Early summer night, every city had its own way of life. The northerners enjoyed downing large mouthfuls of beer while eating spicy lobsters and meat skewers. The southerners, on the other hand, didn't take spicy food much but would go shopping with some of their good friends.
Even though their habits weren't the same, there were similarities as well; the commercial areas in the city would be packed full of people.
It was the same for big cities such as Jiang City. Prominent advertisements could be found on tall skyscrapers. They could be clearly seen by the passing cars and the many shoppers in the commercial area. Under normal circumstances, the face of an advertisement would be any of the top-tier celebrities.
At around 7pm, the sky wasn't dark. It was the busiest period of the day.
In the center of the bustling street was the heart of the underground shopping mall and beside it was an iconic architecture of China. Cars that arrived in the area would have to stop and wait, regardless of how unwilling they were. That is due to the traffic jam.
The commercial area spanned across a huge piece of land. There were coffee shops like Starbucks and fast food joints like Burger King. In the middle of the entire commercial street was a mini fountain.
The streets were packed full of people; there were youngsters chatting, elders with their children and even a group of cool looking high school students with their skateboards.
Right at this moment, a black Dodge Tomahawk motorcycle stopped in front of the fountain like a beautiful leopard, attracting everyone's attention.
The crowd watched the slender youngster in front of them, her long legs at the side of the car. With a beautiful and clean turn, she hopped off the Dodge Tomahawk, shaking off the dust from her hair, showing her deep eyes.
The youngster was still wearing a black face mask, shielding her appearance but just her figure was enough to melt hearts.
"So handsome!" one of the girls exclaimed.
The guy at the side arched a brow. "The motorcycle sure is handsome." It was a limited edition as well, how much did that cost?
"I'm talking about the person!" the girl replied before she turned back and took another look at the youngster that brushed past her. "He's really handsome!"
"He is holding a guitar. Do you think he's going to busk?"
"I want to stay and listen!"
"Aish, why is he wearing a face mask! I want to see how handsome he looks underneath."
"It's probably because he isn't that good looking without it, having a face mask on leaves more room for imagination."
"What song is he going to sing?"
"I can't tell but he's starting!"
It was an enthusiastic crowd. Her image of an energetic pretty boy with a half-covered face and guitar was enough to leave the crowd in anticipation.
The youngster was well prepared. She didn't use a handheld microphone that buskers were frequently seen with but an earphone with a tiny microphone curving out in front of her face. That made her look more stylish and suave.
The youngster turned, smiling at the girls who were staring at her. With that, they exploded into cheers. "I can't take it, he's so cool!"
The youngster lowered her head, pulling some wires and plucking them into his laptop. The crowd assumed it was to lessen the ease of choosing music. But in reality, the laptop screen had split into two and the USB that was plucked into the laptop would be infiltrate something. As for the place it infiltrated...
Bo Jiu glanced to the side, her lips upturned. Her original silver hair had been dyed black and the diamond stud on her left ear gleamed, reflecting the lights while looking like a black gem.
Her long slender fingers flew across the keyboard. As the speed was stunningly fast, no one saw the rows of codes and pop-ups that appeared on her screen repeatedly.
It wasn't hard for Bo Jiu to infiltrate a shopping mall since such places had a public network that was used by countless number of shoppers. Such vast access could easily form loopholes.
In just a short thirty seconds, Bo Jiu had broken down the firewall and went straight into the surveillance room, controlling the broadcast rights for the entire mall. At the same time, she set in place numerous numbers of fake IP addresses.
Bo Jiu wasn't the least bit worried the police could find her. There was a simple reason. Anyone in the shopping mall with an electronic device, be it a phone or a computer, would be holding the same IP address. But she would have to hurry. Her biggest worry was still the Almighty. Fortunately, Smith was taking charge in the crime squad.
"It's time to greet an old friend." Bo Jiu smiled faintly, pressing onto the back button and in turn hiding the chat box. She held her guitar and straightened.
This time, Bo Jiu was back to her usual Z style; to tell the police she was here and for them to arrest her if they could.
"Is he going to start?" The girls couldn't wait anymore.
Bo Jiu tilted her head, making the final adjustments as she spoke into the mic, "Hi, hi, hi, testing."
"He's so cute!"
"Anything a hottie does is cute. Wasn't he just testing the volume?"
"Jealous? You can always alter your appearance according to his."
"I'm your boyfriend, not him, what is there to be jealous about?" Even so, there was an obvious sourness in his tone.
The girl chuckled.
As the crowd started to grow, Bo Jiu finally looked up. Looking around, her warm voice was flowing through the microphone. "Taking your Good Mornings to accompany me for dinner, remembering to deposit all my thoughts of you into the piggy bank, I stare at the sky full of glittering stars, listening to the cowherd telling the weaving maid to be brave..." As her voice enveloped their senses, the crowd lit up. Even though the youngster was still wearing her face mask, it couldn't shield the charisma and allure of her voice. But...
"What song is this? It sounds amazing but I've never heard it before."
"That's where the generation gap lies. Come over, let your boyfriend sing the song for you. You were still in elementary school when the song came out."
"Geez, stop interrupting the song."
It was probably her beautiful eyes or perhaps her clear and gentle voice which attracted a crowd around her.
Bo Jiu sang softly, her eyes curved, "Not afraid of seeing your greetings at the ends of the earth, flying on the magic carpet, flying at the speed of light, flying to me. You made me see the Polaris with a cross shaped star accompanying it. Have you gotten used to not having my arm as a pillow? Your telescope can't see my loneliness on the Pacific Ocean in the northern hemisphere. I will wait patiently for the day you land..."
When she reached the word "land", she tilted to the side, towards Hoshino, who was watching her amidst the crowd with a faint smile on his face.
They were both wearing face masks but radiated different vibes. If Bo Jiu was cool and devilish, the quiet Hoshino watching her amidst the crowd was like spring water that flowed down the mountains, a gentleman. With their chemistry, just a look was enough to take action. That instant, Hoshino laughed, glancing up.
A loud swoosh was heard! The large screen that was still showing the advertisement suddenly blacked out, with the letter "Z" in the middle.
No, it wasn't just the advertisement board, it had also appeared at the screens of those around the area. Those that watched technology documentaries instantly linked it to a hacker.
Everyone was swiping their phones but there wasn't any way to get rid of the letter.
Right at this moment, an adjusted voice could be heard from the various screens in the mall. "Before I introduce myself, I would like to greet my old friend, Smith. I heard you specifically came down from the Fifth Avenue just to arrest me. Pssh, you sure are braver than before. Guess you haven't given up after all those failures. But I'm rather perplexed on how you managed to fall for an impersonator."
As soon as this was out, they managed to alert the police. The mall immediately activated their system cleaning process in order to fight off the network intrusion. However, when they reached the customer service counter, the computers were no longer under their control.
The network attack was too sudden but it didn't affect the mall's normal operations and had only taken up the advertisement screen. Even so, this was the first time the mall's manager had encountered such a situation.
It was common to see police cars parked near malls of this size. The police patrolling reacted quickly, informing the station at the first instant.
It was way busier than before. This was a special case with bad press due to their poor handling skills.
Smith sat in the interrogation room, across the table from Rao Rong. He arched his brow. "I finally caught you, Z."
Rao Rong didn't reply, both his hands cuffed. He had the same expression as before, his lips half upturned with mockery and dismal.
The arrest had happened out of the blue and the charges directed at him were outlandish. Honestly, he didn't mind being sent in. He was willing to do anything for his father to receive the justice he deserved. But the moment the crime squad had bolted into the club, he could see that person's eyes dimming. It had probably been disappointment. Because of him and the other teammates.
Rao Rong lowered his gaze, looking at his handcuffed wrists.
Who would know of the love he had for esports?
"Why aren't you saying anything, Z?" Smith chuckled, looking confident and sure of himself. "Are you thinking of an excuse to escape? This is China, not the Fifth Avenue, you won't be able to escape."
Lin Chentao and some other teammates were being interrogated beside Rao Rong when Smith spoke.
"We hope to receive evidence about Rao Rong from Mr Lin," the interrogator asked politely.
Lin Chentao hadn't said a word since the start but as the best witness, they would have to force him to say something. But base on his attitude, that possibility was starting to look bleak.
He was rather good looking and always had a lot to say but at this moment, Lin Chentao was silent.
"Mr Lin..." The interrogator tried a softer approach.
Lin Chentao suddenly spoke, his voice low and deep. "Do you even know that person?"
"What?" The interrogator was caught off guard.
Lin Chentao glanced up, red veins covering his eyes. "What sort of person is Rao Rong?"
The interrogator remained silent, looking straight at him.
Lin Chentao didn't care how others viewed him. "When I first joined the team, I was constantly at the bottom, my fingers weren't fast enough and my skills weren't on par with the others. As such, many of the rookies saw me as a burden and weren't willing to form teams with me. They locked me in the dressing room and forced me to quit the team but Captain protected me and told them off. He told them that hard work was more important than talent and for them to stop forming cliques to ostracize others. In order for the team to win, he would spend nights trying to decipher the best playing tactic for each player. Such a person would show his most radiant smile when the team wins and would comfort us when we lost, telling us it was alright and that we could try again the following year. How can such a person deliberately lose a National League competition for money? That year, when the team had a tense relationship with the club, he spoke for us at the risk of being frozen by the managers. He remained with the team despite all the alluring offers he was given and that was all because of us, the burdens he had to shoulder. But do you have any idea what he was repaid with? The older teammates forced him out of the team, they made him lose out two long and precious esports years. The club kept placing useless relatives into the team. If it hadn't been for Captain, do you have any idea how badly we would have lost to Supreme Alliance?"
The interrogator paused. "Mr Lin, I understand that you have a good relationship with Rao Rong but this isn't the time to be blinded by your emotions. If you could provide us with necessary evidence, it would be a great help to the case."
"I don't have any evidence." Lin Chentao stood firm. "Because I believe Captain isn't such a person."
The interrogator knew this was a dead end, hence, he left the interrogation room. He shook his head at Director Huang. "It's too difficult."
"Is there any progress at Smith's side?" After listening to Lin Chentao's words, Director Huang felt heavy inside. Perhaps such an experience led to his change, just like his father...
"Ever since the beginning, Rao Rong only has said one line, admitting to everything."
"Which means he admitted?"
Even though it was a successful interrogation, the ease of it made Director Huang suspicious.
But Rao Rong's attitude... Director Huang exhaled deeply.
The person beside him warned, "The higher-ups want the case closed as soon as possible, the Maiden's Sacrifice has brought about too much impact. The reporters have caught wind of his arrest and are still waiting for the outcome."
Director Huang paced around as he glanced down at the time on his watch. "Call for a press meeting."
The second he made the order, an officer ran over with his phone, crashing straight into his shoulder. "Director Huang, look at this!"