Author: 长洱 / Chang’er
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Lin Chen suspected that there were problems with his hearing and memory.
If he remembered correctly, last night, the melancholy teenager was sitting in front of the laptop. It wasn’t until late at night that he fell asleep like an insecure child. The only one who had the opportunity to install those cameras was Xing Conglian.
And right now, said person was basking under the sunlight with a pleasing smile in his eyes. When he blinked, his long eyelashes brushed against the surrounding light, making it as sweet as honey.
Lin Chen sighed but found that he didn’t have any resentment after being deceived. He felt as if he had become accustomed to all kinds of strange reasons.
For example, a house that was suddenly replaced by the government or a street that was supposedly bought by someone and then suddenly renovated. So, compared to the behavior of some people who always gave credit to the government for good deeds, this kind of ridiculous excuse of “being in the business and feeling insecure” seemed like a distraction.
The sun was shining beautifully in the afternoon, filled with the sounds of students running and playing outside.
With the interruption of the two, the haze of betrayal and framing by an old classmate had also vanished. Lin Chen thought it wasn’t a big deal. After all, it was impossible to be liked by everyone in the world.
However, Zheng Dongdong wasn’t as relaxed.
The conference room was quiet. Only the sound of someone’s mechanical watch ticking filled the room.
The chubby hotel manager resembled a pig awaiting lingchi*. His face was deathly ashen as he waited for his final verdict, but Xing Conglian didn’t say anything and kept gazing at him with a slight smile in his eyes.
*Death by a thousand cuts. It describes an act of execution that slowly kills the victim so they will suffer as much as possible.
Only the most experienced hunter could perfectly control the rhythm of hunting from beginning to end. He would sometimes give a little hope, then cruelly extinguish it. Little by little, he was driving Zheng Dongdong towards the edge of the cliff, torturing his fragile nerves. If he went any further, Zheng Dongdong wouldn’t be far from being sent to a mental hospital.
When the sound of a car engine came from outside the window, the sudden noise made Zheng Dongdong tremble violently.
Xing Conglian knocked on the table three times before he slowly spoke. “Manager Zheng, can you explain?”
In face of absolute evidence, there was nothing Zheng Dongdong could say.
But Xing Conglian wouldn’t let him off the hook so easily. “I really can’t understand why you want to sprinkle marijuana on my bed. Is this a special service that the Cohen May Hotel provides now?” He chuckled suddenly, and his lips were slightly raised. “Did you come up with such a great idea?”
Perhaps it was because Xing Conglian’s question was too enticing that it looked like a strange light appearing in the vast darkness. Zheng Dongdong suddenly raised his head. He looked around and finally fixed his gaze on the butler sitting at the end of the long table.
Like a madman, he stood up and knocked over all the objects in front of him as he ran towards the butler and lunged at his lap. He pleaded, “Butler Chen, Butler Chen, you have to save me! Didn’t you say there wouldn’t be any problems? Isn’t it just marijuana? Why are the people from Interpol here? Please help me!”
At that moment, Lin Chen saw cracks in the face of the Chen’s butler. He could hear it sounding like porcelain cracking.
Butler Chen’s normally combed hair was now a tangled mess. Although he was still pretending to be calm, the panic in his eyes gave him away. His lips quivered, as if he were resisting the desire to kick away the creature that was grabbing onto his leg while howling inexplicably.
However, his opponent was Xing Conglian, an experienced hunter who wouldn’t give him a chance to make a comeback.
Xing Conglian smiled a little wider, as if he had finally received the long-awaited answer, but there wasn’t much shock or surprise on his face. He deliberately ignored the two people in the corner who had staged the framing scene and turned to the other side of the long table and said to the leader of Severe Crime Unit C, who had been pretending to be air, “Team Leader Ren, can you confirm now that the so-called drug possession is purely a planted case?”
“Yes.” Ren Xian looked at Xing Conglian and thought to himself, ‘Don’t ask me to confirm this kind of trivial matter!’
Xing Conglian nodded, turned to face Vice Captain Jiang, who was stunned from start to finish, and said, “Then can I trouble Captain Jiang to detain the suspect to prevent further collusion?”
He placed emphasis on his last words, as if he were deliberately targeting them at someone.
Jiang Chao stood up when he heard the words. Lin Chen saw that as soon as he did, his cellphone seemed to be vibrating. Wang Chao smiled at the vice captain, showing his cute tiger teeth.
Jiang Chao lowered his head and looked at the text message he had just received. He still thought it was unbelievable, but he was an experienced police officer. He instantly controlled his expression and walked out of the room to call for someone. As a result, the two “doormen” he posted to guard the door followed him in and dragged out the sobbing Zheng Dongdong.
Lin Chen calculated that Zheng Dongdong was the third group of people to be taken away from the scene.
Although there was only one less person missing, the conference room seemed a lot emptier than before. The clouds had covered the sun, making the room look horribly gloomy, and the sound from the watch kept incessantly ticking. Butler Chen seemed to have aged by almost a decade within this period.
“Captain Xing, how skillful.” A hoarse voice came from the butler’s throat, like the slight and harsh sound of stone rubbing against glass. “Are you going to arrest me too?” He was still pretending to be arrogant, but his quivering lips and fingers betrayed him.
“Of course not.” Xing Conglian leaned back in his chair and said in a casual tone, “Since the suspect identified that you instructed him to frame us, then you still have a chance to defend yourself, just as you gave me the opportunity just now.”
Xing Conglian’s slightly smiling tone carried a kind of mockery that penetrated deep into the bones.
Chen Ping swallowed, not ready to accept such kindness. “I have nothing to say. Since you were framed, can’t I be as well?”
Seeing Chen Ping slightly raise his chin and listening to his quibbling words, Lin Chen suddenly felt disappointed. Even Zheng Dongdong knew what fear was. He cried bitterly, perhaps because he was afraid of legal sanction, but in the moment of collapse, he probably regretted it with all his heart. He hoped that he could reverse time, praying that nothing like this would happen. This was the emotional response that a person should have after doing something wrong.
Unfortunately, Chen Ping, the serious and stereotypical butler, the one who appeared at his doorsteps for the past three years to drive him into a dark life, still didn’t know what remorse was after his dirty methods were exposed. Looking into the butler’s eyes, Lin Chen knew that he wasn’t forcing himself to pretend, but he truly believed that he did nothing wrong.
In fact, for a long time, Lin Chen had never resented this middle-aged man who had been carrying out the will of the Chen family, because loyalty wasn’t an evil virtue. But now, he suddenly realized that those days where he was driven away or when he got fired had all become meaningless.
“Chen Ping, I don’t think you have figured out your current situation.” Finally, Lin Chen felt he should say something.
Hearing his name being called by the person he had been suppressing all this time, the butler’s face flushed from humiliation.
“Lin Chen, you don’t understand at all.”
“It is you who don’t understand!” Lin Chen couldn’t help but slam the table. He simply couldn’t use his normal speed of speech to communicate with the person at the end of the long table. “Marijuana? Do you think this is irrelevant? Do you think that as long as Zheng Dongdong bites us to death, we will lose our reputation and end up with nothing? I don’t care if you actually contacted Interpol intentionally or not. This matter is far more complicated than you can imagine. Tens or thousands of times more. Do you think Chen Zhengxue will thank you for your loyalty after he finds out about this?”
Lin Chen didn’t know why he was so angry, but this was something he hadn’t felt in a long time. Perhaps it was because his voice was too loud, or maybe he was too immersed in his emotions, but he didn’t notice that the door of the conference room was opened at some point.
A cold voice came into his mind ahead of the picture.
“Yes, I’m very happy.”
Xing Conglian also heard the voice and looked at the door faster than Lin Chen.
There, stood a middle-aged man. He was wearing a long black windbreaker, his belt was tightly buckled, and he stood straight. His hair was combed back, just like Chen Ping’s, and his black eyes were gloomy, as if there was a dead silence in them.
With almost no need to think, Xing Conglian had already guessed the identity of the visitor.
He then looked at Lin Chen, who was stunned for a few seconds. Lin Chen finally came back to his senses and slowly moved his gaze in the direction of the door and said, “Hello, Director Chen.”
The current situation had turned even more interesting.
Perhaps the head honcho of the Chen family had rushed here because his most valuable subordinate was being detained, or maybe he was just waiting nearby to watch Lin Chen being led out in handcuffs and shoved into a police car. In any case, it was quite bizarre that the head of the Chen family would be present in this conference room that had already been through quite a few dramatic scenes.
‘What an interesting coincidence,’ Xing Conglian thought as he watched the head of the Chen family step into the room, approach Lin Chen with a compelling aura, and say to him, “It’s been a long time since I saw you, murderer.”
His words were spoken with an undertone unique to paranoia, and when he addressed Lin Chen, there was a deep hatred that seemed to be forcibly repressed.
Hearing Lin Chen’s address like that, Xing Conglian subconsciously looked at him. He saw Lin Chen take a step back, lean on the long table, then finally firmly stand up, seemingly unbothered by this. “Are you an idiot? In order to frame me, you did this kind of thing. If you’re a little careless, your Chen family business will be ruined.”
Unlike the rare anger of questioning Lin Chen had done to the butler, he had calm down at this point. He spoke calmly, with the same seriousness in his tone that even if he was cursing, it would still hold the same solemnity.
“Even if the Chen family is trafficking drugs, what does this matter have to do with you, Lin Chen?” The Chen’s patriarch asked in a slow tone.
At that moment, he leaned extremely close to Lin Chen and gazed at him with vicious eyes that looked like a beast about to tear apart its prey.
Xing Conglian felt that he should stand up, but in an instant, he saw Lin Chen’s gaze cast at him. The gaze was bright and cold, as if it were tempered steel. Xing Conglian instantly understood the meaning behind it: It doesn’t matter. I’ll be fine.
The clouds had dispersed, allowing the sun’s rays to shine again. Xing Conglian wanted to laugh a little. He suddenly realized that the feeling of fighting side by side was much better than one side protecting the other.
“So, is the Chen family trafficking drugs?” Lin Chen asked rhetorically.
This question was quite shady and too direct, so the Chen’s patriarch was suddenly left speechless.
Like a regular who didn’t play cards according to the rules, Lin Chen asked, “Not only did you instruct your subordinate to frame us, you also involved the Chen family in drug dealing, is that right?”
Lin Chen was truly good at making people speechless.
All the momentum accumulated by the Chen’s patriarch was instantly dissipated. He could only grit his teeth and speak with great emphasis. “What can be done? Now that you have a protective blanket, I can hardly make a move on you. Do you want me to cut your throat with a knife?”
“A murderer must pay with their life,” Lin Chen responded.
This was a declarative sentence in the form of a confession. The underlying meaning was: A murderer has to pay with his life, but since I’m still alive, it means I’m not a murderer.
“How do you even have the face to appear in Yongchuan and right under my nose again?!” The Chen’s patriarch was finally angered by those words. He reached out and yanked on Lin Chen’s collar, pulling him closer to him.
“Because I’m investigating a case at Yongchuan University.”
It was another calm declarative sentence, but there was a hint of sarcasm in the tone.
Lin Chen was an expert among expert in getting under someone’s skin.
The Chen’s patriarch shoved him away and pointed to the door as he sneered, “My school doesn’t need your help. Immediately get the hell out of here and go back to whatever hole you crawled out of!”
After he said these words, the conference room fell silent again. However, the reason for the silence wasn’t because of the Chen’s patriarch but because of the old man who had been sitting in the corner the whole time and who had so far only said one sentence.
Now, he said a second sentence, “Huh?”
It wasn’t until now that the Chen’s patriarch, who had been in a fit of anger, finally saw the old man sitting in the most inconspicuous corner.
The old man’s eyes were half open, as if he had just awakened from an afternoon nap. Before Chen Zhengxue could react, he stood up from his chair and spoke in an extremely calm tone. “Zhengxue, businessmen like us, no matter how big our business is, must abide by the law. The police are investigating the case, and we have to follow their arrangements.”
The Chen’s patriarch hadn’t been addressed like this in a long time. Even if the old man’s voice was warm, the underlying meaning of his words were terrifyingly deep.
“It turns out to be Steward Xing.” Chen Zhengxue withdrew his hand and quickly calmed down. He asked, “What do you mean by that? Are you expressing your opinion on behalf of the Xing family?”
Based on Chen Zhengxue’s understanding of the Xing family, although they had deep roots, they were mostly orderly and neutral businessmen. They would never show any obvious attitude in any disputes. This was simply a manager from a branch family, so Chen Zhengxue thought to himself that this old man should just sit down and keep his mouth shut.
As he expected, the old man shook his head, got up, and walked towards the door, as if he wanted to leave this mess of a place.
But when the old man reached the door, he turned his head and looked at Chen Zhengxue and said casually to him, “Actually, this is not a statement. This old man must’ve misheard you when you said that Yongchuan University belongs to you…” The old man paused for a moment as he looked at the vast campus outside the window, as if he was recalling something. “After all, this is a university. Although we hold shares in the school, it doesn’t belong to any family. It belongs to all the former, present, and future Yongchuan teachers and students. This is something that our families agreed upon when we divided our shares in the early years.”
As soon as Chen Zhengxue was about to speak, the old man changed the subject, and the arrogance in his words overflowed. “If you want to get semantic and say who owns Yongchuan University, then it can only be said that it was built with the money of my ancestors hundreds of years ago. Yes, my master injected ten times the capital, but in the end, the main shares of Yongchuan University can only belong to our young master.”
As the old man spoke, he leaned slightly outside the window, as if he were saluting the void. After he finished speaking, he took his subordinate and left the room.
The Chen patriarch’s face was as ugly as a gray wall, resembling alopecia areata.
Standing in the corner, Xing Conglian inexplicably wanted to smoke a cigarette as the old man was speaking, but this thought was fleeting. Given the current situation, he didn’t have time to miss this chance. He looked at the Chen’s patriarch and said helplessly, “So I take it that what you said just now was a confession that you instructed your subordinate to frame us?”
“Oh? What do you think you can do to me?”
“Ah… Nothing.” Xing Conglian scratched his nose. At this moment, Vice Captain Jiang had just pushed in the door when he met Xing Conglian’s smiling eyes. “Captain Jiang, I have to trouble you again. These two people… Can you please take them to the police station for some tea?”
Jiang Chao made an expression of: What the hell did I miss? He depressingly waved his hand, and another police officer from outside entered and escorted out the two people, both surname Chen, who didn’t appear to willingly leave.
As the door of the conference closed again, there was no longer a relaxed smile on Xing Conglian’s face.
As if in a hurry, he looked at the leader of the severe crime unit, who had been watching the entire show, and quickly said, “Alright, now that everyone is gone, let’s talk. What the hell is going on?”
So are people just queuing up at this conference room to get face-slapped?
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