The police car blared its siren, speeding through the congested streets in the evening rush hour, attracting the curious gazes of numerous pedestrians as it headed towards the hospital.

“The author of ‘Obious’ is Australian chemist Arthur Birch, most famous for the Birch reduction reaction named after him. ‘Description of the Large-Scale Production Method of Amorphous Phosphorus’ is a work published by Austrian chemist Ent Schlett in 1848. Schlett’s main achievement was the discovery that heating white phosphorus in an inert gas at 250 degrees Celsius produces the red isomer, known as red phosphorus. ‘Terpenes and Camphor’ was written by Otto Wallach, the recipient of the 1910 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He also has another discovery named after himself called the Leuckart-Wallach reaction, which involves the reduction amination of carbonyl compounds with ammonia or amines.”

Yan Yin gripped the steering wheel and glanced at his passenger, unable to resist asking, “What does this have to do with the kidnapping?”

“The Birch reduction reaction, the reduction method of red phosphorus, and the Leuckart-Wallach reaction have one thing in common,” Jiang Ting raised his head from Chu Ci’s notes and said, “They are the three main methods currently used by drug production gangs in the synthesis of methamphetamine.”

Yan Yin, who was driving, remained silent.

Han Xiaomei in the back seat also fell silent.

Both of them had expressions of sudden realization.

“But this implication is too academic. Even his mentor didn’t catch on. Are you sure you didn’t misunderstand?” Han Xiaomei couldn’t help but ask. “Is there any possibility that he himself was involved in drug production and was looking for these reference books?”

Jiang Ting’s response was calm. “There is no such possibility. There are two main reasons: methamphetamine production is very simple, and someone with Chu Ci’s exceptional talent in chemistry wouldn’t need to refer to any materials. He could likely synthesize it in his own kitchen. That’s the first reason.”

“The second reason is that I looked at Chu Ci’s notes. He has a mild anxiety disorder, which manifests as a compulsion to stop his pen strokes precisely on the ruled lines of the notebook when writing ‘|’. For example, the second stroke of ’t’ always aligns with the horizontal line, forming an extremely precise right angle. If you look at all his notes, you’ll find that every vertical line is the same. If the right angle is not straight enough, he would forcibly make corrections.”

There was a rustling sound from the back seat. Han Xiaomei looked up, astonished. “That’s true!”

“It’s quite normal,” Jiang Ting said. “Chu Ci lives in a highly stressful environment. Papers, experiments, pursuing a Ph.D. Every year, he must receive the highest award. His roommate, Feng Yuguang, has made him mentally strained from the lack of proper rest. Emotional imbalance is almost tailor-made for people like him. Having a bit of OCD is not surprising.”

He gestured to Han Xiaomei. “Take another look at your phone’s photo album.”

Han Xiaomei didn’t understand why but opened the album. The latest few pictures were taken by Jiang Ting, showing the outlets of the storage tanks.

“By comparing them with Chu Ci’s experimental notes from this week, I found the storage tanks that he might have tampered with. I noticed that all the outlets were placed like vertical lines, precisely aligned with the edge of the floor tiles, forming accurate right angles. Yes, this is his compulsion. But look at the storage tanks that were partially stolen early this morning.”

Jiang Ting took the phone from Han Xiaomei and signaled to Yan Yin.

As Yan Yin drove, he leaned over and glanced at the phone screen.

The silver Mercedes swiftly changed lanes, cutting through the traffic like a surgical knife, precisely and mercilessly.

“These outlets were placed randomly,” Jiang Ting pointed at the photos in the album and said, “They were simply thrown on the ground after being used.”

“You have nice hands,” Yan Yin remarked casually.

Jiang Ting replied, “…”

There was a momentary blank expression on Jiang Ting’s face, and unexpectedly, Han Xiaomei in the back seat almost exploded like a firework in the sky.

Yan Yin’s gaze returned to the road ahead. “In other words, it is highly likely that the person who stole the controlled chemicals is not Chu Ci but that he was framed?”

“…,” Jiang Ting said, “…Hmm.”

The police car in front rushed through the red light and entered the hospital’s main entrance. Yan Yin changed lanes, turned without braking, and stopped smoothly in front of the emergency department like a flash of lightning.

Yan Yin pushed open the door and got out of the car. Several detectives had already jumped out of the car in front, attracting the attention and sparking discussions among doctors, nurses, and family members of patients, who cast nervous glances from all directions.

Yan Yin said, “But there’s one thing I don’t understand.”

He walked briskly towards the emergency building, with the detectives following closely behind. Jiang Ting, who was originally walking at a steadier pace than ordinary people, fell even further behind. Yan Yin grabbed him, almost half dragging him forward.

“The triangulation done by the technical investigation team showed that Chu Ci’s last call was received near the warehouse. With the current advances in criminal investigation technology, the positioning error can be accurate within a range of no more than twenty meters.” Yan Yin pressed close to Jiang Ting’s ear and asked, “—You’re saying he was framed. But why did he go to the warehouse in the middle of the night? Could he have been coerced all the way?”

Jiang Ting furrowed his brow, his face clearly shifting in another direction. Yan Yin forcefully brought it back, making him face him head-on.

“If he was coerced, it’s impossible for there to be no commotion. He entered the warehouse on his own,” Jiang Ting finally gave up after a few rounds of this tug of war, reluctantly saying, “If your forensics expert managed to extract traces of Chu Ci’s DNA from the back of the victim, Nian Bowen’s head, then it would be enough to prove that Chu Ci himself was responsible for the destruction of the surveillance and power systems yesterday evening.”

The elevator door chimed as it closed slowly. Yan Yin pursued, “Why did he go to the warehouse?”

The hospital elevator was extremely spacious, and with several detectives inside, there was plenty of room. Everyone instinctively looked at the metal walls, stealing glances at Yan Yin and Jiang Ting from different angles.

In a low voice, Jiang Ting asked, “Can you not stand so close while talking?”

Immediately, Yan Yin furrowed his thick and sharp eyebrows, “Why? What’s abnormal? Are you a little girl?”

Jiang Ting remained silent.

At this moment, Yan Yin found Jiang Ting particularly adorable. It was adorable how he handed over the suspect to the police, how he analyzed various clues in the kidnapping case, and even his current desperate attempt to turn his head away. So Yan Yin encouraged him with a tender tone, “Keep going, my police beauty.”

Jiang Ting was not short. In a place where the average height tended to be medium, he stood out at 1.8 meters.

However, as an intellectually inclined player who was still weak from his recent illness, he couldn’t compare in physique to Yan Yin. It was fine if they didn’t stand so close, but once they were pressed together, the difference between the detective team leader and the long-legged police beauty was painfully obvious.

Jiang Ting pressed his forehead but Yan Yin was sure that at this moment, he wanted to press down and throttle not his own forehead but his own throat.

“On May 5th, after Chu Ci came to the municipal bureau for questioning, he returned to the chemical company. Suddenly, he abandoned the experiment he had been working on and began conducting many tests related to solution density. That day was when he learned of Feng Yuguang’s murder, and Chu Ci’s transformation was triggered by this event.”

Yan Yin asked, “What did he intend to do?”

The elevator came to a stop, and the metal doors opened slowly.

Jiang Ting finally broke free from Yan Yin’s grasp, adjusted his clothes, and said in a deep voice, “He wanted to verify if Feng Yuguang’s death was related to certain secrets within the chemical company.”

Jiang Ting strode out of the elevator, Yan Yin quickened his pace to walk beside him, and several policemen followed closely behind, traversing the bustling corridors of the hospital building.

“What are you doing? Can the police just arrest people like this? Huh? Can the police just handcuff people at will?!” Roaring came from the emergency room at the end of the corridor. “I’m a patient, a victim! Is this how you treat me! I’m going to file a complaint against all of you!”

A group of people crowded outside the emergency room. The whispered voices of “What’s going on?” and “The police nowadays are really overbearing” could be heard clearly from a distance.

“Make way, make way. Please, let the crowd make way, ha!”

Detectives forcefully separated the crowd, and Yan Yin pushed open the door. Jiang Ting didn’t even slow down his pace and walked directly into the emergency room.

Inside, a burly man wrapped in bandages was handcuffed to a hospital bed. He must be Diao Yong, the injured security supervisor. Guo Li stood guard in the room with two junior interns. Under Diao Yong’s unjust accusations and the relentless comments from the crowd that not even the door could block, everyone’s faces were a mixture of anger and embarrassment.

“Lao Yan!”

“Brother Yan!”

As soon as Diao Yong saw Yan Yin, knowing that his superior had arrived, his voice suddenly grew louder. “Who doesn’t know that once you enter the public security bureau, you won’t come out without losing a layer of skin? The police can’t solve the case and instead blame us innocent common folk! Do you officials not know how many dark secrets there are?!”

An intern officer interrupted him, “You—”

The detective yelled to clear the crowd from the corridor, trying to close the door of the emergency room, but unexpectedly, Jiang Ting said to Yan Yin, “Let them keep the door open.”

Yan Yin whispered, “Are you sure you can handle it?”

Jiang Ting nodded.

Yan Yin gestured to his subordinates, indicating for two detectives to guard the door.

Now the onlookers were all excited. They craned their necks and vied to get a look inside. The discussions of “Are the police arbitrarily arresting people?” and “Did they accept bribes?” continued unabated, like a bustling marketplace.

Diao Yong rattled his handcuffs, his face flushed, his neck thick. There was no sign that he had been unconscious for several hours after being struck by a flashlight. “I am a witness, I am innocent! Instead of arresting the thief and recovering the controlled chemical materials, why are you keeping me here?!”

Jiang Ting gave an order, “Loosen his handcuffs.”

The police officers were stunned, and the intern officer almost blurted out, “What?” But after looking around and seeing Yan Yin’s approving expression, he hesitantly approached and used the key to unlock Diao Yong’s handcuffs.

“Diao Yong?” Jiang Ting confirmed.

Diao Yong rubbed his hands and replied grumpily, “Yes! I’m telling you police…”

“I saw how forcefully you yelled just now, so I assume standing up shouldn’t be a problem for you.”

“…,” Diao Yong warily asked, “What do you want?”

Jiang Ting ignored his attitude and said calmly, “I read your statement. At 2:30 am this morning, when you were patrolling near the warehouse, you discovered the suspect Chu Ci in the act of theft. You approached to stop him but were stabbed with a fruit knife during the struggle. After falling to the ground, you were hit on the head. Is that correct?”

Diao Yong staunchly defended himself, “Yes! I never expected him to have a knife and be so skilled with it.”

“What kind of knife was it? Approximately how long was it? Did the blade have a curve?”

“Just… a regular fruit knife, quite small,” Diao Yong gestured with his hand, “about this long, no curve.”

Jiang Ting casually picked up a ballpoint pen left by the bedside doctor, “Would it be roughly similar to this?”

Without hesitation, Diao Yong nodded.

“If I ask Mr. Diao to reenact the situation at the time of the incident, would that be okay?”

Diao Yong swallowed and said, “Of course, of course, no problem!”

Jiang Ting gestured for Han Xiaomei to come forward through several police officers.

“Ah?” Han Xiaomei hesitated slightly, then walked forward and took the pen.

With the help of an intern officer, Diao Yong got up from the bed and stood facing Han Xiaomei.

Jiang Ting stood with his arms crossed by their side and asked, “How far was the suspect from you at that time, like this distance?”

The difference between Jiang Ting and the other detectives was that his voice was lighter, deeper, and slightly hoarse, indicating poor health. But each word was articulated clearly, creating an indescribable sense of composure.

Diao Yong surveyed the distance and grunted, “It’s… about right.”

“What were your actions at that time?”

“I walked over and asked who was there. When he heard my voice, he immediately stood up and turned off the flashlight. I… I knew he wasn’t a good person, and I was a bit afraid, but I gathered my courage and rushed forward. Suddenly, I felt a pain…”

Diao Yong tilted his body slightly, opened his arms, and made a motion as if he were pouncing on Han Xiaomei.

Jiang Ting asked, “How did the suspect stab you? Please describe it to this policewoman.”

Diao Yong still had bandages around his ribs, so Han Xiaomei didn’t dare to actually touch him. She mimicked Diao Yong’s described posture and swung the ballpoint pen from top to bottom, stopping just above the area where the stabbing occurred.

“Hold that pose and don’t move. Where’s the forensic camera?” Jiang Ting pointed and said, “Take a photo.”

The forensic team member who had been brought along specifically for crime scene photography and assisting with injury assessments quickly stepped forward and captured the postures of Diao Yong and Han Xiaomei.

The discussions in the corridor were unstoppable, buzzing with excitement. Guo Li moved a few steps and approached Yan Yin, whispering, “Are you sure your friend can handle this? If he messes up later, we might be beaten to death by the angry crowd…”

Yan Yin didn’t respond.

Guo Li raised his head and unexpectedly saw that Yan Yin was staring intently at Jiang Ting, with an indescribable glimmer in his eyes.

“Lao Yan?”

“He’s right,” Yan Yin said in a low voice. “It’s such a simple logic, yet none of us thought about it.”

Guo Li: “???”

Diao Yong, after all, had an injury and was getting tired maintaining that posture. Annoyed, he asked Jiang Ting, “Is that enough now? Do you police have any other complaints?”

“No rush,” Jiang Ting calmly replied, then turned to Guo Li and asked, “How tall is Chu Ci?”

With just that one sentence, Guo Li suddenly understood everything!

“About the same height as you… or maybe a half head taller than Han Xiaomei!”

Jiang Ting approached, took the pen, and mimicked Han Xiaomei’s posture. However, instead of stopping just above the bandage like Han Xiaomei had done, he stopped above Diao Yong’s chest.

“The wound forms a triangular shape, with the spine of the knife on top and the blade pointing downward. So, if Chu Ci stood up and stabbed as you said, then I’d like to know how Chu Ci, who is half a head taller than the female officer, managed to stab so low while in a standing position. Did you magically grow 20 centimeters taller?”

Diao Yong’s face instantly turned pale.

Jiang Ting turned around and casually threw the pen aside. He heard Diao Yong trembling behind him, saying, “I, I remembered wrong! He didn’t fully stand up. It all happened so quickly, and I didn’t think it through when I made the statement…”

“You have many areas where you didn’t think it through,” Jiang Ting interrupted him, saying, “You mentioned that Chu Ci turned off the flashlight when he heard the sound, and the scene was very dark. So how did you manage to see that the weapon was an ordinary fruit knife, similar in length to a ballpoint pen, with almost no curve on the blade?”

“…!” Diao Yong completely lost his composure, trembling, and took a half step forward, only to be tackled to the ground by several young and energetic intern detectives.

“You must have made a mistake. I didn’t lie! Wait, I’m injured. I can apply for medical treatment outside of custody!…”

Diao Yong was still struggling vigorously while being held down by several police officers, blood seeping through the bandages, presenting a rather gruesome sight. However, Jiang Ting remained unaffected and casually said, “Take him away. He won’t die.”

“After we leave, leave two people here to check the phones and have the onlookers delete all photos and videos. Don’t let anything be uploaded online,” Yan Yin whispered his instructions to his subordinates. Then he turned to Jiang Ting and smirked, “Impressive, Yuan Fang.”

Jiang Ting shrugged his shoulders and ignored him.

Yan Yin followed behind him and asked, “But your deductions are based on the assumption that Diao Yong really didn’t prepare his statement properly. If he were a bit smarter and had prepared his testimony flawlessly in advance, how would we discover any inconsistencies?”

“In this world, there are no foolproof false testimonies, only detectives who aren’t meticulous enough,” Jiang Ting walked through the corridor, paying no attention to the countless gazes around him. His voice sounded calm and slightly muffled through the anti-smog mask, “The impact injury on Diao Yong’s head is relatively large. Even if it was caused by a flashlight, it would be a traditional household flashlight with a large caliber made of aluminum alloy. It would be inconvenient for Chu Ci, who was stealing chemicals in the warehouse, to carry such a large flashlight. That’s a suspicious point. Furthermore, no one can roar so vigorously after being unconscious for several hours, so the depth of the wound must be fake, and the edges of the wound might have been artificially abraded. Of course, the forensic examination will reveal the truth as well, but it may be delayed by half a day to a full day.”

They entered the elevator, and at the far end of the corridor, the detectives escorted the struggling and resentful Diao Yong out of the emergency room.

“That half a day or full day of delay might cost the life of the kidnapped victim,” Yan Yin murmured.

Jiang Ting made a noncommittal sound.

As the elevator doors closed and descended, Yan Yin suddenly said, “I heard applause outside just now.”

“…”

“It should be for you,” Yan Yin smiled at Jiang Ting.

However, to their surprise, Jiang Ting stood beside him, showing no expression on his face, so indifferent that it could be described as cold, “So what?”

“At least the onlookers who are cursing the police for wrongful arrests…” Yan Yin trailed off.

“Even if they’re moved, it won’t last more than five seconds,” Jiang Ting said calmly, “Let’s return to the bureau. We have another long night ahead of us.”

Yan Yin let out a sigh, “Yes.”

The elevator reached the first floor, the doors opened slowly, and a gust of wind rushed in. Side by side, the two of them walked outside.