# Most of the Solutions Return a Pair While I don't

• ``````class Solution {
int result = 0;
public:
// flag == -1 means I don't care about the result it returns
int dfs(TreeNode* root, int flag) {
int inc = 0;
int dec = 0;

if (root->left) {
if (root->left->val == root->val + 1) {
dec = dfs(root->left, 1);
} else if (root->left->val == root->val - 1) {
inc = dfs(root->left, 0);
} else {
// need to traverse the children to see if the longest path is inside the child
dfs(root->left, -1);
}
}

if (root->right) {
if (root->right->val == root->val + 1) {
dec = max(dec, dfs(root->right, 1));
} else if (root->right->val == root->val - 1) {
inc = max(inc, dfs(root->right, 0));
} else {
dfs(root->right, -1);
}
}

// since increasing branch and decreasing branch should be in different branches
// so we can simply add them together
result = max(result, inc + dec + 1);

if (flag == -1) return -1;
return flag ? dec + 1 : inc + 1;
}
int longestConsecutive(TreeNode* root) {
if (!root) return 0;
dfs(root, -1);
return result;
}
};
``````

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