Author: 长洱 / Chang’er
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
What was more terrifying than the discovery of a corpse was finding out it had been buried alive. What was more frightening than this was finding a second corpse underneath said corpse.
Lin Chen stood beside Xing Conglian, feeling that everyone was giving him a strange look.
Under the banyan tree, the body of a painter had been put into a bag. A black zipper gently closed, covering the last traces of his face.
The sun had risen higher at this point, but the lake breeze got colder.
Lin Chen gathered his clothes together, walked to the edge of the mound, and looked in.
In the deep pit, under the place where Li Sa had been lying, there was another corpse of a girl. She was very young and beautiful.
The girl was wearing a long white dress. She had long black hair and a quiet face, like a well-behaved doll. Although her dress was dirty and her face was covered in soil, her expression was warm and content, as if she were drinking a cup of hot cocoa in a dessert shop in winter.
Thinking of this, Lin Chen’s gaze followed the girl’s arm and moved upwards.
Sure enough, the girl’s hands also overlapped on her chest. Her original fair and delicate hands were also chapped and caked with blood and dirt.
“How did you know that there were still more people down there?”
There was a cold question coming from behind him. Lin Chen retracted his gaze and looked back.
Mr. Forensic Pathologist was standing far away from him, clenching his fist, obviously deliberately trying to keep calm.
“Because I used to be a student here.”
“That has nothing to do with you knowing there was another corpse underneath!”
“No, because I’m a student here, I know a lot of things about this school.” Lin Chen paused, trying to find a more suitable wording to explain his uncertain foresight. “This banyan tree has a very rustic name. It’s called the Lovers Tree. It’s always surrounded by strange legends. Rumors has it that as long as two people who love each other lie under the tree, hand in hand, and make a wish, they can grow old and never be separated until they die.”
Most of the legends were absurd and bizarre. When Lin Chen first heard them, he thought it was strange. At any rate, they were all students with a formal education. Why would anyone believe in this kind of plot device that wouldn’t even be used in a third-rate romance novel?
But it wasn’t until one day, when the old man took his hand and mysteriously told him the legend about the Lovers Tree, that he discovered the legend was, of course, made up by the older generation to deceive the young.
But according to the current situation, it seemed that someone had turned the legend into a reality.
“So, you thought there was still a corpse under there just because of a campus legend? What’s the relationship between this girl and the painter? Two lovers?” The forensic pathologist asked hesitantly. Even he didn’t believe it himself. Why would a little angel-like girl fall in love with such an extremely ordinary painter? This love just didn’t seem to make sense.
“I’m not an immortal, so how can I know such an answer*?” The question was a little too over the top, so Lin Chen really couldn’t answer it.
*Clarity: The term the pathologist is using to describe the girl is [tianxian] (天仙) which is normally used to describe beautiful women (because their beauty is like that of angels/immortals). It uses [xian] (仙) which refers to immortal/gods/fairies ect. This is why Lin Chen responded like this.
“Oh! So it was purely a guess that you thought someone was down there?” Jiang Chao pulled back the forensic pathologist carelessly as he asked his question.
“Well, it’s not wrong to say that. After all, I didn’t bury the person, so I can only guess.” Lin Chen felt a bit helpless. He found that if he didn’t explain this problem clearly now, he would be regarded as being deceptive*, so he took two steps back, left the pit, and looked at the soil under the banyan tree. “First of all, this is a corpse. The burial site is on the university campus. This shows that no matter who buried Li Sa, they had no intention of hiding it. This means that this place itself is very meaningful.”
*The term being used here is god stick (or magician wand) (神棍). It refers to someone who’s a deceitful liar. || In this context, Lin Chen is basically saying, if he doesn’t explain it well, he’ll be viewed as a huckster/fraudster; either that, or he had godly abilities to somehow predict that there was a corpse beneath a corpse.
“That makes sense. Go on.”
“Although the same place has different meanings for different people, the most famous meaning of this banyan tree is the legend I just told. Of course, the legends of lovers holding hands until death do they part made me wonder if this case had anything to do with lovers dying in martyrdom…” As Lin Chen spoke, he stared at the ground under his feet. “However, under the banyan tree, there’s only soil near Li Sa’s body. There are signs it has been flipped. Anyone who has surveyed the scene will subconsciously conclude that there’s only one body here.”
“Yeah, so tell me quickly, why you thought there was another body buried beneath the corpse! Between the two corpses, there’s a thick layer of soil. If you didn’t ask us to dig deeper, we wouldn’t have found anything underneath.”
“Because of Li Sa’s hands.”
“What about his hands?”
“Li Sa’s hands were very worn out, which shows that he dug up this tomb with his own hands. I guess the reason is probably to bury his lover.”
Lin Chen’s voice was a little low. At the end of his sentence, it was almost so soft that it was barely audible.
The police officer by the tree silently put down the shovel in his hands. Jiang Chao looked at the girl with more sympathy. Everyone around the tree was silent, and no one spoke—or rather, they didn’t know what to say.
At this moment, a crisp sound broke through the quiet and low atmosphere.
Someone was clapping. The applause rang out again at a very low frequency.
Lin Chen turned his head and saw two people walking towards them through the sparse trees.
The man in the lead had a full head of white hair. He was wearing a close-fitting black suit with a bow tie around his neck and a dark red handkerchief in the front pocket lapel, giving off a noble and elegant temperament. It was the butler.
“Truly deserving to be a Yongchuan University graduate. The most famous psychology graduate in a decade. Making up stories one after another.” The man’s tone was as condescending as ever.
Lin Chen looked at him and almost lamented his luck once again.
Although he was reminded by Xing Conglian that he had to be careful everywhere when he stepped into Yongchuan—after all, this was the territory of the Chen family—he didn’t expect he would meet the butler of the Chen family again in this way at Yongchuan University.
They moved so quickly that he was unprepared…
“Hello, Mr. Butler.” He bowed slightly and greeted the man, then raised his head and bowed to the person left of Chen Ping. “Vice Principal Xu, it’s been a long time since I saw you.”
Chen Ping lowered his eyes and looked down at the young man in front of him.
Previously, his subordinates reported to him that Lin Chen had set food in Yongchuan University again, so he immediately came to the school, but when he arrived, he heard that there had been a murder, which only made him furious!
In layman’s terms: Lin Chen, you fucking did this on purpose. Why does something always happen anywhere you go?!
Although he was in an irritable mood, Chen Ping had to maintain the pride that a butler of an elite family should have, so when he saw Lin Chen, he had to restrain himself from taunting him.
Yet Lin Chen was still polite and unassuming, neither humble nor overbearing. In fact, every time he drove Lin Chen away and pressed the young man to take a menial job, he always responded with the same calmness.
Many times, Chen Ping felt that Lin Chen didn’t care about his predicament of being expelled by the North and South families, let alone whether he cared if he was sleeping in a small bungalow or a basement. The key issue was that, deep down, Lin Chen didn’t seem to care about them at all.
Why?! Why doesn’t he care?!
The more Chen Ping thought about it, the angrier he became. He angrily said to the police officer on the scene, “There’s been a murder at Yongchuan University, and this is how you investigate?”
Jiang Chao looked at the aggressive old man who was yelling, his voice hoarse.
“Mr. Butler, do you have any comments on the police investigation?”
It was a lazy voice that had a slight sarcasm in its tone. Chen Peng felt he had heard this voice somewhere before. He followed the sound and saw the policeman who had protected Lin Chen at Hongjing Experimental Primary School last time.
“If you have any opinions, you can go to the bureau and raise them. After all, this is the scene of a crime. If you go in and out at will, it’ll cause trouble for our forensic team.” Vice Captain Jiang, who was still in a state of shock, finally spoke up.
Jiang Chao instantly regained his senses, turned his head to glare at the two uninvited guests, and shouted, “Who are you? Casually entering the crime scene… Xiao Chen, Xiao Chen, remove those people!”
Chen Ping sneered, “This is the vice president of Yongchuan University. For such a big thing to happen in the school, are the police not letting our school understand the situation?”
“There’s no problem understanding the situation, but irrelevant people are not allowed to enter the crime scene. Please forgive me,” Xing Conglian said.
“This is Yongchuan. It seems that it’s not your jurisdiction, Captain Xing. Besides, isn’t he an irrelevant person as well?” Cheng Ping spoke while pointing at Lin Chen.
“But I’m a policeman, and Mr. Lin Chen is our consultant for the Hongjing Police Department. Of course, compared to you, we’re still slightly more qualified to stand here,” Xing Conglian said very politely with a smile on his face, but the meaning in his words was quite disrespectful.
Looking at that young man’s smiling face, Chen Ping realized he was being led into a pit…
“Very well… Very well!” Chen Ping sneered. He took out his phone and called someone. “Is this Director Liu? I’m Chen Ping. I’m at Yongchuan University… Yes, something happened at the school. I want to trouble you…”
“Something happened at the scene.” Chen Ping’s gaze swept across the faces of Lin Chen, Xing Conglian, and the policeman who wanted to kick him out. Then he turned around and walked out of the woods. He walked very slowly, as if deliberately to let everyone present hear what he was saying. “Someone found a second body that was impossible to find. We suspect that person is suspicious and is involved in a major crime… but your subordinates seem to be protecting him… I want to ask you, what the hell is going on?”
They didn’t know what the person on the other end of the line said, but Chen Ping’s tone eased. “Alright, then I’ll trouble you…”
He hung up after he finished and stood still outside the cordon, looking at the people inside.
Jiang Chao looked around, feeling as if the grove seemed to echo the old man’s cold, hard voice. “Was that a complaint to our director?” he asked Xing Conglian.
“It seems so?” Xing Conglian smiled helplessly.
Almost the next second, Jiang Chao’s phone rang.
Xing Conglian could hear the scolding coming from the other end of the line. The voice echoed loudly from the microphone of Jiang Chao’s phone in the distance.
Jiang Chao hung up the phone and looked at Xing Conglian with an embarrassing expression, like an eggplant beaten by frost*.
*Term used to describe someone as wilted/listless/low-spirited. It derives from how eggplants can’t withstand frost and tend to wilt in the cold.
Xing Conglian was very understanding. He went over and patted Jiang Chao on the shoulder and asked, “Hey, need our assistance with the investigation?”
Jiang Chao nodded heavily and leaned into Xing Conglian’s ear and whispered, “Ah, it’s fine. Our boss is probably just pretending to put on a show for the old man.” After he finished speaking, Jiang Chao rushed to where the butler was standing, trying to appease him.
When Jiang Chao returned, he had a difficult expression, as if he didn’t know what to say. “Lao Xing, I’m really sorry. I have to trouble you and Mr. Lin to come back with us!”
When the police officers at the scene heard this, they were immediately displeased.
“What are you doing? Have you finished collecting evidence? Did you finish the autopsy? Hurry up and get to work!” Jiang Chao shouted.
Because of Jiang Chao’s urging, the police officers resumed their operation.
Due to the pit under the banyan tree being too deep, two police officers, under the command of the forensic pathologist, were needed to remove the girl’s body.
Ling Chen and Xing Conglian walked together. Seeing Lin Chen frown, Xing Conglian couldn’t help but comfort him. He whispered, “It’s not your fault.”
The girl’s body was slowly taken out.
Suddenly, something under the corpse that was buried in the soil attracted the attention of the forensic doctor again.
He knelt carefully on the edge of the pit, gently poking the layer of soil with his hand, and exposed a red cloth!
“It seems… It seems that there’s another person below…” He raised his head and shouted at the two people who were talking not far away.
Hearing this, Xing Conglian finally showed a shocked expression on his face.
Lin Chen looked at Xing Conglian with the same expression as he muttered, “My suspicion seems to have cleared up a bit?”
WTF is this? Some kind of Russian doll burial?
<<< || Table of Contents || >>>