"Hey, Old Yue, do you think the chicken soup from the Guan family is even better than what your family's chef can make?"
A sip of perfectly warm chicken soup is enough to evoke all the warmth of a winter day. Even though it's already spring, the chill of the night lingers, making a steaming bowl of soup the perfect addition to the dinner table.
Of course, this is not a luxury that ordinary families can enjoy. For most families, having vegetables and meat on the table is already considered a feast.
Upon hearing Ling Shu's question, Yue Dingtang smirked.
"That soup is ten times as sweet or fragrant as the one in your hands. You can smell the aroma standing by the Huangpu River."
Ling Shu laughed heartily, "Your answer sounds perfunctory! I'm not using an emperor's golden pole to speculate, after all, you want me to accompany you on a long train ride from warm Shanghai to Fengtian to see how the Japanese are doing. Don't you think you should give me some encouragement?"
Yue Dingtang was at a loss.
"How come gold and silver leaves are not enough to inspire you? If I say mountains of gold and silver, you won't believe me either."
Ling Shu scratched his nose, "I don't expect to strike it rich. Last time, I got a few yellow taels from Yuan cellar, but they were gone before I could even warm them up. With my weak and helpless position, I dare not ask for them back. I just hope that this time, there will be some gold and silver leaves for me to keep."
Yue Dingtang smiled knowingly. It seemed that Ling Shu was still thinking about those yellow taels.
"Didn't I tell you last time that the yellow taels helped you to network? Otherwise, how could you have been transferred from the district to the city so quickly?"
Ling Shu didn't believe a word of it. With Yue Dingtang's ability, it was just a matter of a word to transfer Ling Shu to the city bureau. Those few small yellow taels were at most just icing on the cake. Without the existence of the Yue family, even if Ling Shu had a box of small yellow taels, he wouldn't have found a way in.
Moreover, he really couldn't bear to part with those few small yellow taels.
Every time he thought about it, he felt heartbroken.
He felt that the Yue family was cunning and ruthless, even depriving the poor working people of their meager stock, which was simply outrageous.
But Ling Shu still smiled and bowed his head. "Thank you, Chief Yue, for your great kindness. I could never repay you even if I worked like a horse or an ox for the rest of my life."
So he simply didn't repay him at all, damn it!
Tomorrow is the day of departure, and the journey will be rushed.
After finishing dinner, Ling Shu suggested that he should go home and pack his luggage first, so that he could inform his sister and brother-in-law and avoid worrying his family if he couldn't come back for ten days or half a month.
Yue Dingtang was about to go upstairs to read when he heard this and asked the driver to take him back.
The weather was unusual in the past two days.
It suddenly turned cold after warming up, and a spring rain suddenly fell. It was not small, and the road near Ling Shu's house was slippery and muddy. Ling Shu asked the driver to stop the car, and he could walk back by himself.
Feeling the cold and slippery road, he couldn't help but tighten his collar.
The alley leading to Ling's house was just ahead, and he turned into it and walked a few steps before arriving.
The light shone from behind, accompanied by the friction between the wheels and the road.
Ling Shu thought it was the car from the Yue family and instinctively turned his head.
The headlights were so bright that he had to raise his hand to shield his eyes for a moment before he could see the license plate number. It was a very unfamiliar license plate number.
The car slowly stopped, but the headlights were not turned off. The light was shining directly on Ling Shu, enough for the people in the car to see him clearly, but Ling Shu couldn't see the situation on the other side of the car.
This was a very rude behavior, but some people, who were self-righteous about their status, would not consider others in these details, but instead took it for granted.
Soon, a person got out of the car. He was wearing a silk long shirt, short hair, and leather shoes, very particular. But he didn't look like the one in charge.
Ling Shu stood still. He didn't want to bring trouble to his home.
A middle-aged man approached.
"Are you Ling Shu, Mr. Ling?" he asked.
Ling Shu nodded. "Yes, that's me."
The man gestured with his hand. "Our master would like to invite Mr. Ling to come and speak with him. Please follow me."
The man was polite, but there was no room for negotiation.
Ling Shu chuckled upon hearing this. "With this kind of attitude, I'm guessing it's not just a simple chat. You want me to come to your master's house, don't you?"
The middle-aged man remained silent, with an attitude that implied Ling Shu had no choice.
"I'm sorry, I'm in a hurry to go back and have supper. I'm afraid I don't have time to meet your master. If he wants to see me, he can come to the police station tomorrow and make an appointment. Oh, and don't forget to bring an invitation card!"
After finishing his careless remark, Ling Shu turned around to leave.
However, the middle-aged man stepped forward and blocked his path with a hand gesture.
"Ling, our master doesn't appreciate anyone who disobeys him," the man said sternly.
Ling Shu chuckled, "Sorry, I don't like being forced either."
He tried to walk around the man, but the man grabbed his arm without hesitation.
Ling Shu's reaction was lightning fast, displaying his expert martial arts skills.
It was a stance that only a skilled fighter could execute, and it was clear that Ling Shu was one of them.
The middle-aged man thought he had the upper hand, but he was wrong.
He had underestimated the young man in front of him. Little did they know, Ling Shu not only resisted, but did so with skill.
He dodged and grabbed the middle-aged man's arm, using just the right amount of force to push him back several steps!
The people in the car saw the situation was not good and grabbed their guns, loading their bullets and aiming in Ling Shu's direction.
But in the next second, the gun holder froze.
Ling Shu had one arm across the middle-aged man's neck and the other arm twisted behind his back, ready to strike at any moment. He stood in front of the man, shielding himself.
His expression remained indifferent, but his eyes and smile were soft and gentle like the blossoming of peach flowers in spring.
"You can shoot, as long as you don't care about your companion's life. And let me remind you, once you shoot, given the distance between us, I can easily take you down before your bullets run out. Before I die, I will drag your master out, even if we both end up losing, at least we will both be injured. If you don't care about your own life and the safety of your master, you can give it a try."
The person holding the gun had never encountered such a tricky and embarrassing situation before, and for a moment, didn't know what to do.
Instinctively, they turned to look at the car.
Then, another person got out.
Dressed in a suit and leather shoes, not too old, somewhere between middle-aged and young, their face was a bit blurry due to the headlights.
But Ling Shu knew that this person was the one who truly had the power to make things happen.
"Mr. Ling is truly bold and knowledgeable," he praised insincerely.
Even though Ling Shu acted quickly and avoided being held hostage, the man's attitude didn't change much.
It seemed that in his eyes, whether it was his subordinates or Ling Shu, they were all insignificant pawns whose fate could be decided at any moment.
Ling Shu remained silent, waiting for the man to speak again.
After waiting for a while and seeing that Ling Shu wasn't in a hurry and had no intention of releasing the hostage, the man became a little annoyed and finally spoke up.
"I am Zhen Shulan."
Ling Shu still didn't react.
Zhen Shulan couldn't help but raise his voice.
"Zhen Congyun is my little sister."
Finally, Ling Shu raised an eyebrow. "Turns out you're Miss Zhen's older brother. May I ask what brings you here?"
Zhen Shulan replied, "I have some questions regarding my sister."
"I'm sorry, but I'm not acquainted with Miss Zhen. You may have the wrong person," Ling Shu said.
Since his last hospitalization, Zhen Congyun had only visited him once, and they hadn't seen each other since.
Outside his hospital room, Zhen Congyun had told reporters that she liked Ling Shu very much.
The next day, all the newspapers and magazines were using this as a headline, saying that Miss Zhen had fallen for an unknown, poor boy and might even marry him.
But two days later, all the reports disappeared without a trace.
Ling Shu knew that the Zhen family must have intervened to suppress the news.
After that, Ling Shu did not hear any news related to Miss Zhen. Miss Zhen, who used to act so boldly, seemed to suddenly become low-key.
"I didn't find the wrong person. This is not the place to talk. Come with me, and I'll explain everything to you in detail."
Even though he tried to maintain basic politeness, his stiffness was still evident.
Ling Shu found it a bit amusing.
Now, it was Zhen Shulan who needed his help, yet he was speaking in such a domineering tone.
"Mr. Zhen, I have only met Miss Zhen a few times. She has the temperament of a wealthy young lady. Regardless of what she may have said to the outside world, you must know better than me how much credibility she has. So why bother troubling someone like me, a small fry?"
"Mr. Shu," Zhen Shulan said in a low voice, "if you're not comfortable, we can talk at your home. I'll say what I need to and leave immediately, without disturbing your family."
Ling Shu replied, "Mr. Zhen, you came at me aggressively, even pointing a gun at me. Your ruthlessness makes it hard for me to trust you. My family are ordinary citizens, and if you plan on doing anything to them, I won't be able to stop you."
Zhen took a deep breath and suppressed his anger. "So what do you suggest?"
"Let's talk here. There's no one around, and we can say whatever we need to."
Zhen Shulan wanted nothing more than to kill Ling Shu.
No one had ever been so disrespectful and impolite to him, even if the person was a stunning beauty.
And Ling Shu was far from that.
He stared at the other person for several seconds.
Ling Shu remained indifferent and even smiled at him.
Zhen Shulan had to signal his subordinates to put away their guns and took a few steps forward herself.
"My little sister has encountered some trouble, and I had to come to seek advice from Mr. Ling. I apologize for any rudeness earlier and hope for your forgiveness."
He paused and lowered his voice.
Ling Shu had already guessed the severity of the situation, with Zhen Shulan personally searching for clues in a state of desperation.
It must be a matter of life or death, or at least a disappearance.
"Two days ago, she left the department store and never returned home. We couldn't find her that night and only realized she was missing."
Ling Shu asked, "Did Miss Zhen leave any clues?"
"No," Zhen Shulan replied calmly. "We need to think this through carefully. I know she and you are old acquaintances, so I came to ask if you have any leads. I also know that you solved the Yuan family case and got promoted, gaining some fame. If you're willing to cooperate, I can offer a generous reward. I hope you can find her as soon as possible to prevent any mishaps."
At the mention of money, Zhen Shulan straightened his back and regained his previous arrogance.
Because he was sure Ling Shu would agree, he thought.
"Not quite," Ling Shu shook his head after looking at him for a few seconds.
"Miss Zhen didn't disappear, she ran away from home, right?"
Zhen Shulan's face immediately turned ugly.
In that moment, Ling Shu felt as though with just a lift of his hand, the gunman's henchman would shoot him.