The Plough – Chapter 65

Ling Shu wanted to move but he no longer could!
Yue Dingtang was not in a hurry to leave.

He was still waiting in Ling Shu’s hospital room.

Waiting for the latter to finish up with He Youan.

Although Yue Dingtang knew that it was very likely that Ling Shu would come back empty-handed as He Youan would likely beat around the bush and make sure to clear herself of all suspicions.

But someone who was as open-minded as Ling Shu was actually quite profound in nature, even if he encountered an extremely sly person, he would still be able to come out with something.

Yue Dingtang didn’t have anything else to do, so he took out a book by a foreign author and started reading in the room.

When he got to the part where Miss Morstan1Mary Morstan is a character in Sherlock Holmes so he’s probably reading one of those had just entered the book, Ling Shu came back.

When he left, Ling Shu had gone empty-handed without taking a gift with him.

When he returned he had come back with both small and large bags, returning from a rewarding journey2满载而归 mǎnzài ér guī.

Ling Shu put down the bags.

There was spicy duck clavicles, sweet syrup and fresh flowers.

All of this covered the entire small table.

There was an empty vase in the room, Ling Shu gave it a rinse and put flowers in there, immediately bringing warmth and brightness to the room.

“Did He Youan give you these?”

Yue Dingtang had trouble imagining that He Youan someone who placed herself above the common populace would gift Ling Shu with spicy duck clavicles.

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Ling Shu: “Yeh right? These are the things that I took from each patient’s room on the way back.”

Seeing that Yue Dingtang was still looking rather sceptical, Ling Shu explained as if he was enumerating one’s families valuables3如数家珍 rú shǔ jiā zhēn fig. to be very familiar with a matter.

“Next door to He Youan, there was an old lady who had a lovely family. She has a problem with her heart and the doctors have asked her to stay overnight. Her family was not present, there was only a maid who stayed with her. The old lady being ill was not in a good mood and was having a go at the maid when I happened to be passing by and heard it. So I went in to calm down the situation. I hit it off with the old lady, and we chatted for a long time, and not only this, when I left she gave me two bags of tangerines.”

Yue Dingtang: “You ate a bag on the way back?”

Ling Shu: “I also went to the room next to hers. The patient used to be a military officer. He left the army to start his own business and works in Shanghai. He has a flourishing business and even made a small fortune for himself. It’s just a shame that he doesn’t have any kids, and is rather lonely. He saw me bring tangerines to come visit him so of course he was delighted, plus anyone who sees me is always happy. We chatted for a while, so then he ended up thrusting upon me half of the gifts that other people had brought him and also his contact details so that we can meet up when we get out of hospital.”

Yue Dingtang: ……

Ling Shu: “After that I went to another patient’s room. The nurse had just finished giving a jab to the patient and was leaving. It was a sweet little girl from a noble family who was weeping very sadly, her mother and the maid could not console her, as soon as I went in that girl stopped crying immediately, and I even cheered her up. She wouldn’t let me leave after that, and wanted to give me the flowers as a gift. In the end, her mother finally put her down for a nap so I could leave.”

Yue Dingtang: “How old is that girl?”

Ling Shu: “Four years old.”

Yue Dingtang was speechless.

Ling Shu said in a meaningful manner: “Think about it, those who can be staying in a hospital room on the same floor as He Youan, they must be wealthy. I just did a lap and didn’t come back empty-handed. The most important thing is that I have made some friendships with the people, and I even gave some of the stuff to the nurses, so next time I’m here, I’ll be more familiar with the staff?”

Yue Dingtang: “You’re thinking about being in hospital again?”

Ling Shu laughed out loud: “Just a slip of the tongue, it’s just in case!”

Yue Dingtang closed his book, and then opened his notepad.

“What did you and He Youan talk about?”

“Nothing conclusive, but it could also be considered a result.”

Ling Shu spoke ambiguously and then put the key on the table.

“HSBC, Safe number 7708, the reward from He Youan.”

Yue Dingtang glanced at the key. “Aside from this?”

Ling Shu: “She said that she doesn’t know Chen Youhua and she only just found out about Shen Shiqi. From beginning to the end, nothing is to do with her, she professes to be the victim. Aside from writing the note to warn us about Chen Wendong, she has not done anything else. She also said that, in the next two days, she is leaving Shanghai and going to travel around and has no fixed date to return.”

Yue Dingtang: “That means you didn’t get anything then.”

“But before I left, she said something very strange.”

After that, Ling Shu paused for a moment, as if to reflect deeply on what she had said.

“She said, ‘Mr Ling. I have been in the acting business for many years and have made quite a few films and there are quite a few stills that remain and they are all kept by Mr. Peng Siping. After I’m gone, if your brother-in-law is interested, you can go and ask Peng lao-ban, I have already told him about it, so he will give you everything’.”

Yue Dingtang was deep in thought. “Is your brother-in-law a fan of He Youan?”

Ling Shu: “Well that’s the weird thing. It’s my sister who is her fan. From beginning to end, I have never ever mentioned my brother-in-law. Given that it’s He Youan, there’s no way that she could have got it mixed up.”

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Yue Dingtang: You think that she’s trying to secretly tell you something.”

Ling Shu: “She is a smart person who knows how to read people, someone like that would never say purely superfluous words when departing. And I believe that she meant to let me know she wouldn’t be coming back to Shanghai for a long time, and perhaps, if it was suitable, she would just move to Hong Kong permanently.”

He Youan had also specifically said to wait until she has left and then go and get it.

She had said this about the stills.

She had also said this about the safe.

Was there something that she wanted to say that she couldn’t and she couldn’t only give vague and tactful hints and wait for Ling Shu to figure out the rest.

Or perhaps, she couldn’t bear any more humiliation from Shen Shiqi and after killing him, she was running away with Mr Cheng. Leaving this place to never return, exploring the boundless open vistas. But looking kindly on her friendship with Ling Shu, she was leaving Ling Shu a few clues, to stop him from obsessing over the case and descending into madness.

Ling Shu believed himself not to be dumb, but after having met He Youan, he felt that he was truly a little lost.

This woman was holding the pipa and covering half her face4This is an expression that comes from a poem by Bai Juyi called ‘The ballad of the Pipa’ 琵琶行 pípa xíng- The original poem describes the shyness and timidity of the pipa player. It is often used to describe waiting for a long time to see her true face., sometimes it seemed like he had seen the real her and then all of a sudden it turned out to be false.

After she left Shanghai, the death of Shen Shiqi and Miss Qian would disappear completely in the background and no one will care to investigate further.

“It looks like we can only wait for her to leave and then get our answer.”

Ling Shu yawned and then his gaze fell upon the empty plate.

“Where are the apples?”

Yue Dingtang said: “I ate it, yesterday there was a whole bag, how come there was only one left?”

Lign Shu: “I was hungry yesterday, I didn’t have anything to eat last night, and then during the day, there were quite a few guests that came and had some.”

Yue Dingtang: “I think you still ate the majority of them, are you still thinking about getting out of the hospital earlier in your state?”

Ling Shu smiled and said: “I don’t mind staying a bit longer but only if Zhou-shu brings me warm soup and hot food everyday, then it’ll not be much different than being at home.”

Okay, he’d become too accustomed to being in hospital.

Yue Dingtang was too lazy to continue disputing with him and got up, picking up his book.

“I’m going to leave now, in a bit, Zhou-shu will come and chat to the doctor, if you get the okay then he’ll sort out the papers for you to get out of hospital.”

“Yue Sir,” Ling Shu called out to him, “there is one thing, but I don’t know if I should say it or not.”

Yue Dingtang stopped walking and turned around.

Ling Shu asked innocently: “Do I still have to work tomorrow then?”

Yue Dingtang didn’t want to say another word and just turned around and left.

After he left, Ling Shu scoffed.

He shook his head, he picked up a tangerine and slowly peeled the skin off.

Just like Yue Dingtang wanted to probe him all the time about his past.

He very much enjoyed provoking Yue Dingtang, prodding to find his breaking point.

Their relationship was like dancing a tango, if you weren’t advancing, then I was.

Seemingly friends but also enemies at the same time, boss and subordinate, old classmates; it was a complicated relationship, constantly oscillating between intimate and estranged, but maintaining a subtle balance.

Not long after Yue Dingtang left, the doctor and the old housekeeper, Zhou-shu came in.

Because he had been messing around and pigging out the entire time, after the doctor did an examination on him, he concluded that Ling Shu was still not completely recovered. His body temperature was still hovering above 38c so he needed to stay in hospital for a few more days.

Under the criticising gaze of the old housekeeper, Ling Shu surrendered all of the duck clavicles and tangerines that he had not yet had time to eat. The old housekepers’s eyes were like a hawk, and even the tangerines he had hidden under his pillow were found. All of the goods had been confiscated and all that was left was plain congee and preserved vegetables to keep him company.

As a direct result of drinking the congee, he started to get hungry after a few trips to the toilet, but couldn’t find any food in his room. He lay down, covered himself up with the quilt and imagined a sumptuous banquet in his head consisting of the four seafood delicacies5参鲍翅肚 sān bào chì dǔ From 鮑魚/鲍鱼 (bàoyú, “abalone”) + 海參/海参 (hǎishēn, “sea cucumber”) + 魚翅/鱼翅 (yúchì, “shark fin”) + 魚肚/鱼肚 (yúdǔ, “fish maw”) = four seafood delicacies in Asia. , before finally falling asleep.

In the middle of the night, he was still feeling groggy when he awoke needing to pee.

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It was dead silent in the room, and calm outside the window, only that beside the bed——

There seemed to be someone.

He had a feeling of being in a mystery within a mystery, it was difficult to describe, but when one had their eyes closed and there was someone next to them, it was very easy to sense the other person’s presence next to them.

Ling Shu had this kind of feeling now.

In truth, the hospital always had visitors coming in upright, and leaving lying horizontally. Death was not something rare in this place; after so many years, it was not known how many wayward spirits were wandering around in the dead of night, unable to leave the mortal world.

Apparently, this hospital was built upon a cemetery, but was later turned into a hospital. Many wandering ghosts had nowhere to go and treated the hospital as their home. In the middle of the night, when there was no one, this was naturally ‘their’ hour.

He got goosebumps.

Ling Shu held his breath in fear, pretending to be still asleep, he flipped over, his firmly shut eyes opening up a tiny crack.

The moonlight was shining shining on the bed but the rest of the place was consumed by darkness.

A hand suddenly came down.

Ling Shu wanted to move but he no longer could!

Someone was holding down his neck!
Translator Note:

I’m getting the post-holiday blues, I’ve been off work and with my family all week and now I’m back in my cold house all alone lol.

Anyway, enough moaning – I’ve done a quick calculation and I want to finish TL-ing this novel before the end of this year. Now my evening classes are finished, I’m free after work so from now on I’ll be aiming to knock out 2+ releases per week again! Yaaaay! (* ^ ω ^)

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