Yue Dingtang had a very long dream.
In the dream, he kept walking forward, his footsteps never stopping.
At the far end, there was a bright light, and he subconsciously knew that it was the final exit.
As long as he reached there, he could break free from this endless journey and finally find redemption.
But he could never reach the end.
The road was not an endless darkness, there were stars along the way, scattered around him like guides and companions.
They allowed him to see many past events and many people.
The most frequent appearances were from his youth.
Some details, he couldn't even remember in his waking life, but in this dream, they surged forth.
During high school, there was a biology class taught by a little old man who loved gardening.
Every class, he would teach them how to take care of a different type of flower, from spider lilies to milk thistles. It seemed like there was no flower he didn't know about.
The little old man also loved to joke around.
One time, when Ling Shu was dozing off in class, he walked over and casually stuck two dogtail grasses behind Ling Shu's ears. Then he patted Ling Shu's shoulder and called on him to answer a question.
Ling Shu, still half asleep, was completely confused when he stood up and the two dogtail grasses were still swaying behind his ears like antennae on an insect's head, causing the whole class to burst into laughter.
The old man also liked Ling Shu. Yue Dingtang had seen them walking on campus more than once. The old man pointed to the flowers, trees, and plants that were everywhere, telling Ling Shu what they were, what medicinal properties they had, and whether they were edible.
Thinking back now, it seemed that all the teachers had a good impression of Ling Shu.
But then again, with his lively and handsome appearance, coupled with a hint of youthful pride, who wouldn't like him?
Even he himself...
But what happened to that old man later?
It was said that in a bombing last year, a bomb hit the university in Jiangwan District, and it happened to fall on the head of the old man who was visiting his daughter at the university...
Suddenly, a roar came from behind.
Without thinking, Yue Dingtang quickened his pace, and there was a voice in his head warning him not to look back.
So he didn't, and ran as fast as he could.
Still not fast enough.
The roar grew louder and closer, carrying with it a terror that swept up and devoured everything in its path.
In the face of such horror, everything would be destroyed and ground to dust!
Wealth, power, status, and glory were all powerless in the face of such terror.
The starlight still lingered around Yue Dingtang's body, memories and scenes flashing before his eyes like fleeting shadows.
Familiar and unfamiliar faces, blood relatives and close friends, passing strangers - it was as if half a lifetime of memories were contained within this moment.
Suddenly, a hand grabbed his wrist.
"Come with me."
The voice was familiar, but he couldn't quite place it.
Yue Dingtang wanted to turn and look, but it was too late - the roar was right behind him, almost upon him!
He didn't struggle against the person's grip, but instead followed his own heart and allowed himself to be pulled in a different direction.
There was no light in the other direction.
But sometimes, what appears to be a glimmer of hope may not be true hope after all.
As for the hand that he was holding...
Yue Dingtang looked up to examine the person, but he couldn't quite make out their appearance.
The roaring sound grew more and more distant, and his body gradually began to feel warm, indicating that this person had indeed rescued him from danger.
Yue Dingtang was getting anxious. He really wanted to see what this person looked like because he had a feeling that he knew them from somewhere, but he just couldn't remember.
"Who are you?" he asked.
A name circled around in his mind, but he couldn't seem to say it out loud.
The grip on his wrist grew stronger and stronger, causing him some pain.
Yue Dingtang couldn't help but let out a cry.
Or so he thought.
In reality, it was just a muffled groan. The bright light pierced through the cracks of his eyelids, causing a sharp pain and tears to well up in his eyes.
After several seconds, he finally opened his eyes again.
A person stood by his bed, releasing his wrist just in time.
"Mr. Yue, you're awake. Are you conscious? Do you remember your name?" The person's voice was muffled by a large mask, making it sound a bit stuffy.
But the white coat they wore was enough to indicate their profession.
Yue Dingtang made a sound of agreement, enunciating his words clearly.
"What happened to me?"
His head throbbed, and he felt sluggish, but he was still somewhat alert.
"Your head received a blow, causing a mild concussion. Your left arm is broken and in a cast, and you have some external injuries from the impact, but no internal injuries. You're very lucky." The doctor recited the diagnosis from his medical chart before setting it down.
Indeed, he was lucky.
Yue Dingtang remembered what had happened.
On his way to the municipal office, the car he was riding in exploded. The bomb wasn't very powerful, but it happened to detonate right under Kagesawa's seat.
He was lucky to have survived.
He reacted quickly and opened the car door in time...and that's where his memory ends.
"Mr. Yue, your IV drip is almost finished. Remember to ring the bell to call the nurse to change it later. I'll leave now and let you rest," said the doctor.
"Hold on," shouted Yue Dingtang, stopping the doctor in his tracks. "When I woke up earlier, why were you holding my hand?"
The doctor didn't turn his head and continued walking towards the door. "I was taking your pulse, not holding your hand. You must have misunderstood, Mr. Yue."
The doctor finally stopped and was about to grab the door handle.
Yue Dingtang spoke slowly and deliberately, "If you dare to leave, I'll immediately call someone to make sure you can't leave again." The white coat reluctantly turned around and removed his mask.
Sure enough, it was Ling Shu.
Although he had put on some makeup, added a pair of silver-framed glasses, and a few wrinkles, it was indeed Ling Shu.
"Captain Yue, we've known each other since childhood and were classmates. Why do you have to be so heartless? Besides, I have urgent matters to attend to. Can't I explain it to you in a few days?"
Yue Dingtang felt a bit dizzy, so he grabbed a pillow and propped himself up to speak more comfortably.
Perhaps due to his makeup, Ling Shu also looked a bit haggard, with stubble on his lips and chin.
"Is it safe to talk here?"
"Are you asking me?" Ling Shu pointed to himself. "I just got in here less than half an hour ago. This is an ordinary civilian hospital, and I didn't see anyone outside your ward. But now, Fengtian City is in chaos."
"Because of the car bomb?" Yue Dingtang asked.
"Exactly. I heard that the car you were supposed to ride in was meant for a more important figure. That person changed their mind and took another vehicle, so this car was used to transport you. That's why you were unlucky. The whole city is now searching for the culprit, and it's likely that someone will come to visit you soon."
"Where did you go last night? And who stole the Buddhist pagoda?" Yue Dingtang asked.
Ling Shu laughed, "Don't you suspect me of stealing and fleeing with the treasure? I bet most of the people from the Guan family would think it was me."
He quickly dropped his playful expression.
"Anyway, time is running out, so I'll be serious with you. Last night, that foolish wife of Second Master wanted to come and steal the pagoda. I caught her in the act, and I was planning to play a little prank on her. But then, a second group of people arrived - it was Ivanov, the Russian man who came with Fourth Master during the day, and he brought two others with him. Without hesitation, they silenced Mrs. He. I tried to stop them from stealing the pagoda, but I was overpowered and captured. They didn't kill me, though - they just knocked me out and took me away. As for why Ivanov is so familiar with the Guan family, I think you should ask Fourth Master.
"I was wondering why they knocked me out instead of killing me. It wasn't until I woke up that I found out there was another person conspiring with Ivanov, someone we both know very well. Can you guess who it is? Don't look at me like that, it's Zhen Congyun, Miss Zhen. You didn't expect that, did you? She's actually hanging out with that Russian guy and even told Ivanov that Ling Shu is a nobody who doesn't respect her despite his poor background. She wants me to suffer."
As he spoke, Ling Shu clenched his fist and coughed a few times.
Yue Dingtang noticed a hint of hoarseness in his voice.
"Are you injured?"
"It's nothing. I had to use some strength to escape. I actually wanted to go back to the Guan family and check on you, but I heard about your injury."
"So, you've had a change of heart and came back to the trap?" Yue Dingtang's lips curled slightly with a hint of sarcasm. "Even without Ivanov, from the moment you drugged the food, the pagoda was destined to disappear, wasn't it?"
Ling Shu shrugged. "But didn't you also test me several times and specifically tell me the key was in the vase? We're even. Old Yue, I won't ask what you want to do, and you don't need to ask about my plans. This time, we'll each do our own thing. If we're lucky enough to meet again in Shanghai, and you want to forget about it, I'll be grateful. If you want to bring up old grudges, I'll accept it. How about that?"
Knock, knock, knock.
The sound of knocking on the door echoed.
Ling Shu quickly put on his mask.
The next moment, the door was opened.
A graceful nurse entered with a tray in her hands. "Sir, it's time to change the IV drip," she said.
She saw Ling Shu and mistook him for a doctor, greeting him politely.
Ling Shu nodded absentmindedly and quickly left.
He had intended to visit Yue Dingtang and, while checking on his injuries, also try to find out his intentions.
But in just a short moment, there was much left unsaid, and he didn't even have a chance to tell Yue Dingtang about what he had overheard about Ivanov's background and the secret discussions he had with Zhen Congyun about the Buddhist pagoda.
It seemed that Yue Dingtang had no intention of confronting him either.
In the hospital room, the two were close but worlds apart.
Ling Shu couldn't figure out what Yue Dingtang was thinking, or what he intended to do.
At the dinner table, why did he hint at the location of the key and allow him to go after the Buddhist pagoda?
Earlier, what did it mean when they warned him not to cause trouble or they wouldn't show mercy?
It was as if they already knew he was going to target the pagoda.
But no, it was the nurse!
In the hospital room just now, the nurse didn't recognize him, yet she didn't show any suspicion or ask any questions.
This was not normal behavior for a nurse.
She was holding a tray and going to give Yue Dingtang a drip!
At this moment, Ling Shu had already walked behind the old house across from the hospital.
He felt a sense of urgency and had to return to the hospital.
But someone grabbed his shoulder.
"What are you doing?"
"I want to go back and check on Old Yue. He might be in danger..."
Before he could finish his sentence, a loud boom came from above!
Ling Shu and the other person looked up at the same time.
It was the third floor of the hospital!
Yue Dingtang's hospital room!
The raging flames from the hospital room window were so intense that everyone on the street looked up in shock.
Ling Shu's heart was in turmoil, unable to describe the shock he felt at this moment!