The Plough – Chapter 3

Tonight was going to be a long night.
Ling Shu knew that he had been framed.

But he couldn’t think, why someone would put the murder of Du Yunning on him.

He was only a small-time policeman who had an average performance and hadn’t entered the force for that long. He came in everyday and clocked out when it was time, if he wasn’t loitering around town to find something to eat then he’d be at the theatre or the dancehall.
As for his family, that was even simpler.

Ling Shu’s parents had passed away a while ago.

His older sister Ling Yao was married, and now a housewife.

His brother-in-law, Zhou Sa was a director at the Shanghai City Government. Even if they didn’t particularly get on, he wouldn’t go so far to frame him in this roundabout way.
Ling Shu didn’t speak, Yue Dingtang didn’t persist either.

It seemed like the two were in competition to see who could stand off for the longest.

The light above was swaying back and forth, and the cold wind coming in from the window was circling the interrogation room, trying to take away the little bodyheat left on these few people.

As for the police officer Shen Renjie who was taking his statement —

He was already so hungry that his belly had sunk into his back.

In the past, he would have already thrown Ling Shu into jail and went straight to eat supper, and then wait for a family member to come and post bail.

But now he didn’t dare to.

Firstly, the case was too serious, the impact was large and the victim’s identity was special.

Secondly, Smith had personally paid attention to this case, and Yue Dingtang was still watching next to him.

Shen Renjie wasn’t completely clear on the actual job of this Mr Yue, but seeing the way that Smith had treated him, he’d be better off not offending this person either.

“…Mr Yue?”

The two of them were free to engage in a silent confrontation, but Shen Renjie was so hungry that he couldn’t bear it, and could not help but ask with a trembling voice.

Yue Dingtang glanced over at him: “You can leave first.”

“No worries, you can continue!” Shen Renjie grimaced, Yue Dingtang wasn’t leaving so how could he dare make a move.”

Yue Dingtang turned to Ling Shu: “It’s nearly the Lunar New Year.”

Ling Shu: ???

Yue Dingtang: “I reckon you definitely don’t want to spend New Years in jail.”

Ling Shu: “My sister will find a way to post bail.”

Yue Dingtang: “This case is very serious, she won’t be able to post bail, the only thing you can do now is to work with us, tell us the truth and there may still be a way out for you.”

Ling Shu: “I’ve been wondering why you suddenly picked up this case, is it because back then Du Yunning chose to date me and not you?”

Yue Dingtang didn’t reply.

Shen Renjie felt like he had overheard something that he shouldn’t have been listening to, so he immediately lifted his head to look up at the overhead lamp, imagining that it was a hot chicken drumstick.

Freshly cooked chicken drumsticks which were soft from the steam, the inner juice from the chicken was bursting out, the condensed water droplets from the pot fell down, and fell upon the chicken drumstick again, one bite was enough to tickle all his taste buds.

Although Shen Renjie was a policeman, he could only really have a sumptuous meal at his family home over the Lunar New Year holiday. Especially in the few days before the New Year, every family would pay their respects to their ancestors and also the Gods. Inevitably, there would be offerings leftover, even if it wasn’t not chicken drumsticks, there’d still be freshly made niangao……

As he thought about it, the expression on his expression became so silly, he really wasn’t paying attention to what the two others were talking about for a while.

Ling Shu was also hungry.

But he wasn’t looking at the lamp above his head like Shen Renjie.

Because no matter how long you stare at the light, it won’t become a chicken drumstick.

He knew that Yue Dingtang was waiting for him to back down.

This was the same since back then.

Ling Shu chose to finish this quickly.

“If I look suspicious, then so does Yuan Bing and all the people in his residence.” He said.

Yue Dingtang: “Of course, Yuan Manor has already been put on house arrest, no one can get in or out, Yuan Bing has also been arrested, but amongst everyone, you’re the most suspicious.”
After he finished talking, he stood up.

“It’s a pity that your confession failed to provide any key clues to clear your name. As an old classmate, I want to help you, but I guess I can’t do anything.”

Shen Renjie let out a sigh and then happily got up as well.

I can finally eat! He thought to himself whilst pushing over the statement notebook to Ling Shu..

“Sign it.”

Ling Shu glanced over it casually, picked up the pen and then lifted his head.

“I have to stay in the cell tonight?”

Yue Dingtang looked at the pen in his hands, not answering his question he said: “I remember you weren’t left-handed.”

The corner of his mouth lightly curled up, and scribbled his name: “I thought it’d be fun to try the other hand, it was many years ago. Old classmate, I hope that on account of our old friendship, I could swap it for a good meal in my cell.”

The three people left the interrogation room.

In front of them was Yuan Bing being led out of another interrogation room.

Two pairs of eyes locked on to each other, an inevitable clash between opposing factions.

Yuan Bing roared out, bring Ling Shu over here!

Caught off guard, no one could hold him back.

“You son of a bitch—”

Ling Shu stretched out his foot.

The roar stopped abruptly.

His imposing manner changed, and Yuan Bing hugged his calf, wailing and screaming. He then bent over and fell to the ground.

“He hit me! He’s going to kill me! Save me!

The strength of a long time opium user was of course much lacking, but Ling Shu’s kick was really hard, according to Yue Dingtang’s visual observation, even if Yuan Bing hadn’t broken a bone, he was at least hurt quite badly.

But the instigator had already hid behind Yue Dingtang, looking like it was nothing to do with him.

Yuan Bing was still rolling on the ground, groaning and rolling, he couldn’t even curse or scold anymore.

Yue Dingtang said coldly: “Take them both in.”

Yuan Bing had a privileged background, so no one had dared touch him, but hearing what Yue Dingtang, they immediately went over to pick him up.

“The one surnamed Ling, you son of a bitch, you killed my wife, and you want to push the blame on me, you really want to die!”

Ling Shu didn’t take it seriously: “Yuan Bing, I think you’d better confess your guilt as soon as possible, there’s no opium in prison. How uncomfortable would that be?”

Yuan Bing was taken out of there, and the sound of his voice became gradually fainter.

Unwillingness and anger echoed in the police station, so Shen Renjie couldn’t help sighing.

He had seen Du Yunning once from afar when she was still alive.

At that time, she was wearing a peachy red Qipao with silver threading, this kind of showy colour, still looked graceful on her, she was indeed an extraordinary beauty.

Looking at most of Shanghai, there are not many beauties like Du Yunning.

What a shame, beautiful women suffer unhappy fates.

This case was destined to cause a stir in Shanghai.

Seeing that both of them were gone, Shen Renjie asked for instructions in a low voice: “Mr. Yue, this Ling Shu wants something to eat, should we give him something?”

It was not Yue Dingtang’s place to make a decision on this matter, but Smith treated him differently just now, so of course Shen Renjie had to take the opportunity to butter him up.

Yue Dingtang: “According to your usual practice, would you normally give him something?”

Shen Renjie smiled: “Well…”

Yue Dingtang immediately understood. The subtext is that if there was money under the table, they would give it to you. If there wasn’t you’d get nothing.

Shanghai can be called the center of the Far East, a model of the Republic of China, but behind all this prosperity, there is also hidden dirt.

After all, the decadent Qing Dynasty was only two decades ago.
“Then don’t give him anything!” He said, giving off an air of righteousness.

. . . . . .

Ling Shu was a police officer himself, so he of course knew what the inside of the jail looked like.

Rows of bricks with moss and cracked walls and dark stains.

There is a small window below the ceiling, that is the only light source, you can still see a glimmer of brightness in the daytime. However, at night, the prison guards never wasted any candles or turned on the light for the prisoners. So everyone had to sleep in pitch black darkness surrounded by an unpleasant odour.

In winter, it was even harder to endure. The cold, hard rocky ground is uneven and at most was covered with some straw. If you wore thin clothing when you entered the prison, then before 3-4 days you’d be completely frozen. Those who had poor health, sometimes couldn’t even wait for the judgement on their sentence.

Ling Shu’s body was warm and he was still wrapped in a thick coat. It was bought by his sister from the Yong’an Department Store last month. She had bought it for him to use over the Lunar New Year, but Ling Shu came out to enjoy himself tonight and he had secretly put the coat on without letting his sister know. He wouldn’t have expected that in the end it had come in handy.

Cold, wet, and dim, was Ling Shu’s impression of the prison.

No matter which prison it was, they were all the same.

In the darkness, faint weeping sounds and voices muttering to themselves came from near and far, those indiscriminate noises could easily evoke fear in people’s hearts.

The only light source came from the low-wattage electric lamp overhead. Not only did the faint light fail to produce the slightest warmth, but it made the place even more gloomy and sinister.

Standing at the door of the cell, the smell of urine and humidity hit his face, making him hesitate for a short moment.

The prison guard behind him did not push him hard but pushed him forward into the cell.

*Clang*, the cell door was locked again.

“Behave all of you!”

Leaving a not-so-serious warning, the prison guard walked away.

The cell is like another world.

It was dark all around, the sounds of people’s breathing varied, at least five or six people could be heard in this cell.

Suddenly moving from bright to dark, his eyes still couldn’t adjust, Ling Shu couldn’t see the surroundings clearly.

But the people who were already in the cell could see him clearly thanks to the sliver of light from the window, they were sizing him up carefully.

A smooth-skinned young man, he was very tall but couldn’t be considered particularly strong.

At first glance, he looks like a da-shaoye from a good family background and must have never suffered much.

When such a person enters prison, it is like a sheep entering a wolf den. A walking target, the only thing missing is the fireflies writing on his face “quick come bully me, come exploit me”.

The eyes in the darkness did not let go of an inch of his body, especially the cashmere coat that was warmly wrapped around him.

Ling Shu didn’t move.

He knew that a beast has to always confirm the weakness of its prey before making its move.

He only needed to move slightly, and the countless pairs of eyes in the dark would immediately be able to see his weakness.

In the last few years, the people who can be imprisoned were not just suspects like him and Yuan Bing.

From youth gang members to fugitives, from swindlers to murderers and arsonists, the weak and gullible can not survive here for more than a few days. Only those who are fierce and seasoned people can survive there.

A cold wind blew in, his nose felt tickly.

Ling Shu tried to endure, but couldn’t hold it back.

He opened his mouth, lowered his head, and sneezed a little.

Just as he was rubbing his nose, a hand suddenly appeared on his shoulder.

Before he could react, Ling Shu’s entire body had been pushed against the iron gate!

*Cling Clang*, his back collided with the iron gate, echoing an ear-piercing shaking through the empty prison.
The footsteps of the prison guards could be faintly heard in the distance, but they quickly turned back and disappeared without a trace.

In this place, as long as no one died, normally no one would really care.

Even if someone died, as long as the deceased wasn’t from a strong background, there were not any serious consequences.

In troubled times, lives are worthless, even in the most flourishing city of the Far East, this is still the case.

He could tell that tonight was going to be a long night.

He just wanted to have supper, why was it so hard?

Ling Shu’s heart was filled with sorrow.
Author Note:

Ling Shu: My life is hard.jpg

Reader asked: A little confused. So Ling Shu is a policeman who is being questioned by the Municipal police and Yue Dingtang is a consultant for the Municipal Police. Does that mean it’s two different police departments?

Author: Let’s answer.

At the time Shanghai was divided into three parts – one the French Concession, the International Settlement (UK, USA and Japan etc), and finally the Chinese administrated region.

Ling Shu is part of the Chinese administered Jiangwan police station. The murder happens in the International Settlement, those who are interrogating him are from the Municipal Police.
08/01/2022 – Notes added, reformatting and rephrasing.

3 thoughts on “The Plough – Chapter 3”

  1. Woah this novel is so cool! I have my eye on Yuan Bing because he seems sus and very sus kkkk

    Thank you for the chapter! (´꒳`)♡

    Reply
  2. i’m excited for you to translate this whole thing! i’m rooting for you and am so excited for you all through out this journey!! one of my favorite mengxishi’s works!! 加油!!

    Reply

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