The Plough – Chapter 2

All around him, an inescapable net.
Who was Du Yunning?

She went to high school with Ling Shu.

She was also —

His former girlfriend.

She was also the apple of all the male student’s eyes and their first school crush.
Even the one surnamed Yue in front of him had also liked her.

As soon as Yue Dingtang said that he wanted to blurt out that it was impossible, it didn’t look like Yue Dingtang was joking.

That pair of dark brown eyes were like two deep wells, staring at Ling Shu intently with an obscure acuteness, seemingly trying to determine whether Ling Shu’s reaction was real or not.

“When did it happen?” Ling Shu asked.

Yue Dingtang didn’t answer him. Ling Shu guessed that Yue Dingtang was trying to prevent him from having a chance to speculate and find gaps in the case.

Which also meant, in the eyes of the man surnamed Yue, he was the prime suspect.

Ling Shu: “This evening after work, I came here to Florence Dancehall, I didn’t have time to commit a crime, all the people here can be my witness.”

Yue Dingtang replied indifferently: “The body was found two hours ago, but she died before then. I’m not a police officer, if you have something to say, you can do it when you’re giving your statement.”

After he finished talking he stepped back, and presented the foreign policeman next to him.

“This is the Municipal Police’s Mr Smith, when the murder was reported, he and I were attending a private event because the victim was an old friend of you and I, I insisted on accompanying Mr Smith over here.”

Ling Shu said: “It isn’t the International Settlement here and I am not a resident of the International Settlement, I must report to my supervisor about this.”

Smith’s Chinese was very fluent:“You’re Ling Shu right? On our way over here, Mr Yue has already told me about you, I will send someone to inform your supervisor, it’s best if you come with us now.”

This foreigner was wearing exquisite clothing. It could be assumed that he held a high-ranking position in the police force.

The two foreign officers in the back were glaring covetly, if Ling Shu showed any signs of resistance, they would immediately jump in to detain him.

Their waists were full and bulging, aside from a police truncheon, they definitely had a gun.

Ya Qi and the others’ faces had turned white, they had been scared witless.

Ling Shu was surrounded on all four sides by fierce animals, no matter what he did, he wouldn’t be able to jump out from this ring.

Tonight’s prey had been decided.

He looked towards Yue Dingtang.

Yue Dingtang’s gaze was profound, it didn’t really make sense.

In Ling Shu’s opinion, this guy didn’t really seem to be in touch with reality, as if he’d come over on a whim.

If he ended up in the custody of the one surnamed Yue, he’d definitely not be walking out tonight.

Ling Shu said to himself, next time I leave the house, I must check the lunar calendar.

. . . . . .

It is said that the Central Station of the French Concession Police was a model for all of Shanghai’s police stations.

It is said that every station of each region used to learn from Central Station,but this was before Ling Shu had joined the force.

It was also said that policemen from the Municipal Police were imitating the style of the French Concession Police.

Ling Shu had never been to the French Concession Police Station.

As he saw it, to be stationed in the Municipal Police department must have been better than his own run down police station.

At least the tables were new.

But, in the world, all the places that were used to interrogate or question people were not exactly a place to be desired.

“Name, address, job.”

“Ling Shu. “Ling” with 2 drops of water1凌 – this is the Ling character – the two drops of water are the two dashes on the left, “Shu” from Central Administration2中枢 Zhongshu – As Chinese has no alphabet, and words can be pronounced the same, he is just using words to “spell” out which character his name is. Address is Yinxiang district, Zhujia Qiao, no.36. Currently, a police officer of the Jiangwan police station.”

“Yesterday and today, where were you?”

During the day I was at work, in the evening I went home to rest.”

“Give more details!”

Ling Shu: “Yesterday I finished work around 4pm. Du Yunning asked to meet at New Moon cafe,we stayed there for about half an hour then I took her home. then we didn’t see each other again…”

“Stop there.” the police officer who was taking his statement stopped him, “you two were all alone for half an hour?”

Ling Shu lazily leaned backwards.

“I already said it was 4.30pm, bright as day, there were people passing by the coffee shop,the coffee shop also had servers and customers,how can that be considered all alone?”

The policeman frowned, he was about to scold him but his eyes fell upon Ling Shu’s western style clothing and he paused for a moment.

An expensive cashmere coat with a brightly colored tie inside.

In recent years, it was quite popular to wear western style clothing, but there is still a big difference between good material and bad material, not to mention the red silver-patterned tie…

The policeman glanced at Smith and Yue Dingtang who were sitting next to him. Seeing that they were not paying attention to him, he cleared his throat and said, “Okay, stop spouting off nonsense! And then what happened?”

“Then I went to have supper, after that I went home. And today I went to work during the day and in the evening I went to Florence Dancehall.”

Policeman: “You and Du Yunning were schoolmates, and you even dated before, is that right?”

Ling Shu: “Yes, we could be considered an appropriate match at the time, our parents had intended us to be married.”

Policeman:“But in the end, she married Yuan Bing, the son of warlord Yuan Bingdao.”

Ling Shu sighed: “Mate, what are you thinking? Do you think I look like someone who would make a move on a married woman? As long as I beckon with my finger, women from ten li3Chinese mile = approx 1/2km will automatically come running, they’ll be lining up from Huangpu River4This is the river that runs through Shanghai to the International Recreation Club5万国体育会 This is a stadium that no longer exists as it was demolished in 1951 but he’s saying a lot of women are interested in him.”

The policeman knocked on the table: “Don’t change the subject!”

His tone was not particularly harsh, perhaps because he saw that Ling Shu was a colleague of sorts, and the way he was dressed indicated that he was from a good family background, or perhaps it was because Smith and Yue Dingtang were watching on the side, he didn’t want to go overboard.

Ling Shu: “After Du Yunning got married, she wanted to meet me but I didn’t go. She sent her maid over with earnest words, she pleaded repeatedly,so in the end I saw her a couple of times,I’d say maybe two or three times perhaps. You have probably already interviewed the people at Yuan Manor, they can attest to what I’m saying.”

Policeman: “Plead you to do what?”

Ling Shu: “It’s nothing more than her complaining that she had an unsatisfactory life after marriage, and wanted to confide in me in order to make herself feel better.”

Policeman: “Doesn’t she have any close girlfriends? Why must she tell everything to a grown man?”

Ling Shu: “This I don’t know.”

Policeman: “Yesterday, you and Du Yunning saw each other, what did you talk about?”

Ling Shu: “She wanted to elope with me, I said no.”

His words shocked the room.

When Du Yunning married into the Yuan family, half of Shanghai had been invited to their grand wedding, it was still fresh in the memories of many people.

Yuan Bingdao, the once famous warlord in Western Sichuan, moved to live in Shanghai after being seized of power. He had only one son, Yuan Bing.

When Yuan Bingdao was in power, he accumulated a lot of wealth and this fortune was later left to Yuan Bing. It can be said that Yuan Bing was born with a silver spoon in his mouth.

However, Yuan Bing was also an infamous playboy in Shanghai. Today, he was with this actress, the next day with another.

The Golden Mountain that the old man left behind was actually squandered by him within a few years. The reunion of the Yuan and Du families through marriage was a match made in heaven, which gradually turned into embarrassing regret.   

But to outsiders, Mrs. Yuan, Du Yunning was still an active socialite. Her daily expenditure was not inferior to before, and she often led in fashion trends.

This kind of young and beautiful woman was killed in her own bedroom at home.

And now, it had even been exposed that had even wanted to elope.

The policeman didn’t speak for a long while: “Are you kidding me?”

Ling Shu shrugged: “It was you who wanted to ask me. I’m just telling the truth. Besides, I’m not like that playboy opium addict, Yuan Bing. What’s so surprising about Du Yunning’s unforgettable love for me?”

When the policeman wanted to ask again, he suddenly heard a light cough next to him, and immediately came back to his senses, no longer entangled in idle gossip, he quickly straightened his back to continue the questioning.

“And then?”

Ling Shu: “She was very upset, she talked for half a day about when we were at school together, after that, I saw that she wasn’t looking too good, so I took her home.”

Policeman: “According to the people at the Yuan residence, you and Yuan Bing later had a dispute at the entrance of the Yuan residence.”

Ling Shu: “When he saw me, he felt ashamed and jealous that I was younger and better looking than him. Naturally, he didn’t like the look of me.”

The policeman was displeased: “Get to the point!”

Ling Shu said innocently: “Who is joking with you?”

Policeman: “How long did you two argue for?”

Ling Shu: “Can’t remember, maybe half an hour.”

Policeman: “And then where did you go?”

Ling Shu: “I went to Xiaoji noodle shop to eat noodles.”

Policeman: “What time did you leave the Yuan residence, what time did you get home?”

Ling Shu: “I left in the evening at 6pm, when I got back home it was night time just after 11pm.”

The policeman mockingly: “You stayed in a noodle restaurant for more than five hours? Did you eat ten bowls of noodles?”

Ling Shu sighed: “Mate, I guess you’ve never tried their scallion fried noodles? That flavour, hmmmm, I know the owner of the noodle shop. When it gets dark, we set up a pot, make the noodle soup, put some chopped chilli, add the beef and lamb, and some tofu skin and fish slices…”

Shen Renjie had just got home tonight, before his seat had even warmed, he was called back in to record a statement. He hadn’t even had dinner yet, and he felt truly resentful at this point.

At this moment, he heard the other party delightfully describing the dish, as if there was a hot pot in front of him, with all sorts of ingredients in it. His mouth began to water, and his eyes were getting watery.

“Stop!”

Shen Renjie said angrily, “In other words, in these five hours, after you had the noodles, you had a hotpot?”

Ling Shu nodded: “We were eating and chatting, what’s so strange about returning at midnight?”

Shen Renjie:“Who can be your witness?”

Ling Shu: “Xiao Guowei, owner of Xiaoji Noodle Shop, ask Lao Xiao and you’ll know.”

Shen Renjie: “The Xiaoji noodle restaurant you are talking about, is it the one on Hengtong Road?”

Ling Shu:”That’s correct.”

Shen Renjie: “Last night at 3 o’clock in the morning, a house on Hengtong Road caught fire. A married couple had no time to escape, even their child and servants were burned to death inside. The fire involved the noodle restaurant next door. After the fire was extinguished, we found in the noodle restaurant next door, a man’s corpse burnt unrecognisably, I guess this should be Xiao Guowei, the owner of the noodle shop.”

The fingers that were tapping the table suddenly stopped.

“That can’t be right?” Ling Shu was astounded.

How could this be so coincidental?

He realised something was wrong.

At first, he thought that him being questioned was just a routine.

Or perhaps Yue Dingtang had learnt that he had met up with Du Yunning before she died so he made Smith make things difficult for him on purpose.

But now, it doesn’t seem to be the case.

Du Yunning was dead, before she died she had wanted to elope with him.

Ling Shu had also had an argument with her husband, Yuan Bing, in front of everyone, and had almost used his fists.

From the perspective of others, the relationship between Ling Shu and Du Yunning must look a little ambiguous.

Yue Dingtang said that Du Yunning had been dead for more than two hours, and so she had died even before that.

And during this time, Ling Shu had a good five hours where he wasn’t at home and he wasn’t at work.

He was at Xiaoji noodle shop having supper and chatting with the owner.

But now the owner was also dead.

No one could prove what he was saying was true.

“Why do you suspect me?”

Ling Shu said slowly: “I don’t have a motive to kill, why would I kill Du Yunning?”

The person who spoke was Yue Dingtang.

“You said that Du Yunning wanted to elope with you, but that’s just your side of the story.”

“The truth could be the complete opposite: you wanted to elope with Du Yunning, but Du Yunning refused. Yuan Bing discovered that after they had been married, she was still meeting up with you, so yesterday after you left, he had a fight with Du Yunning and then left Yuan manor. Whilst you took the chance to sneak back into the residence in order to persuade her to elope with you, Du Yunning felt guilty, rejected you, you were so enraged that you killed her in the heat of the moment.”

Ling Shu sighed: “Lao Yue, we are also old classmates. Why didn’t I find out before you are able to tell lies without blinking?”

Yue Ding Tang calmly said: “This is a reasonable guess, and we have made another very important discovery.”

Ling Shu raised his hand: “Wait a minute, you just said that you are not a policeman, and you’re only here because we know each other. In what capacity do you approach the case now? ”

Smith next to him immediately said: “Professor Yue is a consultant specially appointed by the Municipal Police and can participate in consultation and investigation of any case.”

Ling Shu:……

“This consultant was only hired at the last minute, right?”

Smith ignored his sarcasm, stood up and patted Yue Dingtang on the shoulder.

“I have something I must do, I leave you two to handle things here.”

The metal door opened and then closed again.

Ling Shu had always sat on the opposite side of the table, he would never have thought that one day he would also become the suspect.

This is really a novel experience.

At this time, he’d usually be sitting in the Xiaoji noodle restaurant already.

Yue Dingtang: “This case took place in the International Settlement. With Du Yunning’s reputation and Yuan Bing’s connections, it will be in the press soon, and the focal point of many people. Smith is treating this as a high profile case, even if your brother-in-law who works for the Shanghai City Government wants to meddle in this, he will be powerless to do so. I advise you to confront this seriously, and confess.”

Ling Shu: “Just now you said there was another important discovery, what is it?”

Yue Dingtang: “Where Du Yunning died, the window of her bedroom has a right footprint left there, after analysis, it was left there by a policeman’s boot, and the shoe size —”

He looked at Ling Shu’s shoes.

Shen Renjie stepped forward knowingly, took off the leather shoes on Ling Shu’s feet, and compared their rubbings from the murder scene and nodded to Yue Dingtang.

Yue Dingtang: “Unfortunately, it’s the same as yours.”

It was the day before Lunar New Year’s Eve, but Ling Shu could not feel the slightest joy of the upcoming Chinese New Year, instead he discovered that he had fallen into an insane trap.

All around him, an inescapable net, surrounding him again and again, completely airtight.
13/07/21 – 兄弟 → “Mate.”
23/07/21 – Footnotes added.
09/10/21 – Re-edited, notes added.

3 thoughts on “The Plough – Chapter 2”

  1. translator, when is the release date of the new chapter?

    thank you very much for the translation (╹▽╹)

    Translation is very good^^

    Reply

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