Two traffic police motorcycles cleared the way in front, and the S450 followed swiftly, running through more than ten red lights with the momentum of an F1 race car, attracting countless people to take photos along the way.

“Drive steady!” Jiang Ting shouted amidst the numerous flashes, “Two billion ransom doesn’t seem like a kidnapping. Don’t be so anxious!”

Yan Yi zoomed through the bustling urban area, maneuvering through emergency avoidance at intersections. “We can’t be slow! What if that idiot really dares to ask for two billion?!”

The engine roared like a beast’s growl, and the horn buzzed with constant traffic updates. Jiang Ting leaned forward and shouted loudly in Yan Yi’s ear, word by word, “But they wouldn’t use animal blood to scare people. It’s impossible!”

Swoosh—the S450 rushed into the slowly opening safety gate of the municipal bureau, like a blue lightning bolt, and then came to a sudden stop in front of the Criminal Investigation Building.

Jiang Ting lunged forward, but fortunately, Yan Yi reached out and stopped him before he could be strangled by the seatbelt.

“You can tell it’s animal blood just by looking at the picture?” Yan Yi stared at him intently.

In the cramped cabin, their faces were almost touching. Yan Yi’s strong hand was still hovering in front of Jiang Ting, but the latter didn’t pay much attention to these details.

“… " Jiang Ting finally let out a breath, saying, “It’s just a logical inference based on behavior. No solid evidence for now.”

Yan Yi grabbed a hat from the glove compartment, put it on Jiang Ting’s head, and opened a bag of anti-smog masks. He personally covered Jiang Ting’s face and hung the loops over his ears.

“You, go to my office and wait. Snacks and pastries are in the bottom drawer on the left side.” Yan Yi warned in a low voice, “Don’t wander around if there’s nothing to do. If someone sees you, I won’t be able to save you.”

After saying that, Yan Yi turned and got out of the car, closing the door neatly.

Bang!

“… " Jiang Ting murmured, “Can’t you let me go back?”

“Captain Yan!” “Brother Yan!”

Yan Yi strode through the corridor, and Ma Xiang rushed towards him. Before his footsteps came to a stop, he rattled off like a machine gun, “The reporting parties are a couple. The man, Shen De, forty-three years old; the woman, Yin Jindie, forty-one years old. Their missing son is Shen Xiaoqi, fifteen years old, just graduated from junior high school, and went on an outing with his classmates after the final exams. They last contacted his parents yesterday evening. At twelve noon today, Mr. and Mrs. Shen received an anonymous call from the kidnapper, claiming to have Shen Xiaoqi in their hands and demanding a two billion ransom.”

Ma Xiang had also come to the municipal bureau hastily. He was wearing a graffiti T-shirt, ripped jeans, and had several blackened silver skull and crossbones pendants hanging around his neck. Yan Yi couldn’t help but glance at him and ask, “What are you here for?”

“Although you don’t know what I’m here for, I know what you just did.” Ma Xiang chuckled, “Congratulations on collecting the 108th card of ‘I Only Treat You as My Brother’. Yan Ge, tonight you can summon the divine dragon.”

“Don’t joke around!” Yan Yi reprimanded in a low voice, “Did they locate the phone number?”

“Forget it, it’s a dial-up connection. Director Huang is personally leading the team to trace the IP location server.”

“Is there a recording of the kidnapper’s phone call?”

“According to the parents’ words, they thought it was a scam when they received the call and nearly had a heart attack afterward. Who would think of recording it?”

That was also understandable. Yan Yi’s tone grew slightly heavier, “—Are you sure it’s not someone playing a prank on the missing child’s parents or a new scam group?”

“It’s hard to say whether it’s a scam or not.” Ma Xiang shook his head with a wry smile, “According to Shen De, as soon as he received the ransom call, he immediately called his son, but Shen Xiaoqi’s phone has been turned off the whole time, and there’s been no news.”

“—Two billion.” Yan Yi whispered, whether to Ma Xiang or himself, “The kidnapper made the call just when the missing child’s phone was turned off.”

“Captain Yan! Captain Yan!” A technical detective ran over from a distance, gasping for breath, “Director Huang’s results are out. Shen Xiaoqi’s phone is in an active state! There’s an ongoing call!”

Yan Yi’s footsteps came to a halt.

“Huh?” Ma Xiang blurted out, “An ongoing call?”

The mother of the Shen family was overjoyed, wiping her tears and holding Deputy Director Wei’s hand, explaining, “After the junior high school exams, the students organized an outing, so we went along! We’re usually busy with our business and don’t know his classmates well. We just wanted to report it as soon as possible…”

“It’s alright, it’s alright. Hey, don’t cry, don’t cry.” Deputy Director Wei, wearing beach shorts and flip-flops, had his fishing gear piled up in the corner of the meeting room. Old Wei was probably cursing in his mind, but he still appeared amiable and dignified on the surface. “The people trust our public security. They thought of reporting it immediately, which shows their trust in our work! You guys, take this lady to the office and record a statement, have her sign, and that’ll be it…”

Two police officers led the angry Shen father and the grateful Shen mother out. As soon as the door closed, everyone collectively breathed a sigh of relief.

“Two billion, underage, kidnapping, murder.” Deputy Director Wei sighed, full of regrets. “I thought we had secured the first-class merit this year.”

The atmosphere became lively, and everyone relaxed and joked with each other. Only Yan Yi, with his hand on his chin, hadn’t relaxed his furrowed brow since he entered the municipal bureau.

“What’s wrong with you?” Deputy Director Wei patted his shoulder, clearly in a good mood. “Why do you look so gloomy and disheveled?”

Yan Yi said, “I still feel something’s off.”

“What’s off?”

“… Can’t put my finger on it, but it feels eerie everywhere. Did you see Shen De making the phone call to his son just now?”

Deputy Director Wei chuckled, “Could that be fake? I’ve been in criminal investigation for so many years. Do you think you, a little brat like you, can teach me this bit of scheming?”

Yan Yi’s doubts seemed to have not eased, murmuring, “… Two billion.”

“I think you look like you’re worth two billion!” Deputy Director Wei didn’t bother explaining much, casually scolding him, “With your primping and preening all day, spraying perfume on yourself for no reason. Who finds that pleasing to the eye!”

The two of them walked out of the conference room side by side. Yan Yi smelled his cuffs as he walked, feeling a bit unjust about the baseless accusations he had endured. “I was preparing for a blind date, and then the bureau calls me. Well, that’s it. I had a good conversation with the daughter of a real estate tycoon, but it blew up. And you say I spray perfume. I didn’t even complain about how the bureau probably ruined my chances of getting out of being single…”

Before he finished speaking, Deputy Director Wei kicked him, and Yan Yi spat blood as he fell to the ground.

“You brat, you think you can outplay us old folks?” Deputy Director Wei took out his phone, opened WeChat, and showed it in front of Yan Yi.

Wei Laoyao, always solving cases: “Little bro, urgent major case at the municipal bureau. I have to call Xiao Yan back.”

Beautiful and aging Ceng Cuicui: “Go ahead! Today, the daughter of the real estate tycoon you were supposed to go on a blind date with rejected him again. This useless guy, my husband and I have decided to return this waste son to society!”

Wei Laoyao: [Thumbs up] [Thumbs up] [Thumbs up]

“Your mom really is your mom,” Deputy Director Wei sighed sincerely, slinging his beloved fishing rod over his shoulder and leaving.

Today, the detectives on their day off hurriedly rushed to the municipal bureau from all directions, and then dispersed like a swarm of bees. The tense atmosphere that was present in the corridors moments ago quickly dissipated.

Yan Yi, filled with anger toward socialism, was planning to find someone to vent to when he pushed open the office door and froze. “Oh!”

Jiang Ting was sitting in the swivel chair behind the large desk, with the table piled with various snacks. Yan Yi had sent someone downstairs to the convenience store to buy biscuits, preserved plums, cupcakes, and puffed snacks, among others, but unfortunately, they were mostly unopened. Only half a packet of Oreo strawberry-filled cookies had been eaten, with the rest left somewhere.

“You came here to have afternoon tea with me?” Yan Yi stuffed the remaining half of the strawberry cookie into his mouth, speaking indistinctly. “Are you too picky? It seems that even the highest level of service at the Jianning Public Security Bureau convenience store can’t satisfy you, tut tut.”

Jiang Ting was busy checking his phone, not even looking up. “What about the kidnapping case?”

“Fck, don’t know which dumba** is pretending to be all high and mighty there.” Yan Yi briefly recounted the incident and said in an annoyed tone, “The case has been returned to the sub-bureau. Let the technical investigators at the sub-bureau continue tracing the IP address of the extortion call and the source of the bloodstained clothes. Hopefully, we can catch that son of a btch. It’ll be a relief for everyone.”

Jiang Ting’s fingers paused, and he suddenly said, “There’s something strange about this.”

Yan Yi stood behind the desk, looking at Jiang Ting’s dark hair and noticed a hint of peculiarity in his eyes. “Tell me, what’s strange?”

“If it’s a scam, the ransom is too large. Plus, Shen Xiaoqi quickly reestablished contact with his family. The scam would be too easily exposed. But if it’s just a prank, it seems excessively sophisticated.”

Jiang Ting finally placed his phone on the desk and leaned back in his chair. “Even if you were kidnapped, the ransom would max out at twenty million. Any more than that would be difficult to take away in the first place, and the family would definitely report it. For a family like Shen Xiaoqi’s, who runs their own business, two hundred million would be a relatively easy sum to come up with. As long as they ensure the safety of the hostage, the probability of the parents choosing to pay the ransom instead of reporting it is almost one hundred percent.”

Yan Yi crossed his arms. “So, what’s your feeling about it?”

Jiang Ting’s fingertips lightly tapped against each other rhythmically. After a long time, he slowly said, “Two billion… It feels like it’s intentionally drawing the attention of the police.”

Yan Yi had already gone through the same analysis in his mind, but he didn’t want to show his agreement to Jiang Ting. So, he just chuckled but remained silent. However, the last sentence did catch him off guard. “Drawing the attention of the police? Why?”

“It’s just a psychological speculation. I’m not the kidnapper,” Jiang Ting lazily replied as he picked up his phone from the table.

Yan Yi: “…”

Suddenly, Yan Yi’s sharp vision caught something, and he grabbed Jiang Ting’s wrist. “Wait! What are you browsing?”

Jiang Ting’s lips, which usually relaxed and drooped, suddenly defied gravity and showed a barely noticeable hint of a subtle upward curve. “Weibo.”

“This is clearly…”

“Congratulations,” Jiang Ting turned the phone screen around and showed it to Yan Yi. “You’re trending.”

Real-time hot search—Explosive news! Jiangning traffic police clearing the way for a luxury car, speeding through the city, running over more than ten red lights!

Hot comments: “It’s not a military or government vehicle, Jiangning’s wealthy folks are impressive.” “Who’s the young master of this family? Even fire trucks can’t drive as fast!” “Why drive a shabby Mercedes-Benz? It would be much better to drive a Bugatti Veyron around the provincial government!” “Maybe the car owner is from the provincial government?”

Yan Yi: “…………”

“Ignore them. Your car isn’t shabby,” Jiang Ting comforted him, calmly taking back his phone and opening an online Go game that he usually played. Then, he suddenly remembered something. “Do you really own a Bugatti?”

“…” Yan Yi replied woodenly, “If you want it, you can have it. I can pay the betrothal gifts.”

Jiang Ting called a taxi while focusing intently. “Save the money and withdraw from the hot search.”

“Ai, ai, okay, I’ll find someone to help you withdraw. You’re already an adult, yet you act recklessly without considering your own safety. It would have been better if you were a piece of roasted pork…”

Yan’s mother—Elderly and beautiful, Zeng Cuicui—hung up the phone and quickly asked someone for a favor. After a while of busying around, she finally had some free time and sighed deeply, feeling deeply moved from the bottom of her heart.

“It’s not as good as a piece of roasted pork. At least, you can cut it and eat the meat, or pour some eggs on it to make egg-fried rice!”

The atmosphere at the Yan family’s dining table was unusually heavy. Yan’s father closed the mini-report in front of him and put his reading glasses away, feeling both satisfied and a little dissatisfied. “She runs a KTV…”

Yan’s mother said coldly, “Based on your son’s taste, even if someone’s cheeks were carved like a snake demon, he could still claim they hadn’t had plastic surgery. Even if someone’s legs were as long as two meters, he could stubbornly insist that it was genetics. His aesthetic taste is naturally low. Should we blame you or blame me? And what’s wrong with running a KTV? She’s a career-oriented powerful woman! Look at her dress and taste. The improvement of the next generation’s genes relies on our daughter-in-law!”

Yan’s father couldn’t salvage his son’s reputation and weakly defended himself, “The restaurant manager said that the girl has someone already…”

“Even if the flower has an owner, I can still loosen the soil,” Yan’s mother reached out and took the mini-report, her eyes filled with kindness. “This girl clearly hasn’t shaved her cheekbones, undergone breast augmentation, or had her nose bridge filled. This daughter-in-law is truly satisfactory. If our son decides to loosen the soil, I’ll fully support him with a 24k gold-plated iron shovel!”

“I still think the girl from the real estate group that he went on a blind date with today was better. She knows her roots…” Yan’s father’s voice grew quieter under his wife’s glare.

“Lao Yan,” Yan’s mother said coldly.

Yan’s father raised his hands in surrender. “Ai.”

“When your son was eighteen, I thought he was more than suitable for a princess. At twenty-five, I thought it would be enough for him to find a girl from a good family and settle down. By the time he turned thirty, my pitiful request had lowered to just any woman, alive, and younger than me.”

Yan’s mother took out a white book from her bag and slammed it heavily in front of Yan’s father, filled with anguish and frustration. “And now? I’ve already started self-studying ‘Research on **Marriage Laws’! What else can I ask for? Besides supporting him with a gold-plated iron shovel, what else can I do?!”

Yan’s father said, “Well said!” and applauded for his wife.

Muttering in annoyance, Yan’s mother picked up the white book and headed to the kitchen. Just as she was about to throw it in the trash bin, she suddenly stopped and a vivid picture of her son’s past achievements in the matchmaking wars flashed through her mind, like an epic tale of the Normandy landing.

“…Eight or nine times out of ten, it’ll still come in handy,” Yan’s mother said.

Then she returned to the study and carefully tucked away the book “Research on **Marriage Laws” into the bookshelf.

·

“One bowl of sweet porridge, two custard buns, here you go—Oh, isn’t this Captain Yan? You came in person today?”

Under the setting sun, at the entrance of the municipal bureau, Yan Yi took the steaming plastic bag from the owner of the steamed bun shop and chuckled a couple of times.

“Isn’t your usual order four meat buns and two side dishes? Why the change in taste today? Trying something new? Or are you getting it for someone else?”

“…Getting it for someone else.”

“Ah!” The bun shop owner detected the scent of gossip and leaned in sneakily. “Who’s the lucky lady that the mighty Captain Yan is doing favors for?”

Yan Yi dryly replied, “Someone like that.”

“Is she pretty?”

The bun shop owner wore an expression that seemed to say, “As long as you reveal a couple of things, I’ll give it to you for free.” Unfortunately, the next moment, Yan Yi slapped some money onto his chest, with a smile that didn’t reach his eyes. “Very, very pretty, the King of Detectives.”

The owner’s mouth immediately formed a round “Ohhh,” but before they could continue questioning, Yan Yi turned and walked away.

Why am I being sent out to buy food for Jiang Ting, who secretly loves me?

Yan’s deputy squad leader, who had personally visited the steamed bun shop no more than ten times in the past few years, entered the gate of the municipal bureau with a bag of non-sticky