Chapter 11: Binding Marks


It seems like your wrist is all red from being bound.

Thus, the statement-taking progressed, turning into the two “suspects” accusing each other.


Xie Lin, “Your finger also coincidentally has a cut on it.”


Ji Mingrui, “Mr.
Xie brought up the cut on your finger that has a high degree of similarity—Comrade Chi Qing, can you please explain.”


Chi Qing lifted that finger that was red from being repeatedly wiped clean, “I cut it when I was slicing bread.”


Ji Mingrui looked at that familiar cut, promptly realizing what cut it was.
He raised a hand and said, “Ah, this cut, I can testify on behalf of it, I was there too.
That night he was using a serrated knife to cut bread.
The knife was still new, he hadn’t even taken off the tag.
I can act as a witness.”


Xie Lin obviously didn’t expect this wound to be of such origin.


Xie Lin, “Be more careful next time you’re cutting bread.”


Chi Qing ignored him.


Chi Qing accused him again, “Aside from holding that knife at the crime scene, he ought to have another knife on his person.”


“I saw it in his car, it’s in a plastic bag.”


Ji Mingrui, “……?”


Ji Mingrui was doing a truly magical job of taking these statements.


Ji Mingrui turned back to Xie Lin, “Alright, now Comrade Chi has brought up a new point of doubt.
Xie, may I ask—what is the deal with that knife?”


“I was investigating a lead, so I went to the store to ask some questions,” Xie Lin said, “and bought it while I was there.”


Oh boy.


Before, Ji Mingrui had only supposed that these two people had gone to feel out the first crime scene at the same time, and then had coincidentally run into each other and nothing more.


He hadn’t imagined that they had already crossed hands a couple of times, and that they had each discovered this many concerning points that lined up with the case about each other.


He looked at the final statement that was taking shape, sighing deeply to himself, “……I really can’t blame you two for having a catfight and dragging each other in here.”


Chi Qing & Xie Lin, “What did you say?”


Ji Mingrui didn’t dare utter a word, “N-nothing.”


The team of three had an arduous task the following day.
Their Bin-ge had been provoked by who knows what, and was suddenly attaching importance to the Cat Killing Case.
Generally speaking, although this type of case left a vile impression, it wasn’t necessary to watch it that closely.
Especially when the police station still had a lot of other unfinished work.


“Hello? Is this the police? My girlfriend is threatening me with jumping off a building again.
This time she seems serious!”


Ji Mingrui, “……”


How have you guys not broken up already.


Ji Mingrui had only just come back from visiting Haimao that morning when Wu Zhibin passed by and assigned them another new task, “Transfer this phone call to another team.
Go to Bianmin and look around and re-question them.
This time, make your investigation a bit more detailed.”


Ji Mingrui transferred over the call, “We already went there last time, you want me to go again?”


Wu Zhibin muttered, “Go again, there might be a problem with this case.”


“……a problem?”


Jiang Yu’s desk was next to Ji Mingrui’s.
The top right corner of his computer had a picture of a cat corpse taped to it.
He’d glance at it every day when he was eating; according to him, it was because he wanted to be able to keep up with his idol’s patterns of thinking as soon as possible.


Wu Zhibin stretched out a hand and pulled off that picture.
His fingers tapped on the wound on the cat’s chest, “What do you think of this wound?”


Ji Mingrui, “A knife pierced directly into its internal organs; the killer clearly wanted to stab the cat to death? Although, I don’t know why he chose to stab above the heart, wouldn’t it die faster if he stabbed directly into the heart—”


The words “it could be because going a bit higher is more convenient” didn’t make it out of his mouth before Wu Zhibin said in a serious tone of voice he’d never heard him use before, “Then have you thought that this stab wound happens to be in the position of the human heart?”


Upon hearing this, not only was Ji Mingrui shocked, but Su Xiaolan and Jiang Yu were both simultaneously struck dumb as well.


“That……could also just be a coincidence.”


“That’s true.
But the person who brought up this coincidence was able to figure out what the perpetrator of the Family Extermination Massacre ten years ago was thinking during the time of the crime based only on a few crime scene photographs.
He overthrew everyone’s certainty that it was a ‘revenge’ killing.
And before the killer was brought to justice, everyone thought his inferences were likely nothing more than coincidences.”


The person he was talking about was Xie Lin.


Ji Mingrui walked forward towards Bianmin Grocery.


That tiny, easily overlooked grocery had civilian police officers coming and going in succession.


Today, the parents weren’t around; Ji Mingrui only saw a kid.
He pulled out his credentials, “Don’t be afraid, I’m with the police.”


The little boy glanced at him, not letting his guard down at all, “Mama said our store abides by the law, we don’t sell expired goods.”


Ji Mingrui, “I’m not here about a problem with the store.
I want to take a look at your sales records for the past month.”


Ji Mingrui pulled out the form and discovered that in the sales records for the past month, the serrated knife only appeared twice.


He examined the shelves again; only two knives of the same model were left on the shelf.


Ji Mingrui bent over so that his line of sight was level with the boy’s, then asked, “Two people came to buy this kind of knife, do you still remember who they were?”


The little boy thought about it, then said, “Two gege’s who were really good looking.”


Ji Mingrui, “……”


It can’t fucking be the two I’m thinking of, right?


“We couldn’t get any fingerprints from any of the physical evidence brought back from the crime scene,” that afternoon, Su Xiaolan brought the analysis report back to the office and said, “But saying it like that isn’t completely accurate.
If I have to report about the fingerprints, there’s also……anyway, they’re all from when your idol touched the handle of the knife.”


As she said this, her gaze was directed at Jiang Yu.


Jiang Yu, “Well it definitely can’t be my idol!”


Through the process of this affair, Su Xiaolan’s understanding of Chi Qing and Xie Lin had grown somewhat deeper, “I know, and I saw the statements too.
If I hadn’t known them before all this, all of their various actions would be more than enough to confirm the identity of the suspect.”


Ji Mingrui, who was back from Bianmin, mentally exhaustedly followed with, “And what’s more, they seem far more like suspects than actual suspects do.”


Su Xiaolan, also mentally exhausted, expressed, “……I can only endorse that conclusion.”


As they were talking, one of the two suspects passed through the hallway of the police station, pushing open the door and appearing in the doorway to the office.
This suspect stood in the doorway and swept his eyes around the room, passing over Jiang Yu, who suddenly sat up straight and lowered his head to furiously type nonsense.
He relaxedly walked over and stopped in front of Ji Mingrui, “Officer Ji, are you free right now?”


“I caused trouble for you guys yesterday, so I wanted to invite you all to a meal tonight,” Xie Lin took a look at the time; it was two hours past the normal time to get off work, “I guessed that you guys would be working overtime tonight.
Me coming at this time, it’s not too early is it?”


He was wearing more casual clothes today, and with a sweater on he looked even more friendly.
It was just that the clavicle showing through his collar was just as intriguing as always.
The scrape from the umbrella on the side of his neck had gone through a night of fermentation, and had become especially eye-catching; the thin mark that looked like a cat scratch extended directly to the area around his collar bone.


Ji Mingrui was astonished to be this friendly with him.
Off to the side, Jiang Yu blinked his eyes with all his strength, replying knowingly, “It was no trouble, um, right now’s perfect.”


After he spoke, he couldn’t help but take another glance at Xie Lin.


Actually, when Jiang Yu had been introduced to Xie Lin previously, he didn’t have too intense of a feeling.


It wasn’t until Wu Zhibin said a few words at around noon earlier that day, that he seemed to genuinely see through that man’s carefree appearance and get a glimpse of the man underneath.


Xie Lin’s approach to making the dinner plans was very gradual, so when he segued into asking about Chi Qing near the end, it seemed extremely natural, not seeming like an overstep at all, “That friend of yours……is he free?”


Ji Mingrui, “Friend? You mean Chi Qing?”


After he spoke, Ji Mingrui fell silent.


To be honest, he thought that according to Chi Qing’s temperament, it was unlikely that he’d come out.


Xie Lin was also clearly aware of this, and made it a point to add, “Don’t mention me, I fear he won’t come if you do.”


Chi Qing was just about to prepare for bed when he received the call, and he had a blanket pulled over himself.
He’d been soaked in the rain the day before and his forehead was a bit hot, so his naturally cold tone of voice was even colder, “I’m busy.”


Ji Mingrui, “……is that how you treat your friends?”


Chi Qing, “Is something up with you.”


Ji Mingrui, “No, nothing, I just wanted to have dinner with you.”


Chi Qing, “……”


Ji Mingrui took hold of Chi Qing’s momentary silence, stepping up his offensive, “I’ve been under so much pressure at work lately, you know, every night whether my eyes are open or closed all I see are those cats.
I don’t know how long it’ll be until they’ll get their vindication, I don’t know when the killer will be brought to justice—”




“The pressure on my shoulders is that huge, and right now all I want to do is eat a meal together with you, and you can’t even fulfill this tiny, tiny request of mine?”


The call disconnected.


Chi Qing immediately hung up the phone.


Ten seconds later, Chi Qing messaged over one word.


– Address.


They called it dinner, but it would be more fitting to call this meal a midnight snack.


The place they were eating at wasn’t far from Chi Qing’s apartment.
Most of the people in the restaurant were groups of night shift workers who’d come to eat together after work, and the smell of cigarettes and alcohol was thick.
The private room Xie Lin had reserved was on the second floor, and just as the first half of the food had been delivered, Chi Qing half-heartedly arrived.


The concrete manifestation of his half-heartedness was—he hadn’t even put on his gloves.


Usually, if he was going to some place that wasn’t crowded, and he was seeing people knew well, he actually wouldn’t wear his gloves every single time when they were in private.


Especially around Ji Mingrui.


He knew Ji Mingrui too well, and this person’s pattern of thinking was very simple; he didn’t need to read his mind, he could tell what Ji MIngrui was thinking from just a glance.


Chi Qing had stuck his hands in the pockets of his coat, and his face wore a half-hearted expression that said ‘my intentions are to come see what’s going on, sit for a short time, and then leave.’ It was only once the waiter had led him to the doorway of the room that he clearly saw a group of people sitting inside, “……”


Chi Qing, “Explain.”


Ji Mingrui, “I…just hadn’t imagined that everyone would be free tonight, and we just happened to come together at this table?”


Chi Qing completely mercilessly wanted to turn back around, “I’m leaving.”


“You just got here and you want to leave already,” before Chi Qing could turn around, he was blocked by someone from behind.
That person rested a hand on his shoulder, and the sound of his voice echoed from behind and above him, “I was me who told him not to tell you, because if he told you, you wouldn’t have come.
I wanted to invite you to a meal as an apology, grant me some face here?”


Those first two sentences were unexpectedly quite normal.


But after Xie Lin released his shoulder, his gaze lingered on Chi Qing’s wrist, and the words that came out of his mouth weren’t so proper, “……I was a bit heavy-handed yesterday, it seems like your wrist is all red from being bound.”


The team of three looked over upon hearing this.


The night before, after Chi Qing had finished wiping his hands he had pulled his gloves back on because there were too many people in the office.
You couldn’t see anything through the gloves, so they didn’t notice until today that there were faint marks on his wrists.
The binding marks from the necktie intermittently wrapped half-way around his wrist, wrapping from the thin carpal bone to the inside.


Chi Qing, “……”


He was unaware if his wrist was red or not.


But anyway, his fists were hard.



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