The Plough – Chapter 50

Lao Yue, Yue Sir, Si-shaoye, Dingtang, Little Tangtang——
The two of them ended up going back to Yue Manor.

First of all, the chef at Yue Manor had excellent skills, that Ling Shu was still salivating over the duck soup from last time, not to mention, the dried shrimps that were mixed into the ban mian, or the exceedingly tender pieces of shredded chicken in the mushroom and chicken noodle soup.

If Yue Chunxiao was present, then that chicken and cabbage wonton would even have the flavour of family, but now she was not here, it was missing that homely feeling, but it was still better than going home to eat leftovers alone. At least, the old butler was not only thoughtful but considerate of Ling Shu, making sure that he felt at home.

His sister and brother-in-law were still in the country and hadn’t come back yet, so this place had almost become a second canteen for him.

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Secondly, since the Yuan Manor case, and Mr Lee of New Moon Cafe’s true identity had been revealed – on the surface, being kind to everyone but underneath, being utterly ruthless, the western meal that they had had at the cafe was still affecting Ling Shu. He thought that if at that time, Mr Lee had wanted to add some poison in the food back then, they wouldn’t have known at all. He thought that even though Yue Dingtang didn’t say it outloud but he must have also thought the same as Ling Shu.

The old butler had indeed prepared some warm dishes and rice.

It wasn’t duck soup, but bone broth soup.

There wasn’t any mushrooms added to enhance the flavour, it was simply a large bone and carcass which had been placed into the soup and simmered for a long time, with some pepper to dispel the cold, as well as the appropriate amount of salt to bring out the natural sweetness of the bone broth, gradually warming up their bodies. Dispelling all that cold wind and winter snow and ice from them.
The Yue family’s servants always appeared at the right time, and when they were not needed, they knew how to retreat.

Unconsciously, there was suddenly only the two of them in the dining room.

“Are you going to Zhen Congyun’s birthday party?”

Ling Shu had put some winter bamboo shoots into his mouth, and then suddenly heard Yue Dingtang speak.

He replied with an “en”, whilst chewing the mouthful of winter bamboo shoots.

“I don’t have much on, so I might as well join in the fun, I also heard that He Youan is attending.”

Yue Dingtang frowned slightly: “You seem very focused on her.”

Ling Shu shrugged his shoulders: “I’m very focused on the case.”

Yue Dingtang: “Don’t forget she’s with Shen Shiqi.”

Ling Shu: “Maybe she isn’t anymore.”

Yue Dingtang: “What do you mean?”

He had previously already thought that Ling Shu was too attentive to He Youan, to the point of crossing the line, after hearing this, Yue Dingtang was almost convinced of this fact.

If it was an ordinary girl then he’d leave it alone, Ling Shu had always been popular with the ladies. One more He Youan would have been another beautiful addition to his collection of women, but with He Youan, it was different.

Shen Shiqi was not someone who should be easily provoked, although he was currently being held back from doing anything to Ling Shu because of the Yue family, but that did not mean that he did not hold a grudge and had already given up on taking revenge on Ling Shu. Plus, there was also the current issue of the death threat letters. He Youan was like a beautiful flower that was attracting wave after wave of wasps, who had forgotten that the flower might be beautiful on the outside but very dangerous on the inside.

“Because when I was chatting with He Youan, I noticed a scarf.”

The scarf was laid upon the armrest of the sofa and not on the coat rack.

That meant that the owner of this scarf was very comfortable at He Youan’s apartment, and it also showed that this person had a close relationship with He Youan. He Youan had not had the time to put it away, or perhaps had accidentally left it there, meaning that this person would very quickly come back to get it.

That scarf is ash-black and has a lattice pattern. What’s interesting is that, not long ago, I saw a scarf exactly like this.

Ling Shu stopped here, and then asked Yue Dingtang.

“What did you want to say before?”


Yue Dingtang knew that his thoughts had strayed, so he got up to ladle out some more soup with his back turned to Ling Shu, conveniently shifting the conversation away.

“You can continue, what’s up with the scarf?”

Ling Shu said: “That day when we were at Treasure Phoenix House, when Shen Shiqi was sitting in the next room, he was with a friend, do you remember?”

The lightbulb switched on, and a memory flashed across Yue Dingtang’s mind!

“Mr Cheng!”

Ling Shu nodded: “Yes that man, Mr Cheng.”

Shen Shiqi did not specifically introduce Mr. Cheng, but he had always had a domineering nature, and there were very few people that he looked up to. Judging from his attitude towards Mr. Cheng, this must be one of the rare people who could make him pay attention.

He Youan was with Shen Shiqi, but now at her home, unexpectedly, there was a scarf that Mr Cheng was wearing just a few days ago.

This obviously meant something?

Ling Shu didn’t want to overthink it but he couldn’t not overthink things.

With He Youan’s beauty, even if Mr Cheng had been with countless beauties, it didn’t mean he wasn’t also struck with her beauty.

After that day, perhaps that desire had already come to fruition.

But no matter what He Youan thought about it, without Shen Shiqi’s permission, there was no way that she could be with Mr Cheng out in the open.

That meant that Shen Shiqi tacitly acquiesced, and perhaps he had delivered He Youan directly into the hands of Mr Cheng himself.

Well what about He Youan?

What were her feelings about all of this, was she like an object that could just be gifted to someone else?

Ling Shu thought about the conversation that they had just had with He Youan, it seemed that aside from being shocked, she also seemed to be concealing some unknown suffering, she was exactly like a flower that couldn’t reach the rain water, slowly withering away.

At that time, he only thought that it might be because of the successive events that were threatening her life, making her feel ill at ease, he had never considered that there might have been an additional worry behind it all.

But everyone, especially a living person has emotions, feelings and desires – happiness, anger, sorrow, and joy, so there was probably no one who would be pleased about being someone’s plaything.

He Youan had no way of resisting.

It didn’t matter whether she was willing or not, she was unable to escape her fate.

If Mr Cheng was tactful and treated her better than Shen Shiqi, perhaps He Youan’s feelings of being forced may change into actual enjoyment.

It’s a shame.”
Whenever he mentioned He Youan, he’d always say this.

But this time it wasn’t Ling Shu who said it, it was actually Yue Dingtang.

“The way you said that was too cold, somewhat lacking in care, kind of like you’re judging her from above.”

Yue Dingtang: “Her and I have absolutely no relationship whatsoever, for me to say that it is a pity, is already asking a lot. Since she now seems to be involved with Mr Cheng, it’s best if you take a step back. If you’re really interested in her, you can just casually investigate it, no need to throw yourself in completely. If you are interested in those unsolved crimes, there are loads in Shanghai, so there’s no point in you concentrating completely on this.”

Ling Shu was suspicious: “About this Mr Cheng, have you found out something about him?”

Yue Dingtang was silent for a moment: “His surname is Cheng, his name is Gong, he has a woodworking business in the Northeast China, and has frequent dealings across the country, it’s said that his business is vast and he has a lot of contacts including Northeast army and Japanese businessmen, from the Lulin gangs to the Nanjing government – there isn’t one that isn’t on his payroll. So maybe people like to do business with him, going back and forth for so long, the snowball becomes bigger and bigger, and Cheng Gong becomes more and more capable, meaning that if one asks him for help, and he agrees, there is almost nothing he can’t do.”

Ling Shu: “So Shen Shiqi needs him for something?”

Yue Dingtang: “Shen Shiqi holds He Youan quite close to his heart otherwise, over the last few years, he could have had countless opportunities to deliver her elsewhere, such as to be a concubine for those high ranking military officials, which would have helped him to raise a lot of capital but in the end, he delivered He Youan to a businessman.”

Ling Shu: “If you say it like that, I am even more invested in this.”

Yue Dingtang: …….

“I’m just playing with you, I know what you are trying to say. The water is extremely deep, even though it looks like a shallow pond, only when one puts a foot in does one realise it’s actually a deep and immeasurable pit, you’re afraid that I’ll drown in there.”

Ling Shu smiled and then bowed respectfully, “Don’t worry, I’ll be careful. Even if I die, I’ll try to die further away, I won’t make trouble for Yue Sir!”

Ling Shu had this kind of ability, the ability to say something that would make someone so pissed off.

Yue Dingtang sighed.

Unexpectedly Ling Shu came up close to him, he got up and lowered his voice mysteriously.

“Hey, Lao Yue, do you know what Miss Zhen likes?”

Yue Dingtang: “You want to get her a present?”

Ling Shu: “Yue Sir knows me well. What gift are you getting? Nevermind, I won’t ask you. What you’re getting, I definitely can’t afford.”

Yue Dingtang: “I’m not going, this weekend I have to go to Nanjing. The University in Nanjing is holding an academic conference and salon, they’ve requested that I attend.”

Ling Shu: “Then I’m going to be all alone?”

Yue Dingtang: “I thought you’d be delighted about it.”

Ling Shu quickly wiped the corners of his upturned mouth.

“That’s not true! You still haven’t told me, what does Miss Zhen like?”

To go to a party, one must prepare gifts. If one is to offer something expensive, isn’t it better to give something that she likes. Zhen Congyun just came back from abroad, so she must have seen plenty of new and wonderful things. Ordinary gifts would probably not impress her.

Yue Dingtang’s mouth turned up into a meaningful smile.

“There is something that I do know about Miss Zhen.”

Ling Shu looked as if he was interested.

Yue Dingtang: “She likes to dance, so that’s why the Zhen family reserved the entire Paramount Dancehall for the night.”

Ling Shu: “I can tango and waltz, but so many people will want to dance with her at the party, I don’t think I’ll get that chance. I’m just going to join in the fun, I’ll give her my present and then go to eat, and enjoy a good meal.”

Yue Dingtang was speechless: “Could you be a bit less shameless?”
Ling Shu: “Food is heaven for the common people. Besides, I’ve been to Paramount, and I know a couple of their dancers, I’ll be too busy taking care of them, so how could I have time to take care of Miss Zhen as well?”

Yue Dingtang: “Zhen Congyun is very proud. Since she specially invited you, it means she likes you. Even if you can’t dance the first dance with her, you will definitely have the opportunity to get close to her. If you want to save money, you don’t have to buy anything, just make her happy and that’ll be more than enough.”

Ling Shu thought for several seconds between buying a cheap gift to go through the motions or saving money by not buying a gift at all.

“Tell me more.”

Yue Dingtang: “Her favourite dance is the rumba.”

Ling Shu: “How did you know?”

Yue Dingtang: “My sister told me.”

Ling Shu: “But I don’t know how to dance the rumba.”

Yue Dingtang: “I can.”

The two of them stared at each other.

Ling Shu: “Lao Yue, Yue Sir, Si-shaoye, Dingtang, Little Tangtang——”

Yue Dingtang: …….

Ling Shu: “I’ve always had a terrible salary. After I came to work for you, I had not received my salary for the first month. I have to support myself and my family, and I have to save some savings for my future wife. Could you help me save money this time? It’s all up to you then!”

Yue Dingtang: “You can simply not go.”

Ling Shu was righteous and confident: “One must be truthful to one’s word. Since I promised Ms. Zhen, how can I go back on my promise? Besides, I am now Yue Sir’s assistant, I represent you. If you are not going and I don’t turn up either. Isn’t that extremely rude?”

Yue Dingtang got up and walked to the gramophone in the living room.

He bent down and rummaged through the record case for a while to find a record.

After a short moment, the music started.

Yue Dingtang stretched out his hand and beckoned Ling Shu over to him.

Ling Shu went over to him.

“Follow my footsteps and pay attention to where I’m stepping.”

Hearing Yue Dingtang saying this, he couldn’t help but concentrate, his eyes fell on the other’s slender chest, his eyes flicking between the other’s hands and feet, like a toddler who had just learned to walk, taking one step at a time, drawing a tiger using a cat as a model1照猫画虎 zhào māo huà hǔ fig. to follow a model and get things more or less right but without capturing the spirit of the subject; uninspired imitation.

The only thing was after dancing for a while, Ling Shu finally realised something.

…… Wasn’t he dancing the female part?

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