When Su Zheng bounded back happily, Edward could only sigh under the taunting gaze from Ye Shuang. He dragged his large body from the chair and accepted his order to complete the next step. When this girl started to order people around, she was really not even a little bit tactful about it. Then again, he also wanted to know whether the painting was really in Cedrick's bag or not.
"Hey, partner!" Edward did not use much ploy. Su Zheng's directness had probably given him inspiration, so he replicated her method. He could not be sure how far Cedrick had chatted with the collector—perhaps they were getting to the midst of it, or perhaps they were ready to leave already. To prevent unnecessary trouble—like the men leaving before the trap was triggered—Edward walked over to them casually and sat next to the shy looking young man.
Cedrick looked at the unexpected guest with surprise. After sharing an equally confused look with the collector, he asked hesitantly but still politely, "I'm sorry, but who are you?"
"Is this your friend, Cedrick?" The collector looked at them curiously.
"Oh, yes, we are." Edward interrupted Cedrick before he could deny it. "Of course, Cedrick and I know each other. Hmm… Don't you agree, Mr. Gentleman?"
When he said the latter sentence, Edward turned to toss Cedrick a look.
Hearing the familiar nickname, Cedrick's calm demeanor was shaken for a moment before he flashed his polite smile. "I think you have something to tell me, right? How about we move to the side?"
"There's no need… Hmm, you don't mind, right?" Edward took up the biscuit from the table and took a bite before asking Cedrick. Cedrick looked at Edward silently and shook his head.
After Edward had his fill, he picked up another piece before continuing. "I seem to have left something of mine with you, Cedrick. If you don't mind, can I take a look inside your bag?"
The request confused the collector, but the youth quickly thought about it and confirmed that he had not stolen anything from someone who looked like Edward. Furthermore, he had recently been busying liaising with the collector, so he had not had time to commit any crimes. Regardless, Cedrick believed that the other man would not find anything incriminating inside his bag.
With that in mind, Cedrick smiled. "Of course, it's no problem."
Even if Edward was with the FBI, doing something while he was watching was impossible. Cedrick turned to grab his backpack on his chair. Then he froze when he pulled open the zipper and noticed an oil painting that should not have been in there.
When did this painting enter my bag?
Edward naturally noticed the pause. He turned his head around and whistled. Wow… That little girl knows her stuff.
The collector still did not understand what was happening. "Cedrick, what's the problem?"
Edward looked at the stunned Cedrick with wicked humor in his eyes and pitied this famed thief for a second before starting to have his own fun. "Mr. Cedrick, why don't we admire this painting together?"
Cedrick was still in stunned mode. As a famous thief and someone who had escaped the FBI openly so many times, Cedrick's intelligence was higher than most. However, like what Ye Shuang said, he was more familiar with planning and setting up a theft even though his skill was not bad either, as evidenced by the fact that he had managed to steal Su Zheng's phone.
Other than using various high-tech gadgets to set up his plan, Cedrick's mastery of his skillful hands was very high as well, and no one had ever pulled one over on him… However, it was also because of it that when something that did not belong to him suddenly appeared in his backpack, he would end up being so stunned.
The difficulty of stealing something and planting something were different; the former was more difficult than the later. However, if it was planting something so big and the backpack was so close to him, this kind of technique was already beyond anything that Cedrick had ever known. How did the man do it?
Edward had great admiration for the expression on Cedrick's face. With sinister purpose, he enjoyed the man's shock for a while before he reminded the man again. "Mr. Cedrick?"
"Hmm? Oh." Cedrick was pulled back to reality, and his brain quickly assessed the current situation. From the quality of the canvas, this was not an artifact. The paint was rather dark, so it looked like a student's work. The size was also a bit small, probably for the convenience of lugging it around. It should not be something for an exhibition… In conclusion, this was a painting that had no market value. After getting that conclusion, the initial fluster Cedrick experienced became much better.
Even though he could not understand how the painting got there, as long as it had no value, then this at most was a harmless accident…
Cedrick did not realize that in certain people's eyes, the value of a painting was more than its measure of price and history.
Having calmed down, Cedrick took out the painting as natural as he could like this was nothing out of the ordinary. He then passed it to Edward. "You're looking for it? Oh, actually I'm quite surprised as well. This looks like someone's random sketch, why would it be in my bag?"
What he really meant was, Fatty, don't think you can frame with something you bought from a market stall.
Edward accepted the painting, but he did not put it away. When he witnessed Ye Shuang sign her name and then rubbed it away, he had understood what the girl was planning. He pushed the empty cookie plate away, and Edward directly placed the painting on the table so that it was on full display for the three guests at the table.
The collector's eyes shone. Good painting! This skill! This technique…
Cedrick's eyes also shone. Perfect, it really is an amateur's sketch!
"Huh? Mr. Cedrick, don't you know why this painting is inside your bag?" Edward unleashed an unusually wicked chuckle. His chubby finger tapped as if casually on the spot where the signature was. The cursive signature was plain for all to see. "But that's weird, isn't this your signature, Mr. Cedrick?"
The collector noticed that as well, and he rubbed his glasses as he leaned closer. "This signature?"
Cedrick's sight was better than the collector's. He quickly took a glance, and his heart fell. Earlier, he had just said he did not know where the painting came from…
Cedrick's brain sped through various reasons, and before he could finish a reasonable one, the collector noticed the faded carbon stain underneath the current signature. Studying it, the collector said with contemplation, "This type of rectangular writing… Is it Japanese?"
What the f*ck‽ Ye Shuang cursed internally as she walked over. "I'm sorry, that's Chinese."
Sitting down, Ye Shuang smiled at the group who just noticed her.
Su Zheng harrumphed loudly and then pushed her chin toward Cedrick in a challenge. "Cat got your tongue‽"
"…The man doesn't know Chinese," Ye Shuang reminded her softly. After a cough, Ye Shuang smiled at the collector and switched back to English. "Actually it's just a sketch, so I don't mind it that much. However, it's a painting of France that I've promised my friend. I don't think it's wise for a man to take a woman's personal item… I'm sorry, if you don't mind, Mr. Cedrick, can I please take my sketch back?"
When he saw Su Zheng, Cedrick instantly understood why the whole show was happening that day.
To be honest, an Eastern face was not so uncommon that he would remember every Easterner that he so, but Su Zheng was the only Eastern whom Cedrick had stolen from in France. Other than that, Su Zheng's personality trait was obvious. When he saw the arrogance from Su Zheng, Cedrick identified her immediately.
This was his fault technically. That day, he had needed to use a phone other than his own to make a call because he did not want people to trace him, so the most convenient method was to swipe one from the street.
At the time, the girl had been walking proudly down the street, talking so loudly on the phone. Since the girl was so conspicuous, Cedrick did not think much about it and started his work once Su Zheng finished her call.
This was an ending that he did not expect. After he got Su Zheng's phone, Cedrick could not use it at all. The lock that the girl used was different from the common lock, and it required a series of actions to open.
Cedrick had to steal another phone, and he really did not expect there would be a continuation to that story. Several days later, the girl managed to locate him and used her own method to plot for a revenge…
He looked at Su Zheng and pursed his lips helplessly. "I believe you're looking for me."
After Ye Shuang was ignored, she was feeling rather bored. She was surprised the man's brain could turn so fast and had already figured out the cause and effect within such a short period of time.
Su Zheng did not understand him, so she pulled on Ye Shuang's sleeve. "Sister Shuang, is he saying bad about me?"
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