Author: 长洱 / Chang’er
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
The name of the person Su Fengzi found was Ye Yan, a professor in the mathematics department of T University.
At 11 PM, Professor Ye hastily arrived at the underground mall with a door key in hand.
Most mathematicians usually had an unruly image—Professor Ye could be considered one of the best looking in terms of said standard. He had messy, curly hair and was wearing a pair of cotton slippers. After opening the door and entering, he didn’t talk much. He was panting as he threw the key on the table and asked, “What code do you want me to solve?”
Lin Chen glanced at Ye Yan’s appearance. He could almost imagine what kind of hellish mood the other party was in when he received Su Fengzi’s call. Although he probably wanted to hang up, at the thought that the caller was Su Fengzi, he could only obediently get up from bed, go out, and take a taxi.
Wang Chao had stepped aside in front of the laptop, and Jiang Chao’s subordinates had already sent over the book “Discrete Mathematics”.
Ye Yan quickly flipped through the book, glanced at the restored price list on the screen, and then said, “Oh, it’s really a code.”
“Professor, Professor, are you sure? How come when we just look at it, it’s all just garbled code!”
“Because you don’t read enough,” Ye Yan said calmly, as if he didn’t want to stay here for a second longer. He casually pulled out a notepad, wrote down a few words, then threw it on the table and asked, “Is there anything else? If not, I’ll be leaving first.”
Lin Chen glanced at Su Fengzi, who was leaning against the window, lost in his own world. Su Fengzi then turned to look at the angry Professor Ye and said with a shallow smile, “Why are you in such a hurry? Shall we have dinner together?”
“Am I sick to go have a meal with you?”
Su Fengzi was probably used to this kind of attitude, as he didn’t seem angry but smiled instead.
Seeing that Ye Yan was about to leave, Xing Conglian hurriedly stepped forward. “Professor Ye, please wait a moment. Our technician is still restoring some images. We have to trouble you later.”
“Then why did you call me here so early.” Although Ye Yan spoke rudely, he still sat down.
Lin Chen picked up the notepad.
There were two short sentences written on it.
[4.10 Home Farewell Dinner]
[Wir waren tot und konnten atmen.]
In the dim light, the black and white characters became more blurred.
Despite his rough appearance, Lin Chen had to admit that Ye Yan’s handwriting was quite good.
“Hey, the book is in Chinese. Why is it deciphered in English?” Comrade Wang Chao began to ask questions again under the principle of asking if he didn’t understand something.
However, Professor Ye didn’t have the patience to teach and educate others. He crossed his arms and said coldly in Su Fengzi’s direction, “Am I also responsible for teaching the police how to solve the case?”
“Of course not,” Su Fengzi replied.
The atmosphere between these two was subtly weird, especially as long as Su Fengzi was present, it wouldn’t be normal.
Lin Chen looked at the last two sentences translated by Ye Yan and handed the notepad to Xing Conglian.
“What day was the first one taken?” Xing Conglian asked.
“April 8th,” Wang Chao replied.
“What about the second one?”
“April 10th. I’m very lucky, Captain. They cleared the venue on April 10th. That was the last message before they left.”
“What do you think?”
Lin Chen was listening when Xing Conglian suddenly asked him this. After pondering for a moment, he slowly answered, “The first one is very easy to understand. It’s more like a schedule. On April 8th, the itinerary for April 10th would be arranged. This should be the location, referring to their usual meeting place, so the farewell dinner…”
“It’s more appropriate to translate it as a break-up dinner.” Xing Conglian took out his phone and called Jiang Chao again. “Lao Jiang, have your men investigate the whereabouts of the six deceased on April 10th and see if there was a meeting point.”
“The second line…” Lin Chen turned his head and asked Xing Conglian, “What does it mean?”
“German. It should be a poem,” Xing Conglian said.
“Fuck, poetry?! So high and literate!” Wang Chao looked up from the screen and interjected. “Isn’t this a bit sick? They’re spending a lot of effort to encrypt a line in a poem so no one will suspect them, ah?”
“It’s a different feeling,” Lin Chen interrupted the teenager.
Not only Xing Conglian, but even Ye Yan looked at him with a puzzled gaze.
The underground mall at night was so quiet that there wasn’t even the sound of footsteps.
Lin Chen said softly, “What it creates is a beautiful illusion. A code word that everyone keeps chanting silently in their hearts. It will give everyone incomparable power.”
After the dinner party, before the death began, they would recite it silently in their minds.
“We were dead and could breathe.”
Xing Conglian’s voice was low, and his melodious voice was like a cello echoing in Lin Chen’s ears. Lin Chen was taken aback for a moment before realizing he was talking about the poem.
Without indulging in the poem’s intention about death, Xing Conglian typed in the keywords on his phone and quickly searched out the full text.
[Memory of France]
You, think with me: the sky of Paris, the great autumn crocus…
We bought hearts from the flower girls:
they were blue and blossomed in the water.
It started to rain in our room,
and our neighbor came, Monsieur le Songe, a thin little man.
We played cards, I lost the pupils of my eyes;
you lent me your hair, I lost it, he struck us down.
He left by the door, the rain followed him.
We were dead and could breathe.
The author of the poem was Paul Celan*, a Jewish poet who had gone through hardships.
*Was a Romanian-born German-language poet and translator. He became one of the major German-language poets of the post-World War II era.
“What does it mean?” Ye Yan glanced at it and couldn’t help asking.
Lin Chen shook his head, a bit speechless.
Anyone who had read this poem could appreciate the cool and beautiful artistic conception of death in it. For those students, this was too attractive; death wasn’t bloody but was beautiful.
This made him suddenly think of the scene of his little shimei jumping down from the transparent blue sky. She was so happy, as if death were just another form of life.
That was the last message left by the organization to the believers before they cleared the venue. In addition to inspiring and instigating, it had to have a symbolic significance.
Of course, Lin Chen knew that what Xing Conglian wanted him to infer was an exact address from the poem. At 18:00 tomorrow, that would be where the students would end their lives.
But the problem was that the intentions in poetry were complex and changeable, and what made things more complicated was that different people had tens of millions of different understandings of the same poem.
We were dead and could breathe…
So what was their understanding?
As the cellphone passed from person to person, Xing Conglian took out a cigarette and looked at Lin Chen.
“Buy a heart, or is it blue? The heart is blue, floating in the water? The water in spring is green, and the only blue is sea water, but Yongchuan is also by the sea…” In this atmosphere, the only person who could keep talking was Wang Chao. “Playing cards? Is there a card game in University City recently? I don’t think there is. The neighbor, Mr. Le Songe… the rain that’s following him… Who is he?”
As the boy kept asking, the captain of the criminal division couldn’t stand it any longer and knocked him hard on the back of the head.
“Let’s use the exclusion method first.” Lin Chen paused, then said to Wang Chao, “Bring up the topographic map of Yongchuan University City.”
“Got it!” The teenager’s hand rose and fell, and a gray 3D satellite image spread out. “But A’Chen, why do you think it’ll be in Yongchuan University City? Shouldn’t we focus on Yongchuan University first?”
“Now, it seems that tomorrow’s incident at Yongchuan University is no longer likely. If I were mastermind, I would use the first two times to collectively attract the attention of the police and arrange the final highlight in an unexpected place…” Lin Chen said as he looked at Xing Conglian, but he found that the other party just raised his brows and was lost in his thoughts. Without any response, he continued, “Since the primary purpose of the mastermind is to broadcast it live and make money, then we can exclude all areas that aren’t monitored or have relatively weak surveillance coverage.”
Wang Chao quickly turned all unmonitored areas gray.
“In fact, it’s easy to say it would be in a public area, but many school classrooms have cameras. What if they rush in and attack a teaching building?” Wang Chao worriedly looked at the areas that were still bright.
“Since the object of their hatred is the ordinary classmates around them, they will inevitably choose densely populated areas with a high concentration of students.” Lin Chen paused, then said to Wang Chao, “Please organize a list of student activities for each university in University City tomorrow. Give me a list.”
“Already sorted.” Wang Chao took out a piece of paper from his backpack and smiled. “The Captain asked me to do it, so I was prepared!”
Lin Chen looked at dozens of activities, large and small, on the paper, and finally understood the pressure on Xing Conglian.
Probably earlier on, Xing Conglian had already considered suspending various activities due to the issue of deployment and control, but even if collective activities on campus could be suspended, there were still classrooms, cafeterias, libraries, and other crowded places. The entire University City had more than 200,000 students, and it was impossible to clear it all out overnight.
Lin Chen gazed at the satellite map and was lost in thought.
He suddenly heard Xing Conglian ask him, “What do you imagine is the most dangerous and uncontrollable situation?”
“You’re asking, if it were me, how would I kill the most people in this situation, right?”
“You can interpret it like that.”
“They are a group, and only collective activities can make them feel the short-lived and incomparable power…” Lin Chen took a deep breath and continued, “I will choose to slaughter in a closed place that outsiders can’t break through in a short period of time…”
After he finished this, no one in the shop spoke.
A rotating display stand was still turning gently, and the crystal ornaments on it reflected colorful light.
“Then you can exclude all open places.” Xing Conglian took a pen and scratched out all the outdoor activities on paper and continued, “The cafeterias are unlikely. The flow of people in them is too dense. Unless they have firearms, it’s difficult for a niche group to control the number of students who are several times larger than them, and…”
“The cafeteria isn’t elegant and beautiful enough,” Lin Chen said.
“If they’re killing, do they have to do it gracefully? Are they trying to match the BGM*?!” Wang Chao said angrily.
“Since it needs to be elegant and beautiful, if the place doesn’t satisfy that criterion, there will be some resistance…” Xing Conglian seemed to think of something and then asked Lin Chen, “How likely are they to carry out the killing according to the content of that poem?”
“That poem has existed for a long time. If it’s a code word or a slogan, then they should hope that the final killing feast will conform to the artistic conception.” Lin Chen thought for a moment, then suddenly looked at Xing Conglian. “Did you just say control?”
Xing Conglian raised his brows, obviously thinking along the same lines as him.
The two suddenly looked at each other but did not speak. Comrade Wang Chao began to worry. “Control? You mean how they can control those innocent students?”
“Colchicum*…” Lin Chen looked at Wang Chao and said, “Search for it and you can find a picture.”
*Clarity: Commonly known as naked lady, autumn crocus, and meadow saffron. The reason why this gave Lin Chen his flash of inspiration is because when Xing Conglian said ‘control’ [kong zhi] (控制) the pronunciation is similar to the English pronunciation of colchi, which Lin Chen then connected to colchicum, which is mentioned in the poem (autumn crocus).
Hearing this, the teenager quickly entered the keywords in the image search box. He looked at the flowers that instantly covered the entire screen. After a while, he said calmly, “This is, blue heart?”
“Colchicum is roughly pink, but when the light is dim, it will appear blue-purple,” Lin Chen explained.
“So they want to set the killing time in the evening?” Wang Chao swallowed. “But what’s the blue heart floating in the water…”
“Colchicine* is extremely toxic, and a lethal dose is about 0.8 mg/kg,” Lin Chen said lightly. “It tastes relatively bitter, so the students may not take it to the point where they die, but its effects will still make those who eaten it by mistake weak and less resistant.”
*Medication used to treat gout and Behcet’s disease. It’s formed from colchicum. It is toxic, and an overdose can cause organ failure.
“Poi… Poisoning?” Wang Chao almost exploded in fright. “Fuck me, what should I do? Are they going to poison the drinking fountains? Do we have to thoroughly investigate all water sources overnight, including bottled water in the school classrooms and libraries and mineral water that will be distributed at the events? But that workload is too large. What if the problem lies in the source manufacturer of drinking water, which has already flowed into the market?!”
The teenager’s brain hole was becoming so big that Lin Chen had to stop him. “It won’t be so difficult. Let’s analyze it first. First, we haven’t received any reports of colchicine poisoning. Assuming there’s a batch of problematic water sources, it hasn’t flowed into the market yet, and the supermarket distribution and school water delivery don’t run this late at night, so we have time to stop this part of the water problem.” Lin Chen looked at Xing Conglian and continued, “Second, if it’s a poisoning incident aimed at student activities, it’s very likely that the batch of water sources has been purchased and will only be distributed to students at the right time. It’ll be relatively difficult to prevent the distribution of free drinks. However, the most difficult to control is the third point. If colchicine is in the hands of the organization members, then the school’s boiling water room and drinking fountains in the classroom will all become targets…”
“The third point is scary enough, but all three together~”
Su Fengzi’s voice came around the corner.
“Colchicine is very bitter. It’s easy for students to find that there’s a problem with the drinking water after taking a sip. The poisoning of drinking water facilities can’t control the amount of drinking done by the students. If there’s a similar poisoning situation, it’s most likely just an auxiliary effect. It’s used to distract the police and create an atmosphere of panic…” Xing Conglian spoke with a cigarette in his mouth. “The teaching building and the library can be ruled out. This should be a targeted attack.”
When Lin Chen heard this, he looked at the list of tomorrow’s activities compiled by Wang Chao again. Although most school activities began after class ended at 5:30, the time limit of 6 p.m. could still help them exclude some daytime activities.
For the poisoning to be successful, drinking plenty of water was essential, so things like knowledge competitions, group initiation ceremonies, college assemblies, and lectures could also be temporarily excluded…
What remained was an after-school indoor basketball game, as well as a singing competition at A University and a dance festival at T University…
Lin Chen circled these three activities with a red pen and then looked at Xing Conglian.
Tonight, Xing Conglian had spoken very little, especially since just now he had spent most of his time in deep thought. Obviously, when it came to such a difficult decision, even Xing Conglian struggled to make up his mind.
There was still time before the live broadcast tomorrow evening. If they reacted quickly and used tough tactics, it was entirely possible they could wipe out the organization. Opportunities and danger often went hand in hand.
For example, the best way to deal with this situation was to set up control at the three specific locations and deploy the police to resolve the problem.
However, once they chose this method, it meant they couldn’t alarm the snake in advance and must quietly wait for the other side to act.
Just waiting like this would put public safety at great risk. They not only had to watch unsuspecting students drink highly toxic liquids and wait for them to be poisoned; they also had to ignore any possible poisoning of the public water supply.
In this process, if any deaths or injuries occurred, it would be a heavy responsibility that they couldn’t bear.
Or, they could choose the simplest and easiest way to solve the problem. Go out and smash the door of the coffee shop open, then flick off the surveillance camera there and write down all their speculations.
But the problem was, then what…
It was possible that the organization would order a halt to their plans, leaving the group members dormant. It was also possible that there was a second set of plans within the organization and that they would not be able to guess the location of the next dangerous incident.
Or, the organization could let its members walk en masse to one place and drink the highly toxic water in front of the entire school.
Corpses would litter the campus and create an atmosphere full of mourning. Wouldn’t that be fun?
“We can’t take risks.” Xing Conglian finally spoke up.
Lin Chen had not anticipated Xing Conglian’s decision.
“Is there any way to change the will of this group before 6 tomorrow night?” Lin Chen heard Xing Conglian ask him this in a very solemn tone.
I’m not a literary type of person, let alone poetry, so I can’t really tell you what the meaning behind Memory of France is. That will be left up to your interpretation. However, given Paul Celan’s background—the deaths of his parents and his experience in a concentration camp, which defined his poetry and use of language—I highly doubt the meaning of the poem is whatever these cultists (frankly it is what they are) think it means.
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One thought on “Criminal Psychology Ch78”
Phew … this case is obviously waaay longer than the previous two and at least I kinda have to try a little harder digging though it. This is really very dicussion heavy.