The appearance of Jiang He indeed provided Ling Shu with more clues.
However, these clues made the situation even more complicated.
Ling Shu briefly sorted through them and found that there were two possibilities for He You'an's role in this matter.
Firstly, Shen Shiqi asked her to hand over the list of people to be killed to Jiang He, and Chen Wendong asked Jiang He to come and kill himself. In all of this, He You'an was completely unaware and only acted as a mediator.
She didn't know what was in the file folder, nor did she know Chen Wendong's intentions. At most, she only linked Chen Wendong and the maid Qian Shi's death, suspecting that Chen Wendong killed Qian Shi.
Secondly, He You'an was not just an informant. If it was the second possibility, then why did He You'an expose herself by letting Ling Shu investigate everything? And if Chen Wendong had Jiang He kill Ling Shu under her orders, what benefit would it bring to He You'an if Ling Shu died?
Not only would she expose herself voluntarily, but she would also gain another enemy. In the case of the death threat, whether it was the victim or the injured, it was either He You'an herself or someone who had a personal interest with her.
As an outsider, Ling Shu had nothing to do with this matter. It was completely unnecessary for He You'an to involve him intentionally.
"What do you think?" He couldn't help but ask Jiang He's opinion.
The two of them had just met by chance, and they had never even seen each other before this. But they had just experienced life and death together, something that even family and friends may not have had the chance to do.
Between them, they were neither enemies nor friends, their relationship maintained in a delicate balance.
"That woman is not simple," Jiang He repeated.
Ling Shu asked, "Then why didn't you take Chen Wendong's deal?"
"Because He You'an is not simple," Jiang He replied.
Ling Shu sighed, "Can't you say something else?"
"Ever since I saw her and Chen Youhua appear at the same bookstore, I refuse to work with her or anyone around her," Jiang He explained.
Ling Shu asked, "Did you tell Shen Shiqi about seeing Chen Youhua?"
"I have no direct contact with Shen Shiqi, we have no connection," Jiang He replied.
Suddenly, Ling Shu thought of someone. "Where is Mr. Cheng? How much do you know about Mr. Cheng attending the birthday banquet with He You'an tonight?"
Jiang He frowned slightly, "Why do you ask?"
Ling Shu said, "Don't you think these things are strange?"
Jiang He replied, "I just think you're meddling in other people's business."
Ling Shu pretended not to hear him and took another bite of his apple.
Jiang He seemed to be back in that nightmare, wanting to drive Ling Shu out.
"You see, an ordinary businessman wouldn't resort to violence so easily. Of course, Shen Shiqi is not an ordinary businessman. He thinks he can do whatever he wants because of his uncle's background, just like how he didn't like me. But why did he go to such lengths to send people to assassinate two small-time crooks?
"A tailor and a newspaper employee, even if they really offended Shen Shiqi, he could just raise his hand and have a group of Qing gangsters beat them up, or even more maliciously, chop off the tailor's hand and get the newspaper to fire the employee, leaving them with no way out. But he didn't do any of that. Instead, he secretly put their names on a list and had He You'an assassinate them. Is this reasonable?"
Jiang He asked, "What are you trying to say?"
Ling Shu replied, "Where there is something unreasonable, there must be a reasonable explanation. This means that those two people must have something unusual about them, perhaps they are not just a tailor or a newspaper employee. And Shen Shiqi's desire to kill them is definitely not just because of those superficial reasons. It's a bit confusing, can you understand?"
Jiang He said, "I don't understand."
Ling Shu said, "It's okay, I understand now. I was just talking to myself to sort out my thoughts. Although Shen Shiqi doesn't cherish and protect He You'an enough, he has a strong possessive desire and won't allow anyone else to have any thoughts about her. But he treats Mr. Cheng with utmost respect, even offering He You'an to him. Considering his purposeful killings earlier, is there a different relationship between him and Mr. Cheng, other than just business? Could it even be related to that assassination list?"
He quickly finished eating another apple in three bites, making it hard not to suspect him of being an apple spirit.
"That Cheng Gong person is also very strange," Jiang He finally spoke up.
Ling Shu became interested. "What do you mean by strange?"
Jiang He explained, "He does timber and steel business in the northeast, with smooth transactions between the northeast and the mainland."
Ling Shu: "I've heard before that he has a wide network and strong abilities."
Jiang He: "The strange thing is here."
Ling Shu: "What do you mean?"
Jiang He: "The grain from Northeast China that is transported to Shanghai, Cheng Gong can get the business of transporting this, which is a large part of his income."
In short, Ling Shu understood.
Northeast China is the largest grain-producing base in the country, but it is now under Japanese occupation. The Japanese established the South Manchuria Railway to monopolize the railway and grain transportation in China.
Cheng Gong can actually get a share from the Japanese, which shows that his ability is not ordinary.
At least, even the high-ranking officials' children in Nanjing may not be able to get this kind of face from the Japanese. Not to mention those officials themselves who grovel and flatter, the Japanese may use small favors to win them over, but they won't give such a big benefit.
"Speaking of Mr. Cheng, I've heard some interesting stories about him," Ling Shu laughed. "My friend said that when Cheng Gong was struggling in Shanghai years ago, he would introduce himself to people and mention that his surname was ‘Shi’. He would say that he was a descendant of Shu Wu, the younger brother of King Wu of Zhou, and came from the oldest and most authentic Cheng clan, which was also a descendant of the imperial family."
Jiang He didn't understand what was so special about this sentence that made Ling Shu laugh so meaningfully.
Ling Shu explained, "Do you know when people constantly emphasize their background? It's when they want to use their background to gild themselves, to make others believe it, and to make themselves believe it by saying it over and over again."
Jiang He asked, "Are you saying he's lying?"
"I'm not sure if he's lying, but that's what they're saying. Thanks for giving me all these clues. I'll go back and think about it." Ling Shu stood up and took a handful of apples from the table.
Seeing Jiang He watching his every move, Ling Shu chuckled.
"Since you need to rest, you shouldn't be eating apples. I'll take them back and have someone make apple jam for toast. If you want to keep some, we can add it to your medical expenses. I'll bring you two more bags in the next couple of days. It won't cost you much, just eleven yuan for medical expenses and my care for visiting you."
Suddenly, Jiang He said, "If you come work for me, I'll pay you a hundred silver dollars."
"Don't even mention it! Your being chased like this scared me to death. Even if I had ten times more courage, I couldn't handle this every day!" Ling Shu waved his hands frantically, as if he was throwing away a hot potato.
He had already walked halfway when he suddenly remembered something and turned back. "By the way, I spent a whole night risking my life with you, but I still don't know who wants to kill you."
"Do you want to know?" When Jiang He asked this question, Ling Shu knew he had asked the wrong thing.
"Forget I asked. Don't tell me anything. I'm leaving now, you keep it to yourself!"
"It's Lu Tongcang." Jiang He didn't even give him a chance to cover his ears.
Ling Shu let out a cry of despair. "I already said I don't want to know!"
"But I've already told you." Jiang He laughed with a hint of malice, but also with great pleasure. It is said that half of Lu Tongcang's foundation was built with the help of the Jiang He gang.
They also say that Lu Tongcang and Jiang He are like brothers, with the former as the big brother and the latter as the little brother. In reality, Jiang He is like his indispensable left arm and right hand. Without Jiang He, Lu Tongcang's enemies would take advantage of the situation.
But what people don't know is that Lu Tongcang wants to kill Jiang He.
Now Ling Shu knows.
Although he was forced to know.
People who know too many secrets often don't have a good ending.
Ling Shu: "I have amnesia and don't remember anything. Goodbye!"
He didn't even look back and slammed the door.
Jiang He's gaze fell on the apples on the table and the apple core next to it.
Just now, Ling Shu was in such a hurry to escape that he even left the apples behind.
"I forgot something!" After a moment, the door opened again and Ling Shu poked his head in. He quickly grabbed the apple and disappeared without even glancing at the patient in the bed.
Jiang He was left speechless.
Meanwhile, Yue Dingtang never would have guessed that after just a three-day business trip, Ling Shu would become a celebrity in Shanghai's high society.
Rumor had it that at Miss Zhen's birthday banquet, she personally chose Ling Shu as her dance partner, ignoring all the other guests in the room.
It was said that Miss Zhen had secretly been seeing Ling Shu before, but their relationship was opposed by her family. So, she took advantage of her birthday banquet to introduce Ling Shu publicly and leave her elders with no choice.
It was said...
"So, is it true that you two are planning to elope?" Yue Dingtang casually tossed the newspaper in front of Ling Shu with a smirk.
"When are you going to invite me to your wedding?"
Ling Shu picked up the paper and burst out laughing. "They actually got it pretty close! Why didn't they add in the part about a secret pregnancy and a forced marriage?"
Yue Dingtang replied, "If any tabloid dared to write that, they'd be out of business tomorrow!"
Ling Shu nodded in agreement. "Exactly. The Zhen family wouldn't allow their reputation to be tarnished like that. So how could any newspaper make up such nonsense? Just the fact that they're saying I'm dating Miss Zhen is already baseless."
Yue Dingtang suggested, "There's only one possibility. Miss Zhen herself leaked the news."
Ling Shu raised his hands in innocence. "I swear on my honor, there's nothing between us!"
Yue Dingtang pressed on, "Did you really dance the first dance with her?"
"She came to me on her own, but I left the banquet halfway through and we haven't seen each other since," said Ling Shu, pausing for a moment.
"But when we were dancing that day, her attitude was a bit strange. She said it would have been better if we had met earlier."
Yue Dingtang stared at him, silent for a long time.
Ling Shu felt uneasy under his gaze. "What's wrong? Don't tell me you've been secretly admiring me too?"
Yue Dingtang looked suspicious. "Did you cause any trouble while I was away?"
Ling Shu protested, "Of course not! Do you really think I'm the kind of person who always causes trouble?"
Yue Dingtang replied, "Yes."
Ling Shu was speechless. "You're insulting my character. But since you brought back some special products from Nanjing, I won't argue with you."
Ling Shu shrugged and opened the newspaper.
"Do you usually not bring newspapers with you? Did you buy it on the way?"
Yue Dingtang thought that this was a blatant attempt to change the subject.
He became more suspicious that Ling Shu had done something wrong or caused trouble again in the past few days.
Yue Dingtang was about to ask for clarification when he heard Ling Shu exclaim. A light and fluttery piece of paper fell out as he shook the newspaper.
Yue Dingtang picked it up from the ground.
There were only six words written in pen on it: Chen Wendong wants to kill you.
The author has something to say:
To avoid confusion, let me summarize the three main events:
1) The death threat letter to He You'an,
2) Miss Zhen's claim of dating Ling Shu, and
3) The grudge between Jiang He and Lu Tongcang.