Han Chu” nickname……!!!