Author: 长洱 / Chang’er
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Xing Conglian’s hair was messy and his beard unshaven. Because he was traveling in plain clothes today, he was still wearing a white t-shirt that was covered in mud that was paired with beach pants and flip flops, looking quite poor.
Even when he showed his police badge, the eyes of the principal of No. 3 Primary School thought he was simply a lowly policeman.
In a sense, he was indeed just a cop.
“Police officer, this is an internal affair at our school and has nothing to do with you.” The principal puffed out his chest and looked at the police officer walking towards him from the distance.
Xing Conglian walked very slowly. When he walked to Lin Chen’s side, he took out a cigarette and stuffed it in his mouth.
“Then why don’t you go investigate the scene of the crime?”
Although Xing Conglian had an expression that gave off, “It’s none of your fucking business what laozi* wants to do”, he still replied seriously, “I’m here to collect evidence.” As if forcing back some discomfort, he put the cigarette from his mouth back into the pack.
*When used like this, it’s an arrogant way of referring to yourself, often times humorously. It’s basically saying, “I, this great one”.
“What do you mean?”
“Just now, Mr. Principal, I heard your complaints. You seem dissatisfied with our police investigation, so I came to inquire about it.”
Xing Conglian was very close to Lin Chen. He was tall and looked like a big brother who wanted to vent his anger on behalf of his younger brother.
“Sorry, Mr. Police Officer. I just thought you were going to intervene in the dismissal of an employee of our school.” The principal’s tone was strange. He pointed to Lin Chen and continued, “Though this dorm manager is a temporary worker, I’ll still pay enough severance. You don’t really have to bother about this.”
Xing Conglian didn’t respond, because he was thinking about a very serious issue. As a policeman, he had many ways to make things difficult for the school and could easily make them reverse their firing.
In fact, before coming here, he had thought of many, many ways to stand up for Lin Chen, but when Lin Chen actually got in trouble, he realized that he was a policeman.
Because he was a policeman, he couldn’t use the methods he came up with and this fact made things extremely frustrating.
Xing Conglian thought about it for a while before finally glancing to the right in annoyance. He said to Lin Chen, “I really can’t intervene.”
Lin Chen seemed to understand Xing Conglian’s mood. He nodded as if relieved. “I understand.”
“Then let’s pack up your things?”
The conversation was simple, so much so that the three people wearing suits stood there awkwardly.
Then, Xing Conglian did something that made things even more awkward. He raised his hand, fanned it to one side, and said to the three men, “Then, please, could you move out of the way?”
Chen Ping didn’t move. He had been watching Xing Conglian the entire time.
From the news he received, Lin Chen did have a policeman by his side, who was the captain of the Hongjing Criminal Investigation Unit.
Lin Chen was always picky when choosing friends, so Chen Ping observed Xing Conglian with great scrutiny. From his ragged clothes to his unshaven face, the only thing that attracted Chen Ping’s attention was his eyes.
Those eyes were beautiful—cunning and intelligent. The key point, though, was that they were extremely clear.
To put it into a description… Taking Lin Chen’s eyes as an example, his eyes were also clear like the snow atop the peaks of a mountain, or that had melted, becoming water. They were so clear and cold that sometimes it was hard to look at him. Compared with the policeman’s eyes, they were vast and deep. Because of this, they weren’t just clear but also inexplicable.
Although he couldn’t see through this man, as a butler of an elite family, Chen Ping recognized a single truth. In front of money, even the hardest bones would soften.
So, Chen Ping took out his business card from a flashy metal box and called out, “Captain Xing.”
At this time, Xing Conglian had already squeezed into Lin Chen’s room. When he heard someone calling him from behind, he didn’t bother turning around and instead asked Lin Chen, “Is it fine if I don’t answer?”
“Doesn’t look like it.”
“Damn regulations,” Xing Conglian muttered. He turned around and, with a forced smile, asked, “Sir, how can I help you?”
“I’m the butler of the Chen family. I’ve heard of you before, Captain Xing. I want to discuss something with you. This is my business card.”
Chen Ping handed over a dark gold embossed card and held it in mid-air.
Xing Conglian didn’t take it. He rubbed his beard and asked Lin Chen, “Is he trying to bribe me?”
“You said that too loudly.”
“Of course I have to be loud. Otherwise, what should I do if he misunderstands me?” Xing Conglian said distressingly. “We grassroots civil servants are most afraid of this kind of thing, you know?”
It seemed that Xing Conglian was quite upright.
Lin Chen continued to nod his head to express his understanding. He walked to the door and bowed slightly to the three men outside. To their surprise, he casually closed the door behind him.
“Problem solved,” he said to Xing Conglian.
Xing Conglian was stunned.
A moment later, the room erupted in laughter, leaving the three men outside the door looking at each other in disbelief.
This was the second time Xing Conglian came to Lin Chen’s room, and naturally, it would be the last.
He crawled to the bottom of the bed, and, under Lin Chen’s instructions, pulled out a large cardboard box from under the simple wooden plank bed.
“You can come stay at my place. It’s quite big.” Xing Conglian gently brushed away the thin ash on the box, pretending to give Lin Chen a relaxed look.
“You didn’t come to get the letters? Why?”
Xing Conglian sighed. It was quite troublesome being just acquaintances.
“First, Yu Yanqing most likely committed suicide. Second, we found needles in the tool room just now.”
“A stimulant?” Lin Chen frowned. “Large doses of stimulants can indeed cause erratic behavior. The fruit stall shopkeeper who went crazy and started slashing people should have taken a similar drug. This would make sense, but how strange…”
“Of course it’s strange. When we need clues, suddenly they appear,” Xing Conglian said nonchalantly as he sat on the floor.
When talking to smart people, it was true that occasionally there was a sense of connection.
Lin Chen also sat down on one side. Instead of speaking, he opened the cardboard box in front of him.
Xing Conglian expected to see a lot of letters in the box, but he never thought he would see that many letters. The letters filled the cardboard box to the brim. When Lin Chen opened it, some even fell out.
Xing Conglian was dumbfounded.
Lin Chen ignored Xing Conglian’s look and quickly sorted through the letters. He picked some of them out and put them on the floor. Others were stuffed back inside the box. Finally, he sealed the cardboard box, leaving about a dozen neatly packed letters on the floor.
There was an indescribable sense of beauty to his movement, like flowing water.
“Those inside?” Xing Conglian asked tentatively.
“Letters sent by others.”
“You didn’t read them?”
“Who writes so many letters?” Xing Conglian said in disbelief, then felt that he was being too gossipy.
“Are we close?”
“It seems not,” Xing Conglian said, a bit aggrieved.
“Then why should I tell you?”
Xing Conglian didn’t know how to answer. He remembered Professor Fu’s groveling attitude when he first met Lin Chen. He guessed he needed to follow the same pattern. He rested his chin on the box and looked at Lin Chen with bewilderment.
Sure enough, Lin Chen averted his gaze and continued, “Similarly, I’m not familiar with these people who sent these letters. Why should I read them?”
“That makes sense,” Xing Conglian said.
With no rain falling outside, the room was quiet.
Lin Chen opened a letter and read it carefully. Similarly, Xing Conglian did the same.
Compared with Lin Chen, Xing Conglian’s reading was much faster. After he finished, he felt goosebumps all over his body and a chill going down his spine.
“How scary.” He pushed a few of the letters to Lin Chen. “All this, it’s all about suffering and death.” He then picked up another letter and shook it. “Who said, ‘Give me a dozen babies and I can turn them into whatever you want*’?”
*John B. Watson. The actual quote is much longer. You can read it in my Kinky Thoughts. The premise is that, as a behaviorist, he believes that any person could potentially be trained to perform any task, regardless of genetic background, personality, and internal thoughts (within the limits of their physical capabilities). All it takes is the right conditioning.
Lin Chen put down the letter and looked at Xing Conglian. “That is the view of Watson, the founder of behaviorism in the school of psychology.”
“So, is Yu Yanqing a psychology student?” Xing Conglian stroked his beard. “So she put sand next to the corpses because there’s a sand table in your room and she specifically studied sandplay?”
Lin Chen lowered his eyes. “If she treats the whole thing as a huge sand table game, then she’s obviously presenting death and forcing us to face it head on. But again, this behavior also projects…”
“Her subconsciousness that is extremely afraid of death,” Lin Chen said slowly word by word.
Xing Conglian raised his head abruptly and latched onto the key point. “But there’s a problem!”
“If she’s afraid of death, why did she commit suicide?” Lin Chen said indifferently.
Girl’s probably off her meds. That’s why.
Full quote from John B. Watson: “Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I’ll guarantee to take any one at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select—doctor, lawyer, artist, merchant-chief and, yes, even beggar-man and thief, regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations, and race of his ancestors.”