Ling Shu felt very unlucky.
Even though he wasn't the one who ordered Chen Wendong to monitor He You'an, and he wasn't the one chasing after Chen Wendong, why was it that in the end, he was the one with a gun pointed at his temple, forced to face a mutual destruction?
Did he not check the almanac before leaving, or did he get too close to Yue Dingtang and get infected by his bad luck?
Ling Shu still remembered that when they were in school, Yue Dingtang was indeed a little bit unlucky.
When they played cards together, Yue Dingtang always got the worst cards.
When they went out to eat, the dishes Yue Dingtang ordered were always sold out.
Even when they went to buy tickets for a movie, as long as Yue Dingtang went to buy them, they would always end up with seats in the corner.
In summary, Ling Shu believed that he had been completely infected by this kind of bad luck.
"Write a letter," Chen Wendong's voice rang out.
"What kind of letter?"
"A plea for help to Yue Dingtang," Chen Wendong said coldly. "Leave the letter and come with me. Let him bring the things I need to exchange for you. Otherwise, you're as good as dead."
Ling Shu laughed in disbelief. "Brother Chen, what makes you think I'm worth all this trouble? I'm not a stunning beauty, nor am I Yue Dingtang's parent. Why should he bow down to your demands for the sake of a high school classmate like me? Are you overestimating my worth a bit?"
"It doesn't matter," Chen Wendong replied. "As long as you come with me, you're already on Mr. Cheng's hit list. Even if Yue Dingtang refuses to save you, we'll have to fight for our lives together. Two people have a better chance of survival than one."
Ling Shu felt something was off: "Why is Mr. Cheng chasing after me?"
Chen Wendong sneered at him, but in the dim light, his expression was no longer important.
"Because someone as suspicious as Mr. Cheng, once he has decided that I am the mole, if you walk with me, I will definitely leak some information about Mr. Cheng to you, including his identity. Instead of leaving a potential disaster to erupt at an unknown time in the future, it's better to take advantage of our journey together and eliminate it together."
"So, you have no way out now, unless Yue Dingtang is willing to use his power and connections to save you."
Ling Shu thought about it and realized it was true.
No wonder Chen Wendong was so quick to reveal Mr. Cheng's true identity to him earlier. It turns out this guy had already planted a trap with ill intentions.
"I still have another choice, which is not to go with you," Ling Shu said.
"You have no choice," Chen Wendong directly put the safety catch on his gun.
With just a slight movement of his index finger, he could send Ling Shu to heaven immediately.
Ling Shu quickly thought of various ways to escape, such as lifting the blanket to block the other's line of sight and rolling under the bed, or curling up in the blanket and rolling off the bed, or grabbing the nearby iron plate to block in front of his head and charging straight at the other person.
However, all of these methods were quickly rejected.
The safe distance between the two was enough to make the possibility of Ling Shu successfully resisting very slim.
Realizing the situation, Ling Shu sighed and emerged from under the blanket, raising his hands.
"Can you at least let me put on a jacket?" he asked. Five minutes later, Ling Shu, who had changed his clothes, began to write a distress letter.
"Dear Commander Yue, Mr. Chen Wendong came to visit me and we had a great conversation. We hit it off immediately..."
Ling Shu felt uneasy about the letter and quickly crossed out the last four words and rewrote them.
"We met each other too late. I heard that Mr. Chen wants to settle abroad, and I am particularly reluctant to see him go. I am preparing to personally send him off and I kindly request that Commander Yue prepare plane tickets, boat tickets, and travel expenses for Mr. Chen, so that he can have a smooth journey. Without further ado, let's meet at Xuanwu Lake in Nanjing at 1 pm in three days."
He had originally intended to leak some information in the letter, but Chen Wendong was watching him closely, scrutinizing every word he wrote.
Ling Shu couldn't make any mistakes or he would be caught red-handed.
Ling Shu wasn't nervous at the moment.
On the contrary, his thoughts were complicated and even a bit fanciful.
It was certain that Chen Wendong wouldn't kill himself, or else he would have pulled the trigger the moment he entered the door.
He was now trying to find a way out for himself, even if the straw he was grasping onto, Ling Shu, seemed easy to sink.
After confirming this, Ling Shu began to search for various loopholes.
He had not found any in Chen Wendong yet, but while writing this plea for help, he remembered something else.
They had received a still from a movie, showing He You'an hanging himself.
Not only that, there was also a nonsensical poem written behind the photo.
"A beauty by the pond, fragrant bones behind the bridge, a withered tomb in the town. Winter has passed, spring is coming, tears of blood inside and out."
It seemed poetic, but it made no sense and contradicted itself. It was precisely because he didn't understand it that Ling Shu was firmly reminded of it.
He never figured out the meaning of this little poem.
What's even more interesting is that all the other death threats received by He You'an were handed to her by herself, except for that still photo, which was handed to them by someone on the road, sandwiched between newspapers.
At this moment, in a flash of lightning, this poem inexplicably popped up again and took the initiative to jump in front of him.
Ling Shu, who had failed to write a hidden message in a poem asking for help, instead remembered another inexplicable little poem.
Tang, Qiao, Zhen, Dong, Chun, Li.
Is this a place name?!
Ling Shu knew Tangqiao Town, which was on the outskirts of Shanghai, but he had never been there. He didn't know if there really was a place called Dongchunli, but the problem was--
Who gave them this place name, He You'an, or someone else?
What's the purpose of this place?
Are they supposed to go there and find something?
In fact, the hidden meaning behind this poem is not difficult to understand. It's just that those who are involved are confused.
At that time, no one thought of this section, and everyone was trying to guess the content of the poem.
Ling Shu wished he could sprout wings and fly to Tangqiao Town immediately to see what the other party had hidden there.
"What are you thinking about?"
But the cold barrel of the gun on his forehead quickly brought him back to reality.
Chen Wendong's voice was like a death knell, making his head ache.
Ling Shu felt helpless.
"I'm not thinking about anything. It's done, take a look."
Chen Wendong glanced at it briefly and found no problems.
"Where are we going?"
"You'll find out when we get there."
There wasn't much space to maneuver in the hospital room, but once they left the hospital, Chen Wendong would find it difficult to keep an eye on everything and Ling Shu would undoubtedly find plenty of opportunities to escape.
But Chen Wendong seemed to have anticipated this, and he was extremely cautious.
Ling Shu's hands were handcuffed and hidden under a scarf, while a gun was pressed against his lower back. Chen Wendong had his coat draped over his arm, and even a passerby would have a hard time noticing anything suspicious.
A yellow cart had been waiting outside the door.
The driver was dozing off in the car, but when he saw Chen Wendong come out, he quickly greeted him.
"Sir, you're here. Sorry for the wait!"
"Get in." Chen Wendong said to Ling Shu.
The two of them squeezed into the small cab, which was uncomfortable, but Ling Shu had no room to resist.
Chen Wendong's gun was already loaded.
But the cart driver was not happy.
"Hey, mister, we didn't agree to take on another passenger. It's already hard enough to drive with two people, and now we have to go to the train station too!"
"Triple the price," said Chen Wendong succinctly, as he pulled out a silver dollar from his pocket and tossed it over. "This is a reward for you, not included in the fare."
The yellow cart driver had never received such a large sum of money before. He took it and examined it carefully, even taking a bite out of it, his face beaming with joy.
"Thank you very much, sir!"
"Now let's go straight to the train station. I need to catch the earliest train."
It's not easy for a cart driver to pull two people, but Ling Shu noticed that Chen Wendong had deliberately chosen a strong and healthy driver, so the journey was not slow.
If they wanted to go faster, they could have taken a car, but that would have required one of them to drive.
Chen Wendong wasn't sure if Ling Shu could drive, and even if he could, he didn't trust him enough to not drive them into a ditch.
This also indirectly shows that Chen Wendong does not trust anyone now, and there is no one around him that he can use. He is surrounded by enemies and can only rely on himself.
"Where are we going, Nanjing? The earliest bus from Shanghai to Nanjing is at 8:05 in the morning. Are we going too early? We'll have to wait at the train station for a long time." Ling Shu started to talk aimlessly.
"What time is it now? Let me see your watch. Ah, Brother Chen, your hand must be sore from holding that position for so long. As you said, Mr. Cheng will take care of me as well since we left together. So, let's make a deal. You put down your gun, and I'll still go with you until Yue Dingtang comes with what you want to exchange for me. How about that?"
"Shut up." Chen Wendong couldn't take it anymore and two words burst out of his teeth.
Finally, Ling Shu quieted down.
But after a few minutes, he spoke again.
"Can you turn on the safety? I'm scared you'll shake and if the wheels hit a rock and bounce..."
As if to prove his point, the yellow cart tilted and shook slightly.
Chen Wendong's body involuntarily leaned towards him.
Ling Shu was shocked.
"Be careful, be careful, keep your hand steady!"
There was no gunshot, only the hand holding the gun trembled slightly with the movement of the car, then returned to normal.
Ling Shu breathed a sigh of relief.
Chen Wendong sneered, "Look at your courage!"
Ling Shu replied, "You don't know, it's because I'm a coward that my brother-in-law helped me get a backdoor into becoming a police officer."
Chen Wendong sneered, "Are police officers not in danger? Even if they sit at home, the sky could still fall. It's better to not do anything at all!"
Ling Shu replied, "You don't understand. There are many types of police officers. There are those who patrol the streets, those who handle cases, and those who work in the office as clerks. I followed the path of the district police, where all I did was organize files. I had a leisurely day and could come in and leave whenever I wanted, as long as I flattered my superiors. But later on, I realized that it wasn't enough!"
It was the middle of the night on the streets of Shanghai, and there were few pedestrians.
Even the streetlights were hard to see.
At first glance, it was empty and quiet.
Chen Wendong had been vigilant for a long time, and was starting to feel a bit tired.
Surprisingly, he didn't stop Ling Shu from talking and instead asked, "Why wasn't it enough?"
Ling Shu smiled and said, "There's no profit in being a small police officer. With such a meager salary each month, you have to please your superiors and make friends with your colleagues. How is that enough? It's better to find some side jobs to do for a few years, so you can live comfortably for the rest of your life. But I'm a coward and can't stand the violence, so I had to find another way. I became a teacher at the local police academy for a year, and then..."
Chen Wendong interrupted him, "But where's the profit in being a teacher?"
Ling Shu said, "You don't understand. Those who want to become police officers usually have some connections. The wealthy and privileged sons naturally look down on our profession. But even those from modest backgrounds want their children to have a stable government job. Once they're in, it's up to us to teach them what to do and what not to do, whether they can be lazy or learn more. After all, we are the instructors."
Chen Wendong was speechless.
"What's even better is that these students are not like those in military schools who have to study for years. They only train for a month or two before starting their jobs. Even if they are dissatisfied, they won't accumulate resentment over time. In short, we are the ironclad instructors, and they are the flowing students. The profits we make in a year are enough for me to sit in the office for several years!"
"You really know how to make money," Chen Wendong said.
"Thank you for the compliment," Ling Shu dismissed his sarcasm with ease, feeling quite pleased with himself.
"You know, in this world, things may be chaotic, but the good thing is that you can do whatever you want as long as you don't cross the line. No one will chase after you for being a little sneaky or taking advantage of a situation. Compared to murder and arson, you're already a model citizen. But speaking of which, Brother Chen, I have to say something to you. Why would you work for the Japanese? They're not our people. Can you really trust them? Isn't it obvious that they'll betray you in the end? If you had worked for Lu Tongcang or the Zhen family from the beginning, maybe you would be living a comfortable life with all the luxuries by now."
Chen Wendong sneered, "Do you think the Zhen family is so clean? These so-called prestigious families, which one doesn't do some dirty dealings behind the scenes! Let's not talk about anything else, if Shen Shiqi hadn't become Mr. Cheng's man, could he have been so arrogant and domineering before? Those big shots in Shanghai who can stand up and speak, whose hands are not covered in blood?"
Ling Shu nodded, "You have a point. So, did Shen Shiqi really betray the country? Did he provide Mr. Cheng with a lot of confidential information?"
"It's not that Shen Shiqi provided it to Mr. Cheng, it's that Mr. Cheng sold the information to Shen Shiqi. In terms of being well-informed, no one in Shanghai can compare to Mr. Cheng. He can even influence the decisions of the Kwantung Army regarding the interior of the country..." Chen Wendong was about to continue, but he suddenly stopped talking.
"Gentlemen, the train station is up ahead!" The car finally came to a stop, and the exhausted driver could barely catch his breath, let alone speak.
Chen Wendong paid triple the fare and pulled Ling Shu towards the ticket booth at the station.
Ling Shu was still eager to ask more questions, but he knew he couldn't push it any further.
From the moment the driver announced their destination, Chen Wendong was on high alert.
He couldn't let anything distract him.
Ling Shu asked, "Are we really going to Nanjing? We still have at least three hours until 8:05, and the longer we stay here, the more likely Mr. Cheng's men will catch up to us."
Chen Wendong replied, "Buy the earliest ticket to Hangzhou."
He handed Ling Shu the money and followed closely behind him, never leaving his side.
After buying their tickets, there were still forty minutes until departure time, so the two of them sat in a corner of the waiting room.
Chen Wendong kept scanning the area, trying to eliminate any suspicious individuals that Mr. Cheng had sent to hunt him down.
His body was so tense that even in the cold weather, sweat began to form on his neck.
Ling Shu had wanted to say something to distract him and see if he could get any information out of him, but it was clear that Chen Wendong was not in a state to engage in conversation.
Any sudden movement or noise might cause him to react excessively.
After daybreak, the first person to visit him might not necessarily be Yue Dingtang.
As usual, after waking up, Mr. Yue would take a walk and practice Tai Chi in his backyard before having breakfast. Then he would go to school, even if he didn't have any classes, and spend the morning in his office preparing lessons and grading assignments. It wasn't until the afternoon that he would find time to visit the city bureau or the hospital to take care of his business.
If it weren't for Yue Dingtang being the first to receive the distress signal, he would have been notified even later.
As for whether Yue Dingtang would agree to Chen Wendong's conditions, Ling Shu was skeptical.
Even though they were colleagues and old classmates, and even with Yue Chunxiao's fondness for Ling Shu, their relationship only went so far.
Was it really worth it for Yue Dingtang to go through all the trouble of rescuing him?
If he was willing to help, it was out of his sense of loyalty and obligation to old friendships. But if he wasn't willing, no one could blame him.
After all, the whole thing had nothing to do with Yue Dingtang.
If Yue Chunxiao asked about it later, he could just shrug his shoulders and say it was a pity.
Ling Shu didn't have high hopes for this matter.
He needed to find a chance to escape.
Thinking of this, he couldn't help but silently repeat it in his mind.
But opportunities were hard to come by.
Chen Wendong was an experienced old hand, and his expertise in this area was enough to give Ling Shu a headache.
Finally, the train arrived at the station and the passengers rushed towards the gate.
Chen Wendong and Ling Shu didn't push forward in a hurry, because Chen Wendong was afraid that too many people would scatter them, so they waited until the end to board the train.
The train carriage was bustling early in the morning.
People carrying luggage, hot water bottles, and pushing carts were shouting and selling, in stark contrast to the quiet streets outside.
The heat was suffocating, making people sweat.
"Excuse me, excuse me! I'm in first class, let me through!"
"Hey, watch where you're going! You almost hit my child!"
"Are you trying to scam me? I didn't touch anything just now!"
These arguments between ordinary people were constant and commonplace.
But Chen Wendong paid no attention to them. He had found a seat with Ling Shu.
These days, there are no assigned seats on trains. It's first come, first served. If you're quick, you'll get a seat. If not, tough luck. If you have a ticket for a certain carriage, you have to find your own seat inside.
They bought second-class tickets, which were not as conspicuous as first-class ones, nor as crowded as third-class ones, making it easy to avoid trouble.
There were four seats facing each other in this compartment. Chen Wendong bought four seats to avoid unwanted company, but he naturally had to sit next to Ling Shu in order to monitor him.
When others tried to sit down and saw the murderous look on Chen Wendong's face, they became afraid and left without looking back.
So when the conductor came by to check tickets, he saw two big men squeezed into one seat, shoulder to shoulder, while the two seats opposite were empty.
Chen Wendong gestured for Ling Shu to show his ticket for inspection.
"Sir, since you've also bought the two seats opposite, why not sit on one side each? It'll be more spacious that way," the conductor kindly suggested.
"Ling Shu smiled and said, 'No problem, I'm afraid of the cold, sitting with a friend will keep me warm.'"
Chen Wendong lifted his head and glanced at the train attendant as if he were looking at a dead person.
The latter dared not speak and fled in panic.
"Brother Chen, I'm thirsty."
"We're going to Nanjing, why did we buy tickets to Hangzhou?"
Amidst the roaring sound, the train started moving and the scenery outside the window was no longer still.
The crowded and bustling crowd gradually quieted down and regained some order.
As fewer people passed by, Chen Wendong's emotions slowly calmed down.
"I let you leave a letter for Nanjing, but we don't necessarily have to go there first," he said, leaning back against the seat and relaxing slightly.
"Let's go to Hangzhou first, and then leave from there."
Ling Shu smiled and said, "That sounds great. Hangzhou has delicious food and beautiful scenery. After we arrive at noon, we must have a good meal. I'll take you to the Louwailou restaurant, but let's make it clear first, I didn't bring any money."
Chen Wendong replied, "You're so carefree. Aren't you afraid I'll shoot you?"
Ling Shu retorted, "Of course I'm afraid, but what's the use? As long as we're alive, we still need to eat and drink. Chen, we'll be on the train to Hangzhou for five hours. Are you planning on not letting me have a sip of water the whole time?"
Chen Wendong closed his eyes and remained silent.
Ling Shu had no choice but to shut up.
The train attendant came over with a hot water kettle.
Ling Shu quickly stopped him and asked for two cups of water.
"Sir, did you bring a water bottle or cup?" the attendant asked.
Ling Shu replied, "No."
The attendant suggested, "There are cups available in the dining car. Why don't you come with me to get some?"
Ling Shu laughed and said, "My brother and I haven't seen each other for many years, and we have a lot to talk about. We don't want to leave each other for a moment. Can you help us out?"
The train attendant's face looked strange, as if he wanted to say something but didn't.
He turned around and went to get them some cups.
On the train, the passengers in the first and second class carriages were either rich or of high status, or at least literate.
They had certain expectations, and the train attendant dared not offend them and had to work diligently to meet their demands.
However, for the passengers in the third class carriage, he was not so polite.
It was precisely because of the saying "judge people by their dishes" that this was the case.
The cups were brought over and filled with hot water. Ling Shu held it in his arms, feeling satisfied and emotional.
"It's so cold outside, but a cup of hot water is enough to warm my body and soul."
Chen Wendong did not go to get a cup, nor did he stop him from drinking water.
Ling Shu laughed, "Don't be so nervous. Mr. Cheng's people couldn't possibly have known that you wanted to go to Nanjing but took a detour to Hangzhou first..."
Before he could finish his sentence, there was suddenly a commotion from the back of the train car.
"Stop the thief! There's a thief!"
"Hey, you, stop!"
The sound of chasing and running came from behind, and Ling Shu instinctively turned around to see two people running towards them from far away.
The one in front was a young man wearing a duckbill cap, and the one chasing behind was a middle-aged woman in a qipao and leather shoes, struggling to keep up and panting heavily.
The crowd was in a flurry of discussion, but they hadn't yet realized what was happening when the young man in the duckbill cap had already run far ahead and arrived at their train car in a flash. When Ling Shu turned around, the other person happened to run in their direction. Without thinking, he threw his bag and it landed on Ling Shu's leg before disappearing into the distance.
The woman and her husband, who were chasing after the person, finally caught up, sweating profusely and extremely anxious.
As the train was about to arrive at the station, its speed gradually slowed down. If the person wearing the duckbill cap jumped out of the window and escaped, they would definitely not be able to catch up.
Ling Shu handed over the bag.
"Is this yours? He just dropped it on me."
The woman snatched the bag and opened it.
"There's nothing in it!"
She was both anxious and angry, and instead of thanking Ling Shu, she shouted at him.
"Are you in cahoots with him? Why did he throw the bag to you?"
Ling Shu was speechless. "Isn't this like the story of a dog biting a random person? If I were with him, would I be waiting here for you?"
The woman was furious: "How was I supposed to know? If you hadn't stopped me, I could have caught up with them! You have to compensate me for my money! I had tens of yuan in my wallet, that was our emergency fund!"
It was a classic case of a scholar encountering soldiers, where reason could not prevail.
Ling Shu shrugged: "I don't have any money, but my brother does. You can ask him."
Naturally, the couple turned to Chen Wendong, who was standing beside Ling Shu.
Just as Ling Shu thought they were going to argue with Chen Wendong, something unexpected happened.
Even Chen Wendong did not expect that the middle-aged woman in front of him, who looked ordinary and even had wrinkles at the corners of her mouth, would suddenly pull out a gun from her coat pocket and aim it at his own forehead!
Ling Shu: ?!
At the moment the gun went off, Ling Shu almost simultaneously bent down to dodge!
He didn't have time to worry about whether Chen Wendong would shoot him or not.
On the contrary, Chen Wendong rushed towards the woman, knocking her wrist off course and causing the bullet to hit a passenger's head nearby!
Blood splattered and the passenger fell to the ground with a cry!
Screams erupted around them as everyone in the carriage instinctively stood up and ran towards both ends of the carriage, desperately trying to escape!
The failed shot and the rush of people disrupted the plans of the two men.
Ling Shu and Chen Wendong took advantage of the chaos and slipped away into the crowd.
Even if the killer was reckless enough to cause casualties, they couldn't waste bullets in such a dense crowd.
Chen Wendong and Ling Shu both ran towards the direction of the third-class carriage.
Because the first-class carriage had more wealthy people and fewer people overall, it was not a good place to hide. On the other hand, the third-class carriage was cheaper, noisy, and crowded, making it easier to blend in during the chaos.
The chaotic crowd hindered Ling Shu's escape plan. He wanted to get off the train, but the door was blocked. It was clear that he wouldn't have time to crawl out of the window before the train came to a complete stop.
He could only continue to push forward.
The two assassins' target may have only been Chen Wendong, but Ling Shu didn't want to take that risk. After all, Chen Wendong was right.
In Mr. Cheng's eyes, anyone who could "escape" with Chen Wendong was a companion, and it wouldn't be unfair to take them out together.
Gunshots rang out from behind, and it was unclear who was hit and who fell. The crowd was once again in chaos.
The restroom was right in front of him, and Ling Shu twisted the door handle and slipped inside.