【未定事件簿】Tears of Themis: Main Story 6-11 Translation
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Chapter 6 – Tiger’s Accomplice Ghost (Parts 1, 2): 6-1 / 6-3 / 6-5 / 6-7 / 6-9 / 6-11 / 6-13 / 6-15 ♦️ ♦️ 6-16 / 6-18 / 6-20 / 6-22 / 6-24 / 6-26 / 6-27 / 6-28 / 6-29
Just as I’d guessed, Fu Qiao came to the side of Stellis River to burn the paper cranes. According to him, what Zhou Nan liked the most were paper cranes, so he’d fold some each month, take them to the riverside, and burn them.
MC: So they were folded for Zhou Nan. Then why did you come to the riverside to burn them?
Fu Qiao: I don’t really have any special way to explain it – it’s just that I feel like if it’s on the riverside, it’ll be easier for her to get it.
Fu Qiao: Wasn’t the Ghost Festival* of the past, when people would put out lanterns for lovers that had passed, done at the riverside too?
*Occurs on the 15th of the 7th lunar month – offerings are made to those who have passed.
MC: Looks like the relations between Fu Qiao and Zhou Nan really were good.
Zuo Ran: At least as of now, there are no obvious flaws.
Fu Qiao expressed that he wanted to be on his own for a while on the riverside, and for us, it was indeed difficult for us to trouble him. So Zuo Ran just brought me to eat first. We agreed with Fu Qiao that we’d visit him after eating dinner.
MC: Zhao Fei believes that the person who murdered Zhou Nan is Chen Hanzhang, but it seems like you’ve been paying a lot of attention to Fu Qiao, Lawyer Zuo.
The privacy of this restaurant was very good – Zuo Ran and I were in a private room, so it wasn’t inconvenient for us to talk about the case.
MC: What’s the basis for your reasoning?
Zuo Ran: I don’t have substantive evidence. From the start, asking for Fu Qiao’s information was also just routine inspection.
Zuo Ran: Although, after meeting Fu Qiao just now, I feel like he is more suspicious.
MC: Did Fu Qiao do something that did not fit within common sense just now?
Zuo Ran: From my point of view, him burning paper cranes monthly to commemorate Zhou Nan is exactly what doesn’t fit within common sense.
Zuo Ran: Do you still remember when Zhao Fei said that Fu Qiao didn’t know that Zhou Nan was a bar waitress, and he always thought that she was a bar singer?
Zuo Ran: If this is the truth, then the blow dealt to Fu Qiao from Zhou Nan’s death would not only be from losing his girlfriend.
MC: He lost his girlfriend, while knowing that his girlfriend had hidden something the whole time.
A job like a bar waitress…
Zuo Ran: I think that there probably isn’t anyone who is willing to share their love with others. At least, I would not allow other people to long for my lover.
We were clearly talking about the case, but the atmosphere in the room became somewhat off.
Zuo Ran: Ahem ahem…
Zuo Ran: So, even if Fu Qiao had excellent relations with Zhou Nan before, he would not be indifferent after finding out that he had been lied to.
Zuo Ran: There’s even the possibility that the depth of his love from before would be as deep as the hurt he suffered after knowing about the truth.
Zuo Ran: Under these conditions, he still burns paper cranes for Zhou Nan each month…
Zuo Ran: I keep feeling like there is something odd about this.
MC: That’s true. But if we consider the situation outside of deep emotion…
MC: If he was involved in Zhou Nan’s death, it seems to make more sense for him to make offerings to his girlfriend every month out of guilt.
Zuo Ran: That’s right.
MC: It was already very hard to get material evidence from Chen Hanzhang. Now if Fu Qiao is involved, this case sure is intricate and complex.
Zuo Ran took a spoon, filled a bowl with soup, and placed it beside my hand.
Zuo Ran: Don’t stop moving your chopsticks as soon as you start talking about the case.
MC: Thank you. But my mind’s loaded with things to think about, and I kind of don’t have an appetite.
Zuo Ran: When you feel confused, you can try shaking off the conclusion you already have, jump out, and re-examine the entire case, to find a breakthrough point from the original place.
MC: Original place?
Zuo Ran: Right now, we have no way of obtaining more information about Chen Hanzhang…
Zuo Ran: We might as well try setting aside Zhao Fei and the police’s conclusions, then, based only on the premise that Zhou Nan’s death was because of intentional murder, we can think about characteristics the murderer might have.
MC: That’s true. Right now, we have no way of confirming whether Zhao Fei’s identification of Chen Hanzhang is tenable, and the police don’t acknowledge his conclusion…
MC: If we don’t jump out, our investigation will be a dead end, and we have no way of sorting through the information we have now.
Zuo Ran: Then the first point, who would have a motive to kill Zhou Nan?
MC: It’s obvious that this person must have had a direct conflict with Zhou Nan.
MC: Not only this, this conflict must be severe enough for it to be unresolvable without Zhou Nan’s death.
Zuo Ran: This is only one possibility. There is another possibility.
MC: Eh? Let me think…
Zuo Ran: You just said a “direct” conflict. What other kind is there?
What other person might have murdered Zhou Nan?
>Someone for whom Zhou Nan’s death had utilitarian value
>An unexpected incident, a crime of passion (incorrect, scroll for right answer)
MC: An unexpected accident? The murderer originally did not want to kill Zhou Nan, but something unexpected occurred, resulting in Zhou Nan’s death?
Zuo Ran: This wouldn’t be able to be called a premeditated murder. Think again.
>Someone for whom Zhou Nan’s death had utilitarian value
>An unexpected incident, a crime of passion
MC: It’s indirect value!
MC: Zhou Nan’s death might have no value to the murderer. But this might be a method for the murderer to achieve another objective!
Zuo Ran: That’s right.
Zuo Ran: Zhou Nan’s death might have been a sort of condition used to exchange for some other benefits.
MC: Though we’ve thought of this kind of possibility, I can’t think up of a detailed case for it to be tenable.
I understood the implication of what Zuo Ran said, but this was an empty space in my past case experience. So I had a very hard time in thinking about the possible practical applications for this situation.
Zuo Ran: Have you heard of “pledges of loyalty”*?
MC: Ah, I know about these!
During ancient times, if people wanted to escape to a group that set themselves against the imperial family**, they would sign a document of life and death and even kill an official from the imperial family to express their loyalty. Because, once they did this, there would basically be no possibility of them betraying the group – they would have cut off their opportunity to become an ordinary person again.
MC: So you mean, Lawyer Zuo, that Zhou Nan might not have any relation with the purported reasonings like “running into business transactions”.
MC: It’s just that she just happened to appear at that place at that time, so she became the sacrifice of some people who sought help from some group?
Zuo Ran: Yes. If it were a typical criminal case, I would very rarely consider this kind of situation.
Zuo Ran: But Zhou Nan’s case involves an illegal gang trafficking prohibited drugs – thus, the “pledge of loyalty” might have happened.
Zuo Ran: Plus, think about how Yan Wei said that the evidence the police have that points to Chen Hanzhang have all been avoided by her.
Zuo Ran: This indicates that Chen Hanzhang’s methods are very clean, and it’s very hard to catch any leverage against her.
MC: Under such situations, if what happened to Zhou Nan was as Zhao Fei guessed, Chen Hanzhang would not murder to silence her if she only ran into the transactions.
MC: After all, if Zhou Nan tattled, no one would believe her, and murdering would instead create additional trouble.
Zuo Ran: Thus, on the night of the incident, something even more complicated than we have imagined must have happened.
MC: Based on this, it’s even more necessary for us to inquire the boss of the bar, as I suggested before.
Especially under the precondition that Chen Hanzhang definitely wouldn’t take the initiative to confess.
Zuo Ran: Yes. A murder occurred and illegal drugs were found in the bar, yet the bar is still operating. This boss must also not be simple.
Zuo Ran: Aside from the murderer’s motive, the second point we must consider is the method of crime.
MC: The most direct method would be the injection of the illegal drugs. Plus… Zhou Nan might have been moved after death.
Zuo Ran: Your conclusion is correct. Then, what is your reasoning?
Zhou Nan might have been moved after death, because…
>External injury (incorrect answer, scroll down for correct one)
>The location where her body was noticed
MC: There were external injuries on Zhou Nan’s body. Those scratches might have been created when she was being moved.
Zuo Ran: Based on the positions of the scratches and the degree of severity, it doesn’t seem to have resulted from moving the body.
Zuo Ran: Regardless if she were dragged, carried, slung over a shoulder, or things like that, it’s unlikely that there would only be a thin scratch on the outside of her wrist.
Zuo Ran: The probability is too low, think again.
>The location where her body was noticed
MC: Because her body was noticed at a booth between the first-floor dance pit and the stairs.
MC: Lots of people come and go at this place, so it probably isn’t where the incident occurred.
MC: In the file, the testimony of the person who reported the case indicated that the last time he saw Zhou Nan was when she went to the washroom after drinking a lot.
MC: It’s obvious that Zhou Nan was able to move, and she didn’t die from drinking.
MC: When the murderer acted against Zhou Nan, she could not have gone down without a fight. This was bound to attract the attention of other guests.
Zuo Ran: That’s right. So it’s more probable that Zhou Nan was injected with the illegal drugs in some hidden location…
Zuo Ran: After the drugs took effect, the murderer moved her.
MC: If we analyze it like this… I feel like the murderer seems more and more like Chen Hanzhang.
Zuo Ran: Think about the manpower around Chen Hanzhang. She could indeed have done this.
Zuo Ran: In contrast for Fu Qiao, with his physical fitness, I’m afraid that it’s very hard for him to move Zhou Nan without taking help from external force.
Zuo Ran: In addition, Chen Hanzhang is able to obtain high-purity illegal drugs, but Fu Qiao is probably unable to do this.
Zuo Ran: To sum it up, all clues point towards Chen Hanzhang.
MC: But we just analyzed it – if it’s just to silence her, Chen Hanzhang does not need to do this.
Zuo Ran: Thus, under the premise that we don’t exclude Chen Hanzhang from having committed the crime, I suggest adding Fu Qiao into the category for consideration.
Zuo Ran: Or, we can also find other, more direct suspects with conflicts of interest with Zhou Nan to replace Fu Qiao’s function in this.
MC: Then according to our inference of indirect benefit, Fu Qiao, or someone else with conflicts of interest, should have had contact with Chen Hanzhang after Zhou Nan’s death.
Zuo Ran: This just might involve the illegal drug trafficking case that the police has continuously been unable to find evidence for.
MC: Then when we see Fu Qiao in a moment, the first thing we need to ask him about must be to prove that he wasn’t on the scene, on the night of the crime.
MC: Only him saying that he’s never been to Xunye before doesn’t count for anything.
Zuo Ran and I spoke about the case as we finished off dinner. Looking at the time, it was almost time to go to Fu Qiao’s house.
MC: Lawyer Zuo, you’re tired, so I’ll drive when we go to Fu Qiao’s place.
Zuo Ran: I’ll do it. To me, driving also counts as a sort of joy – I can relax with it.
MC: I almost forgot that Lawyer Zuo is a leisure driving expert.
Zuo Ran: What kind of title is this?
MC: It’s obviously admiration for your driving skills.
I stood up, took my purse, and walked towards the outside.
MC: Now that I think about it, driving in the wind really is a good way to relieve pressure…
Maybe because I sat for too long, but there was little strength in my legs as I walked. My feet tripped, and I fell forward.
Zuo Ran: Careful!
With quick eyes and hands, Zuo Ran caught me from behind. I hung in the crook of Zuo Ran’s arm, shaken from fright as I was, and let out a long breath.
MC: (Falling on flat ground… it simply can’t get more embarrassing…)
Zuo Ran: Oh you, didn’t you notice that your shoelaces became untied?
I lowered my head to look at my shoelaces. They really were…
Before I could tie up the shoelaces, Zuo Ran had already set the briefcase he was holding aside, crouching down beside me.
Zuo Ran: This pair of shoes looks quite nice. The shoelaces must be decorative?
Zuo Ran: I see that there are zippers on the side.
MC: Mm… mhmm, yes.
His hand slid past the zipper outside my ankle. Although it was separated by the leather upper part of the shoe, I still felt a burst of numbness.
Zuo Ran: No wonder it untied. If it were practical-function shoelaces, you would definitely tie it well, with how meticulous you are.
MC: Not really, sometimes my hands are pretty clumsy.
The dark brown hair reflected in my eyes. I heard my voice get quieter until it was nearly inaudible.
He… was this much taller than me…
Regardless if it were height, or typical demeanor…
And right now, as he lowered himself like this, it gave me a subtle sense of safety that I had never experienced.
As well as…
A feeling of being treasured, as if cupped in one’s palms.
Zuo Ran: I’m the one with clumsy hands. I always did my best to buy Velcro running shoes when I was little.
He was probably joking on purpose, just to ease my awkwardness.
MC: Lawyer Zuo, you’re lying – I won’t believe you.
MC: The meals you make are so good, and even the carvings placed on the dishes are ones you make yourself, so how could your hands be clumsy.
Zuo Ran: They’re all some simple carvings – plus, that’s different from tying shoelaces.
I inexplicably felt like touching his hair. And I followed my thoughts, raising my hand. My fingertips accidentally brushed past his ear, its temperature scorching. Zuo Ran… his face must be red…
MC: Thank you. Regardless of how you appear in others’ eyes, I’ve always felt that you… are a very gentle person.
Kind to the point that under any situation, he would make the most comfortable surroundings for me.
MC: If Lawyer Zuo is also not skilled at tying shoelaces, then I don’t feel that I’m shameful.
Zuo Ran raised his head and looked towards me, with his calm and kind eyes that anyone could sink into.
Zuo Ran: Don’t worry when falling. It’s hard to avoid encountering all sorts of challenges and frustrations as one grows.
Zuo Ran: But… it must be where I can see.
Zuo Ran: In a place where I can reach in time. Even if the road is rugged and you fall, I can still protect you.
Zuo Ran: At least, give me time to reach out my hand.
This was a promise.
Zuo Ran’s solemn eyes told me that this promise might not just be because he was my partner. Aside from work, he could also become my most trustworthy person.
*Original term “投名状” (tou ming zhuang). These were used to ensure strong bonds within the group while maintaining little relations with those outside. My translation here (”pledge of loyalty”) is a very loose one.
**I am not too certain about my translation here about exactly what the pledges of loyalty were;;