Chapter 111: A New Case Arrives
After A-Tao was laid to rest, life seemed to return to normal. A great majority of the Sui Zhongyi crime family perished during the Battle of the Warehouse. As for the heads of the family, Sui Zhongli was among those who died during the battle, while Sui Zhongyi continued to receive medical treatment in the municipal hospital’s intensive care unit where he remained unconscious and in critical condition.
All police officers, Jiang Zhengkai included, could now breathe a sigh of relief. Even though the main suspect in the serial murder case, A-Xiu, remained at large, the remnants of the city’s two largest crime organizations had almost been completely taken out in a single operation. One of the many things A-Tao’s criminal organization inherited from the Xue Wanchun crime family was organization discipline, to which he also added a good dose of low-key secrecy. As such, even though the firefight in the warehouse eliminated a portion of A-Tao’s gang, it was also exceedingly difficult for the police to track down and eradicate those who had survived.
Actually, the easiest way to identify the remnants of A-Tao’s gang would be to ask A-Jiao, but that was something Jiang Zhengkai refused to do. He took to heart the advice A-Tao gave him right before his death, “Don’t have such a one-track mind.” The most crucial part was A-Tao’s crew was extremely secretive in their actions. Even though they managed to pull off some big jobs in the last couple of years, the police never caught wind of their activities. As such, Jiang Zhengkai didn’t think they were that big of a threat.
Just when the police were able to relax a bit and put their minds at ease, another murder occurred in the alley. However, the police were much slower to respond than before because Yao Tianyu had deployed a majority of the police force during the Battle of the Warehouse. As a result, many officers were currently seeking psychological counseling for potential post-traumatic stress disorder instead of patrolling the alley. Since it’s been said that participating in or witnessing real-life violence often led to psychological trauma, police procedure mandated that all officers involved in shootout must receive psychological counseling. Of course, these theories originated from the West. Perhaps high number of American combat veterans who attempted suicide was due to the lack of proper psychological counseling resources on the part of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs?
The morning after the latest murder, Jiang Zhengkai received a phone call from Zhang Nan. He and Lu Xiaoqiang immediately hurried to the crime scene. When they arrived, what they saw was more than familiar to them by now: a man and a woman in the middle of sexual intercourse lying dead on a bed.
“Any new discoveries?” Jiang Zhengkai turned around to ask Zhang Nan after carefully inspecting the crime scene as he always did.
“Nope!” Zhang Nan shrugged, “The woman was a prostitute called A-Bi; the man was a porter at a shipping company. His name was Liu Chengjiang.” At this point, Zhang Nan kicked one of the bedposts in frustration. “Goddamnit! Sui Zhongyi’s almost on his last breath, and still people are dying here in the alley!”
“Hehe, relax!” laughed Jiang Zhengkai, “Just hang on for a bit longer. We are getting closer and closer to the truth.”
Right then, Jiang Zhengkai’s cell phone rang. “Hello, this is Jiang Zhengkai.” He glanced at the phone number and knew it came from municipal headquarters.
“Hi, Inspector Jiang,” said a sweet female voice over the phone, “This is Xue Na! We just received word from the hospital. Sui Zhongyi regained consciousness!”
“Oh, really?” Upon hearing the news, Jiang Zhengkai was equal parts excited and shocked. He didn’t think Xue Na would be the one to call him about the news. “Where’s Zhang Qian?”
“Oh, she went to the provincial capital for training,” Xue Na replied crisply, “So I’m temporarily filling in for her as Commissioner Yao’s executive assistant.”
“I see. Alright, then, I’ll head over to the hospital right away. Thank you, Xue Na!” Jiang Zhengkai politely responded to what Xue Na had just told him. What Jiang Zhengkai didn’t know was that Zhang Qian being sent off to training was just a cover. Now that Xue Na’s identity has been revealed, Yao Tianyu wanted to keep her close in order to protect her.
Jiang Zhengkai called A-Jiao on the way to the hospital. On the other side, A-Jiao happily picked up the phone and said, “What’s going on, Honey? Do you need me for something?”
“Oh, I’m going to the hospital right now. Sui Zhongyi has regained consciousness,” Jiang Zhengkai told A-Jiao matter-of-factly.
“Ah, ok.” A-Jiao became noticeably less excited upon hearing the news, “Alright, got it! I’ll eat lunch in the school cafeteria then. Don’t worry about me!”
“Ok, take care of yourself!” Jiang Zhengkai reiterated as always, “Stay inside the preschool unless you need to go out for something. I’ll come pick you up later tonight.”
“Alright, I got it… Dad!” A-Jiao laughed heartily at the phone before continuing, “Don’t worry, Honey! I won’t go anywhere.”
“Sounds good!” acknowledged Jiang Zhengkai, “I need to get going now. Remember: be careful!” He then hung up the phone. These days, Jiang Zhengkai had one more thing on his mind: A-Jiao’s safety. With A-Jiao returning to work at the preschool, Jiang Zhengkai couldn’t help but constantly worry for her safety.
“What, your hubby is worried about you again?” Cui Jing walked over and wittily remarked, “Since Mr. Jiang loves your so much, he should just marry you and get it over with.”
“God, you’re annoying! Let’s not talk about me. So yeah, you still haven’t told me what’s going on in your life,” said A-Jiao as she recalled Cui Jing’s dejected look right before she was kidnapped. She then poked fun at Cui Jing and asked, “So, come on, tell me what’s new in your life!”
“What’s new?” Cui Jing smiled mysteriously, “Why would I have something new going on in my life?” And just like that, Cui Jing fled from A-Jiao’s work desk and sought refuge at her own work desk.
“So, you’re not going to tell me, huh?” asked A-Jiao as she sat there looking at Cui Jing, “Then don’t bother coming to me next time you need someone to substitute your class!”
“Hehe, my dear Princess Ren, don’t you worry about that! You won’t ever have the chance to sub one of my classes again.” After she finished speaking, Cui Jing shot A-Jiao a sweet smile, then swayed her head from side to side as she began writing her lesson plan.
Inside the rented apartment across from the preschool, A-Meng returned to his old post. Even though A-Tao was dead, A-Meng nevertheless felt he had a duty to fulfill the promise he made to A-Tao. Before his death, A-Meng not only wrote A-Jiao a short letter, he also snuck off to the hospital shortly before the showdown at the warehouse. He made a request of A-Meng, namely that A-Meng had to take care of A-Jiao before she was married. A-Meng of course agreed to the request, but he felt it was a very strange request. Why would Brother Tao ask him of that? Of course, he now knew why, because A-Tao knew he wasn’t coming back from that warehouse alive.
“Miss Ren, how are preparations for today and tomorrow afternoon’s open audit classes coming along?” asked Principal Li as she walked into the office. She first glanced at Cui Jing, then gently patted A-Jiao on the shoulder, “Is everything ready?”
“Oh yes, don’t worry, ma’am!” Afterwards, A-Jiao looked over at Cui Jing and added, “Actually… actually, I think it’d be better if Cui Jing taught those classes instead…”
“Well…” Principal Li raised her head and smiled at Cui Jing, “What do you think, Miss Cui?”
“What was that?” Cui Jing happily raised her head. She looked at Principal Li for a second before turning her attention to A-Jiao, “I say my dear Princess Ren, I’m pretty sure Chairman Zhou is auditing the class because he likes the way you play the piano, so don’t worry and just go! Plus, I’ve never been one to hoard all the good opportunities for myself. Do you want me to help you practice later this afternoon?”
“Hehe, don’t you play coy with me!” A-Jiao pursed her lips at Cui Jing in response to what she said, but a smile soon appeared on her face as well.
“Alright, you two work out the details. Just make sure the audit classes go off without a hitch,” said Principal Li. She then smiled at these two young women before turning around to leave the teachers’ office. For Old Lady Li, A-Jiao and Cui Jing getting along well was the one thing she wanted to see happen the most. After all, it was difficult to acquire persons of talent, whether it be a country, an industry, or a preschool.
Once Cui Jing saw that Principal Li had left the office, she moved over to A-Jiao’s desk and said in a funny voice, “So, Princess Ren, so about lunch…”
“Fine, fine!” A-Jiao raised her head and contemptuously glanced at Cui Jing, “So you want me to buy you lunch, right? Fine, I’ll give you my portion of the cafeteria food then!”
“Wait, what? I’m going to teach you piano, and all you’re going to give me is some cafeteria food?” Cui Jing looked at A-Jiao with pouty lips.
“Then why don’t you tell me what you want to eat?” A-Jiao raised her head and looked at Cui Jing with her charming smile, “But I’m afraid I won’t be able to eat it with you, since I am under orders from my man not to leave the preschool without him.”
“Hmph! I thought there were only clingy women, but now I’ve witnessed a clingy man as well!” remarked Cui Jing as she forcefully jabbed at A-Jiao’s forehead with her finger before returning to her own desk. “Forget it! I won’t go out to eat with you even if you asked me to! I’ve got lunch plans with that fool of a boyfriend of mine.”