"Mr. Jiang, what brings you here?"
"I came to visit the sick."
Jiang He took off his hat and casually placed it aside.
"You don't seem too welcoming."
Ling Shu gave a fake smile, "How could that be? But usually when someone visits the sick, they bring a gift. You came empty-handed, it doesn't seem like a visit."
"You have a point. I came in a hurry and forgot."
Jiang He thought for a moment and pulled out a small stack of dollars from his pocket, placing it on the table.
"It's not much, but please accept it as a token of my respect."
This was a generous gesture.
Ling Shu gave a thumbs up and praised, "Very straightforward!"
He still didn't believe that Jiang He came solely to visit the sick, but since the other party didn't speak first, Ling Shu didn't ask. Jiang He walked around the hospital room and strolled to the window, half-hidden behind the curtain, looking down at the street below.
Ling Shu felt that Jiang He's actions often revealed some of his habits and past experiences, like the shadows of swords and knives.
For example, a normal person standing by the window would simply look out, but would never half-hide themselves and be ready to conceal their presence, with clear and hidden enemies, making it easy to ambush.
Only those who often licked blood on the edge of a knife and were accustomed to lurking in the dark of night would have such vigilance.
Jiang He seemed to sense the gaze behind him and turned around.
Ling Shu was sitting on the bed, wrapped in a quilt, counting a stack of dollars.
Jiang He: ...
He had never seen anyone as straightforward and impolite as Ling Shu.
Naturally, he had also never encountered anyone who was eager to wade into troubled waters to help him evade pursuit just to investigate the case.
"You don't seem curious about why I'm here," Jiang He said.
"Aren't you here to visit the sick?" Ling Shu raised the money in his hand. "I appreciate the gesture, and there are apples on the table. Help yourself."
Jiang He replied, "Besides the money, I also have important news that you'll be interested in."
Ling Shu looked up and said, "Please tell me more."
"Chen Youhua is dead," Jiang He said.
Ling Shu was shocked. "What?!"
Jiang He said, "You seem surprised."
Ling Shu asked, "Why wouldn't I be surprised?"
Jiang He said, "I thought you already knew."
Ling Shu would never admit that he not only witnessed Chen Youhua's murder but also took his belongings.
"I had no idea, thanks for telling me! Now another lead is lost, and it may take a long time to find out if He You'an is lying or not."
Jiang He reached into his coat and pulled out a file folder, tossing it onto the bed.
"This is Chen Youhua's information, you might find it useful."
Ling Shu opened the folder and quickly flipped through it. It contained records of Chen Youhua's employment at the newspaper and some of his past experiences, which were indeed helpful.
Ling Shu casually tossed the jewelry box he hadn't had a chance to open yet to Jiang He.
Jiang He caught it, confused.
Ling Shu said, "As a token of my gratitude, this is my gift to you."
Jiang He frowned.
The only reason he had sent Ling Shu this file was to repay the favor from that night.
A life-saving favor, not something small.
Jiang He never liked owing anyone a favor. If he could repay it, he always would.
However, Ling Shu was quite an interesting person. Because a dull and boring person would never make the choice to flee with him.
Jiang He opened the jewelry box and his expression suddenly became strange.
"You gave me this?"
Ling Shu didn't plan to browse through information in front of him. He was just putting the thing back when he looked up and saw Jiang He turn the direction of the jewelry box.
A diamond ring caught his eye.
Ling Shu: ......
Could it be that Zhen Congyun gave him her engagement ring?! There are countless unpredictable women in the world, and Miss Zhen should be one of the best. Ling Shu has met many women who are fascinated by him, but there are few like Zhen Congyun who use him as a shield while having other intentions.
Who is the married man that she has fallen in love with? The man who has caught the eye of Zhen Congyun must be someone extraordinary, perhaps even a high-ranking official. But why would such a person risk their reputation to pursue an engaged young lady?
Did this woman really throw her engagement ring at him because she wants to run away from her wedding?
Will the man she loves run away with her?
Zhen Congyun's ring is definitely not of inferior quality. The diamond sparkles brilliantly in the light, causing Ling Shu to blink uncontrollably.
Judging from the design of the ring, it was probably created by a foreign designer. This valuable ring was thrown at him like a hot potato by Miss Zhen, who said she didn't want it.
"As the saying goes, 'falling flowers have intentions, flowing water is heartless.' I don't like men, so you can give this ring to someone else." Jiang He placed the box down.
Ling Shu: ...
Although Ling Shu couldn't figure out why Zhen Congyun gave him this ring, he had a feeling that it wasn't a good thing. Words like "inviting disaster" and "diverting attention" even popped up in his mind. He didn't want to be the unlucky one.
He was thinking about how to come up with a touching story to convince Jiang He to accept the ring and become the new scapegoat when someone pushed the door open.
Ling Shu and Jiang He both instinctively turned to look at the door. In Yue Dingtang's eyes, one person was sitting on the bed while the other was standing beside it, holding a half-opened jewelry box.
Yue Dingtang said, "..."
Ling Shu and Jiang He remained silent.
After a moment of silence, Yue Dingtang asked, "Do I need to clear a few minutes for you?"
"No need," Jiang He answered. Jiang He handed the jewelry box to Ling Shu.
Ignoring Ling Shu's plea, Jiang He quickly disappeared out the door.
Yue Dingtang asked, "What's in the box?"
Ling Shu replied weakly, "A diamond ring."
Yue Dingtang couldn't help but recall the same strange expression on Jiang He's face.
"I never thought your peach blossom luck would extend to men."
Ling Shu protested, "It's not what you think. I don't have feelings for her. This ring belongs to Zhen Congyun."
Yue Dingtang furrowed his brow. "Zhen Congyun? What is she doing here?"
Ling Shu briefly explained the situation.
"Do you know which married man she likes?"
Yue Dingtang said, "I'm not sure. My family and the Zhen family have never had much contact. We just exchange greetings when we meet. The reason why my sister introduced her to me was also because of someone else's introduction. She didn't want to refuse."
Ling Shu gloated, "You're lucky you didn't like Miss Zhen. If you had fallen for her and she put this green hat on you, what would you do?"
Yue Dingtang calmly replied, "It seems like she has her eye on you now."
Ling Shu choked for a moment.
"Let's talk about something else. Jiang He sent over some information about Chen Youhua."
It was like someone bringing a pillow when you're already nodding off.
Yue Dingtang left and returned, wanting Ling Shu to go and talk to Jiang He about Chen Youhua's situation.
Unexpectedly, Jiang He came to them on his own.
"He knows that Chen Youhua is dead."
"I know," Ling Shu replied.
"Did he suspect you?" Yue Dingtang asked.
Ling Shu thought for a moment and shook his head. "He did ask, but it was just a passing remark. He came today because he heard about Chen Youhua's death and knew I was investigating the case of He You'an. He didn't want to owe me any favors."
Yue Dingtang pulled out a stack of documents and flipped through them, raising an eyebrow. "Jiang He really has some skills."
Many things can be investigated through official channels, but not necessarily found. However, Jiang He is different. His subordinates are like members of the Qing Gang, spread throughout various industries in Shanghai, especially the docks, gambling dens, dance halls, and pawn shops. These places are full of danger, but they are also the easiest places to get and gather information.
Perhaps Lu Tongcang felt that his trusted ally had become too powerful for him to control, which led to his murderous intentions.
"Chen Youhua is not his real name, as expected. His real name is Cheng Feng, a chemistry teacher at Shanghai Jiuying Middle School. He was fired after getting into a fight with other teachers due to his laziness and lack of ambition. He then went to work for a newspaper and changed his name to Chen Youhua, until he was hunted down and went missing."
"What about his family?"
"When he was a teacher in high school, his resume stated that he was from Ji'an, Jiangxi, with parents and an only child, himself. He was unmarried and had a high school education, but it didn't specify where he had studied. The school required an interview for employment, so he must have passed it, otherwise he wouldn't have been hired. However, this person definitely had some issues. Most people would write as much detail as possible on their resumes when applying for a job, but Chen Youhua went against the norm. This was one of his peculiarities.
"Furthermore, according to his colleagues from the high school where he worked, Chen Youhua rarely mentioned his family and had a solitary and unsociable personality. However, when he started working at the newspaper, he became friendly and approachable. You see, his colleagues at the newspaper have a high opinion of him, saying that Chen Youhua is optimistic and kind-hearted, a good person. How could such opposite personalities exist in the same person?"
"If Chen Youhua is indeed Cheng Feng, then there is only one explanation: one of his personalities is deliberately disguised, or perhaps both his unsociable and optimistic personalities are fake. No one knows his true character or his background. Everything about him is like a mystery. Now that he's dead, unless we find someone who has a connection with him, even the name Cheng Feng might be fake." Yue Dingtang fell into deep thought.
Ling Shu also needed some time to sort out his ideas.
Since Jiang He could treat this information as a favor, its authenticity was beyond doubt.
"Have you been to Mingde Bookstore?" Yue Dingtang suddenly asked.
"Not bad. Jiang He and I suspected the same thing, so he also had someone investigate the Mingde Bookstore in Hangzhou. It's quite a coincidence that on the same day I returned from Hangzhou after Chen Youhua's death, the Mingde Bookstore closed down for good. There was a notice posted outside the door, saying that the owner had gone out and the return date was uncertain, and that book lovers should go elsewhere."
Although this indicated that the bookstore was also involved in the case, they could no longer follow this lead.
After going around in circles, only He You'an was left.
All the clues were only on He You'an. "I still can't figure it out," said the speaker. "Why did He You'an entrust us with the task of investigating the threatening letter? If everything is related to her, then her actions will only draw attention to something that originally had little notice."
"There are two possibilities," Yue Dingtang replied calmly.
"The first is that the matter has nothing to do with He You'an. She doesn't know that Shen Shiqi wants to kill Chen Youhua, nor does she know that Chen Youhua escaped the assassination. The fact that the two of them appeared in that bookstore one after the other was purely coincidental."
"The second possibility is that she is in cahoots with Chen Youhua. She pulled us into this situation, but only with the intention of dragging us down when needed. To put it bluntly, she wants to push some things onto us."
"I don't think she's that kind of person," said Ling Shu.
Yue Dingtang said, "Your impression of her has already deviated from the objective standpoint it should be."
Ling Shu innocently replied, "Why do I feel like you also have formed a bias towards her?"
"You yourself have said that all coincidences put together are no longer coincidences. When Chen Youhua went to Mingde Bookstore, why did she just happen to go to Hangzhou? Hangzhou is so big, why did she specifically choose Mingde?" Yue Dingtang questioned.
Ling Shu responded, "Chen Wendong wanted to kill me, but she could have chosen not to send that note. This shows that she still has some basic goodwill towards us."
"You are too naive," Yue Dingtang said.
"Old Yue, although human nature may not be inherently good, He You'an has not done anything to harm us so far. I believe we can still make a breakthrough with her," Ling Shu suggested.
Yue Dingtang asked, "Tell me about it."
Ling Shu replied, "Let's just say this has nothing to do with her. Chen Youhua definitely has accomplices. If he really killed Shen Shiqi, Chen Youhua's accomplices might come after He You'an. I am warning He You'an to see how she reacts."
Yue Dingtang asked, "What if she doesn't react at all?"
Ling Shu replied, "I am still confident in my ability to read people."
Just a few minutes after saying this, Ling Shu began to regret it.
He stood outside He You'an's hospital room, staring at the two bodyguards.
There was noise coming from inside the room, indicating that there was more than just He You'an in there. However, the door was tightly closed and nothing could be seen. The guards also refused to report anything, so Ling Shu had no choice but to wait.
It wasn't until a nurse came to change the bandages and knocked on the door that Ling Shu took the opportunity to shout out. "Miss He, it's Ling Shu. I've come to see you!"
"You little brat!"
"What are you doing?"
The two bodyguards were furious and were about to drag him out, one on each side.
Fortunately, He You'an finally heard him.
"Is it Mr. Ling? Please come in."
Ling Shu breathed a sigh of relief and quickly slipped inside under the bodyguards' glare.
But once he got inside, he saw two large suitcases in the room and two servants helping He You'an pack. They were busy going in and out, occasionally asking her whether to throw something away or keep it.
"Miss He, are you going on a trip?"
"Yes, I'll be leaving Shanghai soon."
"Where are you going?" Ling Shu asked instinctively.
"I haven't decided yet. Maybe Hong Kong, maybe abroad. I just want to travel and clear my mind."
After a few days, He You'an had changed a bit. The changes were difficult to explain in just a few words.
But one thing remained the same - He You'an was still He You'an.
Her beauty was still there, serene and peaceful.
If the He You'an of the past was like a blooming flower hanging over a stream, brilliant and delicate, falling with the current and having nowhere to rely on, then the current her was like a stone in the stream, letting the water rush past her countless times, resting on the current and gazing at the moon, her reflection still and serene, never wavering.
This kind of change was particularly subtle, and if it weren't for Ling Shu noticing it after a few days and paying special attention to her, it would be impossible to detect.
Even someone who was more careless and inattentive wouldn't be able to observe it.
"Why did this happen so suddenly? Didn't you just finish filming half of the play?" Ling Shu asked.
He You'an pointed to the bandage on her forehead. "You see me like this, can I still continue filming? This movie is definitely not going to work, they'll have to find a replacement last minute. Mr. Cheng is afraid I'll get bored, so he's letting me travel around. It's a good thing too, I've been in Shanghai for long enough, it's time to go out and see the world."
"That's a good idea. When are you leaving?"
"In the next couple of days."
Ling Shu was surprised.
"So soon? Your injury hasn't fully healed yet, don't you need to rest?"
He You'an smiled, "Resting on a ship is just as good. Mr. Cheng brought a private doctor, so if anything happens, they can diagnose me right away."
"But medical equipment isn't as convenient as a hospital," Ling Shu pointed out.
"It's not too bad. I don't think I have any major issues anymore. As long as it's not as intense as filming, I can handle it."
Finally, Ling Shu understood where He You'an's change was coming from. She became distant, her facial expressions and demeanor no longer lively.
Ling Shu didn't know how she was with others, but at least towards himself, the previous tenderness and closeness were gone.
"Since that's the case, before we part ways, there are some things I'd like to say to Miss He. Would that be convenient?"
He You'an glanced at him and said to the two maids, "I want to have some oranges and sugar-coated chestnuts. Go out and buy them for me, and come back to clean up later."
After the two maids left, He You'an took out a small brocade pouch from her handbag.
"Mr. Ling, rest assured, I promise you the reward and will not go back on my word. This is the key to the HSBC Bank's safe deposit box 7708. Five days later, you can go to the bank and see the manager. He will naturally take you to retrieve what's inside."
Ling Shu asked, "Why wait five days?"
"What if I'm not ready in time? I don't want to inconvenience you both. Can we postpone for a couple more days to make sure everything is well-prepared?" asked He You'an with a worried expression.
Ling Shu replied, "To be honest, I initially took on this case because of the reward promised by Miss He. But later on, whether or not there was a reward became secondary."
He You'an nodded in understanding and said, "I know that you saved me at the premiere not because of the reward. Mr. Ling, you are a kind-hearted person and I am very grateful. Unfortunately, besides material possessions, I don't know how else to express my gratitude."
Ling Shu then asked, "I want to know the truth."
He You'an was surprised and asked, "What truth?"
Ling Shu looked directly at her and said abruptly, "Chen Youhua is dead."
He thought his words would elicit a reaction from He You'an. But there was nothing, and He You'an was still at a loss.
"Who is Chen Youhua?"
Ling Shu said, "Shen Shiqi is also dead, did you know?"
"I know," He You'an replied.
"Who told you?" Ling Shu asked.
"Mr. Cheng, he just came by," He You'an said.
"Don't you have anything to say?" Ling Shu sighed, showing a hint of sadness.
"What can I say? The connection between Mr. Shen and me is well known, no matter how he was in his lifetime, he is now gone like a candle in the wind. All I can do is mourn for him, pray for him, and hope that he can rest in peace."