The Plough – Chapter 59

Yue Dingtang was feeling helpless and secretly sighed deeply inside.
It was not even light outside when Ling Shu had taken the early train to Hangzhou.

The train track from Shanghai to Hangzhou had been built during the final years of the Qing Dynasty and was still in use now; a one-way trip took around five hours.

When Ling Shu arrived in Hangzhou, it was already lunchtime, but instead of going to have lunch, he went immediately to a bookshop.

That bookshop was located on the edge of West Lake, with the courtyards of former Qing Dynasty official’s homes on either side of the shop.

Things change with the passage of time, after the fall of the Qing Dynasty, the internal affairs of the country surged like a gathering storm1风起云涌 fēng qǐ yúnyǒng to grow by leaps and bounds. It was impossible for the wealthy to continue staying wealthy, these manors had gone through multiple ownerships, one of them had even been turned into a bookshop, and it was the bookshop that Ling Shu was looking for, called Ming De Bookshop2明德 míngdé lit. highest virtue/illustrious virtue.

At noon, there were not a lot of people around, Ling Shu went and sat down on a small wooden bench in front of a bookshelf, and took a book out and started reading.

Nowadays, those who could afford to buy books were few and far between, there were innumerable young people just like him who were spending a lot of time in the bookshop reading the books. The owner seemed to be accustomed to this, and didn’t come to shoo the “customers” away. If Ling Shu bought a book or two when he left that would be extremely generous.

“Stop there.”

Yue Dingtang raised his hand and cut him off.

“This is the bookshop that Chen Youhua was spotted in?”

Ling Shu: “That’s right, I thought that if I waited there and kept a lookout, perhaps I could also bump into Chen Youhua.”
The hit list that He Youan had given to Jiang He had two names upn it, one was the tailor, Xiao Jun and the other was Chen Youhua who worked at the newspaper office.

The former had already died, and the latter had seemingly disappeared from his pursuers.

Someone who had just managed to escape from danger should be prioritising trying to get away from there as far as possible. However, Chen Youhua was spotted in a bookshop in Hangzhou. This situation was already very unusual, and in addition to this, He Youan had also appeared at the same time.

When too many coincidences occur at the same time then it is obviously not a coincidence.

One must follow the vine to get to the melon3顺藤摸瓜 shùn téng mō guā = follow the clues, if he could find Chen Youhua, perhaps, this would help him unravel the mystery behind He Youan.

But Yue Dingtang was not focused on this but on ——

“How did you find out about that bookshop?”

Ling Shu blinked innocently.

“I asked Cheng Si to investigate for me.”
Yue Dingtang: “Cheng Si, a low-ranking policeman from Jiangwan police station was able to get info from the Hangzhou police?”

Ling Shu: “Sorry I misspoke, I asked my brother-in-law to find out.”

Yue Dingtang crossed his arms and continued to watch as he spouted off nonsense.

After Chen Youhua disappeared, he was already considered dead, and he could no longer use his own identity, ‘Chen Youhua’ to go out, so it was impossible to find out anything using police or official methods.

“Jiang He was the one who told you.”

Ling Shu laughed out loud: “Yes it seems so, I asked quite a few people to help, I can’t even remember who I asked!”

Yue Dingtang: “Are you resentful that your life is too long and want to do your utmost to shorten it?”

Ling Shu: “Lao Yue, you can’t scold me on this matter, it was Jiang He who sent someone to deliver the clue about the bookshop to me, as he knew that I was investigating He Youan’s case. I think that he also wants to know what He Youan’s role is in all of this. So Jiang He is not only helping me, he’s also helping himself.”

Yue Dingtang: “Lu Tongcang wants to kill him, so he will be keeping an eye on the people that are in contact with Jiang He. You saved Jiang He, so you have already entered Lu Tongcang’s line of sight. If you continue to get mixed up with Jiang He, you will definitely end up in the same boat and Lu Tongcang will get rid of both of you.”

Ling Shu smiled apologetically: “Don’t worry, I won’t go looking for him again. I will only hang out with you, does that work?”

The old housekeeper came over carrying a plate, just in time to see Yue Dingtang about to blow his top, and couldn’t help adding a word to placate the situation.

“Speak nicely, don’t scare the child.”

Yue Dingtang: ……..

Has Zhou-shu4周叔 Zhou = surname Shu=uncle – polite way to address an older gentleman forgotten that this person was his classmate of the same year?

Ling Shu received the fruit plate with both hands.

“Thank you Zhou-shu!”

The old housekeeper: “You’ve caught a cold, you can’t overdo it. Before you sleep I will bring you some medicinal tea, you must drink it all before sleeping.”

Ling Shu obediently nodded.

Yue Dingtang was feeling helpless and secretly sighed deeply inside.

If Zhou-shu saw that person open fire and kill someone ruthlessly, what would he think?

The old housekeeper who had already gone above and beyond his duties quickly left, and Yue Dingtang didn’t really feel like interrogating Ling Shu any further.

“Why don’t you just keep going.”

Ling Shu: “Okay, where did I get to?”
Yue Dingtang: “……. You were waiting in the bookshop for Chen Youhua.”

Ling Shu smacked his own thigh.

“Oh yeh! That bookshop is called Ming De Bookshop, it’s decorated very nicely with a traditional style. I was in there reading for half a day, and was thinking that I was starting to annoy the bookshop owner, so I randomly chose one of the cheaper books in the shop and purchased it. The bookshop owner was so pleased that he even offered me some tea. Oh yeah, can I claim the money back for the book as a work expense? Alright, I got it, I have to swallow the cost myself, don’t look at me like that!”

“I had already decided that if I couldn’t see him that day then I would try again the next day and keep a lookout in a location nearby. I figured that he would eventually turn up, but who knew that I’d be lucky that day, and at about 3pm, Chen Youhua really did appear.”

“When Jiang He had first accepted the assignment, he had naturally also received a picture, he gave the drawing to me. But the person that I saw was already quite different from the drawing, the only thing that was similar was his height and build and also his eyes. At the time, I could not immediately recognise that it was him.”

“This person walked around the entire bookshop and then walked out. I also did a lap and then followed him, and saw him walk to the West Lake. He sat at the edge of West Lake for a long time and then he went to Lou Wai Lou to have lunch.”

Yue Dingtang listened and then asked.

“He just went to have lunch?”

Ling Shu: “Yes, just to have lunch.”

Yue Dingtang: “3pm is not lunch time.”

Ling Shu: “He really did order a lot of dishes.”

Yue Dingtang: “And he ate it all?”

Ling Shu: “No, he ate about half and then left mid-way.”

Yue Dingtang: “To avoid being followed and pull the wool over the tracker’s eyes.”

Ling Shu nodded: “And also to get rid of suspicions of the people around him. If I hadn’t been able to recognise Chen Youhua, I would have already given up, I wouldn’t have continued to follow him. In the end, I continued to follow him to Guanyin Temple, and saw an unbelievable thing, can you guess what it was?”

Yue Dingtang: “Stop trying to build suspense.”

Ling Shu: “I saw that someone wanted to kill him.”

Yue Dingtang: “Someone who works for Jiang He?”

Ling Shu: “I don’t think so, after Jiang He failed the last time, he had already refunded part of the money, and the so-called agreement between him and Shen Shiqi was negated just like that. He doesn’t like being used by others, so I don’t think he would lie about this.

Yue Dingtang said lightly: “You understand him well.”

Ling Shu: “Is that a compliment?”

Yue Dingtang: “What do you think?”

Ling Shu: “I’m certain that it is, so aren’t you wasting your efforts asking me?”

Yue Dingtang gave up trying to respond and didn’t want to beat around the bush.

“Knowing you, you probably went to stop it.”

Ling Shu: “Nope, Chen Youhua is incredibly vigilant. He’d already done a lot to try to get rid of anyone tailing him, I didn’t dare to follow him too closely, so when something happened, I was too far away to help. Chen Youhua went down a dark alley, and that’s when the attacker decided to make his move, he was killed from one stabbing, and seemed to not even have had the chance to react at all. I saw the attacker take away the newspaper that he had found on Chen Youhua’s body.

Yue Dingtang was about to ask if Ling Shu chased after the attacker when he heard Ling Shu say in a peaceful and calm manner, like he was just talking about having dinner and drinking soup ——

“And then I chased after the attacker, caught up to him and pinned him down and took the newspaper from him.”

Yue Dingtang: ???

He had a feeling that Ling Shu had once again got himself into trouble. Since he had reunited with Ling Shu, incidents had been cropping up again and again, so he seemed to have somewhat got used to the shock of this kind of thing, like someone who was sleeping and was suddenly scared awake, perhaps, it would be unbearable the first or second time, but after a while, it became a sort of habit.
Thinking of it like that, Yue Dingtang frowned: “Pinned him down meaning?”

Ling Shu: “Naturally, exactly what it means, would someone as virtuous and kind as me just go ahead and kill someone?”

Yue Dingtang: “Contrary to what you might think, I’d rather you killed that person. This person was able to kill Chen Youhua, naturally he is not going to let you off so easily.”

Ling Shu waved his hand: “Don’t worry, I’m certain that he didn’t see my face. Plus, this person has killed Chen Youhua and then someone let him go. When he wakes up, wouldn’t he be suspicious? Could we use this person to continue investigating?”

Yue Dingtang: “What do you want to do?”

Ling Shu: “We can’t let He Youan know about the newspaper. If she was really in contact with Chen Youhua, she would definitely go to the bookshop. And when the attacker wakes up, he will definitely go back there as well. This newspaper is like fish bait, making all the fish surround it, all of them jumping up and heading to the surface of the water.”

After he finished speaking he put the document wallet beside him on the table.

“This is the newspaper.”

Yue Dingtang opened the document wallet, and took out that newspaper.

It was a very ordinary 《Lin An Newspaper》.

The newspaper didn’t have very many pages and there was not a lot of content either, it was clear that this newspaper office was lacking in funds and was barely staying in print.

But the newspaper had everything that it should have including the latest news, some serialised novels and advertising. If it was also cheap, then perhaps, many restaurants in Hangzhou would have a copy that they would read out loud to their guests.

If one was to find something out of the ordinary in this paper, although it was a little easier than finding a needle in a haystack, it wasn’t a super simple task either.”

“I don’t see what is so special about it, I also don’t understand why the attacker would kill Chen Youhua for this newspaper. I guess I have to count on Professor Yue to find this out.” Ling Shu yawned, since he’d finished recounting the story, he was starting to lose focus.

Although he was very nonchalant when recounting how he had disposed of the attacker, this person had been able to easily kill Chen Youhua so surely he couldn’t have that simple to deal with?

This person, he couldn’t sit still for a single day without attracting trouble.

Yue Dingtang thought, even if Ling Shu had ended up sacrificing himself that day, he wouldn’t have been the least bit surprised.

But Yue Chunxiao really liked him.

Yue Dingtang saw that his sister really saw Ling Shu as her younger brother. She had sent over a care package of local products from Nanjing and had not forgotten to include some to give to Ling Shu. It was necessary to understand that Yue Chunxiao barely acted this way with anyone else.

That meant that his sister really thought highly of Ling Shu.

There was also the old housekeeper, Zhou-shu; it was basically everyone in the Yue family.

Even though these people didn’t say it out loud, their actions had already revealed how they felt.

Before Ling Shu had appeared, Yue Dingtang’s life had been dry and dull as well as disciplined.

Every day he would go between the university and Yue Manor at set times, although it was extremely stable, it was also incredibly tedious.

Until Ling Shu appeared.

Ling Shu had taken him into the ups and downs of the case, and at times had even scared him to death, to the point where he’d even lost his life.

Between the Yuan Manor case and this death threats against a female celebrity case, although the latter seemed like a small matter, it was unexpectedly unravelling into a much greater conspiracy.

Yue Dingtang thought, if he had known that there was so much deep waters behind He Youan, he would absolutely not have agreed to let Ling Shu take this case.

“This looks like a normal newspaper, unless——”

Yue Dingtang paused for a moment.
“Huh?”

Ling Shu was in a sleepy haze and reluctantly questioned.

He heard Yue Dingtang say: “There should be a corresponding codebreaker.”

“Hmm….”

Ling Shu was feeling weak all over and only wanted to put his head down to sleep.

Yue Dingtang’s voice seemed to oscillate from sounding distant to close by, just like a lullaby.

“Give the newspaper to He Youan, if she has been in contact with Chen Youhua, then she should have the codebreaker…..”

Ling Shu seemed to remember that he had said something like this, or perhaps he had muttered it to himself.

A bead of cold sweat rolled down his forehead. Immediately afterwards, Ling Shu was no longer conscious of anything else.
Translator Note:

Well done ‘The Plough readers’ – here was your new chapter ~

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