Ling Shu had determined that he was framed. But he couldn't figure out why someone would want to pin the death of Du Yunning on him.
He was just a small policeman who had been working for a few years, with mediocre performance; every day he would show up and leave on time, either lingering on the streets looking for food or going to watch shows and dance.
As for the Ling family, it was even simpler.
Ling Shu's parents had passed away without any enemies or grudges. His elder sister, Ling Yao, was married and was a housewife. Her husband, Zhou San, was a director in the municipal government.
Even if there were colleagues who did not like him, it would not be necessary for them to go around in circles and frame his wife's younger brother to discredit him.
Ling Shu said nothing and Yue Dingtang also did not rush him. The two of them seemed to be competing to see who had more patience.
The lantern swayed overhead, and the cold wind that came in through the cracks of the windows searched around the interrogation room, trying to take away the meager warmth that remained.
As for the interrogating policeman, Shen Renjie, he was already so famished with his chest practically sticking to his back.
In the past, he would have thrown Ling Shu into the prison without saying a word and gone out to get night snacks, waiting for his family to come with money to bail him out. But now he dared not.
Firstly, the case was too big and had a drastic impact, with the victims having a special identity.
Secondly, Smith himself was paying close attention to the case, and Yue Dingtang was standing by.
Shen Renjie was not clear about Mr. Yue's exact position, but from Smith's attitude, it would be best not to offend him.
"... Mr. Yue?"
The two of them were having a silent confrontation, but Shen Renjie was so hungry he could no longer take it, so he lightly asked in a trembling voice.
Yue Dingtang glanced at him: "You can go first."
"It's okay, you can continue!" Shen Renjie said with a bitter face. Yue Dingtang didn't leave, so how could he leave?
Yue Dingtang turned to Ling Shu: "It's almost New Year's."
Ling Shu: ???
Yue Dingtang: "I'm sure you don't want to spend New Year in prison."
Ling Shu: "My sister will find a way to bail me out."
Yue Dingtang: "This case is serious, she may not be able to bail you out. The only way you can survive is to cooperate with us, confess honestly."
Ling Shu: "I've always been curious about why you suddenly got involved in this matter, since Du Yunning chose to be with me instead of you?"
Yue Dingtang didn't say a word.
Shen Renjie felt like he had heard something he shouldn't have, so he quickly looked up at the poor hanging lamp, imagining it to be a steaming big chicken leg.
The freshly steamed chicken legs were so tender that the moisture inside the chicken burst out and condensed into beads on the lid of the pot, then fell back onto the chicken. One bite was enough to fill the taste buds.
Shen Renjie was a police officer, but his family could only have a feast on special occasions, especially in the days leading up to the New Year, when all families worshipped their ancestors and made offerings, even if it wasn't chicken legs, but freshly steamed rice cakes...
As he thought about this, his expression became dazed and he suddenly noticed that he hadn't been paying attention to what the two were talking about.
Ling Shu was also hungry.
But he didn't look up at the light bulb like Shen Renjie did.
Because no matter how long he looked at the light bulb, it wouldn't turn into a chicken leg.
He knew that Yue Dingtang was waiting for him to surrender.
This situation hadn't changed since the beginning.
Ling Shu chose to fight back quickly.
“If I'm suspicious, then Yuan Bing and the people at Yuan Manor are too.” He said.
Yue Dingtang: “Of course, Yuan Manor has already been sealed off, and no one can enter or leave, and Yuan Bing has also been arrested. But out of everyone, your suspicion is the greatest.”
After he said that, he stood up.
“It's a pity that your statement didn't provide any key clues to clear your suspicion. As old classmates, I really want to help you, but I can't do anything.”
Shen Renjie let out a sigh of relief and also stood up.
Finally, he could eat and he pushed away the statement book in his hand.
"Sign it," Ling Shu said as he glanced over a few lines before picking up the pen.
He looked up again, "Am I going to be spending the night in jail?"
Yue Dingtang looked at the hand holding the pen, not responding to the question, "I remember you're not left-handed."
Ling Shu lazily curved his lips and signed his name in a hurry, "It's been a long time since I've had any fun. Old classmate, I hope our little friendship can exchange for me a midnight snack in jail."
The three of them left the interrogation room.
Right in front of them, Yuan Bing was brought out of the other interrogation room.
Their eyes met and the situation was grim.
Yuan Bing roared and lunged towards Ling Shu!
Caught off guard, the people around them could not hold him back.
"You little runt of a dog!"
Ling Shu stuck out his foot.
The roaring suddenly stopped.
Under the sudden shift in momentum, Yuan Bing embraced his leg and wailed in pain, curling on the ground.
"He's fighting! He's killing! Help!"
A man who had been addicted to opium for a long time, how could his strength be strong? But Ling Shu's kick was really fierce. According to Yue Dingtang's estimation, even if Yuan Bing hadn't broken any bones, he would be severely injured.
But the one who started it had already hid behind Yue Dingtang, with an indifferent expression.
Yuan Bing was still rolling on the ground, mumbling incoherently.
Yue Dingtang coldly said, “Take both of them away.”
Young Master Yuan's identity was special, so no one dared to act. With his words, they immediately dragged the person away.
“Ling Shu, you mongrel, you killed my wife and wanted to blame it on me. You won't get away with this!”
Ling Shu was unconcerned: “Yuan Bing, I think it's better for you to plead guilty as soon as possible. Otherwise, you'll suffer a lot in prison without opium.”
Yuan Bing was dragged away, his voice gradually fading away.
Unwillingness and anger echoed in the police station, making Shen Renjie unable to help but sigh.
He had seen Du Yunning from a distance before, when she was still alive.
At that time, Du Yunning was wearing a pink robe with silver edges. Such a vulgar color was worn by her, giving off a unique charm that was different from others.
In the whole Shanghai beach, there were not many beauties like Du Yunning.
It was a pity that beauty was brief.
This case was destined to shake the Shanghai beach.
When the two had gone, Shen Renjie quietly asked, “Mr. Yue, should we give the food to Ling Shu just now?”
This matter was originally not Yue Dingtang's decision, but Smith had just given him a different look, so Shen Renjie naturally wanted to take the opportunity to please him.
Yue Dingtang said: "According to your usual practice, will you give it or not?"
Shen Renjie gave a knowing smile: "Well... "
Yue Dingtang immediately understood the unspoken words– give it if they pay a bribe, nothing without payment.
Shanghai can be called the centre of the far east and the model of the Republic of China, but behind its prosperity, there is also corruption. After all, it has only been twenty years since the decadent Qing Dynasty.
"Then I won't give it!" He said sternly with a righteous expression, "All I asked for is fairness!”
Ling Shu knew what a prison environment was like, being a police officer himself.
The brick and tile houses had walls covered in moss and cracks, stained with black marks. Under the eaves was a small window, the only source of light. In the day it was just barely enough to make out some brightness, but at night, the guards certainly wouldn't waste candles or electric lights on the prisoners, leaving everyone to sleep in the darkness while they whiffed the smell.
In winter it was even harder to survive. The stone floor was cold and hard, with bumps and hollows. At most, some straw would be spread out. If someone was sent to prison wearing thin clothing, it wouldn't take long for them to freeze, with some of the heavier criminals having a harder time and even not living to see their sentence announced.
Ling Shu's body was warm, wrapped in a thick coat. It was the one his sister had bought from the Yong'an Department Store last month, intended for him to wear during the New Year's holiday, but Ling Shu had taken it without asking when he went out tonight, never expecting it would come in handy like this.
Dark, damp, and dim, that was all Ling Shu's impression of prison.
No matter where the prison was, it was all more or less the same.
In the dark depths, faint sobbing and muddled muttering could be heard from time to time, coming and going, easily stirring up fear in the depths of one's heart.
The only source of light came from the low-wattage lightbulbs on the ceiling. The feeble light not only failed to generate any warmth, but even made the shadows look more sinister.
Standing at the gate of the cell, the smell of urine and moisture made him hesitate.
The guard behind him gave him a shove, pushing him in.
With a clang, the cell door was locked again.
"Behave yourselves!" came the guard's voice from outside.
The prison guard gave a not-so-serious warning and left.
The prison cell was another world. In the darkness, one could hear various breaths coming from different directions, indicating that there were at least five or six people in the cell.
When the brightness suddenly changed to darkness, Ling Su’s eyes hadn’t adjusted yet and he couldn’t make out the people around him. However, with the little bit of light from outside the window, those who had been in the cell prior could see him clearly.
The young man had fair skin and an average build; it was obvious that he was from a wealthy background and had never suffered hardships. Such a person in prison was like a sheep among wolves, a walking target, a firefly in the night, right down to the “come bully me and exploit me” sign on his forehead.
Every inch of his body was under scrutiny in the darkness, particularly the thick wool coat that he was wearing.
Ling Su didn’t move an inch. He knew that the beasts would only attack after confirming the prey’s weaknesses; if he made the slightest movement, those countless pairs of eyes in the darkness would pick up on his vulnerability immediately.
These days, those who were sent to prison weren’t just him and Yuan Bing, the suspects. From gang members to fugitives, from swindlers to murderers, the weak ones would not last more than a few days here; only the ones with viciousness and cunning would survive.
As a cold wind blew, Ling Su felt an itch in his nose. He tried to resist but couldn’t help but scratch it.
He opened his mouth, lowered his head, and gave a small sneeze.
Just as he was about to rub his nose, an extra hand suddenly landed on his shoulder.
Before he had time to react, Ling Shu was already harshly pushed against the iron door!
The loud bang from his back colliding with the iron door echoed in the empty prison, piercingly loud and shocking.
In the distance, the sound of the jailer running over could be heard, but it soon disappeared without a trace.
In such places, no one would come to manage as long as there were no casualties.
Even if there were casualties, unless the deceased had a powerful background, there would not be severe consequences.
In a chaotic world, life was as fragile as grass, even in the most prosperous city in the Far East.
It was foreseeable that he would be facing a harsh night.
Why was it so hard to get a midnight snack?
Ling Shu was filled with sorrow.
Author had this to say:
Ling Shu: Life’s too difficult.jpg
Reader's question: I'm a bit confused. So Ling is a small police officer from outside, and he is being interrogated by the police inside the concession. Yue is an advisor who helps the concessionary police station. Do they belong to two different police stations?"
Answer: Let me answer this here.
At that time, Shanghai was divided into three parts: one was the foreign concessions, one was the public concessions (from the English, Americans, Japanese, etc.), and one was the Republic of China government.
Ling Shu was from the Jiangwan district police station under the jurisdiction of the Republic of China government.
The case happened in the public concessions, and the one who interrogated him was also from the public concessions.