The Plough – Chapter 28

The truth is slowly revealed.
What the old butler had told them had left a deep impression upon Ling Shu. In his head, he was expecting a secret storage that was full of enough gold to fill half a house. So when he burst it even if what he saw wasn’t a golden dazzling light, then it would be at least boxes after boxes.

But Ling Shu was confused.

In front of him was a wall.

Just then if he hadn’t been able to stop himself on time, his head would have already smacked into it.
As it stands, this wall and his nostril hairs had less than the distance of a grain of rice.

The wall stretched up to the ceiling, there was a small crack that was half the size of the palm of his hand, even if he tried to climb up, he wouldn’t be able to reach the top of the wall.

On either side, there were two long and narrow passageways and both sides were equally dark.

The old butler was unconscious, they no longer had anyone to lead the way, they could only muddle through themselves.

After a few seconds, Yue Dingtang and Shen Renjie also arrived.
They also looked at this wall.

Ling Shu didn’t give them time to stare: “Let’s take a passageway each!”

He went to the left, Yue Dingtang followed behind him without hesitation.

Shen Renjie:……

He was too slow so he could only run the opposite direction.

If his intestines turning blue from regret1肠子都悔青了 – expression when you really really regret something was insufficient to describe the degree of regret that he was feeling, then if there was such a thing as a regret pill, Shen Renjie would want to buy ten bottles and swallow them all for himself right now. In his head, he was viciously slapping himself in the face.

That’ll teach you show off!

That’ll teach you to hug the thigh!

If you lose your little life here tonight, I’d like to see how you could continue to hug that thigh!

In the midst of his own chaotic thoughts, Shen Renjie finally reached the end of the passageway, winding around that wall.

There was another metal door.

But the metal door was already open.

Shen Renjie used the flashlight to sweep over the place, it seemed to be a bedroom.

The weird thing was, they were only a few walls apart but he hadn’t heard the footsteps of Ling Shu and Yue Dingtang at all.

At this point, there was no turning back, Shen Renjie sighed deeply, put on a bold face and went in.

After a second, he felt a gun pointed at his head.

“Don’t move!”

——–

Ling Shu and Yue Dingtang discovered that this so-called secret level was actually made up of many individual small rooms.

The rooms were connected by a narrow passageway, winding like a maze, each room had some junk and boxes piled up inside.

Ling Shu went into one of the rooms, opened up a box and discovered that it wasn’t full of gold but of clothing.

All different types of formal attire, as well as Qipao, there were also western style skirts.

He picked one up and shook it, the pearls and sequins on the skirt glistened and twinkled under the faint light. It was possible to imagine what it’d look like being worn and spun under a chandelier, how elegant and beautiful this skirt would be.
“Did this belong to Du Yunning?” Yue Dingtang was standing watch at the door, he turned his head, glanced over and asked.

Ling Shu estimated the height of the wearer and said: “It’s not hers. Du Yunning is too tall for this. She wouldn’t be able to wear these skirts. If I’m not wrong, these should belong to Ah-Lan.”

Yue Dingtang expressed his astonishment.

Ling Shu: “It looks like Ah-Lan knew of the existence of this place, she was probably killed because she knew too much…”

He barely finished speaking when they heard a gun go off!

And it was not far from them!

Almost at the same time, Yue Dingtang and Ling Shu stopped what they were doing and immediately ran in the direction of the gunshot noise.

There were a few more shots fired, coupled with the sound of people fighting!

When the two of them arrived, the two shadows were embroiled together in a fight.

The gun had been kicked to the side.

One of them had western style clothes and leather shoes on, the other had a Chinese style garment and cloth shoes. He was unarmed but all his moves were deadly towards the other.

They both saw Ling Shu and Yue Dingtang, but couldn’t react. The man dressed in Western clothing wasn’t paying attention and he was kicked in the stomach and had to retreat several steps backwards. The young man dressed in Chinese clothing did not take advantage and continued his attack, but instead turned and pounced towards the gun on the ground.

*Bang!*

He screamed out in pain, covering the back of his hand and rolled to one side.

Ling Shu thought that his curled up body was no longer able to strike back but after a moment he suddenly straightened up his body like a toad puffing up with air to increase his strength. He suddenly smashed into the man wearing Western clothing, the other hand that hadn’t been shot was clutched into a fist and swung directly into his opponent’s temples!

If it had been a punch from a professional, perhaps the other would be killed on the spot!

He didn’t care about his own safety, he just wanted to kill the other person!

In a blink of an eye, Yue Dingtang had already done a flying kick over there.

His foot was full of strength, fast and accurate, but he could not completely kick the person away, however he made the other’s fist slightly deviate and hit the stone slab next to the man in Western style suit.

There was a muffled sound coupled with the sound of bones breaking, the sound of which made everyone recoil.

The man in western clothing rolled to his feet and tried to hide behind Yue Dingtang, but the latter dodged and pushed him away.

“Save me! Save me!”

He didn’t think anything of it and just yelled for help, his face a mess of snot and tears.
“Don’t kill me, I know where the gold is, I will tell you everything!”

The youth in the Chinese clothing had a sly grin on his face.

Ling Shu had his eyes on him the whole time, seeing his reaction, he immediately grabbed his gun readying the trigger.

But the other party was half a second quicker than him. He didn’t know where the small knife had come from but it was thrown directly at the man wearing Western clothing!

The latter didn’t have time to react, still fixed to where he was standing, he stared blankly.

Yue Dingtang ferociously pushed him aside, he groaned, falling on top of the man wearing Western clothing.

Almost at the same time, Ling Shu’s bullet had penetrated into the back of the other’s head.

Blood splattered out, the youth in Chinese clothing collapsed into a pool of blood.

The man in Western clothing upon seeing this wanted to run but was shot in the back of the leg by Ling Shu.

“Stop stop! I won’t run! Don’t kill me!”

Ling Shu went over kicking the other party who groaned and rolled over to the side.

“How are you?” He asked Yue Dingtang.

That dagger was planted firmly into Yue Dingtang’s shoulder.

“I won’t die.” Yue Dingtang’s face was pale and white, but his voice was still steady.

He lifted up the chin of the dead youth dressed in Chinese clothing: “This is San Cai, do you remember?”

Ling Shu made a noise of agreement.

San Cai, a servant of the Yuan family.

Before, the old butler had said that he didn’t want anyone to get close to the small building and discover the secret basement left behind by Yuan Bingdao so he asked San Cai to scare people creating the rumour of the ghost of Yuan Manor.

And then San Cai had gone missing but now he was found here trying to kill someone.
A servant of the Yuan family, even if he was a guard, his fighting abilities shouldn’t be so nimble.

The skills to protect oneself and the ability to kill someone was completely different,the former was only for self-defense, whilst the latter, on the other hand, has actually seen blood. When San Cai struck just now, he was undoubtedly aiming to kill someone, killing them with a single move, there was no doubt about it.

“Are you Hong Xiaoguang?” Ling Shu looked at the man dressed in Western clothing.

The other side nodded haphazardly with a sniffle and a tear in his eye.

“Did you kill Ah-Lan?”

“No no no!” Hong Xiaoguang shook his head frantically.

Ling Shu aimed the gun at the other’s head.

“My head is a bit dizzy now, who knows what might happen if my hand gets shakey. I might not kill you but if another bullet hits your arm or leg that would be too good, am I right?”

“It wasn’t me! I was also forced into it! Ah-Lan knew too much, he made me kill her! I didn’t want to kill anyone!”

“Who is he? What did she know too much of? Were you afraid that Ah-Lan wanted a cut in the profits? And Du Yunning, was it you that killed her as well?”

Gunshots went off again.

*Bang!*

Hong Xiaoguang jumped up in fright.

Afterwards he discovered that the bullet had actually hit the ground next to him.

But Hong Xiaoguang was already scared out of his wits.

“I’ll talk! I’ll talk! Don’t kill me!”

The whole story from the beginning to end sounded a lot like the story of a sparrow becoming a phoenix.

Except in this case, this sparrow was a man.

Hong Xiaoguang came from a humble background and lived in a shantytown on the outskirts of Shanghai where most of the poor had settled. Children there knew their fate almost as soon as they were born, and Hong Xiaoguang was no exception. He sold newspapers, ran errands, did odd jobs, did all the work that the lower classes did, and even got involved in the youth gangs, but he never made it to the top, not even as a minor leader, and had to continue to do odd jobs to support himself.
He’d even worked as a rickshaw puller and that’s when he bumped into Du Yunning coming out of a jewellery store.

The unparalleled beauty that was Du Yunning, who was wonderfully graceful, had breath like an orchid2吐气如兰 – a very specific expression in Chinese that describes a beautiful woman’s breath lol,she was like an angel who had descended down from the heavens, instantly leaving a deep impression on Hong Xiaoguang.

He had never seen a woman so beautiful and refined. Even if they were the most prestigious dancers, how could the smell of dust3风尘 – not lit. dust = fig. smell of vicissitudes of life/smell of pr*stitution on their bodies compared to that of a beautiful woman like Du Yunning, who had been nourished by the finest of clothes and cuisine?

Hong Xiaoguang had wanted to speak to Du Yunning, even if he got a hello back from the latter, that was enough to satisfy his heart, but from the beginning to the end, Du Yunning didn’t even look at him.

When they arrived, he listened to Du Yunning talking to the Yuan Manor servants and learned who she was and that the Yuan family car happened to break down that day, otherwise someone like Du Yunning would not have needed to travel by rickshaw.

“Excuse me, Mrs!”

Hong plucked up the courage to call out to Du Yunning.

But the latter drifted away without even a backward glance.

Hong Xiaoguang didn’t even know if he had shouted out, or if the sound was muffled in his throat, or if Du Yunning hadn’t even thought about turning around, but he just felt a bottomless pit of frustration.

He found out more about Du Yunning’s husband, about the other man’s philandering ways, about Du Yunning’s empty title as Mrs. Yuan, and he began to wonder, if he had been rich and powerful, would Du Yunning have turned around that day?

“Get to the point!”

Ling Shu kicked him in the leg.

He kicked him exactly where he had shot him.

Hong Xiaoguang howled again, not daring to go off topic, he was forced to wake up from his dream and speed up his progress.

After a few days, someone came looking for Hong Xiaoguang.

This person claimed to be able to gethim off his feet so that he could get Du Yunning, and he did not need Hong Xiaoguang to pay anything, as long as the latter was willing to share the Yuan family assets with him when the deed was done.

He told Hong Xiaoguang that he could take all of the Yuan family’s belongings; all he wanted was the Yuan family’s house, Yuan Manor.

Ling Shu: “Who is he?”
Hong Xiaoguang: “I, I don’t know. He asked me to call him lao-ban and didn’t tell me anything else.”

Ling Shu: “What did he look like? He covered his face everyday, right?”

Hong Xiaoguang:“No he didn’t but his face was quite ordinary, a very plain face. I don’t know how to describe him…… maybe between forty to fifty years old. When he spoke to me, he was very polite and friendly but if I didn’t do as he asked, he would punish me.”

Ling Shu suddenly cut in: “Does he run a coffee shop and is surnamed Li?”

Hong Xiaoguang: “How do you know? But he isn’t surnamed Li, I don’t know what his surname is.”

Mr Li.

The owner of the New Moon Cafe.

An overseas Chinese who had recently returned to China, his family was still living in Southeast Asia. He had a son and was from a wealthy family. He had a coffee shop that wasn’t for profit and only a means to find something to do. The neighbours didn’t have a bad word to say about him.

But all this could also be fake.

If a person wanted to create a fake identity, sometimes they could even change their accent, their behaviour, their hand gestures, plus it was exactly in the eyes of others that he appeared as a benevolent and kind person.

Ling Shu remembered when he had gone to the coffee shop with Yue Dingtang to ask about Du Yunning, Mr Li was extremely accommodating, offering everything that he knew and even allowing them to speak to his employees without the slightest hindrance. He even allowed them to discover Hong Xiaoguang.

This person had been digging a pit for them the whole time, leading them step by step into this pit.
Author Note:

–Mini Theatre that has nothing to do with the main story–

Shen Renjie: I’m a useful person.

Hong Xiaoguang: No, you’re a lightbulb4电灯泡 Dian dengpao = third wheel.

Shen Renjie: Well what about you?

Hong Xiaoguang: I’m cannon fodder.

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