Cheng Xi’s brain seemed to explode; it took her a significant amount of time for her to process this new development.
Cai Yi looked at her, unable to help herself from laughing. “Alright, this reaction of yours makes me feel like I’ve snatched some precious thing of yours. Don’t worry. Even if she is transferred over, she’ll receive the best treatment. Your hard work hasn’t been for naught.”
“I don’t care about that…” Cheng Xi finally finished processing the news, and her expression slowly calmed. “Professor, who was the patient’s family member that you mentioned?”
“Her birth mother, Madam Lin.”
Cheng Xi ground her teeth in frustration. “As far as I’m aware, she’s been divorced from Chen Fuguo for many years now. After they lost contact with each other, she should have long since lost custody of Chen Jiaman…”
Cai Yi looked at her, still half-smiling, as if she knew that Cheng Xi was going to say something like that. Then, she took out a piece of paper from her bag and placed it in front of her.
Cheng Xi didn’t look at the contents; the first thing that caught her eye was the signature on the bottom, Chen Fuguo’s. Only then did she read the neat, calligraphed words above it. I hope that you can take on the responsibility of being a mother and take good care of her…
Cai Yi looked straight at Cheng Xi as she explained, “Madam Lin came to me two days ago, and I told her what you said. Then yesterday, she handed this paper to me. She knows about the relationship between us, and she also wanted me to tell you something: back then, she was forced to give up this daughter of hers, and because of this, she feels like the only way she can make up for it is to transfer Chen Jiaman into the best possible hospital and have her receive even better treatment.” Then, Cai Yi waved her hands, motioning for Cheng Xi to continue listening to her. “Of course, Renyi’s psychiatry department is already considered one of the best in the nation, and since you’re my favorite student, I’ve never doubted your ability. Initially, I truly wasn’t planning on taking her.”
Cheng Xi felt like someone had shoved a block of ice into her heart, and that the cold was seeping into her flesh and piercing her bones. “Then why did you agree to take her in, professor?”
Cai Yi fell silent, taking some time to gather her thoughts before finally sighing.
Cheng Xi smiled coldly at her reaction. “Let me guess, professor. You’ve always taken care of me, and fundamentally speaking, there’s not much of a difference between me treating her and you treating her, unless…” When Cheng Xi reached this point in her thoughts, she couldn’t stop her eyes from reddening, and she took a couple of breaths to gather her wits before continuing. “She gave you an offer you couldn’t refuse.”
And just what could be so irresistible as to tempt Cai Yi? As a student, Cheng Xi was perfectly aware. It was this awareness that made her sad, that made her seethe with rage.
Cai Yi remained calm as she looked at Cheng Xi. “I invited you to join my research laboratory after you graduated, but you refused. At that time, I already knew that you didn’t support my research that focused on standardizing treatment for clinical depression. I didn’t say anything back then—after all, everyone has their own aspirations and no one can force someone else to do anything. But Cheng Xi, you have to understand, not all doctors are as smart as you. The majority of them aren’t willing to give their all, like you are, to help their patients recover. Rather, they prefer to subject their patients to standardized treatment, which means removing all other disruptions at the very beginning and then performing a routine set of targeted tasks specific to the illness… As such, researching a better standardized procedure for treating clinical depression, the leading mental illness in the modern world, is an aspiration that I don’t think is wrong.”
“I also don’t think that it’s wrong either,” Cheng Xi replied. “In fact, I approve of such research, but scientific research is filled with cruelty and coldheartedness. I’m not suitable for such an environment, and I respect those who can work in one. But, professor, Chen Jiaman’s different. Her mind has been damaged far too deeply, and her ability to trust much too impaired. She’s not a suitable test subject.”
Cai Yi stopped Cheng XI there. “As you well know, she’s perfectly suited for that. But I also understand why you’d say that to my face, why you only talked about her symptoms with regards to Cotard’s syndrome, and why you cried like that in front of me. Cheng Xi, I understand your worry for her being handed over to a for-profit corporation like mine. When Chen Jiaman’s sole guardian lost his ability to take care of her, you were already trying to give me a heads-up, right?”
Cheng Xi didn’t respond.
“Actually, I really wanted to help you, especially after I read through your treatment records. As a doctor, you’re more qualified to treat her than anyone else. But Cheng Xi, scientific progress demands that some people be sacrificed. What’s more, just because Chen Jiaman is being transferred to my laboratory doesn’t mean that she’ll be sacrificed. Although she is a test subject, she’s also my patient.”
“I’m not doubting your ability, but I still disapprove of her being a test subject. If you used an incorrect approach with other patients, they may still be salvageable, but not her. Her mentality is already so weak that, if this treatment fails, she might never be able to recover.”
“You’re exaggerating too much.” Cai Yi was somewhat angry now. “Didn’t she receive a huge mental shock last time? But she’s alright now, isn’t she? And our goal is, after all, to treat patients; we’ll only help her, not provoke her.”
“But your methods are clearly not suited for her case, professor.”
When Cai Yi heard these words come out of Cheng Xi’s mouth, her gaze immediately sharpened. She finally shed her identity of Cheng Xi’s familiar and amicable mentor and instead donned the guise of the cold-hearted head researcher of her laboratory. “Do you know what’s suitable for her? You might think that her condition is improving, but I don’t mind telling you this. Before you came here, I was investigating similar illnesses. I don’t think that she’s truly recovering, Cheng Xi. Your method might not work either!”
“I believe that it will work.”
“You believe?” Cai Yi started to laugh incredulously. “Science isn’t about intuition. If intuition were useful, then what would be the point of having all these diagnostic devices? Will your belief help her recover? Will your belief help her lead a normal life after she leaves the hospital?”
“Yes!” Cheng Xi’s response was resolute and decisive.
Cai Yi laughed disapprovingly.
Cheng Xi looked straight at Cai Yi and solemnly said, “Professor, will you make a bet with me? If I can cure her, and have her ultimately lead a normal lifestyle, then will you give up on making her one of your test subjects?”
Cai Yi smiled, feeling like she had been blindsided by one of her students. “Curing illnesses and treating patients aren’t something to gamble about.” Upon seeing that Cheng Xi was about to continue speaking, Cai Yi shook her head again, finally calming down. “Furthermore, it wouldn’t matter even if you do convince me. The person you actually need to convince is her guardian.” Cai Yi stood up as she prepared to leave. “I believe that you’ll be able to delay the transfer procedure for one or two days, but not any longer than that. I came here today to tell you that I’m not about to reject such an ideal and willing test subject, and that you don’t have much time to do anything about it.”
After she finished speaking, Cai Yi left. Cheng Xi went over to help her up out of habit, but Cai Yi just smiled. “Leave me be, and go think of a method to convince Madam Lin instead. I don’t want to lose a student like you quite yet.”
Cai Yi’s assistant came in then, and with that, she patted Cheng Xi’s hand and left.
Cheng Xi stood at the door as she watched them depart. The department head, who normally didn’t treat her very well, suddenly appeared beside her, popping up from who-knows-where.
The department head made a hmph. “Get back to work.” He walked inside with his hands clasped behind his back. “Stubborn girl, you can come to me if you need any help. I may not be your professor, but I am still your department head.”
Cheng Xi’s eyes blurred as a wave of emotion overcame her. She took a deep breath to calm herself, bowed at the department head, and then ran off.
After returning to her office, Cheng Xi thought for a little before ultimately deciding to first call Lin Fan’s mother. The reason why she didn’t call Lin Fan was because he couldn’t truly be considered Chen Jiaman’s guardian; while it might be fine to ask him to spend some time to take care of Chen Jiaman, if something big happened, she couldn’t ask him for any help.
Luckily, Cheng Xi still had Lin Fan’s mother’s number. As soon as Cheng Xi pressed the call button, the line connected.
“Cheng Xi.” Lin Fan’s mother’s voice was eerily cordial. “I was just at the hospital, but you weren’t there. It’s good that you called me. We’re thinking of transferring our Jiaman to a different hospital. If it’s convenient for you, could you sign the transfer request?”
“Mrs. Lin, regarding this issue, can we meet up and discuss it in person? I can meet you at any time you’re free.”
There was silence on the other side.