794 A Million Times for You 156
An Xiaoning wiped her mouth and said, "I didn't think things would get so serious. Did traffic accidents really occur for three days straight?"
"Would I dare to lie to you? It's really spooky."
"I'll go to the police station with you."
Happiness was written all over Pan Zhenghui's face as soon as he heard her answer. "Ah, Xiaoning, you're really the police station's greatest benefactor. You're wonderful. Come, the car's outside."
"Chief… stop being such a bootlicker," she quipped.
"I'm not trying to curry favor, Xiaoning. I really meant what I said. You have no idea how worried I was for the past two weeks. I couldn't sleep well at night at all, I was so stressed out every single day. The media has been restricted from broadcasting and reporting about the accidents. But I doubt they can keep the news under wraps every single day. Things are going to get out of hand sooner or later. By then, it'll just end up showing how incompetent we are!"
"Come along," An Xiaoning said to No. 5 and No. 8, who were uncertain if they should follow her. She then asked Pan Zhenghui, "Why wouldn't the higher authorities approve of your proposal to prohibit all vehicles from traveling on the roads?"
Pan Zhenghui got inside the car and instructed his subordinate, "Start driving."
He then turned around to answer An Xiaoning, "Because they're afraid of blowing things out of proportion and induce too much fear and trouble for the citizens. We're the top city of the nation and there is a massive number of working-class citizens here. How are they supposed to travel long distances to get to work without vehicles? Thus, we're only allowed to limit the number of cars traveling on the roads to about half of the original number. However, it's still not enough."
"We don't know where that female spirit is now. If we don't prohibit the use of all vehicles, wouldn't we be creating more chances for her? Have such accidents happened in other cities yet?"
Shaking his head, Pan Zhenghui answered, "No, the accidents have happened on several roads in our city, but they've never repeated."
"We can't spread the word about the spirit being the cause of these to the citizens. That'd be inappropriate. Alright, let me call the higher authorities and see what they say."
Pan Zhenghui had no idea who she was referring to, though he agreed, "Okay."
The call went through quickly. An Xiaoning said solemnly, "There have been major car accidents happening in A City rather frequently of late. Have you heard about it?"
"Yes, I've already sent people to investigate."
"That won't work at all. How are you supposed to get to the bottom of the matter when the culprit is a spirit? That'll only delay the progress of solving the problem. Immediately send orders to restrict the use of all vehicles in A City. That'll help keep the situation under control for a while."
"A spirit? How did you know?"
"I saw it with my own eyes."
"Absolutely. Those people who were responsible for the accidents have all been manipulated by the spirit. I reckon it must be a rather powerful one. Otherwise, it wouldn't have had the ability to control one's senses and manipulate them. I'm afraid we won't be able to track it down so quickly."
"You shall be in charge of investigating this. How does that sound?" Tuoba Gucheng suggested.
"I would do that even without your orders, but since you've instructed me to, will you reward me if I manage to solve the problem?"
Tuoba Gucheng chuckled and said, "You actually dare to ask me for a reward?"
"What would you like to have for a reward?"
"I want you to promise me one thing." There was no way An Xiaoning would shortchange herself.
"I'll tell you over a text message. That way, there'll be evidence that I can keep," said An Xiaoning, who then hung up immediately and proceeded to send him a text message.
Tuoba Gucheng broke into silent laughter the moment he read her message, which said: "Grant me a one-time exemption from death. If I ever do anything to infuriate you in the future, please promise to spare me just once!"
Tuoba Gucheng replied: "I won't spare you if it's related to Jin Qingyan."
"Deal!" she replied.
"Xiaoning, which leader did you call? Was it your godfather?" Pan Zhenghui asked.
"Of course not. Why are you asking so many questions? You just have to know that I'll be helping out with this case," said An Xiaoning.
Pan Zhenghui stopped probing further, for he too felt that there wasn't a need to know too much about it so long as the matter would be resolved.
An Xiaoning roughly understood the situation.
Soon, they arrived at the police station.
After alighting from the car, An Xiaoning asked, "Have you found a replacement for Yuan Mingzhu?"
"Not yet, we're still in the midst of recruiting someone. It wouldn't be easy, though. We had a hard time trying to recruit someone before we finally found Yuan Mingzhu. Yet, she died shortly after she took over your duties. Xiaoning, just resume your position. We really need you," said Pan Zhenghui.
An Xiaoning declined, "I prefer the way things are now. I'll still lend a helping hand when it comes to major cases."
Pan Zhenghui did not insist any further.
Several police officers greeted An Xiaoning enthusiastically the moment they saw her. Pan Zhenghui then brought An Xiaoning to the meeting room. Just as they reached the door, they overheard Team Leader Zhang, who was inside the meeting room, exclaiming agitatedly, "Before the meeting just now, Chief headed to Team Leader An's place to invite her over but he didn't succeed. Well, Team Leader An is no longer who she used to be and has become even more authoritative. She obviously wouldn't bother helping a small fry like our team. But that doesn't matter. Regardless of what it may be, we'll definitely nab the culprit behind these malicious acts! Are you confident!?!"
"Yes!" his subordinates answered in unison.
Pan Zhenghui shot An Xiaoning with a look of awkwardness and embarrassment. He then strode inside the room and berated Team Leader Zhang, "You bastard, how could you say that Ms. An is no longer who she used to be? Team Leader An has always been united with all of us. What are you talking about!?!"
"I'm sorry, Chief."
An Xiaoning walked inside the office, after which all the police officers immediately felt agitated and embarrassed. They were agitated because there was finally hope for the case and embarrassed because of what Team Leader Zhang had just said…
Team Leader Zhang was filled with dismay and wished that he could bite his own tongue off.
"I just seem to always overhear you badmouthing me behind my back, Team Leader Zhang. However, I've already gotten used to it. It's not the first time anyway," said An Xiaoning.
"Team Leader An, it was really just a slip of the tongue. I'm sorry."
An Xiaoning glowered at him and barked, "If an apology is enough, what's the point of having the law system? Team Leader Zhang, you're always saying one thing and doing another. You're so two-faced. As the team leader of the Serious Crimes Investigation Unit, don't you think you're setting a bad example for your subordinates? You seriously have to be reconsidered!"
Despite feeling embarrassed and humiliated for being reprimanded by An Xiaoning in front of everyone, there was nothing Team Leader Zhang could do.
"Well said. Team Leader Zhang, if you continue to speak without thinking twice, I'm going to have to strip you of your position!" Pan Zhenghui chimed in.
Terrorized beyond limits, Team Leader Zhang frantically pleaded, "Chief, I wouldn't dare to behave like this again in the future. I'll definitely perform my duties properly! I mean it, I really, really, really do."
Pan Zhenghui coughed and said, "Listen up, Team Leader An is now the Head Investigator of this case. All of you who are involved in the investigations would have to take orders from and follow Team Leader An's instructions!"
"Yes!" they answered loudly in unison.
An Xiaoning introduced, "These are my bodyguards, No. 5 and No. 8."
She then broached the main topic after the brief introduction.