Chapter 57 - Pulling in the Net
“I remember every single word you’ve ever said to me!” Tang Can replied in a profound and earnest manner. Shen Yu’s cheeks soon became flushed with a light, rosy color.
The young officer chuckled gently, his heart warm with happiness. Before he left, he asked Shen Yu to write up an article about their experiences in the desert. The discovery of gold was of great importance to the nation, but, more importantly, they had lost many friends along the way. This would be a way to record their sacrifices and allow people to remember their deeds.
Shen Yu nodded. Her thoughts wandered back to the events in the harsh desert. Thinking of how Guo Pingan gave his water to his comrades made her want to sigh in sorrow. The noble soldier ended up dying of dehydration. Because of this, she also believed it was important to write the article. They had left so many adorable friends dead in the desert, and there was very little chance for them to bring them back out. All they could do was hope their ghosts would wander back to their hometowns and make sure everyone at home remembered their deeds!
Several days later, she saw her finished report on several major news outlets, and it elicited a weird feeling inside of her. Right now she was a military reporter and it was unusual for any articles she wrote to be published by the outside media. At most, the army would post her report on the army’s newsletter. How did it end up in the civilian news?
When she asked the female soldier who was taking care of her, the soldier also said that she was in the dark about this matter. Anything else she asked received pretty much the same answer, so she quickly tired of asking the female soldier for more information.
On the day when she was supposed to get discharged, the female soldier asked her to wait a bit before leaving the hospital as there were people coming to pick her up. Shen Yu felt excited at the prospect as she thought it meant that Tang Can had come back from his second journey into the desert. Surprisingly, the people the female soldier brought to her were not Tang Can and the other, they were her parents!
Only now did she find out that before Tang Can left, he had especially asked someone to bring her parents here to help take care of her. However, because her condition was initially so critical, he ordered the people to only bring her parents when she got better, in order to avoid worrying them too much. That way, by the time she got discharged, she had her parents there to help her out. Her parents would also be able to see their daughter mostly recovered, and they would not have to be too anxious.
Shen Yu felt immense gratitude at how thoughtful Tang Can was with the whole process. All of her previous grievances towards him were now wiped away. The only thing she felt for him was just how much she missed him.
After reuniting with her parents, Shen Yu felt a bit confused. She had a feeling that her parents had somehow changed, but she couldn’t put a finger on exactly what was wrong with them. Her father was about the same. He had always been a taciturn person so that was nothing out of the ordinary. Her mother, on the other hand, was different from before. She seemed to be more absent-minded than usual and was unusually interested in the gold deposit that they had found. Shen Yu found herself being dragged frequently to the side by her mother to talk more about this subject.
Because of Tang Can, she already had some suspicions regarding her parents. Now she believed even more that her parents were still hiding something from her. She wanted to use this time as an opportunity to sit down for a long talk with the both of them.
The three of them had been given quarters at the military guesthouse after Shen Yu was discharged from the hospital. Whenever they wanted to eat something, there was always someone at the guesthouse willing to bring their food to their rooms.
Earlier, the female soldier named Wang Yi had this particular responsibility. But today, the person had changed to a male soldier. In fact, this soldier was someone that she was already familiar with. It was Xiao Chen! The same man who journeyed with her when they left Changsha to go to Xinjiang.
“You didn’t go with the other soldiers into the desert?” She asked with a smile on her face. There was no hidden meaning behind her words as she was only making conversation with him.
Xiao Chen laughed. “I didn’t go. I had another assignment given to me.” He was also very friendly to her parents and treated them warmly.
Shen Yu invited the soldier to come eat with them but Xiao Chen smiled graciously and declined. He explained that he had already eaten earlier, and that he’ll wait for them at the door. When Shen Yu and her parents finished eating, they could let him know and he’ll come back to tidy up the dishes.
Shen Yu nodded and gestured to her parents to start eating.
However, before they had finished half of the meal, Shen Yu felt unwell. Before she knew it, her vision started to turn black. There was something wrong but it was too late for her to do anything!
When she woke up again, she found that she had been locked in a dark room with her hands bound behind her back. After waiting for her eyes to adjust to the dim light that shone through the tiny window, she could vaguely see that she had been brought to an ordinary townhome in the village.
Just when she was about to try to go find her parents, she heard the sound of her father’s voice from outside the room. “Let that child go! She’s innocent of all of this!”
Shen Yu almost jumped in shock and immediately decided to not try to cry for help. Instead, she plastered her body against the door and tried to listen to the voices outside.
“The map must be on you, isn’t that true? You said the map had been taken away by Song Geng and was probably hidden in his wife’s coffin, but I had already looked there! There was nothing in that coffin!” said a middle-aged man. Shen Yu started to sweat bullets when she recognized the voice. It was from her Uncle Wang in the village! She also noticed that he had said the name “Song Geng”. He had to be referring to the Song Geng of that Miao village. Shen Yu finally understood exactly what had happened in the village. Song Geng’s death, the desecration of his wife’s coffin, it all made sense now.
Shen Yu had long known that her father, Shen Bai, had a murky past. However, she had never suspected that Uncle Wang would also have a nebulous background!
“Where’s my son?” asked Shen Bai, not bothering to answer Uncle Wang’s question. He seemed agitated, a marked departure from his usual taciturn self.
This time a woman’s voice replied. When Shen Yu heard it, she almost fell over limp with shock. That sound was from her mother!
“Serves you right! Even after we swiped your son as a hostage, you still gritted your teeth and refused part with the map! But now the plot has been exposed and your enemy’s son has come to find you to take revenge! Are you still not afraid? Are you not afraid that everything from all of those years ago will be exposed? Are you not afraid of the gun that’s against your head?”
Mom! Mom! MOM! Shen Yu shrieked in her heart. Just what kind of person are you?
“Well, what about your son? Have either of you ever thought about where he might be?” Shen Bai replied sneeringly.
Mrs. Shen suddenly burst into noisy sobs and screamed, “You f*cking asshole, Shen Bai! I trusted you so much back then but you had to kidnap my son! Where did you hide him? Give him back to me! Give him back…” She cried as if her heart was breaking in two. Shen Yu felt tears run down her face. She now knew for sure that she wasn’t a part of the Shen family!
“Hmph! Had I not first taken your son, wouldn’t both my son and I be dead right now?” Shen Bai replied in an icy, cold voice.
Suddenly there was a muffled sound. It sounded like someone had viciously hit Shen Bai but he had gritted his teeth and endured the pain.
“Don’t cry, Yun Jin! Our son has to still be alive! Why are you so sad? We’ve already endured so many years, all in an effort to get that map! The gold deposit has once again shown itself in the desert, and the armed forces are already searching for it. If we don’t do something now, then the gold will never be ours! Once we have money, won’t we have plenty of ways to find our son?” Uncle Wang yelled her mother’s name in an effort to comfort her.
Shen Yu’s vision blackened, and she swayed on her feet. All of this was almost too much for her. It took everything she had to keep herself from passing out from shock.
If she hadn’t found the picture of her dad in a military uniform back in Song Geng’s house and found out that her dad had a questionable past, all of this would have caused to lose half of her life! These secrets were changing everything she knew about her own life!
But now she had a better understanding of the truth! Her mother was actually Old Mr. Yun’s supposedly “dead for years” daughter, Yun Jin. She thought back to the old photos of her Uncle Li that Tang Can had shown her. The pictures all showed partial images of a young woman obscuring her face and who had a silver bracelet! Those were all pictures of Yun Jin! Shen Yu also knew that the bracelet she wore was handmade by Song Geng himself. Now, if she wasn’t Yun Jin’s or Shen Bai’s daughter then she…
She suddenly recalled what the Desert Fox had told her before they entered the desert...
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