Netherworld Investigator - Chapter 203

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We quickly rushed back to the station. Although it was already past seven, no one mentioned anything about dinner. We were all anxiously awaiting to hear the results from Xiaozhou.
If the DNA on the band-aid wasn’t Zhang Qiangs, then we would have to watch the murderer go unpunished, unless he committed another crime. But that was the last thing I wanted to see.
At eight, Xiaozhou exited the laboratory. Like a cat on hot bricks, Xiaotao immediately asked, What’re the results?
He said with conviction, The two phalanges are consistent with the DNA of the corpse. As for the DNA on the band-aid…. he paused intentionally, It matches the DNA on the cigarette butt given to me by Song Yang!
We cheered happily from the bottom of our hearts. Xiaotao rapped her knuckles on the table and everyone soon quieted down. In a stern voice, she instructed, Get ready to pull in the net!
We quickly made our way over to Zhang Qiangs tailor shop. The plainclothes officers in charge of surveillance had already found the landlord. Upon our instruction, the landlord went up and knocked on the door. Open up, I’m here to check the electricity meter.
After several knocks, still no one answered. The landlord asked, Officer, what crime has Zhang Qiang committed? Is it related to those murders?
I asked, How did you know?
The landlord burst out laughing. I’m rather close to the landlord of that area. In the evening, she mentioned that you investigated a tenant’s house and seemed to have found some important clues.
Xiaotao cursed, Damn it, I gave him hush money for nothing!
The nerd was useless at keeping things under wraps. News of our investigation had spread throughout the area in less than a few hours. Zhang Qiang had probably absconded from the crime. I later learned that the situation was even more serious than I had initially thought.
I pulled out a wire and picked the lock. Everything in the shop was as it had been, as if the owner had gone out temporarily.
In the back of the tailor’s shop was the couples bedroom. I noticed a long strand of hair on the floor and picked it up. Doesn’t Li Qin have short hair?
Xiaotao asked, Did they take a hostage?
There were some cosmetics on the dressing table, which I examined one by one. In one of the bottles of makeup remover, I caught a whiff of ether.
This was an open room with no hidden spaces, so where would they hide someone? I opened the wardrobe only to smell a strong stench left by extended periods of not bathing. On top of that, there were scratches on the door.
I was astounded. We had visited the tailor’s shop several times but never expected that someone would be held captive here.
Maybe it was a girl they were about to kill. Our arrival must’ve obstructed their plans, so they knocked her out and hid her. Now, this girl had become their hostage!

I looked around and noticed that the calendar on the wall was crooked. As it turned out, there was an unbolted window concealed behind it. Using my Cave Vision, I detected that the dust on the window frame had just been wiped clean and showed traces of fingerprints on it, indicating that someone had climbed out of here.
I climbed through the window to the back alley and found wheel tracks on the ground. I quickly concluded, They fled less than an hour ago.
Xiaotao immediately ordered, Check Zhang Qiangs license plate number. Contact the toll station and ask them to stop the vehicle. The rest of you will take all the exits along this road!
Wait a minute! I gestured with a wave of my hand.
I called the landlord and asked him to describe Zhang Qiang’s vehicle. He said it was a white van usually used for transporting goods. The conspicuous words “Qiang’s Tailor Shop” had been spray-painted onto the doors along with his telephone number.
Xiaotao instructed the officers to inform the county traffic police to coordinate on intercepting them.
Meanwhile, the three of us hopped into Xiaotaos car and started chasing after them. About half an hour later, one of the officers sent news that they had caught sight of Zhang Qiang’s van, so we got a move on it.
As we turned onto that road, we could hear sirens from a distance away. Xiaotao immediately hit the gas pedal in an attempt to catch up to them. The white van accelerated down the road with a fleet of police cars in pursuit, siren lights flashing as an officer bellowed through a loudspeaker, Pull over immediately or we will use coercive measures!
However, the white van didn’t stop at all. Considering that there might be hostages inside, the police were afraid to push too hard and trailed behind the van the entire time.
I told Xiaotao to stabilize the car so I could launch my Cave Vision to examine the van. The two vehicles were more than fifty meters apart, forcing me to dilate my pupils to the maximum just to see the inside of the van. There was only the driver in the vehicle. Zhang Qiang isn’t here, nor is there a hostage. Obstruct the van at once!
At Xiaotao’s command, the police cars quickly flanked the van from the left and right, bringing it to a stop. I hopped off Xiaotao’s car. As the police surrounded the van, I heard fearful cries. Help! Help! Its going to explode!
Everyone else stopped dead in their tracks, while I went to open the car door. A middle-aged man was in the drivers seat, hands fastened around the steering wheel with tape. He was wearing a bomb vest packed with wires and explosives along with something that had a blinking red light.
Dont move. Let the bomb squad handle it! Xiaotao stopped me as I reached out my hand.
I weighed the vest and found that it was very light. I laughed, Its fake.
Once I had removed the vest from the man, I found that the explosives were indeed empty paper packages. The blinking light was really a dismantled digital watch that looked quite like the real thing.
When asked about what had happened, the man explained that he had been kidnapped by a man and two women on his way home from work. They robbed him of his car, placed a bomb on him and taped his hands around the steering wheel. Then, they warned him not to stop once he started driving or else he would die.
Zhang Qiang was an expert in acting. At the time, the threat in his tone probably sounded real and his expression authentic. The man was scared out of his wits and had to do as he said.
Huang Xiaotao angrily slammed the car. Damn it, just when we were about to catch him! What a cunning bastard!
I got the man to describe his car–a red Santana–and license plate number, which Xiaotao shared with the traffic police.
I asked, Of the two women, one of them has long hair. What does she look like?
He thought for a moment and said, She’s in her early twenties, quite beautiful. But she looked a little dazed and confused.
Xiaotao dug up a photo from her cell phone and asked, Is that her?
The man nodded. Yes, yes! Thats her!
Xiaotao slapped her forehead and heaved a long sigh. I was afraid of this.
I asked her what’s wrong and she whispered, Its the mayor’s illegitimate daughter!
Zhang Qiang had made a fool out of us and was probably already out of the county. Right now, we felt discouraged but we couldn’t give up that last ray of hope. We still had to go after them. Xiaotao instructed the other officers to go after the couple. She and Bingxin would stay with me while I took a look at the van.
Once in the van, I found only some rags and snack wrappers. There was an empty pill bottle under the drivers seat but the label had been torn off. There was no way I could tell what drug it was by smelling the bottle alone. The bottle itself looked new, without a speck of dust on it.
I hadn’t seen any signs of illness in the two. Did Li Qins mental illness relapse? Then this was probably a sedative.
I put the pill bottle down and said, Xiaotao, they could still be in the county.
Xiaotao was surprised. Are you sure?
I hesitated. I’m only thirty percent sure. I suspect Li Qin’s illness might have relapsed. Zhang Qiang might have taken the hostage elsewhere to dispose of her. After all, it’s more convenient for them to flee after they get rid of the hostage.
Xiaotao said, Then they’ll definitely head to the forest. It’s the most hidden place in the county! Get in the car!

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