Two-Way Trip 14 Good or Bad "What is that?"
"If I'm not mistaken, it seems to be a lemon flavored Sugus candy."
A simple question and answer, ringing out both in front of the large screen and amongst the barricade line hundreds of kilometers away.
After a brief lull, people began to celebrate. Some cheered, others applauded and a few even whistled. Huang Ze was a worthy hero in their eyes.
Some excited reporters and staff on site couldn't wait to rush forward and interview the brave police officer. The broadcast station that provided the camera and wireless transmission equipment to Huang Ze was also surrounded by their peers clamoring for first-hand materials.
The atmosphere that results from surviving a disaster affects everyone. Even the chairman was like a child, slapping Xing Cong Lian's shoulder in his excitement, as if everything had been concluded with a perfect ending.
However, the captain who was patted on the back by many still wore a grim expression.
Xing Cong Lian looked at the lemon candy in the clown's hand and noticed the edge of the wrapping pointed upwards, showing a hint of writing inside.
Noticing his expression, Lin Chen handed the phone he had been holding to Xing Cong Lian.
The back of the phone was a bit damp from sweat. Xing Cong Lian nodded and then dialed Huang Ze's number.
On screen, Huang Ze, being the hero who disposed of the bomb, was surrounded by microphones and cameras. Flashes of light kept going off in the commotion. It took him some time to realize that his phone was vibrating.
Staring at the caller, he was reluctant to press answer.
"Inspector Huang, please retrieve the candy and open the wrapper. There seems to be something written on it."
Xing Cong Lian's voice was still as annoying as ever. Huang Ze frowned before turning around and doing as he was asked. The camera that was set up on the seat before had already been retrieved by its owner, and its lens was now fixed on Huang Ze's hand.
A line of numbers was scrawled on the wrapper.
Huang Ze read it and, at a glance, realized that it was a phone number.
The same time the numbers appeared on the screen, Xing Cong Lian raised his voice and shouted the name of a certain talented technician.
w.a.n.g Chao was about to become an octopus with eight hands. Looking up at the screen, he pulled up a new window and started to search for the number's owner and their location.
"Is this him wanting us to give him a call?" Huang Ze looked at the message and asked in a grim tone. No one would be in a good mood after being scared to death with a time bomb.
The moment the reporters saw the numbers, some took out their phones, ready to dial it on a reflex.
"Huang Ze, tell them to not call the number!"
Seeing their movements, Xing Cong Lian almost blew up.
In response, Huang Ze looked around. "What are you guys doing? Put your phones down."
The reporters who were originally excited put down their phones, feeling a bit at a loss. Among them, the more courageous reporters asked in a tentative voice, "Inspector Huang, when you give the kidnapper a call later, can we record it?"
As if he heard the keywords "kidnapper" and "call", Jiang Zhe, who appeared to have been huddling outside the crowd this entire time, suddenly pushed people aside to stand in front of Huang Ze. "Inspector Huang, this is most likely a message left by the hijacker. He will ask for a ransom, we must be careful."
Xing Cong Lian heard those words and understood the insinuations with no problems.
Since the kidnapper wanted them to call him, then of course someone would be in charge of the negotiation process. Wouldn't it be better if that someone was a psychology expert?
Several reporters who had a good relationship with Jiang Zhe also realized this and started clamoring for it. "Yes yes, Mr. Jiang is a very experienced psychologist. Fortunately, we have Mr. Jiang here!"
The scene was quite chaotic. Jiang Zhe looked like he was preparing to launch into a long speech, while Huang Ze lowered his head, deep in thought.
Seeing this, Xing Cong Lian looked at Lin Chen. Sounding even more serious this time, he called out, "Huang Ze!"
"Captain, I know what you're thinking, but that's not in line with protocols," Huang Ze said. Although his tone wasn't as hard as it was before, he was still unyielding.
"I understand. But I need to make some preparations on my side before the negotiations. I'll have to ask you to wait for my signal before you start."
The fact that Xing Cong Lian didn't argue was quite a surprise. After he was done, he hung up and turned around. "w.a.n.g Chao, how is it?"
"The phone is in Hong Jing, but the SIM card should have been purchased online. Furthermore, the owner of the number is an 80 years old lady. Do I need to continue checking?"
"Not for now. How's the GPS positioning going?"
"I just changed the code. If there's no other problem after the first test, its actual route will be revealed."
"How long will the test take?"
"Ten minutes, I think…"
"Do you need to be here while you're testing?"
"Give me a network and I'll be fine anywhere." w.a.n.g Chao patted his chest, br.i.m.m.i.n.g with confidence.
"Can you set up a number tracking system now and then track the phone's location during negotiations later?"
"I can, but I'm not on location. If the call starts over there while I'm trying to track it from here, there will be some time difference. It's really troublesome, boss…"
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Xing Cong Lian didn't speak and just stared at him. w.a.n.g Chao, struck with understanding, promptly shut up.
Lin Chen understood that Xing Cong Lian was referring to Feng Pei Lin's case, where he intentionally misled the police and went to the bridge alone to lure Feng Pei Lin out. He had always thought about when and how Xing Cong Lian would bring this up again, seeing that it was something that weighed both their minds, but he didn't expect that the man would do it here.
This was sharp, sincere and appropriate. In short, it was very proper.
"Do you think I'm hiding something from you?"
"When you a.n.a.lyzed cases before, you always started with the suspect's motives and purpose. That's your strength. But this time, apart from thinking that something was going to happen on the highway, I haven't heard you a.n.a.lyze motives even once, which struck me as odd."
Lin Chen laughed helplessly. Making friends with people who are too smart leaves you helpless sometimes. "If I say that when I realised the bomb wouldn't explode, I had the sudden thought that the child might not be a bad person, what would you think?"
"Because it wasn't an explosion that popped out, but a clown?" Xing Cong Lian replied with a smile that didn't reach his eyes. "I can't agree with this opinion at the moment because that kid has 28 lives in his hands, and it's clear that he's using those children's lives to threaten us."
Lin Chen shook his head.
"I have been in close contact with him before. When he got on the bus, he wore a long scarf, sat in the first row and fell asleep right away. His behavior caught my attention. I thought he was trying to avoid surveillance and the question was, why?" Lin Chen gave Xing Cong Lian an appeasing glance before continuing. "At that time, I could only see his legs and hands. I saw them shaking. It's a pity that I didn't have the chance to ask before he whipped out his gun and put it on the driver's head. Do you understand what I'm trying to say? In reality, he had been waiting for that opportunity for a long time, though he had numerous chances before then. However, before he opened fire, he was shaking from nervousness. This wasn't reasonable. Since he can calmly hijack a bus, why would he be on edge before making his move? I thought that was strange."
Xing Cong Lian chuckled. "Listening to your a.n.a.lysis, this doesn't sound like that fearless candy thief."
"If I had to a.n.a.lyze his emotions before he committed the crime, I can only say that he was high-strung," Lin Chen said. "Anxiety is a natural response to threats and challenges… He was very nervous. He didn't want to do it, but he had to."
Xing Cong Lian frowned. "If I continue your line of a.n.a.lysis, then I think that this is all part of something bigger. Was this young man threatened by somebody to play the role of a candy thief in order to orchestrate a larger event?"
"Yes, at that time I was afraid that he was being coerced into this, that the hijacking was just an act." Lin Chen steadied his breath. "If that was the case, after exerting this much effort, it's impossible for it to be for the sake of robbing a few people. I was thinking that the goals of those perpetrators won't be simple…"
"Now, I feel like I'm overthinking it. No one is threatening him. He's the one orchestrating all of this."
"This is just leading us back to square one. Since you think he controls everything, why would you suddenly think that a criminal who planted a time bomb and took hostages wouldn't be a bad person?"
"Since there's no one forcing him, then there must be a compelling reason for him to do this. And as of now, he hasn't hurt anyone yet…"
"Why didn't you tell me any of this before?"
"This was just a baseless suspicion, so I didn't know what to say. Moreover, it's not appropriate to voice a deduction like 'the criminal isn't a bad person' in front of a crowd," replied Lin Chen. He looked at Xing Cong Lian. "No matter what it is, I hope you can try to not hurt him when you're facing him. You can just treat it as my selfish desire to get a happy ending from this entire incident."
TL Checker(s): Zryuu
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