So does the chapter title refer to the love that Lin Qingyan feels for Yao Meng? Or is it him asking the question to Yao Meng? Our novel almost draws to a close . We have three more chapters. A good time to thank the translator – Shl and the editor – librismuse for their tireless efforts. Leave us a comment please. That’s what keeps the team motivated 😊😊😊
Chapter 65.2- Is this your love? Is this what you gave me?
When Xu Xu regained consciousness, before her eyes was only darkness. She was immediately aware of a thick, heavy cloth covering her entire body, thus the absence of any glimmer of light.
Chills arose in her heart, and she lay still, trying her best to maintain her original position.
She sensed that her wrists and ankles were tightly bound by rope. She was still wearing her clothes, and there was no other discomfort, which was cause for some rejoicing. Underneath her body was a layer of soft fabric, slightly moist. It transmitted the chill to her skin. She could hear the sound of the wind rustling through the leaves on the trees, and the occasional bird call.
Lin Qingyan had really brought her to the snowy forest.
At this time, she heard a woman next to her panting lightly, then the sound of intermittent groaning. The rapid breathing of a man and a woman were intermingled. They seemed to be in an intimate encounter.
When Xu Xu heard this, all the hair on her body stood up.
After a period of time, the movements gradually lessened, and a man’s voice asked warmly: “Are you cold?”
A woman’s voice answered weakly: “No . . . I’m not cold.”
Even though Xu Xu had expected it, she was still startled – it was Lin Qingyan and Yao Meng.
At this time, Lin Qingyan’s voice said lightly: “Wife, look at the snowy land. Isn’t it beautiful? However, when I’m gone, I will never be able to hold you like this again.”
Yao Meng replied: “I don’t want you to die . . . I can’t bear it . . .”
Lin Qingyan laughed: “Is that true?”
“Of course it’s true. You are the most important person in my life. This will never . . . it will never change.”
Lin Qingyan was silent for a while. Xu Xu could only heard Yao Meng’s noticeably short breaths. Suddenly, Lin Qingyan chuckled again, a pleasant sound: “Then, let’s prove this, shall we?”
“. . . All right. How do you want to prove it?”
At this, Xu Xu’s heart sank. Sure enough, she heard Lin Qingyan getting up, and his footsteps slowly coming closer. The cloth covering her body was roughly snatched away.
The first thing Xu Xu saw was the silent sky, and the dark forest. Then, she saw Yao Meng and Lin Qingyan sitting on the ground just a few paces away. Under all three of them was a huge, white woollen blanket. She was huddled in one corner, and had been under more blankets.
The surrounding terrain was somewhat familiar. She had been here before.
Lin Qingyan had actually brought her to this place.
Lin Qingyan gripped her arm, and in a manner which could be called gentle, was lifting her to sit up: “Can you get up?”
Xu Xu did not dare to disobey him, and pushed herself into a sitting position. She found herself staring directly into Yao Meng’s eyes, and both of them were profoundly shaken.
Yao Meng’s wrists and ankles were also bound by rope. She wore a loose, plaid cotton shirt, and a fluffy, deep blue long skirt. She was a mess, as several of the shirt buttons were undone, and the skirt was hiked up to the knee. It must be the aftermath of Lin Qingyan’s earlier affections. Moreover, she was clearly in poor spirits, and her face was haggard. Xu Xu was not sure if it was due to Lin Qingyan’s giving her some drug, or some other means he had employed.
Lin Qingyan watched the both of them staring at each other, and the hint of laughter appeared in his eyes. He grabbed Yao Meng in a embrace, and said softly: “Look, that day, she was the one who called you and caused you to turn around, leading you to be dishonoured by Tan Liang, that blockhead. Don’t you just hate her?”
Yao Meng’s face became even more pale, and Xu Xu stayed silent, without moving.
Lin Qingyan continued: “Wife, you have always hated her. Indeed, I feel offended on your behalf that such a person exists.” From a bag by his side, he retrieved a black gun, and held it up in front of Yao Meng’s face: “I’m going to die soon. If you kill her, I will be held accountable for it, and you won’t be in any trouble.”
Yao Meng was silent for a moment. She did not take the gun, neither did she look at Xu Xu. Instead, she looked up at Lin Qingyan: “I hate her, but this has nothing to do with my love for you. Qingyan, I have no need to kill her . . . to prove the feelings I have for you. I don’t want to kill anyone as well.”
Lin Qingyan held her chin: “Wife, don’t lie. You know that there’s a connection.”
Yao Meng’s body stiffened.
Lin QIngyan gazed at her gently: “If you kill her, I can also leave without any regrets. All I have has been left to you, and with the person you hated dead, you will be able to live a blessed life hereafter. Wife, don’t hesitate. You are only one step away from happiness.” He pushed the gun into her hand, and leaned forward to whisper into her ear: “Wife, don’t make this awkward for me. You know that someone must die today. If you don’t kill her, what shall I do?”
Having finished speaking, he pushed her forward, and helped her aim the gun at Xu Xu. Then, he took another gun from the bag, and placed it gently against the back of Yao Meng’s head, “This will be quick. Don’t be afraid. After you shoot, you and I will be free from one another.”
Yao Meng’s entire body started to tremble, and she stayed rooted at her position without moving. However, Lin Qingyan nudged his gun forward, causing her body to sway.
“Shoot!” Ruthlessness finally showed in his voice.
Yao Meng looked at Xu Xu, her face deathly pale (面如死灰 – looked like dying embers, to be deathly pale due to fright or poor health). Falteringly, she raised the gun, and aimed it at Xu Xu’s head.
The night was bitterly cold and full of threat, the wilderness were utterly deathly silent. Xu Xu’s entire body shook with cold. The child in her belly seemed to sense her unspoken terror, and was lightly kicking her as well. Xu Xu forced herself to breathe evenly, and did not look at Yao Meng. Instead, she locked eyes with Lin Qingyan, “Wait. Lin Qingyan, if I have to die, then let me die knowing what actually happened.”
Yao Meng immediately lowered her gun, and her breathing became more agitated. Lin Qingyan looked at Xu Xu, and laughter appeared in his eyes, “What do you want to know?”
Xu Xu’s heart beat more and more rapidly, but her tone was even as she said: “You were responsible for the first two cases; Tan Liang was responsible for the third. However, what I cannot figure out is when the two of you came into contact with each other.”
Lin Qingyan smiled slightly, “To ask a question when one already knows the answer in order to stall for time is not at all a good idea. However, it doesn’t matter, I will still answer you – the second corpse was discovered by Tan Liang. What he did to the body, we all know. But, at that time, he still did not know me. After that, when the third case came about, I knew it was him. It would be inexcusable if I didn’t look for him to take the blame.”
Xu Xu’s heart was seized in an icy grip – when the third case had occurred, Lin Qingyan had been released. During this time, the case had been taken over by the provincial forces, and even the officers Ji Bai had assigned to shadow Lin Qingyan had been recalled, with everyone sent to search the mountain region. Lin Qingyan had thus taken advantage of the situation to look for and find Tan Liang.
“You persuaded him by promising to use public opinion to bring down his previous superior at work?” Xu Xu continued to ask, “Were there other conditions?” Xu Xu guessed this from the internet buzz at that time, that Tan Liang’s previous superior had been detained and interrogated. (双规 – an extralegal system within the Chinese Communist Party for detaining and interrogating cadres that have fallen from grace)
Lin Qingyan nodded, “You are very perceptive. I also anonymously gave his mother a sum of money. He was really a filial son. It’s just that his methods were too crude. He also knew, without question, that he would have to die. To take the blame for me, that would mean his death.”
While questions and answers flew back and forth between the two of them, Yao Meng did not make any movement, but on her pale face, tears flowed in an endless stream.
At this time, Xu Xu turned the topic of the conversation, “The Hong Kong case, was that you? Was Feng Ye another scapegoat?”
Yao Meng’s body stiffened. Lin Qingyan eyed her, and a smile flitted across his face, “Yes.”
Xu Xu wanted to ask more, but Lin Qingyan reached out his hand to grasp Yao Meng’s shoulder, saying, “We’re stopping here, you’ve scared her.”
Xu Xu’s heart sank abruptly.
He said they would stop here.
They were again at an impasse. Lin Qingyan aimed his gun at Yao Meng, while Yao Meng, like a zombie, slowly raised her gun on Xu Xu.
A million thoughts flashed through Xu Xu’s mind. She forced herself to suppress the tide of fear and panic surging through her, and with her fists clenched tightly, looked straight into Yao Meng’s despairing eyes.
“Yao Meng, you must shoot.” She continued gently, “What he says is correct. This is your only option. I will not blame you.”
Yao Meng’s beautiful face was stretched taut, and she choked out, “You won’t blame me?”
Xu Xu took a deep breath before speaking, “I won’t blame you. Shoot.”
In the deep night, all was still. The cold wind blew across the snowy land, rustling endlessly. With the cold wind blowing all around her, Xu Xu was fighting a cold war. Yao Meng had no more tears left to cry, with her dishevelled appearance, she looked like a madwoman. Lin Qingyan held his gun with one hand, and coughed continuously as the wind buffeted him.
Xu Xu and Yao Meng looked at each other wordlessly.
Xu Xu looked at Yao Meng’s tormented eyes. Behind her, Lin Qingyan had lowered his head to cough, and was not looking at them.
Xu Xu almost imperceptibly shook her head at Yao Meng.
No, Yao Meng, you cannot act rashly (轻举妄动 – to act blindly without thinking). You must shoot.
It will be ok, just shoot.
Resolute determination flashed in Yao Meng’s eyes. She abruptly turned around and swiftly fired her gun at Lin Qingyan, “You psychopathic bastard!”
“Da da da” the sound of the trigger echoed in the air. The gun was not loaded.
Xu Xu’s heart plummeted. Yao Meng’s entire body went rigid. Lin Qingyan slowly raised his head, and looked sombrely at Yao Meng.
Time seemed to have stopped.
With her bound hands, Yao Meng raised her gun and swung at Lin Qingyan’s head with the gun butt. Unfortunately, due to the effects of the drug, her movements were slow and weak. Lin Qingyan smiled, but it was a smile laced with sadness. He caught hold of her wrist, twisted it and seized her gun. Xu Xu was only a few paces away from them, but she was tied up, and thus of no help.
Panting softly, Lin Qingyan embraced Yao Meng forcefully, and held the gun to her head, “Is this your love? Is this what you branded me – a psychopathic bastard? So, all this time, you were only humouring me, oh, oh . . . did you really think that I would not be able to kill you? That it would be unbearable?!”
Yao Meng burst into bitter tears. She sagged limply in his arms, and cried hysterically, “Love? I would have to be blind to love you! Kill me, go on, kill me! What don’t you just die? You are worse than a beast!”
Xu Xu could only watch, her heart aching with pained sorrow. As she stared unwaveringly at the two of them, big teardrops rolled down her cheeks.
When Lin Qingyan brought her to this place, she had guessed that he would not use a gun to kill her. After overhearing his previous conversation with Yao Meng, she had also guessed that this would be the crux to his testing of Yao Meng – he wanted to test whether or not she really loved him, this criminal. At the same time, he also wanted to force her into his camp.
That was why she had asked Yao Meng to shoot.
Yao Meng had seemed to be out of sorts, and extremely weak, so Xu Xu had never thought that she would suddenly experience a surge of bravery and act to cut off her means of retreat (破釜沉舟 – to break the cauldrons and sink the boats i.e. the cut off all means of retreat, to sink one’s boats). Without doubt, she had set herself on the road of no return – Yao Meng would no longer be allowed to live!
Lin Qingyan’s facial expression gradually became calm again, but his eyes were unsmiling, and as cold as ice. He placed his gun to one side. As though there was no one else present, he grabbed Yao Meng’s waist, and lowered his head to kiss her repeatedly. Yao Meng moved her head to avoid him, but he was gripping her head, and she was unable to evade him.
“All right, since this is the situation, we have no other option.” Lin Qingyan’s voice was incredibly gentle, and his eyes gleamed with unshed tears. “I will kill her first, then take you with me.” When he finished speaking, he released Yao Meng, retrieved a small black bottle from the bag on the ground by his side, and walked towards Xu Xu.
“Don’t kill her!” Yao Meng screamed. A smile surfaced on Lin Qingyan’s face.
Xu Xu watched him coming closer and closer, and her heart sank deeper and deeper, to the bottom of the deathly pit of despair.
Ji Bai drove as fast as lightning. The frenzied roar of the car engine was the only sound in the night.
Seeing their destination drawing closer, Da Hu could not help asking: “Will they really be there?”
Ji Bai’s face was silent and expressionless.
They had quickly arrived at the foot of the mountain. The forest was dense, and the shadows were deep. Sometimes it seemed as if there was a glimmer of light on the mountain, but it was gone just as quickly.
Ji Bai stopped the car steadily, and he and Da Hu emerged with their guns drawn.
“Here.” He seemed to be saying this to both Da Hu and himself.
It must be here. Where the third corpse had been discovered.