Author: 长洱 / Chang’er
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
“No fucking way!”
Wang Chao slammed on the pause button at the end of the video and froze the picture on the hijacking boy who was blowing a kiss.
The young and talkative technician exclaimed excitedly, so unsurprisingly, he received a blow from the captain.
“Do you think this is funny?” Xing Conglian asked as he looked at the young boy in the video.
“Hijacking, in order to steal candy. This is ingenious, perhaps too ingenious…” Wang Chao chattered on, only to realize that the surrounding atmosphere was wrong. He raised his head, only to find that Xing Conglian’s face was livid. “Captain, are you serious? Lighten up. No one was hurt, so it’s all cool, right?”
“No one was hurt? Fortunately, no one was hurt!” Xing Conglian grabbed the mouse and dragged the progress bar. The screen stopped at the moment the young boy raised his gun to shoot. “Did you even think that if he accidently missed and caused the bullet to rebound, it’s likely that it could kill someone?!”
On the screen, the young boy’s hand that was holding the gun was very stable, like a rock.
Such a posture would never appear on an uninitiated teenager, so he was not just some ordinary teenager.
The passenger inside the bus may not have noticed it, but from the time the young boy raised his gun, his eyes never once left the security camera.
He was watching the surveillance; watching those who were monitoring him.
Wang Chao was admonished so hard that he didn’t dare argue, so he pretended to drink tea. Because he was inattentive, he accidentally drank the entire cup in one gulp.
Fortunately, the avatar in the lower right corner of the computer began to flash, saving his life. Wang Chao quickly clicked on the dialogue box and the latest picture popped up from the police investigating the scene.
In the photo was a bullet just found from the hijacked bus.
Xing Conglian leaned down and glanced at the photo. “It’s another 9mm revolver again?”
As he spoke, he brought up the video and zoomed in on the gun the teenager was holding.
“It must be the same one.” Wang Chao gritted his teeth. “This case is also very strange. Is there anything wrong with that little brat? Do you really don’t want to ask an expert to look at this?” He asked tentatively.
Since Lin Chen’s disappearance, Professor Fu Hao, the original psychological consultant for the police force, chose to return to his alma mater, Yongchuan University, to teach because he couldn’t stand the blow. The post of psychological consultant had become vacant. In order to fill the vacancy, the higher-ups had appointed an expert who was rumored to be a rising star in criminal psychology to the Hongjing Police Department for the Criminal Division.
When Xing Conglian heard this, he immediately glared at Wang Chao. “You mean go see that afro head who asked me to go see a doctor when he saw me?”
“He said that I’m hyperactive, but I didn’t know what that meant at the time.” Wang Chao slapped the table, becoming furious. “Later, I went home and checked it. Guess what, he said that I have ‘ADHD*’. How could laozi have ADHD?”
*Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. A neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by excessive amounts of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity that are pervasive, impairing in multiple contexts, and otherwise age-inappropriate.
As Wang Chao spoke, he leaned back in his chair angrily while twirling a pen with one hand and patting Xing Conglian on the shoulder with the other. A handful of ash fell from Xing Conglian’s shoulder. Wang Chao rubbed the soot and asked, “You’ve gone to A’Chen’s tomb again?”
“Can you focus on badmouthing others?” Xing Conglian stood up embarrassedly and quickly patted off the ash in Wang Chao’s hand.
It had been a long time since Lin Chen fell into the river; so long that it seemed as if he had never appeared in the city in the first place. Xing Conglian would occasionally go and sit in front of Lin Chen’s grave when he was feeling lost.
And this serial robbery case was particularly bizarre, even more mysterious than Feng Peilin’s case. An armed robber that specializes in robbing buses on the highway. He was agile and had received professional shooting training. He could often take control of a bus within thirty seconds, but the funny thing was, he was willing to take huge risks to hijack a bus, but all he asked for was candy.
The young man was so gorgeous like Skittles that the media started to call him the “Candy Bandit”. Children loved him, girls admired him, and even the business of Tu’an Transportation Corporation improved because of this hijacker, so this whole thing looked like some kind of game being played by a special interest group.
Xing Conglian felt uneasy. He couldn’t tell where this anxiety was coming from. He felt like they were playing a game of defusing a bomb. If they cut the wrong wire, the bomb would immediately explode.
His hands were covered with water stains from the cup holding iced tea. He rubbed his face with the hand covered in ice water and got ready to leave.
It was also a coincidence that his vision became blurred by the water stains, and at that time, his mind wasn’t even on Lin Chen, but his eyes inadvertently swung past the computer screen. He saw a person sitting in the backseat of the bus, and his heart started to pound uncontrollably.
The man sitting in the aisle was wearing a black cap and looked like he was sleeping soundly, but Xing Conglian knew very well he wasn’t asleep.
Just before the boy reached into his pocket to get his gun, the man raised his head and looked at the teenager’s back.
This was a very slight action, but also extremely meaningful.
Even if it was only a 0.1 second precognition, it was still precognition.
So whether it was a coincidence or not, it didn’t matter, because that person’s face was far too familiar to Xing Conglian.
He was so familiar with it that even through the low-resolution black and white surveillance video, even if he was shown just a pair of eyes, Xing Conglian would be able to recognize them.
That was Lin Chen.
Xing Conglian pressed the back button again and again then pause the screen. With white pale fingers, he drew a circle on the screen, circling a face.
Wang Chao stared at the video for a while, then asked, “Captain, are you saying there are accomplices of that little bastard in the car?”
“That’s Lin Chen!”
Wang Chao was stunned. He hurriedly took a screenshot and enlarged the picture. Even with the pixel particles enlarged to the size of a thumb’s fingernail, he couldn’t connect the person in the picture with Lin Chen.
He could only turn his head solemnly and stared at Xing Conglian’s eyes and said solemnly, “Captain, honestly, I think the expert may be right. You should go to the hospital and get checked out.”
Xing Conglian smacked Wang Chao on the head with a fierce slap, leaving the technical nerd holding his head in pain and crying without tears.
No matter how many times the people at the police station watched the video, the teenage hijacker that flew into the vast reed was destined to disappear. The rescued passengers were sent to the nearest rest stop canteen for food and to wait to be interviewed.
The air at the canteen was a bit greasy and the temperature was still low.
Most of the passengers were sitting on the side near the floor-to-ceiling windows, letting the warm sunlight bake their bodies. They talked among each other and didn’t seem panicked despite having experienced the hijacking just now.
On the edge of the crowd, in a somewhat dark corner, a young man was removing the scarf around his neck. He put it around an old woman who was dragging her heavy luggage next to him.
The old lady seemed very happy to have such a good-looking young man sit next to her. She touched the scarf around her neck and smiled, then took out an orange from the bag she was carrying and stuffed it into the young man’s hand.
The orange was cold.
If Wang Chao was present, he would definitely kneel and swallow back his previous words.
It was indeed Lin Chen, the one who had fallen into the rushing river with Feng Peilin, and the Lin Chen, whose body was never found.
Lin Chen touched the cold orange and looked in the direction of the exit a little inadvertently.
For the first time, he discovered that his life wasn’t very good.
Since he lied to people in order to cheat death so he could escape, including friends who cared about him, he was afraid to see those friends again whom he had deceived.
Maybe one day, he would meet his friend in the vast sea of people. This was one of the scenarios he made for their reunion.
However, in those scenarios, it didn’t include a robber who got on a bus and hijacked it right under said friend’s jurisdiction.
The setting was too outrageous and tricky.
Fate, really, was too relentless.
While one was lamenting fate, there was a certain police captain of the police criminal division who had been sad for more than half a year.
“Tell the guys at the scene to tell all the passengers in the bus to have a good rest at the rest stop. The police will arrange vehicles in a unified manner and send everyone off. Remember, before I arrive, let, no one, go.” Xing Conglian hooked the corners of his mouth and emphasized each word of the last sentence.
When he finished speaking, he turned his head to leave. As he reached for the door, someone opened it first and walked in.
The visitor seemed to be a business elite. He was wearing a camel windbreaker that was knee length and a smoky gray rhombic scarf around his neck.
After shaking hands with Xing Conglian, the other party took out a gold business card from his pocket and handed it to him with both hands: [Yang Dianfeng, General Manager of Tu’an Transportation Corporation]
Because of the series of bus hijackings, Xing Conglian had many dealings with the public relations of Tu’an Transportation Corporation. These groups of incompetent businessmen weren’t very cooperative with their investigation, so Xing Conglian put away the business card and sat on his desk impatiently. He lit a cigarette and stuffed it into his mouth. “Something wrong, Mr. Yang?”
“Regarding the cases on the Hongjing highway, we ask that you please pay more attention, won’t you, captain?”
Hearing his business-like tone, Xing Conglian took a puff from his cigarette and blew out a smoke ring. “Aren’t you quite happy?”
“Why would Captain Xing say that?”
“What a strange bus thief. He’s worth his weight in prime-time advertising.”
“Captain Xing believes that the serial robbery is the work of our company?”
The scarf Yang Dianfeng was wearing had a small trademark on it. It was a limited-edition scarf from a high-end specialty store. The scarf alone was worth half a year of his salary.
“No such thing,” Xing Conglian replied absent-mindedly.
“Captain Xing might think this is a game played by our company to boost business, but in fact, it’s not worthwhile to take such a big risk just to increase market share by a few percentages.”
“Manager Yang came all the way here just to say this?”
“Actually, I’m here to provide a clue to Captain Yang.” Yang Dianfeng took out a silver laptop from his handbag. “All the buses in our company are equipped with an autonomous call-for-help system based on GIS1 and MEMS accelerometers2. The on-board computer on the robbed A7645 bus was taken away by the robber today, but the bus signal remained.”
1Geographical information system is a type of database containing geographic data (that is, descriptions of phenomena for which location is relevant), combined with software tools for managing, analyzing, and visualizing those data.
2Used to measure linear motion, either movement, shock, or vibration, but without a fixed reference. They measure the linear acceleration of whatever they are attached to.
Wang Chao got up abruptly. He grabbed Yang Dianfeng’s laptop and tapped on it for a while, then suddenly said, “Captain, the direction is north of Heping Road, heading southbound.”
Yang Dianfeng crossed his arms and leaned back into his chair, raising his eyebrows at Xing Conglian with a smile.