Chapter 47 - Getting Lost
All of these events happened more than twenty years ago, and Abu Lizi didn’t think of them for a long time. Until recently. About two months ago, an old friend told him that the deceased officer’s little girl hadn’t died all of those years ago and was coming to take revenge on him. Somehow she had learned that he had seen with his own two eyes who had harmed her father and never intervened. Because of Abu Lizi’s cowardice, the officer had passed away, and the crime committed against him had never been revealed.
Old Mr. Yun was also an old friend of his. For the past decade, the old geezer had come over many times to bother him because he thought that the Desert Fox knew something about the treasure map. Furthermore, the old fox believed that Abu Lizi knew the location of the gold mine. Because he had gotten used to seeing Old Mr. Yun throughout the years, he had thought that this time was the same. So Abu Lizi didn’t pay much attention to the other people that came with the old man. Then he heard the sound of the bell and everything changed. Shen Yu looked like a carbon copy of the dead officer’s deceased wife and seeing her reminded him of everything that had happened decades ago. He also remembered what his other friend had said and, in an effort to delay the inevitable, pretended to be stupid.
His children had grown up throughout the years and were living good lives on their own. All he wanted was to keep his family safe, so he had them pack their things that night and move secretly. He was old, and he didn’t mind what happened to him next but his children still had many years before them. He didn’t want his crimes to fall upon their heads. Regrets about his past actions stabbed at his heart. Had he had the chance to go back and say what he was supposed to say, he would do it in a heartbeat. But he couldn’t change the past. Instead, he vowed to the gods: as long as his family could avoid disaster, then he was willing to give her 10,000 kowtows asking for forgiveness! He begged Shen Yu to let his family go.
The Desert Fox had finally finished his story. Shen Yu pressed for more details. She wanted to know the identity of the officer’s wife and the Desert Fox’s old friend who came by to talk to him. Unfortunately, he adamantly refused to say more and simply kneeled in front of her, crying for forgiveness.
Shen Yu debated for a long time whether to believe this old man’s story. Clearly this Desert Fox had an appalling lack of morality, so it was questionable he was telling the whole truth. However, he was willing to admit his own guilt, so parts of it had to be true. To her, it didn’t matter exactly what was true. The important point that she grabbed on was that mysterious old friend of his. If she could find out this person’s true identity then she could get closer to the real story.
The old man continued to beg for forgiveness from her. Shen Yu was about to let him go when the Desert Fox threw a handful of sand at her face. The sand blinded her, and she tried to rub it out of her eyes. Before she knew it, the old man had grabbed onto her neck and held her in a threatening position.
By the time Tang Can and the others noticed that the Desert Fox had Shen Yu in his grasp, it was too late.
At this point, Shen Yu no longer believed anything the old man said.
“I should have mended my ways years ago to live a peaceful and uneventful life. Why did you guys have to come and bother me? Girl, I’m sorry. I’m already in a tough spot by telling you all of this! Just take it as a repayment and let me go!” After he finished, he continued to threaten Shen Yu’s life, in hopes of getting Tang Can to give him the car to escape.
Under these circumstances, the young officer had no choice but to let the man go. The group watched helplessly as the Desert Fox took Shen Yu into the car and drove away.
“F*ck him and all of his ancestors!” cursed Mazha as they all chased after the disappearing vehicle.
Everyone ran as if their life depended on it. The Desert Fox did his best to keep the distance, but his pursuers were persistent. Unfortunately, before long, the criminal had gotten lost. As for his chasers, they had long gotten lost in this unfamiliar terrain.
In the end, the old man had driven into the Gobi desert. Shortly thereafter, the car had fallen into a sand ditch. The more he tried to make the car move, the deeper the car went into the ditch. Out of options, the Desert Fox jumped out of the car in an attempt to run on foot. But Tang Can’s group caught up to him quickly. Mazha restrained the old man and wrenched his arm back sharply. The Desert Fox cried out in pain and kneeled on the ground.
Only after Tang Can confirmed that Shen Yu was not harmed did he command Mazha to let the Desert Fox go. Mazha was clearly unhappy at these orders but Shen Yu already understood the young officer’s intentions. They were all stuck in the god-forsaken Gobi desert. Without someone to guide the way, they would all die there!
As Tang Can relayed the terms to the Desert Fox, Shen Yu kept a close eye on him. The old man rolled his eyes a couple of times when he agreed to the officer’s request, which made her feel very suspicious.
The old man claimed that even he was lost in this area but, as expected, no one believed him.
At first, Mazha argued that they didn’t even need the old fox and that he could use his cell phone to navigate them out. But when he opened up the GPS, he discovered that there was no signal available. He slapped his forehead and began cursing again. He had forgotten that there were cell towers in the Gobi desert. Without the towers, how would he get a signal?
Mazha was ranting so loudly that Shen Yu started to feel irritated. She clamped her hands onto her ears and yelled at him to stop complaining and do something productive, like figuring out if everyone was here. They needed to find out if they had lost anyone else along the way.
Her reminder also prompted Tang Can to recall his duties. He commanded the soldiers present to count off. But Shen Yu already knew they had people missing. There was someone very obvious who was not with them. How was it possible that the others hadn’t noticed already?
“Aw f*ck, where’s Zhang Fei?” Mazha growled, his temper almost getting the better of him when he finally realized who was missing. Even though it was obvious she wasn’t there, he didn’t want to believe it at first. He looked at everyone present, grabbing their arms to get a good look at their faces. The expression on his face was angry and sullen.
He called out as he searched, “Oi, Zhang Fei! Come out now! Stop playing around! This joke isn’t funny!”
Shen Yu unexpectedly felt a surge of jealousy at the missing soldier. How could someone with a crappy personality like Zhang Fei elicit so much concern from her fellow colleague? Regardless of what trouble she got into, Mazha always defended her. The female soldier didn’t know just how lucky she was!
Tang Can looked furious at this point. They had lost almost half of the group. When he included Shen Yu and Mazha, they only had fourteen people here.
“What are we going to do?” cried Mazha in despair. At that moment, a Shandong accent slipped out of him. Although it only came out just once, it elicited suspicions in Shen Yu. She had long had a hunch that Mazha wasn’t exactly who he said he was…
But a hunch was just a hunch. Shen Yu couldn’t put a finger on why she suspected the young soldier. It wasn’t as if he had done something egregious or something, but maybe she just had a more suspicious nature. Shen Yu knew she had a stubborn personality and that, for her, there were clear lines delineating between right and wrong. If people tried to make something that was wrong into something right, it didn’t sit well with her. Regardless, there was nothing she could do right now. The more important matter to focus on was to how to get out of the desert in one piece. Once they were out of danger, she could focus on less pressing matters.
It was already noon, and everyone was hungry and thirsty. Unfortunately, they had not planned on visiting the Gobi desert when they set out earlier, so they didn’t bring the right supplies with them. Mazha and three other soldiers took out the food and water they packed from the car. They had a couple crates of water available, but not much food.
Tang Can made his decisions and sent down his orders. They were all to conserve the water and eat some food first. Who knew how much time they would have to take in order to get out of the desert?
A female soldier helped to take care of Shen Yu. Tang Can also wanted to give her half of his rations. Shen Yu smiled gently and refused his portion. “Don’t try to treat me differently here. All of us are under your commander, if you treat me too differently, there will be problems later on.”
After declining his food, she split her portion and gave some to the Desert Fox. When Mazha saw her give the old man some food, he became indignant, “Why the hell are you giving him food to eat? If it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t have lost our comrades! Why else are we stuck in this shitty desert? He should starve to death!”
Shen Yu side-eyed the soldier and ignored him completely. They were all stuck here and the Desert Fox was likely the one person who had an inkling on how to get out of there. If he starved to death, the rest of them were likely condemned to the same fate.
The old man had long been ravenous. When he saw the young woman giving him food to eat, he snatched it out of her hand and wolfed it down.
Mazha ground his teeth as he watched the old man eat. He hated the Desert Fox for making them separate from Zhang Fei and the others. After thinking for a bit, an evil glint showed up in his eyes and grinned at the Desert Fox before he said something…
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