One needed to be decisive when doing anything. Otherwise, if the opportunity is missed, you may never achieve your goal.
At this moment, Xiao Xia was truly experiencing this wisdom.
She should have brought up handing this case over to someone else the moment she returned to the firm yesterday. However, she didn’t do so. This morning, when she found out her director was gone on a business trip due to urgent matters, she knew she had no choice but to bear with it. In this place, no one dared to make any arrangements without the director’s approval, and no one dared to disturb him with phone calls when he was out on business.
Unless she resigned! However, she wouldn’t be able to find a good job anymore, and she also couldn’t repay Director Pan’s kindness with such an act.
Her heart was filled with twisted emotions and she had nightmares again last night. She didn’t know what to do. When she felt this way in the past, she would always go have a therapy session with her free psychiatrist. Therefore, she used her lunch break to directly burst into his office.
Wan Li was a thirty-one year old man and a doctor in the fortieth floor psychiatric clinic. He looked tall and shrewd but had a pair of clear limpid doe-eyes, making others unconsciously trust him. Because she had helped him win his divorce lawsuit, because they were in the same office building and because of his gentle and safe aura, they became friends.
“Sleep paralysis again?” He asked when he saw her turbulent gaze.
“Psychiatrists are really annoying sometimes. I knew I shouldn’t have told you anything back then. Can’t you pretend not to know anything?”
“Looks like I was right. It’s sleep paralysis.” Wan Li purposefully teased her, “But I’m on my lunch break, and I’m also not your psychiatrist.”
“‘You are my friend’ is written on your face, as well as ‘free’ psychiatrist.”
“Oh? What else is written?”
“It also says Yue Xiao Xia can do whatever she wants.”
“Is that right!? I’ll treat you to lunch. A ramen place opened up by the corner downstairs. It’s cheap and authentic. Let’s go!”
He understood her. To put it plainly, his job was to understand the thoughts of others. In Xiao Xia’s case, his understanding was combined with his fondness for her as a friend. He knew she felt more relaxed in bustling places and her lively nature would quickly recover. This would help adjust her mental state. Recently she was under too much pressure, especially after taking on this bloody case that shook the whole city. He really wanted to help her.
“What do you think I should do? I’m seriously lacking in sleep recently, and wrinkles are setting in.” They found a corner seat in the noisy ramen shop and chatted while they ate.
“No need to be too worried. According to statistics, around forty percent of people have problems sleeping. Sleep paralysis, or what’s colloquially known as ghostly oppression, is just one instance.” Wan Li comforted Xiao Xia. Actually, he had some groundless suspicions regarding her condition, but without proof he didn’t want to scare her.
“Then should I go get my heart checked?” Xiao Xia teared up from the ramen’s spice.
“According to science, sleep paralysis is caused by poor blood circulation due to bad sleeping posture. Getting routine health checkups is a good habit. However, haven’t you bothered that elder again?”
“That’s right.” Xiao Xia nodded. “It’s not intentional, but every time there’s danger, I call out that Buddha’s name.”
“That’s why I’ve said it before. Despite being timid and often encountering misfortune due to your date of birth, you have quite a bit of courage when cornered. You also have some fate with the Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, and will always turn misfortune into blessing.” Wan Li laughed lightly, not wanting to impart any negative emotions onto Xiao Xia. Actually, he was very worried. According to past experience, every time Xiao Xia started getting frequent sleep paralysis and nightmares, danger followed shortly after. Although she herself was completely unaware, something seemed to ultimately resolve things for her every time. Would things get peacefully resolved this time as well? Did it have something to do with the case?
“Look at what you’re saying. You’re supposed to be society’s medical professional, not some mystical fortune-telling geomancer. Pay attention to your status, buddy!”
“Out of the top hundred scientists in the world, eighty of them believe in the existence of god. It’s clear that science does not interfere with spiritual belief. Although I like logical things, I don’t exclude the supernatural.”
“Great speech, but do you really believe in ghosts?” Xiao Xia asked calmly. She wasn’t worried of being overheard in this noisy crowd.
“Ghosts? Is this related to your case?” Wan Li frowned, “Or are you randomly guessing?”
Xiao Xia hesitated.
“I shouldn’t reveal details about the case to unrelated people. However, you are my psychiatrist so it should be fine.” She was finding excuses for herself. She told him everything that happened yesterday and what she had felt.
“Since you’re so against handling this case, why force yourself? This isn’t fair to you and your defendant. Why not find someone else to do it?” Wan Li suggested. He believed Xiao Xia’s words, but he also knew she was rather sensitive. Therefore, he couldn’t rule out the fact that her judgment was flawed. Therefore, the best solution was to find someone with a steady mind to handle this bloody case. He believed it wouldn’t be difficult. After all, this case was too sensational. Even if there was no profit to be made, it would still be good for exposure. Truthfully speaking, he had unintentionally overheard the Vast Sky Law Firm’s people discussing this case. Those people thought that handling this case wasn’t a bad thing. No matter the outcome, there would be a lot of fame. The director handing it to Xiao Xia was truly being too biased towards this “incompetent” deadweight.
“I wanted to bring it up to the director this morning but he actually left on a last minute business trip. My luck is truly awful! Also, it’s really hard to bring it up. I feel like I’d really be letting Teacher Pan down. How can I not see that he wants to carefully cultivate me? Yet I’m still so ungrateful!” Xiao Xia sloppily drank her soup from the bowl, “I’m just talking things through with you because I feel conflicted. Otherwise, even if I brought it up to the director, I would still feel like I’m doing something wrong and feel remorse.”
“It’s normal for people to second-guess themselves. You don’t have to feel guilty.”
“Then what should I do? Tough it out or give up while it’s still early?”
“This isn’t about giving up or toughing it out. It’s whether you want to continue doing it. If you force yourself, you’ll only do worse. It’s not like your director isn’t coming back anymore.” Wan Li was speaking completely as a friend.
“But the trial is about to begin!” Xiao Xia said, “Actually, I’m used to giving up. I’m pretty useless, right? I’m really scared of the next meeting, but it’s not like I can do nothing. That would be irresponsible towards Li Jing Ming, and would also be ungrateful towards the director.”
Wan Li patted her hand comfortingly. “Why do you need another meeting?”
“Because he didn’t really say anything that day. How am I supposed to plead his case? I must listen to his description of the event, and I also need to know what sort of settlement he is hoping for! Actually, I feel that once the legal process gets started, an appeal should be made to reexamine his sanity.”
“I’ve seen in the news that he’s suspected of having some mental issues, but not to the extent of insanity. Perhaps yesterday was just an act to try and get you to help him, so he can escape his sentencing?”
Xiao Xia shook her head without hesitation.
Yesterday had left too profound of an impression on her, and excluded the possibility of it being an act. She pulled up her sleeves and revealed the conspicuous bruises on her fair wrists. “Look, from his grip yesterday. Based on his strength, how could I be so seriously hurt if there wasn’t anything abnormal? Furthermore, as long as he is human, a normal human being, how could he be so cruel? Especially towards his own family.”
“The mind is the hardest thing in the world to understand.” Wan Li stroked Xiao Xia’s injury, thinking that her director’s training method was a little like killing the golden goose. “A sick mind is the most troublesome thing of all.”
“Then in your professional opinion, what are the chances he’s faking or truly insane?”
“I’m just a psychiatrist! I can only handle ordinary mental illnesses. However, from a medical standpoint, mental illness isn’t the same as insanity. Normally, what people call “crazies” are those with “serious mental illnesses”. For example, those with multiple personalities, schizophrenia, and other “serious” mental illnesses. The legal definition of insanity is a specialized field in itself. It’s especially hard to prove clinically. Do you think it’s something that can be done by one person?”
“Of course I don’t think it can be done by just anyone. I just want to know how to prove whether he’s ill or not!”
“This is a very complicated, very difficult matter. For example, it would be judged via the accumulation of many interactions, observing his cognitive state, emotional state, and even basic functions. His family’s medical history would be examined, his writings, and his behavior during this time would be included in the judgment. Only then can an accurate conclusion be reached. In the medical field, there’s another type that’s called “loss of voluntarily control”. This means that he has the ability to distinguish right from wrong, but is unable to control himself. These “impulsive actions” are a result of serious psychosis or multiple personality disorder. Under such circumstances, even more caution must be taken and the relevant medical standards must be complied with.”
“Really? Then I must look into it carefully.”
“Hey, weren’t you going to withdraw?” He had no choice but to remind this forgetful person.
“I am going to withdraw. However, I can’t just sit here doing nothing until my director returns. I at least have to build a good foundation for the person taking over.”
“Who would have thought you were so kindhearted.”
“This isn’t a question of being kindhearted. I still have to muddle along in Vast Sky. How can I just do as I please?” Xiao Xia shot back, but immediately started pondering over the case. “Apart from acting up when he was first imprisoned, he seems to have silently accepted his guilt. He is someone educated, and is definitely aware of the consequences. However, he never tried to defend himself. But why did he get so riled up yesterday? He even yelled at me to help him? This can’t be explained! Unless there’s really something wrong with him, or unless there really is a ghost.”
When Xiao Xia said the last part, she couldn’t help but shiver. Wan Li noticed her abnormal appearance and stretched his hand out to smack her forehead, bring her back from her flashbacks.
She was too susceptible to mental influence. This was her mind’s biggest weakness.
She was still doubtful about the supernatural, but he had experiences that made him different from others. He knew nothing was too bizarre in this world, and there were many things that couldn’t be explained. Therefore, to protect her, he had to come up with a solution. He knew he wasn’t able to resolve this matter, but he could find someone to do so. After hesitating for a while, he finally made up his mind.
Only that person can help Xiao Xia!
Although he felt a little bad for screwing over his old friend, he couldn’t let Xiao Xia sink deeper into this whirlpool. He lowered his head and wrote the name of the person on a piece of paper before handing it to Xiao Xia.
“What’s this? ‘Ruan Zhan, Nocturnal Revenant Bar address.’” Xiao Xia raised her head doubtfully, “Wan Li, what’s the meaning of this? This is hardly the time to find me a boyfriend! How is he compared to you? I don’t want him if he’s worse off.”
“Since we’re friends, why would I harm you by matching you with someone so hard to deal with? You just have to be careful not to fall for him.”
“Don’t just snort!”
“Then why are you introducing him to me? Could he be looking for a lawyer to help with a lawsuit? Let me first say that I can help consult, but if he’s filing a lawsuit he should go contact the firm. You know us lawyers aren’t allowed to take cases privately.”
“Can’t you let me finish?” Wan Li was amused by Xiao Xia’s impetuous nature, but this was also one of the points he liked about her. She was rather different from the other elite white-collar workers in their upper-class high-rise. She had a thick flavor of “humanity”.
“He’s not in trouble. He’s the owner of this bar. I’m introducing him to you so you can go find him.”
“Are you saying he’s extraordinarily handsome?”
“I’m saying he can communicate with spirits!”
“Communicate with spirits?” Xiao Xia didn’t expect him to say that. “Really? Did I mishear? You aren’t joking?”
“You didn’t mishear, and I’m also not joking.” Wan Li stopped her from trying to feel his forehead, “I’m also not feverish. Careful! Your napkin fell into your bowl.”
“Then why would you suddenly say that? Don’t you hate those kinds of people the most? When we watched those kinds of movies in the past, or when you see fortune tellers outside temples, don’t you always mock them?”
“I mock them because I know what a real exorcist is like.”
“I swear on my ex-wife’s name, fine, fine, on my professional reputation.”
“Then why didn’t you tell me sooner?”
“That person is especially afraid of trouble. I’m afraid of you bugging him to read your palm or tell your fortune. Also…” Wan Li’s gaze grew serious, “His abilities are a secret. If it weren’t for this case being truly very weird, and if you weren’t my friend, I wouldn’t reveal his existence. If there really is a ghost, ask for his help. However, he might not be willing to help. Can I trust you?”
“Absolutely.” Xiao Xia promised.
Ruan Zhan? What a strange name! Communicating with spirits? What a strange person!
I got Yakumo Tantei’ manga vibe from this novel. Especialy with how MF has a stronge urge in upholding justice 🤔