Chapter 68: Entrusted
Zhang Chi shot up feet when he caught a glimpse of the shadow and took a step back to keep his distance from the newcomer.
The beam of his flashlight flickered twice as if it had been hit, then resumed a steady beam, shining on himself.
A familiar voice, still calm and measured, even out here in these dark, desolate outskirts. “Zhang Chi, it’s me.”
Zhang Chi’s eyes adjusted to the light and he saw it was Chen Ting wearing his uniform and carrying a toolbox, towering over him from the roadside.
“Since you’re here, why not help me out?” Zhang Chi still a bit unhappy about being snuck up on, especially at the scene of the explosion.
Chen Ting didn’t seem to notice anything amiss. He handed him a glass bottle. “You haven’t rested enough the past two days so your liver fire must be high. i brought you some chrysanthemum tea to reduce your internal heat.”
Zhang Chi saw how sincere he was and knew if he didn’t drink it Chen Ting would go on and on about Chinese medicine, so he took it and drank it all. Honey had been added to it so it was semi-sweet and refreshing.
“What, did you all find something?” Zhang Chi pointed at the toolbox. “All the tools of the trade brought out, seems there was nothing?”
“Earlier some experts said the key material evidence might be the batteries used to ignite the explosive. But we used our instruments and checked everywhere but found no important clues. Captain Liu said you were here. I had nothing to do so I thought I’d come see if I could lend a hand.”
Zhang Chi looked at him. “As I see it, the clues won’t be so easy to find. Inspecting three times is not near enough.”
“So then, what are you looking for? Do you have something in mind?”
“There were no traces of injury at the crime scene aside from our men and the squad car, and the fact that the explosion went off precisely as the car drove over it tells us the suspect was a safe distance away where he could directly see the police car and at the same time use a remote control device to set off the bomb.”
“The safe distance had to be at least eighty meters or more, otherwise it couldn’t have been done with this kind of homemade explosive.”
“So my guess is the suspect used a wire and a remote control to detonate it. Right?”
“Yes, all three groups of investigators are in agreement with that.”
“Then the bomb must have have two wires, each with sixteen copper wires inside, twisted into a straight centimeter-round ring. Before that there would be an essential step.” Zhang Chi signaled for him to step down in his line of vision.
Chen Ting handed him the toolbox and took large strides and straddled the boundary between the gravel and the field. “So you’re saying they had to peel off the outer plastic casing of the wires?”
Zhang Chi nodded as he searched the field around him as if demarcating the range. “Yes, the discarded plastic wire casing is our only way to progress.
“But, we don’t have any of that in our material evidence collected.”
“It’s not that the specialists didn’t think of it, they just couldn’t find it and figured the suspect meticulously got rid of it.”
“You think it’s still here?” Chen Ting looked at him curiously.
Zhang Chi thought of Teacher and Little Wu on their deathbeds and felt a surge of emotion welled up in him. “What else do you think I can do right now a this stage aside from dig up the ground?”
They silently walked side by side and happened to stop under a large, luscious tree. The squatted quietly and Chen Ting turned on a flashlight and handed one to Zhang Chi and they began to turn over the soil and gravel surface layer inch by inch, looking, using the tree as the central point.
They were as absorbed in their work as archaeologists devoutly facing the patch of dirt before them, neither of them knowing if they would be working until dawn only to come away empty-handed.
“How is Gu Shi?” Chen Ting broke the silence, his back to Zhang Chi.
Zhang Chi was taken aback. “I haven’t had time to go see her. You?”
Chen Ting seemed to be thinking how to respond. Two minutes passed before he said in a muffled voice, “I wanted to go but didn’t. I was afraid you’d misunderstand.”
Zhang Chi’s hand stopped before quickly continuing to overturn the soil like before. “Something like this happened, it’s normal for a coworker to visit.”
Chen Ting turned slowly. “You your relationship with still has not been made clear?”
Zhang Chi didn’t expect him to be so direct. He responded as directly, “That’s my business. I don’t have to report it to you.”
“Your business? If you’re still vacillating between He Meng and Gu Shi then it’s time to decide. I hope you won’t add more injury to Gu Shi at this crucial time.” Chen Ting’s tone was a bit different, more resolute than normal due to him saying something he’d held in for a long time.
Zhang Chi stood and looked at the back of Chen Ting. He distinctly felt that as he stared at Chen Ting he could smell the remaining traces of the explosion in the air.
“You’re worrying too much. I know you’re interested in Gu Shi, but she has a boyfriend now. He’s standing in front of you.” Zhang Chi pointed at his own chest and told him calmly, “If you’re her friend and are still concerned for her, then it’s best to be diligent and hurry up and solve this case with me. That would be the greatest comfort to her.”
Chen Ting’s face relaxed a little. He had guessed this would be the outcome already. Only thing he was worried about now was if Zhang Chi was still involved with He Meng. Seemed he had really been overthinking it.
“You still ought to find time and go see her,” Chen Ting said. “Intense emotions will directly assault and injured person’s internal organs. Thinking harms the spleen, grief harms the lungs. She was always too pale; you have to look after her health as she deals with all this.”
“I was just going to ask you that if you could, I hope during this period I could trouble you to look after her health,” Zhang Chi requested sincerely.
Chen Ting was surprised. “And you?”
“I’m sure she will understand my choice. Right now I’m only focused on this. I can’t be distracted.” Zhang Chi’s eyes were still searching the surrounding area.