The Way Of The Evil Chapter 8

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Wings of Angels Part 8

The man turned his head around. The sky was already dark, so his vision wasn't very clear. He could only see that at a far distance, a few policemen handcuffed a woman and detained her, pulling her to the police car.

Jiang Hu said, "She's a bad person, so her words are wrong. Linlin, you're a perfect child."

The man's face showed a smile that had slight disbelief and a little bashfulness. "I am…"

Jiang Hu looked at Shen Yexi. The latter nodded, so he stretched out his hand. "Let go of that girl. You don't want to do something bad, right?"

The man hesitated for a moment, looking at Jiang Hu with a hint of a.s.sessment. Jiang Hu only calmly stared into his eyes, asking again, "Right?"

The man looked at the girl who was about to stop breathing from crying so hard, and frantically let go of her. He was a little helpless, "I… I… Sorry…"

The knife fell onto the ground. Jiang Hu carried the girl back in a single motion. No one had the time to notice that this legendary "admin staff" could move in such a swift speed.

Sheng Yao and Su Junzi instantly restrained the man from the back, kicking the knife to the side. This farce, while surrounded by many questions and doubts from everyone, finally reached its conclusion.

The girl buried her head into Jiang Hu's arms, trembling as she cried. Though, in the air of a certain person who had a great healing air, she slowly calmed down. An Yining already called to inform the child's parents who nearly went mad out of panic; they'll likely arrive in a short while. Yang Man pointed at that unlucky girl in the police car who hadn't figured out the situation yet. "Yexi, what do we do about that one?"

That completely dead rat had been accidentally caught by a blind cat [1]. She didn't even wait to be questioned and was so terrified that she confessed about the bag of ecstasy in her bag. When catching a murderer, it also comes with an addict too. Buy one, get one free…

Shen Yexi arched an eyebrow. "Please go to the local police station. Let our police comrades see what they should do. We also made our contribution to the Sweeping Yellow Campaign[2] now."

Great. This story tells us that, in the future, make sure to check the horoscope[3] before going out.

Su Junzi said his goodbyes before frantically heading home. Sheng Yao opened the door for the investigator who detained the suspect, Xu Lin, but his eyes were only watching Su Junzi's back. An unnoticeable loneliness flashed across his face.

The police car once again screeched as it pa.s.sed, like a background music to the curtain drop. 

"Xu Lin, 25 years old." An Yining sat on the office chair, her knees piled up with information that they found out about Xu Lin. She casually pulled open a small drawer at her side for a bag of potato chips to eat, welcoming the other party's odd gaze as her mouth twitched. "Can't tell, can you? I also think that this person looks more like a thirty or forty year old."

In the interrogation room, Xu Lin was a little cautious. His back slouched, as if he was doing his best to lock himself on the chair. Just like a child. A child who went mad and became dangerous—

"A household with a single mother who raised him on her own. When he was younger, he lived in that small district where we caught him, near that abandoned courtyard. His mother's name is Li Xiaofang. She was originally a teacher at the Children's Palace and taught music. She had a rehearsal of a 'Wings of Angels' program, and even won an award in the city—mn, it's that photograph in his flat."

"Originally?" Shen Yexi asked.

"Afterwards, they found out that Li Xiaofang had a certain degree of mental instability, and had to go through a period of treatment. After the Children's Palace found out, they fired her. The mother and son lost their source of income, and the treatment couldn't be continued any longer." An Yining sighed. "I heard that mental illnesses are also genetic. Is that right, Dr. Scatterbrain Hu?"

Jiang Hu kept watching the Xu Lin in the interrogation room. It was only after hearing her question that he nodded. "Genetics is a reason. But I feel that the environment of living together with a mentally-ill mother played a bigger role in influencing him to turn into this state."

"That respectable Ms. Li had a severe mental illness, and OCD too. Apparently, she had to use a ruler to measure even the distance between the objects she was placing. If someone else messed it up a little, her temper will flare up badly. And when she was unwell, she had a tendency to be physically violent. From Xu Lin's medical records when he was young, you can actually already ascertain the abuse he suffered. But it is a pity that our country never had a good way of solving these types of issues."

An Yining continued saying that she didn't do anything else in this period of time she was in the bureau, so she really did investigate every single aspect of the murderer. She fell silent for a bit, mouth twitching. "Can you imagine the feeling of being abused by your biological mother while seeing the photo of her smiling so vibrantly as she held other children?"

Shen Yexi was silent for a while. "How did his mother make a living afterwards?"

"Afterwards, forced by her financial state, she sold the house where they originally lived, bringing her son to that small unit where we were in just now, and worked in a tollbooth not far away." An Yining lowered her head to look at the researched information. "Everyday, she'll end work and come home at 6:00 PM. Didn't the eye-witness say that Xu Lin's ice-cream truck had to leave at 5:40 PM? He takes about twenty minutes to drive back, so he can reach home right at 6. I think that it's a traumatic shadow left by his mother back then."

"What's his trigger for kidnapping and killing children?" Yang Man's face was unmoved by this, both arms crossed in front of her. The lady personally believed that she didn't have much sympathy. Even if she did, she can't waste it on this kind of human sc.u.m.

An Yining shook her head. "I don't know. We have to wait for the forensic professionals to ascertain the exact extent he had gone crazy."

"I think… the trigger is probably the so-called 'perfection'?" Jiang Hu lightly continued. "Xu Lin's mother lost her job because of her mental illness and directed all her anxiety and agitation to her son. At the same time, you can tell from the photo of the Children's Palace which she still kept that she had many feelings for that job. So her reminiscing and affections would thus s.h.i.+ft to the students who once learnt music from her. With the warmth and reminiscence towards those blissful winged children on the photo, and the abuse to her own birth son, I think that a child who grew up with such a sharp contrast and comparison won't be too normal."

She put that photo on the wall. That was her honor, her past pride. Everyday, she would wipe the photo frame meticulously, a warm smile on her face as she muttered to herself, "My little angels." Somewhere not far away, the thin boy cautiously watched his mother, his birth mother.

He thought, Is it because I'm not good enough? Am I not obedient?

Why won't mama like me? Is it only because I don't have wings?

Shen Yexi glanced at the man in the interrogation room. "A child who was abused daily by his mentally ill mother… He used his ice-cream truck to block the gap of the small intersection, unconsciously making up for all of the things he lacked. I think that this person seemed to have transformed his fear towards his mother into self-hatred, and then turned such hatred into an extreme pursuit of perfection. After killing someone, he felt remorse and pain. And because those children trusted him so much, he arranged every one of them properly as an act of contrition. In order to arrange them to an even greater perfection, with even greater dignity, he cut off their heads to amend the difference in their heights that ordinary people cannot see."

He sighed, turning his head around, finding that Jiang Hu was using a certain strange gaze to look at him. That gaze made him palpitate for a moment, and instantly, he shook his head with feeling. "In his entire life, he keeps on attempting to make up for his own shattered world."

Yang Man furrowed her brows, laughing coldly. "There are plenty of unfortunate people during their childhood years in this world. Why was he the only one that's so special, to go out to kidnap and harm children?"

Jiang Hu subconsciously wanted to continue, to tell her that normally, such a situation was created from three, or even more factors and coincidences. But when the words were in his throat, he suddenly didn't want to say anything at all. Towards the harm that was already created, to discuss about its causes would make one feel especially powerless.

He silently thought, it was likely because… each person was different from another.

The people turned silent. In the end, Sheng Yao asked, "Then, where is his mother right now?"

An Yining lifted his head to look at him. "After you guys left, the police who investigated the crime scene told me that they found a female skeleton under the garden. Their preliminary evaluation revealed that she was forty to fifty years old. The cause of death was a strike by a blunt weapon to the head."

Liu Qing [4] said, "Each person's spirit has several pillars of affection for parents, for faith, for ideals, for friends and love. If any of them were to break, it will hurt."

The Three Character Cla.s.sic said, "Men at their birth are naturally good. Their natures are much the same; their habits become widely different."

On the discussion of human characteristics and personalities, there were far too many schools of thought since the ancient times. Or perhaps, not a single one was complete and comprehensive. We only knew that this was something that, at times, moved one's heart immensely, and at times, chilled one's heart.

Sheng Yao draped his jacket over himself. "I'm going back." Yang Man also followed closely behind. An Yining shook her head. "I'm going to write the report."

Jiang Hu was still sitting there, a hand holding his chin, an indifferent gaze on the pile of doc.u.ments that An Yining left, detailing Xu Lin's life.

The last abducted child was not standing at the position the usual kidnapped children stood in performances. That was how Shen Yexi could conclude from the fake wings behind her that she wasn't Xu Lin's target at first.

Then, why did he kidnap that child?

Letting her wear the angel's clothes, lighting up white candles, putting fresh flowers—it was just like a sacrifice, like a land of happiness where an angel would protect a pure soul and take them back to heaven. Then, was it for atonement? If so, before this, why didn't he behave like this?

Jiang Hu thought that he might have understood it. What he had to atone for was not murder, but because he lost Zhang Jing's head. He didn't take good care of that child's corpse; he didn't arrange things properly. In his mind, his actions not being perfect enough and to not put things neatly according to his mother's rules were something even more unforgivable than killing people.

Shen Yexi saw that he was s.p.a.cing out, so he stretched out his hand to pat Jiang Hu's shoulder. "Spirit, come back. Time to get off work."

Jiang Hu seemed like he hadn't reacted yet. He raised his head, still looking at him in a daze—speaking of which, this person just had times that he couldn't respond in time. Shen Yexi felt that the look of this person in front of him especially made one desire to hit his head. So, he really did do that, stretching out a hand to lightly knock Jiang Hu's head.

Jiang Hu seemed to have turned dumb from the knock. He held his head and sat there in a daze, mulling over what situation this was.

Shen Yexi laughed. This person's actions was just like a small hamster that he raised when he was younger. Once surprised, its entire body will freeze there on the spot. "What are you s.p.a.cing out for? Let's go. You don't have any plans tonight, right? Don't eat that boxed meal of yours anymore. It's already all cold. I know a pretty good restaurant, I'll treat you to supper?"

Jiang Hu's eyes immediately brightened. "Food?"

He meant to hide his emotions a little. He really didn't know how those Americians with exaggerated expressions could produce a species that left people so speechless. It was only when food was the topic that his face will instantly liven up. Even his speech rate and movements were a lot faster than usual—An Jie sure summarized him accurately. This guy was a glutton. Probably back then, he might have really been deceived by Teacher An to come back using food.

Shen Yexi felt that he was just like someone holding a carrot and this donkey, Jiang Hu, was just naively following his carrot. 

It was his thousandth time thinking that this person, Jiang Hu, was not an ordinary person, and had a hidden depth to him. Jiang Hu had the ability to shatter his deductions and fantasies a thousand times. With a s.p.a.ciness of living freely without a care in the world, he wandered into Shen Yexi's range of vision. After an orchid stuck into death, a cactus watered into dying, a porcelain doll accidentally shattered and an exceedingly dirtied giant cloth doll thrown away—he was to be the most qualified, loyal and diligent mascot in the office that had the highest hope of continuing on for a long time.

As for Jiang Hu… All of his pondering about human nature and vices have been cleared to the side. When he was younger, he heard a line from his mother who grew up in mainland China and had always upheld it as his own motto afterwards—Food is the necessity of man [5]. So, he was happily deceived and led away by Shen Yexi.

And tonight, another person was wandering outside too—Sheng Yao drove, with no particular destination in mind. He only took a spin around on the streets. The rush hour was already over, so the main roads were not too congested. It was just that the air was truly bad, and his nose was a.s.sailed by the dark smoke from the cars' exhaust pipes.

He remembered one of the iconic quotes of Su Junzi's daughter. "Daddy, do you know why the air is bad?"

"Why?"

"Because there are lots and lots of cars running on the road. The cars are going, ‘fart, fart‘ when they run."

There was a red light in front. Sheng Yao stopped the car, turning his head. It was like that person was still sitting in the pa.s.senger seat, a face full of smiles as he told him—On another day, I'll take note for you, alright?  If any girl could find someone as attentive and considerate as you, they're considered lucky too.

Shaking his head, the corners of his lips reveal a bitterness—since the very beginning when he first entered the bureau, Su Junzi was already his partner. Afterwards, the two of them were transferred to Shen Yexi's section together. He didn't know when it started, but his gaze was drawn by this already married man, who was in such a good relations.h.i.+p with his wife that it felt like a crime to insert himself in.

Why? Sheng Yao couldn't figure it out. Perhaps it was because when he lowered his head to make a call, the gentle and warm smile on his face made him seem especially warm-hearted? Perhaps it was through watching him relentlessly call his young daughter and wife in unease because of the harmed children? That kind of feeling, that was both painful and jealous, was also tormenting.

Jealousy… Sheng Yao thought, he truly had fallen too far. A day that he would actually feel this emotion would actually come.

Sometimes, overwhelming feelings happened because actually, in the deepest parts of your heart, you carried a foolishness that was unworthy to even be told to others. 

The author has something to say:
Sheng-gongzi, you've been in a miserable situation

Translator Notes:

[1]:  A play on the idiom, 瞎猫碰到死耗子 (lit. A blind cat meeting a dead rat in accident) to show that you succeed in doing something out of coincidence even though you were just trying something out.

[2] The original phrase 扫黄打非 refers to the crackdown of p.o.r.nography and gambling, drugs and such illegal behavior. It makes reference to the color yellow as in China, yellow is a color a.s.sociated with these behaviors.

[3] The original phrase is Chinese almanac (黄历, literally "Yellow Calendar") generally includes good hours and days to do something (eg, construction work, investing) or even your luck for the day. The idea of checking the almanac before heading out refers to checking the date and your Do's and Don'ts of the day to show that you should have made precautions against something bad that could happen. You can read more about it here.

[4] Liu Qing (柳青) is a literary author in China who lived from 1916-1978. There's not much information about him in English, thus for this, I've taken it upon myself to translate it.

[5] 民以食为天 literally means "the people treated food as the (rule of) Heavens/G.o.ds"

The Way Of The Evil Chapter 8

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The Way Of The Evil Chapter 8 summary

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