Author: 长洱 / Chang’er
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
At this time, Wang Chao finally remembered to get his laptop back.
Lin Chen leaned back, and the teenager moved the laptop back to his lap. He opened the photo, enlarged it, and searched it at an alarming speed, using some strange software that Lin Chen couldn’t name to filter out the photo on the stage.
Finally, Lin Chen saw the teenager look up and shake his head, indicating, “This is an original picture. There’s no trace of Photoshop.”
Like a punctured balloon, the teenager deflated and fell back to his seat in frustration. As if remembering something, he pulled out a black cap from his backpack that was thrown to the ground, put it on, and stopped talking.
“What’s the matter?” Xing Conglian asked in the front driver’s seat. The loud noise they made in the back seat obviously caught the attention of Mr. Driver.
“Captain, why don’t you scold me? Didn’t I just waste our investigation time?” Wang Chao rolled down the car window and pulled the brim of his cap down. He looked depressed, like a big dog actively facing a corner after getting into trouble.
“Why is this kid’s mood fluctuating so much in adolescence? Do you have some medicine we can give him, Consultant Lin?” Xing Conglian turned around and asked.
Lin Chen had no choice but to explain, “A photo of the time the assault appeared on Weibo just now. Someone took a photo of the fan who came on stage to attack Li Jingtian. The assailant looks very similar to the wandering warbler that accused Li Jingtian of rape.”
“Oh, someone finally posted the photo.” Xing Conglian wasn’t surprised. He glanced at them through the rearview mirror and asked with a smile, “I was waiting for these photos to be posted online. So is there a clue? Why is that brat so depressed?”
“Probably he feels that his reasoning was wrong, so he’s frustrated.”
“What do you think?” Xing Conglian asked again.
“I think it’s very interesting.”
With tacit understanding, Xing Conglian also laughed. In the rearview mirror, his eyes seemed like an emerald river shining in the sun—extremely cunning.
“Why is it interesting?” Wang Chao inserted himself into their conversation gloomily.
“This story is too bizarre with all its ups and downs. When we doubt something, evidence seems to appear to clarify our doubts.”
When they suspected that Li Jingtian was pretending to be seriously injured, he walked out of the emergency room by himself. When they suspected that he hired a water army to hype up the heat, the fans found the culprit who slit his throat. The rhythm was well controlled.
“Someone is thinking very thoroughly,” Xing Conglian replied with a smile.
Wang Chao was even more lost. “Captain, A’Chen, what do you mean? Did Li Jingtian do this? But wasn’t it the wandering warbler who slit his throat? Isn’t this her revenge against him?”
Hearing his questions, Lin Chen could only answer honestly. “I don’t know.”
“Conspiracy theories are just conspiracy theories. Isn’t it just a girl who looks like a wandering warbler? Li Jingtian deliberately arranged for her to slit his throat on stage, hype up the event, and then dump the blame on the poor prostitute, so when she tries to accuse him of rape, everyone will think she’s just a psychopath. This scheme is as deep as the sea. Is he really sick? Why would he want to do this?”
“Perhaps he is really sick?” Lin Chen said lightly.
“What’s going on?” Wang Chao asked.
Lin Chen couldn’t answer this question now. He could only rub the head of the questioning teenager through his cap and comfort him. “You know, you’re really smart, so you shouldn’t doubt yourself. Every analysis of yours is based on actual data, which is more reliable than inferences made out of thin air. You’ve already deduced from the massive amount of data that there’s a water army behind this event, promoting development in a specific direction. Then, haven’t you thought about it? She’s just a wandering warbler. How is she able to control a water army, let alone be able to steal Li Jingtian’s phone photos and post them on his Weibo account. Isn’t this too much for a prostitute who sells her body for a living to have so many high-end technologies? Regarding tech problems, this should be your strength, right?”
Wang Chao suddenly became spirited again. “So, I’m right?”
“There’s nothing wrong with investigating the case.” Xing Conglian kept honking the horn continuously as he spoke. “For us, there are only two kinds of mistakes. The first is sending an innocent person to prison, and the second is letting the real culprit go unpunished.”
“Oh,” Wang Chao replied with some understanding. “Captain, to be honest, you’re quite handsome when you suddenly speak a little bit of truth.”
“Consultant Lin, let’s prescribe him some medication,” Xing Conglian said half-jokingly, then ordered Wang Chao. “Kid, let’s use your strengths. First, monitor those Weibo posts that make key statements and provide key clues. See if those people’s position is consistent with their usual remarks. If there is a water army, I don’t need to teach you what to do, right?” Xing Conglian turned the steering wheel.
“Got it!” Wang Chao stroked the non-existent brim of the cap on his forehead. “But if we don’t catch the culprit and run to investigate enthusiastic citizens who provide important clues, won’t we be scolded to death, Captain?”
“If you don’t say it, who’s going to know what you’re doing, huh kid?” Xing Conglian stepped on the brakes and said, “Besides, who said we wouldn’t catch any suspects? Since the wandering warbler is currently our prime suspect, naturally we need to monitor her ID and bank card information.”
When Xing Conglian said this, he immediately called the deputy captain of the police force and assigned him the task of monitoring and searching for the suspect.
Seeing Xing Conglian hang up, Wang Chao suddenly came to his senses. “Captain, are you afraid that Li Jingtian and the others will do something to the wandering warbler?”
“I’m following procedure, Officer Xiao Wang. Please don’t question your superior.”
In the middle of the conversation, Xing Conglian had already turned the car onto a one-way street. The municipal hospital was within sight.
Being the largest hospital in Hongjing, the municipal hospital was usually crowded, but today, the flow of people going in and out was particularly dense.
Li Jingtian’s iconic, red-clothed fans were squatting on the side of the road, chatting in twos and threes. There were vehicles that were obviously from the news network parked on the side of the street, making the crowded street even more congested.
“Shit Captain, there are a lot of people. I’m afraid of reporters. A’Chen, can you help me check to see if my hair is messy?”
Wang Chao was a typical person who was born to see the world plunged into chaos. When he saw the reporters, he quickly forgot his previous conversation with Xing Conglian, and hurriedly sorted out the brim of his hat in the rearview mirror.
Lin Chen stared at the reporters in front of him. Most of them who came were the local Hongjing media, so remembering the license plate of the local police captain was naturally a necessary homework for these reporters.
When Xing Conglian drove the Jeep into the intersection, someone reacted. Many of them were ready to go and quickly swarmed around the gate of the hospital, waiting for them to hit the encirclement.
Looking at the numerous reporters who were about to surround them, Lin Chen asked, “Can we still get in?”
Xing Conglian took out his phone with a smile and made a call.
A reporter had already rushed to the front of their car. Lin Chen heard shouts of, “They’re here. The police are here!”
At the same time, Xing Conglian’s phone was connected. Lin Chen only heard him say to the person on the other end, “Lao Chen, the municipal hospital is very congested. There are a lot of cars blocking the way, so we can’t get in. It doesn’t matter since we’re here to investigate, but in case of an emergency, the ambulance can’t get through, so that’s quite troubling, isn’t it?”
More reporters started to encircle them, causing Xing Conglian to slow down his pace as a result. Under the guidance of the garage manager, Xing Conglian was finally able to park his car.
Upon seeing this, the reporters swarmed the vehicle. Lin Chen couldn’t help but feel like he was watching a scene from a zombie movie.
However, Xing Conglian didn’t seem worried about losing to such a siege. “Lao Chen, sorry to trouble you.” After he finished speaking, he hung up and looked back at them. “Don’t worry.”
Lin Chen raised his brows.
After speaking, Xing Conglian turned off the engine, pulled out the key, opened the car door, and walked out.
The moment the car door opened, the reporters’ questions bombarded him one after another. Their voices passed through the cracks in the Jeep, seeping inside.
“Captain Xing, how can the police explain the repeated attacks on Mr. Li Jingtian?”
“Captain Xing, was there an issue with on-site security?”
“Now there are rumors on the internet that the attack on Mr. Li Jingtian was from a so-called prostitute who falsely accused Mr. Li Jingtian of rape. Are the two cases related?”
Reporters’ questions were always sharp, but in fact, they were probably more concerned about what kind of story would get the most social attention than tracking down the truth of the case.
Lin Chen opened one side of the car door and was about to step out. Wang Chao was in full panic; he clutched his backpack and tightly pulled on his clothes.
The moment Lin Chen got out of the car, Xing Conglian even blocked some of the reporters for him. Lin Chen heard Xing Conglian reply to the reporters, “I’m sorry. The case is currently under investigation. No comment.”
Other than that, Xing Conglian refused to say anything else.
The media was annoyed by the police attitude. One bold reporter holding a microphone with the logo of Hongjing TV station stepped forward and yell. “Then we have to write that a police spokesperson said the police investigation is going nowhere.”
Xing Conglian smiled. “Ah, I’m afraid that’s not good.”
“Then you must tell us some information so we can also report on it.”
“Well, that’s…” Xing Conglian prolonged his tone. On the far side of the road, the siren of the traffic police sounded.
Someone among the crowd shouted, “Don’t ticket us. We’ll move right now.”
The reporters who were originally surrounding them recovered one after another and looked at the side of the road outside the courtyard. After all, businesses were all about increasing income and cutting costs. Most of the reporters present were responsible for their own vehicles. Seeing that they were going to get ticketed, they all hurried to their cars and shouted as loudly as they could, “Please wait a moment!”
“I’ll move my car. Don’t ticket! Don’t ticket!”
For a moment, the number of people besieging them decreased by more than half.
While the reporters were distracted, Xing Conglian deftly fended off the rest of the reporters, took them out of the encirclement, and entered the hospital building.
“Captain, I must remember Li Jingtian for this grudge!”
Even though Xing Conglian had already handled more than half of the reporters, Wang Chao’s black t-shirt was still caught in the mess. His beloved black cap would most likely not have survived if he hadn’t grabbed it ahead of time.
When they entered the inpatient building, it got much easier to handle. The security guard would block off the reporters on the grounds that they were disturbing the patients.
Standing in the elevator, Lin Chen felt a lingering fear.
Although they were only blocked by the local media, there were more people waiting for the progress of the case, both online and in real life. They were constantly discussing, debating, and expressing their views on the matter.
Thinking of this, Lin Chen once again felt those invisible external pressures would likely become a real obstacle to the progress of their investigation.
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