Author: 长洱 / Chang’er
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
There was a saying: The most reasonable is also the most unreasonable.
In terms of performance, Yu Yanqing had appeared outside the scenes of three crimes and left a letter that could be considered a suicide note, then committed suicide. At the same time, in the room where she committed suicide, they found evidence that indirectly proved she was involved in the Chunshui Street incident.
This was the logical conclusion.
But because it was perfect, it was unreasonable.
“But the problem is that you have no evidence to prove that Yu Yanqing was too afraid of death to commit suicide, since she’s already dead,” Xing Conglian said.
“Though I have no evidence, I’m pretty sure she committed suicide.” Lin Chen folded the letter in his hand. “I’m just curious to know how she overcame her instincts and used a knife to slash her own throat.” Lin Chen was silent for a moment, as if searching for the right wording. “People are always afraid of death, both physically and mentally. They have extremely complex self-protection mechanisms. This is why it’s not easy to overcome human nature and break that barrier, unless there’s a strong motivation behind it.”
“Wanting to die isn’t easy?” Xing Conglian was baffled. “But what you said, I suddenly thought… Just now, the forensic doctor said there’s a problem with the wounds on Yu Yanqing’s body.”
“How deep the wounds are varied. There are some old and new. She should have started self-harm very early. The earlier spots were small wounds in places that weren’t dangerous. Then the wounds slowly expanded to her wrists, chest, and neck…” Xing Conglian paused. “Finally, she slit her throat with a knife, but at that time, she didn’t die immediately. She still struggled until she stabbed the knife into her heart.”
When Xing Conglian finished, he snuck a peek at Lin Chen.
Lin Chen had just lowered his head, so Xing Conglian was unable to see his expression clearly.
There was an unbearable silence in the room. The sky was slowly darkening again. Finally, Xing Conglian couldn’t take it anymore and spoke up.
“What does this mean?” he asked.
Lin Chen began to clean up the piles of letters on the floor and stuffed them all back into their envelopes. “It means she was determined to die—her will and attitude were steadfast. This is rarely seen.”
Lin Chen’s answer was dry and straightforward. Any person who witnessed that scene would come to the same conclusion.
Many people committed suicide because it was too painful to live, and they had no love in their life. On the other hand, Yu Yanqing seemed to love the feeling of death.
It would make perfect sense for her to lie under a corpse and kill people because of her fondness for death.
But all these points return to one word.
Xing Conglian wiped his face. He couldn’t answer this question.
“What does it feel like when a person dies?” Lin Chen asked after he took a deep breath.
“Do you want to try?”
Looking at Lin Chen’s troubled face, Xing Conglian gave him a smile.
Since ancient times, there was always a taboo around death.
It was too scary, too horrible. It represented the end of life, but occasionally, it also emitted a charming hue that enticed people to come closer.
Lin Chen followed Xing Conglian and stood on the side of the road as the evening streetlights started to flicker on.
At this time, the wind wasn’t strong, but the rain was pouring, which made the streetlight cast a faint halo.
Coinciding with rush hour, the intersection was full of traffic. Vehicles were wrapped in rain, whistling past them as human voices, horns, engines, and countless other sounds mixed together, making their scalp numb.
“Are you ready?” Xing Conglian asked.
Before Lin Chen could react, he was yanked by the hand and was pulled into traffic.
As soon as the corner of his coat crossed the traffic light, he stepped back and ran to the side of the car. However, Xing Conglian’s strength was so great that he couldn’t break free. He could only be mercilessly dragged forward.
His shoulder hurt, but he didn’t stop running. Every step was like walking on the edge of death. He had just passed through one traffic lane when in the next lane over, a car had rushed up. The roar in his ears was so loud it could tear his eardrums. The sound of the wind was piercing, and it felt like there were large hands pushing them into the abyss.
Leaping over the meridian, Lin Chen almost crashed into a row of small pine trees.
Xing Conglian stood in the bike lane, panting for breath while still holding his hand tightly.
Behind the two of them were many drivers that kept honking their horns. The closest car to the two of them was an Audi. The driver had lowered his window and was cursing at them.
“Baby*, how are you feeling?” Xing Conglian joked. He didn’t seem to have any fear.
*Baby/babe/darling/sweetie ect. [Baobei] (宝贝) Generally, this is used as a term of endearment to someone you love, but Xing Conglian is using this in a joking manner (as they are not together at this point).
Lin Chen withdrew his hand and looked up at Xing Conglian. “I now finally believe in one thing…”
“You really do have foreign blood in you.”
As a descendent of a combative race, Xing Conglian was, of course, rough and thick-skinned. Even though he was careful, Lin Chen was still inevitably injured. His left leg was bruised and there was already a dark purple spot forming on his waist. He also felt unsteady and couldn’t maintain his balance.
When the two returned to the school, Yu Yanqing’s body had already been transported away. Fu Hao was also summoned to the scene.
Learning that Xing Conglian had taken Lin Chen on a suicide attempt, Professor Fu took a few steps forward, jumped up and smacked Captain Xing on the head.
Captain Xing was left dumbfounded as Professor Fu ignored him after the beating and went to grab Lin Chen’s hand and examine him carefully, acting like a worried grandmother. “Shixiong, you need to stay away from this kind of person in the future…”
“Just because he wants to die, you shouldn’t follow…”
“Do you want to go to the hospital first? You should stay at my place tonight. In case your injuries become inflamed, I can take care of you…”
“Don’t you live in the school dorm?” Hearing Professor Fu’s words, Xing Conglian couldn’t help but expose the proletariat.
“It’s a single dorm!”
“But your shixiong has to move, and your small dorm can’t fit your shixiong’s big sand table.”
Fu Hao was a simple person. He didn’t realize this problem and instead yelled at Xing Conglian. “Your house is very small too!”
Xing Conglian smiled. “But my family has many houses.”
“Where is your house?”
As an academic, Professor Fu was disgusted by this kind of conversation that stunk of money. However, though cultured as he was, he couldn’t argue with this hooligan… because Captain Xian was the one with the car.
When Xing Conglian parked the jeep at the entrance of Yanjia Lane, the matter was set in stone.
In front of them were houses with whitewashed walls along the old street. Captain Xing, who was sitting in the driver’s seat, said to Lin Chen, “Pick one. Where do you want to live?”
Fu Hao was drinking water in the back seat. When he heard what Xing Conglian said, he squeezed the bottle of mineral water and resisted the urge to spit out what he had just drunk.
“You sound like you own this entire street,” Fu Hao sneered.
“I thought this area was pretty good, so I bought it,” Xing Conglian said casually. It was so straightforward that it left Fu Hao speechless.
Taking advantage of the gap between Xing Conglian going to the trunk to unload the luggage, Fu Hao quickly grabbed Lin Chen and whispered, “Shixiong, let me tell you, men love to save face. You’re a blunt person, so try not to tear down Captain Xing.”
Lin Chen nodded solemnly, expressing his understanding.
As expected, although Xing Conglian stated he bought all of Yanjia Lane, in actuality, he moved Lin Chen’s luggage to his old house, Unit 6.
The reason was also quite apt. “The other houses haven’t been cleaned and it’s more convenient to discuss the case if we live together.”
Lin Chen and Fu Hao turned to look at each other and nodded to express their understanding.
It was night now. The old house didn’t have much lightning. Xing Conglian set up a table lamp on the eight immortals table* and brought out three bowls of braise beef noodle soup.
*Traditional Chinese square table with the length of each side that fits two people, so it can seat up to eight. It looks something like this.
Fu Hao remained silent as he slurped slowly on the noodles.
Xing Conglian also pulled out some sausages from a drawer and divided it up for each person, giving generous portions.
Lin Chen tore open the plastic bag and took a bite without showing any signs of disgust.
Unable to stand it any longer, Fu Hao slapped on the table abruptly, causing the plastic fork in his hand to break in half. “Lao Xing, do you know how grisly and bloody that murder scene we had to witness today was, yet you’re giving us braised beef and sausage to eat?”
“Professor Fu, don’t put it like that. It’s just meat. It’s not like the body was dismembered or anything…” Xing Conglian tried to comfort him.
In the end, Fu Hao still lost his appetite.
The rain had started again. For a while, there was only the sound of crisp falling rain hitting the roof of the old house.
Fu Hao propped up his head and looked at Lin Chen’s face while solemnly drinking his soup, then suddenly said, “Shixiong, I don’t get it. Since Yu Yanqing had a crush on you and written so many letters to you, why did she just suddenly commit suicide?” He sniffled. “Wouldn’t it make more sense for her to kill you then commit suicide?”
“What did you say?” Lin Chen suddenly put down the bowl of noodles and looked at Fu Hao seriously.
Professor Fu didn’t know if he had said something wrong. He blinked innocently and repeated, “I said, wouldn’t it make more sense for her to kill you then commit suicide…”
Lin Chen looked at Xing Gonglian and said, “There’s a problem.”
Xing Conglian nodded and thought, ‘Of course there’s a problem.’
But under Lin Chen’s burning gaze, he held back and could only squeak out a, “Huh?”
“If this case was committed by the same person, no matter how chaotic it is, there must be an intrinsic order. I have never understood what the intrinsic order of these cases is.” Lin Chen paused and said to Xing Conglian, “Please find me a pen.”
Paper and pen were quickly brought. Lin Chen pushed away the bowl of noodles and said to Fu Hao, “Repeat the order of the cases.”
Fu Hao blurted out, “First, a deceased patient was found in a hospital morgue neatly dressed. Then, the body of an old man appeared in a shop on Chuncai Street. Following that, a young man in the park fell from the still rings. Finally, Yu Yanqing committed suicide….”
As Fu Hao spoke, Lin Chen wrote. Finally, several keywords appeared on the paper.
[Corpse → Presentation of corpse → Murder → Suicide]
These keywords were connected by arrows to form a circle.
Xing Conglian looked at the words written by Lin Chen and almost felt that he was on the cusp of the entire case but was missing the most crucial link.
Happy Halloween. What better way than a release of a novel like this. I have also decided to release my newest project a little early given the theme. For those interested a modern-day supernatural genre, you can check out my newest project from one of my favorite authors: Evil As Humans. The prologue has been released.