Luo Wenzhou lazily lay on the hospital bed. Due to his prison escape experience, he was placed under strict supervision. He faintly heard Tao Ran and the doctor talking. After a while, the doctor left, and the door of the ward creaked open, followed by the sound of soft-soled shoes.

Luo Wenzhou started reciting his lines without looking back, “I can’t make it. You must… find a good person to marry soon. Marry someone else, but don’t mistreat a poor guy, a guy who grew up without a mother…”

Tao Ran seemed to have choked on something and coughed heavily.

Luo Wenzhou sensed that something was off with the sound and quickly turned his head, only to see Deputy Director Lu standing there with his hands behind his back.

Deputy Director Lu answered kindly, “I would like to, but it’s hard to find a suitable match for an old vegetable dish like me!”

Luo Wenzhou: “…”

He quickly propped himself up on the bed and said, “Director Lu.”

Lu Youliang placed his briefcase aside, sat down confidently, and ran his hand through his crew cut. Pointing to his head, he said, “See this? Those little brats made me age half a head overnight.”

Luo Wenzhou and Tao Ran sat and stood, not daring to make a sound.

“This morning, I was summoned for questioning, and then I went to meet Wang Hongliang,” Lu Youliang sighed. “That old guy Wang Hongliang clung to my sleeve, shedding tears as he claimed severe leadership responsibility for lax supervision and requested lenient treatment from the organization. It’s simply…”

In front of the younger generation, Lu Youliang, as a well-mannered leader, held back the curse that followed.

He shook his head heavily. “Have Huang Jinglian and his gang confessed anything?”

“Two teams are taking turns interrogating them,” Tao Ran said. “Let’s see how long they can hold up. In addition, we have applied to investigate Wang Hongliang’s personal assets. However, from the current situation, his assets have likely been transferred long ago, and there doesn’t seem to be any issue on the surface.”

“We need to get to the bottom of this and catch him by the tail. This case requires solid evidence. We must handle it properly; otherwise, we won’t be able to explain it to anyone.”

Upon hearing this, Luo Wenzhou suddenly had a thought. “Director Lu, what about Director Zhang?”

The sub-bureau had made such a big mistake, and Director Zhang was the one truly responsible for the inadequate supervision. Zhang Donglai was also entangled in another murder case and couldn’t be cleared of suspicion.

Without further explanation, Lu Youliang sighed and placed his hand on Luo Wenzhou’s shoulder.

Then he turned to Tao Ran and asked, “What about the case involving He Zhongyi? What’s the connection between the two cases?”

Tao Ran wasn’t as relaxed as Luo Wenzhou and didn’t dare to joke around with anyone. He stood up straight against the wall and said, “We arrested the suspect Zhao Haochang early this morning. We found a pair of gloves in his pocket, which had iron filings and paint stains on them. The suspect likely used these gloves to tamper with the safety railing on the top floor of the Twin Towers. However, he’s cunning and only admits to loosening the railing for a ‘prank,’ denying any involvement in other matters. Furthermore, he claims to have an alibi for the night of May 20th.”

Lu Youliang asked, “Don’t you have solid evidence that the victim was seen on Wenchang Road on the night of the 20th?”

“The surveillance only captured the victim getting off at the Wenchang Road intersection, and his whereabouts were lost after that,” Tao Ran said. “As for Zhao Haochang’s colleagues, they claim he was working late at the company, so we can’t say he killed someone just because the victim passed by his company. We have the surveillance footage, but we haven’t revealed it to Zhao Haochang—he’s a lawyer, although not specializing in criminal law, he’s smart, and he may be able to figure out our trump card on the spot, leaving us in a passive position.”

Luo Wenzhou smiled bitterly. He felt that Fei Du and Zhao Hongchang were two scoundrels who shared a similar mindset. The idea of an alibi was the same. “Can Wang Xiujuan identify him?”

“The victim, Wang Xiujuan, said the person who picked her up that night was wearing sunglasses, a mask, and a wig, and had changed clothes. It’s difficult to confirm their appearance,” Tao Ran paused. “We showed her Zhao Haochang’s photo, but she didn’t seem to have any impression. The situation is similar at the car rental company. We found the wig and clothes used by the suspect in the abandoned rental car but couldn’t extract any fingerprints. As for the next step, should we consider arranging a polygraph test?”

“We can prepare for it,” Luo Wenzhou thought for a moment. “But it’s not urgent. There’s still one doubt we haven’t clarified—what’s the connection between the He Zhongyi case and the sub-bureau’s case?”

Before Tao Ran could speak, his phone suddenly vibrated twice.

Lu Youliang and Luo Wenzhou looked at him together, and Tao Ran raised his head. “We have some bad news and a clue that may or may not be useful. The bad news is that the bloodstains on Zhang Donglai’s tie were confirmed to be from the victim, He Zhongyi.”

Lu Youliang’s expression became somewhat serious as he stood up.

Luo Wenzhou: “What about the clue?”

“The clue is that Wang Xiujuan just remembered the person in the photo. She said he looks a lot like a boy named ‘Zhao Fengnian’ from their village, but he has changed so much that she didn’t recognize him at first.”

Zhao Fengnian, the older brother.

Luo Wenzhou was about to stand up, but halfway through, he almost bent over. “S-s…someone told me that the killer is likely to have a criminal record. We need to investigate the connection between ‘Zhao Fengnian’ and ‘Zhao Haochang’ and focus on whether there are any cases of unnatural death or unresolved incidents around him!”

Lu Youliang repeated the phrase “someone told me” and frowned. “By the way, I heard that the owner of the ‘brave act’ car later purchased the full broadcast rights for the closing ceremony of the Flower Market East District ‘Skylight’ for the entire five minutes. How much did the broadcast rights cost?”

“He said the rehearsal broadcast rights didn’t cost much,” Tao Ran answered honestly, “not as expensive as his car.”

Lu Youliang suddenly felt that the few remaining black hairs on his head were turning white on their own.

“You guys in the Criminal Investigation Team…” The old man calculated the amount he had heard and felt his blood pressure rising. He carefully asked, “Do you know the situation? Is there any trouble in the ‘personal love life’ of any female comrades?”

Luo Wenzhou and Tao Ran looked at each other, speechless.

Lu Youliang thought about all the young female officers in the Criminal Investigation Team, uncertainly asking, “Could it be Xiao Lang?”

After he finished speaking, even he felt that Xiao Lang, that idiot, couldn’t attract a domineering CEO. When he looked at Luo Wenzhou, Lu Youliang recalled some “secrets” that were still hard to accept. He suddenly widened his eyes, pointed at Luo Wenzhou, and asked, “Could it be you, you little brat?”

Luo Wenzhou immediately said, “No, it’s an ancient, ancient injustice!”

Lu Youliang’s blood pressure hadn’t come down yet, and he pointed at Luo Wenzhou without a word. “Time is tight, and the task is heavy. Whoever causes trouble at a critical moment, be careful!”

After Tao Ran sent away the angry leader and returned to the ward, he found Luo Wenzhou secretly smoking with the window open.

“Where did you get that?”

“Found it in Old Lu’s pocket,” Luo Wenzhou said. “Hey, are we brothers? I need to run later, so can you cover for me?”

Tao Ran’s temples throbbed. “What are you going to do again?”

“Chen Yuan—she’s the sister of that kid who drives a black car. About half a month before her mysterious death, she had a phone call with a girl she hadn’t contacted for a long time. I always felt that the call was unusual, so I want to find her and learn more about it.”

Tao Ran helplessly said, “Do you have to do it today?”

“The sooner, the better. The pressure at the bureau is too high,” Luo Wenzhou flicked the cigarette ash. “Tao Ran scrutinized their captain’s appearance, wanting to say a few words but felt it was pointless. He had no choice but to compromise. “Fine, what’s the girl’s name, and what does she do?”

“Cui Ying, a student at Yanshi Political and Legal Research Institute.”

Tao Ran suddenly paused. “Yanshi Political and Legal? Was the deceased Chen Yuan also from Yanshi Political and Legal?”

“What’s wrong?” Luo Wenzhou asked.

“Zhao Haochang is also a graduate of Yanshi Political and Legal!” Tao Ran quickly said, “Last year, it seems like he was invited by their mentor and worked as a social practice instructor for a while!”

Luo Wenzhou extinguished the cigarette on the windowsill. “Damn it, let’s go!”

Meanwhile, in another ward, Lang Qiao listened attentively to He’s mother and Wang Xiujuan’s conversation.

Fei Du was on the side, wearing disposable gloves, peeling an apple. He shouldn’t be here, but since Wang Xiujuan’s failed suicide attempt and the subsequent fright, her emotions had been unstable. She became a “child” who needed a “guardian” present to speak a complete sentence.

Fei Du became her temporary “guardian.”

Lang Qiao asked softly, “Did He Zhongyi ever mention meeting Zhao Fengnian in Yancheng to you?”

He’s mother shook her head slightly.

“Regarding this Zhao Fengnian, do you remember anything else? Did he not return to the village for many years?”

He’s mother glanced at Fei Du.

Fei Du didn’t interrupt and smiled encouragingly at her. He cut the peeled apple into small pieces and placed them on a disposable plate, then inserted two toothpicks and placed them between the two women. “It’s dry, replenish some vitamins.”

“He didn’t come back. There’s no one left in his family.” He’s mother’s voice was somewhat hoarse as she spoke slowly.

“Their family originally had a father who was crippled and a mother who was mute. Besides him, they also had three children—two girls and one boy. They were in a difficult situation, but they finally managed to raise one child who went to college. Everyone thought that good fortune was coming, but one winter night, a village fool was locked outside by his family. He had nowhere to go, so he wandered around and started a fire to keep warm. Unintentionally, he set ablaze the big tree at the entrance of the Zhao family’s courtyard. It was a windy night, and the fire crackled, but everyone was asleep and didn’t notice. The fool was unaware and didn’t know to seek help… The burning tree snapped in the middle and fell, collapsing the house. The entire family… except the eldest son Fengnian, who wasn’t at home at the time, perished. It was a tragic scene.”