Author: 长洱 / Chang’er
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Lin Chen had a moment of speechlessness, but only for a short moment.
Without much emotion or admiration, he directly extended his hand to Xing Conglian. “Call for me.”
And almost as soon as Huang Ze hung up, he heard the ringtone again.
“Huang Ze, I need you to do something for me.”
Hearing that calm and collected voice coming through, Huang Ze felt some irony, and after the irony, he felt a strange sense of reassurance. However, several years of tit-for-tat with Lin Chen made him almost subconsciously use a sarcastic tone. “Oh? Is Consultant Lin going to set fire to the new official when he takes office?”
Lin Chen’s fingers rubbed gently on the phone. He nodded to Xing Conglian and then walked out of the room.
“Huang Ze, I need you to do one thing.”
Lin Chen’s voice was very low. He didn’t care about Huang Ze’s ridicule as his voice remained steady and clear as ever.
In the parking lot, Huang Ze stood outside the crowd. When he heard the key point, he raised his head and looked at the bus driver who had been rescued earlier.
Because Huang Ze kept his head down and his face was always gloomy, Jiang Zhe didn’t know what he was talking about. When Huang Ze raised his head, Jiang Zhe quickly realized something had happened.
Seeing Huang Ze put the Bluetooth headset back on, Jiang Zhe hurriedly took a few steps forward and grabbed Huang Ze. “Inspector Huang, when do you think the negotiations will start?”
Looking at Jiang Zhe’s extremely stylized explosive curls, Huang Ze felt indescribable nausea and stickiness. However, the scene was packed with media right now, so he had to endure. “Jiang Zhe, you don’t need to participate in this case.”
“Inspector Huang, you can’t do this. Lin Chen and Xing Conglian are here to steal the credit!” Although he had foreseen Huang Ze’s change of attitude, Jiang Zhe only felt nervous and frightened at the moment when he was notified.
Huang Ze shook off Jiang Zhe’s hand and walked towards the bus driver, who was sitting in a small chair by the parking lot, drinking hot water while accepting some of the media’s interviews.
Seeing that Huang Ze seemed determined to listen to Lin Chen’s words, Jiang Zhe suddenly raised his voice. “Have you forgotten what happened last time when Lin Chen was a negotiator?”
His voice was so loud that not only did he successfully stop Huang Ze, but even the reporters on the side turned to their direction.
Huang Ze turned his head and said, “Jiang Zhe, don’t you think I’ve heard this too many times?”
After he finished speaking, he walked to the driver, patted the two reporters on the shoulders, and motioned for them to leave.
The driver raised his head and faced the person who had just risked his life to save him, but there didn’t seem to be much gratitude in his eyes. “Mr. Police Officer, what can I do for you?” he asked.
Huang Ze leaned slightly and closed in on the middle-aged driver. “I want to inform you that the police have located the kidnapper. The special forces are on their way. They should be able to rescue the hostages soon. Please rest assured.”
Before Huang Ze finished speaking, the driver suddenly became nervous. Even Huang Ze could see the darting of the other party’s eyes.
The driver’s lips trembled slightly. He thought for a while, then nervously asked, “What will you do to him?”
“The special forces we sent have elite snipers. Once we grasp the movements of the kidnapper, we can quickly take him out!” Huang Ze spoke quickly while giving an indifferent look.
“Don’t hurt him!” Hearing this, the driver blurted out.
Huang Ze’s sharp gaze stayed on the driver’s worried look, but he didn’t say anything more. He straightened up, turned around and walked a few steps, then held down the headset and asked, “Did you hear that clearly?”
“Yes.” Lin Chen paused and didn’t hang up immediately. “Huang Ze, thank you.”
Huang Ze thought, ‘What are you thanking me for?’
Lin Chen hung up the phone and returned to the room. He was surprised to see Xing Conglian winking at him.
His gaze passed a few people in the office and finally fell on the chairman’s face.
“Can I help you?” he asked.
The chairman slammed the table fiercely. “I’m used to seeing this bureaucratic style of yours fighting for power and profit. Why are you dilly-dallying and haven’t called the kidnappers yet?”
If there was anyone who was most worried that things wouldn’t be resolved satisfactorily, it was probably the chairman of the Hongjing Highway. After all, he was the main and direct person in charge of this highway. He had delayed the work of the police before, so at this moment, he was more anxious and impatient than anyone else.
Lin Chen slightly sighed, turned around, and filled another half cup of hot water from the water dispenser, then handed it to the chairman.
It was probably because Lin Chen was too calm, or perhaps it was his natural ability to calm the hearts of others, but the chairman subconsciously put his hand on the paper cup that had Hongjing Highway Company printed on it that was just handed to him. He raised his head, and his expression slightly eased.
Lin Chen said, “In fact, the kidnapper wants us to call him in hopes that we will become nervous and anxious after the hostage and bomb crisis, so we can be more easily manipulated by him to agree to the conditions he proposes.” Lin Chen returned to the sofa. Wang Chao scooted over to make room for him as Lin Chen continued, “However, the initiative is important. If we’re the ones making him wait after finding his message, he will have the same emotional experience.”
The chairman looked embarrassed after hearing Lin Chen’s words. “I’m a little anxious, but even if he’s like me, that’s still not good. What if he hurts a child because of his anxiety?”
Lin Chen lowered his eyes slightly. He unlocked the phone and looked at the time. “First, I’ll wait for him to speak first. Second, he won’t.”
Lin Chen’s tone was very light, and he didn’t say anything else. He pressed strings of numbers that he had already memorized and then looked at the technician beside him.
Wang Chao took the phone, turned on the recording function, and tested the tracking system again before finally handing Lin Chen a pair of headphones.
Lin Chen nodded, then divided half of the headphones with the captain of the police criminal division who was next to him.
The headphone cables weren’t long, so Lin Chen had to sit close to Xing Conglian. He took the microphone that came with the headset and put it towards his lips. For convenience, Xing Conglian turned his head sideways to get closer to Lin Chen.
Lin Chen felt a warm breath on the side of his face that had the smell of mint tobacco. He stabilized his breathing and pressed the call button.
The ringing tone came again and again, five times in a row, before the phone was connected.
There was silence all around before a soft, slow breathing sound gradually sounded.
Lin Chen didn’t speak; he was waiting.
The kidnapper spoke first.
The voice was soft and polite, as if he was a noble son with a good family background and elegant manners, without the tyranny that a kidnapper should have.
He said, “Teacher Jiang, I have been waiting for you for a while now.”
Xing Conglian opened his eyes wide and stared at Lin Chen in disbelief. He suddenly understood what Lin Chen meant by waiting for the other party to speak first. People would become nervous and anxious while waiting, and those who were nervous and anxious would tend to make mistakes.
Lin Chen didn’t even have the slightest disturbance in his breathing. He didn’t seem to care about how he was addressed, neither admitting nor denying the statement. He just pinched the microphone and smiled slightly. His voice was calm and collected. “Hello.”
On the other end of the phone, there was a chuckle. “I’ve been waiting for you for a while.”
“Before talking with you, I also need to prepare.” Lin Chen easily resolved the other party’s doubts just by saying a very normal sentence.
“How does the sugus candy taste?” The boy on the other side of the phone asked with a smile.
“Before I had time to taste it, the candy was confiscated and sent to the evidence office,” Lin Chen said with a smile.
“What a pity. The lemon-flavored sugus candy is really great. I think you should try it.”
“That’s a good idea.” Lin Chen gently wrapped his fingers around the headphone cable for half a circle, then said, “It’s a bit cold. Have you had lunch yet?”
“Haha, I ate the snacks brought by the children.” The young man laughed. “Teacher Jiang, you actually want to ask, where are we, right?”
“Then is it convenient for you to tell me?” Lin Chen didn’t care about this slight provocation. He followed the topic and asked casually.
“Hey, you’re negotiating with a kidnapper. Aren’t you tracing my call right now? If you triangulate through the base station, you should be able to know where I am soon, right?”
Hearing this, Lin Chen glanced at Xing Conglian. Xing Conglian had already leaned in front of the computer screen, then quickly moved the screen to Lin Chen. The tracking red dots on the screen had stabilized and clearly showed the kidnapper was in the reeds that covered the sky next to the Hongjing Highway.
Even Lin Chen was slightly surprised, but before he could speak, a soft and tender girl’s voice, like a marshmallow, suddenly came from the other end. The girl seemed to be reading something. The voice was stumbling, but it was very clear and serious. “Uncle, I hope you will bring me the answer within 90 minutes.”
The soft voice circled in Lin Chen’s ears. It was so sweet that it could turn into fine sugar silk. Lin Chen twirled the headphone cord again but didn’t pursue what exactly “the answer” meant. He came close to the microphone and spoke faintly. “Let’s make an agreement.”
“I’ll bring you what you want, but please also ensure the safety of the children.” Lin Chen’s voice was extremely solemn, and the smile on his lips disappeared.
“Teacher Jiang seems to be confident?” On the other end of the line, there was a slight laugh.
“Actually, no.” Lin Chen sat up straight. “I just think…”
“What do you think?” The young man seemed to find it very amusing and couldn’t help but ask rhetorically.
“I think you live a painful life. Those with a conscience and a moral bottom line always live in more pain.”
The young man on the other end of the line didn’t seem to expect to hear such an answer. He was quiet for a moment before he spoke again. “Teacher Jiang, I suddenly felt I’m impressed with you.” As if to calm his mood, he seemed to have opened up a candy wrapper and stuffed the candy into his mouth. He spoke while chewing on it. “Then I’ll see you in 90 minutes. Please bring those reporters friends with you.”
After speaking, the kidnapper hung up the phone. Lin Chen seemed to hear the sound of a kiss coming through on the other end.
“Teacher Jiang. Jiang Zhe?” Xing Conglian took off his earphones and started tapping on the countertop with his knuckles. “It’s no wonder there are so many reporters here today.”
“They’re probably being used.” Lin Chen moved his hand to the still warm cup and sighed softly. “What a smart kid.”
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