Letting out the Tigress
With his left eye activated, everything in the study, whether obvious or hidden, was immediately visible to Xia Lei. His gaze quickly alighted on a book titled ‘Archaeological Discoveries’. What attracted his attention, however, was not the book but a piece of paper between its pages.
Xia Lei removed Archaeological Discoveries from the shelf and took out the nicely-folded letter.
The letter read: I took a look at the map that person brought and the patterns on the key were indeed a part of it. From what I gathered when the two were put together, the wreck should be close to Jiu-Wei Island in the East China Sea. He wanted to work with me but I refused. The cultural relics on the ship belong to our nation and should not belong to an individual. I shall go to the Cultural Relics Bureau tomorrow and make a report so the search for the wreck would be sped up. I believe that it will make a great impact on the archaeological community if all goes well.
“Jiu-Wei Island?” Xia Lei’s pulse quickened. “That man and woman killed Professor Zhang and stole the key! Since I welded the key for them, they would most likely be close to Jiu-Wei Island looking for the wreck! They would surely not expect me to help the police crack the case so quickly and catch them.”
At that moment, Jiang Ru-Yi walked into the study, all smiles. “Lei, I called Director Xu and told him I found important evidence. Heh, I also made a little report about Huang Chang-Hai. Muahaha! The thought of it is so satisfying.”
Xia Lei chuckled, “How should you thank me?”
Jiang Ru-Yi walked over and looked Xia Lei right in the eye as she asked teasingly, “How do you want me to thank you?”
“I want… Forget it. I don’t want to eat Sichuan cuisine.” Xia Lei gave up.
“Great! I saved 200 yuan,” laughed Jiang Ru-Yi.
Xia Lei put Professor Zhang’s letter in Jiang Ru-Yi’s hand. “You’re a cheapskate but I’ll be a good guy till the end. This is a letter left by Professor Zhang. It mentions a location, so you’ll probably catch the suspects there if you bring a team to search there.”
Jiang Ru-Yi opened the letter and read its contents.
“I’ll only help you to this point – you’ll have to do the rest yourself. There’s no use in me hanging around so I’m off. Just give me a call if you need my help,” said Xia Lei.
“Wait.” Jiang Ru-Yi called for Xia Lei to wait, her face full of bewilderment. “How did you find this letter? How is it that our police technicians could not find such an important thing while you can?”
Xia Lei gestured at the bookcases. “I was actually just looking for a book to read and I stumbled upon this letter unexpectedly.”
“Isn’t this… too much of a coincidence?” Jiang Ru-Yi still looked bewildered.
Xia Lei grinned, “Didn’t you say it yourself? I’m your lucky star. I’m also like a blind cat running into dead ends. It’s just coincidence.”
Jiang Ru-Yi was still looking at him suspiciously and was afire with questions. The professional police team had come up with nothing but Xia Lei had just turned up, found evidence and even a lead to catch the perpetrators. When did he become so amazing? He’s like Sherlock Holmes!
Noise could suddenly be heard from outside and Huang Chang-Hai’s voice followed, “Jiang Ru-Yi! You’re breaking rules one after the other as Chief! This is a crime scene – how can you bring in an outsider?!”
Xia Lei and Jiang Ru-Yi froze, surprised.
“Why’s that annoying guy here?” Xia Lei asked, “Ru-Yi, are you sure you called Director Xu?”
Jiang Ru-Yi nodded her pretty head, “Yes, how can I not be sure of who I called? Director Xu said he would send someone to assist me right away.”
“Then, did he send Huang Chang-Hai?”
“I don’t think so. I have a feeling that he doesn’t have a good impression of Huang Chang-Hai, or I wouldn’t be Chief otherwise.” Jiang Ru-Yi stamped her foot in vexation. “But why is that Huang Chang-Hai fellow here?”
Huang Chang-Hai appeared in the study doorway just as her words escaped her lips. Behind him were a few other police officers who avoided her eyes awkwardly when they saw her.
“De-Deputy Huang, why are you here?” For some unknown reason, Jiang Ru-Yi shrank when she saw Huang Chang-Hai and looked guilty.
Huang Chang-Hai smirked. “You are aware of what place this is, aren’t you, Chief Jiang? How can you bring this fellow inside? You are contaminating the crime scene!”
“I…” Jiang Ru-Yi was about to speak when Xia Lei, who was behind her, pinched her thigh hard. Her mouth shaped the O for ‘orange’ but no sound came out.
Xia Lei spoke softly in her ear, “If you tell him about the evidence and letter I found, he will take credit for them.”
“You wanna die? That hurts. Can’t you pick somewhere meatier to pinch…” said Jiang Ru-Yi through clenched teeth. Only she and Xia Lei could hear her words.
Meatier? Did she mean her buttocks?
Xia Lei did not dare. “Why are you so afraid of him? You dumbass, learn from your mistake! He is your subordinate. You have the evidence and leads to crack the case in your hands now. Why don’t you have the courage to be fiercer to him?”
Jiang Ru-Yi looked blank for a bit. “Yeah, why don’t I? I’m the Chief!”
“Do you hear me, Chief Jiang?” said Huang Chang-Hai aggressively, “I’m waiting for your explanation!”
Jiang Ru-Yi took a deep breath, then unleashed her fury. “I’ll explain nothing! Huang Chang-Hai, you shut your mouth!”
Huang Chang-Hai paused and the study was silent. The police officers looked at Jiang Ru-Yi – this was unquestionably the first they had seen of their “Chief Jiang” throwing her weight around. It was enough for them all to freeze in surprise for a few seconds.
“Jiang…” Huang Chang-Hai tried to speak but was cut off by Jiang Ru-Yi. “I told you to shut your mouth. I am the Chief and you are just one of my deputies – a spare tire. This is not under your jurisdiction. So what if I brought someone? It is for cracking the case! Take a look at yourself – what can you do other than getting in my way?”
Her mouth was like a mini gatling gun at full blast, and her spittle the bullets shooting forth!
Jiang Ru-Yi pointed towards the study doorway and commanded, “Huang Chang-Hai, you go back to the station now and be on standby. The rest of you, stay and assist with the case.”
The police officers looked at Huang Chang-Hai, as if awaiting his instruction. They were trying to observe and gauge the situation so they would know which camp to pick.
Huang Chang-Hai shook off his surprise and laughed derisively, “Jiang Ru-Yi, I, Huang Chang-Hai will not be ordered around by a temporary Chief like you!”
A male voice suddenly came from beyond the doorway, “What big words. If she cannot order you around, how about me?”
A tall and slim policeman appeared in the doorway to accompany the voice. The silver olive branch of a Second-Class Police Supervisor was sewn on his shoulder. His calm belied his anger.
Xia Lei had never set eyes on this person before but he could guess who he was from the insignia on his shoulder – Director Xu. As expected, he quickly spotted his name tag, which read ‘Xu Zheng-Yi’.
Xu Zheng-Yi did not come alone. Behind him were several police officers, technical staff carrying toolboxes and gun-toting criminal investigators. The few police officers in the doorway from North Police Station moved aside right away at their arrival and stood a distance away.
Huang Chang-Hai paused when he saw Xu Zheng-Yi, then moved to welcome him with a smile on his face. He reached out both hands and spoke flatteringly, “Director Xu, are you here to guide us in our work?”
Xu Zheng-Yi walked straight past Huang Chang-Hai and did not shake his hand.
Huang Chang-Hai flushed red and retracted his hand, embarrassed. “Director Xu, I was discussing the progress of the case with Chief Jiang just now. We have obtained important information and the characteristics of the suspects. Look, Director Xu, these are sketches of the suspects.”
Huang Chang-Hai held out the two sketches which Jiang Ru-Yi had done.
Jiang Ru-Yi angrily said, “Huang Chang-Hai, have you no shame? These suspects were described by Lei, and drawn by me. When did it become information that you’ve obtained?”
“Chief Jiang, I do understand your eagerness to gain merit but some things cannot be rushed,” said Huang Chang-Hai brazenly.
“You…” Jiang Ru-Yi was rooted by anger.
Xia Lei spoke, “Deputy Huang, you said you obtained important information, so you must know the identity of those two suspects, yes? And you also know where these two suspects are hiding and what they are planning to do, right?”
“I…” Huang Chang-Hai could not say anything either.
Xu Zheng-Yi’s gaze landed on Xia Lei. It was strange but he seemed to be sending an encouraging look.
Xia Lei continued, “Deputy Huang, you are not putting any effort into the case at all but into thinking of ways to hinder Chief Jiang so she would be forced to step down, aren’t you?”
“Rubbish!” Huang Chang-Hai could not stay calm any longer.
Xia Lei had a slight smirk on his face as he said, “Chief Jiang knows what you don’t. She has actually already cracked this case.”
“Hm? What’s going on?” Xu Zheng-Yi looked very surprised.
Jiang Ru-Yi hastily placed the items Xia Lei had found on the desk and started to explain, “Director Xu, this is evidence left by the suspect. This piece of fingernail has a trace of blood on it and a hair. We can use a DNA analysis to find out the identity of the murderer. Additionally, this is a letter left by Professor Zhang. It points to a location the suspects will most likely be at. There’s no time to lose – I think we should work in two teams; have one team analyse and match the identity of the suspects and the other team work on arresting them.”
Xu Zheng-Yi looked at the fingernail nestled in tissue paper and the letter left by Professor Zhang and smiled. “Well done, Ru-Yi. How did you think of coming back to the crime scene to look for evidence?”
Jiang Ru-Yi glanced at Xia Lei and could not help but let a small smile on her lips, “I thought that no matter how discreet and clean the murderer was, there was sure to be something left behind that was related to him. We were not meticulous enough when we searched the first time. I took a closer look this time and found this piece of fingernail in the vacuum cleaner. Then, I found a letter written by Professor Zhang in a book.”
“Good, very good. I did not go wrong in my judgement.” Xu Zheng-Yi was delighted.
Jiang Ru-Yi glanced at Xia Lei again, her pretty eyes full of joy and gratitude.
Xia Lei was glad too. He did not mind Jiang Ru-Yi taking all the credit since it was no use to him anyway but it was very important for her future.
Xu Zheng-Yi looked at Huang Chang-Hai and spoke frostily, “Huang Chang-Hai, return to the station. I will have a talk with you when this case is closed.”
Huang Chang-Hai drooped. It was clear that whatever Xu Zheng-Yi had to talk about was not going to be good.
While Xu Zheng-Yi was making a call for reinforcements and the technical staff were dealing with the evidence, Jiang Ru-Yi moved to Xia Lei’s side, reached out and pinched his butt.
Xia Lei was not expecting that and hissed through clenched teeth, “What are you doing?”
“You pinch me, I pinch you. We’re even.” Jiang Ru-Yi giggled quietly, “This big sister will treat you to Western cuisine when we go back. It’s not a joke this time and definitely not 200 yuan Sichuan cuisine.”
She pinched Xia Lei’s butt again, hard.
Xia Lei grimaced in pain and itched to reach out and pinch her butt a few times in revenge. That meaty place must feel very good to pinch, eh? However, he did not dare to put his thoughts into action. What made him depressed was that a certain part of himself had been awakened by Jiang Ru-Yi’s pinches and the fabric of his trousers strained to conceal its aggressiveness…