The Plough – Chapter 62

You don’t know how to talk to women, it’s better if I go.
Shen Shiqi was dead.

His death was a bit bizarre.

Last night, someone had booked the entire Heavenly Music Dance Palace1仙乐舞宫 (Xianle Wugong) Whilst Paramount still exists, this dancehall closed in the 1950’s, became a bookstore and then a shopping centre and now there’s a building where it used to be called Ciros Plaza, Shen Shiqi had attended the party, jumping around and dancing between one beautiful dancer to the next the entire night, and according to those other sons of wealthy families who had gone with him, Shen Shiqi was in a great mood and had an awfully good time. In the end, he’d actually paid the ‘escort fee’ for one of the dancers, and took her out to one of Shanghai’s renowned oriental restaurants.

The waiters at the restaurant last saw them around 1am, when Shen Shiqi had gone to get a room with the beautiful dancer, and then he was not seen again.

The next day, towards midday, the maid needed to clean the room, she rang the doorbell all morning but no one answered so the maid used her key to enter, and received an awful fright ——

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Shen Shiqi was lying completely naked on the bed, his eyes were wide open, bleeding from all orifices2more specifically, from all the ‘holes’ on his head – so eyes, ears, mouth, nose, he’d stopped breathing long ago.

The dancer who was half-naked and lying on the side of the bed, she was still breathing and had only lost consciousness.

The maid was scared out of her wits, and immediately went to get the manager, this matter naturally caused a great stir.

“Bleeding from all orifices, what would be the cause of death?” Yue Dingtang asked.

“I don’t know, I’ve just seen that written in the papers, I haven’t had time to investigate yet. I think the body has probably been transported back to the PSB, I guess this is where Yue Sir comes in!” Yue Shu opened the paper bag, and took out a fried dough stick and took a huge bite, watching as Yue Dingtang began to frown.

“The doctor said you have a bad stomach and you’re still eating this greasy stuff?”

Ling Shu didn’t care: “Well I also got the soy milk to accompany it, anyway, this is called fighting fire with fire!”

Even though he was dead, before Shen Shiqi died, he was not particularly pleasant so it was hard to be upset about his death. It was difficult even to pretend, and there were probably people who would be secretly celebrating when they heard the news, because Shen Shiqi had seriously lacked any social skills.

But the Shen family still had some social standing, especially Shen Shiqi’s uncle, once the news reached him, he would definitely not be willing to leave the matter like that, and he would probably put pressure on the PSB to solve the case as soon as possible.

“There are so many people who hate Shen Shiqi, I could even be counted as one of them. There are even more that wanted him to die. This time, it will be very difficult to find the killer.” Ling Shu said as he chewed on the fried dough stick, he mumbled, “But, do you think that it could have been Mr Cheng this time?”

Yue Dingtang: “Motive?”

Ling Shu: “This is a complicated matter, Mr Cheng stole his woman, naturally Shen Shiqi was annoyed but did not dare to say anything directly. Mr Cheng, being vigilant and perhaps wanting to avoid giving him an opportunity to take revenge in the future, took preventative action.”

Yue Dingtang: “But Shen Shiqi gave He Youan to Mr Cheng willingly, I suspect that He Youan was the one who instigated everything and made her existence known to Mr Cheng herself.”

Ling Shu: “Explain?”

Yue Dingtang: “Do you still remember the first time we saw Mr Cheng?”

Naturally Ling Shu remembered.

That day, because of the death threat letters that He Youan had been receiving, she had arranged for them to meet up. She had invited them to the restaurant for dinner, booking a private room that happened to be next to where Shen Shiqi and Mr Cheng were having dinner.

“What you mean to say is that He Youan already knew that Shen Shiqi would have dinner with Mr Cheng there, and so she deliberately arranged to be there?”

Ling Shu: “Or perhaps she was only afraid that she’d be found out by Shen Shiqi, and it would be even harder to explain, so she took the initiative to move things along.”

Yue Dingtang glanced over at him and then said quietly; “You really know how to find excuses for her.”

“Beauties will always get preferential treatment.” Ling Shu scratched his nose, “Anyway, I’m not obsessed with her beauty, aren’t I still calmly discussing the possibilities with you. There are so many restaurants in Shanghai, but the restaurant that He Youan chose that day was coincidentally the same one as Shen Shiqi, and coincidentally that room was exactly the one next to the private room that Shen Shiqi was meeting with Mr Cheng. These coincidences do look suspicious. If this was all purposefully organised by He Youan, then what exactly is her objective, did she just want to get rid of Shen Shiqi and change to Mr Cheng, switching from a boat to a bigger sturdier ship?”

Yue Dingtang: “No matter what her motive is, Jiang He was correct on one thing – He Youan is definitely not what she seems, she is not as simple as she appears. She also does not treat you with pure and good intentions. As of yet, I still don’t know what role she plays in all of this and what her goal is. If it was only to get close to Mr Cheng, and to change suitors, then this all seems a little over the top.”

Ling Shu: “Did you give her that newspaper that I found on Chen Youhua?”

Yue Dingtang: “I did, but didn’t get even any reaction from her, she barely looked at it.”

Ling Shu said lazily: “You don’t know how to talk to women, it’s better if I go.”

Yue Dingtang: “Go wearing slippers and a hospital gown?”

Ling Shu slicked his hair back: “With my charm and presence, what does it matter what I wear?”

Yue Dingtang didn’t have the heart to tell him, Ling Shu hadn’t slept the entire night, he had bed hair, and after having gone out to buy breakfast, his hair had been blown about by the wind, it was sticking up all over the place, that Yue Dingtang almost couldn’t resist laughing.

His face was pale and his lips colourless, his eyes were tired, if he went over there to see He Youan, there was no way they’d even let him through the door.

“Stay here and rest. The doctor said that if you rest today, then normally you should be able to get out of the hospital by tonight.”

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Yue Dingtang got up and picked up his scarf and hat 一一 put them on and then he stretched out his hand.

Ling Shu: “What?”

Yue Dingtang: “My coat.”

Ling Shu took off the coat and gave it to him, quietly complained that it was cold, and in a flash, he’d already jumped under the covers and wrapped himself up, and then he flipped over in the quilt and grabbed another bite of the fried dough stick, resembling very much like a rice ball.

This current sight was nothing like the usual Ling Shu who was admired and chased after by women.

Yue Dingtang couldn’t bear to look any longer, he turned his head and left, unwilling to stay even a second longer.

Or perhaps, he was in a hurry to find out the truth behind Shen Shiqi’s death.

Since He Youan had asked them to investigate the case, numerous things had happened, it was not only Ling Shu who was interested in the case, Yue Dingtang had also been enticed by the case, if not, he would never have agreed to help her in the first place.

It was just that the more they investigated, the more he felt that the underlying truth would be beyond the expected.

Those who they had believed were the killer would suddenly turn out to be innocent, making them change the direction of their investigation.

For example, if everything was as He Youan said, and it was Chen Wendong who was behind everything, then regarding Shen Shiqi’s death, could it also be linked to Chen Wendong? And what was Chen Wendong’s motive for killing Shen Shiqi?

The riddle was like a snowball becoming bigger and bigger, chasing them from behind, making them want to change direction, but it was already too late to leave the game. Since the day that they accepted He Youan’s case, they had already entered into the game.

When he arrived back at the PSB, he discovered that Shen Shiqi’s body had indeed been transported there.

Plus, Chief Huang looked miserable when he went to see him, because he’d just had a nasty conversation on the phone with Shen Shiqi’s uncle.

“Mr Yue, this case is really a little odd, I’m afraid I’ll need your help.”

The Chief saw him and sighed before speaking.

Yue Dingtang: “Why? Is there a lead?”

“It’s not really a lead, well there is something. But, Shen Shiqi’s uncle just called, and said very ‘politely’ that if I don’t solve this case, then I must quit. Mr Yue, we could be considered as old acquaintances, you wouldn’t have the heart to see me demoted, I think at that point, I’d need to beg you to help…….”

Chief Huang was obsessed with status, Yue Dingtang knew this long ago.

The person in front of him had hired him as a consultant for the PSB, not because Yue Dingtang had solved the Yuan Manor case but because he was a member of the Yue family.

“Chief Huang is exaggerating, I am just a poor professor, how could I help? I think what we need to prioritise is solving this case, and the Shen family will naturally not say anything else about the matter. Otherwise, even if they use their contacts to get rid of you, would your successor be guaranteed to solve this case?”

Without having received any assurances from him, Chief Huang was a little disappointed but he also didn’t know what else to say.

“The body has been brought back here, the coroner has already examined the body and has determined that he died from poisoning. I think he said something like cyanide, but it’s worse than white cyanide.”

Potassium cyanide?

“Yes yes, that’s the name, of course, you’d know you’ve studied abroad! How about this, you go up to the second floor now and those who were taking statements can give you the full details about the case. I’ve got an important guest coming in a bit, and need to go and prepare so I won’t keep you!”

Yue Dingtang guessed that Chief Huang had been frightened by the Shen family’s threats, and was busy looking for another backer, and so left him to his own devices. He headed directly up to the second floor.

Potassium cyanide is extremely poisonous, it was manufactured forty years ago in the chemical industry, but it was very difficult for an everyday person to get hold of it and it was even rarer for someone to have even heard of it. Therefore, the culprit must have planned for a long time and had specifically targeted Shen Shiqi.

According to the statements, yesterday night at around 2am, someone saw a waiter carrying a serving tray up to the fourth floor and had gone in the direction of the presidential suite no. 407, which was the suite that Shen Shiqi had booked.

But according to the restaurant, Shen Shiqi had not ordered any room service that night, he had not even made a single phone call. In fact, after entering the hotel room, he had made no contact whatsoever. As for his two bodyguards, because the dancer felt uncomfortable having two people guarding the door, Shen Shiqi had asked them to go away and get a late snack, and so they were not present at that time.

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As for the cause of death, the preliminary report stated that he had smoked the cigarettes that had been delivered by the fake waiter, breathing in the poison hidden in the cigarette, and the dancer had eaten some of the delivered food, so that’s why she was unconscious but it was not fatal.

Yue Dingtang was deep in thought after listening to this.

“So that means that, the food didn’t have any poison, only an incapacitating agent, and the poison was in the cigarettes?”

The policeman who was in charge of the investigation opened up the file and gave it to him.

“Yes, the dancer doesn’t smoke so she only ate the food, the victim consumed both.”

Yue Dingtang: “Then how did they find out so quickly that it was potassium cyanide?”

Policeman: “It’s still not completely confirmed, it’s just the coroner’s initial observation, we are still waiting for the confirmation, but the substance in the cigarette has been determined as highly poisonous and has already been tested out on animals.”

Yue Dingtang was confused, various conflicting thoughts were flashing across his mind, one moment he had an idea and then another one would come, until he heard the policeman complaining——

“It has been raining all day today and yesterday evening, a lot of evidence has been lost, it’s been difficult to find anything.”

He suddenly had a thought spring up in his mind, as if he had discovered a link between two entirely different parallel lines.

“I’m going to go and investigate someone!”
Translator Note:

Woohoo – another chapter yess…

Work is finally slowly down for Christmas and I’m able to catch my breath, but it is late, I did proof read but with very tired eyes so apologies if there’s some typos or weird phrases.

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