Liang Qiao alley. 

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A dilapidated, rustic alley, inhabited by the local poor.
It was a dead alley, even the old man who sold candy in the alleys didn’t bother to go around inside twice.

“Ye Bingqing, what a coincidence, out to enjoy the moon?”

It was the same damp night, the same narrow alleyway, the same bright moon overhead, and the same man in front of me. Where had he popped up from? He came and went without a trace as if he had been blown away by the wind.
He was still so clean and good-looking, like the moon in the sky.

The moon in the Qin period.

“What’s the matter, too happy to see me speak?”

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“What are you anyway?” I cocked my head, forgetting my disguised fake coy fondness, and looked at him innocently.
“You don’t look like a secret agent, but you also don’t look like a good person.
Moreover, you’re not just an ordinary teacher.
You were even rescued by the French Consulate, you must be something more than that.”

“I’ve never said I was a secret agent.
Since you like me so much, I’ll tell you.” Qin Shiyue put his hand behind my ear, and the faint smell of green tea wafted out.
“I’m a French Chinese, so the Nationalist soldiers have no right to kill me.
I’m a liberal, and I can help whoever I want.
Didn’t I send a message to the revolutionaries to get Yue Xiaoman and Yu Ziyang out of here?”


“Ye Bingqing, no, now it should be called Young Mistress Lu.
What are you doing here in the middle of the night?”

“I’m not Mrs.
What about you, are you pretending to be a ghost and scaring people here in the middle of the night?”

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“This is the French Concession, of course, I’m here.
Why don’t you pretend to like me now, you little liar?” Qin Shiyue leaned against the wall and lit a cigarette.
The scarlet fire flickered and the thin smoke choked me into a cough.
I coughed so hard that tears spurted out of my eyes, like a spark under the cool moonlight.

Qin Shiyue silently put out his cigarette and said, “My flat is nearby, go up and take a rest.”

I suddenly remembered why I had come to Liang Qiao alley and pushed him away.
“You should go, I have things to do.
My father is around here, and he’ll be here at two in the morning.
It’s nearly midnight now, so you’d better go.”

“Did something happen?”

“My sister has been kidnapped and will be handed over at two in the morning.”

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“It’s too dangerous for you to be alone.”

“I’m not afraid.”

“I’ll stay with you.”

“No! This will get my sister killed.”

Qin Shiyue looked at me in exasperation, one hand clenched into a fist.
“Am I that useless in your eyes?”

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There was the sound of something hard crashing to the ground, coming from the deepest part of the alleyway.
It was a dead-end, so it looked like someone had thrown something across the wall.
Qin Shiyue and I looked at each other, then slowly walked deeper into the alleyway.
At first, it was a small, shadowy mass, huddled under the root of the wall.
Only when we got inside did we see a little girl tied up in knots, sitting under the wall, her tongue sticking out, her face blue, her eyes rolled up to show only the whites of her eyes as if she was accusing her murderer.

That little girl was none other than Ye Tao Tao.

I screamed and threw myself into Qin Shiyue’s arms, tears pouring out like a breach of dyke.


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