“I’m fine,” said Li Hao hurriedly.
Chen Na glanced at him. “You… you think these people are really related to the families in the song? But the songs are adapted from myths and legends. It’s just a silly song. It might just be a coincidence. Aren’t we still short of two names?”
Chen Na wanted to laugh but caught herself. She suddenly looked at Li Hao. His surname was Li! What if the cases were related to him?
She was an inspector, after all. She knew a pattern where she saw one. And the case did link to Li Hao through the song. Was that why Li Hao had been investigating all these people?
“Li Hao… you belong to the Li family…”
Li Hao smiled bitterly.
Chen Na frowned. “Tell me the truth. Is there something wrong with the deaths of these six people?”
She looked through the files again. She had no time to read everything in detail. They all were accidental deaths. They hadn’t happened in the same year either. How could they be related?
“Let’s talk about that later. Can I meet your grandmother?” asked Li Hao again.
Chen Na did not protest. “I already told you but you didn’t seem to hear me. My grandmother passed away a few years ago...”
“It’s alright. My grandmother was already in her 90s when passed away. She lived a long, quiet life. We had a nice funeral for her.”
Chen Na did not think much on it. “But,” she said. “Many people from my grandmother’s hometown know about that song. At least, that was the case when I was young. I don’t know… I haven’t visited in years. I don’t know how many elderlies might still be alive.”
Li Hao’s eyes twinkled with interest. Chen Na noticed it.
“How about this?” she said. “If you really want to find out about it, we can visit my hometown together. We can do some on-site research. If we find some old people, we might be able to find out more.”
Li Hao thought about it for a moment and nodded his agreement. “We have no work the day after tomorrow. Are you free then?”
Since the two of them had come to an agreement, Li Hao didn’t press the matter further. “You have more connections in the Inspection Office than me. Will it be too much to ask for your help with something?”
“Not at all. Tell me.”
Li Hao no longer tried to hide things from Chen Na. “Can you help me check the whereabouts of a few people? The first one is Wang Haoming’s younger brother. He’s not in the Silver City. He only had Wang Haoming as his family. He hasn’t returned to the city for a long time.”
“The second one is Zhao Shihao’s daughter. After Zhao Shihao’s death, his wife and daughter moved out of the Silver City. There has been no news about them at all.”
The Silver City’s Inspection Office only had jurisdiction over the Silver City. They had no prerogative over other areas. Thus, they didn’t have the authority to inquire about areas outside the Silver City.
He asked Chen Na because she knew more people in the office than he did.
Li Hao wasn’t familiar with the Inspection Offices in the outer city areas. But he did have classmates and friends who worked in those offices. Maybe he would be able to convince them to get the information he needed.
Chen Na’s eyes flashed. He wanted her to investigate the family members of the few people who were in the case files? She wondered why he wanted to find them so much.
“Do you think you can do it?” asked Li Hao.
Chen Na thought about it for a moment. She then nodded. “It would help if we had a general area name in mind. I can’t promise anything. Silver City is a big place and many of those places don’t give us the authority to enforce the law or search for information. If we ask someone about it, it would help if we had a fixed name of the people or the place.”
“Understood. I have some information on them. I’ll write it down for you later. Although I don’t know their exact location, I might know which city they are in.”
Li Hao had investigated the cases for a long time. He had some understanding of the family members of the deceased.
“That’s good enough,” said Chen Na. “Leave it to me!”
Li Hao thanked her.
The two of them talked for a while. Chen Na suddenly whispered to him, “Li Hao, there are some things that you… I feel that this matter might not be so simple. Just… be careful.”
Chen Na was considering whether Li Hao could really be the one in the song. She wondered if he was in danger.
All these cases were closed as accidents. Li Hao nodded but didn’t say anything. He had to verify many things before he came to a conclusion.
He wanted to investigate the case from 10 years ago. How did the Zheng family members die?
If he had the time, he wanted to visit Zhang Yuan’s house. His house was empty after his death. Li Hao wanted to see if the Zhang family saber was still there.
He wondered about the Hong family’s hammer and the Zhou family’s spear. Did these weapons really exist? Was the red shadow targeting the clans for their weapons?
If each of these families had a family heirloom like the jade pendant of the Li family, maybe he would be able to find some clues. He needed to confirm what the red shadow was after so that he could understand it better if he ever had to confront it.
Li Hao did not head straight for the Zhang family residence that day. He did not even go home. He still had things to do at the Inspection Office.
In the Archives.
Aunt Zhao, who was in charge of the files, took out a pile of documents from a dusty shelf. A grey mist of dust rose from the file.
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