THE PERFECT DETECTIVE
Commissioner Chin's career in the Imperial Bureau of Criminal Investigation had been so outstandingly successful that people called him the Perfect Detective. Like Yang Shao Ming, he was also good at kungfu.
Any police officer, if he wanted to survive, had to be proficient in the martial arts, for although this period of Chinese history during the Ming Dynasty was comparatively peaceful and prosperous, big time criminals were generally skillful fighters. Indeed to a great extent it was because of his kungfu excellence as much as his efficiency in preventing and solving crimes that the public enjoyed peaceful times.
Nevertheless, the Commissioner was even better known for his fine taste. Everything about him was the best: he wore the best clothes, ate the best food, drank the best wine, had the best-looking women, and mixed with the best friends. Even his officers and his investigation methods were the best. In fact people were convinced that Commissioner Chin was the personification of success.
What can worry Commissioner Chin? Yang wondered to himself. Just what on earth can worry this man whose support includes the highest ministers of the Emperor, whose friends comprise of the best kungfu experts in China, and whose efficiency spells fear as well as reverence throughout the whole underworld of crime?
Yang hoped Chin would reveal his worries, but the more he hoped, the more Chin seemed to have forgotten about this irresistible curiosity which he appeared to have accidentally caused Yang to suffer.
Yang looked across the table at the Police Commissioner. His earlier sulky look had disappeared from his face. Commissioner Chin even seemed to be smiling to himself, being oblivious to the troubled thoughts in Yang's head, and oblivious to everything around him. He took a sip of his fragrant wine, sat back and rinsed the wine gently and artfully in his mouth, and with eyes closed, obviously enjoying its lingering aroma.
Can the cause of his worries be Fragrant Fox? Yang reasoned to himself. He realized he could stand it no longer.
"Have you any news of Fragrant Fox?" he eventually asked, almost foolishly.
"She has given me enough trouble, this Fox," Chin replied wrathfully. It was amazing how quickly his earlier complacent disposition turned into anger. "I'll soon have her caught." But in a moment, the Commissioner reverted to his nonchalant mood, as if totally involved in the appreciation of his wine.
Yang could understand Chin's exasperation, even for a moment. Although this Fragrant Fox was actually not a criminal -- she never robbed nor killed -- yet she must have caused this Chief Investigator of the Empire more trouble than the most notorious criminals. Since the widely-talked-about appearance of this highly amorous Fox some months ago, many people had begun to doubt the validity of the Perfect Detective's reputation.
"It's just incredible," Yang said, "that even those whom she made love to, and who enjoyed her love so much, could not know who she actually is!"
"Fragrant Fox is not only a kungfu expert, she is also excellent in make-up techniques," Chin explained, still in his leisurely mood. "Her variety of disguises is such that even if she were your neighbour, you might not know it!"
"Perhaps she is a very ugly woman. She has to wear different masks to hide her face," Yang jested.
"She is extremely beautiful and charming," Chin objected, then sighed, as if regretting that had she been a less insatiable lover, he might have married her.
"How do you know? Have you seen her actual face?"
Yang's abrupt questions aroused the Commissioner from his dreamy state, but he managed to reply calmly, "I have sufficient evidence at present to pin-point a certain suspect."
"Who is this suspect?"
"I won't tell you now so as not to prejudice your investigation."
"My investigation? So you are again asking me to do your investigation!" Yang protested.
"I hope you won't refuse to help," came a melodious, timely reply from behind.