The Judge 13
Content warnings: graphic descriptions of violence, rape, gore
“This is an uploaded video?” An Yining asked softly. But at this time, no one was in the mood to answer her.
The camera was a little shaky and the surroundings were dark. A flashlight was moving up and down, then, in the camera, Li Jingrong’s face slowly looked up. He was not the same righteous Captain Li who was good with words and helped Meng Jiayi smooth things over, expounded on the case and participated in the investigation.
He wore odd clothes. Black, of a very long length that extended past his knees. He had on a giant hat that only allowed people to see his face clearly when he raised his head.
That face was pale and gloomy. When he looked towards the camera, he even appeared a little ghastly. The four staring at the screen simultaneously felt their heart grow cold.
In the video, Li Jingrong chuckled lightly. Next, the camera moved downwards. A naked woman was tied up there, her clothes tidily placed at the side. She was conscious and struggled non-stop, tiny cries emitting from her sealed mouth.
“It’s Zhou Min…” Someone pointed it out.
Sheng Yao stared at the screen as he took the corded phone from the desk and dialed straight for the interrogation room. “Yexi, you guys should take a break first. Come out and look at this.”
A knife appeared on Li Jingrong’s hand. He bent over, the back of the knife moving down against Zhou Min’s skin. The camera moved downwards along with his movements. But occasionally, it would return to film Zhou Min’s terror-stricken expression.
When the rest exited the interrogation room, the video was playing the part where Li Jingrong unbuttoned his clothes and got on Zhou Min.
“What the fuck is this?” Yang Man yelled at the top of her voice.
And at this time, the camera seemed to completely overlook Li Jingrong, instead, putting all attention on Zhou Min. The camera moved down as if the cameraman had crouched down to film every inch of Zhou Min’s face in close proximity. Then, a hand entered the field of vision, pulling off the seal on Zhou Min’s mouth. The woman’s ear-piercing screams instantly swept the entire office. Sheng Yao’s fingers quivered and nearly muted the video.
That hand had torn off the seal, but instead of moving away, it lifted Zhou Min’s jaw very gently to give her a close-up. Jiang Hu noticed that this person’s sleeve was buttoned up neatly, and their hand was pale and slender. It could almost be called pretty—he could not help straightening, his hands forming fists quietly.
This woman, Zhou Min, who had been remarkably valiant in her life, had been cursing in the beginning. But when her voice turned hoarse, she began weeping quietly, incoherently pleading him to stop—An Yining was first to turn her back to the video, unable to bear it.
Everyone remained deathly silent.
Li Jingrong let loose of his bestial desire and took a while to catch his breath. He sighed as if satisfied. Then, rustling sounds came from the video. The camera still was not on him. They could only see a shadow not so distant away, seemingly smoothing his clothes. The camera did not at all leave the woman with dilated eyes. As if the cameraman was intoxicated with her, they switched up angles to film her.
Li Jingrong’s laughter came from the video. He picked up that knife again, hitting Zhou Min’s face with the flat surface lightly, and whispered lowly, “Even in my dreams, I’ve wanted to see this expression on you. I finally fulfilled this wish.”
That voice was poles apart from his usual speaking voice—it was extremely dark. Even Yang Man could not help getting goosebumps all over.
Li Jingrong sat next to her, tracing under her chest with a knife. Sometimes, he did not control his strength well, causing beads of blood to seep out.
“No hurry.” Someone spoke outside the field of vision. Shen Yexi happened to be standing above Jiang Hu. Seeing his face change, he immediately gripped his hand secretly and pried open his fists. His rough fingers gently massaged his palm.
Only to hear that person speak in a low voice, “How is it? Don’t you feel a little better?”
The camera faced Li Jingrong’s face. He sucked in a deep breath, a freakish smile appearing on his face. “It feels like the blockage inside my heart has been washed off.”
“Very good. That’s the poison in your heart. If you yell it out and vent it all out, the shadows in your heart will disappear forever. Tomorrow morning, you’ll become someone else entirely, just like what you longed for. Full of strength, brimming with confidence… A successful man.”
That person’s voice was low, with an indescribable sense of enticement.
Li Jingrong paused and sharply stabbed the knife into Zhou Min’s abdomen. At death’s door, the woman once again let out a shrill scream. It was the sound of someone dying. This time, even Yang Man averted her face. Sheng Yao could not help but block his ears.
“You have to be like her. Shout out what you feel right now.” As though he heard nothing, the man outside the camera’s field of vision still used that same slow, unhurried tone with some laugh. “Believe me. You’ve already gained power from her.”
Li Jingrong pulled out the knife, and stabbed Zhou Min’s body again as if he went crazy. Blood splattered on the camera lens. This time, the interest of the camera had turned to Li Jingrong’s face, filming every fraction of his malevolent, lunatic appearance. “Fucking bitch! Sure, you’re awesome, sure you’re amazing! But look at you now… Hehe. To climb the social ladder, what won’t you do? The fuck are you putting on an act for? If the department chief can fuck you, I can’t? Not only am I going to fuck you, I’m gonna fuck you to death! Who told you to strut around, who told you to be so pleased with yourself…”
The voices that came next were too sharp, preventing them from deciphering what he was shouting.
Zhou Min’s screams become softer and softer, weaker and weaker. Until finally, they could not be heard anymore. The camera moved back, flitting across the woman’s bloodstained face as her pupils slowly dilated.
Li Jingrong’s voice turned sluggish and stopped. Next, his intentionally suppressed and ghastly voice rang from outside the camera’s field of vision, “Everyone said that sniper shot back then was an accident. But don’t think I don’t know who fired… Fucking bitches, fucking bitches…”
Only loud, heavy panting could be heard.
The camera turned back to Li Jingrong’s face who was laughing soundlessly. His face was stained with blood which flowed down his facial features to gather on his jaw. Even his exposed teeth were bloodstained. All together, he looked like a terrifying human-eating monster written in stories.
That smiling voice asked, “How do you feel?”
Li Jingrong spoke in a low murmur, “A little… a little tired.”
“Just tired?” The man beyond the camera said, “Look, you’ve prevailed over her—-”
Li Jingrong cackled and ferociously cut open Zhou Min’s body. He pulled out her heart and flung it on the ground. Like a happy child, he whistled and stepped on the heart that left a long trail of blood. “Feels so good— It really feels so fucking good. I’ve never felt this great in years!”
The cameraman chuckled lightly. Then, with a soft creak, the camera dimmed. The video ended.
For two entire minutes, no one spoke in the office. They simply stared at the dark screen in shock.
After that, Wei Yu sharply shoved away the people in his way and dashed to the washroom. Only then did the people snap out of it.
Meng Jiayi’s face was ashen as he shook his head incessantly, “Was that a human or a demon? I’ve never seen such a… I’ve never seen such a…”
Yang Man stood up without a word and headed straight for the interrogation room. Su Junzi paused and chased after her in slight worry.
Sheng Yao mumbled hoarsely, “There are still a few other videos. You… If any of you want to watch, watch it with earphones. I can’t stand this.”
“Jiang Hu, continue interrogating Jiang Bin with Captain Feng. Sheng Yao, dig out all of the IP addresses that logged into this chatroom. Yining, continue doing what you were doing with Captain Meng. I’ll finish these videos.” Shen Yexi pulled out a pair of earphones from the drawer and plugged it in.
However, a hand came to grab one of the earphones. Jiang Hu pulled a chair over with his feet and sat down, allowing no dissent. “I’ll do it with you.”
Shen Yexi looked at him.
Jiang Hu said, “You’ll focus on the crime scene and the killer. I’ll focus on the person ‘filming this’.”
Shen Yexi gripped the earphone cord with a hand, unwilling to back down. “I said I’ll deal with it.”
Feng Ji, who had been waiting for Jiang Hu, and the rest, whose responsibilities were assigned, withdrew themselves discreetly.
“Did you notice how long he filmed Zhou Min’s face and how long he filmed Li Jingrong’s?” Jiang Hu asked softly.
Shen Yexi was tongue-tied.
“The camera was on Zhou Min’s face for a total of over eight minutes, and was on Li Jingrong’s face for only four minutes,” Jiang Hu answered, and raised an eyebrow at him. “Do you know why?”
Shen Yexi furrowed his brows, unable to describe the emotion welling up in him. Sometimes, the more insistent and calm this person in front of him was, the more ill at ease he became. Because no one could understand better than him that this person had flesh and blood as well. He too, would be repeatedly woken up by nightmares in the middle of night.
“Because the cameraman is a sadist.” Jiang Hu said matter-of-factly, “In his eyes, witnessing the victim’s final struggle and fear was more stimulating than whatever the killer does. And also…”
He lowered his voice and whispered words that were practically trapped in his throat, “No one else in this world can understand him better than I can.”
After a while, Shen Yexi sighed and gave him one of the earphones.
Jiang Hu managed a laugh. Shen Yexi clicked open the next hellish video. From the earphones came every kind of screams and madness. Then, Shen Yexi reached for Jiang Hu’s hand silently under the table. Jiang Hu struggled a little subconsciously, but the grip became even tighter —
Exactly how much hate did they have to do such things that not even the police, who were used to gruesome scenes, could watch on?
Yang Man said, “Li Jingrong, you better behaved yourself. We just logged into your scummy chatroom. We’ve seen what you did too. Answer all my questions. Don’t you fucking dare to pull any tricks!”
Su Junzi followed her into the interrogation room and sat next to her in silence.
Li Jingrong jerked his jaw up to look at Yang Man. He snickered and turned to Su Junzi. “This woman is really similar to Zhou Min, that bitch. You better be careful, in case you get shot by her from behind.”
Yang Man slammed the table. Quite some water splashed from the teacup onto the table, and Su Junzi winced at the pain her hand must feel. So, he coughed, “Was your motive for killing Zhou Min because she had once accidentally shot you?”
“Accidentally?” Li Jingrong’s hands were cuffed to the table and he effortfully rubbed his jaw with his hand. “Inspector Su, you’re no longer young, so how are you so naive? She only hit me among all the others, for what? Isn’t it to keep all of the credit to herself? That bitch used every means possible to climb up the social ladder, is there anything she wouldn’t do? Law enforcer… Heh, what a joke.”
Yang Man moved only an inch and Su Junzi immediately pulled her back. This woman’s brute force was difficult for Su Junzi to deal with too, but he still had to direct some attention to ask Li Jingrong, “That day you killed Zhou Min, who was the one filming?”
Li Jingrong laughed. “The Supreme Court Justice.”
“I never knew that small fries can be called the Supreme Court Justice.” Although Yang Man was held in place, her tongue remained unforgiving.
Su Junzi did not speak, but mentally, he agreed with her.
Li Jingrong’s face did not change. “You guys won’t understand. There’s no point in saying more.”
“This ‘Supreme Court Juice’ you said, how did you contact him?” Su Junzi asked.
“I don’t need to contact him. When you have grievances and hatred, the Supreme Court Justice will show up himself.”
Su Junzi frowned and exchanged a look with Yang Man. The way this person was behaving was truly quite similar to someone who went mad after mastering Falun Gong.”
“Then what situation was it when he first appeared? For you guys, including Jiang Bin, what channel do you use to communicate?”
Li Jingrong’s hands were on the table, body leaned forward as he laughed. Then, he replied with a low murmur, “Just investigate what you’ve found all you can. As long as justice still exists in human society, the judgement won’t end. Sinners would inevitably receive their punishment…”
“What fucking bullshit,” Yang Man commented clippedly.
“What? Are you a sinner too? Are you scared?” Li Jingrong was overbearing.
Yang Man easily hurled the cup on the table. Li Jingrong’s reflexes were nothing to be ashamed of. He avoided it with a turn of his head. Having failed in her attack, Yang Man was about to personally pounce on him and throw hard punches at his head. But she was stopped by Su Junzi with all he could.
Sheng Yao very quickly found all of the IP addresses that logged into the chatroom. The chilling thing was that the owners of all sixteen IP addresses were members of the police force.
Mo Cong sent out the notice in the middle of the night, and the different regions began their missions to capture them.
But those words Li Jingrong uttered were like a nightmare that could not be waved off.
 X轮功 (lit. **lun Gong): likely referring to Falun Gong (Dharma Wheel Practice / Law Wheel Practice), a religious movement (cult).