Author: 梦溪石 / Meng Xi Shi
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
The young man looked like a rogue, with an air of idleness around him. However, in front of Uncle Qian, he had some scruples and didn’t dare to cause trouble.
Uncle Qian lowered his voice. “Why? Have you found a buyer?”
A’Shun said proudly, “The person gave this number!”
He stretched out his hand and gestured with his palm.
Uncle Qian: “Half a million?”
A’Shun: “Are you looking down on me or that mirror? Add another zero!”
Uncle Qian: “Oh, you’re very good. If it’s true, then this is a big deal!”
A’Shun smiled and said, “No need for praise. Since I bothered you this time, I’ll still pay for your hard work.”
Uncle Qian said, “Unfortunately, you’re one step too late and that thing is no longer in my hands.”
A’Shun’s expression changed slightly. “Uncle Qian, my dad has been friends with you for decades. You can’t cheat me!”
Uncle Qian gave him a blank look. “Who’s cheating you? Didn’t you hand it over to me? I couldn’t appraise it, so I sent it to my old friend to help assess it. I just sent it yesterday, and it won’t be back until at least tomorrow.”
A’Shun paused before saying, “Then call them now and help me get it back!”
Uncle Qian said, “Don’t worry. My old friend has seen countless treasures in his life. Do you want him to despise your mirror? It’s just you said three days, so I believed it was three days. Now you’re here asking for it back in advance. What am I supposed to say? I’ll look untrustworthy in front of my old friend. He may just cut off contact with me in the future!”
“But I found a buyer, and I want to sell it now!” A’Shun said anxiously.
Uncle Qian’s tone became displeased. “One or two days later will not make a difference. It’s not like the mirror will turn into glass! Truthfully, according to my speculation, the inscription on the mirror is probably Chinese. If my friend confirms it, let alone that number you’re offered, it can go beyond twice as much! Don’t want to know how much it’s truly worth so you can raise the price higher?”
When A’Shun heard this, a look of hesitation appeared on his face.
Uncle Qian waved his hand. “Okay, listen to me on this. Come back tomorrow morning. I’ll return it intact to you!”
The shop curtain was opened, and a heat wave rushed in from the outside, blowing away the coolness in the room from the air conditioning. Two people walked in.
“Mr. Zheng, how is it?” The other party was wearing a suit and didn’t seem like he was there to shop around for antiques. Rather, he looked like an urban white-collar worker.
A’Shun turned his head and smiled. “Mr. Li, unfortunately, that thing is not in this shop right now.”
The other party frowned. “Why?”
A’Shun said, “It has been sent for appraisal, but I’ll have it back soon. How about we meet here tomorrow in the early morning to make our deal?”
The other party said categorically, “No, we want to buy it now, either that or no deal!”
A’Shun hurriedly said, “Don’t worry. There’s much to be examined. Since I received that thing from someone else, it’s hard to distinguish whether it’s genuine or a fake. Experts have to make an appraisal first. This is also my responsibility to the customer. Otherwise, when you get it later and claim that it’s fake and want me to give you a refund, that’ll put me in a difficult situation. Don’t you think this is reasonable?”
Mr. Li’s expression was indifferent as he said, “I have an early flight tomorrow. Since I have the intention to buy it, I will definitely not regret it. If you can’t get it out now, then I’m sorry, we can only give up on this deal.”
“Wait a minute! Wait a minute!”
Seeing the other party turned around to leave, A’Shun rushed towards him to grab him, but it seemed as if Mr. Li had eyes behind his back. Before A’Shun could touch him, he had already withdrawn his hand to avoid him.
“Uncle Qian, ask your friend to bring it back!” A’Shun urged.
Uncle Qian pretended, “Okay, don’t worry, I’ll go in and make the call. You wait here!”
He gave Dong Zhi a wink. “Nephew, look after the store for me.”
Dong Zhi followed up smoothly. “En, go ahead!”
While Uncle Qian hadn’t told him in advance about this, Dong Zhi still pretended to him and acted dumbfounded. As Uncle Qian turned around and went to the back room, A’Shun was trying to appease Mr. Li and the other person with him. However, their faces remained cold and unmoved, and they didn’t bother looking around the shop at the other antiques.
Dong Zhi smiled and said, “Sirs, we have other antiques in our shop. The goods are genuine. Why don’t you browse around and see if there’s anything you like? The price is quite favorable.”
Mr. Li said arrogantly, “We’re not interested in the things you have here.”
Dong Zhi put on his shopkeeper hat and enthusiastically promoted. “Look at this sword. It’s a sword of Sun Quan during the Three Kingdoms period. It’s very famous, so it’s definitely not a fake replica!”
Hearing Sun Quan’s name, Mr. Li stepped forward and took a look at it before showing an expression of disdain.
“Sun Zhongmou1 had two swords, named Qiangu Sword2 and the Wangu Dagger3. At best this sword is just an ordinary sword so I have no want for it.”
1Sun Quan’s courtesy name (Zhongmou).
2(千古剑) Eternal Sword.
3(万古刀) Everlasting Dagger.
Dong Zhi ignored his remark and said with a smile, “Of course, if it were the Qiangu Sword, it would’ve been sent to a museum for exhibition. How could such an item be in our shop?”
Mr. Li sneered, “It may not be all in museums, right? Aren’t many cultural relics destroyed by Chinese people?”
Dong Zhi pretended to be surprised. “Aren’t you Chinese?”
Mr. Li snorted coldly, neither admitting nor denying it.
Dong Zhi smiled and said, “When it comes to the protection of cultural relics, we are definitely not as good as Japan. Swords from this era are abundant in China. When there are too many cultural relics, it’s inevitable that their protection will be inadequate. Unlike Japan where a sword older than 2,000 years can be regarded as an artifact!”
Mr. Li glanced at him coldly. “Young man, beware of the misinformation coming out of your mouth!”
His attitude more or less confirmed Dong Zhi’s guess that these two people were indeed Japanese and that this Mr. Li most likely wasn’t surnamed Li either. Uncle Qian’s previous judgement was correct. These two Japanese people wanted to buy the bronze mirror, and Dong Zhi boldly speculated that these two people were not the true end-buyers.
While speaking, Uncle Qian came out of the back room and apologized.
“I’m really sorry. The other party is out of town and won’t be back until tomorrow night at the earliest. Perhaps you could come over tomorrow night? The mirror will be here then. How about it?” He blinked innocently as his mouth spat nonsense.
A’Shun said anxiously, “Is your friend reliable?”
Uncle Qian gave him a blank look. “I told you, my old friend is not short of money. If he loses the mirror, I’ll pay you five million, alright?!”
A’Shun looked at Mr. Li. “Well…?”
Mr. Li frowned. “Wait a minute, I’ll make a call.”
A’Shun hurriedly said, “Great!”
Uncle Qian said to Dong Zhi, “Don’t you have to go back to school? Hurry now and go!”
Dong Zhi said, “Then I’m leaving first, uncle. Remember to go to our house for lunch tomorrow at noon!”
Uncle Qian waved his hand. “Got it!”
The street where the antique shop is located was on a pedestrian road. Vehicles weren’t allowed to enter, so Dong Zhi walked towards the road in order to catch a taxi. As he walked, he took out his phone and sent Long Shen a message, saying that he had obtained a bronze mirror for Uncle Qian and there were inscriptions on it, so Uncle Qian had asked him to take it back to him so he could have a look.
When he sent the message out, he switched his phone back to the main interface and heard rapid footsteps coming behind him. Thinking the other party was in a hurry, Dong Zhi turned aside and looked up.
At this moment, there was a tingling on the back of his neck, and the scene in front of him immediately blurred. His shoulder was picked up while he heard an affectionate greeting come into his ears. “Cousin, it’s been so long since I saw you!”
The tone of the voice had a sense of familiarity that it was almost as if it was truly greeting his cousin!
Dong Zhi realized that his opponent’s intention must be related to the bronze mirror, but before he could shout for help, his thoughts fell into complete darkness.
Passersby glanced at him quickly, but at most they only saw what seemed to be someone who had just met an acquaintance and was quickly pulled into a car. Very few people would notice that something was off with this kind of scene.
Dong Zhi tried moving his wrist. It hurt a bit. His consciousness slowly returned. He wanted to open his eyes but felt something covering them. He found that he was blindfolded, and his hands were tied.
There was a faint noise coming from outside, seemingly as if it was passing through some kind of barrier. He surmised that he must be in a separate room.
Did the two Japanese people tie him up? The bronze mirror should’ve been taken away by them too. But if they only needed the bronze mirror, why kidnap him and tie him up?
Questions filled his thoughts one by one. Before he had a chance to think about it for too long, he heard the sound of a door opening. Dong Zhi hurriedly remained motionless, pretending to still be unconscious.
“I took the mirror. What are we going to do with this kid?” Someone said.
“Mr. Otowa wants to keep an eye on him.” The voice that sounded this time was Mr. Li. He no longer disguised his voice and his words were blunt.
Dong Zhi was now certain that this guy was Japanese.
But the name Mr. Otowa… Why does it sound so familiar?
“What does Mr. Otowa want with him?”
“That’s not something Mr. Lin can ask.”
The door opened again, and someone else came in. Dong Zhi heard the sound of a bottle of wine pouring into a glass and guessed that someone had brought wine in. As the door opened, there seemed to be the sounds of men and women laughing in the distance.
He guessed that he should be held in some kind of… entertainment club?
“Go out.” This came from the man who had just entered.
The sound of footsteps was heard, followed by the sound of a door closing.
The man sneered, “Don’t forget, it was I who brought you news of the bronze mirror!”
Mr. Li said, “Mr. Otowa will naturally keep in mind Mr. Lin’s friendship, but we have also paid you handsomely. This should be enough to satisfy you, no?”
The person surnamed Lin said, “The reward is for the bronze mirror, one size to one size*. This kid belongs to the Special Administration Bureau. I can’t just let you take him away. Otherwise, the Special Administration Bureau will come to my door and settle accounts! Are you asking me to be your scapegoat?!”
*(一码归一码) Saying referring to two things that should not be confused with each other/need to be looked at separately.
Has his identity been discovered?
Dong Zhi was shocked but then immediately thought that after he was unconscious, his body most likely would’ve been searched all over, which meant they most likely found his temporary access card to the Special Administration Building, and if this was the case, then the other party most likely knew that he was a practitioner as well.
Mr. Li said, “Last time, someone from the Secret Service seriously injured Mr. Fujikawa and his disciple, which we have a lot of grievances for. Mr. Otowa said that he wanted to make an example to warn the Special Administration Bureau. However, for Mr. Lin’s sake, we can let him go, as long as you help us unlock the secret on the bronze mirror.”
Dong Zhi finally remembered who the Japanese man that he saw in his clairvoyance that time was! It was the middle-aged man name Mr. Otowa, Otowa Hatsuhiko, the president of the Otowa Conglomerate!
When they were in Changbai Mountain, among the people who were with Master Fujikawa, there was also a man named Aso Kenzo, the president of the Aso Consortium. In order to catch a bigger fish, they deliberately let Fujikawa and his apprentice go, so they could spy on them secretly when they returned to Japan. Sure enough, they found Aso’s benefactor was Otowa Hatsuhiko, and they had been in contact with each other multiple times before and after the Changbai Mountain incident.
With what he knew now, he could conclude how the Japanese knew about the bone dragon on Changbai Mountain, and about the bronze mirror, were all related to Otowa Hatsuhiko. He didn’t know any other identities that Otowa Hatsuhiko would have besides being a business mogul, but Long Shen and the others must have known this information…
Thinking about this, Dong Zhi couldn’t help but inwardly smile bitterly. He didn’t know if he could even go back to them.
The conversation between the two continued.
The person, surnamed Lin, yelled, “What wishful thinking! Why should I help you find the secret to this bronze mirror in exchange for this kid?! Our cooperation is over. What does it have to do with me if you want to kill, cut, or do whatever you want with him?”
Dong Zhi couldn’t help feeling anxious. The person surnamed Li didn’t know him, but Master Fujikawa certainly does. He absolutely wouldn’t forget the trouble that he had caused them on Changbai Mountain, and the girl named Kitaichi Eiko assuredly wanted to kill him. His fate will not end well if he falls into their hands.
“But…” Lin’s voice lengthened.
Dong Zhi’s hope was rekindled.
Mr. Lin: “You can’t kill people on Chinese territory. If you want to kill him, you have to take him back to Japan before you can off him.”
Dong Zhi: …
Mr. Li agreed without much thought. “Naturally, of course. Mr. Lin has given us face, so we have to repay in kind.”
The person surnamed Lin suddenly chuckled. “Brother, did you work hard pretending to be unconscious?”
Dong Zhi’s heart missed half a beat. The next second, the black cloth over his eyes was torn away! His eyes, which had become accustomed to the darkness, squinted involuntarily under the sudden light.
Dong Zhi blinked several times to control the tears that wanted to flow out of his eyes. He looked around and saw that he seemed to be in a private room. There was a chandelier above him, and the decorations in the room looked gorgeous.
He sat on one end of a sofa while the other two people sat at the other end. One was Mr. Li, and the other was a strange young man dressed in a tuxedo, looking at him with a smile. He looked as if he was well prepared and was seemingly waiting for him to yell for help.
Dong Zhi looked innocently at them. “Hi*?”
*Clarity: He says this in English.
The young man chuckled.
Mr. Li lowered his face. “Mr. Lin, didn’t he get a sufficient dose of the drug?”
The young man shrugged. “You are all going to take him away. Does it really matter what he hears?”
Seeing his opportunity, Dong Zhi interjected, “Mr. Lin, I will not bore you with empty words about family and country. Since you know I’m from the Special Administration Bureau and the bronze mirror has nothing to do with you, there’s no need to hold me captive, right? The leaders will soon know about my disappearance. When the time comes for them to investigate, you won’t be able to get rid of their suspicion. It’s better to let me go, and I’ll do my best to help you get what you want.”
Mr. Lin sighed and shook his head. “You can’t help me. They have what I want in their hands. Anyways, I didn’t kill you, nor did I take the mirror. I just provided the information. Injustice has a head and a master. If you become a ghost, remember to settle accounts with them, not me.”
Dong Zhi: …
The more he looked at the person surnamed Lin, the more he felt he looked similar to someone.
Dong Zhi suddenly asked, “Do you know Lin Jun?”
The other party was a little surprised. “You know Lin Jun?”
Dong Zhi said, “Last time I went to Yangcheng to do business, I met him. Our friendship is pretty good.”
Of course, this was simply an exaggeration. Lin Jun works for the Guangzhou office and was very enthusiastic about their “friendship”, especially since he considered Dong Zhi a “rising star” who was likely to join the General Administration Bureau, so the two kept in contact after the Yangcheng incident.
The other party smiled and said, “What a coincidence. I am Lin Jun’s cousin. You can call me Lin Xuan.”
Dong Zhi frowned and said, “Lin Jun is also from the Special Administration Bureau, but you’re cooperating with the Japanese. Is the Lin family of Lingnan so two-faced?”
Lin Xuan smiled and said to Mr. Li, “He and my cousin are friends. We should forget about it. Besides, you’ve got your mirror.”
Mr. Li said bluntly, “No! He knows too much. If the Special Administration Bureau knows that the mirror is in our hands, it will cause a lot of trouble. I have to take him away now. You don’t have to worry about it. Mr. Otowa will send someone to deliver the things you want as well as your compensation.”
Lin Xuan raised his hand helplessly to Dong Zhi. “Well, you heard him. He doesn’t want to, and I’ve tried my best. Remember his face, so when you plan to seek revenge, don’t haunt the wrong person.”
The corners of Dong Zhi’s mouth twitched. “Are you not afraid of affecting Lin Jun’s career?”
Lin Xuan smiled and said, “Since you have met my cousin, you should know what kind of person he is. He’s bombastic, yet he’s just ordinary. Even without me, he’ll be kicked out sooner or later…”
The man surnamed Li became impatient listening to their prattle, so he stretched out his hand towards Dong Zhi, intending to grab him.
Dong Zhi had already secretly broken the rope behind his back and was pretending as if he was still bound. Seeing Mr. Li’s movement at this moment, he naturally couldn’t pretend any longer, so he quickly took out a Sunlight Talisman from his pocket and threw it at his opponent!
Everything happened within a flash, before a question popped into his mind. ‘Since Lin Xuan had searched him, why did he still have a Sunlight Talisman on him?’
He didn’t have time to think about the answer. The talisman turned into fire and flew towards Mr. Li’s face, causing him to take a half step back.
Dong Zhi took this opportunity to rush to the door!
He didn’t bring the Changshou Sword out today. Since he was having a meal, and only temporarily wanted to visit Uncle Qian, he thought having a sword on him was too eye-catching. He didn’t expect that something like this would happen to him, but if the Changshou Sword was here, it would’ve been found and taken away when he was searched.
At that moment, many thoughts flashed in his mind, and it finally boiled down to one: ‘Can he hold on until reinforcements come?’
He didn’t notice that Lin Xuan remained seated on the sofa the entire time, lowering his head to drink tea, as if he didn’t witness the scene that just happened right in front of him. He neither stopped Dong Zhi nor helped the person surnamed Li chase him.
When Long Shen received the text message from Dong Zhi, he didn’t pay much attention to it. Old Qian from the antique shop often asked him for his help in identifying antiques, so it wasn’t unusual for him. However, an hour later, Old Qian called and asked if he had received the mirror, and Long Shen found that something was wrong.
He tried calling Dong Zhi, but it didn’t connect, and he didn’t respond back to his text messages either. It’s absolutely impossible for Dong Zhi to have run away with the mirror. The only answer that remained was that he had been taken away and was in an involuntary situation.
Long Shen didn’t delay for a moment and immediately mobilized the surveillance team. It was easy to find the surveillance footage based on the time when Dong Zhi had sent him that text message.
The quality of the video wasn’t high. It showed a vague image of a person stepping forward to hold Dong Zhi on the shoulder, then taking him into the car. From the video, it looks as if he just met a friend and followed him, but a professional can easily tell that something was off.
“He was knocked out and taken away!” Song Zhicun, who watched the video with him, exclaimed.
Long Shen said to the employees of the IT department of the bureau, “The license plate number can be clearly seen. Run it through our system.”
The employees did not dare neglect their work and hurriedly ran the plates to dig up information.
Song Zhicun comforted him, “Don’t worry too much. According to Old Qian, they most likely just want the bronze mirror and wouldn’t hurt him.”
Long Shen didn’t lose his demeanor, but Song Zhicun knew that Dong Zhi was a promising candidate for groups one and two, and now he was suddenly kidnapped. Such a thing was quite upsetting. What’s more, Dong Zhi could be considered at least half a member of the Special Administration Bureau, but he had made it clear that he wanted to join the Special Administration Bureau cleanly and had not once taken advantage of this fact. It was clear that he wanted to join fairly and had wholeheartedly intended to pursue this to the very end.
Once the state machinery was in operation, the efficiency was not surprising. The license plate number came back, and the location of the car was quickly obtained. The plate was registered in the name of a company that engages in the cultural industry, or bluntly put, an entertainment club. The legal owner is surnamed Yue, which is a rare surname, but as far as Long Shen knows, it’s the surname of the wife of Lin Ji, the head of the Lin family of Lingnan.
They also traced the destination of the car to the entertainment club.
If they really wanted to, the Lin family could definitely kidnap someone seamlessly without leaving so many flaws. However, since this incident happened so suddenly, it was too late to analyze it. Long Shen immediately got up and walked out.
Song Zhicun hurriedly grabbed him. “Boss Long, are you just going to waltz in their front door?”
“Perhaps Dong Zhi and the bronze mirror are there.” Long Shen said.
Song Zhicun hesitated and said, “The Lin family of Lingnan has many contacts. Could it be someone is pretending to be them? Shouldn’t we report to the boss first?”
Long Shen said lightly, “For this matter, the sooner we act, the better.”
Song Zhixuan wanted to say something, but Long Shen had already walked out.
“Wait, I’ll come with you!” Song Zhicun shouted, feeling that Long Shen was being impatient. However, he also knew very well how ignorant Director Jiang was and would love to report to the upper level. However, by the time the instructions came down, the cucumber would already be cold.
In this regard, Long Shen and Wu Bingtian had always done better than him, who usually stuck closer to the rules. He bitterly smiled inwardly and hurriedly walked out.
“Boss Song!” Chi Banxia came running from the other end of the corridor, panting. “I have a question I want to ask you. Is it convenient for you?”
Song Zhicun waved his hand. “We can talk in the car. Let’s go!”
Chi Banxia followed in confusion.
At this time, Dong Zhi was embroiled in a battle. He didn’t expect that when he rushed out of the room, it was just the start.
There were more than a dozen people guarding outside the door. Up to six of them seemed to be from the same group as the person surnamed Li. Said person shouted a few words in Japanese loudly, and suddenly they all pounced on him. Lin Xuan’s people stood at the side and did not intervene, as they didn’t plan to help Dong Zhi nor the Japanese.
The club was extremely large. What’s even more troublesome was that the passages were built like a maze. Through seven or eight twists and turns, he still caught no signage. If guests were to come here and were not guided by the staff, it’s estimated that they would never find a way out.
He panicked as he didn’t know which way to go, so he could only randomly choose a random spot and rushed in as the other party was in hot pursuit.
The Sunlight Talisman and Thunder Talismans are powerful at dealing with demons and ghosts, but completely useless at handling ordinary humans. If he had known he would be kidnapped and trapped here, he should have learned a few more tricks from Ba Sang!
But then again, even if he could match four palms with both fists*, against this current number, he most likely could only admit defeat.
*Reminder: The original idiom is two fists can’t match four palms and refers to being outnumbered. He changed the wording a bit to say he can fight against more than one, but even in that situation, he certainly can’t defeat six people, so he’s still outnumbered.
The most hateful person, though, wasn’t the Japanese, but Lin Xuan. He didn’t know what kind of benefit the Japanese had given him, but he actually turned his elbows out* to help outsiders attack his own people.
*(胳膊肘往外拐) Has a derogatory meaning referring to selfishness/a person who can’t tell right from wrong, while the positive meaning is selflessness. It also refers to helping outsiders (the Japanese) instead of their own (Chinese). Obviously, he’s referring to the former.
While running, Dong Zhi couldn’t help imagining the soles of his feet stepping on Lin Xun’s head so he could greet the cats, dogs, rabbits, and turtles.
Dong Zhi sure can bear a grudge. Don’t worry, your hubby is coming to rescue you!