Author: 长洱 / Chang’er
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
“Parents with children at the entrance of the Good Decoration Specialty Store in Area C on the second floor, please pay attention and protect your children. Try to raise infants and toddlers above your head or have them ride on your neck so that the crowd behind you can see them.”
“The ambulance personnel are treating the wounded at the entrance of the TM supermarket chain in Area A on the first floor. Please pay attention and avoid that area.”
“For those who are going down from the escalator, please be careful not to push.”
Lin Chen would occasionally listen to the instructions and found that Xing Conglian’s reminders were always spot on. It was very much like a professional guiding traffic in a crowded subway, meticulous and patient; although Lin Chen was sure Xing Conglian had never done this kind of thing before.
Looking at the gradually empty venue, Lin Chen suddenly had a strange feeling in his heart that was similar to the joy felt after surviving a great disaster.
After all, from the time of the incident until now, he and Xing Conglian were far apart, but perhaps it was because his voice was always coming through on the phone that he felt Xing Conglian seemed to be present. This feeling was comforting and made him feel safe.
When he was thinking this, Lin Chen felt taken aback. He suddenly realized that he actually felt something like a sense of security.
He suspected it was an occupational disease and pondered the psychological motivation. He then realized that what he enjoyed and what made him feel satisfied wasn’t such a simple sense of security because someone was behind him, but what truly made him happy were some high-level needs that were gradually pursued after low-level needs were satisfied*. Generally speaking, they were a sense of belonging and love.
*This is referring to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Since he’s met the first two levels at the bottom, he’s now moved on to “belonging and love”.
People wanted to be with their companions.
There were fewer people stranded in the shopping mall now. People were supporting each other as they slowly walked out of the turmoil.
Lin Chen cast his eyes on the stage again. The police officers from the local precinct had already blocked off the scene, and there was a bunch of roses lying quietly on the scarlet carpet. Other than that, it was empty.
The voice of Xing Conglian could no longer be heard on the broadcast.
Soon, he heard Xing Conglian say “hey” a few times on the phone.
“I’m here,” Lin Chen replied.
“I’m coming right away. Wait for me. I’ll be there in a quarter of an hour.”
As he said this, he suddenly heard the sound of leather boots tapping on the floor tiles from behind. There was no one in the mall anymore, so it could only be one person who would personally seek him out.
He turned around and saw Huang Ze walking slowly towards him from a distance.
“See you later,” he said as he hung up the phone.
Probably because of his leg injury, Huang Ze was walking very slowly and trying his best to keep his posture stable, but his knees that couldn’t be bent betrayed him.
When Huang Ze got closer, Lin Chen could clearly see the dirt and wrinkles on his suit, but Huang Ze didn’t stop and continued moving closer, forcing Lin Chen to take half a step back so that he bumped against the railing.
Huang Ze narrowed his eyes slightly and finally stopped.
He hadn’t seen him for a month, but Inspector Huang was as cold and ruthless as ever. People like Huang Ze were used to waiting for others to greet them first.
Lin Chen sighed and said, “Inspector Huang, how are you?”
“You clearly know that if you live well, I won’t be well.”
Lin Chen laughed. “Then I must be having a good time. I’m very sorry.”
Provoking a man who had been molested by so many girls was probably not a good idea. What was more, this was a man who hated him to the bone, and he just saved him. This kind of insult was probably more unbearable than killing him.
Huang Ze suddenly raised his hand, causing Lin Chen to subconsciously close his eyes.
However, he felt no pain on his cheek. Seeing as the plot wasn’t moving as expected, Lin Chen opened his eyes only to see Huang Ze’s hand was still raised in mid-air and remained frozen.
He thought for a moment, then asked, “Inspector Huang, are you planning to slap me? If not, I’ll go first.”
“Are you doing well?”
The current atmosphere became a bit strange. Lin Chen tried hard to bring the topic back to a less weird track, so he said, “It’s been a long time since I saw you. To be honest, Inspector Huang, I thought you would say, ‘Don’t think I’ll be thankful to you for saving me’. In fact, catching up isn’t suitable for you.”
Unexpectedly, even when he said this, Huang Ze didn’t hit him.
Huang Ze’s face was tense, as if he were holding something back. In the end, he slowly lowered his raised arms and asked a very strange question, “How did you break your arm?”
Lin Chen looked at the plaster and bandage in his hand and thought that because the Yongchuan case was still under investigation and the files were top-secret, Huang Ze wouldn’t be privy to this information, so he had no choice but to answer, “In order to protect people’s lives and property…”
“Together with Xing Conglian?”
“Why would he let you get hurt?” When Huang Ze said this, he actually seemed to be angry.
The conversation showed signs of becoming nasty. Lin Chen sighed and said, “Maybe because I prefer courting death?”
“You’ve already died once since you were connected with Xing Conglian, and now you have a broken arm.”
“So you still want to be with him?” Huang Ze said this methodically, as if what he said was reasonable.
And the meaning in his words made Lin Chen feel even more misunderstood. “Inspector Huang, I can only realize a little of the value of my life when I’m with him. After all, this is still slightly more important than survival.”
He thought that this was a very ordinary explanation, but after he finished saying this, Huang Ze opened his eyes wide. “You don’t know who he is. You think he’s just an ordinary criminal police officer. You think you can rest easy and just follow him, but you’ll pay with your life one day!”
“This line sounds familiar, Inspector Huang.” Lin Chen looked around. Fortunately, there was no one around. Otherwise, this conversation would be quite embarrassing.
Huang Ze took another step forward, forcing Lin Chen to lean back a little more.
“I checked on Xing Conglian’s file.”
“Oh? Then what?”
“Then, there is no then.”
“Xing Conglian was parachuted into Fengchun a year ago and later transferred to Hongjing as captain of the police criminal division. His file only has this year.”
Huang Ze probably really hated Xing Conglian so much that he would go to this extent to check his files.
However, Lin Chen wasn’t surprised that he couldn’t find anything on Xing Conglian. Lin Chen even thought not only would he not find anything on Xing Conglian but even the files on Wang Chao.
Sure enough, Huang Ze quickly mentioned Comrade Xiao Wang.
“Xing Conglian is very suspicious. Even the kid with him doesn’t have any files. Do you think normal people are like this? Are you dumb? You studied psychology, yet you don’t think there’s anything wrong with this?”
Huang Ze’s tone became more anxious. This kind of thing was actually not suitable for him to say. After all, Inspector Huang was always arrogant and cold, but suddenly he was anxious about matters like this. This was too unlike him.
Lin Chen thought, ‘Of course I know there’s a problem.’ After all, who would install cameras when they stay at a hotel? But to bring up such a topic would be too strange, so who would ask?
Therefore, he could only answer, “Isn’t this great? I’m very satisfied. Even you can’t find his file. This shows he’s quite powerful, right? I can’t be sure, but perhaps he has done great things for the country or is a member of the hidden front.” Lin Chen paused, looked up at Huang Ze, and smiled. “This means I should respect him more, no?”
“Are you trying to provoke me?” Huang Ze suddenly raised his voice.
Lin Chen didn’t know what was going on with Huang Ze today. Although the meaning in Huang Ze’s words could be taken as if he cared about him, this attitude didn’t seem like it, but was more like a strange, childish possessiveness. After all, for children, even if they hated the toy, if it was taken away by others, they would be unhappy, right?
Lin Chen didn’t really want to continue the conversation, but he still had to respond. “Inspector Huang, I just want to remind you that, first, it’s not honest and upright to investigate other people’s files privately. Second, I don’t think it makes sense for you to discuss the identity and background of Captain Xing with me here. After all, we’re just colleagues. It’s not like we’re planning to get married. I don’t need to know how many people are in his family or how much money he has in his bank account.”
“Honest and upright? Do you think he’s honest and upright? You’re so innocent and naïve, Lin Chen.” Huang Ze didn’t seem to hear his words at all and instead grabbed onto a word he said and sneered. “If he’s honorable, why didn’t he tell you how he managed to get you the consultant position?”
Despite Huang Ze’s rising anger, Lin Chen was calm. “Then Inspector Huang, should I say, ‘Please quickly tell me’ or should I say, ‘I don’t want to know’?”
“You don’t care at all, do you?”
“It’s not that I don’t care, but it’s easy to guess. There are only two ways that would force you to drop it and allow me to get official documents to approve my position. Either Xing Conglian smiled at you while holding the reporter’s videotape of the ‘Candy Bandit case’ and threatened that if you don’t drop it, he will publish the videotape on the internet and ruin your reputation, or Wang Chao sat in front of a laptop and showed you that he could break through various firewalls in a minute and make it so you can’t hide any of your personal privacy…”
Looking at Huang Ze’s swollen face, Lin Chen thought he probably guessed it accurately.
These two people really knew the law—and also how to break it.
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