The veins on Tang Erda’s forehead bulged and he said viciously to Bai Liu (6), “The money you have, the wealth you have accumulated is enough for you to spend recklessly for a few lifetimes. Why do you keep doing things like hurting others for profit? You actually smuggled evil into the human world!”
The corners of Bai Liu (6)’s mouth curved up. He rested his elbows on the armrests of the chair and clasped his fingers in front of him, silver handcuffs hanging from his wrists.
He leaned lazily against the chair, tilting his head slightly to look at Tang Erda opposite him and repeating Tang Erda’s words with a smile. “Why do I smuggle evil into the world?”
He propped himself up using the table, leaning over and staring down at Tang Erda who was immobilized to the chair by some pressure. The coin and reverse cross pendant slipped out of his shirt and dangled in front of Tang Erda’s eyes.
Tang Erda put his hand on his waist vigilantly and looked up at Bai Liu (6).
Bai Liu (6) lowered his eyes. “Officer, why do I want to smuggle evil into the human world? It is naturally because there are many people in the human world who want to buy evil from me.”
“I don’t do things that have no benefits. In general, I am just a link in the evil supply chain. The ones you should really punish shouldn’t be me, the smuggler, but those humans who continue to greedily buy evil from me. Without them, there would be no me.”
Tang Erda held his breath and looked at Bai Liu (6).
Bai Liu (6) sat back slowly. “Why don’t you punish those people?”
“Is it because there are too many? So many that it is more than half of the general population that you as a group are trying to protect? The law doesn’t blame the public. Officer, I understand the truth.”
Bai Liu (6) raised his gaze. “Back when cigarettes became popular, many people opposed it, from the government to many ordinary people who have a clear understanding of this thing. Even so, it doesn’t matter how high the tax is, how strong the exclusion measures or even the fact that the harm that smoking causes is printed on every cigarette box. This type of refreshing, mildly addictive and health-damaging substance has become one of the most popular daily recreational items on the market, providing considerable tax revenue to most countries in the world.”
Bai Liu (6) spoke softly while his eyes swept over Tang Erda’s chest pocket. There was half a cigarette case exposed there.
Tang Erda was caught by Bai Liu (6)’s eyes and instinctively squeezed his cigarette box.
“You see, you are also fascinated by this type of thing.” Bai Liu (6) chuckled and spread open his hands. “Officer, don’t you think you have a double standard? You can’t even resist cigarettes. How can you ask ordinary people to resist the charm of the Rose Dry Leaf Gas? There is no fundamental difference between them. Both are refreshing, mildly addictive and contain substances that are more harmful for your health.”
“Those two things aren’t the same at all!” Tang Erda yelled angrily and retorted. “Don’t steal the concept! I can quit smoking but stopping that rose gas will kill people! They will wither!”
Bai Liu (6) finally laughed happily as he calmly looked at Tang Erda. “You know, when cigarettes first became popular, there were many people who said they could quit. Yet have you ever seen people who really quit cigarettes?”
“You are now swearing to quit smoking. Aren’t you just trying to deceive people and using the act of smoking cigarettes as an excuse to feel safe? If they quit the Rose Dry Leaf Gas, they will wither. If you quit smoking, won’t you feel extremely irritable because you want to smoke? Won’t your state decline?”
“You will be in this state all your life and you need to resist this addiction all the time. Do you think this really counts as quitting?”
Bai Liu (6) smiled and looked directly at Tang Erda.
Tang Erda stared into Bai Liu (6)’s black eyes and couldn’t say anything.
Bai Liu (6) retracted his gaze and continued calmly, “So on the basis of not quitting and as long as the supply is maintained, this thing is actually the same as cigarettes. It can refresh you and boost everyone’s productivity. It is a cheap and easy to obtain happiness.”
“Do you think anyone will really reject this type of thing? No, lucrative capitalists are actively promoting it. This type of thing is used to improve the productivity of employees and in the end, it will become something with the same status as coffee.”
Tang Erda’s breathing became short.
Bai Liu (6) looked at him with pity. “As long as this type of thing spreads, the people who are used to it will start to find reasonable excuses for its existence. It is the same as cigarettes. There are many countries in the world where marij*ana is legal and they even receive it as Christmas gifts. On the day when God is born, they celebrate with this evil item given by the devil.”
“They might feel that this thing is wrong at first but now look at them. They have started to feel that they have the right to enjoy these things. They are nobler than us and have started to sympathize with us in the opposite direction. I’m sure you’ve already seen it, Captain Tang.”
“Even if you print ‘you will die if you smell it’ on the label of the Rose Dry Leaf Gas, they will just tear it off as if nothing has happened and soak in the fragrance of the roses.”
Tang Erda looked at the red warning words ‘smoking is harmful to health’ on his cigarette packaging and his eyes felt like they were going to crack open.
“It isn’t me you are trying to stop, it is those degenerate humans.” Bai Liu (6) whispered softly. “I have told them to be careful of roses but they still want to become evil puppets and wither for it. Why do you blame me, Officer?”
“Captain Tang!” The door of the interrogation room was slammed open and a team member appeared. He glanced at the leisurely Bai Liu (6) with an extremely difficult expression. In the end, his eyes fell on Tang Erda’s face and he said with difficulty, “Something has happened. Please come out…”
The moment Tang Erda came out of the interrogation room, the team members all lowered their heads in silence. Some had red eyes and gritted teeth.
“What happened?” Tang Erda forced himself to calm down. “Did the other side send a new video?”
One of the team members smiled bitterly. “No, it is worse than that. Captain Tang, our arrest of the producer behind the scenes of the Rose Dry Leaf Gas has been exposed on the Internet. Now… we are being boycotted by many people.”
“What does it mean to be boycotted?” Tang Erda asked calmly.
“Boycotting..” The reporting team member took a deep breath and his eyes started to turn red. “They don’t want us to arrest the producer of the Rose Dry Leaf Gas. They want to legalize this thing. Even though many people know about the dangers, more and more people are starting to indulge in its aroma…”
“They feel that the producer is reasonable and shouldn’t be brutally arrested by us. They feel that the harm of this thing isn’t as big as we said. On the contrary, it can bring great benefits.”
The team member reported numbly. “Workers can complete their work faster after using it, students can easily get better grades, women become more self-disciplined and beautiful after using it, men can become strong and the diseases of the elderly can even be alleviated by it. Even if there are some side-effects, there is no need to resist at all. They think we are… we are…”
Tang Erda looked over with no emotion. “What do they think we are?”
“They think that we… are preventing the ordinary people from enjoying what only the privileged can enjoy.” The team member gritted his teeth. “It is because many people who seem rich are posting videos of themselves using this perfume on the Internet. The Internet police have deleted it but people spread it privately. The spread can’t be stopped at all.”
“Those people are also controlling the rhythm, saying we will stop the production of this perfume at any time.”
Tang Erda closed his eyes. “Issue a statement explaining that many of the people they think are buyers are actually marketers of this perfume and are likely to be advertising and marketing to encourage impulsive consumption by ordinary people.”
“We have sent it.” The team member smiled bitterly. “No one believes us at all.”
“There is another very important reason. Once this perfume is used, you can’t stop using it at all. Some of the polluted people are afraid we will directly stop the production of the factory and have started to take the initiative to spray this perfume in public, forcing other people to be contaminated by this perfume against their will. Once contaminated by the perfume, people’s judgment will drop so much that they seem crazy. They seem to have an irrational obsession with this thing and have started to join the boycott…”
“Captain, there are many polluted people sitting in front of the government and demanding that our department be banned…”
“Captain, that side is still sending videos over. What should we do?”
“Captain, the already polluted team members are starting to wither. Does Bai Liu (6) really know how to deal with this thing?”
Tang Erda’s absent-minded gaze passed over the anxious, frightened, resentful and familiar faces that surrounded him. He looked at them in a trance before finally stopping on the light-hearted face in the small window of the interrogation room.
In the small window, Bai Liu (6) turned to look at him. The dark, light-absorbing eyes were without any ripples as he smiled and mouthed, “Captain Tang, do the roses smell good?”
A piercing scream penetrated his eardrums. One of the team members staggered over with a computer in hand. “Captain! The clown is killing people!”
Tang Erda felt that he was fixed in front of the computer screen as he almost subconsciously opened the small video sent this time. A gun was aimed at a man who was slumped over on the ground, covered in blood. The clown playfully made a sound that was like a mechanical announcement at the beginning of the game.
“Beat the bad guy mini-game, ready—go!”
“Bang!” A shot hit the palm of the right hand. The man on the ground couldn’t help raising his head and covering his hand while letting out a hoarse scream.
“Bang!” It hit the left ankle.
“Bang!” The right hand.
“Bang!” The left hand.
“Bang!” The calf.
Every time the beaten person was shot, he trembled like he couldn’t control his pain response. Still, he felt that he tried his best to control himself so as to not make a sound and react. He didn’t want this to be filmed and sent to his team members, his pain reaction making the team members shake in pain.
In the middle, almost all team members turned their heads away with red eyes. Only Tang Erda, who seemed to be stunned, stared at the screen without looking away.
The clown pressed the brakes twice before finally aiming the last shot at the man’s head.
The clown stomped on the back of the beaten man. He grabbed the man by the hair and lifted his head back, aiming his face at the screen.
Su Yang’s eyes, which were always gentle, weren’t radiant at all now. His eyelids were stained with his own blood. He had always been the neat, clean, gentle and reliable vice-captain of the third team, Su Yang. Now he was so dirty. If it were normal, he would rather endure the pain and take a bath before going to the hospital to see the doctor.
Now he didn’t have that chance any longer.
The only word ‘Su’ that could be seen on the word card on his chest was completely stained red by the blood dripping from his face.
“From now on, if you don’t release Bai Liu (6), I will kill one of your team members every hour, starting with him.” The clown laughed and pointed his gun at the back of Su Yang’s head.
Su Yang slowly blinked twice. His dry mouth moved and his breathing was too weak to see. “…Don’t be taken away by him. Captain, you must save those who are polluted.”
Blood splashed in Tang Erda’s vision.