The Plough – Chapter 53

Would Yue Dingtang offend others just for you?
Ling Shu didn’t think that Zhen Congyun was coming towards him at first.

Her original target was the French Consul-General who was standing in front of him.

French people are romantic, and love joining in the fun. The Zhen family’s birthday event had created quite a stir in Shanghai, big names in government and business had come to pay their respects, the foreign consulate representatives were perhaps a little more reserved by only sending over a secretary of an adviser. The French Consul-General however had come to personally attend the event.

Choosing him for the first dance meant the Zhen family would not lose face1miànzi 面子 = reputation; self-respect; prestige, honor; social standing, nor would it create any idle gossip.

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Those who displeased with this would not go and create trouble with a “westerner”.

It made complete sense.

However, when Zhen Congyun saw Ling Shu standing behind the French Consul-General, she changed her mind.

Ling Shu saw that things were not looking good and turned to leave but it was already too late.

Miss Zhen leisurely walked up to him in a great mood and extended her hand that was like jade.

“Mr Ling, could I ask you for this dance?”
With thousands of eyes staring, there was an uproar.

The majority of the people present did not know who Ling Shu was.

But it didn’t matter, from tonight onwards, Ling Shu would become well-known across Shanghai. Because Miss Zhen unexpectedly refused many outstanding young men, big shots and distinguished scholars to choose a nobody.

Even if he was in fact very handsome.

The spotlight fell upon Ling Shu, making almost everyone open their eyes wider.

But out of so many people in the place, surely there was more than one person that was so handsome?

Lin Dingkang was already staring with his mouth wide open.

He looked like he was in a dream, he even felt like perhaps he was actually asleep, and he was unable to conceal the surprise upon his face, and muttered to himself: “The sage presents as an ordinary person2真人不露相 zhēn rén bù lòu xiàng comes from Journey to the West, fig – it describes someone who is exceptional/outstanding, or has a special skill but doesn’t show it or unwilling to show it, it’s truly a sage that presents as an ordinary person!”

If Lin Dingkang had known twenty years ago that just relying on a pretty face would have been able to attract Miss Zhen today, then he would have definitely given anything to go back to his mother’s womb and make sure to queue up for a handsome face during the turn of the reincarnation wheel.

He could already imagine Miss Zhen and Ling Shu walking hand in hand out of the marriage hall, and becoming the talk of Shanghai, Ling Shu having been able to become the carp jumping through the dragon’s gate3鲤鱼跳龙门 lǐyú tiào lóngmén to make a significant advance in one’s career (idiom); to get one’s big break.

To go or not go.

Ling Shu was hesitant.

He didn’t have the same ridiculous delusions as Lin Dingkang, and he had absolutely no intentions of stepping into the limelight.

He originally just wanted to come and get a sumptuous evening meal as well as grab an opportunity to advance his relationship with Miss Zhen so that there could be some give and take between them. Just as he had told Yue Dingtang, if he could grab the chance to get close to President Wang, then he’d also have created another opportunity for himself.
But he didn’t want to get that close!

Those burning gazes on his body were like flaming arrows that were making Ling Shu’s head feel numb.

“I don’t really know how to dance, I only know a bit of the waltz.”

Ling Shu said, whilst taking Miss Zhen’s hand.

If Zhen Congyun wanted to dance the rumba, she would naturally walk away.

If Zhen Congyun still wanted to dance with Ling Shu, since Ling Shu had brought it up, she would also not lose face either.

“No problem, let’s waltz then, just follow my rhythm.”

Zhen Congyun smiled, her white skirt swayed creating movement and swaying like the waves, dazzling the entire room.

She had spoken so kindly that Ling Shu felt he had no option but to comply.

The people behind them understood that the first dance had been decided and began to make room on the dancefloor, allowing them to go back into the middle of the dancefloor before they circled around them again, similar to all the stars cupping themselves around the moon.

“Aren’t you curious why I chose you?”

Zhen Congyun said whilst dancing lightly and gracefully.

She spoke quietly so only the two of them could hear.

Ling Shu: “I have two answers, I don’t know which one to choose.”

Zhen Congyun: “Oh?”

Ling Shu: “Number one, I’m just too outstanding, making you ignore the French Consul-General who would have been a more suitable choice. Since being handsome and elegant was bestowed by my parents and I was born this way, I can’t control that.”

Zhen Congyun was so amused that the flower branches tremored4花枝乱颤 huā zhī luàn chàn an idiom that describes the way a woman’s body moves when she laughs = so basically she’s laughing so much, she’s shaking slightly.

“And the second?”

Ling Shu: “Number two, Miss Zhen doesn’t like me and wants to see me, an insignificant little person become hated and resented by every man present. Perhaps, as soon as I set foot outside of Bai Le Men, I’ll get a sack over my head and then be beaten mercilessly and left in some dark alley somewhere.”

Zhen Congyun smiled: “And if I said it was the second one.”

Ling Shu: “I have already taken Miss Zhen’s jade hand, we have already danced, I can now only bear what one shouldn’t have to bear in this life.”

Zhen Congyun: “Speaking to you is so fun, it would have been great if I’d met you sooner.”

Ling Shu: “This gives me an ominous feeling, it seems that people who usually say things like this will follow up with some other inauspicious words.

Zhen Congyun: “Using this event tonight, there are many of those who want to get close to me, to get close to my people. There are too many of these to count. Some want to build a relationship with the Zhen family and some are afraid of offending the Zhen family. I was confused, I didn’t know who to choose, and I also didn’t want to choose. If I chose one of them then I’d offend the others, so why not choose someone with no status or background so that none of them can comment.

Ling Shu sighed: “Yue Dingtang is my direct supervisor, you said that I don’t have any status or background, Yue Sir will be very upset.”

Zhen Congyun smiled: “The Yue family indeed have some social standing but you are not Yue Dingtang’s younger brother, nor are you his wife, would he offend others just for you? For an assistant, just get another one. Given your friendship as old classmates, isn’t this job already the greatest kindness that he could extend to you?”

Ling Shu: “It looks like Miss Zhen has looked into me, I feel like in front of you I’ve been stripped naked, giving you a panoramic view.”

Zhen Congyun: “I must understand the background of everyone who approaches me, otherwise, what would I do if I encounter danger?”

Ling Shu nodded: “That does sound right, other people are like delicious cakes but you are a giant goldbar. If a delicious cake has been thrown on the street, perhaps a beggar might pick it up, but as soon as you are standing in the street, no matter who it was, someone will definitely want to pick you up.”

Zhen Congyun pretended to get angry: “Why did you use a goldbar to represent a woman, normally one would at least use a rose.”
Ling Shu: “Roses will wilt but goldbars will never decline, never lose their lustre. Plus, a rose may be romantic for a Frenchmen but a Chinese person may not necessarily like this, however, a gold bar is different, who in the world doesn’t like gold?”

Zhen Congyun laughed again.

The attitudes of the people around her oscillated between two extremes, either they were always flattering and fawning, using everything to try to get some benefit from her. On the other extreme, there are people who acted all high and mighty, using arrogance to conceal their own inadequacies, as if this would be able to get rid of the differences between them.

But Ling Shu was different.

He was not like these two kinds of people, nor was he a yes-man, nervous and shy, he was able to hold himself even in this kind of grand event.

This was definitely a gift in itself.

Or perhaps it had something to do with his family background in the past.

“After the third round of dancing, everyone will take a break, come with me and I will introduce some people to you, but how you perform is up to you.” Zhen Congyun passed him a candy.

Ling Shu didn’t dare to accept, afraid that it might contain rat poison.

But Zhen Congyun didn’t care whether he accepted or not, when the music stopped, and the two of them moved apart. Her fingers lightly pressed against her flaming red lips and then threw it out towards Ling Shu.

A flying kiss.

Zhen Congyun picked up the hem of the skirt, bending her knees slightly, and then walked away without taking a single cloud5不带走一片云彩 last line of a poem called “On Leaving Cambridge” by Xu Zhimo = fig. Walking away from something reluctantly alone.

Ling Shu was left behind still surrounded by many different eyes and voices.

Those words and eyes were like arrows sent out in unison by an army of 100,000, shot at Ling Shu with unerring precision.

Ling Shu put on his ‘hear but don’t react’ armour, shook those arrows off, oiled the soles of his shoes, and stepped into the crowd, disappearing without a trace in a moment.

The music started again, and one after another, the crowd took their partners’ hands and began dancing around the dance floor.

The lasting effect of the first dance just now left everyone in wonder, and still not fading away.

The name ‘Ling Shu’ had quietly appeared in the mouths of many people.

Lin Dingkang’s heart is filled with a bunch of question marks, is looking for an opportunity to properly question Ling Shu. Unexpectedly, this old classmate always seemed to bring him a lot of surprise.

He looked around and just saw a person who looked like Ling Shu, but in the next moment he had already lost him.

Ling Shu was like a mud fish wandering in the crowd, too slippery, not allowing anyone to catch him.

Just now, although he had held all the attention, they were also surrounded by so many people in the middle. In fact, only the closest people could see Ling Shu’s appearance, the rest of the people only heard his name. Those who didn’t see did not know what he looked like so if Ling Shu just walked farther into the corner and stood there, basically no one would find him.

After arriving at the event, he had only managed to take two sips of champagne and did not even try the little cakes, but had been forced into the limelight, which made Ling Shu feel quite aggrieved.

He picked up the nearest strawberry cake on his plate and forked a small piece into his mouth.

Ling Shu thought that the discomfort of being used by Miss Zhen as a shield had almost disappeared.

He’d appeased his stomach, he’d have time to do other things.

He raised his head and looked around at random, while avoiding the spotlight.

Suddenly, Ling Shu’s eyes stopped in place.

He saw Jiang He.

This man was standing on the balcony not far away.

Through the fluttering curtain screen, his face is hidden, but Lin Dingkang had just introduced him and he had made an impression upon Ling Shu so he quickly recognised him.

Jiang He should have come with Lu Tongcang tonight, but it was Lu Tongcang that he was talking to on the balcony.

It was Chen Wendong, He Youan’s driver.

Not long ago, Chen Wendong had been identified as the prime suspect in the death threat letter case.

According to He Youan, Jiang He had warned her not to get too close to Lu Tongcang.

In the opinion of others, Jiang He was a cruel and ruthless person, and it was entirely possible that he would do anything for the safety of Lu Tongcang.

Even Lin Dingkang had also just warned Ling Shu to not provoke Jiang He.

Jiang He and Chen Wendong, two people who shouldn’t have any involvement together, were now standing together and talking.

If it was a casual encounter, with Jiang He’s unfriendly demeanour, he would never have struck up a casual conversation with He Youan’s driver.

Did this mean that He Youan’s speculation was true? The person behind these threatening letters really was Chen Wendong? He couldn’t do it alone, so he colluded with Jiang He?

Before Ling Shu had finished even eating the cake, the two on the balcony had already separated. Chen Wendong went back inside and soon disappeared into the crowd. The lights flickered and dimmed, making it difficult for Ling Shu to find his whereabouts.

He decided to follow Jiang He.

Immediately after the third dance, Jiang He put out the cigarette in his hand, left the balcony, and walked towards the exit.

Ling Shu didn’t even think about it, he just put down the cake and followed him.

He had a feeling that tonight he might be able to unravel the mystery of the death threat letters.

Or at the very least, a part of the mystery could be solved.

As for Miss Zhen wanting to introduce him to some people, this seemed far less important to him at this point.
Translator Note:

Lol Ling Shu is off to find trouble again. Don’t worry Lao Yue is back soon-ish.…..

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