He walked out of the inspection Office.
The scorching sun had already set, and the sky was red with evening glow.
There weren’t many people outside because the weather was hot and stuffy. Recent days had seen even hotter weather till eight or nine o’clock in the evening.
Li Hao’s house wasn’t very far from the inspection Office. It was only seven or eight kilometers away. Li Hao took got onto his bicycle. He always rode to work on it.
He first did it to train his body but realized that it would come in handy if he had to avoid danger. In a place with too many people, it was always tricky to pinpoint danger.
Li Hao had remained very cautious, especially after Zhang Yuan’s death.
Li Hao looked very casual riding on his bicycle but he always looked around to make sure he was safe. He looked as though he was admiring the place and the scenery, but in reality, he was making sure if anyone was following him.
He was strung tight especially today because he was very sure that he was the next target. Li Hao couldn’t help but wonder how the red shadow had located him.
According to what Li Hao knew so far, the red shadow wouldn’t appear for long. Every time it appeared; it disappeared that fast. It didn’t stay outside for too long. If that was the case, how was it able to locate him?
Did that mean that there were people observing him and informing the shadow?
That was not entirely impossible.
Although he was not in the law enforcement team, he still had basic anti-reconnaissance skills.
‘I haven’t found anything of importance yet. Could it be that the red shadow can directly locate its victims? Does it have anything to do with the Starry Sky Sword? Could the red shadow track the families through their heirlooms?’ wondered Li Hao.
The bicycle moved slowly. Li Hao had placed the Vortex Mk III in the inner pocket of his shirt. His outer shirt was unbuttoned as though he was getting some air but the truth was that it would be less of a hurdle if he had to get the gun urgently.
As usual, Li Hao didn’t encounter any problem. When he rode down a slope and his bicycle speeded up, his heart skipped a beat. As he rode down, Li Hao saw a black car from the corner of his eyes. The car drove towards him from the opposite lane. It looked very ordinary and seemed no different than the other cars in the vicinity.
‘Silver 7219.’ Li Ha was shocked. He had seen that car before. Although these kind of cars were all over the street, Li Hao remembered the number on the license plate.
Li Hao used to be a student of Silver City Ancient Academy. He had his own outstanding qualities, after all. Having a good memory was a must. If he didn’t have that, he wouldn’t have been chosen by Professor Yuan to be his student.
‘Something’s not right. The car was going in the same direction as me. It should have passed already passed me and left. But the car has been following me for about seven minutes now!’
The car had driven back towards Li Hao. He remained calm and composed. But he was curious. ‘Why is it following me?’ thought Li Hao.
Li Hao regretted not considering this possibility sooner. The case he reported to Wang Jie must have leaked somehow. ‘There is a mole at the Inspection Office!’ realized Li Hao. He also thought that it was someone probably in the law enforcement team.
Li Hao felt anxious. But he thought this wasn’t a coincidence for sure.
‘The head of the royal family must have gone to the law enforcement team to suppress the self-immolation cases. But if the law enforcement team knows I am digging the cases up again, they might already have their eyes on me! They could have just talked with me directly. They didn’t need to follow me around! On the surface, it only looks like I am giving?special attention to this case because my friend’s death…’
‘People who did see the red shadow were discovered very quickly in the past… maybe my suspicions were right. There is a spy among the Inspection Division or the Night Patrollers!’
Li Hao had read the files. The people who saw the red shadow were either dead or missing. That was hard to notice if someone wasn’t paying special attention to it.
Many Patrol Officers would only give the files a perfunctory glance when they had to organize them. They would have just recorded and archived the files without sending much time on it. Because it didn’t matter. But to Li Hao, it did.
Someone from the whole Inspection Division would have paid special attention to the one digging up past cases. This kind of thing reached people’s ears too quickly.
‘How long have I been watched?’ thought Li Hao. ‘If it is to do with the cases, it could be considered an accidental finding on my part. I have never told a soul about the red shadow after Zhang Yuan’s death. They probably don’t know that I can see it.’
He was a Level 3 Patrol Officer. He had found a pattern in the cases while organizing them. Even if someone was in league with the red shadow, they wouldn’t outright target him just because he had found something in the office. That would be too risky. If they killed him then it would raise a lot of questions. It would prove that there was something wrong with the self-immolation cases. That would be troublesome to whoever was following him.
‘It’s getting more and more interesting!’ admitted Li Hao. He ignored the car and rode on pretending to be unaware. The car, he noticed, disappeared quickly from sight.
Silver 7219. In the car was a middle-aged male driver and an ordinary middle-aged woman in the front passenger seat. At a glance, they looked like regular middle-aged couple.
“I didn’t find anything,” said the woman in a low voice as the car drove away from Li Hao.
The driver didn’t seem to hear her.
He responded in a calm manner after a while. “It should have been brushed off as an accident. He is taking quite an interest in Zhang Yuan’s death. They used to be good friends, apparently.”
The woman nodded. The car returned to silence once more.
“We can’t rule anything out for now. Just keep watching them from a distance. Be careful. Those annoying people are coming to the Silver City soon,” said the driver.
“Understood!” The woman nodded. She knew who the driver meant. Those guys were indeed annoying.
The car fell completely silent once again.
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