Three years, Xing Cong Lian thought.
Feng Pei Lin watched Lin Chen for three years.
Rain or shine, Feng Pei Lin sat quietly by the window and stared at the young man even quieter than he in the dormitory opposite.
He might have watched Lin Chen while he read and wrote, maybe even while he spoke with the children.
No matter what Lin Chen did, there was at least one pair of eyes watching him from this far away.
And those eyes were like thorns, no, even worse than thorns.
Cong Lian couldn’t help shivering.
He returned to the station with the book, letter, and a handful of sand.
The chill at the station had long since dispersed.
Lin Chen slept lightly in a chair with a police jacket draped over him.
The star insignia glittered.
Inspector Huang sat next to him in just his white shirt, left leg crossed over his right.
He turned the pages in his notebook while holding a glass of warm water in the other hand.
Xing Cong Lian stood in the doorway, thinking: the room has so many chairs, yet Huang still chooses to sit by Lin Chen.
The man sat there so naturally as if it were his rightful place.
Cong Lian was a little unhappy with this.
Fu Hao emerged from behind, glanced at the situation inside, and dragged the distracted Cong Lian into the room.
Lin Chen took this moment to open his eyes.
When he saw Cong Lian had returned with Fu Hao, he stood and placed the uniform jacket on the armrest without even looking at Huang.
“I have a fever, please take me to a pharmacy.”
His voice was weak and his plea stiff.
His intent to leave the station as soon as possible was blatant.
Huang Ze smiled and set down his notebook.
Xing Cong Lian was about to say “no private matters during work hours,” when Huang Ze said, “Buy aspirin, he’s allergic to most antibiotics.”
Cong Lian’s anger only grew.
Due to the typhoon, the entire city was shrouded in wind, but the rain had stopped.
Lin Chen’s feet were weak, but he insisted on walking by himself.
Cong Lian and Fu Hao couldn’t very well beat him into submission, so they walked by his side, looking like his bodyguards.
The three trudged across bluestone slabs, footsteps soft in the puddles.
“Feng Pei Lin left you a book and an envelope of sand.
What’s going on between you two”
Although doubts snowballed in his mind, wondering about the relationship between Huang Ze and Lin Chen, why the former’s attitude took a 180 turn, he did not ask.
He took the evidence bag from his pocket and handed it to Lin Chen.
There were too many nosy people who liked infringing on people’s privacy in the world, and some people were just born with too many unspeakable secrets.
Not inquiring and choosing to trust was remarkable and rare on its own.
Lin Chen clearly got the message and stared into Cong Lian’s earnest eyes.
He said carefully and sincerely, “Thank you.”
Cong Lian scratched the back of his head, somewhat embarrassed.
In fact, if not for Fu Hao’s question before, he might have questioned Lin Chen about Huang Ze now.
He didn’t dare look into Lin Chen’s eyes so dropped his gaze to the book in the psychologist’s hand.
His heart sank.
“He could see into your room just by looking out the window of his desk.”
Lin Chen’s steps halted.
“He was watching me”
Fragments of footage flashed through his feverish mind like a montage.
The white sand table, a strange street, snow-white sheets, scarlet bloodstains.
Frame-by-frame, it flipped, making one’s head feel like splitting in half.
After a while, the fragments returned to their origin, and the raindrops on the eaves around them had almost dried.
Lin Chen gave back the evidence bag and stepped forward again.
Cong Lian watched his back and felt angry again.
Lin Chen had obviously thought of something yet didn’t say a word.
Left with no other choice, he could only shout at Lin Chen’s back, “Yu Yan Qing wrote letters to you, Feng Pei Lin watched you every day.
I won’t ask about your past, but you must explain everything related to this case clearly!”
His words were straightforward, and Lin Chen did stop, but he didn’t turn around.
“What do you need me to explain, Captain” He asked, back facing Xing Cong Lian.
“Do you know Feng Pei Lin”
“Don’t you know already”
“Then why did he leave this letter to you What on earth does that white sand mean”
It’s because I have a sand table in my room.
He wanted me to know my analysis was exactly what he wanted me to see.
It’s his provocation.”
“Why would he do that”
“How would I know”
“You don’t know” Cong Lian continued after a pause, “He stalked you for three years, peeping at you every single day, murdered people, provokes you now, and you don’t know”
His words were quite reasonable and polite, so he expected Lin Chen to return the courtesy.
But Lin Chen merely turned his head a little with a smile on his face.
It wasn’t a mocking expression nor was it one of anger.
It was simply a smile as if Cong Lian’s question had amused him.
“Captain, you might now know this, but in the world, whether it’s a psychopath or a criminal with an incredible IQ, there are really, a lot of people who want to provoke me.
If I needed to care about every single one of their motivations, I would have no way to live.”
His statement was so point-blank and made so much sense, Cong Lian was left speechless.
“Why” He could only utter this one word after holding back for a long while.
“Because I was really, really famous.”
It was an egotistical statement, but coming from Lin Chen’s mouth, it didn’t sound like boasting at all.
On the contrary, it sounded almost humble and honest.
If it was someone ordinary, they would probably have laughed.
Cong Lian was quite unusual himself to begin with, so he just nodded and said matter-of-factly, “I think so as well.
I’ve never met someone as smart as you are.”
His eyes were a beautiful lake-green and when he stared ahead, they looked as deep as the sea.
After all, he was of Italian descent, and it wasn’t an exaggeration to say he had racial advantage.
Lin Chen’s face flushed all of a sudden.
This was quite embarrassing.
After all, he’d almost quarreled with Cong Lian.
His attitude had been quite aggressive, and now he’s blushing.
He could only change the topic himself so he coughed and said, “I think Feng Pei Lin is going to commit suicide.”
“Yu Yan Qing committed suicide, so he will do the same”
“She was only a pawn for him.
He probably used her to improve his plan.”
“You can overcome your fear of death by training yourself.
This was our previous conjecture.” Lin Chen paused to let that sink in then said, “The reason I don’t consider Yu Yan Qing the mastermind behind all this is due to her motive.
It isn’t strong enough.”
“But Feng Pei Lin’s is”
“Boys are more prone to Oedipus complex.
If I’m not wrong, his mother raised him and their family consisted of only the two of them.
You know when a child’s psychology is disturbed, it often has to do with their family.
If my guess is correct, Feng Xue Juan, his mother, had a very strong need for control, and her son had to act according to her will.”
“Speaking of, the teacher I interviewed said Feng Pei Lin always called his mother at a specific time without fail.
Was this because Feng Xue Juan told him to”
Lin Chen nodded.
“This kind of controlling environment tends to have two results.”
“Extreme defiance or extreme obedience, taking their mother as their God, her will is God’s will.”
Extreme time he analyzed this case with Lin Chen, Xing Cong Lian always felt a shiver run up his spine.
“What would you do if the goddess you worshipped succumbed to mortality in such a worthless fashion”
Before Cong Lian could even say the question was too heavy, Lin Chen repeated it, and he had no choice but to look at Fu Hao for help.
Although it sickened him, he had to admit: if this happened to him, he would have the urge to kill.
“Even if Feng Pei Lin wanted to kill everyone who saw his mother’s state before her death, why would he use Yu Yan Qing and design this method to overcome her fear”
“Obviously, he himself is terrified of death.” Lin Chen looked at Cong Lian with eyes that said his question was too stupid.
“Feng Pei Lin enjoyed playing with death, yet he’s afraid of it”
“To be precise, it was his mother who was afraid of death.” Lin Chen had spoken too much and his throat was uncomfortable, so he lowered his voice as he continued, “Remember, the ward Yu Yan Qing cleaned was the oncology department.
Feng Xue Juan suffered from stomach cancer which is one of its most painful forms.
She committed suicide because she couldn’t stand the pain and drawing out her inevitable death.”
“He used Yu Yan Qing to study how to reduce the pain of dying” Xing Cong Lian responded quickly.
“Seems his study was successful.” Fu Hao interjected, “Yu Yan Qing really did commit suicide.”
“This is the logical results if all his crimes were research on calming himself before his eath.” Lin Chen’s gazed into the distance.
“Our conjecture was that Yu Yan Qing had four steps in her journey to overcome her fear.
First, get close to dead bodies, then observe a murder, actual murder, and finally, suicide.
But, if we are to replace her with Feng Pei Lin, there is an additional step.”
“Get close to corpses, observe a murder, commit homicide, help and watch Yu Yan Qing with her suicide, then commit suicide” Xing Cong Lian blurted.
He noticed immediately what was wrong: “But who did Feng Pei Lin kill”
“Check and see if there’s a homicide the police missed,” Lin Chen commented off-handedly.
If Lin Chen wanted you to believe in something, you would.
Xing Cong Lian trusted Lin Chen, so of course, he called Wang Chao and told him to search for obscure murders recently and examine the surveillance footage for any since of Feng Pei Lin’s location.
Afterward, he called the traffic department and asked for cooperation in launching a city-wide pursuit for Feng Pei Lin.
After several phone calls, Cong Lian continued walking side-by-side with Lin Chen while Fu Hao absentmindedly walked ahead.
Lin Chen watched him hang up and asked, “How”
“Like looking for a needle in a haystack, ah.
The force is already stretched to the limit with the recent festival.
We need more time.”
“There’s no need to bother will all that.” Lin Chen made up his mind and looked up.
“I can guarantee his presence, you only need to set the place.”
His voice was weak, but his tone was terribly serious.
Later, Cong Lian thought if he had discovered something was wrong with Lin Chen here, maybe there wouldn’t be so many stories in the future.
Unfortunately, Lin Chen never gave him the chance to react.
“If you don’t believe I can lure him out, let’s make a bet.
I want to eat Tian Xing Ju for lunch, your treat.’ Lin Chen said to Cong Lian while watching Fu Hao’s back.
He then went to a roadside stall and bought six Planet Cups.
Lin Chen handed him a cup, and Cong Lian stood there frozen, still not understanding his plan.
He watched Lin Chen give the remaining five cups to Fu Hao.
“Ah, brother” Fu Hao looked at the snacks in surprise.
“You’ve done well, so this is a reward.”
Lin Chen winked.
Seeing him so animated, Fu Hao had a realization.
“Don’t do this brother, acting like Lao Ye Zi, you’re going to make me cry.” Fu Hao tore open the lid of one and asked, “How many did you get for a (kuai) buck”
“Six,” Lin Chen answered with a rare smile.
He had a dimple in his left cheek.
It was like a blooming flower in a vast sea of snow under the sun, miniscule yet gorgeous.
Cong Lian, in a daze, tossed an arm over Fu Hao’s shoulders, “Who’s that Tell me”
“Lao Ye Zi is our mentor.
Brother’s his favorite, and every time we wrote a good paper, he’d reward us with a Planet Cup.
Because he’s old, our school’s shop owner would bully him though.
He always got 5 ups for a buck when he could have gotten 6 instead.
He was duped every time.” Fu Hao chuckled.
Lin Chen continued to smile and the atmosphere relaxed.
“Well, where are we going to eat” He asked, rather casually.
“Tian Xing Ju,” Fu Hao answered quickly.
Fu Hao answered easily, but for Cong Lian, it was like being struck by thunder.
He looked at Lin Chen incredulously and poked the professor’s head, mouth open about to ask.
As if having read his mind, Lin Chen turned and pointed at the bus stop they just passed.
On the advertisement board, there was a picture of a restaurant.
The word “Tian Xing Ju” was bright, blinding his eyes.
“Our mentor’s a loyal customer of Tian Xing Ju.
Whenever we meet, it will always be there.”
“So you deliberately remined Fu Hao of the old man”
“I gave the Planet Cup to Fu Hao and gave him a hint about Teacher.
Fu Hao happened to see the Tian Xing Ju ad, and the image of our teacher appeared in his subconscious.
When I asked him where to eat, that will easily evoke the restaurant in his mind, hence his immediate response.” Afraid Cong Lian would never get it, Lin Chen explained the process step-by-step.
“And you’ll lure Feng Pei Lin out with this method” Cong Lian was still doubtful, “Will it really work”