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    Ji Lin nearly rushed forward again, forehead veins bulging as he yelled, “Are you a stalker?”

    Lu Qing shouted, “Brother Ji! Calm down! If there’s a tracker, it means he knows where the watch is now! Maybe we can find Officer Mu’s body!”

    Ji Lin seemed to listen but still clenched his fists tightly, “It might not be a body… what if he’s still alive?”

    No one paid attention to his words; they all stared at Yu Duqiu, waiting for an answer.

    Yu Duqiu didn’t disappoint, saying, “Mu Hao asked me to install the tracker. He said the watch was too expensive, and since he’s big and burly, it would be a shame if he lost it or it got stolen. So, I helped him install it. When I learned about the case, I immediately checked the watch’s location records and sent people to search. Guess where the watch is now?”

    Peng Deyu, frustrated by his calm demeanor, almost shouted, “Mr. Yu, the situation is urgent. Stop keeping us in suspense and tell us quickly so I can report to the city bureau and plan the next steps.”

    Yu Duqiu finally ended everyone’s suspense, reaching into his pocket and pulling out something, dangling it from his fingers: “Right here.”

    A silver-gray watch with a sea-blue triple-eye dial hung in mid-air, its colors fresh, without gaudy diamonds, looking very understated and businesslike.

    Yu Duqiu placed the watch, worth as much as a house, on the table. Peng Deyu and the others gathered around, asking in amazement, “Where did you find it?”

    Yu Duqiu shrugged, “In a trash can in the alley at the crime scene.”

    Such an expensive and sturdy watch couldn’t have easily fallen off; it was most likely left as a clue by Mu Hao!

    “My tracker shows that after entering the alley, the watch stayed there until 4 a.m. when it was taken away by a garbage truck. It ended up at the landfill, where I had ten of my men sift through mountains of trash to find it.”

    Lu Qing, in the crowd, was surprised, “The trash wasn’t buried or incinerated? Mr. Yu, you acted fast. When did you know something happened to Mu Hao?”

    “Thank you. The day after the incident, because Mu Hao said he’d call me that night to discuss something, I didn’t receive his call and thought he forgot. When I couldn’t reach him the next day, I realized something was wrong and started tracing his whereabouts.”

    “Bang!” A loud noise echoed as Ji Lin’s fist slammed on the solid wood table, his knuckles red. The long-held anger and frustration exploded: “Why didn’t you hand it over earlier?! There might be fingerprints and bloodstains from the murderer on it! Or clues Mu Hao wanted to tell us! Now it’s been seven months, and it’s all gone!”

    Yu Duqiu glanced at him, “Captain Ji, don’t think I’m that stupid. My subordinates thoroughly checked the watch after finding it. Besides a foul smell, it only had Mu Hao’s fingerprints. He likely threw it himself. As for why I didn’t hand it over earlier, it’s because there’s a very important clue in this watch. I couldn’t risk handing it to anyone else for investigation.”

    Lu Qing murmured, “We’re not just anyone; we’re the police. Can you investigate more efficiently than the police?”

    Ji Lin: “Didn’t you understand him? He doesn’t trust the police!”

    Yu Duqiu: “It’s not that I don’t trust the police; I don’t trust anyone. Having lived abroad for many years, I’m not familiar with the situation in Pingyi City, nor the police’s style and capabilities. What if I handed over the clue and encountered a bunch of corrupt officers? What if the information was leaked? What if it alerted the criminals? To be safe, I spent six months securing all my overseas assets, signing investment agreements with the Pingyi City government, and starting tech innovation projects to settle here permanently. Only then could I calmly start investigating Mu Hao’s case. During these six months, I also used the clues in the watch to arrange for many people to search for Mu Hao domestically, but unfortunately, they found nothing.”

    Peng Deyu nodded in approval, “Your cautious approach is reminiscent of your grandfather. Given the scale of your assets, handling everything in half a year isn’t easy. It seems you’ve been very concerned about this case. So, what clue are you referring to? This watch, aside from being expensive, doesn’t seem special.”

    Yu Duqiu, calm and composed, as if everything was under control, said, “Director Peng, do you know why I like to develop things others find whimsical or useless?”

    Everyone was unsure of his point. Peng Deyu, also puzzled, asked, “No, why?”

    Yu Duqiu replied, “Because they often bring surprises.”

    In the midst of the confused silence, a faint “click” was heard, like a switch being pressed.

    Next, everyone was shocked to hear the watch speak.

    To be precise, a man’s voice came from the watch, accompanied by the sound of raindrops hitting the concrete and glass bottles, muffled and distant. The speaker seemed to be wearing a mask, but the strong echo effect of the environment amplified the originally unclear voice, making the conversation somewhat discernible:

    “Yeah, he’s dead.”

    “My mistake, I shouldn’t have let Bai Zhiming handle this. He’s old and didn’t even realize he was being followed by the police.”

    “Alright, don’t worry. What’s the use of being anxious?”

    “I’ll handle it. You don’t need to worry.”

    The call ended abruptly, lacking the polite farewell, indicating the two were familiar.

    After a few seconds of silence, other sounds gradually emerged—a sound of footsteps in the rain, distant and vague, creating a terrifying yet unclear mental image.

    “Sorry, Officer Mu.”

    The recording ended.

    The meeting room was so quiet you could hear a pin drop.

    Yu Duqiu placed the watch down: “Mu Hao was always forgetful and didn’t like using electronic devices, always carrying a shabby notebook. I couldn’t stand it, so I had my company’s R&D team embed a micro recording chip in the watch, which can record for up to a minute, for him to jot things down occasionally. Who knew he’d use it to record a criminal’s conversation and throw my custom watch worth over a hundred thousand dollars in the trash can? Really…”

    The more he spoke, the faster his words came out, and the volume of the last two words unintentionally increased. He abruptly paused, lowered his gaze, pressed his lips together, quickly suppressed the emotions about to erupt, and then smiled carelessly, “What a bastard. Even if he’s really been eaten by sea fish, I’ll find his bones and give him a good scolding.”

    “We’ll find him,” the bodyguard beside him suddenly said.

    Yu Duqiu looked up, “Are you comforting me? Or trying to flatter me?”

    Bai Zhao showed an exasperated expression, “Think whatever you want.”

    No one paid attention to their conversation. The short recording was like a fuse, igniting and linking the entire criminal chain in front of all the police officers.

    “Mu Hao fulfilled his duty as a criminal police officer to the very end,” Peng Deyu sighed regretfully.

    “He must have discovered something, likely involving a drug trafficking line,” Tang Zhong voiced everyone’s speculation. “Bo Zhimin was part of the chain, something went wrong, Mu Hao found out, and before they could confirm the truth, both were silenced. As for Yu Wencheng… I think Ji’s guess is reasonable. The drug trafficking gang wanted to warn Mr. Yu, and an accident happened. This connects the three cases.”

    Peng Deyu had to admit, “It seems Liu Shaojie really lied. I need to report to the city bureau to restart the investigation. It’s a pity about Mu Hao. His leader, Captain Feng, really liked him and was planning to promote him by the end of last year. Sigh…”

    The dark alley, the cruel killer, and the police officer’s tragic sacrifice weighed heavily on everyone’s hearts. They couldn’t help but feel guilty for their earlier suspicions about Mu Hao’s personal life.

    At that moment, Ji Lin suddenly grabbed the watch from Yu Duqiu and dashed towards the conference room door. Lu Qing tried to stop him but couldn’t, “Where are you going, Ji?”

    “To the bureau for voiceprint analysis! And to check the alley surveillance! Find the killer!”

    “Didn’t we already catch the killer?”

    “Not all of them!” Ji Lin turned abruptly, his eyes red. “The voice in the recording isn’t Liu Shaojie’s! I recognize his voice! Damn it! I knew Mu couldn’t be overpowered by a thug, even if drugged! Damn it!” He then quickly disappeared from everyone’s sight.

    “Leave him be,” Peng Deyu said, exhausted, covering his forehead. “What can he find with such a vague voice? It clearly sounded like the person was wearing a mask. And with that heavy rain, if the killer had an umbrella, it’s even harder to recognize. Let him come to his senses.”

    Yu Duqiu planted his leather-shoed foot on the ground and stood up. He was quite tall, enough to look down on most of the people present, like a true leader.

    “Director Peng, since you realize the potential connection between these three cases, I suggest your bureau coordinate with the Changhe branch and the city bureau for a thorough investigation to quickly capture the real culprit and prevent more harm. If you need my help, I’ll fully support you.”

    Peng Deyu didn’t expect such a seemingly concluded suicide case to uncover such a complex network. Xinjin District, as the new development area of Pingyi City, primarily dealt with economic crimes, with few complex homicide cases each year. Although the criminal investigation team was excellent, the overall team was young and lacked experience in handling such cases, making it hard to take charge. Moreover, this was a cross-district crime involving drug trafficking and murder, definitely a major case, likely requiring additional city bureau support.

    Feeling both weary and heavy-hearted, he replied, “Yes, I’ll contact the city bureau immediately. But I have a question first: since you knew the murderer who killed Mu Hao might harm Bo Zhimin, why didn’t you contact the police earlier? Maybe Bo Zhimin wouldn’t have died.”

    Yu Duqiu straightened his shirt and was about to leave when he heard this, smirking slightly, “Interesting question. What does Bo Zhimin’s life or death have to do with me? Besides, this incomplete recording alone couldn’t determine the other party’s identity. Using Bo Zhimin as bait was more effective to gather more clues. After getting the recording, I had people monitor Bo Zhimin immediately. Unfortunately, we found no new leads before he disappeared.”

    Peng Deyu was momentarily unsure whether Yu Duqiu was unreasonable or if he himself was too naive for asking such a question.

    Unfazed, Yu Duqiu continued, “I won’t disturb your investigation any longer. I’ll leave now. Bai Zhao, let’s go.”

    But the tall bodyguard didn’t respond or move.

    Yu Duqiu turned back, puzzled, meeting his cold gaze, and suddenly understood, “Ah, sorry, I forgot your adopted son is still here.”

    “You knew all along,” Bai Zhao’s face was icy. “No wonder you got my information so quickly last night. No wonder you know so much about LSD.”

    “Yes, I investigated Bo Zhimin and you a long time ago. Didn’t expect you to be more handsome in person. Consider this a lesson; I’m a habitual liar,” Yu Duqiu smiled without showing his teeth and blinked. “Just a heads-up, I might be the next target. If you die protecting me, I won’t avenge you. If you can’t accept that, it’s not too late to leave now.”

    Bai Zhao stared at him without blinking, showing unexpected disappointment rather than anger. He walked past him, opened the door, and left, saying, “You indeed lie a lot. I should have seen it sooner.”

    Yu Duqiu smiled indifferently, followed him out, and at the door, coincidentally met the waitress bringing in peeled grapes. He took a green grape, tossed it in his mouth, and walked out, saying, “It’s not too late to see it now. If you want to leave, go find Uncle Hong to settle today’s wages. Employers like me are rare…”

    The people in the conference room finally breathed a sigh of relief.

    Peng Deyu watched the two leave, shook his head with a complex expression, and sighed deeply, “He was so cute as a child. How did he grow up like this?”

    Tang Zhong asked curiously, “Director Peng, how do you know him and his grandfather?”

    “Because of a case, too many years ago to mention.” Peng Deyu gestured to the height of the conference table, “He was only six or seven then, came here, and called me uncle. How could he be so outrageous now… Forget it, no point arguing with a kid, but we can’t let him mess around either. Arrange for a 24-hour rotation to monitor him, set up surveillance at his house before he gets home, and track his calls and emails. If he doesn’t agree, I’ll call his grandfather. I refuse to believe I can’t handle him.”

    Tang Zhong stroked his chin, “I don’t think he’s the type to poison someone. How should I put it? His vibe is more suited to financial fraud.”

    Peng Deyu replied coolly, “You think I suspect him of being the killer? No, I suspect he’ll take it upon himself to punish the killer!”

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