Chapter 41: T’s Torture Chamber
From the little memory that Jin Xi has, she does not recall any imagery similar to this——
She stays where she is, while he turns around and heads towards danger.
But at this moment, as she’s watching his back view, she feels as if there was another Bai Jin Xi on some day of a certain month and year in the past who was full of tears but could only stand quietly from where she was.
Han Chen. Han Chen.
This clear and simple name that she has called out a thousand times. Now that she repeats it in her heart, why does it feel deeply imprinted in her with a sense of yearning?
For a split second, a strange but blurry thought floats across her mind. But she doesn’t manage to grasp onto it and lets it get away in a flash.
She also doesn’t have time to think about it. It’s because Han Chen is already approaching the empty space beside the bonfire near T, drawing one long and one short shadow on the two of them. T acts right away. At the speed of lightning, he pulls the rifle from his back, holds it up and aims! Its mouth is pointing directly at Han Chen’s forehead.
“Long time no see, Han Chen.”
It’s extremely quiet as if no one is around, so Jin Xi hears T’s voice loud and clear. She’s stunned for a second.
Han Chen lifts up his gaze and looks at T.
T is not planning to elaborate. He uses the gun to point to a fallen log that’s about two meters away from him and smiles saying, “Even for me, I don’t dare to let you come close. Have a seat first. Not everyone has arrived yet.”
Han Chen glances at him, turns around to walk to the thick log and sits.
“Where’s she?” T asks as he puts the rifle back on his back, “You can’t bear to let her come with you?”
Han Chen puts both hands on his lap and answers calmly, “Mm, I can’t bear to.”
Hearing his deep and low voice from afar, Jin Xi feels her heart sink.
Yet T reveals a slight smile. He has refined facial features, to begin with, so smiling actually makes him look cute and gentle.
“You’re just the same as always. You haven’t changed one bit,” he says.
Han Chen stares at him and doesn’t say anything.
The very next moment, they hear the sound of moaning behind them. It’s actually Xia Zi and Professor Sun slowly waking up as they raise their heads and turn this way.
Han Chen looks up over at them. T has his back towards them, sitting still and not budging.
“Han Chen, if a person’s heart is blinded by filthiness, what do we have to do to let it return to its pure state?” he asks as if he’s talking to himself.
“No one’s heart is completely pure. But the answer to your question is definitely not the method that you’re using,” Han Chen answers slowly.
T lifts his head to look at the pitch blackness in front of him and doesn’t say anything.
“What’s going on? Wh-What are you guys planning to do?” Xia Zi has recovered her consciousness completely, and she starts struggling to break free from the ropes in panic.
Professor Sun’s face is also pale. He uses all his strength to try to get himself out but realizes that he can’t move at all.
T looks down, pulls out the knife from his boot and stands up. It’s as if he could sense Han Chen’s gaze behind him, he chuckles, “You probably don’t remember this. Within two meters, my gun isn’t as fast as you. But when it’s more than two meters, I can kill you easily. Therefore, stay where you are and don’t move. Unless you want to die with them.”
Han Chen’s hands form into fists slowly, yet his face shows a slight smile, “You’re certain about that? You think the Han Chen from five years later will still be as slow as before?”
His words make T’s movements pause for a second, but T doesn’t turn around. He walks to the front of Xia Zi and Professor Sun while spinning the knife in his right hand quickly; only streaks of shiny whiteness flashing on his palm can be captured by the naked eye.
Xia Zi is terrified. She chokes, “Xiao You……What do you want to do? Are you the same as Ke Fan and the others?”
Although Professor Sun hasn’t said anything, his expression is full of fright.
T stands in front of Xia Zi.
“Le Luo Xia, Li Ming Yue, Zhang Mu Han,” he recites the three names, “witnessed Gu Ran being raped, but didn’t bother to save her and even helped them cover it up. You all deserve to die.”
The moment he says the name, “Gu Ran,” Xia Zi’s and Professor Sun’s expressions both change.
“Who…Who…are you?” Xia Zi asks in a shaky voice.
But T doesn’t answer. He walks to the front of Professor Sun, “After being raped by those three, she bumped into you, pleading you to take her back to the tent. But you refused to do so. The reason was that you didn’t want to delay finishing the combat mission. Don’t you think you deserve to die or what?”
Professor Sun is speechless, “I didn’t know she was……”
Han Chen watches the scene quietly.
And Bai Jin Xi, who’s meters away, also hears the name “Gu Ran” for the first time. But she can already tell what happened back then based on T’s words.
She’s lying on the tree by herself. Everywhere around her is dark. She’s feeling sleepy, but in this current situation, she’s mentally tense, so it’s impossible to sleep. Therefore, her consciousness becomes clouded despite her eyes are open, looking in Han Chen’s direction, and listening to them speak. And probably because she’s lying down, the pain in her chest and stomach seems to have subsided a bit. She knows that it must have been due to Ke Fan striking her with the wooden bat, causing her to bleed internally.
Good thing that Han Chen doesn’t know this.
In the next second, she hears Han Chen say suddenly, “I have two questions.”
Jin Xi knows that Han Chen is probably trying to divert T’s attention in order to look for an opportunity to save Xia Zi and Professor Sun.
Just as she thought, T turns around and looks at him.
Han Chen stands up slowly with both of his hands in his pockets. He glances at Xia Zi and Professor Sun, and says with a calm expression, “Firstly, when you killed Yan Er, why didn’t you use a gun, and used a knife instead? Secondly, when you called the police station and told us that you had already killed a person. Who was it?”
Just as he finishes and before T answers, Xia Zi cries out, “Police? You’re a police officer? Hurry and save us then! Arrest him now!”
Jin Xi wants to frown on the treetop. And Han Chen does actually frown as he looks at her, “You shut up.”
Xia Zi is struck dumb as she opens her mouth a few times but makes no sound.
T laughs sarcastically. He looks towards Han Chen and answers, “For your first question, I didn’t use a gun because they……” his expression turns cold, “aren’t worthy of me firing a gun at them. As for your second question……” he pauses and stares at Han Chen in silence, “I’m sure you already know.”
Han Chen doesn’t respond, confirming his statement tacitly.
Jin Xi hears them clearly from behind, and all kinds of guesses flash hazily in her mind. But this kind of guessing is such a frightening thing; she feels cold sweat running down her back.
They’re coming closer; unsteady and light footsteps.
“Over there. There’s fire,” someone in the darkness around them says in a low voice.
It sounds like Fang Xu.
Jin Xi watches their figures appear in the forest from afar while she’s lying on the tree. Every one of them has a knife in their hands. Their expressions look even colder and impatient than before as they run towards T and Han Chen.
Jin Xi suddenly remembers what T said just now——
If a person’s heart is blinded by filthiness, what do we have to do to let it return to its pure state?
She thinks calmly. What they should be worrying about is not her and Han Chen’s safety, but rather, those three people’s lives!
Han Chen and T obviously also spots the three of them appearing.
And Xia Zi and Professor Sun are so horrified that they can’t even speak.
The fire lights up Han Chen’s face; fair white, cold, and handsome. And his pair of rich dark brown eyes reflects the dancing fire.
“Don’t come over if you don’t want to die!” he shouts.
Ke Fan and the other two exchanges eye contacts, but they walk even closer.
T also says, “Big Ke, I’ve captured Xia Zi and Professor Sun for you, but I couldn’t pin down this Han Chen. You guys come over, and we can fight against him together.”
Ke Fan’s eyes shimmer. He looks at Han Chen with a vicious gaze, walks around him and towards T.
“Xiao You, nice job,” he says in a low voice, “If the four of us can bury all of their bodies here, you also don’t have to die.”
“He’s a serial killer,” Han Chen speaks again, looking at them coldly, “I’m a police officer. I came to chase after him. The recent cases of serial shooting in the city were all done by him. If you guys go over, you’ll die! Don’t go over!”
Ke Fan and the other three pause in shock and stare at T.
T doesn’t say anything. He simply shakes his head towards Ke Fan.
As if he has made up his mind, Ke Fan looks at Han Chen and says ruthlessly, “Even if you’re a police office, you still have to die!” Fang Xu is expressionless, while Zhang Mu Han shows his support, “Who are you kidding? Who believes you?”
Jin Xi, who’s listening from afar, can’t help but sneer.
They sure deserve what they get.
Han Chen stands where he is and says no more. But his eyes follow them and T at all times.
Ke Fan walks to stand beside T and gives him a pat on the shoulder. The four of them all look at Han Chen.
“Go! Kill him,” Ke Fan orders.
Everything happens in a split second. Ke Fan, who’s full of viciousness, suddenly feels a sharp pain in his right wrist. He looks down out of reflex but hears a “crack” sound from his bones breaking. He sees that his hand has been twisted into an unimaginable shape. The knife that he was holding has already fallen out of his hand. But in the corner of his eye, he sees Han Chen in front of him, running towards them at full speed!
In the next second, T, who is standing behind him, holds up the knife, stabs his back right away and pulls it all the way down.
The flesh and bones are exposed hideously in front of everyone. Fang Xu and Zhang Mu Han takes a few steps back in shock. Ke Fan, who can’t see his back, screams in agony.
T finishes quickly; he pulls out the knife instantly. Ke Fan, who has almost been completely split into two, falls heavily onto the ground and starts to struggle and wail. Just as T is about to stab Zhang Mu Han, his hand is grasped by someone in midair. Han Chen aims and punches his abdomen three times with a cold face. T bends over in pain, unable to move.
And at this moment.
Zhang Mu Han takes a stab with his knife.
He was standing behind T looking full of fright, so no one took notice of him. His sudden stab actually succeeds as it punctures T’s back.
T moans and is unable to straighten his back anymore. Han Chen frowns his eyebrows with fierce looking eyes. He kicks Zhang Mu Han, making him fall to the ground.
Fang Xu, who has been keeping a distance in the corner, suddenly swings his knife towards Han Chen! Han Chen holds onto T with one arm while dodging Fang Xu’s attack. But he feels T slipping from his arm at the same time; T actually breaks free. Zhang Mu Han has somehow also gotten up from the ground and is holding his knife trying to make a move on Han Chen. Han Chen is receiving attacks left and right. He reaches out and strangles Zhang Mu Han with one hand, making him unable to move. He stretches out his leg and kicks Fang Xu in the waist, causing him to trip and sit on the ground. He manages to take control of these two, but when he raises his head to look, he sees a meandering streak of blood headed in the direction of the forest. T is nowhere to be found.
Han Chen feels his insides burning up as he holds them both against a tree and ties them up with the ropes left behind by T. He then turns around and looks briefly in the direction of where Jin Xi is.
Jin Xi feels trepidation from watching the fight just now. Now that she sees him looking her way, she feels as if her heart is beating in sync with his every movement as if it’s got a life of its own.
Xia Zi, who has been too afraid to make any noise, speaks suddenly, “Mr. Officer, you’re amazing! Hurry and untie me. These two bastards have done it to themselves!” She even spits on Zhang Mu Han’s face at the end.
Fang Xu’s face is all pale, while Zhang Mu Han’s face turns red and then pale. He seems to finally believe Han Chen’s identity as he turns his head with all his might and pleads looking at Han Chen, “Mr. Officer, Mr. Officer! I had no choice! I was forced into it! I didn’t want to kill anyone! But if I didn’t, we would all die!”
Han Chen stares at him coldly. Xia Zi shouts back on the other side, “Mr. Officer, don’t listen to him! Put him in the death row! Sentence them to death! They raped Gu Ran and then killed her! They should be sentenced to death!”
“We didn’t kill Gu Ran!” Fang Xu roars all of a sudden, “We toyed with her, but not to the point of killing her!”
Zhang Mu Han turns around, and actually kneels on both knees towards Han Chen, “Mr. Officer, let’s get out of here quickly! Please save us! It was Ke Fan who recognized those people. After they had fun with Gu Ran, she got lost in the forest and was taken away by those people. They are scary and are absolutely inhuman! Ke Fan bumped into them on the mountain and saw them kill Gu Ran. He didn’t dare to make a sound and ran away secretly! It was Ke Fan! He was the one who said that Gu Ran was killed by those people! They must have wanted to silence everyone who knew about what happened back then. Therefore, Ke Fan went to beg them and came to an agreement with them. As long as, as long as……”
Han Chen grabs his collar in an instant and lifts him up onto his feet, “As long as what?”
“As long as we give them the three girls and hand over all of our money, we won’t have to die,” Fang Xu shouts in a raspy voice.
Han Chen lets go of Zhang Mu Han’s collar immediately, making him fall back onto the ground.
“Them? Who are they?” Xia Zi asks trembling, “Could it be……”
Han Chen has his head down. Jin Xi can’t make out his expression from afar.
But some pieces of imagery and voices cross through her mind in high speed……
T wants to carry out punishment, but he purposely chooses this lonely mountain that has a few farm houses reside.
Last night, when the old man and his two sons entered, the stiff expression on Ke Fan’s face;
In the middle of the night, the old man left the room and went to the backyard. Ke Fan and Fang Xu followed after him by saying that they needed to go to the washroom as an excuse;
The location of where Li Ming Yue died was not in her blanket. She had been dragged to the doorway and almost outside;
And the dialogue between the old man and his son:
“Your youngest brother hasn’t come back from fishing yet?”
“No. He has most likely gone to have fun in the city.”
T said: “Oh, and one more thing, because I almost got caught by you guys today, I’ve already killed a person in advance to retaliate.”
“Who was it?”
“I’m sure you already know.”
The scariest thought in her mind has been confirmed. Jin Xi jerks her head up to look over; all she can see is the bonfire getting stronger, contrasting the sense of fear coming from the four people. Han Chen’s face is as cold as ice, but it’s handsome, solemn and captivating as usual.
Therefore, he told her not to come down no matter what happened.
As if to confirm what everyone feared and speculated, they suddenly hear unsteady footsteps coming from the forest around them.
There are more and more of them, coming nearer and nearer.
Han Chen walks to the front of Xia Zi and Professor Sun. He cuts their ropes loose and tosses them each a knife. But Professor Sun’s face is completely pale, and Xia Zi is so scared that she can’t even hold the knife firmly. Zhang Mu Han cries out quickly, “Give me one as well! Give me one!”
Han Chen says coldly, “Give you one? Are you going to stab them, or me?”
Zhang Mu Han is lost without words.
The footsteps are getting closer.
The bonfire burns high into the air, lighting up the whole forest; no one can hide themselves or their secrets.
The old man, his two sons, and five to six other farmers. They’re all holding sickles, axes, and kitchen knives as they surround Han Chen and the few of them.
There are no expressions on their faces. Such scary looking faces; insensitive and indifferent. Those lifeless eyes seem to have only one thing remaining——desire.
Jin Xi takes a deep breath slowly. She rests her head onto the tree trunk.
The coolness of the tree trunk permeates into her skin. It’s cold, yet it helps keep her awake.
She agreed to not go with Han Chen just now only because she was afraid to become his burden. But their opponent is not T anymore, it’s these farming men.
Her chest and stomach aren’t hurting as much anymore. Or maybe she has become numb from the pain. One more helper is still helpful. If she goes all out, it’ll at least lend him some help.
She pulls out the knife from her boot, slides down from the big tree and one step at a time, she grits her teeth and heads towards Han Chen.
At the forestry armed forces base ten meters away on the outside.
It’s exactly 3 am, but the site is still well lit. The SWAT team in their full gear, armed forces and the experienced criminal investigators are making their final decisions.
The propellers of a couple of helicopters have already started spinning. Zhou Xiao Zhuan, Cold Face, and Chatterbox follow the SWAT team and hop onto one of the helicopters.
Zhou Xiao Zhuan is on the phone with Qin Wen Long, “Yes, we have already gotten onto the helicopters! We have already locked onto the target. T is You Chuan——he was the only one who didn’t participate in the CS competition that year.”
Right after he hangs up, his cell phone rings again. This time, it’s Xu Si Bai.
Zhou Xiao Zhuan answers immediately, “Forensic Investigator Xu! Are there results on Gu Ran’s autopsy report?”
The sound of cars honking comes on; Xu Si Bai seems to be driving. He doesn’t answer Xiao Zhuan’s question right away. Instead, he asks in an extremely cold voice with a hint of anxiousness, “Xiao Zhuan, tell me first——Where is Jin Xi? Is she on the mountain?! Is she chasing after that serial sniper?”
Zhou Xiao Zhuan is dumbstruck.
This is a big case, even though the police have not made it public. But it’s only sooner or later that Xu Si Bai would hear about the case from other internal departments.
“Mm,” Xiao Zhuan says hesitantly, “She went with Han Chen. But we are taking action to go save her immediately!”
Xu Si Bai on the other end is silent for a while.
“I’m on the road and will be in City Lan soon. I’ll go with you guys,” he seems to have taken a few deep breathes to calm himself down, “And I have results from the report that you asked me to review. Based on the incident, there are no unusual points. However, after I compared the area’s surrounding from the other four incidents that happened in the last two years, I found something interesting.”
“The other incidents? What did you find?”
“The three deceased women and one man including Gu Ran, all tripped and fell into the water. Their cause of death was due to low temperature in the water, dying from hypothermia. This is very conflicting. Usually, most people who fall into a river die from drowning. And then there is a small percentage of people who are washed downstream by the strong current and died from being knocked in the head by floating logs or rocks. It is the least likely for someone to die from hypothermia. It is because it only takes 6 minutes for a person to die from drowning, while it takes more than thirty minutes to hours for someone to die from hypothermia. However, these four victims all died from hypothermia.
“I don’t understand……”
“Xiao Zhuan, think about it for a second. The four victims were all athletic and enjoyed the outdoors. I would imagine that they would all know how to swim. What could it have been that caused all of them to be floating in the cold river for a long period of time before they died?”
Xiao Zhuan’s eyes are wide open, “Wh-What you’re saying is……these four incidents weren’t accidents, but rather, they were part of a serial killing case?”
“It’s very possible,” Xu Si Bai answers, “If such a serial killer exists, then it makes sense that the killer did not just push the victims into the river and let them be taken away by the current. The killer would not have been able to confirm the victims’ deaths this way. Whereas if the victims died from hypothermia, there would be no obvious wounds, and the police would not suspect otherwise.”
Chapter 41: T’s Torture Chamber