Three years ago, roaring flames and black smoke enveloped the scene of the explosion, soaring into the sky amidst the fierce wind. They were quickly captured within Jiang Ting’s pupils.

His eyes gleamed with a cold and alert light. After a moment, he slowly said, “If you know more secrets about me, you can slowly communicate with the investigators after entering the detention center.”

As he said this, his demeanor and tone steadied. The hand holding the gun firmly, and his entire being almost instantly returned to an impeccable state. Qin Chuan felt a bit regretful that he recovered so quickly. It seemed like he wanted to say something, but Jiang Ting interrupted him, “On January 18th, two years ago, Yue Guangping discovered information about the mole and was planning to meet me. You visited him unexpectedly and killed him, didn’t you?”

Qin Chuan exhaled and remained silent for several seconds before saying, “Yes. You already guessed it just now. It was Aconitine.”

“…”

“If you were in my shoes, what would you have done?” Qin Chuan seemed somewhat nostalgic. “From eighteen to twenty-nine, a whole eleven years, Yue Guangping tried many ways to earn the forgiveness and acceptance of his only biological son. But he failed. It wasn’t until the twelfth anniversary of my mother’s death when he visited her grave that he finally noticed a slight change in my attitude. It seemed like a signal for a willingness to reconcile our father-son relationship. Of course, he would have been overjoyed.”

“Was it the King of Spades who suggested you do this?” Jiang Ting asked.

This was clearly a simple selective answer, but for some reason, Qin Chuan paused for a moment before saying, “Yes.”

Then he didn’t give Jiang Ting any chance to speak and immediately continued, “In the following six months, I started to have contact with him, met a few times in Jianning, and occasionally had phone conversations. This should have greatly encouraged Yue Guangping. He began inviting me to his home in Gongzhou, but I consistently refused, citing emotional unacceptance. I should clarify that Yue Guangping was married in Gongzhou, and they lived in that house together until his wife passed away, so this reason was completely valid for Yue Guangping.”

Jiang Ting narrowed his eyes and remained silent.

When Qin Chuan mentioned Yue Guangping’s wife, he showed no resistance at all. On the contrary, his attitude was rational and calm, indicating a high level of emotional stability and maturity.

In other words, his behavior was very different from that of most patricidal killers driven by hatred.

“So, your sudden visit on January 18th was significant to Yue Guangping,” Jiang Ting said slowly.

“To be honest, I didn’t expect it to be that important to him, to the point where he would postpone meeting you just to let me in. Actually, I hurriedly went over that day.”

Jiang Ting gestured for him to continue explaining.

“During that time, Yue Guangping was under surveillance, so when he called you to arrange a meeting at a safe house, the King of Spades knew he had discovered something. But it was too late to arrange a car accident, so I had to go to his house on short notice. You can imagine how… shocked Yue Guangping was when he saw me standing outside.” Qin Chuan paused for half a second before choosing that word and continued, “I told him I was passing by Gongzhou on a business trip and decided to stop by for a smoke. Without any hesitation, he let me in.”

What Yue Guangping didn’t expect was that in the time it took for him to smoke that cigarette, it cost him his life.

Jiang Ting fell silent for a long time before asking, “Did you make him drink poisoned wine?”

“No, it was tea.” Qin Chuan smiled with a touch of sorrow. “Just a drop of concentrated Aconitine. He already had a weak heart as an elderly person… Afterward, I took the teacup with me.”

Although it was a brutal and tragic act of patricide, his demeanor remained exceptionally calm, as if Yue Guangping had genuinely died from a heart attack.

According to Jiang Ting’s usual style of interrogation, questions with emotional implications rarely surfaced. Nevertheless, he asked, “You killed your biological father, and as the killer, you didn’t feel any emotional impact?”

“How should I put it…” Qin Chuan tilted his head back and contemplated.

He stretched his neck, looked at the ceiling, and said in a calm tone, “I am the killer, but at the same time, I am not. So the emotional impact is different from that of a normal person.”

“What do you mean?” Jiang Ting asked unconsciously.

—What does that mean?

Qin Chuan didn’t pay it any mind. “It doesn’t mean anything.”

Jiang Ting’s pupils tightened, as if trying to penetrate Qin Chuan’s handsome face and gaze into the depths of his calm eyes. However, it was clear that Qin Chuan wouldn’t offer any further explanation. Suddenly, Jiang Ting asked, “Were you afraid at the time of the crime?”

“Why should I be afraid?” Qin Chuan countered. “When my mother passed away, I was also by her side. What is there to fear?”

“…” This time, Jiang Ting stared at him intently and laughed without revealing any meaning.

The smile lingered on his lips for a brief moment before he asked, “So, later on, you used Aconitine again when you killed Fang Zhenghong a year ago?”

“I didn’t intend to kill Fang Zhenghong,” Qin Chuan corrected him, saying, “Although Fang Zhenghong has a very sensitive and suspicious personality, causing me a lot of trouble professionally and personally, I didn’t have the intention to kill him. The best scenario for me would be if Fang Zhenghong retired early due to illness or completely relinquished his power, making my daily work much more convenient.”

“As for framing Yan Yin, it was also a carefully considered and weighed decision. The Yan family’s strong background in the Provincial Committee is a thorny issue for anyone. As long as there is no irrefutable evidence, Director Lv won’t easily target Yan Yin. At most, there will be discreet investigations. At the same time, publicly, as long as Director Lv shows the slightest unwillingness to focus on Yan Yin in front of Fang Zhenghong, Old Fang’s extremist personality will interpret it as Director Lv protecting Yan Yin, thus creating hidden dangers and rifts within the senior management of the Jianning Municipal Bureau.”

“The facts did develop as I planned,” Qin Chuan pulled at the corner of his mouth, showing some fading interest. “Director Lv quietly dismissed two interns from the General Affairs Department, and the leads were cut off. Yan Yin and Fang Zhenghong’s reactions were also within my expectations.”

Indeed, not many people can calculate human hearts to this extent. Fang Zhenghong may be excused, but even a cunning old fox like Director Lv was quietly led astray. Qin Chuan’s ability or talent in this regard was truly extraordinary.

Jiang Ting shook his head and smirked, not praising him, only asking, “So why did you poison Yan Yin later on? Don’t tell me you didn’t intend to kill him either?”

Qin Chuan rubbed his forehead, seemingly unsure of how to explain his true intentions. After a moment, he pushed up his glasses and spoke as sincerely as possible, “If I genuinely wanted to kill Yan Yin, he would have died a hundred times by now.”

“Oh?” Jiang Ting raised an eyebrow.

Qin Chuan shrugged. “You might have misunderstood me, thinking I’m a poison-obsessed killer. But in reality, I’m a goal-oriented person. I’m not so fixated on human life. If Yan Yin had died, I might have even felt a bit mournful… If he had been injured or had a car accident that led him to permanently leave the Jianning Municipal Bureau and inherit his family business, just like Fang Zhenghong retiring early, it would have been a favorable outcome for me. Because I only wanted their positions, not their lives.”

“Then haven’t you considered the possibility that Yan Yin wouldn’t drink the poisoned wine or that someone else might drink the bottle of poisoned wine?”

“No, he wouldn’t,” Qin Chuan casually replied. “Firstly, the weather had turned cold, and Yan Yin usually drinks medicinal wine to dispel dampness around the time of early winter. It’s his habit. Secondly, I made sure that, except for him, few people in the Criminal Investigation Brigade touched that bottle of wine. Even if someone did, most of them would only touch the outer surface and not consume it internally because only a few can tolerate the taste of the wine.”

As he said that, he spread his hands. “Let’s take a step back. Even if someone did drink it and died, it would have been an unavoidable situation. There is no perfect plan in the world. If we pursue a guaranteed fatal blow, it would inevitably leave traces during the setup, which would be disadvantageous to concealing oneself.”

An indescribable expression appeared on Jiang Ting’s usually less complex face.

“Lesson learned,” he then chuckled. “And what about the time when you hired Xian Shengrong to assassinate Yan Yin in Jiangyang County? Wasn’t that an attempt on Yan Yin’s life?”

Qin Chuan said, “Believe it or not, I didn’t explicitly ask Xian Shengrong to ‘definitely’ kill Yan Yin. I told him it would be best to shoot at the police car’s tires and cause an accident, giving those hired killers by Wang Xingye a chance. But Xian Shengrong acted too slowly, which allowed those people surnamed Fan to act first. They crashed the police car into the river and shot indiscriminately at the surface of the water… The crucial point is that not a single person managed to hit Yan Yin…”

Qin Chuan revealed a pained and helpless expression.

“Actually, if I had a choice, I wouldn’t want Xian Shengrong to use a gun because the presence of bullet casings would inevitably leave traceable evidence. And that gun belonged to Yue Guangping. Even if Director Lv doesn’t believe that Yue Guangping’s death is related to me, he at least knows about our father-son relationship. I don’t want to leave any possibility that would make Director Lv suspect me… By the way, do you mind if I sit down? I’ve just finished a day’s work, and I’m really tired.”

He gestured towards the sofa next to him. Jiang Ting assessed him for a few seconds and gestured with the muzzle of his gun.

“Go ahead, but don’t make any sudden moves.”

“No worries,” Qin Chuan replied calmly. “I’ve heard about how accurate your marksmanship is.”

He bypassed the coffee table and sat in the center of the sofa, leaning back deeply and letting out a sigh. “You didn’t suspect that I had any weapons hidden in the sofa…”

“I didn’t,” Jiang Ting said, “because I had already searched before you came back.”

“…” Qin Chuan murmured, “I was touched by your trust for a few seconds in vain.”

“I just felt that I shouldn’t make the same mistake as Director Lv. If he had started suspecting you after Yue Guangping’s death or focused on investigating you when Fang Zhenghong was poisoned a year ago, then things would have been different from a long time ago. It was mainly because of your biological father-son relationship with Yue Guangping that he took almost no action against you in this past year. Director Lv can’t escape blame for that.”

“Director Lv is getting old…” Qin Chuan sighed after a while, rubbing his face with the palm of his hand, and said, “He might have investigated me for a while, but there are many things that I didn’t personally do, like silencing Xian Shengrong and tampering with the Hyundai car belonging to Old Fang… So even if he investigated, he wouldn’t find any evidence. Honestly, I’m surprised that you suspected me. Maybe it’s because you’re an outsider.”

Jiang Ting remained non-committal. “Did Black Spade K’s people help you with many ’things’?”

Qin Chuan said, “Quite a few.”

“Then why did you personally go after Yan Yin several times, while Black Spade K instructed you to do so?”

Qin Chuan chuckled as he propped his forehead and asked, “What exactly happened between you two? Why does it seem like you’re so convinced that he wanted to kill Yan Yin and that he’s guilty?”

In the darkness, Jiang Ting’s face turned as white and cold as the muzzle of his gun, motionless.

“Well, I admit that his people did convey that intention,” Qin Chuan smiled and shook his head, “but… firstly, Yan Yin is a person who received security education since childhood and has been a criminal investigator for many years. It’s not easy for outsiders to target him. Secondly, the infiltration of drug dealers into the higher ranks of the Jianning Public Security Bureau is far less significant than it was in Gongzhou back then. So if I wanted to climb up quickly, waiting patiently for Black Spade K to work through the relationships layer by layer would be difficult. I mainly relied on my own actions.”

Black Spade K certainly had more than just Qin Chuan to rely on locally, and they undoubtedly had connections at the provincial level. There was no doubt about that. However, Jianning was not Gongzhou back then. As the provincial capital with two sets of government bodies, the Provincial Department’s control over the Municipal Bureau’s personnel was limited. If they wanted to quickly elevate Qin Chuan to a crucial position, relying solely on the Provincial Department would not be easy to achieve.

Therefore, Fang Zhenghong, who stood in Qin Chuan’s way, and Yan Yin, who held a more important position, became the most direct stumbling blocks.

“So, if you want to assign blame, I take sixty percent, and Black Spade K takes forty percent,” Qin Chuan seemed to find it amusing, saying, “But you should be grateful that it was me who made a move. My main goal was to get Yan Yin out of the Criminal Investigation Brigade. If it had been Black Spade K personally involved, it might have been a relentless situation.”

Jiang Ting leaned against the corner of the living room, and after a while, he laughed as if an icy sculpture emitting a bone-chilling coldness had finally come to life. He covered his eyes in a flash. At this very moment, Qin Chuan, with glass shards all over his body, suddenly grabbed Jiang Ting’s right hand holding the gun and forcefully pressed his index finger against the trigger–

Bang! Bang!

Jiang Ting clenched his teeth as the muzzle drooped, but Qin Chuan’s palm forcefully pushed it up.

Bang!

In the final struggle, the last bullet was fired, and Jiang Ting abruptly turned his head. The scorching airflow brushed past his neck!

As long as the muzzle had shifted by one centimeter, his neck would have been blasted through at this moment. But there was no time for hindsight. Jiang Ting kicked Qin Chuan away with a bent knee, threw away the empty gun, drew out a folding knife with a swift motion, and suddenly saw Qin Chuan pick up the long-handled umbrella hanging at the entrance, swiftly unsheathing a cold glimmer–

It was actually a triangular blade inserted into the handle of the umbrella!

Jiang Ting’s eyelid twitched slightly, and in the darkness, he saw Qin Chuan flash a regretful smile at him.