Chapter 19: A Hero Scolded
Inside her office, Dr. Wang motioned for Jiang Zhengkai to take a seat. She pushed up her glasses, which had slid down her nose, and gave him a serious look. “Officer Jiang, we’ve known each other for many years now. I’ve always thought you to be an upstanding person. Yet I heard you spent the night with the patient last night?”
“Yes, I did,” Jiang Zhengkai replied, feeling a bit muddle-headed. Was she saying that A-Jiao had been violated in some way in the restroom?
“I heard from the duty nurse that the two of you were in some kind of a scuffle last night?” Dr. Wang continued, still looking at him. “That bruise on her neck; that was because of you, right?”
“Bruise? I… I only…” Jiang Zhengkai didn’t know what to say. He felt like a child who had been called to the principal’s office.
“I know you probably did it inadvertently,” Dr. Wang said, maintaining her stare. “But the patient is still very weak. Her body can’t take that kind of punishment. Furthermore, did you take her to eat hot pot today?”
“Yes,” Jiang Zhengkai nodded.
“Did I not tell you to not let her eat anything that was hard to digest and to not let her eat too much at once?” admonished Dr. Wang. “Her body is not yet ready to ingest an unrestricted diet!”
“I… I know I was wrong,” Jiang Zhengkai stammered. Dr. Wang had indeed reminded him of these dietary restrictions before, and during the meal, he did actually remember to pay attention to the restrictions. He didn’t think A-Jiao would have a problem, but she did.
“I hope you can set aside the patient’s profession and respect her as a person. Her current condition doesn’t require round-the-clock attention. If you’re that concerned for her safety, could the police bureau not assign a female police officer to watch over her?” Dr. Wang said imposingly.
“Yeah… I… I didn’t think it through. It’s mostly because… because I still have some questions that I wanted to clear up with her…” Jiang Zhengkai helplessly answered. “I… I’m very busy during the day, so…”
“Officer Jiang, there are some things you have to put more thought into. Getting her a private bed, taking her out to dinner… Iif Commissioner Yao knew about this, what do you think the consequences would be? You wouldn’t want me to be in trouble either, would you?” sighed Dr. Wang.
“I… I know I was in the wrong,” nodded Jiang Zhengkai. He saw the expression on Dr. Wang’s face had relaxed a bit, so he asked delicately, “Ah… about her current condition…”
“Oh, she’s fine.” Now that Dr. Wang had finished what she’d wanted to say, she was no longer so serious. “It’s just that she had her period, and because she ate too much today, there was too much pressure on her uterus, which led to bleeding in her reproductive system. She lost a lot of blood during her earlier assault, so her blood level was already below normal. Therefore, the blood loss today led very quickly to a loss of consciousness. It was a good thing you got to her quickly; otherwise, she would’ve bled out.”
“So that means she’s not in any danger?” Jiang Zhengkai probed. It turned out it was just a false alarm, so his heart started to feel more at ease.
“She’s out of danger,” said Dr. Wang. “From now on, follow my explicit instructions. Tell her to rest. Alright, I’m going home now.” With that, Dr. Wang stood up, turned around, and went inside the hospital personnel locker room to change out of her scrubs.
Once Dr. Wang walked away, Jiang Zhengkai shook his shoulders and was finally able to relax. Just based on age, that old lady had more than enough years on him to give him a good lecturing. Worse, she was related to his boss, Yao Tianyu. Right now, he could only pray for Dr. Wang to not say anything to her brother-in-law. Otherwise, he would be in for a good bout of asschewing in the morning.
Nevertheless, word still go out, probably because a gun had been pulled in a crowded downtown area. In the eyes of the Chinese public and media, any incident involving a firearm was no small matter. Therefore, that very evening, a swarm of journalists descended upon Hot Pot City. The next day, reports of Jiang Zhengkai’s heroics spread all over the morning news broadcasts. Soon, the entire city learned about how Officer Jiang, with gun drawn, had put his life on the line in order to protect the citizens of their city. Even though the televised news only sang Jiang Zhengkai’s praises, it wasn’t long before the truth of what had happened reached Yao Tianyu.
That afternoon, Jiang Zhengkai appeared in Yao Tianyu’s office. After a torrential asschewing in the form of a political indoctrination session was over, Jiang Zhengkai finally emerged from the office. At that moment, he finally understood something one of his seniors had told him: “Just because you see one of your bosses eating dinner with a prostitute doesn’t mean there’s something indecent going on. Sometimes, they’re just doing their job.” Unfortunately, the only prostitutes that this senior was going to hang out with were those living in the next world.
The result of this whole incident was that it kept Jiang Zhengkai a whole lot more honest. He no longer risked going to the hospital to see A-Jiao. Whether A-Jiao was feeling lonely at the moment was a question Jiang Zhengkai could no longer afford to answer.
A-Jiao was out of it for an entire day, finally regaining consciousness the next evening. She opened her eyes just a crack and saw someone lying on the guest bed, so she called out softly, “Uncle Policeman… Officer Jiang, I want to drink some water…” Even though she was completely devoid of formality, she wasn’t in the habit of throwing around terms of endearment like “honey” or “baby.” Good thing, too, because if she had, she would’ve permanently destroyed Jiang Zhengkai’s career as a police officer.
“Are you thirsty?” came the voice of a young woman from the guest bed. “I’ll get you some water.”
“Uh, who are you?” A-Jiao feebly asked while lying on her bed. “Why isn’t Officer Jiang here attending to me tonight? Has there been another homicide?”
“No. My name is Wei Xin,” the young female police officer replied. “Inspector Jiang assigned me to help take care of your personal needs for a while. If you have any leads, you can tell me, and I’ll forward them on to him.”
“I see.” A-Jiao closed her eyes once again. That damned flat-as-a-board assistant, she thought to herself. Nobody wanted you here! Flat as a board! Flatboard…
Half a month quickly passed, and even though Jiang Zhengkai was able to gather a few leads, none of them panned out. The most promising lead of all was whatever Zhang Nan’s predecessor, Gao, had known about. But after Gao had retired, he’d gone back to his hometown and hadn’t left any contact information. Therefore, what could have potentially been the biggest lead in the case was left uncultivated.
“Any recent news from Zhang Nan?” Jiang Zhengkai crossed off another day on his desk calender. “Half a month has passed. Still no activity in the alley?”
“That’s correct, Inspector Jiang,” Wei Xin answered earnestly while standing in front of his desk. “Although, based on the frequency of the previous homicides, I predict we are soon due for another one.” If Wei Xin hadn’t studied criminal justice, Jiang Zhengkai thought she could’ve made for an excellent weather forecaster.
“Then continue to pay attention to our surveillance efforts!” Jiang Zhengkai rubbed a finger against his upper lip a few times. It was the only order he could think of to give to Wei Xin. This case was no joke, and assigning more police surveillance didn’t necessarily guarantee they would record the frightening scene he had witnessed last time. Therefore, they needed to maximize this opportunity! He raised his head and looked up at her. “So… that A-Jiao, how is she?”
“She should be discharged from the hospital today,” Wei Xin replied. Ever since that incident at Hot Pot City, since Wei Xin was a fellow woman, she’d been given the responsibility of tending to A-Jiao in the hospital.
“Oh, well, I guess I’ll pay her a visit this afternoon.” Jiang Zhengkai clasped his hands together and tapped them against the desk in an expression of uneasiness. “Alright, after she is discharged, you’ll still be in charge of keeping tabs on her. I believe she definitely knows something she isn’t telling us. More importantly, of all the people we’ve found, she had the closest relationship to A-Xiu.”
“Understood, Inspector Jiang,” Wei Xin straightforwardly accepted. “That woman… she’s not bad at heart, just went down the wrong path.” Wei Xin herself didn’t know where that last sentence came from.
“Anyway, you go see Sergeant Zhang right after lunch. I’ll join you there once I’m done at the hospital,” Jiang Zhengkai said as he stood up. “Let’s go! It’s lunchtime!”
He didn’t want to discuss A-Jiao right now. After all, it hadn’t been very long since he’d had his ass chewed out by Yao Tianyu. Still, he had to goto the hospital, if for no other reason than he was personally responsible for the majority of A-Jiao’s hospital bill. He didn’t treat every suspect or witness this way, but he felt like he owed A-Jiao something. If he had treated A-Jiao like a normal woman, then perhaps the man who’d attacked her would be behind bars by now.