I Didn’t See Anything
Jiang Ru-Yi paused before the police officers’ cubicles.
The entire office was empty save for a few female desk clerk officers.
Jiang Ru-Yi walked to a female officer’s desk and asked, “Wang, what’s going on? Where is everyone?”
The officer called Wang replied, “They were all sent out by Deputy Huang.”
“Sent out to do what?”
“Some went to investigate old cases, some went on patrol and some went to follow up on a report of burglary which came in a few minutes ago.”
Jiang Ru-Yi was pale with anger, “Rubbish! The higher-ups told us to crack the case in a week! How can they be out chasing petty thieves at this time?”
“Ahem.” Huang Chang-Hai appeared in the office with a beautiful boccaro cup in hand and a gloating look on his face. “Wang, go make me a cup of tea.”
“Yes, sir.” Officer Wang stood from her desk right away to make tea for Huang Chang-Hai. Her attitude towards him was obviously more respectful than towards Jiang Ru-Yi.
“What is the meaning of this, Deputy Huang? Who is going to investigate Professor Zhang’s case if you send everyone out?” asked Jiang Ru-Yi angrily.
Huang Chang-Hai answered leisurely, “Me. I’ll investigate. I’ll personally lead a team of our best to investigate the murder of Professor Zhang.” He paused, then smiled as he continued, “Chief Jiang, you’ve never led a team nor cracked any case. You have no experience in this, so you can just wait comfortably in your office for my good news. I’ll be heading out after I finish my tea.”
“Huang Chang-Hai! You’re doing this on purpose!” Jiang Ru-Yi was quivering with rage, “I’ll report you to the higher-ups!”
Huang Chang-Hai chuckled. “As you wish. I’m leading an investigation team for Professor Zhang’s murder. What more do you want? Do it yourself if you’re so capable.”
“You…” Jiang Ru-Yi was so mad she couldn’t say a word.
“What? Do you mean to say you have no ability to solve a case?” Huang Chang-Hai’s words were fully intended to provoke her.
Xia Lei had not wanted to get involved but he could not watch by the sidelines anymore and spoke out, “Huang Chang-Hai, you think you can stop Ru-Yi from cracking the case by getting in her way? It’s no use, I tell you. The suspects’ faces are already known – this case is actually already half-solved.”
Huang Chang-Hai smirked. “These two supposed suspects were provided by you, weren’t they? How can a little construction worker like you meet the suspects of Professor Zhang’s murder? How trustworthy can your words be? Do you have proof? I think you produced these two suspects so you can get closer to Chief Jiang and woo her – am I right?”
Xia Lei also gave him a smile. “Don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched. You can laugh only after Ru-Yi gets axed after a week. You should start crying if she cracks the case this week and secures the position of Chief. I was going to take care of matters at my shop but this guy is just too detestable. Ru-Yi, I’ve decided to help you with the case.” He looked at Ru-Yi, “But you have to promise to stick him in a little guard shed first chance you get.”
“Yes, I promise!” Jiang Ru-Yi’s voice was thick with emotion. A smile appeared on her lips. She looked at Xia Lei gratefully and felt some anger leave her.
“Hah! We’ll see who gets stuck in a little guard shed!” All smiles were wiped off Huang Chang-Hai’s face.
Xia Lei could not be bothered with him any more. He smiled and said, “Let’s go, Ru-Yi.”
After walking out the doors of the police station, Jiang Ru-Yi pulled the still forward-striding Xia Lei to a stop. “Lei, just now… Thank you. I would have lost my pride and reputation if not for you speaking up for me.”
“You were being bullied – of course I’d help you,” said Xia Lei.
Jiang Ru-Yi gave him a pretty smile and asked probingly, “Just now, Huang Chang-Hai said you… you want to woo me. Is it true?”
“Wha-?” Xia Lei reacted like he’d been kicked. “No way! I wouldn’t go after you even if you were the last woman on Earth! I totally gave up on you after you snitched on me eating sweets in class to the class monitor in Primary Three.”
Jiang Ru-Yi punched Xia Lei. “You’re still holding a grudge over something from Primary Three? You’re so petty!”
Xia Lei dodged her next fist, laughing as he said, “Okay, okay… I’ll stop joking. Let’s work on the case. What are your plans, Ru-Yi?”
Jiang Ru-Yi’s mood plummeted again. “I don’t know what to do either. That Huang Chang-Hai was right – I have no experience solving cases…” She looked at Xia Lei, “Tell me, do you think I’m useless?”
“Don’t underestimate yourself. The higher-ups must have seen something in you they liked to have selected you to be Chief. I don’t know what your good points are yet but it seems your boss has some idea.”
Jiang Ru-Yi fixed Xia Lei with a glare. “Are you praising me or dissing me?”
“Praise, of course,” said Xia Lei laughingly, “Okay, take me to Professor Zhang’s home to have a look around. I did say I’d help you solve this so I’ll help you.”
Jiang Ru-Yi frowned. “Professional teams have already gone through the crime scene and found nothing. We’ll just be wasting our time.”
“What if they missed something? Let’s go take a look around – maybe we will find some other clues if we’re lucky.”
Jiang Ru-Yi considered it. “Okay, let’s go. I don’t know where to begin looking for those two suspects anyway.”
Xia Lei got into Jiang Ru-Yi’s car and called Ma Xiao-An to let him know which shop matters to take care of.
Ma Xiao-An giggled, “Don’t worry, I’ll handle it. Relax and enjoy your date with your future wife. Remember to bring a condom! Haha!”
“Bring, my foot!” growled Xia Lei quietly. He hung up.
Jiang Ru-Yi eyed Xia Lei in the passenger seat and asked, “Who did you call? What did he ask you to bring?”
“That was Ma Xiao-An. He was reminding me to…” Xia Lei almost let it slip. “To bring some cash with me.” He quickly changed the end of the sentence.
“Bring cash? What for?” Jiang Ru-Yi suddenly smiled sweetly. “Lei, are you going to treat me to a meal? Bring me to a Western-style restaurant – I know one that has good steak.”
Xia Lei rolled his eyes at her. “Dream on. Just concentrate on driving.”
“Scrooge.” Jiang Ru-Yi then grumbled, “This big sister here is teaching you how to woo girls. How are you going to get a girlfriend with your miserly ways?”
Xia Lei was speechless.
Professor Zhang’s home was a standalone villa in a high-class neighbourhood. His other half had passed away a year ago and they had been childless, leaving the property in empty loneliness after his death.
Jiang Ru-Yi tore away the police tape and brought Xia Lei into the house. Under normal circumstances it was not allowed to destroy or damage police tape but she could do it as Chief, and it was for the purpose of cracking the case, too.
The living room was spick and span and everything was in its place.
“Was this place cleaned up afterwards or was it like this before the crime?” asked Xia Lei.
“It was like this when we rushed here after receiving the report. The maid who reported it said she was getting ready to wake Professor Zhang before cleaning and found him dead in his bedroom. She called the police right away and claims to have not touched anything after that,” said Jiang Ru-Yi.
“Take me to the bedroom.”
Jiang Ru-Yi guided Xia Lei to a bedroom on the second storey.
There was not much disturbance in the bedroom and no obvious blood stains on the floor. One corner of the blanket had been pushed aside, as if the master had just got out of bed. The things in the room looked normal too – neither damaged nor strewn. It gave the overall impression that the old master of the house had just got out of bed to tend to his flowers or walk his dog, and would be back later.
The only thing out of place was the painted outline of a figure on the pinewood floor. The outline was close to the windows, which was most likely where Professor Zhang had met his demise.
Jiang Ru-Yi let out a small sigh. “This doesn’t look like the scene of a murder at all. I can’t think of how those two suspects did it without leaving a trace.”
“Even the wind leaves dust in its passing, let alone humans. The murderer must have left some traces – it’s just that your people haven’t found it yet,” said Xia Lei.
“Our technicians are all professionals with specialised equipment. They’ve swept this entire villa and not found anything. We have nothing to work with here; what can we find?” said Jiang Ru-Yi.
Xia Lei did not bother to debate the usefulness of their search with her and asked, “Oh, right. There isn’t any trace of a murder, so how did you guys confirm that Professor Zhang’s death was a murder?”
“It was his body, of course. His neck was broken neatly and cleanly,” said Jiang Ru-Yi, “If not for this distinct characteristic, we would probably not be able to ascertain if it was a murder.”
“I’ll take a look for myself.” Xia Lei walked to the windows and looked closely at the painted outline of the body. He spent one minute crouching as he looked. Another minute passed as he lay almost flat on the floor staring at the gaps in the floorboards, his face almost touching the floor.
The professional police technicians had equipment like magnifying glasses and fluorescent powder but he didn’t – he had his eye. If he so wished, he could see dust floating in the air. His eye was much more useful than the technicians’ equipment!
Jiang Ru-Yi looked at Xia Lei curiously. “Lei, what are you doing?”
“Looking for clues,” replied Xia Lei as he looked at another gap in the floorboards with his left eye.
“You look like you’re hunting for ants,” said Jiang Ru-Yi. She sneakily raised a leg and aimed a kick at Xia Lei’s buttocks.
Xia Lei suddenly looked behind himself and saw Jiang Ru-Yi poised to kick his butt. Her leg was raised higher than usual and she was in a skirt. In that moment, he caught a glimpse of a slender strip of purple lace. A mature image met his eyes – just a little translucent, with a dent and some shadows. His view was sharply interrupted by a hot pain in his lower abdomen.
“You wanna die?” Jiang Ru-Yi’s face had become as red as ripe persimmons after she suddenly found Xia Lei staring up her skirt. She quickly put her pretty legs together and held them tightly closed, as if afraid something would bury itself between them.
Xia Lei coughed awkwardly. “Um. I didn’t see anything.”
“Shut up!” Jiang Ru-Yi was so embarrassed she could die and wished for the ground to swallow her.
Xia Lei closed his mouth but thought, “Your clothing won’t matter if I wanted to look at your body. You just don’t know that…”
The atmosphere became awkward in an instant. Xia Lei eventually lost to Jiang Ru-Yi’s killer glare and got to his feet. He went to the windows and observed the area around it before pushing them open.