Qin Ye was seated at the end of Wang Chenghao’s bed. Equally startled, he rubbed his eyes, “I-I’d come here to deliver textbooks to my classmate, but it was getting late, so I decided to stay…”
“Why didn’t you return home?!” Zhang Fengzi took a step forward and stared straight into Qin Ye’s eyes. His aggression seemed to suggest that if Qin Ye even said anything remotely wrong or suspicious, Zhang Fengzi would immediately arrest him.
Yet Qin Ye simply scratched his hair and responded with some measure of frustration, “I want to go home too… but… it was already 6 p.m. by the time I arrived here…”
The public announcements…
Zhang Fengzi shut his eyes and sighed with resignation.
He could no longer identify the emotions buffeting his poor heart. It was almost as though he had been chasing after the moon all this while, only to realize when it was right in front of his eyes that everything had been completely in vain.
He hated those public announcements right now. If not for those public announcements that had been playing on repeat, Qin Ye would never be able to explain his presence here. But as things stand right now… Qin Ye’s story completely checked out.
It seemed almost too much of a coincidence. But, when all was said and done, it was still no more than just a coincidence.
Worst of all, notwithstanding the immense coverage of surveillance systems they had put in place to track supernatural activities, it just so happened that there were no security cameras aimed at the entrance to the ward. After all, the county’s hospital would never allow for such things.
When he next spoke again, his tone of voice had already softened substantially, “Then, did you notice or experience anything… peculiar earlier?”
“What?” Both boys blinked blankly, as though they were confused.
Zhang Fengzi looked them straight in the eyes for several seconds more, before abruptly crouching down.
There’s nothing under the bed either.
Is he really not here?
Is this really borne out of my own resentment at the entire situation?
He stood up with a soft sigh once more. Just then, the Buddhist whisk suddenly shot out from his sleeves and swept underneath the bed like lightning.
“Haa…” He shook his head in resignation. Just as he was about to leave, he suddenly walked to the windows, “I recall… didn’t the nurse say that you shouldn’t be exposed to the wind?”
“Is that so?” Wang Chenghao replied bashfully, “The air was a little stale because of the air conditioning, so I’d opened the windows to let some fresh air in.”
“Are you certain you were the one who opened it? Think properly.”
Wang Chenghao furrowed his brows, “Of course it was me. What’s going on here?”
Seconds later, Zhang Fengzi finally turned around and took his leave, “Rest well.”
Click… As the door closed, Qin Ye finally heaved a sigh of relief.
“Truly beautiful.” Arthis’ heartfelt commendation was full of sincerity, “Firstly, you’ve managed to successfully mask the Yin energy surrounding your body by concealing yourself in That Amorous Affair’s lingering Yin energy. But even though you can conceal your presence and remain hidden, it doesn’t change the fact that the county-wide investigation will still reveal your absence from The Afterlife. That, coupled with the fact that you’re already earmarked as a suspicious person, would naturally draw all of the government’s attention to you as the prime suspect for today’s incident.”
“Yet you managed to pull the rabbit out of the hat and pull a veil over their heads by discarding your invisibility and appearing right before their very eyes. They don’t even know you’re the culprit right now. Not only have you slipped through the massive net which they have cast over the entire county, you’ve even managed to establish a perfect alibi for yourself… I must say that the last few decades of your life haven’t been in vain indeed.”
Qin Ye sat on the end of the bed, somewhat dejectedly.
He was like a fish that had been floundering about and struggling to evade capture all night. Then, on the brink of capture, he’d actually managed to break through the net and swim into the depths of the sea once more.
He had truly gained a second wind.
Just then, a cup of water was set down in front of him. He lifted his head, only to lock eyes with Wang Chenghao’s abstruse gaze.
“We’re… friends now, aren’t we?” Seconds later, Wang Chenghao muttered with a small, uncertain voice, “You’d earlier… earlier mentioned that… if I helped you out here, you’d tell me everything I wanted to know…”
“... You can say that.” Qin Ye took a sip from the cup in front of him. The warm water slid down his throat and somewhat eased his wildly thumping heart.
“Don’t be in a hurry to decide just yet.” Qin Ye closed his eyes, “It’s not easy being my friend.”
“I’m not afraid!”
Qin Ye opened his eyes once more and glanced suspiciously at Wang Chenghao, “I can give you an example. For instance… say you have a classmate of the same age as you. Later in life, when your face is filled with wrinkles, you’re reunited with him, only to discover that he’s not aged a single bit. In fact, he’s even still suffering from an outbreak of pimples and prancing about in front of you like a lively teenager. What would you do then?”
“Death by a thousand cuts!!!” Wang Chenghao exclaimed with undeniable killing intent.
“I apologize for having imposed on you.” Qin Ye stood up and motioned to leave.
“Hey… don’t go! What’s wrong? Did I say something wrong? Aren’t we friends…”
Wee-oo-ee-oo-ee-oo… Just as Zhang Fengzi left the hospital, the entire squad of Rivergorge City’s major crime division had already formed up. The commander carrying a sidearm and standing in front of the entire division was none other than Deputy Chief Lin Chaosheng, the man who had clambered out of bed in the middle of the night.
“Everyone.” His imposing gaze swept across the troops that were lined up, “I can tell that despite having been mobilized in the middle of the night, everyone’s faces are only filled with excitement, and there’s no trace of weariness at all. This tells me that I, Lin Chaosheng, have picked out only the bravest of souls.”
“Chief Lin, is something going on?” A younger policeman quipped excitedly, “There’s a lot of buzz going around lately! Three instances of murders in Rivergorge City alone, yet they don’t even allow us to intervene!”
“That’s right.” Another middle-aged man chimed in. He had a pair of bright, gleaming eyes despite his slightly yellowish skin, “What right do they have? That Special Investigations Departed just parachuted right into the midst of our territory and took over all our cases at once. How can they even hold a candle to our wealth of experience in this field?”
“Ri, enough.” Lin Chaosheng jocularly dismissed him, before addressing everyone in earnest, “Every single one of you standing before me are elites. And this is why I know I will be able to trust everyone with the upcoming crisis. Drop everything you have in Rivergorge City and depart for Clear Creek County at once.”
“Something happened in Clear Creek County?” The middle-aged man with the yellowish face queried with a somber expression.
Lin Chaosheng furrowed his brows and continued, “Haven’t you forgotten the basics? Don’t ask what you don’t need to know. Load up the vehicles and move out at once! Go!”
The entire division of policemen moved incredibly quickly. What excited them the most was the fact that they had been issued live ammunition. This naturally meant that there was a possibility that they would need to use their guns.
The opportunity to fire guns was an incidental point. The crucial thing to note was that the severity of the situation lent credence to the fact that their present case was on a completely unprecedented level. It was even more important than the three murder cases in Rivergorge City!
“Truth be told, I honestly respect Deputy Chief Lin!” As soon as he boarded the vehicle, a young police officer with a cigarette in his mouth joked with his colleague, “He was so capable in dealing with those major crime cases that everyone else considered cold-cases! He’s already forty-five years old, yet he’s got more energy than a young man like me! His resume is nearly perfect too. If he’s not appointed the next chief commissioner, I’m done here!”
“Indeed. He’s truly amazing.” The colleague beside started the engine, “Those cold cases back then - not a single person expected her to be the murderer at all, yet Deputy Chief Lin managed to go against all odds and prove everybody wrong. He’d even elicited a full confession from her. Amazing. Truly spectacular.”
On Lin Chaosheng’s vehicle, another young policeman muttered with a somewhat bitter expression, “Deputy Chief… could I trouble you to take the wheel today… I-I’m afraid I must’ve caught a cold last night…”
“Are you alright?” Lin Chaosheng searched the car for a bit, before retrieving a pack of cold medication and tossed it over, “Don’t go if you’re not well. Your health matters more than anything else, you know.”
“I’ll be alright, I’ll be alright! Deputy Chief has to bring me along!”
“I knew I could count on you.” Lin Chaosheng chuckled lightly and immediately started the engine.
Just like that, an entire convoy of police vehicles moved out discreetly, sirens off, as they entered the national highway.
Lin Chaosheng lit a cigarette in his mouth and followed at the end of the convoy, maintaining a consistent speed at all times.
The rearguard. This was both his position in the convoy, as well as his duty as a deputy chief.
His police cap sat gingerly atop the front dashboard, and the national emblem faced him directly. His heart was suddenly filled with a sense of bemusement.
Many things have happened in recent times. The upper echelons had conspicuously refused to comment, but it was clear that a department called the Special Investigations Department had been taking over all of the “difficult cases” belonging to major crimes and even cut them out of the entire investigation process. Rivergorge City was located at the intersection between two provinces, and this necessarily meant that the scope of authority of the major crimes division was hardly insignificant. The transfer of cases was tantamount to stealing their food. This left several members of their division highly dissatisfied.
However, the feeling of dissatisfaction could only go so far. As officers of the police force, it was also their duty to obey.
Thus, he kept his comments all to himself.
“It’s time for the chief commissioner to be replaced in a few years’ time, right?” The national expressway was incredibly quiet at night. He glanced about at his surroundings calmly. They were moving in a convoy in any event. All he had to do was to maintain his speed.
“I, Lin Chaosheng, have proven myself in both qualifications and capabilities, haven’t I? No matter how you look at it, shouldn’t it be my turn to ascend the throne?”
He smiled to himself. Then, he was suddenly reminded of his wife and daughter at home, and he felt a wave of guilty conscience come upon him.
Just then, he suddenly heard a slight knocking sound. Knock knock...
What was that?
He glanced left and right. Nothing.
Shrugging it off, he continued to forge ahead with the rest of the convoy. However… the knocking sound repeated itself. Knock knock… Again and again, it got clearer and clearer, and increased in frequency as well! Finally, the knocking began to sound as though it came from just beside his ears!
A dark, gloomy night, driving a dark-coloured vehicle through a dark, gloomy expressway.
The knocking sounds had appeared out of nowhere, resounding as though the death knell… were right on his car!
Knock knock… He secretly began to track the frequency of these knocking sounds - once every five seconds, and consistently from his left. Thus, four seconds after the last knocking sound, he abruptly turned his head to the left and looked out of the window. Immediately, he screamed in horror, and swerved his vehicle in surprise, sending it spiralling out of control on the highway!
“Ahhh… ahh!!” The car stopped on the side of the road. His forehead was percolating with cold sweat, and his heart had almost leapt right out of his chest.
Just a second ago… in that instant that he turned his head around, he had seen… a man dressed in a black trench coat, wearing a black hat, black mask and black sunglasses, just… knocking on his window despite the fact that he was travelling down the highway at approximately one hundred kilometers per hour!
How is that possible?!
Knock knock… The knocking sounds rang out again. This time, his body froze completely.
This time… it didn’t come from outside the car…
It was on the inside.
Bzzt… The lights within the vehicle suddenly fizzled out.
T-t-t-t-t-t-t-t-... Despite how brave and courageous Lin Chaosheng usually was, he couldn’t help but tremble incessantly at this very moment. A sense of abject fear filled every fiber of his being, sending waves of chill spreading from his tailbone right through to his skull.
With his incessantly shivering hands, he switched on his phone and used the phone’s illumination to look into his rearview mirror.
A blood-curdling shriek resounded through the entire car.
He saw the young police officer in the rearview mirror. However, that young officer was now bleeding through all of his seven apertures. His eyes were bloodshot, his skin was pale white and devoid of the colour of blood, and his mouth had been ripped wide open, revealing two sets of macabre, white teeth. The young police sat motionless in his seat, yet his eyes appeared to be staring straight at Deputy Chief Lin!
This was none other than a corpse!
He had been driving a corpse for tens of minutes on end now.
To make matters worse, it appeared as though it was this corpse that… had been knocking on the window once every five seconds.
“Do you know… why evil ghosts don’t actively look for military men and police officers?” A hoarse voice resounded from the young police officer’s body. Yet, neither his lips nor throat moved as he spoke. Instead, his bloodshot eyeballs only appeared to bulge morbidly, almost as though they were on the brink of popping out of their sockets.
“Y-y-you… what the hell are you?!” Lin Chaosheng’s heart felt like it had stopped beating. Then, he abruptly reached for his police cap.
“Don’t come any closer… I’ve got a gun… And this is the national emblem…”
He had once heard someone say that evil ghosts could never come near a national emblem. They had also alleged that it was impossible for places like military bases or police stations to be haunted as well!
Yet, the young police officer simply laughed. His hands were rigidly placed on his knees and his back was erect. Only his mouth was ripped in a grotesque arc. The young police officer appeared incredibly bizarre and frightening.
“It is because, the strongest concentration of Yang energy is right in these places. But you, on the other hand… Lin Chaosheng… seven years ago, the case that made you was the one involving the dismembered body in the Mako District. Back then, you forced widow Zhang into an admission of guilt by taking advantage of her mentally retarded son. She was sentenced to life imprisonment, and you made a promise to look after her son. Yet, that kid starved to death just three years later on the streets…”
Lin Chaosheng’s throat trembled slightly, but he simply couldn’t find any words to say.
“Four years ago… your reputation got another boost when you solved that serial murder case… Having tasted sweet, sweet success, you continued with your ‘tried and tested’ methods and coerced a sixty-year-old man to plead guilty to his crimes by promising that you would look after his seven-year-old grandchildren. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. Yet, one year later, his grandchildren were sold to a human trafficker… for approximately RMB 100,000…”
“I wouldn’t dare to visit any other vehicle in the convoy… But your vehicle seemed to be calling out to me… Tell me, how do you think the national emblem is going to protect a scumbag like you?”
With shivering hands, Lin Chaosheng open fired at the backseat, “Y-y-you… who the hell are you?!!”
“I’m a doctor…” The corpse began to laugh silently, “I specialize in treating the living…”
“Incidentally… I was also thinking of making a trip to Clear Creek County. Your twisted, ugly flesh would make the perfect vessel for me…”
Phlbbt! Blood splattered against the window of the last vehicle in the convoy, followed shortly by Lin Chaosheng’s tragic screams that echoed through the still, silent night.
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