Chi Qing’s mind flashed completely blank.
—He really couldn’t read Xie Lin’s mind.
Even though Chi Qing had already been careful to make the area of contact as small as possible, he’d already reached his limit poking those two times.
Moreover, after he finished poking, he thought that he must be crazy to have done something like that.
Right after he finished his test, he was preparing to use a wet paper towel to clean his hands when he lifted his eyes and saw Xie Lin’s slightly inclined head.
Xie Lin had clearly been watching him for a while, just like some kind of animal letting its prey wantonly wander around right next to it.
He saw how Chi Qing had poked the back of his hand despite the unwillingness to touch him written all over his face, and waited for Chi Qing to retract his hand before asking, “What’re you doing?”
Chi Qing fell silent for a moment.
“The tablecloth was crooked.”
Xie Lin emphasized, “You touched my hand, not the tablecloth.”
Chi Qing, “I bumped into it on accident.”
Xie Lin let out an entirely insincere “oh.” He dragged his voice out, as if he were saying ‘okay, whatever you say, it’s already done anyways.’
Chi QIng, “……”
“But there really aren’t very many people buying those knives.
Who knows how long it’ll be until the two left on the shelf are sold,” Ji Mingrui finished expressing his thoughts on his visit to Bianmin.
After he finished narrating his final conclusion, he finally took notice of what was happening across the table from him, “—What’re you two talking about?”
But Xie Lin didn’t respond to him like he usually would, and didn’t continue squabbling with Chi Qing either, asking all of the sudden, “How many knives did you say were left on the shelf?”
After Ji Mingrui spoke, he realized that Chi Qing had also turned to him all of the sudden.
He vaguely sensed that something was wrong, “Is there a problem?”
The two “suspects” who had bought knives glanced at each other.
The suspect with the surname Xie asked, “When you went to buy your knife, how many were left on the shelf?”
Suspect Chi answered, “Five.
After I bought mine four were left.”
Xie Lin, “Then I bought one, and only the two me and him bought were in the sales records, so there should be three of those knives left.”
That night past eleven, when a crowd of people rushed into Bianmin Grocery, the little boy was already accustomed to answering their questions.
So much so that he didn’t even wait for Ji Mingrui to open his mouth, just said very skilfully, “Policeman-shushu, nobody’s bought a knife today.”
(t/n: 叔叔/shu1shu1 means ‘uncle.’ It specifically refers to your father’s younger brother, but it’s also kind of a generic way to refer to a man who’s older than you)
Ten minutes earlier, after Ji MIngrui had finished listening to Xie Lin and Chi Qing, he threw down his balled-up napkin even though the rest of their food had just arrived, picking up his coat and running out.
“Think carefully, who else came by that day when it was raining.”
After the police had sealed the crime scene, the murder didn’t have a weapon, so he had come here.
It was really late that night, and raining again; there couldn’t have been many customers coming and going.
“Count the people you know too, and he wasn’t necessarily here to buy anything.
Can you think of anyone?”
The little boy paused at correcting his homework, and said, “Li-shushu.”
The boy, “He’s xiao-Kang’s dad.”
The little boy fished out his phone, searched for a long time in the out-dated phone, then finally found a group photo.
The photo was clearly taken when two families took their kids out to play, and the little boy pointed to a man wearing cargo amongst them, “That’s Li-shushu.”
The man was wearing gray cargo, his eyes were brown, and somewhat muddy.
Ji Mingrui stared at that photograph, his memory pulling him back to that day when Wang-a’po suffered the loss of the wood carving passed down in her family for generations, “How could it be him?”
“This ‘Li-shushu’s full name is Li Guangfu.
He came to Southern China to work as a laborer during his early years; his undertaking is clearing the waterways, but he does administrative work—his main responsibility is allocation of staff.
He has two sons, the younger one was just born this year, he’s not even one yet.” Su Xiaolan got back to the police station first, and as soon as she got there she pulled up Li Guangfu’s personal information.
Cargo-man sat in the police station for the second time.
He never in a million years thought he’d end up scoring a second time, “What is it this time? Yeah, I went there that night.
I took a trip to the store on a rainy day, is that a crime?”
Ji Mingrui, “What did you go to the store to buy?”
“I called off and wasn’t working that day.
An appliance broke at home, so I went to the store to buy a screwdriver.”
“You only bought a screwdriver?”
“And a pack of cigarettes.
What is this about, I still need to rush home.”
A screwdriver and cigarettes.
It fit with the sales records, he really wasn’t lying.
On the other side, Chi Qing and Xie Lin, who had been forcibly roped in to “assist” with the investigation because they held important information in hand, sat side by side.
Xie Lin flipped open the case files once again, “There’s only one, do you wanna look together?”
Compared to the case, Chi Qing was actually more interested in this nucase whose mind he repeatedly hadn’t been able to read.
He, intentionally or otherwise, looked over at Xie Lin’s hand.
Although Xie Lin always had a carefree appearance, his power of observation was abnormally sharp.
His gaze was clearly still fixed on the case file, but he lifted a hand and waved it in front of Chi Qing’s eyes.
Xie Lin offered his hand in Chi Qing’s direction, sticking that skinny hand in front of his face.
Chi Qing, “The hell are you doing?”
“Giving you my hand,” Xie Lin said, “It seems like those two pokes while we were eating weren’t enough for you.”
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