Author: 长洱 / Chang’er
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
From easy to difficult, repeat the practice…
This was the learning method that humans had mastered over nearly 10,000 years of evolution, so learning to overcome was also learning.
“You mean, Yu Yanqing did all this to overcome her fear of death?”
Fu Hao came early with breakfast. Before he had time to put down the warm milk and bread, he heard the important dramatization from Xing Conglian.
“Shixiong, do you have any new clues?”
“Have you heard of systematic desensitization?” Captain Xing sat on the table and asked smugly.
Fu Hao hurriedly put down the plastic bag and ignored him. Instead, he leaned towards Lin Chen and asked, “Systematic desensitization?”
Despite being completely ignored, Xing Conglian didn’t get angry. Instead, he rushed to explain to Fu Hao, “Yes, Yu Yanqing should be using systematic desensitization to ease her fear of death…”
“You, shut up.” Fu Hao glared at Xing Conglian, then asked Lin Chen, “Shixiong, what’s going on?”
“The intent in these cases is closely related to death. They show a gradually magnifying sense of fear. This was the conclusion we had drawn before.” Lin Chen coughed lightly. His tone wasn’t as easy-going as Xing Conglian’s. “But we always lacked a clue that connected everything. It was little fatty that gave us this important hint.”
Fu Hao saw Lin Chen glance at the child sitting on the bench playing with his fingers before saying, “We’re deducing that Yu Yanqing committed these crimes as part of systematic desensitization to allow herself to overcome her fear of death. The entire process should be divided into four steps. First, she approached a corpse, fantasized about death, and then slowly did relaxation training to adapt to the distance from the corpse. That’s why there were traces of someone sleeping under the bed of the hospital morgue and why the corpse was dressed up, as a way to show respect to the dead.”
Lin Chen paused, as if thinking. “Then, it was to watch a brutal murder scene and observe the reactions of others to death. This was followed by killing a person with your own hands, watching him die, and adapting to the process of life fading. This may be the reason why the young man was killed while exercising in the park.”
Fu Hao started feeling a chill as he listened. His lips quivered slightly as he asked softly, “In the end, was it suicide?”
Fu Hao took a deep inhale and felt his teeth chatter and a chill on his cheeks.
“Then, is this case closed?” he asked tremblingly.
Yu Yanqing killed someone, left a suicide note, and committed suicide. Everything was laid out perfectly.
Lin Chen sat on the cold, hard wooden bench and ran his finger along the brim of the cup while tapping it subconsciously, as if he didn’t hear Fu Hao’s question.
“It seems to be the case.” Xing Conglian rubbed his fluffy beard and paused, then said, “But I feel that something is off.”
It was like a terrifying fog. They had gone to great lengths to walk through it, and in the end, touched a high wall—a towering, lofty, wall.
Lin Chen wanted to say the same thing, but he also felt that something was missing.
“I want to take a look at Yu Yanqing’s profile again.” Lin Chen stopped tapping on the cup.
About half an hour later, a young, chattering technician stood at the door holding a laptop. He wore a black cap that had water dripping from its brim, and his eyes were sparkling. When he saw Xing Conglian, his tone was quite plaintive. “Oh Typhoon God, it wasn’t easy to find a ride!”
Xing Conglian bit his cigarette and gestured for the young technician to sit down and get to work.
Wang Chao picked a position close to Lin Chen’s side. While turning on his laptop, he said to Lin Chen, “Mr. Lin, do you play LoL? If you don’t, I can teach you.”
Xing Conglian smacked Wang Chao on the head with his backhand. “Quickly. Yu Yanqing’s information.”
“Let me tell you, this is a bit overkill.” Wang Chao’s fingers tapped rapidly on the keyboard. After a while, a detailed profile was revealed. “These things you’re telling me to do, even a xiao long bao could do.” He adjusted the information, put the mouse in Lin Chen’s hand, and leaned back in the chair.
Yu Yanqing’s life had been organized in great detail. From where she lived when she was a child, to which elementary school she attended, to her most recent medical insurance records, they were all there.
Lin Chen read them quickly. From beginning to end, it took less than five minutes. He released the mouse and frowned.
Xing Conglian leaned in and asked, “Read it all?”
“There isn’t anything wrong.”
Yu Yanqing was a very ordinary girl.
She was born in a small town. After nine years of compulsory education, she went to work. She worked as a waitress and a factory worker. Later, she entered the “Good Family” labor company and worked as a gardener, maintaining the city’s No. 3 Primary School’s landscape. In order to make extra money, she worked as a part-time cleaner in the hospital on weekends.
Her resume was simple and clean. It was no different than millions of other country girls her age. The only difference was that, at such a beautiful age, she decided to end her life and the lives of others in the cruelest way.
Given the short period of time, there had to be a powerful event that pushed her away from her flat trajectory.
However, he didn’t see anything in Yu Yanqing’s information.
After thinking about it for a while, Lin Chen finally said, “Are her parents still alive?”
“Yes,” Wang Chao nodded.
“Were there any old people that passed away while she was young?”
Yu Yanqing’s experience was plain. Both her parents were still alive. What exactly did she experience before to make her become so obsessed with death?
“Could it be she encountered something in the hospital that triggered this?” Xing Conglian asked in a low voice, sounding unusually mysterious.
The hospital was where it all started, and they had now returned to trace the source.
Lin Chen got out of Xing Conglian’s jeep. He looked up at the hospital sign as an ambulance stopped beside him.
The car door opened and a medical staff member carrying a stretcher came out. On the stretcher lay an old man, followed by his son and daughter, who were crying so much their eyes were swollen.
Xing Conglian had pushed open the door only to see Lin Chen still looking back at the middle-aged siblings.
“What?” he asked.
“You know, each of us have experienced this kind of moment. However, when normal people face the departure of their loved ones, they will feel sad and pain, but they won’t have a sense of fear of death. While Yu Yanqing was here, she must’ve witnessed some kind of special death.”
Xing Conglian rubbed his beard and put his hand on the glass door.
A moment later, Lin Chen looked up, and his expression quickly condensed. “The first letter I received was on July 13th. Since then, I’ve received a letter every week. The first time the well-dressed corpse appeared in the hospital was September 7th.” He paused, then continued, “So, between this period, how many patients died in this hospital, including those who died on the floors Yu Yanqing was responsible for cleaning? Also, please check on who Yu Yanqing has been in close contact with.”
Xing Conglian nodded and was about to go to the security department to inquire, but when he took two steps, he heard Lin Chen say from behind him, “The date of death should be Wednesday. The patient probably stayed on the seventh floor in the seventh ward.”
Xing Conglian suddenly felt idiotic for asking. July 13th and September 7th were both on a Wednesday. Yu Yanqing had written him a letter every week, and even the time interval between the appearance of the dressed-up corpse was exactly seven days.
They originally thought this might be just the process of the murderer’s crime, but now it seemed there was a deeper psychological reason.
Looking at Xing Conglian’s back as he walked away, Fu Hao stood beside Lin Chen and asked solemnly, “Shixiong, do you have any guesses as to whether it’s a simple murder case or…”
He wanted Lin Chen to answer him, but Lin Chen remained silent. Instead, he raised his head and gazed at the snow-white walls of the hospital. His eyes followed the glass curtain wall and climbed to a very high floor.
“Let’s go to the seventh floor and take a look,” Lin Chen said.
Fu Hao let out a long sigh. Of course, he knew what kind of rigorous person his shixiong was. If Lin Chen didn’t want to say it, it would remain a secret until he did.
The moment the elevator door opened, the word “Oncology” in scarlet came into view.
At that moment, things started to click for Fu Hao as well.
Lin Chen coughed twice and walked to the end.
The oncology ward was unusually quiet. Occasionally, there were some elderly people walking around slowly while leaning on the railings.
At that moment, a nurse walked past with an old man. Lin Chen remembered that he seemed to have seen this person a few days ago, so he walked up and patted the nurse on the shoulder.
The nurse looked at him strangely. Before he could speak, Lin Chen bluntly asked, “Hello, I would like to ask, do you know someone named Yu Yanqing?”
The other party nodded and said in a disdainful tone, “What’s wrong with her?”
The nurse’s eyes widened in disbelief.
“Suicide,” Lin Chen continued. “I’m not suspecting you. I just want to know if there was anyone close to her that worked in the hospital.”
The nurse’s face changed drastically. “It’s not me! I didn’t kill her!”
Lin Chen thought, ‘Of course it’s not you. You didn’t even know she died. How could you possibly kill her?’
It was only at that moment that he suddenly realized that it wasn’t necessarily what Yu Yanqing experienced that caused her to do those things. Perhaps their initial direction was wrong from the start.
So, if it wasn’t Yu Yanqing, who could make her do these things?
Lin Chen frowned slightly while thinking of possibilities.
“I know it’s not you.” His voice was calm. “I didn’t mean to inquire about the relationship between you and Yu Yanqing. This is your privacy.” He spoke softly while in his mind a model of a sand table appeared, slowly sketching the “possibility”. “I want you to recall whether you have ever seen a pair of mother and son. The son should be between 35-40 and the mother about 65. The mother was quite strict with her son that you thought it was vile for a woman to be so domineering at that age.”
The interpretation of the sand table was itself a kind of arbitrary imagination. Lin Chen connected what he felt when he visited the scene of death many times. It was a strong confrontation between external order and internal chaos. It was confusing, lonely, and he felt helpless. “I think you would have a strong impression of that son. He was so obedient to his mother that you thought it was like a child not yet weaned.” He changed his tone, speaking more slowly. “But he was so gentlemanly and well-behaved that you could even consider him charming.”
The nurse suddenly looked up, as if remembering something.
“Who is it?”
“The son of a patient who used to stay in bed number 3, ward 7. Yanqing used to clean that area.”
“What was wrong with the mother?”
“Stomach cancer, particularly torturous.” The nurse wasn’t evasive in responding.
“Did… she commit suicide?”
The nurse was shocked, but still nodded.
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