The Plough - Chapter 41
The package arrived wrapped in a silk scarf embroidered with golden auspicious clouds and emitting a faint sandalwood scent.
It was clearly a luxurious item.
Untying the bow, inside the scarf was a wooden box in a clean and smooth grey-black color, with no rough edges or splinters.
In the bottom right corner of the box was a single character engraved in silver – the character “He”.
The sender was a beautiful woman with a gentle and virtuous heart.
Ling Shu had received gifts before, even gifts from beautiful women.
In school, many female classmates would leave anonymous small gifts on his desk every day, and even at the dance hall, Ya Qi and others would rather dance with him for free than accept his tips.
But suddenly, Ling Shu found himself eagerly anticipating what was inside the box. It must be something extraordinary that He You’an sent over.
The box was not locked, only secured with a latch that could be easily opened.
Inside, there was a piece of red paper with gold sprinkles, a pen, and a bottle of liquid that looked like perfume but also resembled ink.
The red paper looked like an invitation or a wedding announcement, but it was blank with not a single word written on it.
Ling Shu became interested.
Based on his guess, He You’an must have sent the gift because he saved her life last time.
Since it was a gift, it must not be hastily put together, and the name and content would not be forgotten.
Perhaps this was a puzzle with a prize, like the lantern riddles at the lantern festival. Only by solving the riddle could the lantern truly belong to you.
It was very interesting.
“What is this?” Yue Dingtang pushed open the door, bringing in a chill with him.
Seeing Ling Shu’s surprised expression, he explained, “There were no classes for me at school today, so I came here to grade the students’ homework. It’s warmer here.”
Ling Shu couldn’t help but think that he was here to monitor him.
“Miss He sent this as a thank you for saving her life last time,” Ling Shu said, feeling a bit proud, like a child showing off his candy box to someone who couldn’t have any.
“She sent it here, but not to the Ling family. It must not be just for you, but for both of us,” Yue Dingtang said.
Ling Shu didn’t think much of it. “You’re my superior, so if it’s for two people, why did she only send it to me?”
Yue Dingtang smiled faintly, “That’s because you saved her life. He You’an came from a poor background and was lifted to fame by Shen Shiqi. She socializes among the elite and wealthy. At the last consulate banquet, when Shen Shiqi caused a scene, she not only wasn’t looked down upon by the crowd, but also gained a lot of sympathy. I heard that after that night, her movies were sold out and wealthy young men went to send her flowers. She even gained more fans who were willing to spend money on her. Some even wanted to buy the movie company to rescue her from Shen Shiqi. She is very careful in her actions and never offends anyone, so how could there be any mistakes as you said?”
Ling Shu couldn’t help but ask, “Someone wanted to buy the movie company just to promote her, why didn’t she agree?”
Yue Dingtang said, “She didn’t agree, and she said that Shen Shiqi had shown her kindness. Although she has a quick temper, she cannot forget her gratitude just because of the other person’s temperament. When this was spread, everyone praised her for being loyal and righteous. Even Mr. Pence from the US Consulate invited her to attend a banquet and perform a singing performance on Washington’s birthday next month. I heard that a French counselor is also pursuing Miss He.”
His sources of information were indeed much broader than Ling Shu’s.
But after hearing this, Ling Shu not only didn’t feel jealous or depressed, but instead praised, “There are many beautiful women who are only superficially beautiful, but there are very few who are beautiful both inside and out. Miss He is truly outstanding among them!”
Yue Dingtang felt that he was deeply poisoned, and even ten horses could not pull him back. This poison was called the “He You’an Beauty Poison”. Those who were lightly affected would blush and feel hot when they saw He You’an, while those who were heavily affected would applaud and cheer even if He You’an committed murder and arson.
Based on Yue Dingtang’s deduction, Ling Shu was showing signs of transitioning from mild to severe poisoning. He picked up the piece of red paper and examined it closely.
“It must be invisible ink. If you heat the paper, the writing will appear. Nowadays, in college chemistry classes, there is a basic course on using squid ink to write messages. After a few days, the writing disappears. Many students enjoy playing with it and use it to pass secret messages to each other.”
After hearing this, Ling Shu lost interest in guessing riddles.
Yue Dingtang flipped the red paper over and over, playing with it.
“I have an idea.” He smirked, “Why don’t we make a bet? If this gift is really for both of us, then I win. If it’s just for you, then I lose. How about it?”
Ling Shu asked, “What’s the wager?”
Yue Dingtang replied, “Do something for the other person. Of course, it can’t be illegal or against public morals.”
Ling Shu thought about it and felt like he wouldn’t lose out on this deal.
“Okay, but we need a notary to make it official.”
Yue Dingtang asked, “Are you afraid I’ll back out?”
Ling Shu pretended to be coy, “After all, you’re my superior and I’m your subordinate. Whatever you say goes. How could I dare to speak out of turn?”
Yue Dingtang asked, “Then who do you suggest as the notary?”
Ling Shu replied, “Let’s choose Sister Chunxiao. Even though you’re siblings, I believe in her impartiality.”
Yue Dingtang: “…I don’t believe it. She must be biased towards you. If that’s the case, I might as well ask Sister Ling,” Ling Yao wouldn’t tolerate Ling Shu’s excuses.
Ling Shu’s mouth twitched. “Then how about finding a colleague from your school, a university professor who is a role model and surely impartial?”
“That could work,” nodded Yue Dingtang.
The morning passed quickly as they each went about their own business. Yue Dingtang corrected homework with lightning speed while Ling Shu picked up a book from the shelf to read.
Yue Dingtang stole a glance at the book’s title when he had a moment to spare. ‘Debating Social Issues.’ Wow, it was quite profound and impressive.
Yue Dingtang was surprised. Half an hour later, he finished grading the assignments and looked up to find Ling Shu already asleep with his head resting on the book.
Yue Dingtang: …
Ling Shu had a dream where he was happily chatting with the owner of Xiaoji Noodles, drinking and enjoying each other’s company. Old Xiao was bragging about his endless stream of cows, while Ling Shu slurped the soup from his chicken noodle dish and watched Old Xiao’s lively conversation with a sense of nostalgia for simpler times. Suddenly, a loud noise interrupted his dream.
He woke up in a panic, realizing that Old Xiao had been dead for many days and his dream had turned into a nightmare.
Yue Dingtang noticed his changing expression and said, “Wake up, you’re drooling.”
Ling Shu wiped his mouth instinctively and asked, “Was I drooling?”
Yue Dingtang remained expressionless.
Feeling guilty, Ling Shu chuckled and closed his book. “Are you done with your work? Let’s go eat lunch,” he said.
Yue Dingtang glanced at the thin book, which he had only flipped through a few pages of, and thought to himself, “Well, that was a quick read.”
Ling Shu quickly said, “Let’s go out to eat.”
Yue Dingtang picked up his scarf and coat and walked ahead. The sun was shining directly on the spot where they had just hung their coats, warming them up and making them feel like they were wearing a layer of sunshine.
Ling Shu suddenly felt a sense of peace.
“What do you want to eat?” asked Yue Dingtang.
“What do you feel like?” Ling Shu replied.
“Chicken noodle soup?”
“Actually, I just had a dream about beef noodle soup, so let’s have that instead.”
After lunch, the two of them went to school.
Ling Shu noticed that Yue Dingtang was quite popular among the students, as they were constantly greeting him along the way.
Especially the female students. In those days, the slogan of democracy and science had just emerged.
Although some families sent their daughters to school, the majority remained closed-minded. Female students in universities were either from enlightened gentry families, government officials, or those who had returned from studying abroad.
Regardless of their background, their families had to have some wealth to afford their children’s tuition fees. Therefore, female university students were as rare as phoenix feathers and unicorn horns.
They were all outstanding women in society.
Professors who were welcomed by such outstanding women were naturally extraordinary.
However, today was slightly different.
The admiration that usually fell on Yue Dingtang was now spread thin.
Ling Shu, who stood behind Yue Dingtang, had taken the lead. Some bold female students even asked about Yue Dingtang after greeting Ling Shu.
“Mr. Yue, is this your friend?”
Mr. Yue wanted to say, ‘Don’t be fooled by his appearance. This person can only read three pages of ‘Discussions on Social Issues’ before falling asleep.’
“Yes, he is my assistant, Ling Shu.”
The female student’s eyes lit up. “So he’s also a teacher at the school?”
“He is my assistant in the advisory position at the city bureau, not a teacher at this school,” replied Mr. Yue.
The female student was not disappointed.
Instead, she graciously extended her hand to Ling Shu.
“Hello, my name is Xiao Yue, Xiao as in melancholy, Yue as in new moon.”
This introduction made Ling Shu think of the Xinyue Cafe, but Xiao Yue’s appearance had nothing to do with the cafe. Instead, she looked like the moon in a poet’s pen, elegant and noble, with a poetic and picturesque quality.
“Hello, my name is Ling Shu.”
The short hair of the female student moved as her clear gaze rippled like a calm wave.
“It’s Ling Han’s Ling, and the Shu Ministry’s Shu.”
The female student blushed, a rare sight. “Okay, thank you, Ling Shu. I’ll remember that. Will you come to our school to listen to a class when you have time? You’re a police officer, right? We have a legal history class, and you can come and listen.”
Ling Shu smiled. “The teacher who teaches you legal history is right beside me. Shouldn’t you invite me to listen to another class?”
The female student wanted to say something else, but her companion was already feeling embarrassed and pulled her away.
Ling Shu sighed. “Being a student is really great, with the sound of rustling books and vibrant energy.”
Yue Dingtang: …
Is it really great to chat with female students?
Although he knew that Ling Shu had many admirers, he underestimated the extent of it.
He never imagined that even the walk from the campus to the office would be delayed by lingering admirers.
Luckily, finding someone in the office was easy.
Professor Zhao, who taught Chinese, happened to be free.
When he heard their request, he laughed heartily and readily agreed to be a witness. He even volunteered to find two candles and roast the red paper over the fire. After a while, a few lines of words gradually appeared on the paper.
“Mr. Ling and Mr. Yue, please accept my gratitude for your care. I am deeply moved and regret not being able to meet you in person. It has been several days since I last saw you. I do not know if you are free tonight, but we invite you to the Sun and Moon Pavilion at the Baofeng Building. Please do us the honor of coming as our guests. I will be the hostess.
Also, knowing that Mr. Ling enjoys solving riddles, we added some unconventional touches to the invitation to make it more interesting. If we have offended you in any way, please forgive us.”
It turns out that she invited them for a meal.
Ling Shu was a little disappointed and annoyed. As expected, He You’an mentioned Yue Dingtang’s name.
This unique invitation, with its sprinkling of golden red paper, was just a simple invitation.
“What’s wrong? Are you disappointed that it’s not just for you?” Yue Dingtang was in a good mood.
“Don’t forget the bet, Old Zhao. You were there to witness it.” Yue Dingtang reminded Zhao Professor.
“I testify that Mr. Ling lost a game!” Professor Zhao laughed heartily.
Unlike Yue Dingtang, Ling Shu’s mood was like being lifted up after lying down for only three minutes, and then being told to work all night, instantly wilted.
He had no interest in a beauty treating him to a meal.
But neither he nor Yue Dingtang knew that at this moment, He You’an’s mood was very bad.
There was some anxiety and fear.
The author has something to say: The case officially begins tomorrow.