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    In the middle of the night, Fu Luoyin felt the emptiness in his arms, followed by an unsettling hollowness in his heart. Still groggy from being drunk, he opened his eyes and woke up.

    Rain was pouring heavily outside the window.

    Lin Shuicheng was no longer in his embrace. Fu Luoyin looked around the room but found no trace of him.

    The only change was the flowers.

    Startled, Fu Luoyin turned on the light and saw that the flowers had been neatly arranged. He approached and touched them. The roses were separated into three portions and carefully placed in file bags. His coat was folded and put on the bedside table, while the medicine box had its crushed cardboard restored to its original shape, with the opening neatly refastened, spotlessly clean.

    Fu Luoyin's heart was suddenly filled with both sweetness and bitterness.

    Even in such circumstances, Lin Shuicheng was so considerate. Did this mean there was still some hope for him, at least for now?

    His phone vibrated. Su Yu was sending him information about depression. Fu Luoyin quickly checked the message and then asked, "You're still awake? Have you seen Lin Shuicheng? Did he find another room to stay in?"

    Su Yu replied, "I'm pulling an all-nighter to sort out the guest gift lists and prepare for tomorrow's decorations. I haven't slept yet. Isn't your wife with you?"

    After a moment, he added, "Ask the front desk, but if you have time, come down to Level Minus Two first. I'll fill you in on your wife's recent situation. It might be more serious than you think."

    Fu Luoyin quickly brushed his teeth and washed his face. "Okay, I'll head over. Lin Shuicheng dropped me off and disappeared. He must've found another room to sleep in."

    Su Yu was sprawled in his room, going through accounts with a few assistants from the Su family. When he saw Fu Luoyin arrive, he got up from the bed and pulled him into the living room of the suite.

    Fu Luoyin furrowed his brow. "What's so serious? What's wrong with Lin Shuicheng?"

    Su Yu rubbed his red, sleep-deprived eyes and took a deep breath. "Don't panic. I'll explain it to you slowly."

    Ever since that afternoon when Fu Luoyin described the situation to Su Yu, the two of them had gone over every detail about Lin Shuicheng. Su Yu had also read the information Zhou Heng had sent to Fu Luoyin.

    With his simple-minded nature, Su Yu hadn't thought much of it at first. But after Fu Luoyin explained things to him, he started to see some issues as well.

    "I've looked over your wife's file. First of all, it's completely normal for anyone in her situation to become depressed. Don't put too much pressure on yourself, Shuicheng," Su Yu warned Fu Luoyin, eyeing him intently.

    As a former forensic pathologist and now an intern at Yan Zi's clinic, Su Yu had a certain air of authority when discussing serious matters.

    Fu Luoyin choked. "I know, but... he didn't really like me that much to begin with."

    "It's good that you understand. I mean – it's a positive thing, so you won't dwell on negative thoughts." Su Yu cleared his throat. "Let me continue. I'm not a psychologist, but I've done some research to analyze your situation. Your sister-in-law has had a series of tragedies since childhood: her grandfather passed away in junior high, her father died in a car accident on a rainy mountain road during her senior year of high school, and her younger brother became comatose. These events likely planted the seeds of depression within him. But when did it fully manifest?"

    Pointing to a screenshot on his phone, Su Yu explained, "I believe it started when your sister-in-law decided to switch majors and pursue quantum analysis, which was the same year he was with you – no, don't look at me like that, it's not related to you. Psychologically speaking, that year must have been significant for him. He might have faced a similar trauma to losing his loved ones or simply felt the pressure of life. Regardless, something significant must have happened – that's when he chose to change his major to quantum analysis. Did you notice? In his second year, he changed his chemistry focus from medical organic to analytical chemistry and atomic assembly. That year, he joined Yang Zhiwei's laboratory, indicating progress and a forward-moving direction for him."

    "But just two years later, he suddenly jumped from chemistry to the relatively unrelated field of quantum analysis, a field that's lucrative and practical. For someone like your sister-in-law, it could be seen as a transition from dreams to reality. I think this particular point in time is worth paying attention to, but the information doesn't mention what happened to him then."

    Fu Luoyin whispered, "Was it difficult in the field of chemistry?"

    Su Yu shrugged. "I don't know, but I think given your sister-in-law's excellence, it's more likely that the challenge came from reality rather than academic difficulties. None of that matters now. What's important is that his depressive symptoms are gradually surfacing. All the blows he experienced in the past have contributed to his current state."

    Fu Luoyin furrowed his brow.

    Su Yu inquired, "Minus Two, do you recall the first time you asked me to pick up your wife? Yi Shui's matter was being handled by Department Seven then, so I went to fetch your wife home."

    Fu Luoyin nodded. "I remember."

    "I only realized it now, but it seems your wife was already showing some symptoms back then. He had a stress response in my car. Let me play the in-car recording for you."

    Su Yu's in-car camera captured half of the front seat. In that short video, Fu Luoyin saw Lin Shuicheng sitting in the passenger seat.

    He gazed out the window, his fingers gripping the car door handle tightly, his eyes deep and serious, his spine taut, and his lips pressed together, clearly on edge.

    "Surveillance footage from that stretch of road was also retrieved. At that time, we passed by Star City's small pier, where construction was ongoing. There were more than one large truck on the road. I suspect that Brother-in-law had a stress response to the trucks—because such vehicles took away his father's life and left Eddi in a coma. That was when his true trials in life began."

    Fu Luoyin commented, "But he wasn't at the accident scene back then. As I recall, he didn't have access to the investigation details, right?"

    The file mentioned how the case was handled at the time. Since Lin Wang was part of the Alliance's bureaucratic system, the incident was suspected not to be an accident but a matter involving confidential matters. As a recent high school graduate, Lin Shuicheng couldn't access much information.

    "There's a psychological phenomenon called cognitive consistency, like the common 'reincarnation scams.' Some people claim they were once someone living in a certain country during a specific century. This often occurs after brain damage or significant trauma. They believe their beliefs fervently and continually add details to their imagination... After experiencing a traumatic event, this kind of behavior is quite normal."

    Su Yu continued, "Brother-in-law's situation might very well fall under this category. And there's an important piece of information I need to share with you. This video was originally meant for you, but since you never received it, Zhou Heng sent it to me."

    "Let me see it," Fu Luoyin said.

    The video showed the airport terminal.

    After only a few seconds, Fu Luoyin found it unbearable and looked away, feeling a sharp pain in his heart.

    In the footage, the check-in counter was deserted, with Lin Shuicheng standing in a daze before a posted notice about flight cancellations.

    Then, he changed his direction as if engaged in a serious conversation with someone, even though there was no one in front of him!

    "Zhou Heng sent a lip-reading translation. At that time, Su was discussing meteorology and the butterfly effect, talking to himself and eventually convincing himself to leave. This kind of self-dialogue usually doesn't fall under schizophrenia but is rather a hallucination caused by another part of his consciousness. It seems that the cancellation of the direct flight to Dongtong City had a tremendous impact on Su," Su Yu said. "Su has already experienced hallucinations, but I think he's not yet aware of it."

    Fu Luoyin's voice trembled slightly. "...How could it be so severe! It was just a flight cancellation, why would he react like this..."

    He couldn't find the right words to describe it.

    Su Yu sighed. "In the conversation, Su repeatedly mentioned 'accidents' and 'unpredictability.' I guess that after accidents continuously took away his loved ones, he must despise the word 'accident' deeply."

    "I have a suspicion that the academic difficulty he's facing might be related to the butterfly effect. I don't understand these things, but Su mentioned himself that the butterfly effect is inexplicable," Su Yu continued. "Coupled with the closure of the quantum analysis department..."

    He sighed again, a hint of sadness in his eyes.

    Upon hearing this, Fu Luoyin was almost out of control. "Which room is Lin Shuicheng in? I need to go over, I'll stay with him."

    "Don't panic, I'll call the front desk right away," Su Yu hurriedly held him back.

    Five minutes later.

    "What do you mean he's not at the hotel?" Fu Luoyin stood pale-faced at the reception desk.

    The staff member seemed a bit frightened. "There was no Mr. Lin Shuicheng who came to adjust his room, but there was indeed a gentleman who resembled him very much. A handsome man with a red mole beside his eye left with someone else just an hour ago."

    Fu Luoyin was on the verge of losing his mind. "With whom? Who could he have gone out with?"

    Lin Shuicheng was unfamiliar with the place; who would he go with?

    Su Yu promptly requested the surveillance footage.

    On the screen, a boy who bore a striking resemblance to Xia Ran entered. Lin Shuicheng engaged in conversation with him while seated, then they both walked out together.

    Su Yu was bewildered. "This person... Minus Two..."

    He had a strong impression of this individual. Tang Yang was one of the substitutes Fu Luoyin had sought, and Tang Yang resembled Xia Ran the most. He was also the one who spent the shortest time with Fu Luoyin—kissing him first before being kicked out by Fu Luoyin.

    Despite it happening a long time ago, given Tang Yang's appearance and the resemblance to Xia Ran, coupled with Lin Shuicheng's intelligence, it wouldn't be difficult for him to deduce something.

    Fu Luoyin was unable to speak for a long while.

    Half a day later, his voice carried an intense sharpness and coldness: "Investigate, find out who allowed this person to contact Lin Shuicheng!"

    "If Lin Shuicheng's condition worsens or anything goes wrong because of this, I'll make sure they…" Fu Luoyin didn't finish his sentence, but the chill in his tone sent shivers down everyone present.

    "Fishing, stay put and don't alarm Aunt Yan. Don't cause any trouble at her birthday banquet." In the pouring rain, Fu Luoyin got into his car and turned to Su Yu. "I'll go look for Lin Shuicheng first. Don't worry."

    Su Yu instructed, "Be careful in this weather! Watch out for corners on the mountain road. Chasing after your sister-in-law is important, but don't let anything happen to yourself!"

    "I know," Fu Luoyin replied as he unlocked his phone.

    Activating his A-level clearance, he directly located Lin Shuicheng's ID card.

    At that moment, Lin Shuicheng was eight kilometers away from him.

    Fu Luoyin stepped on the gas pedal, speeding off like a bolt of lightning.

    For some reason, a sense of unease rose within him.

    "Brother, you're still riding with President Fu in this car?"

    After becoming more comfortable talking to Lin Shuicheng, Tang Yang grew bolder.

    He struck up a casual conversation with Lin Shuicheng, openly expressing his thoughts—why would someone who's with someone wealthy buy their own car? Isn't that just inviting trouble?

    Upon learning that the car was indeed purchased by Lin Shuicheng himself, Tang Yang was clearly puzzled but didn't press the matter further.

    He continued talking on his own, "But this car is good too, it's one of the most cost-effective old models around. I'm planning to buy one for myself when I go back home. That way, I can save some money on delivery costs for my convenience store."

    Listening to Tang Yang's plans, Lin Shuicheng inquired about his family, "What about your family? Are they all doing well?"

    "My father had a stroke, and my mother has been paralyzed for years due to some viral inflammation – I can't remember the specifics. Anyway, they're on a pile of medications." Tang Yang spoke cheerfully. "But both of them are still capable of handling things. When I go back, I can help them. With so many siblings in my family, I'm the most pampered one. None of them made me change my dad's diapers or clean up after him. They wouldn't let me do those tasks. All I need to do is cook and keep them company to alleviate their boredom. If I had three thousand dollars, I'd even buy a mahjong table."

    Lin Shuicheng listened quietly.

    Tang Yang also came from a poor background, but he seemed to have always maintained this optimistic disposition, finding joy even in adversity. Although he was shortsighted, he found contentment in his limited view.

    He asked softly, "Have you ever thought... if your parents were to recover, if you could attend school normally, would your life be much better than it is now?"

    "Brother, I know what you mean, but I'm not cut out for that. Daydreaming about 'ifs' won't change anything," Tang Yang scratched his head. "With the aid we receive from our hometown, we manage alright. I don't want to go to school; it's too tiring."

    Lin Shuicheng glanced at him again. "Ordinary people would wonder why these things happen to them specifically. But you're different."

    Then, he spoke softly, "That's a good thing."

    Upon hearing his praise, Tang Yang felt a little embarrassed. "I guess I'm just foolish with no real aspirations. Everyone is unique, Brother. You look very intelligent; you're definitely suited for studying."

    They crossed the sea bridge and began descending along the winding mountain road.

    It was a rainy night, making it difficult to see clearly due to the slippery road conditions.

    Reaching out to touch the control panel, Lin Shuicheng felt his heartbeat quicken. He suppressed his restless emotions and gradually reduced the car's speed.

    Time seemed to revert to that stormy night when he graduated from high school.

    "Brother, are you feeling unwell?" Tang Yang, sitting beside him, noticed a change in Lin Shuicheng's expression and grew worried.

    Just as they approached a sharp bend, the automated system sounded two warning beeps, and the headlights were turned up to their maximum brightness.

    Tang Yang sat up straight, ready to offer Lin Shuicheng some popcorn candy, only to see Lin Shuicheng's face suddenly alter.

    In an instant, he saw Lin Shuicheng grab the magnetic decoration from the dashboard and shatter the car window on one side!

    At the same time, Lin Shuicheng desperately turned the steering wheel to the right.

    The moment the car window shattered, the autonomous driving system was deactivated. Unless in such an unexpected situation, the system wouldn't allow a vehicle in motion to suddenly cancel its autonomous journey. Simultaneously, airbags deployed, pushing the car towards the inner side of the mountain road.

    Tang Yang was terrified and started screaming, "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"

    As the airbags continued to deploy, they gradually squeezed the space inside the car. Amidst the chaos, Lin Shuicheng's eyes were fixated straight ahead.

    His left car window was broken, allowing rainwater to pour in and the wind to howl. Through the seemingly calm road ahead, a massive shadow began to emerge—

    At the bend, a giant truck appeared like a ghostly beast, roaring at an uncontrollable and reckless speed.

    That was all Lin Shuicheng had time for – just that one glimpse.

    Years of nightmares resurfaced as the butterfly behind Death fluttered past once more.

    Their car flipped over to the inner side, getting stuck in a ditch along the mountainous side of the road.

    On the other side, the out-of-control truck narrowly missed them, skidding off the winding mountain road due to centrifugal force and plummeting over the cliff, its explosion echoing in their ears like a grim death knell.

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