Chapter 52: Closing In
As he shut the door, and image of Gu Shi’s stern expression when she had said “Our Officer Zhang” appeared before Zhang Chi. That tightly-knit brow, the slightly-parted thin lips.
Gu Shi usually didn’t say much. She would sit in the corner as the meeting started, pretending she didn’t exist. He was happy to see her again and again do what she normally didn’t do, speaking up either for himself or for the case over the last two days.
Maybe she had feelings for him but had not yet realized it herself?
On this trip their relationship was not explicit, but given Gu Shi’s slow-to-warm personality it had advanced by leaps and bounds, which was more than he could have hoped for.
Zhang Chi was excited, but he controlled himself and turned on the sports channel and watched the game to calm himself down, still constantly checking the time on his phone. At 7:45 he got his clothes together and headed downstairs.
He stood outside, smoking, taking slow drags as he kept looking left and right. But Gu Shi had still not appeared. He waited until 8:15, then went into the lobby. He was about to get on the elevator when the supervisor on duty stopped him. “Are you waiting for your girlfriend?”
Zhang Chi nodded, not bothering to explain.
The supervisor smiled conspiratorially. “Are you two quarreling? I saw her leave with a suitcase at 7:30.”
“She left? Why didn’t you say so earlier?”
“I didn’t see you when you came down. It’s normal for young people to fight. I’m sure you can work it out.”
Zhang Chi’s first reaction was, “Why didn’t she tell me?” But he quickly persuaded himself with the thought that Gu Shi was higher up than he, so there was no reason she needed to report to him.”
He wanted to call her directly and asked what happened, but he calmed down instead and went back to his room and calmly sent a text message: “Went back to Zhenghai?”
Gu Shi seemed to have been waiting for his message. She didn’t apologize for standing him up, but quickly shot back a message: “Yes.”
“Have an assignment?”
“Mm. You stay there.”
He looked at those four simple words and his sinking face gradually relaxed. This was Gu Shi’s style.
These few days, since the sudden change in her face at the start of the meetings to the ups and downs of her mood thereafter had given him the faint feeling that something was on her mind, like something big was about to happen, a kind of unreliable, unsettling feeling.
Now, at least he knew that she was safe. He would learn the rest of the details later. No hurry.
“Have a safe trip.” This was the last message he sent her.
If she had known there would be a police raid on the third day, Gu Shi would have controlled her emotions and not used an excuse for her hurried departure. No one could have predicted, like no one knew about her nightmarish past.
It was just that, this nightmare was remote and real. Countless times it had made her want to scream even in the middle of the day. Her only choice was to do what she was good at, and go to her familiar safe space whenever she was on the brink of collapse.
Zhang Chi’s sketch was quickly identified by the local residents and a call was put in to the special investigations team. A confidential plan was arranged and the operation was carried out quickly that night.
Zhang Chi was the first one named. He was the team’s youngest member, and he had displayed great talent in carrying out such an operation before, so naturally he bore the brunt of making the arrest.
He didn’t decline, and he couldn’t decline. He looked around. If they weren’t men from the older generation they were his older seniors. A bachelor like him at least right now had no cares about confronting danger. He would just be letting himself down.
He got a call from Gu Shi just as he was leaving the conference room. “I heard you are leading tonight?”
Zhang Chi looked around, puzzled. He wondered who her informant was. “You must be clairvoyant.”
There was silence on the other end. She was presumably refraining from mentioning things like the “high coefficient of danger”. The suspect they were after this time was extremely vicious, and they both knew it.
He heard a long, drawn out response on the other end. “You’ll come back okay, right?”
He felt his heart warm and his face become hot. His usual glib tongue this time was reduced now to a single sound: “Mm.”
Gu Shi hung up and sat in the garden for a long time. She had been spurred to make the call from the thought that “the case is counting on him”, but her tone had sounded like she was concerned for her boyfriend, not an ordinary coworker. What was that all about?
She thought carefully, but came up with only one answer——her hormones were acting up. She could still feel the lingering warmth on her shoulder from that night they had walked together in the rain. That day they had swam together was the first time she had been close enough to appreciate his healthy physique. She was a normally-functioning woman. Even though she didn’t want to admit it, she had noticed Zhang Chi’s unique male charisma.
She closed her eyes and smoothed her bangs, then walked quickly toward the criminal science building.
Captain Liu was waiting for her at the elevator. He stepped forward as soon as the door opened. “Little Gu, what you said was right. Challenging authority is secondary, but for the case we must be certain. From what you said, it’s reasonable that he would flatly deny it after the court summons.”
Gu Shi nodded calmly. “Based on footprint comparisons, I did some special research and came to the same conclusion. Professor used the conventional method of using the toes to arrange the composition.”
Whose method is better?”
“In my opinion, the most objective, practical method. The method I used this time is a measuring method I devised myself.”
“So where is the discrepancy? Is the data off by a lot?”
Gu Shi nodded without hesitation. “I used the suspect’s data and compared footprints at the scene of the crime. The toe bones, metatarsal bones, and heel bones are all have discrepancies. It’s not due to experimental error, it’s because the prints don’t belong to the same person.”
Captain Liu nodded, relieved. “I was waiting for you to say that, but we still have to insure the motive. I brought the person you said. Just waiting for you to collect the footprints and analyze them.”