Author: 长洱 / Chang’er
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
There was a time difference between China and Dana. When the video call connected, Lin Chen was startled for a moment when he saw the blinding sun shining all over the sky.
Then, Duan Yang’s face appeared, with a very short crew cut and skin that had tanned charcoal black in just a few days, and his eyes were even brighter and more determined.
After seeing him, Duan Yang’s first words were, “Consultant Lin, you don’t seem to have been taking your medicine and resting properly.”
At that time, Lin Chen had already finished his X-rays and was lying on a hospital bed. During that time, he had also been scolded by the attending doctor for a suspected lung infection. So now, he confidently moved the camera to the IV bag and his striped patient gown and said to Duan Yang, “I’ve been in a semi-quarantine state and have been very obedient.”
Xing Conglian’s voice interjected, “He’s been obedient for the past five minutes.”
Duan Yang’s gaze became stern. “Consultant Lin, I believe you’ve been through a near-death experience, so you should recognize the importance of good health…”
Lin Chen came to his senses and interrupted Duan Yang. “Hold on, I have something to tell you.”
“Have you found the problem with Zhourui Pharmaceutical?” Duan Yang asked.
Lin Chen shook his head and looked at the young man, who was now very different from before. He didn’t know if what was coming next would push him into another abyss, but he still spoke up. “No, but it’s still related to Zhourui Pharmaceutical and your teacher.”
Duan Yang narrowed his eyes. “Something happened?”
Lin Chen didn’t answer his question but said, “Before that, I have a question for you.”
“Related to my teacher?” Duan Yang insisted on not following his line of thought.
Lin Chen sighed, remembering the young doctor who used to stutter in front of him over half a month ago. Xing Conglian squeezed his hand, as if to say that if he found it difficult to speak, he could do it for him. Lin Chen held Xing Conglian’s hand and looked at Duan Yang’s dark face on the screen, asking, “Have you told anyone else about the news of Teacher Duan’s death in Dana?”
When he heard this, there was no obvious grief in Duan Yang’s expression. He looked calm and replied in an overly calm tone, “No, we arrived at this estate the day before yesterday, and we’ve been cleaning and making arrangements these past two days. We haven’t had any contact with anyone other than you guys.”
After Duan Yang finished speaking, he just looked at Lin Chen, as if waiting for what he would say next.
“There’s something I need to tell you.”
“You wouldn’t have gone through such a long introduction before telling me if it were good news,” Duan Yang said.
“Tan Kang is dead,” Lin Chen said directly.
For a moment, Duan Yang didn’t speak. The background consisted only of the sound of the wind and the laughter and running of children, rising and falling.
After about 30 seconds of silence, Duan Yang finally spoke. “How did Tan Kang die?”
“Stabbed to death at Hongjing Amusement Park. Died with a single blow,” Lin Chen answered.
“Such an unsophisticated technique?” Duan Yang asked. “Did Zhourui Pharmaceutical silence him in public? Why?”
“No.” Lin Chen pursed his lips and chose to get straight to the point. “All evidence now points to someone else—your teacher, Mr. Duan Wanshan.”
Duan Yang’s calm face shattered quickly. In that moment, his face showed joy, doubt, pain, and confusion. But in the end, when Duan Yang’s excited emotions subsided, all of this was hit by the reality of grief, leaving nothing but debris.
“How could this be?” Duan Yang asked. “It’s not like it’s some cliché of twins or clones, is it?”
“Mr. Duan Wanshan’s DNA was found on the murder weapon, and his fingerprints were also found on items related to Tan Kang’s relics,” Lin Chen said.
As he spoke, Lin Chen’s gaze never left Duan Yang’s face from the beginning. Even now, after finishing this sentence, he was still staring at Duan Yang’s face, wondering how Duan Yang would respond and how he should respond in turn.
But Duan Yang blushed, and only a smile appeared at the corners of his mouth as he looked at him seriously and said slowly, “If it’s true, that would be great.”
If it’s true, if it’s Teacher…
It would be great if Teacher was still alive…
When Lin Chen heard Duan Yang say those words in a calm voice, he didn’t know why, but he couldn’t control his emotions for a moment, and his eyes felt sour.
“Consultant Lin, don’t be sad.” Suddenly their positions switched, and Duan Yang comforted him. “Everyone has to die. It’s good to understand that. Before my teacher died, he had no regrets or remorse. We don’t need to have regrets either. In his lifetime, he lived a life that was much more meaningful than most people.”
“Just ten days ago, you weren’t like this,” Lin Chen said. “Growing up so fast can be annoying sometimes.”
Lin Chen saw the children running barefoot behind Duan Yang. In the camera, he could vaguely see Zhang Long and Comrade Zhao Hu standing like bodyguards in the back, watching over the children. In the distance, there was a monkey bread tree and a messy field of grass, and of course, there was the pleasant plantation beyond the grass. The surviving more than 500 people from the Gaomeng Tribe should be living there. Looking at the scenery there, he suddenly felt that there were also things in the uncivilized society that people longed for. At least, good and evil, life and death, were very pure. Killing was also done with real knives and guns, without so much intrigue and exhaustion.
Duan Yang laughed. “Let’s continue with the case. How did my teacher’s DNA end up on the murder weapon that killed Tan Kang?”
“Through special techniques of forgery.” Lin Chen paused and added, “I think.”
“Then the person who could get my teacher’s DNA should have had contact with him before or had a very close relationship with him?” Duan Yang paused and asked him, “Can I make such an inference?”
“Your reasoning process was a bit fast, but basically without problems.”
“Teacher had no children in his lifetime. The most likely people who could obtain his DNA were his students and colleagues around him. Moreover, we, these people, have the skills to forge a sample of Teacher’s DNA,” Duan Yang said quickly and clearly. When he said this, he suddenly realized something, stopped, and asked them, “But why did the killer need to forge Teacher’s DNA sample on the murder weapon and falsely accuse him with such great effort?”
Lin Chen was about to speak but was interrupted by Duan Yang.
“So that’s why you asked me whether anyone else besides us and the Gaomeng knew about Teacher’s death because you had to confirm the real motive of the person who forged Teacher’s DNA sample. If no one else besides us knew about Teacher’s death, it means that the killer’s purpose was clear. He did it just to shift the blame for the murderer to Teacher,” Duan Yang said.
“We also have this suspicion now,” Lin Chen said.
“But why? Why did he do this?” Duan Yang frowned, as if thinking could make him feel better. “Teacher was in Dana, and the killer couldn’t possibly not know. Even if falsely accused, the Chinese police couldn’t possibly arrest Teacher across the border. This kind of false accusation is a meaningless move.”
“You make sense. So there are two possibilities. First, the other party knows that Teacher Duan is in Dana and can’t return home. He may not be contacted for a good two or three months, making him a perfect candidate to be a scapegoat. Second, the other party doesn’t care whether this matter can ultimately lead to Teacher Duan’s conviction. He only wants the process.”
“Why is Teacher a perfect candidate to be a scapegoat? There must be a motive for killing. Are the police so foolish as to believe this unfounded slander?”
“Because your teacher’s research results were plagiarized by Tan Kang,” Lin Chen answered word by word. “The other party is very likely to have used his research results to obtain huge profits.”
Duan Yang fell silent again.
“Duan Yang…” Lin Chen spoke softly.
“So that’s it,” Duan Yang said with a calm expression but with a brief moment of disappointment. “I thought I could get closer to Teacher through this matter and do something for him. It turns out that I’m still helping the killer make up a motive for murder…” But Duan Yang quickly pulled himself out of this emotion, or rather, he tried to make himself think logically instead of getting carried away. “So, now it seems that the person who spread the news of Tan Kang’s plagiarism is very suspicious?”
Lin Chen lowered his eyes and said to Duan Yang, “Wang Chao has just confirmed through keyword searches that the IP of the primary disseminator of the news about the plagiarism is at the Guai Guai Pet Shop. In other words, that person is you.”
Duan Yang suddenly looked up. “Only me? The other party is using me? Why?” Duan Yang spoke quickly. “Isn’t it ridiculous? When the police investigate the clues, they will find me. Won’t that person be exposed quickly?”
Earlier, Lin Chen had already pondered over this question, so now he could quickly and cruelly answer Duan Yang. “Have you ever thought that if you were kidnapped, it wouldn’t be just a coincidence, but someone deliberately planned it?” Lin Chen asked him. “That person used armed groups in the Dana Region to carry out cross-border kidnappings. That person knows very well that you will die in Dana.”
Duan Yang was stunned for a moment, then grinned with his mouth wide open. His lips were lifted high, but there was no trace of laughter in his eyes. Instead, they were icy cold to the extreme. “So, it’s the one who should have died but didn’t, and the one who should have lived who died?” he asked.
“You shouldn’t think that way,” Lin Chen interrupted him.
“Then how should I think?” Duan Yang asked back.
“It’s fate,” Lin Chen said very cruelly.
“That’s superstition…” Duan Yang laughed. “Consultant Lin, you don’t seem like someone who believes in fate.”
“I do, really.” Lin Chen looked at Duan Yang and said, “I believe in fate, but I don’t believe in justice prevailing. God is never kind, and everything about good and evil eventually has a reckoning. It’s just deceiving the minds of children to think otherwise. I only believe in those who are still trying to practice justice and righteousness.”
“I understand.” Duan Yang calmed down.
Lin Chen nodded. “So, the second thing I want to ask you to confirm today is to tell me the name of the person who informed you that Tan Kang was suspected of academic plagiarism. This includes the high-level executives of Zhourui Pharmaceutical who leaked the information to you, as well as the senior sister who informed you of the plagiarism incident at the time. At the same time, I also need you to provide a list of the specific names of people who have studied under Teacher Duan in Dana in recent years. Among these people, there is a very high possibility that they can obtain Teacher Duan’s DNA, and those who know that you have a crush on Teacher Duan are the most suspicious.”
“I will find out as soon as possible and send it to you by email,” Duan Yang said.
“Okay, then that’s it. I’ll contact you if there’s anything else,” Lin Chen said as he was about to close the communication.
Before the call was about to end, Duan Yang suddenly stopped him.
Lin Chen looked up. “Please speak.”
“Everything you told me today means that even after Teacher’s death, there are still people using his genes for evil and even trying to blame him for everything. I can’t accept it,” Duan Yang said.
“I can’t accept it either,” Lin Chen said.
“I never understood the feelings of victims’ families before, but now I suddenly have a strange understanding.” Duan Yang looked at him. “Although Teacher has passed away; although it seems meaningless to find the real murderer who killed Tan Kang for the teacher, I still ask you to bring that person to justice.”
The young man stood up, took a step back. “Because I really loved him. So even if he died, I don’t want him to suffer any unjust treatment.”
This was what Duan Yang said, and the scene ended with the figure of him deeply bowing to Lin Chen.
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