Chapter 32: The Twentieth Cycle of Time (III)
Original Translations: Crafted with Care, No Unauthorized Reposting Allowed.
In this timeline, seeing Mr. Zhang and feeling that he is still alive is comforting enough for the two young people.
Or rather, it was one of the few things they could do to feel that "our efforts were worthwhile" after so many f*cking cycles of time.
Li Shiqing had just cried, and now that she saw Mr. Zhang, her heart was filled with joy and sorrow, and her eyes were red.
"Yo, what's the matter with you? Afraid to see your uncle the police, huh?"
When Mr. Zhang saw the little girl's crying face, he smiled and coaxed her like a child, "Don't be afraid, the police don't arrest good people, only bad people."
"I know ......"
Li Shiqing forced a smile at her and nodded.
"What's wrong with her?"
As Mr. Zhang led them inside, he observed that Li Shiqing and Boy were acting very familiar and intimate, so he took him for Li Shiqing's boyfriend and asked him in a whisper.
"Why aren't you in the right mood?"
"She's been upset since she found out about the bus accident that killed so many people. On the way to the police station, the radio in the taxi was carefully broadcasting the incident again, so she couldn't hold it in and ran to the side and threw up as soon as she got off the bus."
After what he'd been through before, Boy knew better than to lie in front of these well-trained veterans, so he told the truth.
"It's psychologically hard to accept that someone you just saw is suddenly gone when you say it's gone."
"How can you think that, you should be thinking 'it's great that something big like this happened and nothing happened'!"
Hearing Boy's explanation, Mr. Zhang looked at Li Shiqing with softer and softer eyes, and his voice also became softer, "Little girl, you don't have to blame yourself, and don't be afraid ......"
He has studied psychology and understands that some 'survivors' suffer from a kind of 'moral trauma', feeling that they didn't do enough during the disaster or blaming themselves for not doing anything and going into deep guilt, which can lead to psychological problems.
This 'moral trauma' is known in psychological circles as 'survivor's guilt', also known as 'survivor's syndrome'.
Unlike PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), there is a tendency to place more emphasis on PTSD than on people with 'survivor's guilt', and by the time tragedy strikes, it is often too late.
Li Shiqing is still such a young girl and the young man in front of him looks so gentle, Mr. Zhang can't just sit back and watch their psychological situation go so wrong, while he walks around and tries to relieve the two young people of their negative emotions.
"No one wants this to happen, you don't have to feel like you didn't do anything, or keep thinking about things that are too tragic, or that what you did or didn't do was wrong, it has nothing to do with ordinary passengers like you at all ......"
People who develop such "trauma" are often people with a strong sense of morality, whereas a selfish and indifferent person has no problem with this.
"...... It is the people who planted the bombs that should be condemned and punished, not you lucky people who escaped from a narrow escape."
Sometimes, those who know how to do things take on more, which makes Mr. Zhang's heart go out to these two young people even more.
He rambled on and on for the sole purpose of conveying one message.
[It's not your fault.]
It's not your fault.
A few simple words, but Li Shiqing was completely tense.
They have tried for so long, failed for so long, seen the light of hope and endured the darkness of no top.
Sometimes they even feel that the whole world is trying to persuade them to give up, but they do not want to give in and resign themselves to their fate, and as soon as they are awake, they have to grit their teeth and tell each other - "one more try" - even though they have been frustrated and suffer deeply.
But even though they have tried so hard, nothing can be saved.
After the last time cycle, Li Shiqing was already a little tired of it all, feeling that such "strange" things like this didn't deserve to happen to an "ordinary" person like her.
She is so stupid, so weak, that it is a waste for God to give her such an "opportunity", she can't do anything right, she can't do anything at all, she can only watch the whole car die again and again.
But now, there is a man who is saying to them.
-- "It's not your fault."
Having understood the meaning of Mr. Zhang's words, Li Shiqing burst into tears.
Probably feeling pretentious and ashamed of this, she wiped her eyes carelessly and held her arms tightly over her eyes.
Even Xiao Heyun, a man who doesn't shed tears easily, felt a little uncontrollable at this moment and quietly tilted his head.
They are too bitter, just too bitter.
So bitter that they can't even bear a word of advice from others.
Mr. Zhang did not expect his reassuring words to make the two young men so emotional, but his instincts as a detective of many years immediately made him understand what was going on.
If they had simply gotten out of the car, these two children would not have been so emotional. They must have known something in the car and not actually acted on it, which is why they felt so "guilty" about it.
At this point, Mr. Zhang's heart swelled with joy and his attitude towards the two young men became more cautious.
They made a number of calls asking for the assistance of the passengers who had gotten off the train, and these two were the quickest of all to answer, the least hesitant to agree, and the quickest to come, and now Mr. Zhang sensed that they seemed to know something, which meant that there was a high probability that they would cooperate!
Mr. Zhang took them to the office of the task force. Officer Du, who was on the phone, saw them enter and was too busy to speak, only gesturing to them from afar to "sit" and continue talking on the other end of the phone.
Apart from Mr. Zhang, who had gone out to meet them, and Officer Du, whom they had met before, there were many other officers coming and going in the office, but everyone treated them well.
"Is the Trace Section stuff out yet!"
"Where are the files! Have the victim's files been compiled yet!"
"Forensics is still identifying it!"
There were officers rushing in with their cases, grabbing their things without touching their feet, and occasionally yelling for something, making them very busy.
Probably too busy, they saw both Li Shiqing and Boy and gave them at most a few curious glances, not giving them any discomfort.
"Oh, these are the two young people who got off at the last stop? I'm glad they're here! Here, Fang Zi, pour them two glasses of water!"
An officer passed by with a relieved expression and shouted.
The officer who happened to be passing by brought two paper cups over and placed them on the coffee table in front of them, sweeping his eyes over Li Shiqing and giving Mr. Zhang a wink, "What's going on here?"
What's with the red eyes?
"The little girl was terrified when she heard the car had blown up."
Mr. Zhang didn't say much and pushed the officer on his back, "Go about your business!"
When Officer Du finished his call and came over, Li Shiqing and Xiao Heyun gathered themselves and sat against each other on the bench, waiting quietly for the police to ask questions.
"Thank you both for co-operating with the police summons to come to the police force to assist in the investigation of this bombing case. On behalf of our task force, I would like to thank you both in advance for your support and trust in the police. I am the head of the task force, my surname is Du, you can call me Officer Du."
Officer Du is a calm and serious man and speaks in a concise manner, ending his opening remarks in a few words.
"I am sure you are all aware that the bus you were on was in an accident. You have been asked to come because the bus in question was badly damaged in the explosion and there are many marks at the scene that are illegible, so your assistance is needed. Please try to remember as much as you can about the bus and provide us with useful information."
"There are also some questions that we need to know, and we ask that you answer them truthfully."
Here it comes!
"Yes, Officer Du!"
Li Shiqing and Boy were shaken and sat upright, nodding like two good children answering a teacher's question.
"Why are you taking this 45 bus? What is your relationship?"
Officer Du First of all, there are the issues that concern them.
"I need to go to the Youth Bookstore in Jiangbei District to buy some specialist books for my recent dissertation, but several bookstores near our school don't have them and it's too late to buy them online."
Li Shiqing states his purpose.
"I went to the Apple flagship shop in Jiangbei District to check out the latest phone releases."
Boy followed with a reply, "She and I are friends, we ran into each other by chance on the bus and found out that she was also on this bus today, so we simply sat together and walked together."
"You are all going to Jiangbei District to buy something, why do you get off at East River Road station?
Officer Du's brow furrowed and his tone unconsciously stern.
"Chief, I'll ask it."
Mr. Zhang, who was looking at the young man with glasses, turned pale and rushed to the rescue.
"Just asking for information, no need to make it so serious!"
"Sorry, I'm not upset with you guys, it's a professional habit of mine."
Officer Du also realised that his tone had been too harsh and nodded apologetically, "Then Mr. Zhang, you ask the questions."
Mr. Zhang's attitude is much more relaxed.
"Did you find anything unusual in the car?"
He paid close attention to the girl's facial expression and asked with a reassuring tone, "Got out of the car because you felt something was wrong, didn't you?"
Officer Du and the officers next to him, who had heard the questioning, were on edge, waiting for their answers with baited breath because of the possibility of a new breakthrough.
Li Shiqing nodded as she looked up and back at Mr. Zhang's encouraging eyes.
"What is it?!"
All of a sudden, there was an uplifting glint in the eyes of every officer.
"The lady in front of us in the flowery shirt was mentally ill and kept nagging about 13:45 and Wang Xingde. I just felt that the lady was not right and was subconsciously scared, so I pulled Xiao Heyun off the train with me at the next stop."
Li Shiqing was not sure if the excuses she had negotiated with Xiao Heyun would be convincing to the police, so she held Xiao Heyun's hand tightly and drew courage from her companion.
"But it wasn't long after we got off the bus that we saw smoke coming from the bridge over the river ......"
When they heard the words 13.45 and Wang Xingde, Officer Du and Mr. Zhang looked at each other with an unusually grave expression.
The time of this bombing was 13:45.
Wang Xingde was the driver of this bus.
Neither of these two pieces of information would be something the average passenger should know, and the clues they provide could be true!
"The older lady with the flowered shirt? Do you guys remember what she looked like and what she had with her? If you were shown the CCTV of the station boarding the bus, could you tell which one was her?"
Mr. Zhang's hunch came true and he was so excited that he couldn't contain himself.
"She brought a pressure cooker with her."
Li Shiqing didn't even have to think back to name the features of the pressure cooker, "wrapped in a double supermarket oversized plastic bag, the pot was huge and it was placed at her feet."
She nodded and added, "I remember her, and I could tell if I was shown the surveillance."
" Fang Zi, call up the CCTV and get information on the middle-aged woman carrying the pressure cooker in the car!"
Officer Du gave the order straight away.
"Especially the social connections!"
" Mr. Wang, hurry up the trace section! Determine if the explosives were in the pressure cooker, focusing on all the pieces that could be the remains of the pressure cooker!"
" Fang Zi, once you find out what the identity of the woman with the pressure cooker is, inform Little Jiang to lead a team to search her residence immediately!"
The other officers on the task force gathered around when they heard of the significant discovery.
The officer who had just shouted for information from the Traces Section took two plans of the interior of the bus from somewhere and handed them to Li Shiqing and Xiao Heyun.
"There are no more stops to board after East River Road station, you were the latest to get off the train, and we have seen no suspicious persons from surveillance along the route who boarded the train midway, we speculate that the person responsible for the bombing could have been on the train at the time."
He said, "We want to know who was in the car and roughly where they were sitting, especially the suspicious older woman in fancy dress that you have mentioned. We hope you can recall as much as you can and mark their positions on the floor plan."
"I'll do it."
Xiao Heyun took the pen from Mr. Zhang, thought back for a moment and began to mark on the plan.
"Here's an old lady, here's an old man with a snake skin bag with something round and round in it, I think he's carrying a melon ...... here's an older man with a black gym bag, here's an older woman with a basket of vegetables."
He used a pen to mark the people sitting in each position while making X's on the floor plan, and even wrote down what they carried with them.
"...... Here, here's the aunt in the flowery shirt."
Xiao Heyun's pen paused and continued with an 'X', "She was sitting in front of us with a pressure cooker."
From his recollection, he drew out the positions of all of them, except for the masked man who got into the car later.
Since they got off at the same stop where the masked man got on, they shouldn't have known where he was sitting.
Several officers gasped as he gestured while drawing.
"The broken black gym bag was found on the bus earlier!"
"Traces of melons were indeed found at the scene!"
The police summoned the passengers who got off the bus to ask for information, which is only one way of gathering information. How much information can be gathered all depends on how much the person who cooperates with the investigation can remember.
In past experience, it is not uncommon for people to panic or even babble after being frightened, and even when some normal-acting informants give clues, they often appear illogical or inconsistent and have to be repeatedly checked before they can be used.
But this time it was different. This time the witness who cooperated with the investigation was very clear-headed and the words he said and the information he marked out were backed up by sufficient traces or evidence at the scene.
"Boy, what a way to go, remembering so well!"
Mr. Zhang excitedly patted Xiao Heyun on the shoulder and placed a little more trust in the clues they had provided.
"I have a good memory, I get on the bus and get bored and like to observe the passengers."
Boy took the compliment in stride and pushed up his glasses.
"It's good to be able to help."
With the new clues, the direction was instantly clear, no longer looking for information from all sides as before.
The whole task force was running like a machine with its motor running at full speed, carrying out the tasks at hand in an orderly manner according to Officer Du's every instruction.
In the meantime, Li Shiqing and Xiao Heyun were also uneasily awaiting the outcome of the police investigation.
As much as the police expect them to, they also hope that the police will follow their leads and provide them with more information that is not easily investigated by ordinary people.
After waiting for almost an hour, Mr. Zhang gathered enough evidence and information from various colleagues, pulled a surveillance photo from his mobile phone and rushed to the two young men's side.
"Look guys, is this the woman with the pressure cooker?"
The photo is a bit blurry, so you can't see her face, but you can only vaguely see a woman carrying the large plastic bag that Li Shiqing said she was carrying, so there's no way to tell from the surveillance if it's a pressure cooker.
But the outfits, Li Shiqing and Xiao Heyun, are all too familiar.
Li Shiqing nodded, "I remember her clothes."
"It was indeed her, using a bag from the Family Mart."
Boy is also certain.
"Check! Find out who this woman is and what her connection is to Wang Xingde immediately! Tell Little Jiang to request search procedures and be ready to go!"
Another hour or so passed before news first came in from the Trace Section.
"The trace section has confirmed that the explosives were in the pressure cooker!"
Within minutes, Mr. Zhang, who was investigating the middle-aged woman, also arrived in a hurry and whispered in Officer Du's ear, " Mr. Du, the little girl is right, this woman is a serious suspect ......"
"She and the driver, Wang Xingde, are married!"