Author: 长洱 / Chang’er
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
The voice didn’t belong to Song Shengsheng.
But if a voice could reflect the personality of the speaker, then the person who just picked up was a typical gentleman. His voice was low, magnetic, and academic. In short, he didn’t sound like a vicious kidnapper.
Perhaps it was because the voice on the other end was so calm that the reporter who dialed the number was a little speechless. “Ah… Hello.”
“Excuse me, is there something I can do for you?” The man asked.
“Hello, sir. I’m a reporter from Hongjing TV.”
“Really? A reporter?”
“I am indeed a reporter. Can I take the liberty to ask what your name is?”
“Xiang Ye,” the person on the other end replied.
“Hello, Mr. Xiang. Well, I’m calling you to ask if you took someone from Yanjia Lane at six yesterday afternoon. Before leaving, you left your number with the owner of Chen Ji Bakery?”
“Yes.” The man’s response was concise and simple.
“So, is the person you took away Mr. Song Shengsheng?”
The air suddenly stagnated, and everyone was waiting for his answer.
“Heh.” The man gave a low chuckle. “How fast.”
“It’s true! A’Guan is Mr. Song Shengsheng, right? You took him away, right?” the reporter asked eagerly.
“Why should I tell you?”
“You left a number!” The reporter was confused.
“How can you be sure that my number is left for you?”
“This…” The reporter began to become irritated. “What do you mean? Now everyone is very concerned about the safety of Mr. Song Shengsheng. You…”
“Where were you a year ago, two years ago, five years ago, nine years ago?” The man’s tone was merciless. “Now it’s your turn to care about his safety?”
“Please understand, Mr. Xiang, the truth didn’t come out until yesterday. Before, I, including the majority of our audience watching now, were completely blinded by Li Jingtian.”
“So what are you going to do now?” Xiang Ye’s tone became stern. “Don’t think I don’t know. In fact, you just want an interview under the premise of caring. You want to know how he was tortured by Li Jingtian. You’re even thinking dirty, like if he’s in a good mood, he will give you some good material about his painful life in prison. That’ll complete your headlines, right?”
When the reporter was questioned by him, he started to stutter. “You have completely misinterpreted our motives. There are many fans and friends who silently support Mr. Song. We are all worried about Mr. Song.”
“Oh, so are you his fan or a visitor with wretched curiosity?” The man’s tone became colder. He paused and interrupted the reporter, who wanted to respond. “Don’t answer me. Let the police captain who should have gotten the note call me.”
After the person on the other end of the phone finished speaking, he hung up the line decisively.
Because Xiang Ye’s speed of speech was clean and neat, it took less than a minute and a half before the entire call ended.
Xing Conglian turned the volume down without the slightest irritation at being named.
Lin Chen spoke in a low voice. It was actually him who decided to wait for the reporter to call first, but this decision obviously caused dissatisfaction from the person on the other end of the line.
Xing Conglian interrupted him. “It doesn’t matter. You’re right.”
As he said this, he took out a cigarette and stuffed it into his mouth but didn’t light it. “Okay, time is running out. Now let’s talk about what we know. First, Song Shengsheng was released from prison with a reduced sentence more than a year ago. During this period, his whereabouts became a mystery, and even Wang Chao couldn’t find a trace of him. It wasn’t until three months ago that he started working at the Chen Ji Bakery in Hongjing. Second, according to the information revealed by Mr. Xiang Ye, who left the number, he should be someone like a friend who supported Song Shengsheng for many years.”
“Captain, your summary is accurate!” Wang Chao said.
“Wang Chao…” Xing Conglian said, “Check the background of this Mr. Xiang.”
As soon as Wang Chao was about to move, Lin Chen held the teenager’s hand and said, “No, I know who it is.”
“Ah! What A’Chen? Who is it?”
“It’s the agent who discovered Song Shengsheng, Mr. Xiang Ye.”
“An agent again?”
Lin Chen nodded and recalled the information he had read before. “It was from one of the interviews. Xiang Ye had a chance a few years ago to attend a campus concert of his sister’s high school. He originally thought it was boring, but during the concert, Song Shengsheng performed a heavy rock song on stage. Although all the teachers and students in the audience wanted to cover their ears, Xiang Ye felt that Song Shengsheng’s music was wonderful, and when he learned afterward that it was his own original music, the famous agent belonging to CA Entertainment was determined to sign the 16-year-old. Xiang Ye supported Song Shengsheng for his debut and managed him during his rookie period, the most difficult time for Song Shengsheng. It could be said that Song Shengsheng was able to reach the top of the music scene because of the vision and courage of his agent.”
After Lin Chen repeated the report, Xing Conglian asked him, “So this Mr. Xiang Ye, is he still working at CA Entertainment?”
Lin Chen shook his head. “I don’t know what happened after that. I need Wang Chao to check that out.”
“A’Chen, I’m already on it!” Wang Chao shouted.
The young man pressed the enter button and then said, “Reporting to leader, Xiang Ye hasn’t worked in CA Entertainment for a long time. After Song Shengsheng was unjustly imprisoned, he resigned from CA. After several twists and turns, he now seems to be working as a manager of the Yasheng Performing Arts Group.”
“It seems that this Xiang Ye is quite a kind and righteous person?” Xing Conglian murmured.
In fact, Lin Chen could fully understand Xing Conglian’s feelings. They were very suspicious before. First, they suspected that the person who took Song Shengsheng away was Mr. Meijing, and now they suspect that the motives of Xiang Ye taking away Song Shengsheng were impure, but facts proved that their two conjectures were complete bullshit.
“What does Consultant Lin think?”
Xing Conglian was asked for his opinion.
Lin Chen thought for a while and said, “It may not be appropriate for me to say it, but we still have to plan for the worst.”
“You mean, Song Shengsheng is being controlled by this man named Xiang Ye?” Xing Conglian asked.
“But Song Shengsheng got in the car by himself. How can he be controlled?” Wang Chao interjected.
“I really don’t know, so I can only say we need to plan for the worst.”
Xing Conglian said, “Your intuition for planning never comes for no reason…”
“No, in fact, my intuition has already been irrational.” Although he said this, he really suspected that his intuition was wrong.
“Hey…” Xing Conglian sighed.
“However, the crux of the problem this time is, why do we want to find Song Shengsheng? If the fans want to know if their beloved idol is safe, and the media wants to get news and hits, then why are we also disturbing his current life?”
“It can’t be said to be a disturbance. After all, there are still doubts in this case. One recording can prove that Li Jingtian forced Song Shengsheng to have sex, but Song Shengsheng’s detailed confession is also required. The other is that the false accusation case and the rape case aren’t actually within our jurisdiction. That is the duty of the Fengchun police. When I contacted the Fengchun police yesterday, they only invited Mu Zhuo for an inquiry. They don’t have any evidence to detain him. Therefore, we have to wait for Li Jingtian to be extradited back before we can re-interrogate him. Song Shengsheng’s cooperation is also required. Otherwise, I’m afraid Mu Zhuo can get off scot-free.”
“Yes, the false accusation…” Lin Chen said thoughtfully.
“Consultant Lin is thinking of something again.”
“Don’t you find it strange? Why doesn’t anyone know that Li Jingtian committed those crimes against Song Shengsheng? I have read the file. After being falsely accused by Mu Zhuo, in the police station and court, Song Shengsheng stated that there are many opportunities for the world to know the true face of Li Jingtian, but he never mentioned it. Even in the case of Mu Zhuo’s false accusation against him, he just denied it until the very end without ever mentioning more details. This is one of the reasons why his innocence plea failed.”
Xing Conglian stared at him deeply in the rearview mirror. “Is there something else hidden here?”
“I don’t know if there’s a hidden story. It’s possible that Song Shengsheng didn’t mention what Li Jingtian did to him due to mental trauma and shame. This situation is also common among rape victims. It’s even possible that Li Jingtian threatened that if Song Shengsheng reveals the true story, he’ll release sex videos or audio to the public. There are many similar possibilities, so I still have to wait for Li Jingtian…” Lin Chen paused and asked Xing Conglian. “How long will it take to extradite him?”
Hearing this, Xing Conglian frowned. He didn’t seem to expect that his decision to let Li Jingtian return to Xinni would bring these follow-up uncertainties. “If it goes well, it’ll take two weeks at the earliest. The premise is that the Li family won’t be a hindrance.”
Lin Chen didn’t ask any more questions.
Just like Xing Conglian didn’t blame him for calling Xiang Ye right away, there were too many uncertain factors then. All they could do was make the best choice at the time.
He said to Xing Conglian, “I’ll make the call.”
“But the other party wants to talk to me.”
“This is the strange thing. Obviously, it was me who was in the limelight yesterday, but he wants you to contact him.” Lin Chen paused, then said, “Moreover, do you agree with everyone who wants to talk to you?’
Hearing what he said, Xing Conglian was stunned at first, then smiled. “Consultant Lin has a point.”
Seeing that Xing Conglian agreed, Lin Chen looked at Wang Chao. “Can you build a signal tracker platform? Let’s see where Xiang Ye is now.”
Wang Chao nodded. “His phone should be easy to track. Wait a bit.”
The teenager moved fast.
Lin Chen rubbed his phone case. He knew very well that what he was doing now was being paranoid to the extreme, but since he knew that Song Shengsheng had been working at that bakery where he occasionally went to eat for three months, he developed a strange thought in his heart. He reasoned that if he hadn’t been a primary school teacher for three years, he would not have had such a thought… This was completely delusional thinking, but if it was really those people in the past, why did they let Song Shengsheng work beside them? This was against common sense and logic.
So, this should be a coincidence…
The soft voice of Wang Chao called him back from his thoughts. The teenager signaled to him that he could make the call.
Lin Chen nodded and dialed the string of numbers.
The ringing tone on the phone lasted for 50 seconds. It wasn’t picked up until it almost hung up automatically.
“Hello, who’s this?” The voice coming from the speaker was the same as what they heard on the radio, but the cold words revealed an irritability that they didn’t have before.
“Hello, Mr. Xiang Ye. My name is Lin Chen, and I’m a subordinate of Police Captain Xing Conglian.”
“Oh, I know you. Thank you very much for what happened yesterday. Thank you,” Xiang Ye said, but Lin Chen didn’t feel any gratitude from his words. After all, he just received an accidental but sincere thank you last night.
“This is my duty, so please don’t be polite.” Lin Chen knew exactly how fast Xiang Ye’s speech and reaction were, so he continued, “Although it is a bit abrupt to say so, I want to talk to Mr. Song Shengsheng.”
For some reason, after making this request, Lin Chen felt his heart beating violently. He was nervous.
But the expected voice didn’t sound.
The person who spoke was still Xiang Ye. “Your request is indeed very abrupt. I’m sorry. I can’t agree.”
“Can I ask you to ask Mr. Song for his opinion?”
“Lin Chen, don’t you understand why I specifically asked to talk to your boss instead of you?”
“First, I really don’t, and second, I really need to talk to Mr. Song Shengsheng to determine his personal safety.”
“Heh.” Xiang Ye sneered. “So, what you mean by that is, you want repayment for your kindness and to appear in front of Shengsheng as his benefactor?”
The deeper the hostility on the other end of the line, the calmer Lin Chen became. “I don’t know where your prejudice is coming from. I just want to confirm Mr. Song Shengsheng’s personal freedom.”
“Freedom?” Xiang Ye sneered again. “Isn’t it the police that deprived him of his freedom and gave him his freedom?”
“I’m sorry,” Lin Chen said sincerely.
Xiang Ye was speechless for a while before he said, “Lin Chen, if you can put yourself in another’s place, you should understand why Shengsheng doesn’t want to see you. You have made his most unspeakable things public, and now you’re like those media reporters coming here to skin him again?”
Lin Chen couldn’t speak. Xiang Ye’s words seemed as if they were wet cotton stuffed down his throat, which blocked him so firmly he couldn’t utter a word.
What was the use of fans’ gratitude? If Song Shengsheng didn’t want this to be brought up again, his aggressive action might have hurt Song Shengsheng again.
He raised his eyes and looked at the rearview mirror. Xing Conglian’s dark green eyes were staring at him firmly as he nodded at him.
Lin Chen took a deep breath and said to the other end of the line. “Please don’t question my compassion or my purpose. If my actions hurt Mr. Song Shengsheng, I’m really, truly sorry. But please understand that rape is a public prosecution case, and the direction of the case will not depend on the will of the criminal or the victim. Even if Mr. Song Shengsheng does not seek legal redress against Mr. Li Jingtian, the police and public prosecution agency will pursue criminal charges in accordance with the law.”
Lin Chen suppressed the extremely uncomfortable emotions in his heart. It was very difficult to finish the last passage. If this case had progressed to the present, there was someone he wanted to protect, and he didn’t want the other party to suffer any more harm. That person was first Xu Ran, and now it became Song Shengsheng. But it was very possible that what he was doing now caused just the same harm as the media reporters in the eyes of Song Shengsheng. He forcibly and willfully revealed a privacy that Song Shengsheng did not want to be exposed under the sun, and because of his duties, he must continue to do so.
Xiang Ye pondered for a moment, but his voice remained cold. “I see. We will go to the Fengchun police station to report what happened, but if you have any trace of compassion, I sincerely ask you not to forcefully come see us. Thank you.”
Controversial as it is, once a crime is committed, it will be up to the prosecutor to press (criminal) charges or not. This goes both ways, in terms of whether the victim wants to or doesn’t want to. It’s usually dependent on how much evidence they can gather and how likely they are to get a conviction based on that. This is generally the case, but I don’t know much about China’s judicial process.
Though, TBH, in this case, slim evidence like a master tape probably won’t be enough for the prosecutor to press charges, especially given that the victim isn’t willing to testify, and even then, that’s still really slim evidence (especially since 9 years have already passed and most likely all conclusive evidence has been erased or is gone). To actually hope to convict Li Jingtian, they would need Mu Zhuo and other witnesses (assuming there were other corroborators) to testify against him.
But, we are reading a fictional novel, so just go with it.
Also, I’m not a lawyer, so take my thoughts with a grain of salt. If any lawyers or law experts are reading, do chime in.
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