Time-Limited Hunt – Chapter 7 : Natural Instinct

Potential triggers for the entire novel:
Domestic abuse, sexual assault, suicide, nonconsensual sex (main cp).
T97 mentions this is an experimental work. Read @ your own risk.
If any of the above are landmines for you, please stop reading now.

◈     ◈     ◈

“Your Special Forces’ mission appraisal should include ‘sexual harassment’ too.” Yan Junxun’s hand was still on the handle of the door to the private room. Under the dim, unclear lighting of the private room, he finally revealed the sharp fang concealed behind his sleepy facade. “If they don’t have time to input it in, I can do it for them.”

“It sounds like you are on more familiar terms with them than with me.” Shi Shanyan did not look the slightest bit apologetic. “Do you need me to provide you with a fully intact fingerprint for submission?”

Jiang Lian sat across them, holding his chopsticks as he observed both men. His lips opened and closed as he swiftly sifted through his mind for appropriate words of conciliation in an attempt to mediate and curb the gradually growing tension in the air.

Footsteps rang out outside the door. Yan Junxun retracted his hand. The instant the waiter pushed the door open, he said, “Give me another mug of beer.”

The tense atmosphere between both men suddenly vanished. Yan Junxun pushed the empty beer mug to the side and lowered his head to eat. He should not have taken it seriously. Shi Shanyan was leading his emotions on. The more he guarded against him, the more he would take it to heart. This was a covert invasion of his consciousness.

Shi Shanyan lit a cigarette. He did not miss the change in Yan Junxun as the smoke rose. The hall outside the private room was a little noisy. The clamor of human voices seeped through every corner of the private room, like a group of fast-climbing spiders flooding the whole BBQ restaurant. But Shi Shanyan did not dislike such an environment. He could sleep with the din, and it was in this commotion that he could also recall those few seconds of ruthlessness in Yan Junxun’s eyes.

There was a small blackboard in Yan Junxun’s mind, which he would scribble on and make corrections to whenever he was thinking something over. He was zealous in building a comfortable zone for himself, and he liked to remain within the constraints of familiar rules. His passion for serial murder cases totally ran contrary to these characteristics. Jiang Lian called this representation the ingenuity of Yan Junxun, while Shi Shanyan regarded this as Yan Junxun’s wariness. 

Shi Shanyan felt that Yan Junxun inherited certain parts of the system called Artemis, such as his natural instinct to hunt. Yan Junxun constantly stressed the rules in his conduct. This did not seem to be an obsessive-compulsive disorder, but more like self-protection. He was hinting himself to remain within the boundaries of the law.

The ashtray of the BBQ restaurant was in the shape of a kappa holding up a bowl. When Shi Shanyan flicked the ash into it, it seemed as if he was giving alms. He withdrew his gaze, but the smoke blurred the distance between him and Yan Junxun, making the silhouettes of both men indistinguishable from one another.

Ordinary people could feel societal restraints without any need for stressing it. Under normal circumstances, everyone would consciously abide by the moral code of conduct. Only the squad members of Black Panther would, after a long period of executing dangerous missions, stress the existence of laws and undergo professional psychological adjustments before returning to society.

“What a pain to deal with…” Jiang Lian said as he turned over the barbecued meat in his own bowl. He did not know what the two men were talking about. “The newspaper snapshots posted on Liu Xincheng’s urinal wall came from Liu Chen’s report that year. In fact, he had previously covered the news on the sexual assault cases of the current three victims. Although we can’t make subjective assumptions, I’ve always thought that the sexual assault victim in Li Jianhua’s case had jumped off a building because Liu Chen included her personal information into the news report.”

“It’s not that the newspaper snapshots came from Liu Chen’s news report.” Yan Junxun had already regulated his mood. “It’s that the photos in Liu Chen’s reports all came from Liu Xincheng. You should take a closer look at the photos plastered over Liu Xincheng’s window. Many of them have been used by Liu Chen before. He likes to use these as gimmicks when he writes his news.”

“This goes to show that there are plenty of people who like to watch.” Jiang Lian sighed as he grasped his chopsticks. “The click rate for Liu Chen’s real-time feed is pretty high. He is also adept at using inflammatory words to stir up the readers’ emotions, so they would engage in a war of words in the comments and generate more buzz.”
Yan Junxun ate the barbecue meat and said, “You have to make it clear to your men. Don’t leak any more information about the case to Liu Chen.”

Yan Junxun was wearing a T-shirt. The inner side of his wrist that was holding the chopsticks was very fair. At first glance, his entire person seemed to be a lush pot of flower that had been set at the edge of a greasy dining table. He pulled the new beer mug towards him, unilaterally ignoring the smoke from Shi Shanyan.

“You have no idea how wide Liu Chen’s real-time news feed coverage is. Even the cleaning auntie is his loyal fan. She was even asking me today if there has been any progress in the case.” By this point, Jiang Lian could not stomach any more food. He was worried too. “Even though it is clearly stipulated, some people are willing to take a secret stab at earning this information fee. Unless Liu Chen gives up being a shit-stirrer. Do you think his news will affect the murderer?”

“The murderer had seen Liu Cheng’s news report.” Yan Junxun held up the new beer mug. “It’s possible that the victims were selected from Liu Chen’s new reports.”

“The way you put it worries me.” Jiang Lian no longer found the barbecued meat he ate earlier fragrant. “I can have a chat with Liu Chen, but there are too many subscriptions for his real-time news feed. We don’t even have the requirements to conduct screening now. Junxun, you have to give me some more information. Information that you think is worth mentioning. Information that may pertain to the murderer. “

Psychological profiling was also a psychological portrait. It was, together with psychological autopsy and geographic profiling, part of criminal investigation analysis. But it was only an investigative tool and could not be used to testify. Under normal circumstances, psychological profilers not only need to have exceptional personal talent, but also advanced degrees in behavioral science.

Yan Junxun had helped Jiang Lian a lot in the previous serial murder cases. But he was not omnipotent; he needed to gather even more information.
“Please do your best too. I’ll go to Huo Qingjun’s house tomorrow first.” Yan Junxun downed the beer in a gulp. “Although the murderer is unlikely to go back.”

“Why does he have a special liking for Li Jianhua’s house?”

“Because he longs for a house like Li Jianhua’s—spacious, bright, comfortable, dangerless.” Yan Junxun put down his beer mug and buried his face in his palms for a moment. Then he exhaled and lifted his head to look at Jiang Lian. “The victims he selected must have something else in common. It’s just that I haven’t seen it yet. Although this is not revenge killing, he still chose the method of dismembering the bodies when he’ ‘punishes’ the victims. He threw them into gutters as if he was tossing a bunch of dumplings into water. This was his attitude towards them. He abhors them very—” Yan Junxun emphasized, “—very much.” 

Jiang Lian grasped the important point and said, “Abhor them, but not the sexual assaults?”

“You can’t put it that way…” Yan Junxun cast a glance at Shi Shanyan out of the corner of his eyes, as if he were refuting Shi Shanyan’s earlier words. “He avoided all associated elements in the room because he was afraid of the sexual assault process. Forget orgasm. There is no orgasm in sexual assault—only violence.”

◈     ◈     ◈

Author’s Words:
For information on psychological profiling, please refer to” Criminal Behavior” (Seventh Edition) by Curt R.Bartol, Anne M.Bartol

Support the Author!
If you like this story, consider supporting the author!
Novel || Author || JJWXC || Audio Drama

#SupportAuthors Guides
Getting Access to Locked Chapters
How to Buy on JJWXC || Getting Proof of Purchase
Send in Proof of Purchase || Discord