Author: 长洱 / Chang’er
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Lin Chen felt that lingering ghosts* were really troublesome.
*(阴魂不散) Idiom referring to while the bad person and bad things have been eliminated, the bad influences is still at work. Jokingly, it can also refer to someone chasing after someone. From Li Lvyuan “Different Road Lamp”. || In this context, it’s the latter.
As for Xing Conglian, he felt that Lin Chen was troubled.
He had just arrived at the police station in the morning and sat down in his seat to read the newly released report. After only half a bite into his steam buns, he was informed by his subordinates to go to the director’s office for tea.
The old director made a cup of inauthentic Longjing tea and sat opposite Xing Conglian with a cup in hand. He seemed to want to have a long discussion with him.
“Conglian, how’s the case going?” The director touched his cup of tea while speaking solemnly.
Xing Conglian stared at the director’s half-bald, shiny head and sat straight up. “The case is still under investigation. I just got a report from forensics. It shows that there were obvious signs of tampering to the still rings in the park, so it should be a murder case.”
When the director heard the word “murder case”, his expression suddenly became distressed. “Conglian, I’m old and my heart isn’t good. I hope you won’t say such intense words like that, and can you please lower your voice?”
“The murderer’s motives and criminal methods are still unclear. It could be related to the hospital and the white sand case on Chunshui Street…”
“Shut up!” The old director covered his heart. “Don’t say these kinds of things so casually!”
“But Professor Fu said…”
“Nonsense!” The old director slammed the table violently. “For Fu Hao to be at this level, his teacher must be laughing himself awake!”
“Professor Fu is our external expert after all.”
“Bullshit. Fu Hao studied psychometrics and has never been out in the field. You’re telling me he can do criminal analysis?”
“Are you saying someone is helping Fu Hao behind our backs?” Xing Conglian asked rhetorically.
“Xing Conglian!” The old director became furious. “Yesterday, someone reported to his superiors that the Hongjing Municipal Bureau used a supernumerary to help with our case. This seriously affects our procedural fairness and the purity of the police force!”
Xing Conglian frowned. He thought it was strange. Just yesterday he had handcuffed Lin Chen and dragged him to the police station, yet someone had already reported it to his superiors?
There was something fishy here.
“Didn’t you formally hire Professor Fu to be our consultant?” Xing Conglian continued to act ignorant.
“Idiot! It’s obviously not Fu Hao!” The director’s fury continued to rise. “It’s the one you arrested, Lin Chen!”
“Lin Chen?” The captain asked, “Who is Lin Chen?”
The old director looked at his subordinate’s serious gaze before he realized he had fallen into a trap of the other party’s counter-interrogation.
“Young people shouldn’t be so gossipy!” The old director collected his composure and drank his tea.
“So someone specifically reported to a superior all because of Lin Chen?” When Xing Conglian spoke, he held a bit of uncertainty in his tone. “I just brought him in to make a statement. If no one in our bureau recognized him, then they must’ve gotten the news through our internal network. Since they reacted so quickly, his name must be blacklisted…” As Xing Conglian spoke, he looked at his superior’s face getting darker. “Was he a police officer before? If not, then a former consultant to the police, right?”
When he finished, he hoped to discern some information from his superior’s face, but the old man refused to show any expression besides a nasty glare.
“Are you eight this year?” The old director finally finished all the tea in his cup. He put it down and asked rhetorically.
“A little short of it.”
“Then fuck off. Don’t gossip like an old bag!”
Xing Conglian didn’t say anything more. He straightened his clothes and stood up. “What you actually mean is, you want me to exclude Lin Chen from our investigation, right?” While it was phrased as a question, his tone was flat, indicating that it was more of a statement.
When he finished speaking, he turned around and walked away.
“Stop.” The old director suddenly raised his head and looked at his subordinate’s back. “Hey, remember what I said.”
An old coot like this man wouldn’t reveal his true thoughts even if something happened, let alone reveal someone’s background.
Xing Conglian sat back down as the rain continued to pour outside the window. The rain was thin and dense, pouring rapidly while the manic wind blew about, causing umbrellas to sway so wildly that people couldn’t maintain a firm balance.
He put away his idle thoughts and began to look through the scene investigation report that had just been placed on his desk.
While he could read all the words on it, he couldn’t understand the meaning behind it.
A fully dressed male body in a hospital, the fruit store assault case, the dead old man, the broken still rings in the park…
All of these were seemingly unrelated, yet somehow, they were improbably linked closely together by sand.
He couldn’t help but think of the quiet dorm manager. The other person’s peaceful eyes and extremely calm demeanor made him really want to stand up, rush into the rain, run to the man and ask, “What do you know?”
With that in mind, he stood up, grabbed his keys, put on his jacket, and walked out of the police station. Just as he was about to step into the rain, he suddenly saw someone coming from afar in the middle of a storm.
The man was thin. He shakily held a black umbrella that had slightly collapsed on one side due to the wind.
However, the hand that was holding the umbrella was steady, and his pace was equally such that even the rain made a steady, calm sound as it hit the umbrella.
Looking at the person who was coming from the rain made Xing Conglian want to have a smoke.
Lin Chen walked up the steps, put away his umbrella, and shook the rain off his body.
He was completely soaked, like he had just been fished out of water. There wasn’t any special expression on his face, and he neither greeted nor made small talk. He raised his head slightly and bluntly asked, “Do you want to solve the case?”
“Yes,” Xing Conglian replied succinctly.
“Do you trust me?” Lin Chen asked.
“Are you afraid of retaliation?”
“Yes,” Xing Conglian answered truthfully. He remembered the director’s warning just now and had a better understanding of why Lin Chen asked this question. He thought that his answer would disappoint him, but he obviously saw a smile in Lin Chen’s eyes. He couldn’t help but chuckle. “But I’m even more afraid that I won’t be able to solve this case and get my bonus. After all, it’s crayfish season…”
When he finished, he saw Lin Chen nod, as if he strongly agreed with him. “So, for the sake of your bonus and crayfish, please let me join.”
Lin Chen’s voice wasn’t very loud. Especially in the heavy rain, it became almost inaudible, but at that moment, Xing Conglian was stunned.
A few minutes ago, he made the decision to seek Lin Chen’s help and thought on how to go about it without making Lin Chen feel it was too abrupt while also considering that Lin Chen would refuse.
He never thought that Lin Chen would be the one saying this to him.
“Please let me join.”
If he hadn’t been in the director’s office that morning, he would’ve felt that Lin Chen wanted to get involved in the case, but when Lin Chen asked, “Are you afraid of retaliation?”, he suddenly realized that Lin Chen knew exactly how much pressure he—or rather, they would be under.
However, he still grabbed an umbrella, braved the rain, and came here to say, “Please let me join.”
He took a puff from his cigarette and asked, “Why are there so many people who don’t want you involved in the investigation?”
“Do you care?” Lin Chen smiled. “I don’t.”
Xing Conglian was part Russian. With such an extremely vigorous bloodline, it meant that when he wanted to do something, he would choose to do it no matter what.
Strangely enough, Lin Chen, who was calm and stable, was actually such a person himself.
Xing Conglian laughed loudly and choked on the smoke. He coughed a few times but continued to laugh.
“Welcome to the team.” He held out his hand and threw away the cigarette that was still burning.
Although he didn’t care about complaints or warnings, Xing Conglian still took into account the mood of the old man who suffered from heart disease.
Instead of bringing Lin Chen back to the police station, he took him to his home, Unit 6 on Yanjia Lane.
Inside, the home was peaceful, shutting out the raging storm.
It was the same location but a different time. As he watched Lin Chen sit on the wooden bed that was facing the river, Xing Conglian felt a twinge in his heart, so he took the initiative to take out a towel and also made a cup of hot ginger tea.
Lin Chen seemed unconcerned about being wet from the cold rain. He took the towel and tea that Xing Conglian handed over and put them casually aside.
“Actually, I came here this time because I received a letter with white sand in it.” As he spoke, he took out a pink letter that was placed in a sealed bag from his pocket.
Xing Conglian looked at the sealed bag and saw the delicate white sand inside and felt his scalp go numb.
Because he didn’t have gloves on, he could only carefully flatten the letter inside the sealed bag. “Do you know who wrote this letter?”
Lin Chen didn’t answer immediately.
He didn’t have a deep impression of the person who wrote it. In his memory, it should be a very young and quiet girl. If it weren’t for registering people who entered and left the dorms every day, he probably wouldn’t even know the girl’s name.
He had noticed many times that the girl was secretly looking at him and had also received letters from her that she had carefully placed on his desk.
Sky blue, beige, pink. The words on the cover were very elegant and always had the three words, “To Lin Chen” on it, but he never opened them…
“The sender is Yu Yanqing. She’s a gardener who prunes the flowers and trees for our school.”
“A gardener that’s so literate?” Xing Conglian looked at the letter. He had read the eloquent verses several times.
“She’s young, probably between 25-28 and should be well educated.”
“Why did she write this to you?”
“She has written a lot of letters to me in the past. I thought she had a crush on me, so I thought those letters were just love letters.” Lin Chen calmly stated. Even when mentioning the word crush, there was no blushing or shyness. He appeared so upright that even a person like Xing Conglian, who liked to joke, couldn’t tease him about being the object of the gardener’s admiration.
“She has a crush on you, so the white sand could’ve been stolen from your room too, right?”
“I don’t know,” Lin Chen frankly answered.
“Then why did she stuff white sand in the letters? Do these white sands have anything to do with recent events?”
“I’m not sure.” Lin Chen paused, then added, “But I suspect it’s related.”
Xing Conglian suddenly had an epiphany. “You suspect that this matter may be related to you, so that’s why you want to participate in the investigation, right?”
Instead of answering him, Lin Chen replied, “In any case, I’m here to help, aren’t I?”
Xing Conglian nodded helplessly. Then he heard Lin Chen say, “If you trust me, please send someone to look for Yu Yanqing. Most likely, she’s already dead.”