Chapter 10: Plot Twist


Do you think you looked so normal yourself?

Tick tock.


The hour hand completed a revolution, pointing to 11.


The Yong’an-Division Police Station that was normally always bustling with activity was eerily quiet.


It was as if someone had pressed the mute key in that instant; everyone was frozen where they stood, momentarily forgetting what they were supposed to be doing.


Ji Mingrui was holding a cup of hot water he’d just gotten, in the middle of pulling out his chair, maintaining a half-sitting half-not position, “……”


Ji Mingrui didn’t know what to think of the two “drowned rats” who were sitting in their office at that very moment.


Xie Lin and Chi Qing were both soaked from head to toe, as if they had just been dredged up out of the water.
From this scene alone, nobody in the office could imagine what on earth they’d gone through before arriving.


There were two solid wooden chairs in the area for visitors, and the two of them happened to take up exactly two seats.


Both of them were tall and long-legged, and the image of them both sitting there was actually quite cohesive.


It was just that, upon looking at them, the relationship between them was far from harmonious.
The visual effects were all an illusion, especially his friend Chi Qing, who’s expression had been cold since he’d been dragged inside by the arm.




After quite a while, the three people in their team finally recovered their ability to organize speech.


Su Xiaolan, “Um.”


Jiang Yu, “This is……”


Ji Mingrui, “You guys……”


The two of them appearing here in such an unexpected way really wasn’t the most shocking thing; the most shocking thing was instead a different detail.
Everyone in their team of three’s line of sight simultaneously fell on the two people’s hands that had been bound together since they came in the door.


This necktie, they’d seen it before.


It was exactly the same tie Xie Lin had been wearing when he came to bring Bin-ge food earlier that day.


But the problem was……


How did…this necktie…end up wrapping around these two people’s wrists.


“You guys……what’s going on?”


After this many years, Ji Mingrui was all too aware of Chi Qing’s temperament.


Not even mentioning binding his hands with a tie; ordinarily, if you even stood half a meter away from him he would despise how close you were standing, and how it was affecting his breathing.


“Can someone clue me in to what happened?”


Ji Mingrui stared at Chi Qing, “Especially you, Comrade Chi Qing, what are you doing showing up here at this time.”


“And soaking wet too,” Ji Mingrui was baffled no matter how much he thought about it, “……Is your mysophobia really cured? Which hospital is that amazing? One of these days I should send them a silk banner, with the words ‘resurrected from the dead, Hua Tuo incarnate’ written on it.”


(t/n: a silk banner is a flag given as an award for outstanding work, usually for some type of service that you’d be grateful for, like a teacher or a doctor or a service worker.
In terms of a doctor, 起死回生 (resurrected/brought back from the dead) is a way to praise impressive/miraculous work, and Hua Tuo is a famous doctor from the Han dynasty, so Hua Tuo incarnate/reborn is a phrase used to praise a doctor for outstanding work)


A circle of people had been watching Chi Qing since he came in the door, and his patience had reached its extreme limit, “Ask him.”


Ji Mingrui, “?”


Chi Qing, “He knows best what he himself has done.”


Xie Lin, “……”


Actually, since he finished saying “get out” and saw Chi Qing’s expression, he had vaguely started to feel like this might be a misunderstanding, since Chi Qing really didn’t look like someone who was ‘resisting arrest.’ On the contrary, he clearly had no idea their destination might be the police station.


After coming in and seeing that he and that guy with the surname Li knew each other, he had confirmed this guess.


Xie Lin said, “There’s been a bit of a misunderstanding.”


Afterwards, Xie Lin asked, “Anyone have a dry towel?”


Su Xiaolan had an unopened package in her desk drawer.
After she gave it to Xie Lin, Xie Lin immediately placed a towel on Chi Qing’s head, then without waiting for Chi Qing’s response, went to untie the necktie on their wrists.


According to habit, Chi Qing wanted to pull back his hand, but was restrained by Xie Lin’s grip, “I know you have mysophobia.
If you don’t want to untie it, that's okay too, I don’t mind staying tied to you like this.”


Thus, Chi Qing’s response changed from direct resistance into patient resistance.


This knot was really tied very tight; the main reason it was so tight was because when the two of them were in the car acting out The Fast and the Furious, the knot was pulled tighter by the force, becoming seamlessly fitted—you couldn’t find a seam to untie it from.


Chi Qing, “Can you hurry up.”


Xie Lin’s fingers rested on top of the tie.
He lifted his eyes and said, “You wanna try?”




According to his mysophobia, being asked to choose between touching someone and being touched by someone was a double bind.


Chi Qing was silent for a few seconds, then turned to look at Ji Mingrui, “Give me a pair of scissors.”


Xie Lin, “……”


Ji Mingrui thought that his friend’s mysophobia didn’t seem to have gotten any better.


In fact, it seemed to have gotten even more severe.


After Xie Lin finished untying the tie, but before he could answer everyone’s questions, Wu Zhibin called him into his office.


The team of three could only cast their curious eyes at Chi Qing instead.


Chi Qing was still using a wet paper towel to carefully wipe his hands.


Up until the present, he hadn’t asked about Xie Lin’s identity.
For one, he didn’t care.
For two, it was very easy to guess.


Xie Lin was the same.


The only ones who were completely puzzled were Ji Mingrui and the others.
Ji Mingrui waited for a moment, but before Chi Qing could explain, he made the mental connection that he’d messaged Chi Qing around nightfall but hadn’t received any messages back.
A frightening conjecture gradually took shape in his mind, “—It can’t be that you two both went to look for the first crime scene, and then at the first crime scene ran into each other!?”


What kind of a scene is this???


Chi Qing finished wiping his hands, “You’re not too stupid after all.”



Inside the office:


Wu Zhibin wasn’t concerned about this mishap; he was only concerned about one thing, “You really care about this case.”


The last time they were in this exact position, that sentence was phrased as a question.
But this time, it was an affirmation.


“If you didn’t care, you wouldn’t have gone to search for the suspect.”


“Can you tell me why now?'' separated by the desk, Wu Zhibin looked at Xie Lin.
Out of some kind of sharp intuition, he pressed, “……Why do you care so much about this case? That day at the crime scene, what on earth did you see?”


After getting wet, Xie Lin’s shirt appeared deeper in color, looking almost black.
When he wasn’t smiling the severity of his features shone through, making him look much less “friendly” than he normally did.


Xie Lin twisted that ring on his finger, “It’s possible he wants to kill someone.”


The statement was like a sudden lightning strike on level land.
Wu Zhibin abruptly shot to his feet, “What did you say!?”


Xie Lin stretched out a hand and once again took the photographs out of the case file one by one, arranging them into a line.
The cat corpses reappeared before their eyes one by one.


As Xie Lin was arranging the photographs, he seemed to be arranging them according to a certain pattern.
Wu Zhibin looked a few times before realizing that Xie Lin was lining them up according to how level their wounds were—from left to right, the wounds became more and more rough; also signifing the murderer’s technique getting more and more cruel.


This was a very commonly seen phenomenon.


When the perpetrator was using a violent attack to achieve some kind of cathartic release, he would be unable to control himself during the course of the attack.
This was also why many murderers would choose to continue tyrranizing the corpse afterwards.


But Xie Lin pointed in the opposite direction, “Look from right to left.”


Wu Zhibin looked, and his pupils dilated unconsciously.


“These cats died too close together, there’s no way to differentiate them.
But today when I was at the first crime scene I discovered another cat corpse.
When I got there, that cat’s body hadn’t stiffened yet, and that corpse let me confirm the sequence,” Xie Lin paused here, then spoke again, “Have the officers you dispatched gotten there yet?”


As soon as Xie Lin found the crime scene, he had sent Wu Zhibin a message.
Wu Zhibin said, “Yeah, the crime scene’s already sealed.
The physical evidence has been collected as well, it’s being sent for inspection now.


Xie Lin’s hand slowly stroked the cut marks in the picture.


“Compared to other types of knives, there’s an obvious sawing feeling when using a serrated knife, meaning you can clearly sense the feeling of cutting open flesh—Have you used a knife to cut meat before? That feeling of resistance and progress can sometimes be addicting for people.”


Wu Zhibin pinched his brows together as he listened.


“Sharp knives are most often used for quick kills.
Only those driven by revenge or hatred slowly relish in the pain.”


“The cut marks on the first cat are very rough; he cut all the way from the throat to the abdomen, and even stopped a couple of times in the middle.
But look at the last cat.
The killer even started chasing after the smoothness of the wounds.
When he came down with his knife he went slower and slower each time.
He was cool-headed……to the point that…it’s very possible he’s practicing for something.”


“All of that’s just a guess,” Wu Zhibin said.


“And the most important point,” Xie Lin pointed at the knife wound on the cat’s chest.
It was in a slightly off-center spot, and every cat’s chest had a knife wound in a similar position; they had been directly impaled by someone with a knife, “The placement of this wound is special.
Generally, a cat’s heart is between the fifth and eighth ribs.”


Xie Lin used a very ordinary tone of voice to say the most terrifying conjecture, “Only human hearts are positioned between the second and fifth ribs.”




“Of course, these things could be nothing more than coincidences.
I can only say that my gut is telling me the killer might have another objective.”


Wu Zhibin thought back on the day the crime scene was uncovered.
He called Xie Lin to come over and look, and at that time Xie Lin had also been examining the knife marks like this—Since this kid was very young, he’d always been very good at seeing things from the perpetrator’s perspective.


He seemed to know how the killer had broken open the flesh, how he’d followed the edge of the knife moving down little by little.
He knew what the killer was thinking at that moment, he knew why the murder chose this type of serrated knife, and why not a more convenient, flatter and smoother one.


The air conditioning was on in the office.
He looked at Xie Lin’s profile, dimly seeing an image of ten years before, of that teenager sitting in the conference room at headquarters wearing his school uniform.



At the same time, Bianmin Grocery was open until 11:30 and was just about to close for the night.


Somebody pushed open the door to the grocery.


Ding-a-ling, the sound of the doorbell echoed.


The little boy had finished his homework.
He was actually already quite sleepy, and he yawned as he repacked his pencil case.


The sound of rain outside was loud.


It almost masked the sound of the doorbell.



11:35, inside the Yong’an-Division Police Station:


“Put down whatever you’re doing, early tomorrow morning you’re going back to Haimao to keep investigating.
Don’t let a single security camera near the first crime scene slip past.”


Ji Mingrui didn’t totally understand why after Bin-ge had come out of his office, his expression had become so serious, “Okay, Bin-ge.”


He was just preparing to take his good friend’s statement.


No matter how you looked at it, Chi Qing was someone who had appeared at the crime scene.
The necessary procedures still had to be conducted.


Ji Mingrui scribbled in his notebook, raising his head again, “That—” He momentarily didn’t know how to reference the person he wanted to talk about, so he paused for two seconds before continuing, “Mr.
Xie? Come over here too.”


He pointed at the empty seat next to Chi Qing, “Sit here, it’s a good time for you two to give your statements.”


Chi Qing glanced at him briefly.


Ji Mingrui immediately knew what he wanted to say, “Da-ge, I know, these two seats are too close together.
But I’m taking statements here.
I can’t have you sit here and make Mr.
Xie go sit over by the door to the office.”


Chi Qing, “He can sit here, I’ll go over by the door.”


Ji Mingrui, “……”


Ge, not likely.


Ji Mingrui decided to skip over this topic, directly starting to ask his questions, “You start, why did you come out at this time tonight?”


Chi Qing, “Because the weather is good.”


Xie Lin listened to the sound of rain from outside, “You think the weather is good tonight?”


Chi Qing, “Do you have a problem with that?”




Ji Mingrui realized that Chi Qing’s temper was exceptionally intense towards Xie Lin, “Stop it, stop it.
We’re just taking statements, don’t fight.”


Ji Mingrui cleared his throat and continued, “Out of the two of you, who made the first move?”


Xie Lin, “Me.”


Chi Qing, “Him.”


Ji Mingrui, “We can figure this out.
Even if you ran into each other at the crime scene, you can still calmly sit here and talk.”


Xie Lin, “It was my fault, he bought a knife……and then happened to appear at the crime scene.
He seemed suspicious.
I was afraid he’d run away.”


Chi Qing glanced at him, “You were holding a knife.
Do you think you looked so normal yourself?”


Ji Mingrui’s state of mind was extremely complicated while taking the statements.


He wanted to say actually, both of you are extremely abnormal, so don’t be a pot calling the kettle black, alright?




木瓜黄’s author’s note:


Sorry, I’m kneeling down ORZ

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