When Ling Shu woke up, the rain that had been pouring all night had finally stopped.
After the sun came out, even the wind disappeared under its shining rays. The howling and roaring from last night seemed like a distant dream. The plants and trees were grateful for the rain and lazily stretched their bodies, not wanting to move.
Just like Ling Shu now.
He was awake, but his body still begged for sleep. Wrapped in a coat that he didn't know who had put on him, he listened to the sounds outside, half-awake.
Yue Dingtang and Old Yuan were discussing the transportation of treasures.
Yue Dingtang asked, "Is Deputy Mayor Jin reliable?"
Old Yuan nodded and said, "One of the Buddhist pagodas in the box, as well as a rare Song Dynasty book, were handed over to my grandfather by Deputy Mayor Jin. I don't think he would go back on his word and play games with us."
Yue Dingtang spoke in a low voice, "Does he know the risks he faces if this matter is exposed?"
Deputy Mayor Jin is a Manchu and a puppet official under the Japanese regime.
Although he is currently in a position of power and appears to be respected by the Japanese, these are all superficial efforts and are only based on his willingness to be a puppet.
If the situation in the city becomes turbulent and the news of Deputy Mayor Jin transporting treasures out of the city is exposed, his position won't be able to protect him.
Old Yuan said, "I've met this person a few times, and I can't say for sure, but I remember the old master's evaluation of him. He said that although Deputy Mayor Jin has some flaws in his character, he doesn't lose his integrity. He knows what he's doing and he knows he can't face his ancestors with shame. But he also doesn't want the old ancestors' belongings to fall into the hands of foreigners, so he thought of using the fake old man's hand to ease his guilt a little."
In troubled times, even those who go with the flow may have their own ideas.
Everyone has their own difficulties that they can't control.
Although some may not deserve punishment, they are few and far between.
But if it weren't for old master Guan, Deputy Mayor Jin might not have had the courage to take a desperate gamble.
He would have spent his whole life living a mediocre existence in Fengtian, being treated like a puppet and pulled around.
"Is that Mr. Liu with Deputy Mayor Jin's faction?"
It was Ling Shu who spoke.
He finally mustered the courage to leave the warmth of his bed and sat up, but he remained curled up tightly, with only his head poking out, looking like a roly-poly toy.
Yue Dingtang said, "The man behind Mr. Liu is called Bao Mushou. He is the backer of Deputy Mayor Jin and a member of the Kwantung Army. Although they belong to the same army, there are conflicts within their ranks. Bao Mushou and another member named Tanaka have always had differing political views and have been in constant conflict. Bao Mushou is responsible for connecting the northeast with Shanghai, which was the business deal that Mr. Cheng had previously made. Tanaka has been envious for a long time but has never had the opportunity to strike. This car bombing incident gave him a chance. He took advantage of the anger of the big shot in the Kwantung Army to point out that Mr. Liu, who works under Bao Mushou, is suspected of dereliction of duty and even collusion with the enemy."
Ling Shu said, "That's why Mr. Liu, as a capable assistant by Bao Mushou's side, has long wanted to get rid of him. If you kill him, it will also not be investigated."
Yue Dingtang nodded, "Afterwards, Bao Mushou will definitely suspect that it was done by Tanaka. He will be busy dealing with the anger of that important person and won't have time to pay attention to me. By the time he comes to his senses, it's unknown whether he can keep his life and property. I would have already left Fengtian and there is no way to talk about cooperation with the Yue family."
Ling Shu raised his eyebrows, "But you ruined your second brother's plan. Won't you be investigated when you go back?"
Yue Dingtang said, "We are brothers. Besides scolding me, what else can he do?"
This statement was completely shameless, especially when said with a serious expression, it had a particularly funny feeling.
Ling Shu wanted to say something, but sneezed instead. "Whose clothes are these? Why do they smell?"
Old Yuan didn't care: "These are mink fur coats that I took from those old Russians. They're pretty warm, aren't they? I even gave you Ivanov's coat, he always dressed the best."
Ling Shu's mouth twitched.
At first, he felt a bit uncomfortable, but then he thought about how they used to sleep next to dead bodies on the battlefield.
He realized that he had been living too comfortably since he took off his armor.
Now, even wearing a dead man's clothes made him feel uneasy.
Despite feeling uneasy, the spring chill was still biting, so he pulled the fur collar up and buried his head in it.
"When will Deputy Mayor Jin's mother's coffin arrive?"
"It should be tomorrow morning." Yue Dingtang looked at the two patients, both with either gunshot wounds or mobility issues.
Don't even mention a full day, even half a day more of this suffering would be difficult for them.
And tomorrow, with the coffin entering the temple, they would have to move things and provide cover, not knowing what unexpected situations they might face.
"I'm going down the mountain now to find a doctor. You guys stay here," he said.
Of the three, only he could walk normally.
Old Yuan frowned, "Now? The city is under strict inspection. How are you going to get in and out?"
Without looking back, Yue Dingtang turned and raised the thin paper in his hand.
"Mr. Liu's pass allows free entry and exit to Fengtian City."
Old Yuan hesitated, but couldn't stop him.
He could only watch as Yue Dingtang's figure quickly disappeared into the forest path down the mountain.
After finishing a bowl of water and half a cake, Ling Shu watched as Old Yuan paced back and forth in front of him countless times, going from a serious expression to sighing and groaning, like an anxious and restless rooster with drooping tail feathers.
"Don't beat around the bush anymore, my eyes are getting blurry. If you keep circling around, you'll end up outside! When Old Yue went out, why did you become like a resentful widow? Did you two talk all night and make some kind of solemn vow?"
Old Yuan suddenly turned around, "Right after he left, I remembered something. His family has connections with the Japanese, what if everything he said was just to deceive us and he won't come back after leaving the mountain? What should we do?"
Ling Shu said, "You ask me, who should I ask? We are both old and weak now, it takes us half a day just to carry the box, let alone hide it. If we really do as you say, we can only surrender!"
"Do you also think he's untrustworthy?" asked Old Yuan.
"I'm just going along with what you said. The man is gone now, what's the use of worrying about it? Come on, do you want water or wine?"
"Drink my foot!" Old Yuan sat down by the fire and began to ponder his mistakes.
"It's all my fault. I'm too trusting of others. He looked so righteous and I let him go without realizing it. If he doesn't come back, that's fine, but what if he brings people to the mountain to capture us and take the treasure? Then everything we've done will be for nothing!"
Ling Shu lazily replied, "Well, you've already spilled all my secrets anyway."
Old Yuan asked, "Did you hear everything? You weren't sleeping?"
Ling Shu replied, "I woke up in the middle of the night, heard a bit of it, and then went back to sleep in a daze."
Old Yuan said, "Isn't this all for your sake? I'm afraid he holds a grudge against you, which could affect your friendship. After all, you'll still have to work under him in the future. Speaking of which, how does he usually treat you?"
Ling Shu said, "It's okay."
Old Yuan asked, "What do you mean by 'okay'?"
Ling Shu counted on his fingers.
"He asked me to buy cigarettes, so I took the opportunity to bargain with the vendor and get a kickback. He asked me to organize files, so I dozed off in the office. He asked me to reject a pursuer, so I made the girl interested in me instead. Basically, I eat dinner at his house five days a week, and I never leech off him for the other two meals. He still hasn't fired me, is that considered okay?"
Old Yuan stared in disbelief, "This is considered okay? He hasn't strangled you yet?"
Ling Shu replied, "Back then, I didn't want to be his subordinate, so I tried every way to make him fire me."
Old Yuan sighed, "If Yue Dingtang wasn't so evil, he would definitely be a kind person. After all, not many bosses can tolerate you messing around like this!"
Ling Shug chuckled silently, thinking to himself: "Well, isn't this just my karma catching up to me? I've been taken advantage of, and there's nowhere to turn for justice."