As I walked through the crowd, I felt out of place and uncomfortable, which could be regarded as an occupational disease.
I didn’t take a taxi and instead walked the entire length of Ting Tang Road until I arrived at the tallest and most versatile building in the Jiangcheng New District—the Century New Garden.
The main building was 26 stories high, and there were two adjacent 13-story auxiliary buildings, forming a “mountain” shape that overlooked the head of the Jiangcheng River.
This was the headquarters of Jiangjin Real Estate, as well as one of the few five-star hotels in Jiangcheng. It was also the location where Jiang Chen, the second young master of the Jiang family, and Ye Bing held their wedding ceremony.
The wedding was held here, inviting the elites and high-ranking officials of Jiangcheng. It seemed like a gathering of the upper echelons of society, but it was actually a ceremony held by the Jiang family to formally introduce Ye Bing into high society.
“I guess our paths won’t cross again after this. From rags to riches, Ye Bing has truly transformed.” I chuckled to myself and glanced at the rows of luxury cars parked outside the entrance. Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and even the world-renowned Sejongs, which started at five million, were all there.
“Sir, the Century New Garden has been rented out by the Second Young Master for his wedding today. Please show your invitation.” The security guard, who was tall and sturdy, spoke politely, but with confidence. They were not afraid to offend anyone, as they had the backing of the Jiangjin Group.
“Sure, here it is.” I had nothing to say when the security guard stopped me. After all, everyone else had been chauffeured in and out of luxury cars, while only I had leisurely walked here on foot.
“Sorry, sir. Please come in.”
“Huh? You’re… Gao Jian?!” Just as I entered the gate and took a few steps forward, a well-dressed man ran over from the parking lot. “I can’t believe you’re here for Jiang Chen’s wedding. It’s been so long since we’ve seen each other!”
I remained expressionless and didn’t react much. The man in front of me was Xu Xiuming, my classmate from the police academy. He was a smooth talker who knew how to handle different situations with ease. However, do not be fooled by his friendly demeanor; this guy could even pretend that a beggar on the roadside was a long-lost friend of his.
“Hello.” This one simple word was already the longest sentence I had ever said to him.
“Oh, look who’s here. Isn’t it our ex-brother-in-law Gao Jian?” The woman who spoke was named Zhang Yuanyuan, also my classmate from the police academy. Unlike Xu Xiuming, this woman loved to gossip and was very unpleasant to be around. I heard she got married to a man from another school shortly after graduation and has since become a mother.
I frowned and quickly walked away, but couldn’t help but think to myself, “Zhang Yuanyuan is hardly a successful person, and she left Jiangcheng with her husband long ago. Why would she come all the way here to attend Ye Bing’s wedding? Her greatest jealousy has always been Ye Bing’s beauty, and I doubt she would have anything to do with wishing her well.”
“Unless someone specifically invited her and offered her a price that would make her heart skip a beat.” It was easy to figure out that the person behind the scenes was the petty groom, Jiang Chen. “It looks like today’s wedding will be very interesting.”
The banquet hall was filled with guests, including several executives from various companies who exuded a businesslike aura in both their demeanor and speech. It seemed that the wedding had turned into a business event, with many attendees there to expand their network rather than genuinely celebrate the newlyweds.
“Hey, Gao Jian, over here! Everyone’s been waiting for you!” Following the voice, I saw two tables set up in a corner of the banquet hall, specifically for me, or rather, for my former classmates from the police academy.
Delicate cold dishes were arranged on the large round table, and about a dozen former classmates were exchanging pleasantries.
“I heard you bought another house?”
“How old is your son?”
“Oh, your watch must be very valuable,”
I ignored their conversation and lit a cigarette, silently puffing away.
Compared to them, I had nothing, and to me, they were just passing acquaintances.
However, some of my former classmates who were not doing well and had many troubles gradually shifted the conversation towards me. In their eyes, I was the pitiful one, the loser who had achieved nothing and was attending his ex’s wedding.
After all, to them, what could be more heartbreaking than seeing your ex-girlfriend marry a man who you can only look up to?
“Hey, Gao Jian, we haven’t heard from you in years. How have you been doing?”
“Yeah, yeah, we lost touch after that incident back then.”
“Ah, I wonder if they ever caught the real culprit?”
The incident they were referring to was the rainstorm-related serial killing that shook the city. It was because I got involved in this case and got into big trouble that I was expelled from the police academy.
“Forget it; forget it. Let’s talk about something happy. Gao Jian used to be at the top of the class in terms of comprehensive scores; someone as excellent as him can do anything better than us.”
“No way, I heard he’s been buying those kinds of things and living very frugally.”
“Really? No wonder Ye Bing left him. If I were her, I wouldn’t stay with a man like that. Look at Jiang Chen; he’s handsome and charming, just like the male lead in a Korean drama.”
“Yeah, and he’s got money too. Haven’t you heard? The Jiang family practically runs half of the city!”
“Ye Bing is so lucky.”
Another group of people whispered and gossiped, some envying Ye Bing, while others gloated and stared at me. I exhaled a puff of smoke. As a private detective, I’ve seen too many dirty things. There’s nothing worth arguing about with these people.
Top of Form
“It seems like you’re still better at dealing with the dead than the living,” a nearby voice lightly chuckled, and a unique and enchanting scent wafted past my nose.
“Tie Ningxiang?” I didn’t turn around because I had already memorized that perfume, as if it were a body odor instead. “Why are you here? Did the case at Peace of Mind Inn end?”
I extinguished my cigarette, then turned my head to face her. Although I was mentally prepared, I was still taken aback by the sight of Tie Ningxiang in a dress. “so beautiful…”
Her pleasant shoulders were exposed, and her long skirt swayed gently. Once she had removed her police uniform, she looked truly stunning, with her unchanging and pure brows and the lead makeup washed away, revealing her innocence.
The men at the table were all stunned, and the women stopped talking, their eyes unkindly fixed on Tie Ningxiang.
“Excuse me, could you step aside for a moment? I have something to say to him,” She said.
“Sure, no problem.” Xu Xiuming, who was sitting next to me, immediately stood up and chivalrously pulled out a chair.
Tie Ningxiang nodded and sat next to me, “You guys go ahead and chat, it’s a classmate gathering, don’t let us disturb your fun.”
“What a joke! With a goddess-level figure like her sitting next to that loser, what else is there to talk about?”
“I mean, it was the right thing for Ye Bing to leave him. And now, a beautiful fairy like you shows up out of nowhere to steal the show?”
“What kind of dumb luck did this guy have?”
Our former classmates’ discussions turned from noisy to whispers. Tie Ningxiang looked at me mischievously and said, “Sorry to take up some of your time.”
“No worries, I’m pretty bored here anyway. But how come you’re here for Ye Bing’s wedding?” I asked.
“My family is close with the Jiang family, so I didn’t have a choice. My old, stubborn folks forced me to come,” Tie Ningxiang explained.
After glancing around, she moved her chair next to me, leaned in close, and whispered in my ear, “Xiao Feng, the goddaughter of the owner of the Peace of Mind Inn, wants to meet you.”
“Her?” I had guessed that Tie Ningxiang had something to talk to me about, but I never expected it would be related to Xiao Feng.
“I don’t know what happened between you two, but she specifically asked to meet you and said there are things that she can only tell you,” Tie Ningxiang said, squinting her eyes and looking like a sly fox. “You guys aren’t, like, involved or anything, are you?”
Her expression was subtle, but I didn’t really care. However, the man sitting next to me was clearly feeling jealous, and his mind was in turmoil.
That was a jealous look, and that was an envious gaze she was giving him. The goddess is obviously unhappy that he came to his ex’s wedding!
Damn, what did this guy do better than me to make a goddess like her fall for him?
“You’re thinking too much. Xiao Feng and I have only met once, and I don’t think we’ve spent more time together than you did with her.”
Bottom of Form
“Anyway, can you come back to the bureau with me this afternoon and help me out?” Tie Ningxiang rarely looked like she was asking for help, and I joked, “No problem. If I ever get in trouble and end up there, I’ll have to rely on you, senior sister.”
We whispered to each other, not because we were close but because the topic was related to a murder case and we didn’t want the others to hear.
However, this scene was misunderstood by our old classmates present, and endless speculation began.