The darkness amplified the fear deep within.
Shen Renjie sat on the cold ground, unable to control his trembling.
He remembered being in the interrogation room, hearing the old butler mention the underground gold in the Yuan Manor. It was hard to avoid being tempted.
Shen Renjie believed that even Yue Dingtang, who always appeared righteous, couldn't resist the temptation of gold.
But Shen Renjie never expected that he wouldn't even lay eyes on a single gold bar, and now he was tied up and left in this place, about to become cannon fodder. He didn't even know if he would see the sun tomorrow.
He recalled everything he saw before the lights went out, and his breathing became more rapid.
Telegraph machines, maps, diesel, firearms... Who could have guessed that there was such a big secret hidden beneath the Yuan Manor?
Shen Renjie didn't know much about firearms, but just now, in his panic, he caught a glimpse of what looked like parts of a Maxim machine gun.
Even now, he still doubted whether he had seen it correctly.
For most families, the necessities of life are rice, oil, salt, soy sauce, vinegar, and tea. Ultimately, money is indispensable, which is why even warlords like Yuan Bingdao never forget to hoard wealth, because only with money can one buy their life.
But who would place a radio transmitter and receiver in the basement?
As for the Maxim machine gun, it was more than enough for self-defense, assassination, and attacks. This heavy machine gun, invented in 1883 and played a significant role in World War I, was generally only seen on the battlefield. In the Battle of the Somme, the Germans used this machine gun and killed tens of thousands of British soldiers in just one day.
Why would such a terrifying weapon appear in the basement of a residential building in Shanghai? Could it be that after being ousted from Sichuan, Yuan Bingdao still harbored ambitions to make a comeback and secretly prepared for it? If not him, then who else could it be?
Shen Renjie dared not delve deeper into these thoughts. He felt that the pit was too deep, and one wrong move could lead to his demise. He only wanted to make a name for himself and get promoted. If he could also benefit from it and bring back a few gold bars, that would be even better.
The darkness remained, as dark as ever. In the distance, there were footsteps - fast, agile, and gone in a flash.
Shen Renjie's nerves were on edge.
But soon, everything returned to quiet.
He knew that the two people nearby were definitely searching for their opponent's weaknesses, trying to take them down. And he was caught in the middle, a small and insignificant fish. Shen Renjie knew that these two people wouldn't care about his life.
He could only pity himself and his own life.
Lost in thought, suddenly his shoulder felt heavy.
Shen Renjie was about to scream, but his mouth was covered tightly!
A warm breath whispered into Shen Renjie's ear, and he could feel the other person suppressing even their breath.
It was Ling Shu.
Shen Renjie immediately felt weak and broke out in a cold sweat. He wanted to blame the other for arriving so late, and also wanted to remind him that there were two skilled people with guns, but the current situation left Shen Renjie unable to say anything.
Ling Shu reached behind and untied Shen Renjie's ropes.
Sancai tied the knots tightly and professionally, but there was no knot that couldn't be untied.
There was a sound of heavy objects falling in the darkness, and someone accidentally knocked over something on a shelf. Then there was the sound of gunshots, and both sides were undoubtedly testing each other and didn't want to be caught off guard.
Shen Renjie's body visibly trembled in fear.
When Ling Shu came in, he only had time to take a quick glance before everything went completely dark.
He could only roughly guess that they were currently in a corner and wouldn't be affected for the time being. But if one side moves towards this direction, it's not certain anymore. Now he urgently needs to figure out a solution.
Ling Shu grabbed Shen Renjie's hand and wrote a few words in his palm. "Who's attacking?"
Based on deduction, one of them should be Boss Li. But who could have clashed with Boss Li before they arrived?
Shen Renjie finally reacted, trembling as he wrote a few words in Ling Shu's palm. "Sancai."
Ling Shu was puzzled. He thought Shen Renjie had made a mistake and wrote two more words: "Internal conflict?"
Shen Renjie replied simply and clearly: "Yes."
A gunshot rang out.
Shen Renjie was startled.
Something on a nearby shelf fell down with a clatter, causing a chain reaction as the entire shelf was overturned. In the next moment, he felt someone running towards him, their footsteps urgent and rapid.
Before he knew it, they were already behind him! Shen Renjie felt himself being pulled by Ling Shu, but the hand that was holding him suddenly let go.
Ling Shu's back was kicked hard, causing him to crash into a nearby shelf. The radio on the top of the shelf fell down and barely missed him as he instinctively dodged it. Without hesitation, he turned around and lunged towards the other person, grabbing the gun in their hand!
The other person then used their arm to wrap around Ling Shu's neck with such force that he couldn't resist. His grip on the gun loosened and he was punched in the chin, causing him to see stars and stumble backwards.
Suddenly, a faint light appeared. Someone had lit a kerosene lamp in a nearby corner. At the moment the light came on, Ling Shu saw a blurry figure in front of him.
It was none other than Sancai, who had just fought with Hong Xiaoguang and was killed by him in the end!
How could a dead person suddenly come back to life and appear here?
There were only two possibilities.
Either one of the two Sancais was fake.
Or both of these people were Sancai.
In a flash, Ling Shu tackled Sancai to the ground while he was distracted, and the two of them instantly began to fight.
Ling Shu was skilled, but he had been injured earlier and was still dizzy.
Sancai, on the other hand, was unusually fierce and every move was aimed at killing. Ling Shu's ribs were hit by a palm strike, causing him unbearable pain and leaving him unable to speak.
Sancai then locked his neck and pressed him to the ground.
The opponent's face was ferocious, and his fingers tightened around Ling Shu's neck, intending to strangle him on the spot.
Gunshots rang out.
It wasn't coming from their side. Sancai's gun had already been kicked away by Ling Shu.
But Sancai couldn't avoid hesitating for a moment. In that half second, Ling Shu took the opportunity to kick him directly in the groin.
Shen Renjie had already scrambled to grab the gun and aimed it at Sancai, firing a shot. Sancai fell backwards. Blood spread from his shoulder, but despite his injuries, he still crawled towards Shen Renjie!
The latter never expected him to react so quickly and was tackled head-on. The gun went off several times during the struggle, hitting the ceiling.
Ling Shu felt like even his breath was now tainted with the smell of blood. His mouth felt rusty, and liquid kept flowing from his nose, which he swallowed down. His head was heavier than his body, swaying and tilting to the side.
Even with a glimmer of light, everything in Ling Shu's eyes was distorted and out of focus. The figures around him blurred and he couldn't focus on anything.
Ling Shu couldn't help but rub his eyes, only to feel blood on his hand. It was then that he remembered being punched by Sancai earlier, leaving his chin swollen and his eye corner cut.
Gunshots rang out several times. Shen Renjie's face was splattered with hot blood, some even getting into his mouth. He stared blankly at the blood gushing from Sancai's head, realizing too late that the shot wasn't fired by him. During the struggle with Sancai, the gun went off accidentally, and all the bullets were used up.
Before he could react, Ling Shu had already pushed him behind a cabinet.
"Come out," they heard the voice of Boss Li. The atmosphere was cold and sticky, like some kind of creature that lived underground all year round.
Ling Shu still remembered the scene when he dealt with Boss Li at the Xinyue Cafe.
The same voice could have completely different styles.
The former was warm, honest, generous, and passionate.
The latter was ruthless, shooting his accomplice dead.
Ling Shu had to admit that he had misjudged Boss Li. He may have doubted Boss Li's perfection, but he never thought that he could disguise himself to such an extent.
"I didn't kill that patrolman just now, and I won't kill you now. The person I wanted to kill is already dead. As long as you help me find the thing I'm looking for, tonight's events will be forgotten."
Boss Li spoke slowly, as if to reassure them. He didn't come any closer, just stood two or three cabinets away. Shen Renjie saw Ling Shu make a gesture, signaling him to hide inside while Ling Shu moved outside.
"What are you looking for? How do we trust you?" Shen Renjie heard Ling Shu ask after a while.
"A foreign document."
"German, but there's an English version too."
"I don't know German, but I can understand English."
"Great. There are a few unused kerosene lamps in the corner. Light them up and then look in the last two cabinets. Most of the documents should be there."
Ling Shu knew he wouldn't die for the time being.
Before Mr. Li left, he would definitely silence them all. But this document was important to him, so he would rather let Ling Shu live for another half hour.
Of course, that was under the premise that Ling Shu was within his control. "Where is your accomplice? Bring him out!" Mr. Li squinted at Ling Shu, who was the only one holding a kerosene lamp.
Ling Shu pointed towards the door. "He got injured just now and can't move."
Mr. Li waved his gun and said, "Take me to see him."
Ling Shu led him to the door, and Mr. Li saw Shen Renjie sitting against the wall, covered in blood and unable to open his eyes.
Mr. Li squinted again. "What about the person who went to the café with you? Where is he?"
Ling Shu replied, "We only had a chance encounter. He wanted to use me to gain merit, and I wanted to use him to clear my name. When disaster struck, we each went our separate ways. He's a wealthy young master, and he already had a close call last time. How could he possibly follow me into danger?"
The other side sneered, "This is the result of meddling in other people's business!"
Ling Shu sighed, "I was sitting at home when the pot fell from the sky and I inexplicably became a murderer. If I don't actively clear my name, how will I ever get to the bottom of this and see the impressive side of Mr. Li, who is praised by everyone?"
"Stop talking nonsense and find the documents!" Mr. Li's tone was flat and cold.
Ling Shu walked over to the last two cabinets.
They were packed tightly with stacks upon stacks of files.
Each stack had a label on the front.
"What's the first letter of the file you need?"
"Maybe it's 'A', or it could be 'N'. Look through both stacks," Mr. Li replied.
"What's the general content of the file?" Ling Shu asked.
Mr. Li was getting impatient. "I've already told you, there are some mechanical design patterns inside. Just find the two stacks of files with the design patterns!"
Ling Shu took down the two stacks of files with the letters "N" and "" at the beginning and began to search through them one by one.
The dim lighting made it difficult to search, but every time Ling Shu slowed down, Mr. Li immediately noticed and scolded him coldly, threatening him and forcing him to work harder.
The faster Ling Shu found the files, the closer his death would be.
Ling Shu began to speak aimlessly, "Although you used me as a pawn, it seems that we have some fate. You helped me deal with Yuan Bing, who took away my love and caused me to fall to this point. If it weren't for you framing me for murder, I would have thanked you even more. Now that you've killed Sancai, those people outside will definitely not let you go. Why don't we work together, the three of us, to deal with the outsiders and split the gold here? What do you think?"
Mr. Li remained silent.
"If you don't speak, I'll assume you're considering it. Old Li, I'm sure that's not your real name, but you probably won't tell me your true name, so I'll just call you that for now."
"I mean, Old Li, you put your heart and soul into training them, but they still treat you like an outsider and even want to silence you. In the end, they even want to betray you. I understand that feeling of being betrayed, just like when Du Yunning wanted to break off our engagement. I still remember that feeling to this day."
"Speaking of which, I clearly saw the Sancais up there just now, but why is there still one here? Are they twins?"
Old Li seemed annoyed and finally spoke up.
"Where in the world are there so many twins? With deliberate training, even their speech, behavior, and habits can be the same. Even if their appearance is slightly different, it can still create an illusion that is indistinguishable. What do you know!"
Ling Shu suddenly realized, "You've been running the Xinyue Cafe for so long without arousing suspicion. Your skills are extraordinary, Old Li. How about taking me as your apprentice and teaching me? I promise not to hold you back!"
Yue Dingtang didn't know where Ling Shu got his skills from. He was able to talk non-stop and distract Old Li, who was such a cunning and vicious person. But it couldn't be denied that his words diverted Old Li's attention, allowing Yue Dingtang to slowly move behind him.
"You?" Old Li sneered when he heard Yue Dingtang. "Do you still need me to teach you? I see that you're already skilled at misdirection, but unfortunately--"
He suddenly turned around, pointing his gun directly at Yue Dingtang!
In the nick of time, Ling Shu leaped up from the ground and pounced on Old Li's back! Gunshots rang out as Boss Li was tackled by Ling Shu, causing the bullet to miss its mark.
The two men struggled with each other, and Yue Dingtang couldn't risk firing his gun. Boss Li seemed to be aware of this and kicked Ling Shu away, shooting the kerosene lamp with one shot.
Two kerosene lamps in the corner were knocked over, and the flames quickly spread to the files in the cabinet.
Yue Dingtang fired several shots, but Boss Li was hit in the arm and let out a muffled groan. He continued to pull the trigger, seemingly hitting Yue Dingtang's leg.
Suddenly, Shen Renjie, who had been pretending to be dead with his face covered in blood, leaped up and grabbed Ling Shu, quickly running towards the door on the other side.
"There are explosives inside, and they'll explode if there's a fire!" Shen Renjie wouldn't have cared about Ling Shu if he hadn't just saved him.
Ling Shu said, "You go first, I'll go back and save people!"
Shen Renjie refused to let go, his voice trembling with tears: "They also strapped explosives to me!"
Ling Shu was taken aback and pulled him out.
They had just escaped when a loud explosion came from behind them.
The ground shook and trembled.
It was a small explosion.
Although Boss Li's death was not regrettable, Yue Dingtang was still inside.
Ling Shu took a closer look and realized that the place they came out of was not the same entrance they had just entered.
Behind them was a small building next to the courtyard shed, behind the Yuan Manor.
Not far away, a truck was parked in an open grassy area.
Two people got off the truck, wearing duckbill caps and black jackets, one holding a stick and the other a gun.
These were obviously the people Boss Li had mentioned who were waiting outside to help them.
The two men were slowly approaching Ling Shu and Shen Renjie. Behind them, the basement was silent after the explosion.
They were in a dilemma, surrounded by enemies on all sides.
Ling Shu felt Shen Renjie's hand trembling as he held onto him.
As long as those two people knew that Shen Renjie was carrying explosives, with just one shot, they could send both of them to meet the recently deceased Sancai.
The author has something to say:
We're almost at the end of this volume, just one more chapter to go! Then, get ready for the exciting new volume, featuring the witty subordinate Ling Shu and the perfectionist boss Yue Dingtang in a battle of wits and intelligence~~~