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Criminal Psychology - Chapter 37

Published at 6th of May 2020 05:16:16 PM


Chapter 37

Two Way Trip 20


Beautiful

A year had already passed since the 5/11 accident happened . It wasn’t that long ago, but a year was still enough time to erase many traces .

Had time permitted, what Lin Chen and Xing Cong Lian would have done was to turn around and investigate more into the accident . This would have meant checking the past vehicles, reexamining the reports and corroborating the rescue team personnel’s statement one by one . But how could time allow this?

There were many people up in front, and all they could see was the heavily armed special forces controlling traffic .

Huang Ze might have allowed them to negotiate with the kidnapper when the situation was still uncertain . However, once he had it under control, without question he would implement an iron-fist method: no negotiation, no agreement, no compromise .

Such a principle was unreasonable, but it was still a type of reasoning in and of itself . No matter the reason for your appeal is, taking people hostage was already a crime . Since it was already a crime, you must be clear that once you point a gun at someone else, another gun in this world would be pointing at you .

This was the reason why Xing Cong Lian wanted to maintain this delicate balance . He must ensure that such deterrence was present .

Lin Chen thought, You’re really making things difficult for me, ah, you child .

The car had since stopped at the side of the road .

 

The tall Captain Xing got out of the car first . One of the special force officers he knew came over for a talk . A vague path in the distant reed field could be seen .

Lin Chen stayed in the car, his hand stroking the phone screen .

After a while, Xing Cong Lian knocked on the window . “Let’s go . ”

“How long will it take to walk there?”

“About a quarter of an hour . ”

Lin Chen looked at the time . It was precisely a quarter of an hour before the agreed upon time limit of 90 minutes .

    ———

The vast reed field was too wondrous of a world .

Silence was all around and the green leaves drifted in the air above their heads . There were birds chirping, water flowing, the scent of fresh grass, and the fragrance of wild flowers that assaulted their nostrils . But such silence and serenity created the most hypocritical illusion . Because in a certain patch of these fields, plenty of gun muzzles were hidden . Perhaps at the next moment, a bullet would pierce right through the kidnapper’s skull, leaving behind a pool of boiling red blood .

Time was too tight . Xing Cong Lian didn’t even have the leisure to smoke another cigarette . Every once in a while, he would support Lin Chen with one of his hands while pulling off the wild reeds with the other . On top of everything, he had to carefully read the accident’s investigation report .

 

“Captain Xing, why must you guys think there’s something wrong with this accident? The report you’re reading now was only allowed to be published after being reviewed and approved at every level . ” The traffic police followed them, trudging his way through the mud . The underlying meaning behind his words was, so many experts had seen this report and all of them thought it was an accident, so how likely could it be that Xing Cong Lian was any better than them?

Lin Chen stepped over a puddle, released Xing Cong Lian’s hand, and stood still . Then, he answered, “Because there’s a child deep in this reed field currently pointing a gun at other children, threatening us to find out the truth of his father’s death . ”

“That kid probably has a problem . ” The traffic police swatted away at some leaves, annoyed . “There are a lot of deaths in traffic accidents all the time . Life and death are all predestined, anyway . Why is he the only one so obsessed?”

“His father was a narcotic police officer,” Xing Cong Lian turned around and said in a cold voice .

“Ah?” The traffic police raised his voice . “Don’t tell me you guys suspect that someone wanted to kill the officer and that everyone else in the bus was collateral?”

“That is indeed what we suspect,” Xing Cong Lian affirmed .

“Now that you mention it, I’ve heard of a few narcotic officers whose identities were exposed and their families ended up being hunted by the drug cartels…” The traffic policeman shivered .

Hearing this, Xing Cong Lian suddenly turned around .

“We, perhaps, have neglected one thing . I’m afraid there’s another very important reason why he asked those journalists to be present,” Lin Chen said .

Xing Cong Lian nodded, then opened the browser on his phone . In the simplest way possible, he typed the name “Fang Zhi Ming” into the search box .

As the progress bar crawled into completion, the answer appeared .

It was some old news . The search results showed that the dates of these articles were published within March to April of 2014 and the titles were all more or less the same…

《Yong Chuan police successfully cracks a major drug trafficking case, an exclusive interview with Fang Zhi Ming, a narcotic officer》

Xing Cong Lian picked one of the results and clicked . The first thing that appeared was a picture of a man smiling in a uniform, appearing simple and friendly . No one would have thought that just one month after this article was published, this police officer died in the Yong Chuan River along with 22 innocent lives .

Lin Chen retracted his gaze from the screen and looked at Xing Cong Lian’s sharp profile . He felt as if his throat was blocked . It was hard to speak .

“It wasn’t an accident, it was revenge . ” Xing Cong Lian handed his phone over to the traffic policeman and said, “There’s ten minutes left . Please read the accident report carefully . ”

They soon arrived at the end of the pathway, a lake coming into view in front of them . The spring breeze rustled over the water . Ducks swam on the surface, and the grass at the bottom swayed .

By the lake was a small house with white walls and red tiles . It looked like a house left by fishermen in charge of managing the lake earlier in the days and that no one had lived there for a long time . Though it appeared dilapidated, nothing blocked its surroundings, giving one an unobstructed view of all around . Like this, it was hard to ambush the people in the house without being noticed .

It had to be said, the kid made a wise choice with his hiding place .  

Wang Chao was lying on the ground, immersed in his fight with the “Road Safety Classification Early Warning System” . Suddenly, he felt his shoulder get heavy as someone sat while pressing his shoulder down . He was about to scream until he saw Xing Cong Lian’s serious face .

“How is it going?” Xing Cong Lian didn’t waste any time and went straight to the point .


“Fuck! Boss, can you not scare me like this? I’m still young!”

“Answer my question . ”

Xing Cong Lian’s voice was low and solemn, shocking Wang Chao . Seeing Lin Chen crouching along, he poked him and asked, “What’s wrong with our boss?”

“There’s something fishy about Fang Zhi Ming’s death . It was most likely retaliation from the drug cartel after his photograph was leaked . ”

“What the fuck, that’s a bus with 23 lives, ah . There’s no problem with the accident investigation report at all, how the hell did they do that?” 

Hearing this question, Xing Cong Lian patted the traffic policeman’s head and said, “He’s asking you . ”

“H… How would I know!” The traffic police felt wronged .

“Among us, you’re the most familiar with traffic accidents . You just read the investigation report, right? So tell me, if you were the culprit, how would you have carried out this homicide?”

Xing Cong Lian’s eyes were deep . It was impossible for the traffic police to complain even one bit . Whatever retort he wanted to spit out rolled around in his mouth before he choked it back down and said, “I remember the report said that the bus crashed into the river due to the driver’s error and the faulty brake . There’s no way to check these two things now, but they were definitely recorded to have caused the bus to sink into the river… So…”

“So?”

“So, it’s possible that it wasn’t caused by driver error . If I was the perpetrator and wanted to orchestrate such a perfect accident-looking crime, I would have forced the driver to drive into the river… That is to say, I would’ve needed a heavy truck to drive on the expressway and force the driver to keep to the outermost lane, then use another vehicle to suddenly brake in front of the bus . If the vehicle in front was a dangerous goods transport vehicle, then it would have been even more perfect . Under the coercion of these two vehicles, the driver would have instinctively stepped on the brake and slammed the steering wheel . This way, there would be no trace of impact on the bus, and it would rush over the guardrail and into the river…” The traffic policeman closed his eyes, scratched the back of his head desperately and even seemed a bit pained . “But to pull it all off, I have to make sure that all the passengers on the bus… the passengers…”

“All die . ” Lin Chen’s expression was cold as he completed his sentence for him .

Wang Chao was quick to respond . “Oh! So Ah Chen, that’s why you asked me to check if someone had tampered with the data because the bus was equipped with the automatic alarm system . Even if the bus crashed into the river, the passengers would have thought that they would be rescued very soon . But the black-hearted bastards directly messed with the alarm time . They just wanted all the passengers to drown while they were in the bus!” Agitated, Wang Chao hurried to show his laptop screen to Lin Chen . “Ah Chen, look, I already thought this morning that Yang Dian Feng’s GPS positioning system was problematic . Because there was no time included in the positioning, it was difficult for me to figure out the approximate time of when the bus Officer Fang was in crashed into the river . However, I checked the system log and found that the time of the alarm recorded in the backend had been tampered with by someone!”

“Can you find out who did it?” Lin Chen asked one last question, his gaze fixed on the lower right corner of the screen, where the time of the alarm was displayed .

“It’s quite hard to check but from what I can see, I’d really like to meet the person who wrote the program for this system . I’ve never seen someone who’d play with such high stakes . They’re really magnanimous, huh . Administrators who have obtained permissions can not only modify the call time, but they can also do that with the route record . How is this just a sieve? It’s practically an old grandma’s foot wrap, okay?!”

“Wrong metaphor . ” Xing Cong Lian swatted the back of Wang Chao’s head . He asked Lin Chen, “What do you think of this?”

Lin Chen understood that this question wasn’t asking him what he thought, but rather, what he ‘wants to do’ . In other words, what are you ‘going to do’?

The fact right now was that the case wasn’t clear and everything was only limited to guesswork . Lin Chen pondered for a moment before saying, “Of all the people present, there might be two people who know the truth . ”

Not far away in the field of reeds, the well-dressed transportation company’s manager had already noticed their arrival . At this moment, he was crouching a bit then he started to move in order to approach them .

In the house by the lake behind the tattered gray curtains, the kidnapper who had committed a heinous crime might also be waiting at the very last moment to enter the scene .

“Well, in the end, we’ll still have to let them talk things out face-to-face . ”

Xing Cong Lian looked up and exchanged a tacit eye contact with Lin Chen . They didn’t even need words to understand each other’s thoughts, simply requiring only two glances .

Xing Cong Lian handed his gun over to Lin Chen . The latter was about to stand up when Xing Cong Lian took out his Bluetooth headset and stuffed it into Lin Chen’s ear . When his rough fingers brushed against the skin, Lin Chen felt his ears turn a little warm .  

“Please be careful,” said Xing Cong Lian .

    ———

At this moment, more than a dozen reporters were laying in the bushes with their cameras, pointing it at the house by the lake .

Aside from them, dozens of special force personnels were also hidden as part of their tactical warfare . Their sniper unit’s firepower must have covered the area a long time ago .

Somewhere in this field of reeds, a sharp-looking police inspector was making his final decision before the ambush .

The current situation was like a pile of dry straws . Just a tiny spark would start a wildfire .

Therefore, the only way to solve the problem was to cut through the knotted mess quickly with a sharp knife .

“We’re really not negotiating?” The leader of the special force, Peng Ran, held onto his headset and asked the person in front of him .

“Everyone should express their appeals through proper methods, so in this case, no compromise, and no negotiation . ” Huang Ze raised his hand and looked at the watch on his wrist . “As we had planned, start the 30-second countdown . ”

As soon as he finished saying that, a familiar figure rose from among the reeds in the distance . Huang Ze didn’t need to take a closer look to know it was Lin Chen .

Wang Chao didn’t know what had happened yet . He was about to take hold of Lin Chen when he heard a light clicking sound . Lin Chen loaded the gun with decisiveness and walked forward in two strides . In a casual manner, he raised his hand and serenely pressed the cold muzzle against Yang Dian Feng’s forehead .

Before Yang Dian Feng could shout for help, Lin Chen turned the safety off, adjusting the gun so that it was ready to fire .

As if to express his resolute attitude, Lin Chen turned his head in Huang Ze’s direction and shook his head gently . He pulled Yang Dian Feng up from the ground and murmured, “Relax, at most I’d just kill you in one shot . ”

His pace wasn’t fast, nor did he act violently . Like the wind blowing through pine leaves, he was light and leisurely, looking as if human lives were not of any concern to him .

For a moment, everyone present in the field felt horror seep deep into their bones .

In an instant, Yang Dian Feng’s pallor turned ashen . His neat and nice suit had also become messy and dirty from staying in the reed fields for a long time . He only felt that his forehead was cold– what he had always been afraid of finally happened . His lips trembled, yet he couldn’t say a word .

Lin Chen dragged Yang Dian Feng out of the dense field .

“No need to look at the system anymore, just check Yang Dian Feng’s bank account . ” Watching Lin Chen taking Yang Dian Feng away, Xing Cong Lian gave Wang Chao orders .

Since there was such a huge problem with the program, how could Yang Dian Feng, the person who introduced the system, not have known about it?


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After he was done handing out instructions, he stood up as well the moment Lin Chen stepped out of the reed field . Xing Cong Lian looked indifferent as he strode towards Huang Ze .

The special force personnels laying in the reeds saw the two people appear in the lake area out of nowhere . Unable to figure out what was going on, they didn’t dare to make even the slightest move .

Huang Ze’s eyes narrowed into almost a slit, looking at Lin Chen . He was about to make things difficult for the man when he saw another person also standing up, looking poised .

His long coat brushed against the green reeds . The mixed-race man had a cool and fearless attitude and exuded strong momentum .

Standing in front of Huang Ze, Xing Cong Lian didn’t even speak . Instead, he tilted his head to the side, lit a cigarette, then drew out another to offer it to Captain Peng, who was merely acting as a figurehead . Peng Ran had no idea whether he should refuse or accept it .

“Captain Xing, what do you mean by this?”

Xing Cong Lian raised his gaze and smiled, as if to say, ‘Inspector Huang is always asking about meaning; that’s really meaningless . ’

“The gun that Lin Chen is holding, where did he get it from?”

“I gave it to him ah . ”

“First, Captain Xing, you arrived late . Second, you actually gave your gun to someone without authorization, thus sabotaging the rescue operation . If there are any casualties among the students, do you think you can afford to take on the responsibility, Captain Xing?!” Huang Ze’s tone was grave and his voice rose as he spoke . His words were numerous but they simply meant, ‘You’re just a lowly captain of a police force and yet you dare to disregard me!’

Xing Cong Lian waited for Huang Ze to finish before taking a deep inhale of his cigarette and replied, drawling, “I can still bear the responsibility that Inspector Huang just mentioned . ” His voice was light and he didn’t even raise his eyes, the meaning behind which was even simpler: ‘Of course, I pay no regard to you in the slightest . ’

Peng Ran’s gaze flickered between the two . He and Xing Cong Lian were old acquaintances . Although Huang Ze could be said to be half their superior, he was not a close colleague . Seeing Xing Cong Lian’s attitude, Peng Ran, who had opposed Huang Ze’s strong-headed method from the start, was more than willing to back down . He gestured to his subordinates, signalling them not to act rashly .

Xing Cong Lian and Lin Chen cooperated without a single word spoken . While he stalled Huang Ze, Lin Chen had already brought Yang Dian Feng to the house by the lake . The time now was at the agreed 90 minutes .

Lin Chen kicked the back of Yang Dian Feng’s knees . The man fell to the ground, kneeling .

“The answer you want,” Lin Chen said in a soft voice .

“The so-called Automatic Self-help System and Road Safety Classification Early Warning System has huge loopholes . The first one being if the vehicle didn’t suffer serious damage, but was in a situation that would delay the rescue efforts of special cases, such as with the vehicle falling into the river or with what you did . Am I right?” Lin Chen said to the people inside the house . His voice was neither light nor heavy, but it reverberated to every corner of the lake .

“What are you talking about?” Yang Dian Feng suddenly struggled .

“Don’t move . My hand isn’t very stable . ” Lin Chen held the gun in a firm grip, but didn’t even bother to look at Yang Dian Feng as he spoke . Instead, he handed in his answer sheet as he faced the wooden door, “Secondly, the GPS positioning in the MEMS system didn’t record an important parameter – ‘time-location’ . No system can be perfect and loopholes are inevitable . However, people who have admin permissions in the system could use this defect to change the time of the vehicle’s emergency call to fill this loophole on the surface, couldn’t they?”

When his words ended, all four corners of the field went silent . Even the wild birds in the bushes stopped tittering .

The door opened with a squeak .

The light outside gushed into the house through the gap like a torrent .

A young man strolled out under the bright light .

He was still wearing his grey cashmere scarf, a pair of light blue jeans and bright yellow Nike sneakers . The huge tick on his shoes was reminiscent of the brightest smile that could grace a face .

The young man pulled the door open . A red laser dot fell onto his chest, yet he remained calm and fearless . He didn’t even hold a gun .

In the bushes, the special force personnel moved his finger to the trigger . Without warning, Lin Chen moved and stood in front of the boy .

 

“Is he looking for death? Don’t think I won’t dare to shoot him!” Huang Ze roared at Xing Cong Lian .

Xing Cong Lian was holding his phone, as if communicating with the person on the other side of the line . His expression grew colder by the moment . He paid no heed to Huang Ze’s accusatory roar .

“Thank you for saving me . Was the person on the phone you as well? I was fooled . ” The boy smiled at Lin Chen, as if he wasn’t bothered by the fact that the script he arranged was disturbed . Taking two lemon candies out of his pocket, he threw one into his mouth while giving the other to Lin Chen .

Lin Chen shook his head .

“Is there a third point?”

“The third and the most frightening point is… because the system records could be modified manually, it meant that someone could use this loophole to create a nearly perfect homicide . ”

The teenager seemed to be very satisfied with Lin Chen’s answer . “So, is he the one who caused my father’s death?” Pointing at Yang Dian Feng, he posed the question to Lin Chen .

“I’m not sure, which is why I brought him to you . I thought you would’ve been happy to ask him yourself . ”

“You’re a really good person . ” The young man smiled at Lin Chen before crouching down so that his eyes were at the same level with the kneeling Yang Dian Feng . “According to what he said, does this mean you changed the automatic emergency call’s time and caused my father to drown in the bus?”

Yang Dian Feng, whose face was as pale as snow, nearly collapsed when the boy poked his face . His lips trembled . It took him almost everything he had to say, “I have no idea what you guys are talking about!”

Lin Chen pressed the headset to his ear . Xing Cong Lian’s voice came out, low and calm, sounding inexplicably reassuring . “Wang Chao just checked Yang Dian Feng’s bank account . Before and after the accident on May 11th, his mother’s bank account received two remittances totaling 1 million yuan . Wang Chao is still checking the account that transferred the money…”

“You don’t say it, of course he won’t know . ” Lin Chen let out a soft sigh and outlined the whole incident in his mind . Jabbing the end of the muzzle against Yang Dian Feng’s head, he said, “5/11’s major accident was under the orders of a drug cartel in order to get revenge on the narcotics police officer Fang Zhi Ming . You modified the automatic emergency call’s time on the bus, which resulted in 23 innocent lives to drown along with Fang Zhi Ming . You should account for this properly to him . ” 

“That has nothing to do with me, I didn’t do it!” Yang Dian Feng exclaimed, frantic . “Don’t slander people!”

“Without proof, would I dare to point a gun at you?” Needless to say, Lin Chen was the best at tricking people into confessing . After a pause, he added, “At the very least, you’re acquainted with Wang Chao . Do you think he won’t be able to find out who made the loophole in the system and who used it considering how skilled he is?”

Lin Chen’s voice was serene . But the lighter and softer his voice was, the louder and more frightening it sounded to Yang Dian Feng .

“Well, you can deny that you know nothing about messing with the system, but what you can’t deny is the bank transfer that did happen . In fact, nowadays, illegal transactions are usually done with digital currency . It’s a bit bold to accept a cash transfer in such a straightforward manner as you did . ”


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Lin Chen’s words were vague but in this sort of situation, it would only make Yang Dian Feng wonder where he had gone wrong . This hesitation here was him unconsciously admitting to Lin Chen’s statement .

“Is what he said true?” The young man’s eyes turned darker and he whipped out a gun, pressing it against Yang Dian Feng’s forehead . “Speak!”

Seeing this, Huang Ze couldn’t hold it anymore . He shouted at Lin Chen’s ramrod figure, “Lin Chen, if you don’t step away now, I will kill the kid along with you!”

“You can order them to shoot if you’d like, on the premise that you think the life of a criminal is more important than the life of a martyr’s only daughter . ” Lin Chen’s hand was very stable . After he spoke, he took a step aside, exposing the person in front of him to the special force’s snipers .

“What fucking girl?!” Huang Ze yelled . After a moment, he realized something and turned to Xing Cong Lian, stunned . “That’s a girl?”

Lin Chen crouched down, then unravelled the scarf around the teenager’s face, exposing the young girl’s small ears and fair neck . “Fang Zhi Ming, the narcotics police officer who died in the May 11th accident, had only one 16 year-old daughter named Ai Zi . ”

The surroundings fell silent once again . This silence was the result of their shock and speechlessness .

A martyr’s sole daughter seeking justice for her father . Peng Ran felt cold sweat running down his back . If Xing Cong Lian wasn’t present to stop him, he would’ve shot down the suspect according to Huang Ze’s orders . Then, not only would the special force personnel who shot the girl feel guilty, but even he who ordered it to be done would have had his conscience suffer for the rest of his life . Thinking this, Peng Ran shot Xing Cong Lian a grateful glance .  

Yet Xing Cong Lian’s gaze remained locked on the three people by the lake .

“Bingo . You see, I have a lot of cards I can use~ Even if I kill you here now, no one would dare to harm even just one of my fingers . So whatcha gonna do?” Fang Ai Zi looked at Yang Dian Feng with a smile, but there was no warmth in her eyes .

“I’m… I was also forced, I didn’t want to do it, ah! Your father offended huge cartels, they’re the ones who forced me to do it!” Yang Dian Feng’s blood ran cold . Fang Ai Zi’s identity was the last block that overturned the whole thing over . Yang Dian Feng burst into tears . “They can even kill the police as they wish . For an insignificant citizen like me, killing would be a piece of cake!”

Yang Dian Feng wept, and seeing that Fang Ai Zi wasn’t moved by this, he turned to hug Lin Chen’s thigh . Lin Chen just held the gun and gave him a cold look .

Fang Ai Zi stood up, patted the dust off her knees and sent Lin Chen a sweet smile . “Kill him and I’ll let everyone in the house go . ”

“Lin Chen, don’t break the law knowingly!”

Huang Ze yelled again, but Xing Cong Lian remained calm, eyes glancing at the gun in Lin Chen’s hand .

Lin Chen didn’t move .

Fang Ai Zi made the first move .

The girl raised her gun and, as if she had fired it without hesitation countless times before, placed it against her temple and said, “I’ll count to three . Either he dies, or I die . ”

Her voice wasn’t loud, but her eyes were profound and her movements serious and solemn . She began to count down, “Three…”

The situation took a sudden nosedive . This move was too cruel, too extreme and utterly merciless . The nervous people in the fields jolted in surprise, and one could hear the rustling of the leaves .

Peng Ran was the most nervous among them all . If Lin Chen really killed Yang Dian Feng, wouldn’t he then have to give the order to kill Lin Chen?

Xing Cong Lian was still unmoved, his posture as steady as a tree and his gaze unwavering .  

Lin Chen said, “You’re going to kill yourself anyway, so that threat means nothing to me . ”

His voice was carried by the wind, brushing along the reeds like ripples of water .

Fang Ai Zi crushed her candy in one bite, yet tried to maintain her calm as she smiled . “What are you saying? I’m very trustworthy . ”

“Consultant Lin, Mr . Lin… You can’t agree to her demand, you’ll have to pay for taking a life with your own!” Yang Dian Feng clamored at Lin Chen’s feet, crying . He was terrified that Lin Chen would comply with Fang Zhi Ming’s daughter and kill him in one shot .

Lin Chen just kept the gun firm against Yang Dian Feng’s head, paying no attention to the latter’s clamoring . He looked at the girl and asked, “I’ve always wondered about one thing . How did you know it wasn’t an accident so clearly when it appeared to be so much like one?”

His voice fell, and the girl shot a subconscious glance at the gun in her hand .

Lin Chen understood . His eyes turned peaceful . “Is this gun your father’s?”

“This is what my father gave me before he left . ”

When the young girl said ‘left’, she had meant ‘passed away’ . As a narcotics officer, why would Fang Zhi Ming leave his gun to his daughter to defend herself unless it was absolutely necessary?

“Is it because of the leak?” With that sentence, Lin Chen gently pried open the scar hidden deep in Fang Ai Zi’s heart .

In an instant, the girl started trembling . Lin Chen saw, but didn’t stop . “Officer Fang’s identity was leaked without a second thought by the media . He had offended too many people in this lifetime and was very clear that he would encounter a mishap sooner or later . He feared you would be dragged in as well, so he left you this gun, right?”

Once Lin Chen finished talking, all the reporters on the scene understood why they were here . It had been a trap all along .

The special forces on the scene dared not to move, but their gazes on the reporters present were burning, as if wanting to light them on fire . A narcotics officer’s identity was released . That was just pushing him to the muzzle of the cartel’s gun without any cover .

“How is it enough for only Yang Dian Feng to die? You want to use this gun to complete the most perfect revenge, right?” Lin Chen’s words were sharp, shooting straight into the hearts of the people present .

At last, Fang Ai Zi began to appear flustered, but Lin Chen didn’t give her any chance to speak . His voice was cold, sounding as if he didn’t have an ounce of pity towards the girl in front of him .

“You are very clear on who killed your father . If the cartel was the direct murderer, then the reporters who leaked his identity were the indirect ones . You are a daughter of a police officer killed in the line of duty . You can’t act like a daughter of a kingpin, killing these guys with your gun . After mulling it over, you realised that the perfect end was suicide . A martyr’s only daughter’s blood was sacrificed to plead for justice . The sharp sword of public opinion would point at all of the journalists who had reported about your father early on . These people who didn’t care what the result would be or just wanted a headline picture and released the photo of your father can escape legal sanction, but none of them can escape moral judgment . No revenge would be more tragic, yet satisfying than this, right?”

Her innermost thoughts had been exposed . Fang Ai Zi’s lips quivered, yet she tried to maintain her calm and controlled her emotions . “Do you think I shouldn’t tell you to kill Yang Dian Feng or ask for interest from the people responsible?” she asked Lin Chen .

“I don’t think you should,” Lin Chen answered without hesitation .

Lin Chen’s words ignited the anger that had been burning in her heart for so long . “Why can’t I hate him? Why can’t I hate those people? Why can’t I take revenge?! They killed my father! I don’t have a father anymore!”

Her eyes were glistening with tears, but she refused to let them fall . “My father died . I used to think he was born with bad hearing, but I later found out that it was during one of his operations where a shrapnel from a drug dealer’s bullet damaged his auditory nerves . Even so, he didn’t retreat from the front lines . He was such a good person! What did he do wrong to deserve being drowned alive?! In fact, he didn’t even die in the front lines! He didn’t deserve to die such a worthless death, it was all because of those people!”


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She choked as she spoke, blood dripping from every word she uttered . Everyone present felt moved, except for one .

Lin Chen stared at the girl . “The reasoning is simple . Your father is a martyr and you are his daughter . You were born to live a life more upright and honest than everyone else . Other people can bear hatred, but you can’t . Other people can plead for death, but you can’t . Because from the day your father died, you have been living in his glory . And you must, with his glory and pride on your shoulders, continue to move forward . ”

“Do you think I can go on living after this?” Fang Ai Zi burst out laughing and pointed at Yang Dian Feng . “Why don’t you ask him how powerful the force behind him is? They can erase 23 lives quietly . Do you think those people will let me go?”

Fang Ai Zi’s cries didn’t move Lin Chen, but her question, posed in such an understated way, made him sad .

This was a 15 year-old girl who lost her father . She had witnessed the insane methods undertaken by cartels, and lived in constant panic everyday .

In that dark world, she could believe in no one . She can only rely on the hatred in her heart, holding up a small lamp as she travelled through that stormy world alone .

But in the end, she was just a little girl who would feel fear .

“Kill Yang Dian Feng or I will kill myself . ” Fang Ai Zi’s voice was very calm, almost to the point of sounding cold .

The situation took a sudden turn and the people in the back were once again plunged into chaos . The snipers raised their guns again and without exception, they all aimed at Lin Chen .

At this time, Xing Cong Lian’s voice emerged from the headset . “We’ve already contacted Fang Zhi Ming’s friends . They have something to say . ”

Lin Chen glanced at Fang Ai Zi’s gun and listened as Xing Cong Lian told him Fang Ai Zi’s story that the man heard from who knows who . “Your mother died early, but you had a good father . Your father would bring you to martial arts practice and the shooting range . He said that girls must know how to defend themselves and that if he wasn’t there someday, you couldn’t be bullied and must be able to live well . So you’re really skilled, aren’t you?”

“What nonsense are you spouting?!”

“Your father hoped to have a daughter who could stand tall . Maybe he’s wrong, as this isn’t suitable to describe girls, but personally, I think he’s right . You’ve done something most girls couldn’t achieve . On one side, there’s a vicious cartel involved so you didn’t dare take any rash actions . One careless move and you would have been killed . Under such circumstances, you gambled with your life and hijacked a bus . You let everyone know the real problem with the bullshit system with the real problem you created . You even made use of us to find the true culprit behind that accident . Those were all amazing feats, weren’t they?”

“But my father is dead . ” The bright sunshine fell on her eyes, as if shedding tears in her stead . “I don’t want to die by their hands!”

“There will be no other girl like you in this world . You are your father’s girl, who had never compromised with those heinous criminals until his death . So please, don’t be afraid . Don’t yield to fate . ”

Lin Chen smiled and looked back at the reed field submerged in the horizon . “Your father’s colleagues are there . What would you like to talk about with them after this is over?”

Epilogue

It was soon to be sunset; the sky was red . An egret flew across the sky and disappeared into the clouds .

When the police entered the house, the children were playing with a pile of candies on the ground . The room was filled with a sweet and delicious scent . Several of the little boys had grown tired of playing and were sound asleep under the table . The police wrapped the children in blankets and picked them up .

The rest of the children walked out of the house, chirping along the way, as if this whole incident had just been a fun adventure .

In the police car parked by the lake, Fang Ai Zi was talking to her father’s colleagues . The young girl was sporting bright handcuffs on her wrists and her damp hair was plastered on her soft cheeks . A side of her that matched her age and gender finally surfaced .

The follow-up was, of course, under the jurisdiction of Inspector Huang . Yang Dian Feng had already been escorted back to the city, and Xing Cong Lian strolled by the lake with Lin Chen .

They were surrounded by the noise of officers handling the scene, but to Lin Chen, these sounds were like a bird taking off to the sky from the water .

After taking back the gun, Xing Cong Lian didn’t speak a word . Lin Chen thought he would say something to make fun of him or say something like “you worked hard” . However, Xing Cong Lian remained silent .

Actually, Lin Chen was very grateful towards Xing Cong Lian for his trust . Blocking Huang Ze, keeping the situation under control, and providing just the right support and information was invaluable .

Lin Chen thought, Maybe I should say ‘Thank you’?

However, the first to speak was still Xing Cong Lian .

“Do you think it was worth it?” The man’s facial features didn’t appear as harsh in the light reflected by the lake .

This question was, of course, pertaining to the girl: what she had done, what she would change or had already changed, including the consequences she would bear . Was it all worth it?

Facing such a girl, they weren’t even qualified to judge whether she was right or wrong . In the end, they could only ask one question: was it worth it?

“It’s not about the value; it’s about the probability . We don’t know if, or how many, lives will be saved by catching Yang Dian Feng and finding the loophole in the system . But I hope that that number exists . ”

Lin Chen’s expression was serious, and Xing Cong Lian burst into laughter . Slinging his arm around Lin Chen’s shoulder, he said, “Why are you thinking so deeply? I’m exhausted today . I’ll treat you to barbeque when we get back, ah . ”

His smile was casual, as if he was a typical office worker who had just ended a busy day of work .

This was supposed to be a time for them to enjoy the beautiful scenery, but his phone rang again .

Xing Cong Lian accepted the call, then hung up . The call only lasted for a few seconds . When he looked at Lin Chen again, his eyes were ice cold .

“Yang Dian Feng is dead,” he said .

Lin Chen frowned and appeared to have a hard time believing his ears .

“A bomb was adhered to the car . They searched the surveillance video and it was a biker who stuck it in secret on the chassis during a traffic light . It detonated 10 seconds after that . There were three other people in the car, my colleagues…”

The clusters of reeds swayed in the wind . The sunset was a bloody red .

Young people always thought that life was a journey full of fantasies, but in reality, everyone’s life was just a two-way trip .

Translator(s): Kuro
TL Checker(s): Zryuu
Editor(s): Namio
Proofer(s): Celine

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