SWFM 315

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Chapter 315: The death trap

 

Having successfully acted out that scheme, the group now headed to a rented house with three of the men leaving along the way. There were only their leader, a big man in his thirties, as well as the young teenager and Shasha who still remained.

The teenager played happily with that phone for a while before he suddenly recalled something, next getting up and handing the phone to Shasha as he said, “Sis Ling, you should take it. That phone of yours is too old and spoilt. It’ll be shameful, using it outside.”

Shasha had become Sis Ling now. She had several different names in actuality. For instance, she was called Shasha when baiting people in on the web. To her relatives and those of her hometown, she had a simple but lovable name, Zhang Shuiling.

She had one more name. This woman who was currently smiling as she carefully appraised a small perfume bottle on the windowsill beneath the sunlight, next carefully keeping it, was called Tongtong too. She worked in Starry Splendour Nightclub.

Tongtong’s younger cousin held out the phone to her.

Tongtong hesitated for a moment before she said, “Just sell it. I don’t need it.”

Then, she walked over to the entrance of a room and said to the man in his thirties who had gone off to sleep after having returned, “Brother, I think that we really shouldn’t do such things anymore. It’s been twice, but we haven’t earned much, and there’s a lot of pressure too…it’d be best if you found some work instead.”

The man waved dismissively, yawning, “It’s just based on luck. Who asked you to refuse to bring your rich customers out? Anyway, the money comes easily this way, at least. You want me to find work outside, but what work can I find? A factory? Hauling sacks? Driving a trishaw? Definitely not, hah.”

This man was Tongtong’s brother by blood. He had been a good man originally, simple and hardworking. Sadly, after having come over from their village for a few years, he had suddenly changed. It would actually still be fine if he was just a good-for-nothing loafer. Tongtong wouldn’t mind providing him with his basic meals. After all, she had already grit her teeth and chosen to work at Starry Splendour, her income there not being low…Yet, he took drugs, and gambled…

This was really a bottomless black hole.

Tongtong hesitated for a moment before gathering her courage and saying, “If we go on like this, the police will come looking for us sooner or later.”

“How many men would dare to call the police after experiencing something like this? Wouldn’t they all just swallow their anger and admit that they were unlucky? Relax, it’s all under control,” The man said breezily.

“Even if no one calls the police and they don’t come, what about Bro Kun? If Bro Kun learns that I’m doing this outside while working at Starry Splendour, and it’s discovered and it affects Starry Splendour’s reputation…Bro Kun definitely wouldn’t let me go. He’d literally beat me to death. If he knows that it was you who asked me to do this, even you…”

Tongtong was trembling slightly as she said this. She had previously seen Wu Kun handling a pair of sisters who had secretly taken photos and blackmailed customers. The remaining lot of them women had all been asked to stand in a line and watch on from the side as he ‘killed one to warn a hundred’…

Even now, Tongtong would still unconsciously shiver whenever she thought about what had happened that day.

Running a nightclub business, if one felt that they would be unsafe there, would be plotted and schemed against…that business definitely couldn’t be maintained for long and kept high-end. Wu Kun’s Starry Splendour was the most high-end and most trustworthy in Yanzhou. Even those people with important statuses could all feel reassured in patronising such a place.

Wu Kun was very particular about this…

Wu Kun could be very ruthless indeed.

Hearing Tongtong mention Wu Kun, the man was rather fearful as well as he hesitated for a moment before saying, “Let’s just try this two more times. See if you can get a rich one, and then get a few hundred thousand off him in one go. Next time you’re chatting on the internet, remember to ask more carefully and make sure you thoroughly understand their background…”

Tongtong shook her head, “What if we end up running into someone we can’t afford to provoke? What if I…”

“What can they do to you? Isn’t it just that? You sell yourself in the first place,” The man said.

Tongtong closed her mouth, tightly pressing her lips together as tears welled up in her eyes…

Over a year ago, she had still been working at an electronics factory. Since her family was poor, she would just save up some money for her own dowry. As girls grew older, they would surely come to think about marriage…at that time, there had been many people pursuing her too.

Then…her brother had suddenly come to look for her one day, directly tendering her resignation without even explaining why. He said that he had found a job for her that paid well and was also easy. Then, he had brought her to Starry Splendour.

Starry Splendour never forced or threatened people.

That day, Tongtong had run away…

Her brother had found her, threatened her, beat her, knelt down on the floor and begged her, been half-tortured to death by his drug addiction in front of her, been half-beaten to death by those wanting to collect his gambling debts in front of her…

“I’m the only son in our family. If I die, Mum and Dad won’t be able to live on anymore.”

That was what her brother had said. In that poor mountain village where males were still treasured over females by far, where even situations of brothers and sisters of two families marrying each other still existed, this was still how things worked. Even if Tongtong described the situation to her parents, amidst their agony, they would probably still only consider things on her brother’s behalf.

Tongtong hesitated for three days before she finally agreed.

Thereafter, Zhang Shuiling became Tongtong.

The first time, she had ‘sold’ herself to a Bureau Chief and earned 88000 yuan. Her brother had taken the money to settle his debts…in the end, he got to the gambling tables again and lost it all in a single night…

When Tongtong left the house, her younger cousin followed her out, stuffing that handphone into her bag and saying softly, “Sis, you take the phone. If he sells it, he’ll spend and gamble it all right away anyway. Right, I went out to look for a job a few days ago. I found a factory. There is a hostel there, room and board included. I’ll be moving to the hostel to stay tomorrow. Sis, I think that…you should also come over less often.”

Tongtong patted her cousin’s head.

He chortled happily.

Back in her rented house, putting the perfume bottle on the table and dumping the phone down too…Tongtong changed her clothes, preparing to leave for work. She had already accepted and gotten used to this kind of life.

Recently, she also looked forward to something else, “I wonder if he will come today…my Tongtong…heheh…”

Xu Tingsheng did not turn up that night. Actually, up till now, Xu Tingsheng had only ever appeared in Starry Radiance two or three times.

In the early hours of the morning, a rather despondent and fatigued Tongtong successfully shook off that customer who had been persistently hounding her to accompany him. After reaching home, she went to catch up on some sleep. It was already past 9am when she woke. She looked at the perfume bottle on the table which was currently illuminated by the sunlight…

After glancing at it a few times, Tongtong casually reached out for the phone on the table…
……

Because some people had been dispatched from the city to measure the soil quality that day, Xu Tingsheng skipped two lessons that morning. He took a trip back to the riverside residence, bringing along Lu Zhixin in heading for the training institute to receive them.

As a principal, Tang Guangyi was not suited to tasks like receiving these people.

Tang Yufei who lived in the city had already arrived. Still, it was best that Xu Tingsheng be there personally for such an occasion.

Because their destination was not far away, the G500 was moving along at a leisurely pace.

Xu Tingsheng looked at Lu Zhixin who sat beside him. This was his first time seeing her ever since having returned to the country.

Xu Tingsheng hesitated slightly before retrieving a perfume bottle from his bag beside him and handing it over to her, “A present from France. It isn’t expensive, but the sincerity’s there. I just had to get some souvenirs back. You see if you like it. If you don’t, it’s fine just to throw it away.”

Actually, Xu Tingsheng had already given away almost half of the perfume bottles that he had brought back. He had given them to his female classmates whom he was on better terms with, the girlfriends of his roommates and even female teaching assistants…

Whoever Xu Tingsheng caught, he would say, “This is high-end French perfume. You can’t buy it here. It’s crazy expensive…”

He did not say this to Lu Zhixin.

Lu Zhixin was someone with a discerning eye. With just a look at the labelling on the bottle and a light sniff, she would know if this perfume was high-end or not…French streetside stall goods…

After holding it and looking at it for a while, Lu Zhixin still said ‘thank you’ rather satisfiedly…she felt that she had been remembered, at least…
……

The heavy truck was filled with earth and rocks and parked at the same position as before, that same branch road.

In the driver’s cabin, Dongzi uncapped a bottle of water and passed it to Old Dog, looking at him rather uneasily. He clenched his teeth, swallowing those words back down again. Dongzi had not told him how he had fallen victim to a scam and lost that phone. He dared not do so…

Luckily, Ding Sen had previously said not to contact him for the time being.

“I’ll find another phone and tell him after the deed’s done. I’ll say that it’s to ensure safety. As long as Ding Sen doesn’t go back on his word, it really doesn’t matter if we have that phone…”

Old Dog clapped Dongzi’s shoulder, asking him, “What’re you thinking about? Keep an eye on the road…otherwise, the car may pass by without us even noticing. Let’s get this done as soon as possible and leave with our money…or it’ll just be day after day of worrying.”

“Right, yeah,” Dongzi nodded, throwing those stray thoughts to the back of his mind and staring intently at the main road.

As both sides of that small road they were on were filled with trees, their field of vision wasn’t all that great, in truth. They had to concentrate especially hard or the car might just zoom right past without them being able to react in time.
……

Dongzi completely rid himself of his hesitation as he was wholly fixated on the road before him.

Tongtong pressed the keypad, flipping the phone open.

Xu Tingsheng was already not far away from the training institute.

In the car, looking at Xu Tingsheng, Lu Zhixin called out, “Xu Tingsheng.”

Xu Tingsheng glanced at her before turning back to look at the road, “What is it?”

Gazing at the road ahead, Lu Zhixin said in a calm tone, “How about we enter a proper relationship and see how it goes.”

Xu Tingsheng asked, “Huh?”

Lu Zhixin said, “I mean during university, the two of us…Hucheng, Zhixin. After that incident, you won’t be looking for anyone else in Yanzhou University, right? I won’t too. Since everyone thinks that we are together and knows that you treat me well, how about we enter a proper relationship and see how it goes, just like Old Wai, Zhang Ninglang and the others…”

Not knowing what was up with Lu Zhixin all of a sudden, Xu Tingsheng was momentarily rendered lost for words.

Lu Zhixin tilted her head and looked at him, continuing, “I’m thinking that it’d be such a waste to not date, even if we do split up upon graduation. Have you ever thought about it, Xu Tingsheng? When we graduate one day, when those couples are all bawling their eyes out, unable to bear parting with each other, the two of us might only be able to envy them. If you are going to bid someone farewell, that could only be me, right? The reverse applies for me as well. So…we should enter a proper relationship and see how it goes.”

Xu Tingsheng said rather awkwardly, “It’s actually more or less like that now, isn’t it? Everyone sees us as a couple, at least!”

Lu Zhixin smiled, “Before we got together, you ate together with me in the canteen four times. After we became partners, we’ve never eaten together. We have never walked the Student’s Square together, never gone to the library and self-study room together. I’ve never sat on the backseat of your bicycle, you’ve never held my hand…when thinking back on it one day in the future, we’ll surely regret this a lot, right? Those couples would have done all of these.”

“They really are many things that they do when dating…” Xu Tingsheng said.

Actually, he was not specifically referring to anything. Still, Lu Zhixin misunderstood him. Who asked Xu Tingsheng to have demonstrated such a side in front of her before?

After hesitating for a while, Lu Zhixin lowered her head, saying softly, “If everything flows along its natural course…maybe, it’ll be okay.”
……

Tongtong bolted upright, frantically searching for her own phone.

She had been scared silly upon seeing the contents of that phone.

She saw that name and car…saw…that someone was out for his life.
……

Xu Tingsheng had not yet given Lu Zhixin a response when his phone rang, nicely helping him to avoid this quandary. He picked it up, “Hello?”

“Xu Tingsheng, don’t go out. Someone’s out to kill you! I’m Tongtong.”

The car screeched to a halt.

Xu Tingsheng stopped the car at a location less then two hundred metres away from that branch road.

“What?”

“They want to ram your car and kill you…don’t go out, hurry, hide, look for Bro Kun…”

“…Who wants to kill me? How do you know about this?”

“I found this phone. There’s your picture and one of your car inside, and a text too. 1.2 million for your life. The ones targeting you are Dongzi and Old Dog. This is how the guy addresses them.”

“…I’ve never heard of these two people before.”

“Let me see..there’s also a Bro Sen. He’s the one paying.”

Xu Tingsheng connected the dots together, confirming that what Tongtong said was true.

“…Got it. Don’t tell anyone about this first. I’ll contact you later.”

Xu Tingsheng turned the car around.

Lu Zhixin said, “I heard everything…I, I’m sorry. What do we do now?”

“I’ll take care of it. Don’t worry.”

Xu Tingsheng said no more…

He felt shocked, panicked.

He also felt very relieved.

If not for his personality of wanting to repay everyone who did something for him, wanting them to be happy as his heart easily grew soft…he definitely wouldn’t have given Tongtong his phone number, also having casually handed her a bottle of perfume…

In that case, there would also not have been this call, this concern.
……

Dongzi yawned. Concentrating for long periods of time like this really took a lot out of someone.

“What the heck, why isn’t he here yet?” He asked.

“If one day ain’t enough, we wait two days. He’ll definitely be here sooner or later.”

“Could he have changed his car?”

“Well, Bro Sen will have people keeping an eye on him. If there’s a change in the situation, he’ll definitely inform us.”

Hearing his words, Dongzi thought of that phone…

“I really hope that there’s no freaking notification.”
……

That night, within a private room at Starry Splendour.

Xu Tingsheng, Huang Yaming, Tan Yao, Wu Kun, Fang Yuqing, Tongtong…that phone…

There was a great amount of information contained within that phone. While Ding Sen’s viciousness and stupidity was hard to understand, it was not difficult to understand why he wanted to deal with Xu Tingsheng. As for Old Dog and Dongzi, with Wu Kun’s power, he was easily able to find out their background.

Expressing his thanks for saving his life or whatnot could all come later. Xu Tingsheng thanked Tongtong verbally before she immediately exited the room. Wu Kun had arranged a place for Tongtong to rest for a few days…and asked someone to watch over her too. He had always been a cautious person.

“What do you intend to do now? If it’s those two people, taking care of them will not be hard. I can take care of it. More importantly, Ding Sen…how do we deal with him? Otherwise, he may always remain as a potentially lethal threat. Still, even if we really are going to act against him, we still shouldn’t be rash. We should make thorough preparations first,” Wu Kun said.

None of those present were fools like Ding Sen. They naturally knew that they could not be rash here.

Xu Tingsheng felt rather hesitant. Call the police?

Was there sufficient evidence?

A failed hired killing?

With the Ding Family’s background, it seemed like they might not be able to indict Ding Sen of anything for sure. Also, this might greatly affect the current optimistic situation before them too…

Render him dead with the same method? The risks were too high. If they ended up failing, the result would be wrecking their lives and futures. Xu Tingsheng did not want to go for broke with a fool. Also, he was not used to dealing with problems this way as well.

Having been stewing in silence for a long time, Huang Yaming suddenly spoke, “Leave it to me. I still have my revenge from back then. Actually, I did make some preparations beforehand…this is a good opportunity. Since things have already reached this stage, I’ll return him a death trap.”


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