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Published at 14th of January 2016 12:27:02 PM

Chapter 1

The blue clouds covered the mountains from a distance while a thin layer of snow could be seen on the forest trail . The air felt cold and refreshing, smelling of pine and snow . It was a nice and comfortable scent, making it ideal for a slow walk .


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Alighting from the bus, Jian Yao looked around until she spotted a stone path . Following the path for 10 minutes, Jian Yao saw the grey-ish green roof of a European styled cottage .   Ever since she could remember things, she had always seen this cottage at the outskirt of the hillside .

Despite the fact that twenty years had passed, this cottage didn’t feel outdated at all even when compared to the modern infrastructure nowadays . This cottage had been left unoccupied for the past few years and there were even rumours that it was a haunted house .

Jian Yao had believed it when she was younger, since the house was always sitting alone amidst the darkness at the outskirt of the hillside . It was only when she got older then she learnt the truth . It turned out the truth was just that the owner of the house had went oversea with his son when his wife passed away .

However, the house that stood in front of Jian Yao now was different from her memory . This cottage was given a fresh coat of paint and she could see the lights shining from inside, the weeds surrounding the cottage was also pulled out .

Jian Yao was a fourth year student majoring in English . The reason she was here today was because her middle school teacher had introduced a part time translator job to her after knowing that she was on holiday . Although the pay was rather good, her teacher had mentioned that this employer was very picky . This employer had rejected all of the previous applicants that her teacher had referred .

Removing her gloves, Jian Yao knocked on the front door . A man who looked to be in his twenties, wearing a thin sweater with black trousers, greeted her . He was tall, thin and had delicate features .

“Jian Yao?” He asked, giving her a cheeky smile .

Jian Yao’s cheeks were red, possibly from the coldness . Her breath came out in white mist and her eyes were slightly wet . “Yes, I am Jian Yao . Nice to meet you . ”

“Come in,” the man stepped aside to let Jian Yao entered .

Layers of dark purple curtains lined the window, there were large velvet couches with curved backrest . At the corner of the house, Jian Yao saw a fireplace with logs in it . This felt very much like a typical European styled cottage . At the side of the house, a deep brown wooden staircase led up to the second floor which was really quiet as though there wasn’t anyone there .

The only thing that felt out of place in this cottage was the metal railings that were fitted on the windows, not allowing much sunrays to come into the house . With his sleeves rolled up, the man washed his hands before handing a cup of tea to Jian Yao and gestured for her to sit down . When he sat down opposite her, Jian Yao caught a very faint but familiar scent from him . A scent which Jian Yao couldn’t quite remember where she had smell it before .

The man gave Jian Yao a friendly smile, “I am Fu Zi Yu and the owner of this place is called Bao Jin Yan . We are currently looking for a translator to translate his English documents into Chinese . ”

Jian Yao nodded, wondering if the owner was related to the previous owner of the house or maybe he was a new owner .


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Zi Yu took out a stack of papers and a pen, handing it over to Jian Yao . “So, let’s not waste any more time and start the test to see if you are qualified for this job . Within half an hour, please translate all the English articles here . ”

Jian Yao flipped through the articles before looking up, “Is there a computer here?”

Zi Yu shook his head and a helpless smile appeared on his face . “Jin Yan likes things to be handwritten . ”

“No problem,” Jian Yao picked up the pen and papers and started to work her way through the articles . Zi Yu got up quietly and headed to the sink to wash his hands again before leaning against one of the windows, sipping his tea quietly .

 

“The victim had been sexually assaulted and there were signs that the victim’s hands had been tied together . There were also multiple wounds on her lower body – “ Jian Yao was a bit surprised by the content and paused in her translation . She looked up at Zi Yu who was impervious .

As Jian Yao had experience in translating such things in the past – except that it was not as gruesome as this, she got over her surprise rather swiftly . She got back to translating the article until she came across a word that she did not know . Briefly looking through the whole article, Jian Yao encountered quite a number of words that were rather uncommon . “Do you have a dictionary specialised in this field of work?”

Zi Yu pointed to the bookshelf at the side, “Feel free to use any one of them . ”

Jian Yao managed to find what she was looking for and she buried herself in translating the article again .

“Sexhanges – , Parentiside – ……” It was not a surprise that she did not know such words as she continued looking through the dictionaries .

After she managed to translate everything, Jian Yao checked it thoroughly once more . Zi Yu looked at his watch and was rather surprised when he saw that only 25 minutes had passed since the start of the test . “I will be back in a bit after I hand this over to Jin Yan . ”

After saying that, Zi Yu headed up to the second floor . Jian Yao simply sat the couch and waited for Zi Yu . He was back in a short while and he went to the sink to wash his hands once more before drying it on his handkerchief . “He is looking through it now . ”

“Okay,” Jian Yao nodded .

With nothing much to do, Zi Yu started to strike up a conversation with Jian Yao . “Are you studying at a University in B City?”


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“Yes, I am graduating next year . ” Jian Yao answered .

Zi Yu inclined his head slightly, “I see . We have been talking for quite a while, do you want to guess which profession I am in?”

The man in front of Jian Yao looked to be older than her by a few years and he was a very courteous person . Jian Yao had a good first impression of him . “Are you a doctor?”

Zi Yu’s smile got deeper, “How did you know?”

Jian Yao was rather pleased that she managed to guess correctly, her gaze landed on Zi Yu’s slender fingers . “It was just a lucky guess, since I saw you washing your hands a number of times which means that you are a person who placed great emphasize on cleanliness . I also smell a very faint disinfectant scent coming from you and your fingers… It looked rather doctor-ish . ”

“I guess I will take those as compliments then,” Zi Yu replied . They continued chatting about other things when the conversation somehow steered back to Bao Jin Yan . At the mention of him, Zi Yu sighed . “I am leaving here in a few days, but I am worried about Jin Yan . To be honest, he is a fairly withdrawn person . ”

Listening to him talking about Jin Yan, Jian Yao simply gave him a polite smile with no questions asked .

Zi Yu sneaked a glance at her before continuing, “Even though he has been back for quite a while, he still didn’t have any friends . I bet you don’t even know when he got back here . ”

Jian Yao’s smile remains unchanged, looking as though she had no intention of continuing the topic . However, she saw Zi Yu looking at her intently as if he was waiting for her answer . Although Jian Yao felt quite weird, she replied him nonetheless . “He came back last year, right?”

“How did you know?” Zi Yu asked .

“I passed by here last year during my holidays and I didn’t see any creeper . But when I entered the house just now, I saw that the creeper was about four to five meters tall . My house’s creeper grow about that much in a year . ”

Unexpectedly, they had chatted with each other for half an hour . Zi Yu looked at his watch with a smile on his face . “It is rather late now, why don’t you head home first? I will call you later when we come to a decision . ”

Jian Yao nodded .


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“Thank you for coming today, if he decided to hire you, there will be a contract drawn up . You will be required to work here for twenty days straight and all translation works had to be done on the spot . Also all the information have to remain confidential, so you can’t bring home any of it . ” Zi Yu informed her as he walked her to the door . “Jin Yan is currently recuperating so without any permission, you are not allowed to head up to the second floor . Regarding other details, we will discuss it when we sign the contract . ”

 

When Jian Yao left the house, it was close to evening time .

The sun was setting, bathing the area in an orange glow . It had looked especially pretty when the rays landed on the crystal white snow and the leaves that were covered in snow .

Jian Yao was pretty confident about getting hired . Despite the fact that the employer hadn’t showed his face once, making him rather mysterious and a little eccentric .

But at the end of it, this job was referred to her by her teacher so it should be reliable .

After walking a few meters away from the house, Jian Yao turned back to look at the house once more .

 From the window on the second floor, she spotted a tall and slender man, wearing a black cut suit . A rather striking sight if you asked Jian Yao . However, she was too far away from the house to see the man’s face clearly .

Once Jian Yao was gone, Zi Yu went up to the second floor straight .

Compared to the warm elegance on the first floor, the second floor was rather gloomy and cold . There were a number of sealed rooms and the walls were completely void of any decorations .

Going to the room at the end of the hallway, he saw that the door was left ajar .

 He pushed it open and leaned against the door . There was none of the refined elegant man left as he cursed loudly .  

It caused the man who was reading a book to frown momentarily at Zi Yu . However, at the next second, he resumed his reading .

Zi Yu was nonchalant as he picked up Jian Yao’s translation work and handed it over to the man . “She has beautiful handwriting and translated perfectly . ”

Zi Yu took out a paper from his pocket and unfolded it . On the paper, there were a few questions like what was his occupation, how long has Jin Yan moved here and etc .

Yes, those were the questions that Zi Yu had asked Jian Yao to guess just now .

He slapped the piece of paper on the table and said, “Regarding all these questions here, she had managed to answer all of them correctly . Are you satisfied with her?”

The man’s lips turned up ever so slightly .

 Seeing that expression, Zi Yu was afraid that he was going to be picky again, he pulled out a chair and sat in front of him .

“If you are not satisfied with her, you can always translate it yourself . Besides, I am not your assistant and not to mention I will be returning to the city soon, so do not always count on me to help you run your errands . ”

The man looked up from his book with a weird expression on his face as he replied Zi Yu .

“My time isn’t to be used doing those silly things . ”

For a moment, Zi Yu did not know how to reply him .

 “You are a homicide expert and she is just a translator, I don’t understand why there is a need to test her observation skills? I am willing to bet that she probably thinks that I talk too much . ”

This time, the man revealed a very gentle smile .

“Obviously, I cannot allowed stupid people to translate my work . If the person isn’t meticulous enough, he will only be translating directly from the article . He won’t be able to translate the finer details and most definitely he won’t be able to grasp the true meanings behind those words . ”

Zi Yu really didn’t know if he should laugh or be angry but he was all too used to him being like this . “So does this mean that Jian Yao is able to understand you?”

The man face went blank for a second . Then he went back to read his book and said, “No one will ever be able to understand . ”



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