Chapter 96 – Midnight Arson

At night in the county town, everything was quiet. There were no streetlights on the roads, and except for the faint light of the moon, the world was shrouded in darkness.

Most people, exhausted from a day’s work, were deep in sweet dreams at this hour.

There were hardly any people on the streets.

In the evening, most of the workers from the various factories had already left, except for a few places where someone was on night duty. Everywhere else was locked up tight, quiet and deserted.

The textile factory was no exception.

At this moment, a figure appeared stealthily from the shadows, hunched over, slowly approaching the textile factory.

He skillfully climbed over the factory gate and entered inside, then made his way towards the warehouse.

Soon, he arrived at the warehouse and identified a specific spot.

He put down what he was carrying and then reached into his pocket. In the moonlight, it was clear that he took out a key and adeptly opened the warehouse door in front of him.

Seeing the door slowly open, revealing the polyester fabric inside, a satisfied smile spread across his face.

Bending down, he picked up something he had placed on the ground, faintly visible as a bottle of liquor.

He raised the bottle and began splashing the liquor onto the fabric in front of him, once, twice, three times…

The more he splashed, the more excited and thrilled he appeared, as if he saw what he desired beckoning him.

He kept splashing until the bottle was empty.

Then he tucked the bottle into his coat and took out something else from his pocket, ready to take further action.

Just as he was about to act, a voice suddenly sounded behind him without warning.

“Cao Jiandang, what are you doing in the middle of the night!”

Yes, the person in front of the warehouse was indeed Cao Jiandang!

At that moment, the moonlight reflected his momentarily pale face and stiff back.

He didn’t even dare to move.

For a moment, his mind went blank, his legs feeling as heavy as lead, rooted to the spot.

But soon, with the footsteps behind him and the beam of a flashlight shining, Cao Jiandang reacted instantly.

No, he couldn’t be caught. If he was found out, if they knew what he had done, he would be finished.

With that thought, Cao Jiandang immediately turned around and ran towards the factory gate.

He ran as fast as he could, putting all his strength into it.

“Stop, don’t run!”

“Cao Jiandang, we’ve already recognized you.”

“I’m not Cao Jiandang, I’m not him, you’ve got the wrong person,” Cao Jiandang instinctively argued.

The people behind him continued to chase, and Cao Jiandang was about to reach the factory gate.

He felt a surge of joy.

As long as he ran out of the factory, as long as he wasn’t caught.

Even if they knew he was Cao Jiandang, so what? Tomorrow he could act like he didn’t know about it, even if they asked, he could deny it.

Yes, that’s it!

Just as Cao Jiandang’s face was filled with joy, about to rush out of the factory gate.

Suddenly, three people appeared in front of him, grabbing him, and no matter how hard he struggled, he couldn’t move.

But when Cao Jiandang saw one of the people clearly, he was instantly stunned, his face showing shock.

“Xu… Xu Aiguo, how… how can you be here!”

Yes, standing in front of Cao Jiandang was indeed Xu Aiguo.

Next to Xu Aiguo were two other people from the factory whom Cao Jiandang didn’t recognize.

At that moment, the person who had been chasing Cao Jiandang caught up.

“Cao Jiandang, it really is you.”

The voice sounded somewhat familiar, and Cao Jiandang slowly turned around to see Deputy Factory Director Li’s stern face among the group behind him.

This is bad, really bad!

In that instant, Cao Jiandang felt like something in his head had exploded.

“Cao Jiandang, speak up. In the middle of the night, you sneaked into the factory and opened the warehouse door, what were you planning to do?” Deputy Factory Director Li asked.

Then he signaled the others to escort Cao Jiandang towards the warehouse.

“Nothing, Director Li, I didn’t do anything. I just remembered that I accidentally dropped something in the factory and came back to look for it,” Cao Jiandang desperately tried to find an excuse.

“Oh, dropped something and came back to look for it? Cao Jiandang, do you even believe that yourself? Look at these cloths, we can clearly see that you were pouring something on them just now.”

Deputy Factory Director Li didn’t even need to pick up the cloth; the strong smell of alcohol permeated the air.

At that moment, as Cao Jiandang struggled, something fell out from his embrace. Though it crashed to the ground and shattered loudly, everyone recognized it—it was a bottle of alcohol!

Then, Cao Jiandang’s palm was pried open, revealing something inside.

It was a box of matches!

That was it! When all these things were revealed, Cao Jiandang completely gave up struggling and arguing!

“Cao Jiandang, just tell us, what were you planning to do?”

“Switching the keys to the warehouse, making a duplicate key, opening the warehouse in the dead of night, pouring alcohol on the cloths, and carrying matches, are you trying to commit arson?”

The mention of arson struck a nerve with Cao Jiandang instantly.

“I’m not, I didn’t, I didn’t do it!”

Even though Cao Jiandang might have planned this in his mind, he would definitely deny it on the surface.

Otherwise, once the accusation of arson came out and he admitted to it, he would be completely finished.

“Fine, since you don’t admit it, we’ll call the police, and you’ll go to jail,” Deputy Factory Director Li waved his hand.

The mention of calling the police immediately frightened Cao Jiandang, his legs went weak, and he almost kneeled down.

In this era, everyone feared the public security bureau, everyone feared going to jail after being reported.

“No, please don’t call the police, Director Li, I beg you, don’t call the police.”

“I… admit it, I admit it, it was me. I came here today to set the fire.”

After saying this, Cao Jiandang slumped down, his head drooping.

He knew that whether he admitted it or not, as long as he was caught and the evidence was found, he was finished!

“Cao Jiandang, the factory has been good to you, why would you do this? Do you realize how much damage you’ll cause to the factory by intentionally setting fire to this batch of cloths?”

“If we hadn’t stopped you, once this batch of cloth was destroyed, you wouldn’t just go to jail; you might end up eating peanuts directly!” Deputy Factory Director Li’s voice was stern, reprimanding each word, which in the silent night was quite unsettling!

Cao Jiandang certainly knew what consequences would arise if something happened to this batch of cloth.

But in Cao Jiandang’s plan, even if something happened to this batch of cloth, the consequences wouldn’t be for him to bear, but rather…

“Cao Jiandang, are you doing this to frame me?” At this moment, Xu Aiguo, who had been silent all along, spoke up.

This statement made Cao Jiandang’s heart skip a beat, and he instantly looked up at Xu Aiguo, his eyes filled with shock.

Then Xu Aiguo’s words further alarmed him.

“Let me guess what you were planning to do.”

“In fact, your main goal isn’t to burn this batch of cloth; you’re trying to frame me, deliberately creating the illusion that this batch of cloth is about to catch fire and be destroyed, then you’ll come out to put out the fire.”

“This way, you become the hero who saved the day, while I, Xu Aiguo, would have to bear the blame for negligence in supervision.”

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