Pristine Darkness - novelonlinefull.com
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The s...o...b.. Gang starts to delve into the recent murders, and Bo Jinyan’s spidey sense is definitely tingling. A little more is deduced about Fu Ziyu’s mysterious lady, and I confess I don’t like the sound of it. In the midst of all the investigation, Bo Jinyan and Jian Yao find time for a ‘romantic’ interlude in their usual style. Read on to find out more . . .
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It was a warmly decorated studio.
Although it was a small s.p.a.ce, the walls were painted light yellow, and the white ceiling had stars and fish hand-painted on it. There was not much furniture. The bookshelf was composed of irregularly arranged wooden square boxes mounted on the wall, which had a charming effect. A square table of unvarnished wood, a few brightly coloured chairs. No carpeting, but light wood-coloured mats had been laid on the floor, giving everything a soft and relaxed atmosphere.
However, at that moment, the studio was in some disarray. Miscellaneous items and props were piled haphazardly in a corner. Books, papers and fast food takeaway boxes were scattered over the table. The mats were no longer bright and had obviously not been cleaned for some time.
Bo Jinyan ran his fingers along a window sill, and came away with dust.
A team of forensic investigators was already busy working on the room, while Fang Qing stood at the doorway, carefully inspecting the door lock and door frame. Jian Yao, like Bo Jinyan, was also methodically looking into every corner of the room.
Xu Sheng, Jiang Xueran and Wen Xiaohua stood outside the studio, accompanied by a criminal investigator. It was difficult to make out their faces in the twilight, but they were silent and exuded a melancholic air.
"What's this?" Jian Yao asked as she indicated some faint traces on the wall. In some areas, the colour of the paint was significantly fresher and cleaner than its surroundings.
"A photo wall," Bo Jinyan answered. "Go and ask them where the photographs have gone."
"The last time we cleaned up, we threw them away," Jiang Xueran said. Beside him, Xu Sheng and Wen Xiaohua were silent.
Jian Yao observed his oddly calm expression and asked, "What were they photographs of?"
Jiang Xueran grimaced faintly and said, somewhat reluctantly, "Our activities, scenery . . . nothing useful."
"Then . . . can you give us the digital copies of these photographs?"
Jiang Xueran paused before saying, "Should be ok." Glancing at Xu Sheng and Wen Xiaohua, he said, "We'll go look for them later."
"Thanks," Jian Yao said.
Then, she suddenly addressed the other two, "How about you guys? Do you also think the photos were useless?" Xu Sheng looked down, then nodded. Wen Xiaohua's face was a little red as he replied, "Yes, that's right."
Jian Yao walked back into the studio, pa.s.sing Fang Qing, who was leaning against the door frame in serious thought.
"Did you discover anything?" Jian Yao asked.
Fang Qing smiled. "Nothing much." He then lowered his voice and said, "According to what those three have said, only the five of them have keys to this place. I've examined the door and the windows, and I've found no traces of adhesive tape, scratches, tools etc. That is to say, unless I've gone blind, there's no way a sixth person could have forcibly entered the studio, or constructed some kind of hidden chamber from which to spring forth and poison the water."
Jian Yao blinked, and whispered, "So elegantly managed."
Fang Qing gave her a look. "Why do the two of you sound the same?"
". . . . do we?"
Looking across, Bo Jinyan was retrieving a small, decorative item from a pile of miscellaneous objects. It was an adorable and colourful little monk made of porcelain. Jian Yao had seen the item before in some brand name store; it was not cheap, costing about two hundred yuan (about USD 30). However, perhaps due to its having been roughly discarded, the item was dirty and scratched.
Bo JInyan put the item down and said to her softly, "Isn't this an interesting place?"
Jian Yao thought for a moment before replying in the affirmative.
Bo Jinyan added, "It's really interesting. Our pool of suspects seems to be getting smaller and smaller, and more and more obvious."
Jian Yao rubbed her chin and pondered the situation. "I remember, in the early days of the Ancient City case, you said, there's usually some pattern behind the smallest details that we observe, so there's a connection between them. It's the same situation now. 'The truth that has been concealed by death and time is now smiling mockingly at us.'"
The two of them looked at each other, and smiled.
"You keep learning from me, and are becoming more and more like me," he whispered.
His low voice suddenly set Jian Yao's heart racing. She turned her face away and ignored his light-hearted teasing.
The movements of the trio outside the studio were quickly investigated and verified.
Wen Xiaohua had bought the bottled water from the convenience store next door the previous day. There was nothing out of the ordinary with the remaining bottles of water at the store. He had also personally selected the bottles.
All three of them had been busy with preparations at the studio the previous day, and all of them had gone in and out of the studio. Thus, it was possible for any one of them to put the poison in the water.
Moreover, the remaining bottles of water at the studio had all been tested - all had been injected with cyanide.
The studio was located in a relatively more remote part of the park, and there were no surveillance cameras at the door.
When leaving the studio, Jian Yao noticed the three of them in the police car. By now, it was completely dark. Under the streetlights, all of them had the same expression: gloomy and bleak. They didn't speak to each other, or look at each other; each seemed weighed down by worry.
Bo Jinyan stood at the door of the studio, looking at the flowerbed by the door. The soil had been turned over, and nothing grew there. A few withered chrysanthemum flowers remained; how long they had lain there no one could tell. One could still vaguely see their past elegance. He picked up a flower from the ground and examined it wordlessly.
"An Yan couldn't find Yumeng in any of the footage from the surveillance cameras!" Fu Ziyu sounded both defeated and unwilling to accept the fact as he sat down opposite Bo Jinyan.
It was then past ten o'clock at night. Bo Jinyan looked at Fu Ziyu and said, "Go home first. I'll check through it for you."
Fu Ziyu replied, "I want to stay here."
Bo Jinyan laughed and said, "If only you'd joined the police force earlier, it would be perfectly justifiable for you to stay here now."
Fu Ziyu also laughed. "Hey, you're too much! You shouldn't be taking advantage of my misfortune*."
*T/N 趁火打劫 (chen huo da jie) – lit. loot a burning house
Both of them fell silent briefly, then Bo Jinyan said, "Go on home. If she doesn't want to see you, there's no point in your suffering as you wait. If she wants to see you, she will definitely appear."
Fu Ziyu shot him an oblique glance. "You're sounding more and more like an expert at relationships."
Bo Jinyan replied, "Since when have I not been an expert at anything I do?"
Fu Ziyu smiled as well, and made as if to get up and leave. However, Bo Jinyan stopped him with one more exhortation. "Don't look for her on your own again. Don't spend all your days and nights roaming the areas where she has appeared. Take care of yourself."
Fu Ziyu laughed and said, "I'll try my best."
Not long after he had left, Jian Yao entered and asked, "Has Ziyu gone?"
Jian Yao sat down and sighed softly. "That woman, just what is she trying to do?"
Bo Jinyan asked a question in reply. "She has appeared twice before Ziyu's very eyes, and both times, she was not captured by any surveillance cameras. Do you understand what this means?"
Jian Yao was stunned.
Bo Jinyan said softly, "It means that 'she' is an expert at evading detection."
Jian Yao remained silent for a considerable length of time before saying, "Do you think she's the one who sent me that text? But, why would she send it to me, and not to Ziyu?"
"Mrs Bo," Bo Jinyan said lightly, "we are currently investigating a case, not engaging in guesswork."
Jian Yao glared at him.
"Fang Qing has already detained the three of them separately, and the result of the investigation - that it is not possible for a sixth person to have entered the studio - has been vaguely hinted at. What do we do now?"
Bo Jinyan stood up and replied, "We hang them out to dry for a while more."
Jian Yao laughed. "Fang Qing thinks the same way. The two of you are seriously in sync."
"If not, how would I have chosen him for the team?"
"Where are you going?" Jian Yao asked.
Bo Jinyan took up his coat. "I'm going downstairs for a walk."
Jian Yao observed his profile. It was very seldom that Bo Jinyan wanted to be alone when he took a walk.
"I'm coming, too!" Jian Yao chased after him.
Although the Criminal Psychology Special Cases Unit came under the Ministry of Public Security, the unit usually worked with the munic.i.p.al criminal investigation team. This way, they were able to foster better rapport with the criminal investigators, which greatly enhanced their cooperative investigations.
There was a sports field downstairs. The evening mist was quite heavy that night and everything was hazy. The light that penetrated the duskiness lent the running track an atmosphere of tranquility. Bo Jinyan walked in front, slowly, while Jian Yao followed behind. She thought that he was most probably worried about Fu Ziyu's situation. Who else could cause him such distress?
After a while, she walked up to him and grabbed hold of his back. "Jinyan, carry me."
Bo Jinyan felt as if the surrounding cool mist, with its aura of loneliness, had slowly filtered into his entire being and filled it. On hearing her words, however, he felt warm. He bent over slightly and allowed her to clamber onto his back. He then effortlessly lifted her up and continued walking.
She buried her face in his broad back and smiled faintly.
The corners of Bo Jinyan's mouth also lifted in a hint of a smile.
"You've put on weight," he said indifferently.
Jian Yao was taken aback. "You . . . you can gauge that so well?" She had indeed put on two kilogrammes recently - it must have been due to eating with Fang Qing, An Yan and the rest . . .
"My ability to estimate has always been good," he said.
Jian Yao harrumphed lightly.
She sprawled on his back and remained silent.
Occasionally, people would run past them, but Bo Jinyan did not even spare them a glance.
However, Jian Yao was becoming a little awkward, so she said, "Put me down."
"I still want to carry you for a while longer."
"Oh . . ."
He had only carried her for a short while when he suddenly used the fleshy part of his thumb to gently rub the inside of her thigh.
Ticklish, numbing, possibly a careless action, possibly full of provocative intent.
"Don't do that!" Jian Yao exclaimed, her face red.
"I just suddenly wanted to do it," he said in a low voice.
The mist brushed against their faces, cool and moist. Both were silent for a moment, then Jian Yao asked, "Hey, shall I carry you?"
At this intriguing proposal, Bo Jinyan put Jian Yao down. Jian Yao got ready*, and bent over in front of him. Bo Jinyan unceremoniously levered himself onto her back, but his legs were still almost touching the ground.
*T/N 摩拳擦掌 (mo quan ca zhang) – lit. rub one's fists and wipe one's palms; fig. to roll up one's sleeves for battle, to prepare for action
"Eh . . ." Jian Yao gritted her teeth, and managed to walk several steps carrying him.
"Oh, I didn't realise my wife had such 'boyfriend power'*," Bo JInyan said in praise.
*T/N 男友力 (nan you li) – literally 'boyfriend power', a term used to describe to degree to which one is suitable to be a boyfriend, and can be understood to refer to masculinity. Have a look at these 30 items to determine one's 'boyfriend power':
Jian Yao was amused. "Is this a new internet slang you've picked up from An Yan?"
After a few more steps, Jian Yao really could not carry on. There was a gra.s.s field in front of them, and she intended to drop him there. However, he refused to let go. She was already unsteady on her feet, so he seized the opportunity and caused both of them to fall over.
Jian Yao asked, "What do you think you're doing?"
In the dark, gloomy night, he gazed fixedly at her, his eyes as bright as stars. "On seeing the gra.s.s, I suddenly feel like holding you. . . and rolling."
Faced with a person who spoke with such conviction and with the doggedness of a Labrador, Jian Yao was speechless.
The two of them simply stayed still, lying on the damp gra.s.s. Jian Yao sprawled on his chest.
"Hey, don't worry," she whispered softly into his ear. "Ziyu is such a good person, regardless of how this situation turns out, I believe he will definitely live a blessed life."
"Mmm, I think the same way."
Editor/ Proofreader: Artemis