Title: There is only a thousand year of hatred, not a hundred year of closeness
Jiang Xiaoning couldn’t open the door to Xin Muran’s office and kicked it open, but when he entered, he found no one was there.
He rushed out in spitting anger, went next door once more, and even checked the balcony——Xin Muran sometimes went there to smoke.
When he was met with the completely empty balcony, Jiang Xiaoning frowned and wondered where to exactly find the person himself.
“Do you want to give me a new door that badly?”
A cold voice came from behind, Jiang Xiaoning turned around to see Xin Muran standing behind him, looking at him with his usually expressionless face.
If he wasn’t wearing a shoddy cotton T-shirt, filthy jeans, running shoes where the original colors could not be seen, or even greasy hair, the expression would have been quite imposing.
Jiang Xiaoning narrowed his eyes to look at him and asked, “Who are you going to shadow?”
Xin Muran’s expression did not fluctuate at all: “You don’t have the authority to ask me this question.”
Jiang Xiaoning advanced a few steps and looked down arrogantly at him before speaking in a cold tone. “Now that Ah-Dong has taken over your squad, you must have not taken charge of your tasks for two years, right? Not only did you attend to your personal affairs this time, but you have also stayed out all day. If you say that it is not for personal affairs, who would believe it?”
There were no changes in Xin Muran’s voice whatsoever: “You don’t have the authority to ask me this question.”
Jiang Xiaoning swung his fist toward his face.
Xin Muran’s expertise was in infiltration, undercover, driving wedges between (allies and partners), disseminating rumors, and inciting emotions. He was very good at them. Jiang Xiaoning had never seen him fight with others, let alone fight him in close combat.
He didn’t dare to be careless, thus, when he swung at him, he was already very cautious. Then, employing all sorts of tricks, he was able to put Xin Muran’s hand behind his back.
“Bastard!”1 He reviled, “You dare say that the matter with Yu Xiujun wasn’t instigated by you?”
Although Xin Muran was restrained, his imposing manner was not weakened, and even his voice remained calm: “I said, you have underestimated me.”
“Don’t play dumb with me.” Jiang Xiaoning twisted his harm even harder, “Why can’t find her at all?”
Xin Muran was quiet for a few seconds, and when he spoke again, there was contempt in his voice. “You can’t find her, and just suspect me?”
Before Jiang Xiaoning could reply, he coldly said: “So, you still haven’t given up and actually did this kind of attempt.”
Jiang Xiaoning snorted: “Until I’ve taken the last step, I won’t accept ‘odd jobs’.”
“Unfortunately, you have no other choice.” Xin Muran suddenly stiffened his body, and his shoulder struck the pit of Jiang Xiaoning’s stomach. When Jiang Xiaoning retreated a step, he took the chance to break free from him and rubbed his shoulder while saying, “Seeing how angry you’ve gotten, you must have reached the last step.”
Jiang Cheng fiercely looked at him and didn’t speak.
Xin Muran continued: “The cost for repairing the door will be deducted from your salary. You can go upstairs to find Lao Si now and ask about the specific situation of your “odd jobs”.”
After that, he simply walked past Jiang Xiaoning and left.
Jiang Xiaoning gritted his teeth, his eyes sank and after a while, he turned and went toward the staircase.
He stepped up the stairs, passed a short and neat corridor, and found Lao Si in a small room behind the iron door.
Lao Si was a thin man in his thirties with sharp eyes and few words – obviously learning from his previous life, he wasn’t curious about anything, so upon seeing Jiang Xiaoning enter, he didn’t even lift his eyes.
However, to the side, Alex, a small fair-skinned man couldn’t hold back as he looked at Jiang Xiaoning dully and asked, “Did you come to the wrong place?”
Jiang Xiaoning didn’t bother to say anything. He reached out his hand, took out a paper bag that had been pinned to his back and threw it on the table in front of Lao Si, and briefly said: “My ‘odd jobs’.”
Lao Si picked up the paper bag, looked at it then opened it and took out a folded piece of paper. He opened his eyes and scanned through it then stuffed the paper and the bag inside the desk. Then he got up and walked to a door in the corner of the room, took out a key to open the door, and locked it again after going in.
Alex looked as he disappeared behind the door before he turned to look at Jiang Xiaoning, and even the tip of his hair stood up curiously. “Didn’t you never accept ‘odd jobs’ and only do business with ones that are related to the police?”
At first, Jiang Xiaoning didn’t want to pay any attention to him but after being annoyed by him for a long while, he replied perfunctorily. “Didn’t you complain that I didn’t do odd jobs? And that I’m benefiting from my association with you guys?”
“I didn’t know at the time that there’s no money involved in helping the police. Isn’t the salary that you receive every month acquired by us anyway?” Alex smiled lightly, “Later, I learned that Xin Laoda2 had done great work with you before. Wu Juzhang3 felt sorry for you guys and established this kind of relationship with us -hmph- a friendly relation. Take it as we’re benefiting from being associated with you guys, alright?” He paused, and hearing no answer from Jiang Xiaoning, he approached him. “What? Ate through all your savings?”
Jiang Xiaoning had always been annoyed with his style of making discreet inquiries everywhere. He simply kept his mouth closed and refused to open it no matter what.
“Reveal a bit, why don’t ya. You know that if I really want to know, I can find out anyways.” Alex raised an eyebrow and attempted to spur him. “It is said that Xin Laoda, that solo undercover mole, is stronger than you; acting as an undercover for an extended time of up to four to five years and didn’t even let the cat out of the bag even the slightest. What about you? Was it even two years?”
Jiang Xiaoning snorted and continued to remain silent. Soon, Lao Si returned and carefully locked the door back up before he walked over and handed Jiang Xiaoning a thick archived envelope bag.
“Good luck.” He listlessly and programmatically said.
“Thanks.” Jiang Xiaoning also responded listlessly and programmatically as he took the bag and went out.
His room was on the floor below Xin Muran’s, and like all of his colleagues, it was deserted and empty without any superfluous things. When they needed to understand their task and formulate relevant plans, there was no better place to go than there.
He frowned as he went down the stairs only to meet face-to-face with Ah-Dong from the floor above; the two only nodded indifferently and brushed past each other.
As a person that did infiltration work, Ah-Dong’s stature was a bit too thin, and although he was average in appearance, average in attire, he was an expert at hiding his sense of existence. He was also very talented in his work. At that moment, he casually went upstairs and making sure that Jiang Xiaoning did not turn around and come over, he continued to casually go to Xin Muran’s office.
The door was obviously damaged by a human attempt and could no longer be closed anymore. From the huge gap of the door, Xin Muran could be seen having had changed his clothes and was leisurely sipping tea.
Since he was perfectly composed, Ah-Dong pushed the door in without surprise.
“How’s the investigation?” Xin Muran looked up and asked him.
The other party was not a person with strong anti-tracking ability, not to mention the questioning Laoda who was an industry expert; if he wanted to say that he was an amateur, no one would dare to call themselves a senior veteran and spent a whole day supervising his work – what else wasn’t clear?
Ah-Dong thought to himself without even a hint of exposure. He took out a USB drive from his pocket and handed it over, and when he spoke, his voice was also completely lacking in character. “The photos are inside, and I haven’t processed the script yet.”
Xin Muran inserted the USB drive into his own laptop.
With the door to his office destroyed, and was now wide open, a fake door could be seen directly in front; the angle of the installment was very clever, and from the glass door, anyone that walked through the corridor could clearly be seen. But Ah-Dong still walked to the door and surveyed the area before returning to Xin Muran’s desk. He stood beside him and operated the computer while pointing at the photo on the screen.
“This was the target last week. On the 6th of this month at 4 PM in the late afternoon, he got off a bus at the Northern Station, rented Room 217 in Shunli Hotel on 37 Zhanqian Street in front of the station, and had stayed there since. On the afternoon of the 7th, he met a teacher from Middle School no. 17. This and this were of him getting in and then getting out of the car. At the gate. This was them meeting, and this was still of them meeting. Here, they are getting in a taxi. I followed behind but didn’t snap a picture of them going into the building. This is after 34 minutes; the target came out of the building. I’ve also sorted out information on this teacher’s background. His surname is Jiang……”
Xin Muran coughed, and Ah-Dong immediately moved to the next photo: “On the 8th, he left early in the morning. This was him at a telephone booth making a call; in 12 minutes, he tried 13 times, none of which connected. This was of him on the bus to the Northern District. He inquired of a person named Feng Qiang4 here on Linjiang Street, until 11:32, he got the clue, and then took the car to the East District. This was of him getting in the car and getting out. Here he was asking for directions and this……”
He was about to go to the next photo when Xin Muran waved his hand first to stop him before he could do so.
On the computer screen, the target stood at the foot of a skyscraper that was under construction and looked up quietly with a calm expression. The construction workers were vaguely visible behind the green metal isolation fence.
Ah-Dong thought about it and said: “This was next to the main road in the East District. This building used to be an entertainment center. If I remember correctly, it was called——”
“Jin Ting.” Xin Muran dully interrupted. He didn’t know why he frowned and without waiting for Ah-Dong to speak, he said, “The time on your photos is very specific.”
Ah-Dong understood that he was being asked to leave, but he still applied himself very conscientiously to his duty. “The person that he genuinely wanted to inquire about is——”
“Jiang Xiaoning.” Xin Muran expressed his impatience with a cold tone.
Ah- Dong thought for a while and still said: “I have put all the background information on the people that he had met in——”
“I know them all.” Xin Muran cut him off and signaled for him to leave with a glance.
At this point, Ah-Dong knew that his task had indeed been successfully completed. He showed a relaxed expression and asked: “How many days can I rest this time?”
“Report for duty in the afternoon,” Xin Muran answered.
Ah-Dong curled his lips, said goodbye, and took his leave.
Xin Muran looked at the photos one by one until he reached the ones from yesterday; because yesterday he finally went out personally to follow the target for the entire day.
He browsed back through the photos one by one until the one with the skyscraper appeared in front of him. He stared at the target’s expression on the photo for some time while frowning.
Then he switched off the computer, got up and put on his windbreaker jacket.
He went out and took the elevator to the underground garage.
He took his car, drove out of the garage and out of the complex before merging into the flow of the busy traffic.
He drove leisurely in the city center and turned at every intersection until he determined that no car was suspected of following him before he drove straight to the north station of the city.
He quickly found the Shunli hotel and parked his car in front of it. There were no decent parking spaces at all, and the motorcycles, electric cars, and bicycles were parked rather chaotically together. Xin Muran knew that his car could possibly be scratched out more than once, but he didn’t care in the slightest.
He approached the hotel, and the fluffy-haired receptionist who sat at the counter on the computer playing games looked suspiciously at his fancy clothes and asked cautiously: “Need a room?”
“Looking for someone,” he answered.
Without looking at the receptionist again, he moved upstairs and even his steps accelerated involuntarily.
217. He found the room.
When the doorbell didn’t sound, he started to knock on the door.
The sound of footsteps sounded, and the person inside didn’t even think of asking and pulled open the door without even a bit of caution.
Xin Muran held his breath and looked in. The person inside should have just finished showering not too long ago; his hair was still wet, and it was softly attached to his cheeks.
He appeared to have not changed much from five years ago.
Xin Muran thought about it and decided to address him like this: “Han Laoban, hello.”
Han Jia’s eyes slightly widened as he looked at him, “It’s you?”
“It’s me.” Xin Muran wondered how else to answer.
Han Jia pondered and said, “Officer Xin? I didn’t remember incorrectly, right? I remember you told me that your name was Xin Muran.”
“You still remember?” Xin Muran felt his mood suddenly improve for the better. “I thought you had forgotten.”
“How could I? You’re such a legendary character that even if I wanted to forget, I wouldn’t be able to. But,” Han Jia kept looking at him as he spoke, seemingly very confused. “Officer Xin, did you come to find me specifically to reminisce?”
“I’m already no longer an officer now,” Xin Muran answered evasively. “Moreover, I am more used to you calling me Zhang Xueming.”
Dun, dun, dun… I wasn’t expected Xin Muran to actually be Zhang Xueming when I first read this, like wow, what a change in plot!
1 Bastard! (小人) – person of low social status (old) / I, me (used to refer humbly to oneself)/nasty person/vile character – I think backstabber would be better in this instant.
2 Laoda – means the oldest; Lao Si mean Old Four
3 Juzhang – Bureau Chief; Wu Qinghua or Wu Juhang (Bureau Chief Wu) is from Lawless and previously held the title of Wu Chuzhang (Section Chief) I’ll take it as he had been promoted since then. He was the one that busted into Li Shiqing’s place and helped ‘rescue’ Xiao Li and Qi Xiuyuan
4 Feng Qiang – leader of the Northern District who appears in Lawless and is also a friend of Xiao Li
Below is the green metal isolation fence