Author: 长洱 / Chang’er
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
One stone stirred up a thousand waves.
The conversation between Lin Chen and Li Jingtian at the press conference was brief, but the information it disclosed was rich in layers. This kind of plot was like a TV series that had exploded one after another. The reporters and the media were going crazy with joy. After all, this kind of police confrontation with a singer was actually far more exciting than any TV series.
But in reality, there weren’t many people who were really excited, because countless people were experiencing the pressure of that hour.
Li Jingtian’s fans almost stopped their work. While frantically refreshing WeChat and Weibo to get the latest developments, they released various support messages for their idol through the media. And there was a resurgence of people who didn’t like Li Jingtian. They launched a scolding war with Li Jingtian’s fans with a resolute attitude.
In the torrent of public opinion, everyone felt that what they said was deafening enough, as if it could really turn things around.
Among all the tense, excited, and crazy people, the one who felt the most pressure right now was, naturally, Mr. Li Jingtian.
As soon as the call was over, he was escorted back to his guest room on the third floor by the embassy staff. Looking out the window from his perspective, he could only see a pool of swimming fish and a few stalks of bamboo. The place was so clear that he couldn’t hear the voices of the people surrounding the embassy.
But he felt that every corner of the room was full of people. The slogans of those fans and the broadcasts of reporters kept echoing in his ears. He could hardly restrain his desire to drag up a chair and smash everything in the room to pieces, but he knew he couldn’t do that. On the way back, he clearly noticed a change in the way the embassy staff looked at him.
Those eyes had changed from sympathy to disdain and suspicion. With just a few words, Lin Chen had turned him into a criminal suspect again. He didn’t even need evidence to destroy the image he had worked so hard to build.
Lin Chen… Truly, he was amazing.
Li Jingtian bit his fingers hard until the strong taste of blood appeared in his mouth. He was finally able to suppress the voices in his ears.
He looked out the window again. Although he knew in his heart that Lin Chen couldn’t get past the heavy guards, let alone arrest a protected distinguished foreign guest in another country’s embassy, he couldn’t stop the panic in his heart. He stood up abruptly and took out his phone.
Xing Conglian’s phone suddenly rang. At that time, they had just gotten into the Jeep and were about to set off for Yongchuan.
Because the ringtone was special, he could already tell who was calling before the call was connected. Without hesitation, he pried the phone away from his ears. Lin Chen heard the old director’s furious voice sputtering out of the speaker.
“Xing Conglian, are you fucking crazy? You made such a big mess for laozi!” the old director, who only liked to drink tea and walk birds*, roared.
*Activity where you literally take your birds out for a walk. It’s generally associated with the elderly.
Xing Conglian said, “Chief, isn’t this the proper procedure for handling a case?”
“Due process? You made our entire group appear all over the news at noon!”
Xing Conglian protested, “This is the oppression of public opinion on our front-line police officers!”
“Oppression my ass! So it’s fine for you to oppress others?!”
Xing Conglian held the phone further away. Lin Chen took it from him and said softly, “Director Wu.”
“Let me speak to Xing Conglian!” The old man was enraged. No matter what he says, it wouldn’t matter.
Lin Chen lowered the volume to its lowest setting and bitterly handed the phone back to Xing Conglian.
“Give me the bottom line, Captain Xing!” The old director’s voice suddenly became serious. “What do you want to do next, and do you need me to do something?”
Lin Chen was a little moved. He knew well that the old director didn’t make this call to rebuke them, but he really wanted to help. If they wanted to break into the Xinni Embassy, it would inevitably involve a series of complex diplomatic consultations and could even lead to a diplomatic dispute. All those who wanted to help could be under extraordinary pressure. Given his position, he was well aware of the challenges, but he still called them without hesitation.
Lin Chen looked at Xing Conglian.
He couldn’t see any emotion on the captain of the criminal police division’s face. Xing Conglian opened a cigarette pack and glanced at it, then said, “I… I want to buy a pack of cigarettes. Can you transfer me some money through Alipay, old man?”
After he finished speaking, he let the old director roar for a bit, then hung up.
Of course, the old director wasn’t the only one who was mad. Mr. Li, who was far away in Xinni, was also on the verge of panic.
Everyone in the Li family knew that although the old man had a really bad temper, he always showed a trace of the demeanor of a master of the family outwardly. For example, when scolding, the old man would only say a few sarcastic comments at most. Rarely was he so angry that he would smash things.
But just now, after the old man received a call from the young master, he directly dropped off a custom-made tea set by Gu Jingzhou*.
*A famous ceramic artist from China who specializes in teapots. His works are highly valued and can sell for as much as $2 million USD.
They didn’t know what the young master said on the other end, but the old man’s expression was both distressed and angry. He hung up the phone and directly dialed the number for the current Xinni ambassador to China.
At this time, the servants were awed. After all, not everyone in the country could scold Mr. Ambassador bloody.
The old man shouted, “Luo Qiusheng, I don’t care what you are thinking, but today, you dare let people humiliate the citizens of our country in public. Have you abandoned your duties? Whether you intended it or not, you have lost face for our country!”
After a while, Mr. Ambassador seemed to have promised something, as Mr. Li’s anger finally subsided. He lowered his voice and said slowly, “Qiusheng, it’s not that I’m selfish. I’m really doing it for your own good. Think about it. If you really cause any serious diplomatic disputes due to your improper handling, it’s not just you who will suffer. With this stain, it will be very difficult for you to make further progress in your future career…”
Hearing this, Mr. Ambassador looked at the bustling crowd outside the embassy and said calmly, “Li Lao, please advise me?”
“What advice can an old man give, but since it has come to this, if I were you, I wouldn’t let the two Hongjing policemen have the opportunity to step into the embassy gate. As long as they don’t meet, when Jingtian returns to the country, you’ll be clear of any faults. It shouldn’t be difficult to do this, right?”
Mr. Ambassador hung up the phone and looked at the secretary standing at his desk silently.
“Sir?” the secretary said with concern.
“Is there any movement from China?”
“What do you mean no?”
“The China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs hasn’t consulted with us yet. The Hongjing Police haven’t submitted any applications. Could it be that the police are just bluffing?”
Mr. Ambassador pondered for a moment, then slowly said, “Let’s wait and see what happens.”
Although Mr. Ambassador did not issue any direct orders, Fu Hao, who was standing at the Xinni Embassy’s gates, noticed that the security personnel guarding outside had been doubled.
Su Fengzi, who was “invited” in, hadn’t come out yet. He anxiously held his phone, but he didn’t know who to call.
His shixiong just said that he would be there in half an hour, so he didn’t want to call him again, but now that the one-hour time limit had passed, the group of fans around the embassy gate were getting crazy, as if they had turned into maniacs.
The sun was scorching hot at noon. Reporters squatted on the side of the road in groups of two and three, eating their lunch. Impatient expressions had already appeared on their faces. If his shixiong did not arrive, this group of reporters would most likely be harshly critical of him.
Lin Chen was unaware of Fu Hao’s irritability. He was sitting in the front passenger seat of the Jeep. Outside the window were the iconic green reeds on the Yongchuan Freeway.
Xing Conglian had adjusted the air conditioning of the car to the lowest setting. Wang Chao and Lu Xu were sleeping in the backseat, with their heads resting against each other. Lin Chen looked away and gazed at Xing Conglian, wanting to speak, but he didn’t know what to say.
He hesitated because, during the past hour of driving, Xing Conglian hadn’t spoken once after he finished his joke with the old director.
Lin Chen wanted to ask him, “Did I cause you trouble”, or “What are you planning?”, but he thought for a second. Since this was Xing Conglian, he probably had a way, so such questions were superfluous.
Then Lin Chen realized that he just really wanted to talk to Xing Conglian.
At this moment, his phone rang softly. When he took it out, the ringing stopped.
Lin Chen looked at the number and was surprised.
While still shocked, the ringtone sounded again. Envisioning the tangled caller on the other end, Lin Chen didn’t answer.
Xing Conglian, who was driving, seemed to have guessed who was on the other end. He suddenly stretched out his hand. Looking at the arm that was outstretched to him, Lin Chen naturally handed over his phone.
Xing Conglian didn’t pick up and didn’t even bother looking at the caller ID. He casually said, “Wang Chao.”
“Here!” The teenager in the back suddenly woke up.
Xing Conglian threw the phone back at him. “Add a blacklist number for your A’Chen Gege.”
Wang Chao happily said, “I’ll take care of it!”
Seeing the tacit cooperation between these two, Lin Chen even suspected that if Wang Chao added the blacklist, Huang Ze’s number might never appear in his phone address book for the rest of his life.
Inspector Huang Ze was sulking because he couldn’t connect the call, while Professor Fu was squatting at the intersection two blocks away from the embassy, waiting for Xing Conglian’s iconic Jeep, which had finally arrived.
As soon as he got into the car, he shuddered from the cold air blowing into his face. He shouted anxiously, “Shixiong, what the hell is going on with Li Jingtian? Su Fengzi, that psychopath, dragged me to the gates of the embassy without saying anything. Now he’s being detained inside. What are you going to do? The armed forces of the embassy aren’t messing around. How do we get in?”
“I don’t know,” Lin Chen replied calmly.
“Then, if you can’t see Li Jingtian, are you going to publish the evidence directly on the internet?”
“There is no evidence,” Lin Chen replied calmly again.
Fu Hao had an expression that was saying “what the fuck?” on his face. He turned stiffly out the window, feeling that this world was too unreliable.
Suddenly, as if seeing something, Fu Hao leaned forward, patted Xing Conglian’s chair, and shouted, “Lao Xing, you’re going the wrong way. This isn’t the way to the embassy.”
On the side of the street were two rows of sycamores. There were no bustling crowds of people around. In early summer, when the branches and leaves were dense, the shade of the tree covered the sidewalks.
Xing Conglian slowly parked the car by a sidewalk and braked.
“Lao Xing, what are you going to do? Don’t you know that time is tight?” Fu Hao continued to question.
But at that time, Xing Conglian had already opened the door and gotten out of the car. He walked through the shade of the trees into a stall on the side of the street.
“Oh, don’t worry, Professor Fu!” Wang Chao patted Fu Hao’s back to comfort him. “Captain has a plan.”
Hearing this, Lin Chen looked towards the stall. It was an ordinary, run-down store. The shop looked dim, and there was an old lady sitting by the window.
Lin Chen raised his head and saw the sign written in large letters: [Panpan Duoyan Mart]. The red paint on the name of the store was almost invisible due to fading.
The appearance of an old mart on a street that was close to the embassy, where land was quite expensive, seemed a bit suspicious. Lin Chen read the name carefully, and found that under the name of the store, translations in six languages could vaguely be seen…
He then looked at Xing Conglian.
Xing Conglian had already reached the store. The golden sunlight fell on his straight back through the gaps between the leaves.
He knocked on the glass window of the store and handed in some money. Lin Chen couldn’t hear what Xing Conglian said, but when the old lady took the money, she looked uneasy. She was staring at the banknotes for a while. Finally, the old woman took out a pack of cigarettes from the shelf and casually threw it at Xing Conglian.
Xing Conglian took the cigarette, didn’t take any change, turned around, and left. The process was short, as if he deliberately took a detour just to buy a pack of cigarettes.
“Lao Xing, you really just bought cigarettes?!”
Because of this, after Xing Conglian got into the car, Fu Hao was full of complaints.
Hearing this, Xing Conglian unwrapped the plastic packaging of the cigarette case, stuffed a cigarette into his mouth, and remained silent.
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