Miss Forensics – Chapter 103

Shackles

“This…” Song Yuhang still hadn’t snapped back to reality, staring blankly at him.

Feng Jianguo gave a light cough, picking up his teacup to take a sip, masking the awkwardness.

“It’s not that I hate her, but I can’t exactly say I like her either. That reckless drive in Lin Yan to solve a case at all costs, throwing caution to the wind – it’s probably something every young detective has had at some point, right? But at my age, with so much to consider, that kind of recklessness just isn’t suitable anymore.”

Song Yuhang was silent; she understood.

But the mention of Lin Yan inevitably soured her mood, her hand instinctively wiping away a tear, followed by a sniffle.

“If that’s the case, I’ve got a few questions I want to ask you.”

“Go ahead.”

“Why seize Lin Yan’s property?”

“She had debts in her name, her father was unwilling to take them on, and since she didn’t have any other relatives, the creditors applied to the court for forced execution. The only choice left was to auction off the property to cover the debts.”

After Lin Yan broke away from the Lin family, she had some assets of her own, some profitable and some not. Otherwise, how could she sustain her lavish expenses?

Song Yuhang nodded and asked, “So, what’s the plan for dealing with that fat guy?”

“We’ll wait for the court’s decision,” Feng Jianguo replied, his expression unchanging.

She clenched her teeth—Feng Jianguo knew what she was thinking. Setting the teacup down on the table, it made a soft sound.

“There’s no direct evidence linking him to the tampering with your vehicles. You know how it goes—with no concrete proof, the courts can at most get him on charges like kidnapping, child trafficking, or premeditated murder.”

Song Yuhang was practically grinding her teeth to bits: “I know, and that’s exactly why I must uncover the puppet master behind all this.”

Feng Jianguo leisurely blew on his tea leaves, “What’s your plan?”

“Has the car that plunged into the sea been salvaged?”

“It was pulled up the day before yesterday and parked in the lot for wrecked vehicles.”

Song Yuhang took mental note of this, scrutinizing him. Observing his fingers around the teacup, her gaze hinted at a mix of inquisitiveness, thorough investigation, and a trace of distrust.

“What about the USB drive?”

Feng Jianguo shook his head, “He said he lost it while making his escape.”

Song Yuhang also shook her head, “That’s impossible. I know you guys would’ve looked for it. I still can’t trust you.”

“At this point, do you even have anyone left you can trust?” Feng Jianguo shot back. Their gazes clashed under the harsh white light, the silver olive branches on his epaulettes casting a cold gleam.

When Lin Yan was investigating alone, she only ran into obstacles; her life wasn’t in danger. But as soon as the two of them started digging together, their enemy began to up the ante, step by step.

First, there was the death of Li Bin, then Li Yang’s so-called “accidental” death, which felt more like a farce that had been carefully orchestrated. And what about that blue substance that kept popping up in the “White Whale Case”?

Not to mention the ambush they ran into on their way to the provincial capital; the assailants used rubber bullets, standard police issue gear.

Plus, the tiny mic they found behind the thin man’s ear—did all this mean that someone was pulling the strings from the shadows?

And that mole… was right among them.

If the person sitting opposite her, who had his fingers in the pie of every level of the Jiangcheng City police force, turned out to be the puppet master, she truly had nowhere to run.

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Song Yuhang shivered, but not from the cold.

Feng Jianguo broke the silence, “Yeah, if it were me, you wouldn’t be sitting here right now.”

Song Yuhang dug her fingernails deep into her palm, a desperate attempt to hang onto her composure.

She knew that the mole could be anyone she had come across—any janitor from the city bureau, the auntie who served food in the cafeteria, her subordinates, her superiors, her colleagues…

Every one of them wore a cloak of suspicion that couldn’t simply be washed clean, including Feng Jianguo.

Lin Yan’s death had made her far more cautious.

She probed like a snake in the grass, flicking its tongue secretly to sense the surroundings.

“You wouldn’t kill me inside the city bureau.”

“You’re right. The best times to strike were when you were hospitalized, when you went looking for Lin Yan, and when you were so lost in grief that you wished for death.”

But the other party had since retreated, laying down their arms quietly.

Song Yuhang was taken aback as if a streak of light had cleaved through the chaos.

Feng Jianguo lived up to his reputation as a veteran detective, pinpointing the crux from a heap of trivial details.

“Now, you should believe it wasn’t me, right?”

Life is like a vortex, and she and Lin Yan were just two solitary leaves caught up in it unwittingly.

Back on the rooftop in Wuli Town, when she swore to Lin Yan to crack the “Chu Nan Case” within her lifetime, she probably didn’t envision being battered to oblivion by the raging waves it would stir up.

Uncertain whether it was the cold or hatred, Song Yuhang’s teeth chattered together, making a “clack-clack” sound.

“Who… who is it, really?”

Leaning in, Feng Jianguo confessed, “I’d like to know that myself.”

In his seat of power, he answered to the higher-ups at the provincial department while hundreds of pairs of eyes watched his every move, aware that pulling one thread could unravel the whole.

Song Yuhang loosened the grip that was digging her nails into her palm and gently caressed her own engagement ring.

“I’ll investigate.”

Feng Jianguo looked at her, but suddenly threw a seemingly irrelevant question.

“Married?”

Song Yuhang responded with a faint “Hmm.”

“Whether it’s Lin Yan’s death, that case from fourteen years ago, or the mole, I must get to the bottom of the truth.”

“Think it through. If you don’t investigate, I’ll let you go; you can live out your days in peace. But if you do, not only will you face discipline, you’ll be walking into a veritable hell—constant unrest from now on.”

Song Yuhang once thought she understood Lin Yan enough, empathized deeply. Only now does she realize just how heavy the burden of a life feels—so crushing, it leaves her gasping for breath every moment. Every time she thinks of it, her heart feels like it’s being sliced apart, a pain that will shadow her all her life.

This ring represents steadfast love, but also an eternal shackle.

Even so, she simply lifts her head, with unwavering resolve, she declares, “I’m going to investigate.”

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A faint smile of approval surfaces in Feng Jianguo’s eyes.

The tea’s gone cold; it’s time for him to leave.

“The department will convene a meeting to discuss your case outcome. Unless something unexpected happens, there will likely be a demotion and a job transfer. Get ready for it.”

Song Yuhang nods: “I have just one condition—ensure my family’s safety.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it personally.”

Just as Feng Jianguo is about to turn and go, she holds him back.

“I want to know about this Aunt Hong’s life story.”


“Pei Jinhong, female, thirty-four years old, of Chinese-Burmese descent, goes by the nickname ‘Golden Pheasant,’ known in the underworld as ‘Aunt Hong.’ She’s the power behind the curtains at the Huange Nightclub, smuggling goods through the connections she’s made there while also shipping labor to Southeast Asia under the guise of recruitment. In actuality, she’s an unadulterated human trafficker.”

“This one’s crafty and cunning; the cops have tried to nab her multiple times without any luck, choosing not to touch the nightclub for now, just to avoid spooking her.”

There’s a faded photo on the table. The woman in the picture has black shoulder-length hair, pronounced cheekbones, a pointy chin, and narrow, phoenix tail-like eyes—she looks shrewd and somewhat harsh.

Her face isn’t stunning, but not unattractive either—she’s the sort that’d make you do a double-take if you saw her in a crowd.

And there’s a small black mole right by her eyebrow.

Such an unremarkable woman turns out to be a key broker who infiltrates mainland China for criminal gangs, making connections between China and Myanmar.

She had these details down pat, having memorized them over the past few days to the point where she could recite them with her eyes closed.

The person across from her produced another black and white photograph and placed it on the table; it depicted a man with a high nose bridge and deep-set eyes.

The woman’s face was wrapped in bandages, as was her neck, which made her voice particularly hoarse.

“Wang Qiang, male, forty-five years old, a foreign company executive, Pei Jinhong’s lover, and also one of the covert shareholders of Huange Nightclub.”

The person opposite her pulled out another photo from a thick stack and placed it in front of them.

“Li Li, male, thirty years old, an employee of Huange Nightclub, involved with one of Pei Jinhong’s female singers.”

As each photo was laid out on the table, the woman recognized and identified them one by one.

“Chen Fang, female, twenty-four years old, the lead singer at Huange Nightclub, who, after being promoted by Pei Jinhong, is determined to get into Wang Qiang’s bed.”

“Wu Fei, female, twenty-eight years old, the singer involved with Li Li.”

“Qian Ming, male, thirty-six years old, an employee highly valued by Pei Jinhong.”

“Hu Jie, male, fifty years old, a janitor at the nightclub.”

……

The person opposite set down the last photo.

The man in the photo had only his back visible, wearing a black short-sleeved athletic shirt that showed off his muscular arms, with a crew cut, standing in a jungle setting; it was clearly a candid shot.

“His name is Kuba; to this day, no one has seen his face. This photo was taken at great risk by one of our people.”

“According to reliable informants, he’s the one who meets with Pei Jinhong in northern Myanmar. However, due to Pei Jinhong’s inherently cautious and suspicious nature, she frequently changes meeting spots, just like a cunning hare with multiple burrows, which is why we’ve never been able to catch him red-handed.”

“This reliable informant is Qian Ming, right?” The woman with her hand wrapped in a bandage lightly tapped one of the photos spread out in front of her.

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“That’s correct, he’s already dead.”

The man flipped over the photo, his tone laced with regret.

“Before his death, he didn’t only send out this photo, but also this—”

He pulled out a transparent glass bottle from under the table.

The blue liquid inside swayed as if it were something out of a dream.

The bottle reflected the woman’s only exposed eye, which was filled with an icy coldness in its pitch-black pupil.

“I’ve seen it before.”

“They call it ‘Drunken Dream’.”

Living life in a drunken stupor, oblivious to the world; indeed… indeed, it’s a very fitting name.

She ground her teeth, chewing up the fullness of her hatred.

“Alright, that’s all the information we can provide you with. I must remind you that the ‘Golden Pheasant’ has a complicated social network with frequent personnel interactions, so there may be some inaccuracies in the information. From there on, it’s all up to your ability to adapt to the situation and your own fortune.”

“Venturing alone into dangerous territory without any external support or assistance, and we haven’t planted any new informants either, so don’t trust anyone.”

“When necessary, don’t even believe the information I’ve given you unless I personally meet with you face-to-face.”

“Are you… ready?”

The woman unwrapped the bandage from her wrist, flexing her muscles and rotating her joints. One hand reached behind her head to untie the knot made by the doctor. Layers of bandages fell away, revealing a face somewhat unfamiliar yet identical to one in a photo on the desk.

“Do I have any other choice?”

She asked in the darkness.

The man remained silent. In the end, as he turned to leave, he left her with a sentence.

“Go see her before you leave.”


“Captain Song, your family is here. Considering you’re still recovering from your injuries, and given the justifiable reasons for your actions, the organization has decided to be lenient with you. Go home and wait for further notice.”

The iron door opened, and Song Yuhang extended her hand. The officer processed her paperwork and unlocked her handcuffs.

She hadn’t slept all night, and her entire complexion was the pale gray of sleep deprivation. Her eyes were sunken, hair disheveled, as she walked forward in a daze.

As Ji Jingxing saw her coming out, she hurriedly supported her down the steps. Mother Song was also waiting outside and approached to meet them.

Upon seeing her, Song Yuhang bowed her head and hoarsely called out, “Mom—”

Tears immediately welled up in her eyes.

Mother Song didn’t say a word, knowing the turmoil in her daughter’s heart, and caressed her head just like when she was a child.

“There, there, Mom knows everything. Let’s go home.”

On their way back, they passed by the supermarket where Song Yuhang had gone alone to buy groceries that day.

Song Yuhang gazed out of the window and became lost in thought. “Sis, stop the car for a moment. I’ll buy some things. Let’s have hot pot tonight.”

Hot pot, a time-consuming affair, was something she usually disliked.

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Ji Jingxing just thought she had suddenly changed her preferences, but didn’t realize that it was Lin Yan’s favorite.

As someone who, being a Southerner, preferred light flavors, it was peculiar for her to also love hot pot so much.

Seeing that Song Yuhang was in the mood for it, Ji Jingxing pulled over.

“Alright, let’s go together. It’s also been a while since Mom went out for shopping.”

Song Yuhang did not stop them. Together, they got out of the car, and as they entered the supermarket, the two others pushed the shopping cart into the aisles. With a turn, Song Yuhang disappeared.

Parking lot.

Security room.

“Hello, officer, I’d like to check the surveillance footage from January 25th,” Song Yuhang said, handing over her ID for the other party to examine before the guard tucked it into his jacket.

The security guard’s expression turned troubled: “Unfortunately, that day there was a scheduled power outage for line maintenance, so the surveillance wasn’t running at all.”

Song Yuhang’s expression suddenly became stern: “Why would the maintenance not happen before or after, but specifically at that time?”

“It’s not that…” The security guard said, looking sheepish in fear she might get angry.

“The mall has regulations, we do maintenance on the 25th of each month. If you don’t believe me, I can show you.”

As he spoke, the guard took down a big stack of notices from the wall, licking his finger to count through them until he reached those from three months ago.

“Here, this notice is from the day before.”

After handing over the documents to her, the security guard tapped away at the computer, pulling up the CCTV footage from that day. The screen was completely dark.

“See, I really didn’t deceive you.”

Song Yuhang clenched her teeth, about to say something, when her phone in her pocket started to vibrate.

It was Ji Jingxing.

She answered: “It’s nothing, I went to the restroom. Have you all finished shopping? If you’re done, let’s meet in the parking lot.”

After handing over the documents to her, the security guard tapped away at the computer, pulling up the CCTV footage from that day. The screen was completely dark.

“See, I really didn’t deceive you.”

Song Yuhang clenched her teeth, about to say something, when her phone in her pocket started to vibrate.

It was Ji Jingxing.

She answered: “It’s nothing, I went to the restroom. Have you all finished shopping? If you’re done, let’s meet in the parking lot.”

After hanging up the phone, the security guard was also looking at her, probably wondering why the police have to be so secretive in an investigation.

With an unchanged expression, Song Yuhang asked, “That day, did anyone acting suspiciously leave a deep impression on you?”

The security guard shook his head: “There was a constant stream of people that day, I’ve seen way too many.”

“Alright, thank you,” said Song Yuhang as she made her way out.

It seemed like the lead to find the person who scratched her car had reached a dead end again.

However, it was also very possible that the person was instigated by someone pulling strings from behind the scenes, just like the duo of the fat and thin brothers, so she hadn’t held out too much hope.

Now, the most crucial thing was to find time to go to Huange Nightclub and find this woman known as “Aunt Hong.”


LP: Was that… Lin Yan?! ૮ ⚆ﻌ⚆ა



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Merrel

This aunt hong keeps coming up… 🤔

Little Panda
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