Chapter 27: Diversion
He’s already dead.
He Yunsheng stared blankly ahead.
Fan Cheng’s wound was still bleeding, the knife having found its mark in his abdomen. He Yunsheng felt his throat dry up. After a moment, he finally spoke, his voice trembling but filled with a resolute acceptance.
“I will go to the authorities and confess that I killed him,” he said.
He stood up and staggered forward, taking a few steps before someone grabbed him, preventing him from falling.
He Yan asked, “What do you plan to accomplish by confessing?”
“He’s dead, so I pay with my life,” He Yunsheng choked back tears, saying, “It’s only right.”
“You must remember what he said earlier,” He Yan said.
“Paying with your life for someone like him is not worth it.” said He Yan, glancing at the lifeless body of Fan Cheng on the ground. “Originally, I thought that even if we got through today, Fan Cheng wouldn’t give up. The He family would be in trouble sooner or later. But now, at least we have one less trouble. With him dead, the He family will be much quieter in the future.”
“Do you still remember what he said back then?”
He Yunsheng recalled Fan Cheng’s words when he had threatened to kill him. He had said, “Once you’re dead, I’ll enslave your sister, use her for my pleasure, and when I’m bored with her, I’ll sell her to the brothel.” It was such an arrogant and despicable statement, as if it was his right to say such things.
“Do you know that Fan Cheng was going to kill both you and me on this boat? Why should you give up your life just because you accidentally killed him?” He Yan asked. “Our lives are like insignificant grass and weeds to him, but his life is somehow more precious? Why should that be?”
He Yunsheng was still young and full of hot blood, and sacrificing his life for someone like Fan Cheng was not worth it.
“I don’t want that either,” He Yunsheng responded with a mix of sorrow and indignation. “But do we have any other choice now?”
He Yunsheng’s thoughts were straightforward. He killed Fan Cheng, and if the Fan family sought revenge, he would offer his life to atone for it, and the matter would be settled. However, He Yan knew it was not that simple. Coming from a prominent family in her past life, she knew that a family like the Fan’s would not just let it go. Even if He Yunsheng offered his life in exchange, the Fan family would not forgive them, and neither He Sui, herself, nor Qingmei and Shuang Qing would be spared.
“Come here,” He Yan patted his shoulder.
He Yunsheng looked at her, confused.
“You said you swam here. Can you swim well? Can you hold your breath underwater?” He Yan asked.
He Yunsheng nodded, “Yes, I can.”
“Change into my clothes. When the time comes, listen to my instructions. Jump off the boat and swim downstream. Then change into clean clothes and secretly return home. You must be quick, understand?”
He Yunsheng nodded hesitantly, then shook his head, looking at He Yan. “But what about you?”
He Yan picked up a bundle from the ground, containing the new clothes she had gotten for He Yunsheng from the tailor. She said, “I’ll change into different clothes and lead them away.”
“They” referring to Fan Cheng’s guards.
He Yunsheng was alarmed. He blurted out, “No, you can’t do that!”
“How can you lead them away? You’re a woman. If they catch you, they’ll kill you. They will torture you. You’re defenseless. Falling into their hands would be worse than death…” He kept on babbling, but He Yan silenced him with a firm grip on his shoulder.
“No, I’ll throw them off,” she said.
In the dim light, the young girl’s gaze was bright and firm. Even at this moment, she was still smiling. It was a relaxed smile that inexplicably comforted He Yunsheng’s anxious heart, yet at the same time, it made him want to cry.
“I can’t let you go,” He Yunsheng muttered.
“Listen, Yunsheng, put on my clothes and jump off the boat. I will lead them away, and for the next two days, we shouldn’t see each other. I need to lay low and can’t go back to the He family. After five days, go to a tavern called ‘Willow Spring Residence’ in the west of the city. There’s a row of willow trees in front of the tavern. Find the third willow tree from the left, dig three inches down, and I’ll leave a letter there for you. We’ll meet again then, understand?” she instructed.
He Yunsheng shook his head, “I can’t let you go…”
“You’re not a child anymore. You’re a man, and in the future, you’ll have to bear the heavy responsibility of the He family. You need to calm down and follow my instructions. I will be fine, you know that. Every time, I’ve been fine,” she said.
He Yunsheng couldn’t find the words to respond.
Indeed, she had always been fine. Whether it was with Wang Jiugui, gambling at the casino, or competing in horse races on the drills ground, she always managed to surprise everyone. But this time was different; this time, there was a life lost because of him
“Explain everything to Father for me,” He Yan said. “In a little while, Fan Cheng’s guards will come. We don’t have much time. Now hurry and change your clothes,” she urged. “Turn around; I’ll take off my outer clothes for you.”
The boat drifted quietly in the river. When He Yunsheng and He Yan faced each other again, they had already changed their attire. He Yan was dressed in a brand new male outfit, with her hair tied up like a young man, exuding an imposing aura, truly becoming a dashing young man. On the other hand, He Yunsheng was wearing He Yan’s long skirt, feeling awkward and not knowing where to place his hands and feet, his face flushed with embarrassment.
He Yan chuckled at the sight.
“At a time like this, you still have the mood to laugh,” He Yunsheng said, preoccupied with his thoughts and unable to banter with He Yan.
“It’s not time to stop laughing yet,” He Yan picked up a face towel from the ground, covering her face tightly, leaving only her eyes exposed. Even behind the cover, her eyes carried a playful smile. “You’ll have to get used to this.”
Get used to what? Being a fugitive on the run after killing someone? He Yunsheng felt exhausted, accompanied by deep worry and fear.
“I’ll count to three, and you jump down, okay?” He Yan said. “Don’t worry about me; we will meet again.”
He Yunsheng started walking towards the bow of the boat.
After taking two steps, he turned back and looked into He Yan’s eyes. “You’ll be fine, right?”
He Yan ruffled his hair, and the young man’s hair still had droplets of water from when he emerged from the water, making it cool and fluffy.
She smiled gently and answered, “Of course.”