Netherworld Investigator

Chapter 23

Chapter 23

The professor was giving a lecture in front of the electronics class with a strangely lulling voice, and Dali was slumped over his desk, looking sapped of energy.

“What’s so interesting about this class, dude?” Dali asked. “Look around! Only a handful of people turned up! We’re fourth years now, so why are you still concerned with attendance at this point?”

I rolled my eyes with impatience.

“If you had to complain so much,” I said, “then why didn’t you just stay in your room and sleep like the others?”

“Fine,” he said. “Then I’ll go to sleep now. Wake me up when the class is over.”

After saying that, Dali covered his face with a book then began to enter into his dreamland.

I, on the other hand, was using a textbook to cover the cell phone that I was holding in my hand. I was busy reading through all the private messages that I received today.

Some people sent messages simply to praise and admire me. Some asked if I came from a family of police officers. Some bluntly asked me which dorm was I staying in, and if I was that guy that they went to class with. Some doubted my capabilities and thought that I was overhyping myself, and they would assault me with a swarm of technical questions to test me. A girl even straight up sent a cute picture of hers to me and asked me if I wanted to be her boyfriend. I did seriously consider it, but I remembered a friend warning me about girls and their pictures. Most likely the picture had been doctored so much that the real person looked nothing like it at all!

I guessed this was why there was a popular saying that went: pigs should be wary of growing strong and fat, and men should be wary of gaining fame and fortune.

It was hard work sifting through more than three hundred private messages, but I finally stumbled upon an interesting discovery—there was one person whose avatar was that of a girl and whose username was ‘Little Bear’. This person kept sending me messages after messages that asked me to disclose some information about the progress of the case and whether the murderer had been identified.

These messages caught my eye because they did indeed smell fishy, but I still wasn’t sure if it really was Deng Chao. So, I sent a message to this person saying there has been a big discovery in the investigation of the case recently.

Thirty seconds later, ‘Little Bear’ sent a reply.

“Mister Great Detective, can you tell me what the big discovery is about?”

I replied with, “No, I’m afraid not. This information is still classified. You’ll read about it soon when the murderer gets caught.”

“Who is the murderer?”

“Um… That’s classified too.”

“Come on, I’m sure it’s fine if you just tell me a little bit. What if I tell you my secret too? I’m actually a classmate of Deng Chao’s, and I’ve always been secretly in love with him. I’m really saddened by the news of his death.”

My interest was instantly piqued. This person really sounded suspicious!

I began to type the reply, but stopped mid-sentence and deleted it. If this person really was Deng Chao, he would pay attention to every word and every punctuation mark that I sent him. I had to do all I could to prevent him from finding out my true intentions.

Even though I was only sending Weibo messages, it felt as tense and nerve-wracking as if I was in that scene in Infernal Affairs where Andy Lau and Tony Leung were trying to find out each other’s true identity through the telephone. Even my palms were started to get sweaty.

After some thought, I finally sent the following message:

“Okay, but I’ll only tell you one thing: I found a confession letter this morning at the crime scene.”

I waited for about five minutes and nothing happened. Every minute dragged on and felt like hours. I was anxious about the possibility that he might sense that something was off. I had the urge to send him another message, but I gritted my teeth and told myself to be patient and not do anything reckless!

I could almost picture how that person was poring over my every word, doubting and analyzing each one of them to make out how much of a threat I was.

Eventually, I received a reply that contained an emoji that showed a doubtful expression.

“Confession letter? Who wrote it?”

I almost cried out in joy—this was undoubtedly, undeniably Deng Chao!

Why was I so sure? Because up to that point the only name I mentioned when talking about the dead body was ‘Deng Chao’, and there was no mention of Zhang Kai at all. Anyone else would’ve assumed that Deng Chao was the one who wrote the confession letter, but this person asked me who wrote it instead. This meant that the person knew it could not possibly Deng Chao who wrote it, because he was Deng Chao!

I would readily admit that Deng Chao was a high IQ criminal, but even the smartest people had blind spots in their thinking process, and that was how most criminals were caught.

For example, in the Chronicles of Grand Magistrates, there was a case reported of a rich merchant who murdered his partner in business. After killing the man, he pretended as if nothing happened and went to the house of the deceased under the pretense to meet with him. When he reached the front door, he called out, “Sister-in-law, is big brother home?” The magistrate Song Ci then asked him, why did he assume that the deceased was not at home and called out for his wife instead? The reason, of course, was that he already knew that the deceased was already dead. He pleaded guilty on the spot. And that was how Song Ci solved a case by paying attention to the blind spots of our thinking process.

I was so excited that my hands were shaking as I typed the next message:

“I found it in Zhang Kai’s dorm room. There’s a great twist to the case, you wouldn’t guess who the real murderer is!”

“Really? Can I see it?”

“I don’t think so. I haven’t even informed the police yet!”

“Hmm… I think you’re just lying about it!”

He took my bait! Now all I had to do was luring him in with more bait. I smiled and sent a picture of a fake letter produced by Lao Yao using photoshop. It looked so convincing that even Deng Chao might not know it was faked.

But the picture only captured a small part of the letter, of course. You couldn’t see the exact words that incriminated Deng Chao, you could only see that it was indeed Zhang Kai’s handwritten confession letter.

Once the picture was sent, there was no replies for a while. That didn’t bother me though because I could imagine how nervous Deng Chao became when he saw the letter!

I quickly sent another message.

“Do you believe me now? By the way, don’t let anyone else see this. I’m going to send it to the police tomorrow morning.”

“Can we meet tonight? I’m so fascinated by the case and I really want to know who the murderer is!”

Just as I predicted. He was probably planning to kill me now. It was time to lay my trap.

“Tonight’s no good. I still need to examine the crime scene tonight. Ah, it’s a tough job and I’m dog tired, but it’s the life of a detective!”

Then I received a cute emoji with a message saying, “Take care! I hope you solve the case soon!”

“Thank you!” I replied.

I shook Dali till he woke up, which caused him to mumble and grumble, “Don’t disturb me! I was on a date with a goddess!”

“Look,” I said, showing him my phone.

Dali rubbed his eyes and suddenly got surprised.

“Dude, you really are something!”

“Didn’t I tell you?” I said with a smile.

“That was quick of you!” said Dali. “You just started to have fans this morning and now you’re hooking up with one of your groupies?”

I almost coughed up blood when I heard Dali’s accusations. But I probably should’ve known, because to an outsider, this exchange seemed just like I was showing off an important clue to a fangirl.

“Dali, this is Deng Chao!”

“What? Are you sure?”

“One hundred percent!”

Dali then went back to reading the messages, then said, “but you told him to meet you at the crime scene tonight! He’s obviously going to kill you there!”

“But it’s exactly my plan to lure him out there!”

“But dude,” said Dali, “you’re using your own life as the bait! Isn’t this a bit too risky?”

He looked at me as if I’d gone crazy.

“Don’t worry,” I assured him, “I’ve laid down the trap, and I’m sure he’ll soon fall into it. You’ll go with me too, of course.”

Dali scratched his head and mumbled, “I… I’ve got some studying to do tonight…”

I glared at him. In all the years that I knew Dali, he’d only ever study the night before a test, so I saw through his lies straight away. After a while he started to look like he felt guilty.

“Will… will it be dangerous?” he asked.

“Come on, Deng Chao isn’t a monster with three heads and six limbs!” I said. “He’s a normal human being. I’m sure there won’t be much danger.”

Dali looked like he was about to cry.

“Why does it have to be at the crime scene?” he asked. “You know that place is haunted!”

“It’s going to be fine,” I comforted him. “We’re both grown men. Look at our names: I’m called ‘the sun’, and you’re called ‘the strong.’ We’ll have plenty of Yang energy to counter the ghost’s Yin energy! Why should we be scared of the ghost of a dead girl?”

It didn’t work. Dali was now on the brink of tears.

“Dude… Can’t I skip this?”

“No!” I insisted.

The bell rang, and the students woke up from their afternoon nap and walked out of the lecture hall.

“Let’s go,” I said. “It’s still early, so let’s go buy some things.”

At that moment, Huang Xiaotao called me. I picked up my phone.

“Song Yang,” she said, “You’ve got it all wrong. The corpse belongs to Deng Chao.”

Tip: You can use left, right, A and D keyboard keys to browse between chapters.