MADNESS OF THE HEART

Chapter 115: Virtuous (Part Thirty-Five)

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Jingli City Bureau, Criminal Investigation Division.

Under the light in the interrogation room, Luo Yi's face was a ghastly white. The expensive clothes he wore, which were worth enough to feed an entire underpass of vagrants, were now stained with dust and dirt. He looked completely miserable, but the desperation in his eyes didn't seem to have anything to do with his appearance or his predicament.

"You guys are really…" Luo Yi spread his hands on the interrogation table and shook his head with a bitter smile. "Can't you give me just a little more time, hm?"

"What do you want time for?" Yi Fei asked.

The interrogation room fell silent for half a minute. Then Luo Yi lifted his slightly reddened gaze. "To make the Chu family repent, of course!"

Saying that, Luo Yi lifted his right hand and pinched his index finger and thumb together, so that they were nearly touching. "I've spent so much time and energy on this, and I was this close to making them admit to their sins. It's too bad that you guys found me right now."

Yi Fei gazed steadily into Luo Yi's eyes. "Qin Xiong. Huang Hui. Qin Ke. Yu Xiaohai."

Luo Yi frowned, then sighed. "You don't need to study my microexpressions. Have you forgotten that I'm a psychiatrist? In some ways, not even you detectives are a match for me."

Yi Fei's expression grew colder.

"I know you're looking into those murder cases in Dongye City. Since you've found me, you must already know why those people were killed." Fierce indignation appeared in the furrow between Luo Yi's brows. This fierceness completely shredded the gentle expression he usually wore. It was like a fine porcelain mask had cracked and shattered. Porcelain shards fell away, piece by piece, exposing the bloodthirsty flesh beneath.

"They deserved to die. Even ten thousand deaths wouldn't be enough for them!" Luo Yi grit his teeth. His hands had been forcibly wrenched together when he was apprehended. He balled those hands into fists now, so tightly that unsightly veins popped up from beneath his skin. "I could have sliced them into a thousand pieces!"

"Are you confessing to the murders of these victims?" Yi Fei asked.

Luo Yi suddenly laughed. "If I'm not the killer, why have you captured me?"

"You killed them to avenge Qin Ying?"

"I'm more accustomed to calling him 'Bai Ying'."

Yi Fei considered Luo Yi's reaction. This man was a young and talented psychiatrist who'd graduated from a prestigious university in Country B. Luo Yi was right about one thing. Even the most powerful detectives were no match for him in some regards.

At that moment, there were no clues in Luo Yi's expression. He admitted to the crime, and he admitted to having a connection with Qin Ying, but…

Was the truth really as it seemed?

Luo Yi was perfectly capable of misleading the police for some reason.

"He isn't 'undocumented'. His identification papers say 'Bai Ying'." Luo Yi narrowed his eyes. Nostalgia made his gaze fill up with a hint of softness and warmth. "A pure, white hero. A man of infinite goodness."

These words were so gentle and mournful that it was difficult for anyone to not feel moved.

Yi Fei froze for a moment, then calmly said, "In order to take revenge for the injustices Bai Ying suffered, you also killed the families of Cao Fenghuai and Gong Guozhen?"

"Yes, it was me," Luo Yi answered steadily. "The one named Cao used his power to make Bai Ying take the fall for his crime, and the one named Gong killed Bai Ying for money. They were all sinners!"

The officer assisting in the interrogation said, "But you didn't just kill them, you killed their family members too! There was even a child! What wrongs did their family members commit?"

"What wrongs did their family members commit?" Luo Yi echoed with a hearty laugh. "Well, what wrongs did Bai Ying commit? Bai Ying never hurt anyone! He always did his very best to struggle through a difficult life. He even had the heart to help people like me!

"What made him deserving of all that bitterness, all that suffering? How many good, happy days did he have in his whole life? You ask me what those families did wrong. Do you mean to suggest that none of the members of those families reaped the rewards of the sins committed against Bai Ying? Gong Guozhen 'sold' Bai Ying and used the money to buy his son a lavish home in Jingli City. Cao Fenghuai used Bai Ying to get away with murder. You think their families were innocent?"

The officer was rendered speechless.

Luo Yi sneered. "I only loathe my own two hands for not killing more of them sooner!"

"Although you've confessed to the crime," Yi Fei said, "I still have a few questions to ask you about the details."

Luo Yi drew in a long breath and lightly leaned back in the chair in the interrogation room.

"Qin Xiong and three others were killed in his home," Yi Fei said. "Of the four victims, Qin Ke and her boyfriend Yu Xiaohai didn't live on Longcheng Street. They typically didn't visit Longcheng Street at all, but the two of them ended up dying in that house with Qin Xiong and Huang Hui. Were you the one who drew them to Longcheng Street?"

The Serious Crimes Division hadn't released the details of the crime against the Qin family to the public. The fact that Huang Hui had called Qin Ke and Qin Xu before the crime, and the details of the way the bodies had been displayed at the scene of the crime—these things were known only to the police involved in the investigation.

Luo Yi's eyebrows furrowed very slightly, almost unnoticeably. "It was me."

"As far as I know," Yi Fei said, "Qin Ke was on bad terms with her parents. What methods did you employ to get her and her boyfriend to visit their home?"

Luo Yi was silent for over ten seconds. "Hypnosis."

"Hypnosis?" Yi Fei echoed. "Ah, I almost forgot. You're an outstanding psychiatrist. But wasn't the way you killed them much too cruel? There's one point I still don't understand—in all three cases, you cut off the female victims' breasts. Why?"

Luo Yi's pupils constricted.

"Like this," Yi Fei said. He loaded up photos of the crime scene on his phone and set the phone down on the table.

Luo Yi lowered his head to look. His whole body suddenly froze in his seat.

The four people in Unit 5-8 had suffered extremely bloody deaths. Forget about normal civilians. Even detectives who'd visited many murder scenes already would have a hard time taking in the sight of those corpses.

While Luo Yi looked at the photos, Yi Fei looked at Luo Yi.

The reaction painted over Luo Yi's face wasn't like the reaction of a killer at all.

It was obvious that Luo Yi was trying to control his expression, but the images of the gory scene of the crime had finally rattled his composure.

A killer wouldn't react in such a way when laying eyes on their own 'masterpiece'.

Yi Fei put his phone away and straightforwardly stated, "Dr. Luo, you don't know the details of the murders of Qin Xiong and his family, but you wish to confess to the crime. Can I assume you're attempting to protect the real killer, in order to allow him to remain free to continue avenging Bai Ying?"

Luo Yi lifted his head, lips slightly parted. After a few seconds, he ran both hands through his hair. His shoulders quivered faintly, and his voice trembled even more as he said, "I've already confessed. I'm the killer. I'm the one who killed Cao Fenghuai's family, Gong Guozhen's family, and Qin Xiong's family. Over ten years ago, I didn't have a home. Bai Ying saved me. My motive was to avenge him. Is that not sufficient information for you to close this case?"

Ming Shu had long since started making the trip back to Dongye City. He was listening to this interrogation through headphones while en route.

"The duty of a criminal detective is to bring the real murderer to justice, not to grab some random person who's willing to take the blame!" Yi Fei countered. "We used all our means and resources to track you down. I'm determined to make sure we haven't caught the wrong person!"

"You've made no mistake," Luo Yi said. He seemed to have been provoked by the word 'justice'. A shade of bloodlust suddenly surfaced in his eyes. He slammed the fist of his right hand into his chest. "I'm the killer. Do you want to see the evidence? I recorded a video!"

Yi Fei was momentarily stunned. "What video?"

"It's on my phone,"  Luo Yi said. "Do you know why I returned to the country four years ago? It's because I killed someone in Country B. His name was Chi Mingyue. He was a professor at QE University's School of Medicine. He was the one who took Bai Ying's heart out of his body. I hypnotized him and made him repent, making it so that he chose to die."

A member of the technical team managed to find and unencrypt that video.

"I got rid of Chi Mingyue first. Then I came back to take care of everyone else." Luo Yi lifted one finger as he spoke, then a second, and then a third. He whispered, "Bai Ying, I'll avenge you. From now on, you can finally rest in peace."

 

Dongye City, South Spring Manor.

The air in the mountains was crisp and fresh. Chu Xin strolled idly through the estate. His carefree attitude posed a stark contrast to the severe demeanors of the men Chu Qing had sent to discreetly escort him.

This estate was like a serene paradise that existed in seclusion from the rest of the world. In reality, it was surrounded by the Chu family's guards.

"What are you guys following me for?" Chu Xin laughed. "I just came to pay a visit to my elders. Is that really something that makes you so alarmed?"

There was no response from Chu Xin's surroundings. His invisible escorts couldn't even be seen.

"It's not like I'm a murderer." Chu Xin plucked a flower as he wandered through the gardens. His voice filled up with a bit of aggrievement.

South Spring Manor was massive. Taking a full lap around the grounds at a leisurely walk would take at least two hours. Chu Xin continued to pick flowers as he walked, until he had a full bouquet in his hands.

In the indoor hallway leading to Chu Linxiong's rooms, Chu Xin walked alternatingly briskly and slowly, humming some indecipherable tune as he moved along.

If one were to listen closely, they would be able to tell that he was humming a tune that went—

A mother is the world's best gift.

A child with a mother is truly beloved.

In my mother's arms…

There's no better place to be.

A mother is the world's greatest joy.

A child without a mother is like a broken toy.

When I leave my mother's arms…

Where does that leave me?

It was an innocent yet sorrowful children's song. Chu Xin hummed it in a cheerful tone. The song echoed down the hall. But there was no innocence or sorrow in that tune. Only coldness and loathing.

The song was like a woman, lamenting over the tales of her misfortunes.

At the end of that long hallway, a door opened.

Chu Xin smiled. "Old man, I've come back to see you."

Chu Linxiong was sitting in a wheelchair. For the first time, he looked upon his most beloved son with wariness in his gaze.

"What, you're not happy that I went to all the trouble of paying you a rare visit?" Chu Xin poured himself a cup of tea without waiting for permission, then sank into the couch to get comfortable.

Chu Linxiong's complexion was an ashen gray. "Didn't you become a monk at Haijing Temple? Why are you visiting me at a time like this?"

Chu Xin lifted his cup of tea to his nose and took a sniff, but he didn't drink from the cup. He soon lowered his hand again and set the cup aside.

"Afraid to accept drinks from me now?" Chu Linxiong questioned.

Chu Xin laughed. "Chu Qing has you under house arrest, after all. Your food and clothes are all prepared by him. I trust that you're good to me, but I don't have the same trust in him."

Poor families had their own concerns, and wealthy families had theirs as well. Those in poor families might worry about where their next meal came from, while those in wealthy families had serious concerns about taking any bite of food.

Chu Linxiong shook his head. "It's not that serious."

Chu Xin crossed one leg over the other. "Alright, that's enough small talk. You also know I wouldn't come see you for no reason. If I made my way here, I must have some purpose."

The wrinkles on Chu Linxiong's face tensed.

"Old man." The smile on Chu Xin's lips gradually faded away. "Did you ever regret it?"

"What are you talking about?" Chu Linxiong said.

"I'm talking about everything you've done in your life," Chu Xin said. "From the big things, like taking control of the Chu Group, to little things like… deceiving countless women, one after another."

Although his power had already been snatched away, Chu Linxiong still maintained an arrogant air about him. "Why should I regret anything! Without me, the Chu Group wouldn't be what it is today!"

"I know you're powerful, I know you have your ways," Chu Xin said. "If you and Chu Qing were the same age, not even he would be a worthy rival for you."

Chu Linxiong had no interest in hearing the name 'Chu Qing'. He furrowed his brows deeply, with disdain and resentment flooding his face. "Don't bring him up to me."

Chu Xin acted like he hadn't heard that at all. "Chu Qing certainly couldn't be your rival. After all, your business sense was all genetically inherited by me, wasn't it?"

Chu Linxiong's eyes widened. He stared at Chu Xin in disbelief.

The two of them were father and son, but Chu Linxiong had never admitted this fact to Chu Xin. And Chu Xin had never once called him 'father' or 'dad'.

But just now, Chu Xin had said the words 'genetically inherited'.

"You…" Chu Linxiong faltered. "What exactly are you trying to say?"

"It's understandable that a person like you wouldn't be able to immediately recall all the wrongs you've committed in your life," Chu Xin said. His gaze gradually sharpened. "So let me give you an example. Do you regret having a son like me?"

After a brief moment of silence, Chu Linxiong said, "You're very smart. Don't you know who's most special to me, out of all my sons?"

"I suppose I should be grateful for your favor. Then can I take that to mean you don't regret having a son like me? Not only that, you're happy about having a son like me?" Chu Xin asked. "Is that true?"

Chu Linxiong huffed under his breath and didn't answer.

Chu Xin stared at him. He slowly continued, "But how did I come into existence?"

Chu Linxiong was dumbstruck.

"I exist because you raped a woman who didn't love you, and you forced her to give birth to a thing like me," Chu Xin stated, in the same relaxed tone he'd used while humming a tune earlier. "Ever since the beginning, I shouldn't have lived. I never deserved to live."

"Nonsense!" Chu Linxiong retorted fiercely.

"Nonsense?" Chu Xin scoffed. "Chu-xiansheng Senior, would you get so worked up when someone is speaking nonsense to you?"

Chu Linxiong's hands tightly gripped the armrests of his wheelchair. His eyes looked like they could spew fire.

"I shouldn't have been born. I was born as a result of the most despicable thing you could have done to a woman!" Chu Xin said. "Who knows if my congenital heart condition was a 'gift' from heaven. Can that be considered divine retribution?"

Chu Linxiong's eyes were wide with fury. His lower lip trembled fiercely, as if he wished to refute Chu Xin's argument yet couldn't find the words to do so.

"Old man, have you ever regretted what you did to my mother?" Chu Xin asked. "Do you regret ruining her life? I've seen her photographs. You could even lift your hands against a beautiful woman like that."

The large room filled up with the sounds of fast, uneven breathing.

And a monitoring device was currently active in one inconspicuous corner.

"It seems you don't regret it." Chu Xin stood up and loomed over Chu Linxiong. "That's no surprise. A man as heartless and ruthless as you couldn't possibly feel sorry for a woman."

Chu Linxiong had to lift his head to look at Chu Xin. "Everything I've ever done has been for your good!"

"Our elders all like to say things like that, but 'my good' is just a thin sheen of gold that that disguises your self-serving motivations," Chu Xin said. "I'll ask you one more question. Seven years ago, when you had me undergo that heart transplant surgery, did you regret it?"

Chu Linxiong bellowed, "You should be glad! If you didn't have that surgery, would you still be standing here now?"

"My life was stolen for me, twice," Chu Xin said. "The first time, you stole me into existence by forcing my mother to have me. The second time, you stole my brother's heart. I was never supposed to live. Seven years ago, when I fell ill, that was the heavens coming to claim me."

Saying that, Chu Xin laughed. "You're determined to conduct these 'reversals of fate' just to prove your might. Old man, my life is a life. What about other people's lives? Are they no more than weeds? From then to now, have you ever regretted anything?"

"You don't understand my heart at all!" Chu Linxiong roared.

"Is understanding a demon's heart something I should strive for and be proud of?" Chu Xin spread his hands in front of himself. "Look, you used a man who shouldn't have died to save me, a man who never should have lived. But I didn't inherit your power as you wished. Instead, the Chu Group fell into Chu Qing's hands. Now you have no power over anything, and I've become a monk. Do you feel any regret now?"

"You're the one who has no will to fight!" Chu Linxiong retorted, before succumbing to a coughing fit.

"Fight? For what? For you?" Chu Xin flashed a cold smile. "And then what? I should become the next you?"

Chu Linxiong pointed at the door. "Get out! Get out right now!"

"You love me so much that you wouldn't hesitate to kill for me," Chu Xin said. "Now I've come to see you, and you want me to get lost? Maybe too many people have died for you. Maybe that's why you think it isn't a big deal to take someone's heart out of their chest, right?"

Without waiting for Chu Linxiong to answer, Chu Lin suddenly laughed and said, "But the heart you took away was my brother's! My mother's most beloved child. My own brother!"

Chu Linxiong was once again dumbstruck. "You… you…"

"Me?" Chu Xin leaned in closer. "Tell me. Shouldn't I take revenge for him?"

Chu Linxiong seemed to understand everything in an instant. "It was you?"

"The police have already come to talk to you, right?" Chu Xin said. "They told you about all the people who died at the hands of an 'avenger'. Cao Fenghuai, Gong Guozhen, Qin Xiong. Did the police tell you that next it would be your turn, or mine?"

Chu Linxiong suddenly reeled backwards in his wheelchair. "You're mad!"

"Mad? That's probably because I have your blood in my veins. If we compare our madnesses, then who could be more psychotic than you?" With every inch Chu Linxiong retreated, Chu Xin advanced an inch, forcing Chu Linxiong back against a wall.

Chu Linxiong had nowhere left to run. He gritted his teeth and said, "You want to kill me?"

Chu Xin leaned down. He set his hands on the armrests on either side of the wheelchair. His eyes, which would have been considered beautiful by most ordinary people, fell upon Chu Linxiong with something like a smile. "I want to have a chat with you."

Chu Xin's eyes looked a lot like Lin Xi's.

Chu Linxiong tensed and gritted out, "Chat… chat about what?"

"About the evil you've done in the past." Chu Xin straightened up and lifted a foot, giving the wheelchair a hard kick.

Chu Linxiong was given such a fright that he nearly fell out of his chair as it suddenly jolted across the room, stopping when it hit the coffee table.

Chu Xin approached again. "We've been father and son for tens of years, and we've never once had a true heart to heart."

There was no denying that Chu Linxiong was an old man. He no longer had the vigor of his prime. When he faced Chu Xin and met his gaze, he continually looked away. His tone was also laced with weakness, like he was pleading.

"Do you want to know how they died?" Chu Xin said, as casually as if they were just making small talk. "I didn't just kill them. I killed their families as well. They all died horribly. Some of them had their bones cracked by me. Some had their eyes gouged out by me. Some were left without a single inch of skin on their bodies."

Chu Linxiong trembled and looked at Chu Xin like he was looking at a stranger.

"Oh, that's right. I also cut off their wives' breasts and set them in the most conspicuous places in their homes, for them to see." Chu Xin patted his own chest. "Because that was the spot closest to their hearts. I had no way of carving out their hearts like Chi Mingyue, so I had to settle for that. When I kill you, do you think I should tear open your chest and rip out your heart?"

"You… you shut your mouth!" Chu Linxiong blurted out.

Chu Xin smiled down at him. "Old man, you've never been this terrified in your whole life, have you? Let me ask you again. Do you regret having a son like me? Do you regret killing my brother and placing his heart in my chest? Or will you continue to insist you have nothing to regret?"

Chu Linxiong was so shocked and afraid that he couldn't speak.

"People who've had heart transplant surgeries can live, but not for long. I've been quite lucky, perhaps in part because of the healthy upbringing you provided me. These past few years, I guess I've recovered pretty well. There isn't much that I want. I only want to hear you personally confess to your crimes."

Chu Xin's gaze was dark, and his every word was heavy with hatred. "I was born from your rape of Lin Xi, correct?"

Chu Linxiong sat like a stump of wood, completely petrified. Only his eyelids trembled.

"Answer me!" Chu Xin demanded sharply.

Finally, Chu Linxiong nodded. "Yes. It's true."

"After Lin Xi gave birth to me, you intentionally drove her mad. Yes?" Chi Xin spoke more and more quickly. "She ultimately chose to kill herself because of you!"

Chu Linxiong didn't dare look at Chu Xin anymore. "Yes."

"People say you must respect the dead, but even now, you don't have any respect for those you harmed. You don't believe you did anything wrong," Chu Xin said. "The word 'scum' isn't strong enough to describe someone like you. But at least, in the end, you confessed everything to this son of yours—this son who never should have been born."

Chu Linxiong wasn't immobile; his legs simply weren't as spry as they once were. When he saw Chu Xin approaching again, Chu Linxiong bolted to his feet in a moment of desperation. "Let me go. The Chu Group… the Chu Group is still under my control. As long as you let me go…"

"Give it up." Chu Xin sneered. "Chu Qing replaced you a long time ago."

Chu Linxiong glanced out the window, then hurriedly turned back to Chu Xin and shook his head. "You can't do anything to me! I'm your father!"

"Father?" Chu Xin's gaze was as cold as a dense fog swirling above an icy sea. A military dagger suddenly appeared in his hand. "No. You're my enemy first, and my father second."

Clang—

Chu Linxiong collapsed, falling to the ground by his wheelchair. The wheelchair rolled backwards with the collision. The greatest business 'mogul' of his generation was reduced to crawling on the ground, trying to escape the storm of killing intent behind him.

"How unsightly." Chu Xin slammed his foot down on Chu Linxiong's back. "Just like you, he knew he was going to die. But my brother didn't look half as wretched as you do now!"

Chu Linxiong was aghast with shock. "You've met Guo Ping'an?"

Chu Xin held the dagger in one hand and grabbed Chu Linxiong's throat with the other. "Not only have I met him, I've spoken to him."

Chu Linxiong's pupils shrank to tiny pinpoints.

"Seven years ago, I was incapable of protecting him. He was the one who gave me his heart to grant me a new life." Chu Xin's eyes were wide with fury. "Now, there are just two more people left. Just two more people I need to kill to avenge him!"

The instincts of a shrewd businessman kicked in once again. Chu Linxiong bellowed, "Two people?! I'm not the last one? Then you go kill the other person first! You know who I am, how important I am. If you kill me now, the police will catch you right away! You won't get the chance to kill again!"

Chu Xin laughed like he'd heard an extremely funny joke. His shoulders shook with it. "The last person is me. If I kill myself, who will be left to kill you?"

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