Author: 年终 / Nian Zhong
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 36: Dragon Scale
At noon, the police found a second victim in the junkyard in Shangguang District.
Lu Xiaohe was lying in a daze in front of a console, staring at the game case of <The Legend of Resurrection> in her hand.
A row of photos of the murder scene were lined up on the big screen. The deceased’s death was exactly the same as Wu Tao’s; the snow-white skull on top of the bloody minced meat was particularly conspicuous.
The difference was that this time, the “fallen objects” around the deceased weren’t in a circle, as two objects were missing.
“Ma Jiangshuai, 32 years old, a native of Haigu. This person is unemployed and has a history of drug abuse. According to the police, he recently started dealing small amounts of drugs.”
Lu Xiaohe put away the game case and spoke with a tone of pain and annoyance.
“The narcotics department has been eyeing him for some time and got info on him a while ago—Ma Jiangshuai was about to contact his handler, and the police were originally planning to catch them all.”
As a result, the corpse splitter stepped in, and now their trail was broken.
“The last time the corpse splitter struck was on July 13. Today is July 21. If the corpse splitter strikes gain, he will become the third serial killer in the history of Haigu.”
Zhong Chengshuo sat upright with his hands on his knees. “Did you find anything at the scene?”
“Yes, that’s exactly what I was going to say next. In addition to Ma Jiangshuai’s blood, police also found blood samples from two other people at the scene.”
“After DNA comparison with Ge Jiaojiao, one of them can be identified as Ge Tingting. The other person is most likely the ‘corpse splitter’… Based on the blood sample, it can only be determined that the ‘corpse splitter’ is male.”
Lu Xiaohe sighed.
“Ge Tingting has appeared in two crime scenes, so there’s heavy suspicion on her. The police are already looking for her and have sent out the details.”
[Ge Tingting, 16 years old, from Gejiazhuang, Shouguan County, Haigu. Has hearing and language impairments.]
However, compared to ordinary deaf and mute people, her situation was a bit special…
Ge Tingting wasn’t born unable to hear voices, nor was she mute. Before she was at least five, her hearing and language skills were completely normal. She was even famous in her village for “speaking early”.
Eleven years ago, Ge Tingting’s parents took her into the city to buy supplies, but they encountered a car accident in the mountains.
The road was slippery due to the snow, causing the tiny three-wheeled car to overturn off the cliff. The terrain of the mountainous area was complicated, so it took five days for them to find the wreckage under the cliff.
Ge Tingting’s parents died on the spot, and their bodies were already rotting, but they wrapped their arms around Ge Tingting and protected her, and she miraculously survived.
The young Ge Tingting spent New Year’s in a coma. After waking up, she could no longer understand the words of the people around her and could only utter unintelligible sounds.
The diagnosis given by the doctor at the time was lesions in the Wernicke’s area of the brain, and the cause was unknown.
The people in the mountain village didn’t understand these complicated terms, so they directly regarded her as a deaf and mute person.
Two months ago, Ge Tingting’s grandmother passed away. Ge Tingting took her sister’s ID and entered the city as an “adult”.
It was both a fortunate and unfortunate life, but not shocking.
“Because of language barriers, Ge Tingting tried looking for odd jobs and had no place to live. She spends the night in internet cafes, and when she had no money, she would go to a closed area and find an empty spot. Wu Tao’s group was probably watching her during this time.”
“In other words, she probably became a rogue corpse servant ten years ago.” Zhong Chengshuo continued, “She was suddenly attacked by Wu Tao, and in a panic, her special abilities burst out.”
“Nn, then she met the corpse splitter. Until yesterday, the two stayed together.”
Yin Ren turned his chair around and lazily picked up the conversation.
“Given Ge Tingting’s situation, she couldn’t have known the corpse splitter for long, right? She’s not like someone who would act with a stranger. How did the corpse splitter convince her?”
Yin Ren hit the nail on the head.
Lu Xiaohe reacted quickly and sighed. “The corpse splitter… may be a child?”
Since she was a woman, if she was attacked by a man, unless it was a law enforcement officer who stepped in, she wouldn’t leave with a stranger.
There was only one exception—if that stranger was likely to make her “feel no threat”.
Children or the elderly fit the bill. Considering the target audience of <The Legend of Resurrection>, children were more likely the case.
Zhong Chengshuo nodded. “Yin Ren and I discussed this yesterday, and we have similar doubts. The behavioral characteristics of the corpse splitter aren’t clear. If he’s an adult, Officer Sun’s side wouldn’t be so lost without any clues.”
Lu Xiaohe thought for a few minutes, then began to tap on the keyboard.
“…Got it. Your guess is reasonable. It just so happens that the investigation recommendation related to <The Legend of Resurrection> hasn’t been issued yet, so I’ll add this and send it to Officer Sun.”
In the afternoon, 8th Floor of Shian Building.
The sun was shining brightly inside, lighting up the TV screens full of text. An old lady was hunched over, sitting at a podium with her eyes closed, taking a nap. Looking at the tables and chairs under the stage, this place looked like a small university lecture hall.
However, the “students” were a bit overage.
“Hey, you guys are actually free to come to class?” Although class hadn’t started yet, Lao Bin had already subconsciously lowered his voice. “Aren’t you two taking on that murder case right now?”
“We came for instructions. We’re being transferred to rear support while the B-level investigation team will officially take over,” Zhong Chengshuo answered honestly.
Hearing this, Yin Ren was filled with joy and sorrow.
His joy was real—yes, they were liberated and became auxiliary support staff again.
His grief was also real—before lunch, before Lu Xiaohe’s investigation suggestion to the police was released, Sun Qinghui received new information. In order to adjust his work plan in time, he missed the limited authentic tea-smoked duck in the cafeteria.
Since he missed it this time, he wouldn’t be able to eat it until next month.
In fact, the matter wasn’t complicated. According to the police investigation, the deceased Ma Jiangshuai was a new recruit to the drug lord “Master Liu”. He was preparing to join the gang. The crime scene investigator said the murderer took a note from the deceased.
The drug lord “Master Liu” had been registered in Shian and always had an ambiguous relationship with the metaphysical world. Now that he was related to the corpse splitter, the case may have another mystery.
…And he and Zhong Chengshuo were weak, pitiful, and helpless rookies who even had a criminal record for acting without authorization. According to Lu Xiaohe, the higher-ups were afraid that they would cause trouble when acting together with the police, so they decided to take preventive measures.
Still, it was good.
This matter wouldn’t dampen Yin Ren’s non-existent self-motivation. Anyway, their investigation wouldn’t stop, so he could continue to play <The Legend of Resurrection> while getting paid. If it weren’t for missing the limited lunch menu, Yin Ren would be in a better mood.
As for Zhong Chengshuo… Unlike the Gao Mengyu incident, Yin Ren didn’t see any fluctuations in his emotions.
After hearing the ins and outs of the matter, their colleagues looked a bit more sluggish.
Lao Bin was dejected. “How come you guys always encounter real things every time? I just finished an investigation on my side—after following for half a month on the “Hallucinogenic Event in the Building” case, we only found toxic mold, and it wasn’t even a new species.”
As he spoke, Luo Bin glanced at his partner faintly.
There were only four people in the classroom. Except for three newcomers, Yin Ren, Zhong Chengshuo, and Luo Bin, there was also a new face.
A burly man more than two meters tall was sitting next to Luo Bin. He had thick brows and small eyes, with ugly facial features. Hearing them talk about the case he was in charge of, he turned his head and laughed nervously.
“Qin Lele, corpse servant, my partner.” Luo Bin casually introduced. “We’re currently living in the Shian dorms. Because of this, I also had a fight with my girlfriend—we were living together and were renting out a place before, haa.”
Zhong Chengshuo didn’t care about Lao Bin’s emotional life. He politely turned to Qin Lele and introduced himself. “Hello, I’m Zhong Chengshuo. The one with long hair is my partner, Yin Ren.”
Qin Lele blinked sluggishly with some belated excitement. “Hello, hello. I’m Qin Lele! My uncle is also in Shian. He has mentioned you!”
It took Zhong Chengshuo half a second to connect the dots. “Are you Qin Ge’s nephew?”
“Who’s Qin Ge? I don’t know a person like that.” Qin Lele pondered it suspiciously for a while. “My uncle’s name is Qin Xiaoxiao.”
Zhong Chengshuo: “…Yes, that’s him. He mentioned about us?”
Qin Lele waved his big hand. “Yes, he said you two are handsome. He said if he were half as handsome as you two, he would have a wife by now.”
Zhong Chengshuo: “…..”
Yin Ren: “…Pfft.”
As expected from the orthodox corpse servant of the Qin family. Their style was truly distinct.
Luo Bin covered his pained-looking face. “He’s a newcomer last year but didn’t pass the basic course… I envy you so much, Xiao Zhong. Can you understand how I feel?”
“Heh!” Qin Lele obviously didn’t, as he laughed loudly.
The old lady sleeping on the podium was awakened by this thunderous laughter. She stood up tremblingly, massaged her back with some difficulty, and slowly paced to the TV screens.
She opened a book and turned the pages while keeping her eyes closed, as if she could read it. “Basics… Basics… Where did I leave off last time…”
“The basic combat method of the science post.” Luo Bin also opened his book. “Then it should be the ‘three pinnacles of the metaphysical world’.”
“Ah, good, thank you.” The lady cleared her throat and “looked” at Lao Bin with her eyes closed. “Let’s continue today.”
Zhong Chengshuo no longer spoke. He opened his notebook and aligned the tip of his pen on the paper, ready to go.
“Shian’s science posts mainly provide rear support and are responsible for auxiliary work such as first aid and mechanical maintenance. The work of science post personnel is mainly research, so the requirements for combat ability aren’t so high.”
As the old lady slowly spoke on the podium, the tip of Zhong Chengshuo’s pen flew quickly. Neat and beautiful characters floated out from the pen.
Yin Ren turned his head when he heard the sound, seeing his partner transform into a printer with human flesh. The alarm inside his head started ringing…
The writing of modern humans wasn’t much different from that of ancient times. If he were to combine the context of before and after, it would be difficult to read, but if he were to write blindly, he would definitely be exposed.
Fortunately, no one took notes except for Zhong Chengshuo.
Qin Lele was staring at Comrade Xiao Zhong in shock, as if he had seen a brand new creature, and even Lao Bin, who was a science post himself, stared in awe at Zhong Chengshuo. He would mutter from time to time things like “as expected of an elite from A” and the like.
Seeing this, the alarm was lifted, and Yin Ren put away his pen and paper. He turned his head sideways and watched Zhong Chengshuo write. The old lady’s accent was a bit heavy, so it was a bit difficult to understand her.
Not to mention, in addition to learning how to write new words, watching this scene was pleasing to the eye.
Zhong Chengshuo seemed to notice Yin Ren’s gaze. The tip of his pen stopped for two seconds, then he adjusted his posture to make it easier for Yin Ren to see.
“…Besides Shian, the definition of the science post isn’t so strict. The other two major organizations, ‘Nightwalkers’ and ‘Sunken Society’, don’t have a division of labor based on ‘science posts’ and ‘non-science posts’ and there’s little practice of working together.”
The old lady on the stage continued.
“For example, the science post in ‘Nightwalkers’ may not necessarily be scholars, but they could be people with military training, civil science, or even ordinary people who are confident in this area.”
Zhong Chengshuo circled the words “Nightwalkers” conspicuously.
Luo Bin glanced at Zhong Chengshuo, who was frantically taking notes, then actively raised his hand to ask, “Teacher, I have a question—if there’s no metaphysical partner, how can the people in the science post deal with evil things?”
The old lady paused for a while.
“Two methods,” she replied hoarsely.
“Attack the living person who’s manipulating the evil thing or use spirit weapons to fight. The science post can’t use magic, but they can still use talismans, spirit weapons, and other ‘finished products’ that don’t require additional manipulation… Hehe, young man, you’re a science post, right? Do you want to buy my… ahem.”
Halfway through, she seemed to have thought of something and swallowed the rest of her words.
Offstage, Zhong Chengshuo’s brows quivered, and he bitterly crossed out most of the words he had just written.
“In short, among the three existing metaphysical organizations, the ‘Nightwalkers’ have the lowest threshold, are the loosest organization, and have the largest number of members… If Shian is a regular army that maintains order, the Nightwalkers are more like mercenaries who work for money. There’s no shortage of strange people on their side, some of which are people who can’t join Shian or don’t want to.”
The old lady returned to her drowsy appearance.
“Compared to ‘Nightwalkers’, you should be more careful of ‘Sunken Society’.”
Yin Ren took a deep breath and moved his gaze away from Zhong Chengshuo’s notes and looked at the old lady.
“This is a standard criminal group. Their types have been around since the Gong Dynasty. They are like cockroaches that can’t be swept away even after thousands of years. They can be regarded as Shian’s old adversary and are full of real lunatics—this group likes to find people and make unequal deals. They often engage in shady activities.”
When the old lady spoke of this, her tone became solemn.
“If you meet people from Sunken Society, no matter how generous the conditions they offer you are, don’t listen—there is no pie in the sky, especially if it’s related to the metaphysical world. Your lucky break may cost you your life.”
This statement was quite empty, full of the dogmatic sense of “don’t take candy from strangers”. It was fine to use it on children, but it was easy for adults to have their own thoughts.
Like at this moment.
Luo Bin lowered his voice and muttered to Zhong Chengshuo, “Hey, is it that serious? Aren’t we highly resistant to strange things? Can’t we just take advantage of it…”
Before he finished speaking, he heard an unabashed sneer.
On the podium, the old lady let out a mocking laugh. She turned around slowly, faced Luo Bin, and opened her eyes with difficulty.
Luo Bin trembled all over and retched on the spot.
The old lady’s eyes were like two uneven pearls, each with about five deformed pupils strewn across them. Those pupils squeezed together, swimming around like some kind of living thing.
“I wanted to take the benefits that Sunken Society would give me and then leave,” the old lady said with a smile. “If it wasn’t for this incident, I would still be a Nightwalker now.”
Luo Bin wiped the saliva around his mouth and remained silent.
However, the old lady didn’t intend to let him off—she walked off the stage and slowly slid up to Lao Bin and Zhong Chengshuo, then grabbed the edge of the table with her two chicken-foot-like hands.
“Since you can enter Shian, your indicators for the science post aren’t low. Some people may even get full marks.”
The old lady lowered her head and “looked” at the two of them up and down. Her wrinkles gathered, and the smile on her face became more benign.
“Unfortunately, there is no such thing as an ‘absolute smooth plane’ in the world; no ‘absolute unbelief’—as scientific researchers, there are at least two things you can’t get rid of. Even Li Nian, who doesn’t hit the south wall and doesn’t look back*, can’t escape this…”
*(不撞南墙不回头) Refers to stubborn behavior and won’t listen to different opinions.
“Wh—What things?” Lao Bin swallowed as he glanced at Zhong Chengshuo, who was frantically taking notes.
“The most basic empathy for the same kind,” she replied, “and the instinctive fear of the unknown.”
The old woman folded her hands.
“If your science indicators are high, you can walk sideways*. How else do you think Shian can guard an Evil Spirit so carefully… Well, no, the level of an Evil Spirit is too high. It’s because they have top of the line spirit weapons.”
*Term use describing people who are powerful and can do whatever they want.
“As long as it can make you shake for a moment—even if you may not be aware of it, like a subconscious shaking—they just need a miniscule crack.”
She staggered with her closed hands and made a twisting movement.
The room was silent. Perhaps because the old lady’s momentum was too strong, even Qin Lele instinctively hitched his breath. Only Zhong Chengshuo kept a stern face as he wrote “Crack!” in his notebook.
Yin Ren tried hard to stretch his face, but it was hard to hold back his laughter.
Seeing Zhong Chengshuo’s reaction, the old lady didn’t mind. She cackled and then propped herself up.
“Of course, there are all kinds of things in the world, so there must also be people who don’t care about anything—that kind of person is either in prison or on their way to prison.”
After speaking, she paused meaningfully for a while before walking back with her waist bent.
Seeing the old lady return to the podium, Luo Bin breathed a sigh of relief and patted his chest with fear.
The old lady acted as if nothing happened and continued. “Next, I’ll focus on the history of Sunken Society.”
Ping’an Manor Villa Area, Villa No. 8.
When Ping’an Manor was first built, it focused on the high-end market. Some of the residences in the community were high-end villas that had a world-famous design team who worked on them.
There were still many people living in the villa area now, but the truly rich had moved away long ago. The remaining villas were either converted to small company offices or living spaces for those who were ruthless and didn’t believe in evil.
For example, the drug lord, “Master Liu”.
“Master Liu”, whose real name was Liu Aigao, was two years short of 60. Given his profession, he wouldn’t buy his own real estate, as the villa he was living in was under the name of a relative of his lover.
Liu Aigao liked the scenery here. The seclusion was so pleasing to him that he had resided here for over a few years.
As for the ghost legends of Ping’an Manor—he dared to raise a gun and shoot people, stepping on their splattered brains; dared play in the dark under the light*; and wasn’t even afraid of the police who were wandering around, so why would he be afraid of ghost?
*(灯下黑) Has various meanings, but in this context, it basically means committing illegal acts.
Since he dared to play in the dark under the light, he wasn’t worried about being recognized by the police. After the “business” became bigger, Liu Aigaoa hadn’t shown up for over a decade. Let alone the police, even many of his younger minions didn’t know what he looked like.
Today, Master Liu wasn’t in a good mood.
Nowadays, urban areas had improved surveillance and there were more “eyes” from the narcotics police. Compared to ten years ago, fast money was hard to earn.
Before recruiting, Master Liu would ask his subordinates to check multiple times. In addition to catching undercover agents and testing their abilities, he also expressly forbade peddling and using. As a result, there was no one to pick from, so he could only pull from a group of drug addicts who couldn’t support themselves.
There was a big deal coming at the end of the month. He had just found Ma Jiangshuai, who wasn’t afraid of death. As a result, this guy died violently the next day before he even joined.
Naturally, addicts would go crazy if they used too much, so it wasn’t surprising that they could die at any time, but this person died in such an evil way that it caught Master Liu’s attention.
“What happened? Come on, tell me.”
Liu Aigao turned on speaker mode and lit a cigarette slowly.
The person on the other side obediently replied, “I’m—not sure… I checked carefully. The note wasn’t found by the police…”
“The police? The police don’t cut up people into minced meat.” Master Liu blew out a smoke ring. “I’m asking about the mad dogs from Sunken Society. This looks like something they would do.”
“I—we only heard that it has something to do with a little girl. It was passed on by the people on Wanxing Street. The cops have been looking for her these days.”
Liu Aigao rubbed his temple, and his tone became colder.
“I don’t care about these details. Find more manpower and wait for when the day comes. Take care of all people of unknown origins approaching Ping’an Manor.”
“I’m tired of living here, so I’ll change places.”
“You—You want to move?” The tone of the person on the other side of the phone became more flustered, and there was a deep fear in his voice. “Liu—Liu—Master Liu, you can’t abandon us…”
“If this deal can be completed beautifully, then you can do whatever you want in the future.” Liu Aigao pinched his cigarette. “You know better than me, whether it’s the police or Sunken Society, as long as you touch one, they will all come play together.”
“Understood! I’ll find someone—”
“Idiot.” Liu Aigao hung up the call and scolded contemptuously.
He lit another cigarette and wandered to his bedroom. He rummaged around in the bedside table for a while before pulling out an odd jewelry lanyard.
The lanyard was custom-made. It was said that even two trucks pulling it couldn’t break it. It was strung with luxury gold and jade beads, looking like an extremely valuable men’s necklace at first glance.
At the bottom of the lanyard was an empty black fabric bag. The material wasn’t beautiful, but it looked sturdy.
Liu Aigao glanced around, locked the bedroom, and carefully removed the pendant around his neck.
He untied the old hanging bag on his chest and lightly took out the contents, then stuffed them into the brand-new fabric bag. Then he closed the bag and strung the stronger lanyard around his neck.
Before stuffing it back into his clothes, the afternoon sun flashed across the small black bag.
It was tightly bound at the opening and tied into a flat fan shape. Under the sunlight, the black fabric glowed with a faint light.
At a glance, it looked to be some kind of scale.
The author has something to say:
Luo Bin: My group assignment (?) partner, someone else’s group assignment partner.jpg
Xiao Zhong, a real human printer.
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