As soon as this name was mentioned, many things became clear.
Why could a Chinese person travel freely in the northeast, which is now Japanese territory?
Why would the Kwantung Army give him face and let him manage the interests of Manchuria Railway in Shanghai?
Why would Shen Shiqi, a reckless and arrogant person who didn't know his place, show a bit of respect towards Yue Dingtang but be so obedient to Mr. Cheng?
It's because Mr. Cheng is not Cheng Gong, but Naritagu.
Only a Japanese person can make the Kwantung Army treat him as one of their own, rather than a servant looking for benefits.
And only Naritagu can make Shen Shiqi behave like a mouse in front of a cat, obedient and honest.
Ling Shu still remembered that Yue Dingtang had once said that although Cheng Gong was a businessman, he had a deep understanding of traditional Chinese culture and often talked about the origin of his surname.
He claimed to be a direct descendant of King Wu of Zhou, and many people knew that Mr. Cheng's bloodline traced back to ancient times and was very noble.
Others only saw Mr. Cheng as a businessman and worried that his status would be looked down upon by government officials, so he emphasized the origin of his surname. But after several contacts, Ling Shu did not think so.
Now it seems that his guess has indeed come true, but this is definitely not the result Ling Shu wanted.
"Brother Chen, things have come to this point, it's useless for you to point a gun at me. Why don't we sit down and talk?"
"What do we have to talk about?" Chen Wendong asked coldly.
"Negotiation," Ling Shu smiled, realizing that the room was still dark and his friendly smile wouldn't be visible to the other party.
He had left the light on before going to bed, but Chen Wendong must have turned it off after coming in.
"Don't move!" Chen Wendong immediately spoke up when he saw Ling Shu reaching for the lamp.
Ling Shu reassured him, "Don't be nervous, I just want to turn on the light and put on a jacket."
Chen Wendong warned him, "You better not do anything, or I don't know if my gun will accidentally go off."
Ling Shu sighed, "Since Mr. Cheng's people are chasing you all over the world, they will definitely cut off all your familiar contacts. Whether you are looking for old brothers or old friends, it is probably not reliable. They may promise you good things, but they may turn around and sell you to Mr. Cheng. Mr. Cheng already believes that you are the traitor. Only I can provide you with a breakthrough and a chance to survive."
Chen Wendong remained silent, but did not refute.
Ling Shu said, "Then we should put aside our prejudices and cooperate with each other. Although my position is not high, I know people from all walks of life, both good and bad. Even if I can't compare to Mr. Cheng, I can still help you forge an identity and escape. Even if you don't believe me, you should believe Yue Dingtang. The Yue family wants to save your life, and they don't need to go through Mr. Cheng, or should I say, Mr. Naritagu. What a mouthful! Naritagu may have connections in China and Shanghai, but once someone leaves here, they'll be in Hubei, Sichuan, or even abroad, in the United States, the United Kingdom, and all over the world. Can he still reach out his hand there?"
Chen Wendong may have been tired of standing, so he found a chair to sit down.
But this also meant that his guard was relaxed a bit.
Shivering from the cold, Ling Shu quickly wrapped himself in a blanket, leaving only his head exposed.
Chen Wendong didn't say anything.
"Continue, how can you help me?"
"I already said earlier, we can forge a new identity for you and alter your appearance with makeup or even disguise you as a woman. It would be easy for you to leave Shanghai, but Japan is out of the question. I suggest Southeast Asia, where the terrain is complex and there are many Chinese people. It's a good place for you to settle down. Europe and America are also options, but the journey is long and full of obstacles. Plus, you may not be accustomed to the language. The Yue family has rubber plantations in Southeast Asia and can provide you with a way out," Ling Shu explained.
"What do you want in return for this cooperation?" Chen Wendong asked.
"An answer. I just want an answer. Did you kill Shen Shiqi?" Ling Shu replied.
"No, I didn't," Chen Wendong said.
Ling Shu asked, "So are you Shen Shiqi's man or Narita's?"
Chen Wendong replied, "The more you know, the faster you die. Are you sure you want to know?"
Ling Shu wanted to shrug to show his nonchalance, but he realized he was wrapped in a blanket. The movement was not cool at all, but rather silly, so he stopped.
"Well, since you already have my life in your hands, why not satisfy my curiosity? I'll give you another piece of information. He You'an will leave Shanghai in the next few days, and Narita will definitely accompany her. Most of his men will follow, so it's the best time for you to leave Shanghai."
Chen Wendong pondered for a long time before finally speaking slowly.
"I am both a member of Shen Shiqi's group and a member of the Naritagu's. Strictly speaking, I am a person sent by Narita to assist Shen Shiqi and follow the orders of Shen Shiqi. Shen Shiqi asked me to be the driver for He You'an, for the convenience of monitoring her closely. Later, when He You'an was with Narita, I returned to Mr. Cheng's side."
There seemed to be a deep respect and fear for Narita in him. He was not used to calling Narita by his real name and after mentioning it two or three times, he naturally returned to calling him "Mr. Cheng."
Ling Shu did not correct him and also called him Mr. Cheng.
"As far as I know, Miss He is just a movie star. Why do we need to monitor her?"
"Shen Shiqi needed to handle some shady business, but couldn't do it himself. He had to entrust it to He You'an. Few people would suspect her, as she was exposed to the public eye, which was both dangerous and safe."
Ling Shu raised an eyebrow. "For example, letting her hand over the death list of Chen Youhua and Xiao Jun to Jiang He?"
Chen Wendong glanced at him. His gaze was sharp as a knife, deadly with every cut. If looks could kill, Ling Shu would have been dismembered a thousand times over.
Ling Shu thought Chen Wendong wouldn't answer the question, but he did.
Ling Shu asked, "Were these two people given the task by Mr. Cheng to Shen Shiqi?"
Chen Wendong was silent for a moment. "Yes."
Ling Shu asked, "Do you know why Mr. Cheng wanted to kill them?"
Chen Wendong replied, "I don't know."
Ling Shu said, "Brother Chen, if Yue Dingtang and I don't understand the whole story, how can we fully trust you and cooperate with you?"
Chen Wendong replied, "Although I work for Mr. Cheng, I am not his confidant and don't know much. All I know is that he is Japanese and has deep connections with the Kwantung Army. Shen Shiqi appears to do business with him and is his partner, but in reality, he also works for Mr. Cheng. Since Chen Youhua is the person Mr. Cheng wants to kill, I cannot possibly know the details of the situation."
He paused and continued, "All I know is that Chen Youhua is not dead. Mr. Cheng suspected He You'an at first and tested her several times, but for some reason, he suddenly turned his attention to me and even sent people to chase me. I have never met Mr. Cheng and have no way to explain myself."
Chen Wendong still harbored resentment when it came to his own unexplained journey into exile. The name "He You'an" was like a bitter pill in his mouth, and he feared he would never be able to let go of his anger.
Ling Shu said, "Do you think that He You'an was already dissatisfied with Shen Shiqi, but was just holding back? And then, when Mr. Cheng appeared, she used Shen Shiqi to climb up the tree of Mr. Cheng? Does she know Chen Youhua?"
Suddenly, Chen Wendong said, "I heard Shen Shiqi mention before that the death list seems to involve some intelligence."
Ling Shu asked, "What intelligence?"
Chen Wendong replied, "You seem very interested in this matter."
Ling Shu said, "Well, how about we talk about something else? Where is your hometown? How many people are in your family? What are your plans for the future?"
Chen Wendong immediately fell silent. His elbow rested on the armrest of the chair, appearing relaxed and drooping, but in reality, he could flip his wrist and open fire at any sign of movement from Ling Shu. However, Ling Shu knew that he was very uneasy inside.
He was both fearful of the constant pursuit he faced day and night, and filled with resentment and injustice that he couldn't explain.
He wanted to see Mr. Cheng and find a way out, but he was afraid that Mr. Cheng wouldn't even see him and would send him straight to his death without a second thought.
He wanted to use Ling Shu to save his own life through Yue Dingtang, but he was afraid that Yue Dingtang's influence was not enough and he was not reliable.
Caught between a rock and a hard place, he was walking on thin ice.
Although he held Ling Shu's life in his hands, he also entrusted his own life to someone else. If he killed Ling Shu, he would be cutting off half of his own escape route.
It was a delicate balance, with both ends of the scale in danger of tipping over.
Ling Shu wasn't afraid of his nervousness, but he was afraid of his fearlessness.
Someone once said that having fear in your heart is the weakness that leads to action.
"Brother Chen, I understand your concerns. After all, we all have families to take care of. Even if we don't, we're in the prime of our youth. How can we throw our lives away for no reason? Sure, in 18 years, we'll be heroes, but who knows what kind of world we'll be living in then? We might not even make it that far. We could starve to death before we even have a chance to grow up..."
"You make a good point," replied Chen.
Suddenly, Chen walked over to Ling Shu and pointed his gun at his temple.
"Yue Dingtang and Mr. Cheng have no reason to help me. They wouldn't risk offending Mr. Cheng for no reason. But my life is precious, and I want to live a few more years. Since there's no hope of getting close to He You'an, I'll have to ask you to come with me."
Ling Shu laughed, "Brother Chen, are you confused? Yue Dingtang and I are at most just old classmates, plus a superior-subordinate relationship. We can't be considered close friends. Since he couldn't possibly offend Mr. Cheng, how could he bow down to you to save me? If you're not willing to sit down and talk, even if I have the intention, I can't help you."
Chen Wendong sneered, "Mr. Ling, you underestimate yourself. I remember the night when Shen Shiqi wanted to kill you, someone with the surname Yue stood up to Shen Shiqi. Afterwards, he even used his family's connections to pressure Shen Shiqi's uncle. Ordinary classmates can't possibly do this."
The gun pointed at Ling Shu's head.
Ling Shu was worried that the other party might accidentally fire the gun, and he might really have to die here heroically.
"If you want to blame someone, blame He You'an for leaving first. I came here to find her, but she was nowhere to be found, so I had to settle for second best."
"Whether you live or die depends on how much weight Yue's surname puts on you."
At this point, Chen Wendong's lips curled up, revealing a slightly eerie smile in the dim light.
"Even if we die together, at least I'll have someone to back me up."