Chapter 5: Yue Xiaoman is Hiding the Rebel’s Correspondence

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On the way to Ye Xin Girls’ Middle School, the car made a detour.
The driver, Xiao Chen, said, “Master Ye’s daughter is studying at Ye Xin.” 

The corporals, however, didn’t attempt to slow down.
When the car pulled up to the school, I stepped out and saw my father and a fat old man from a distance.
His military uniform bundled around his fat body like a walking meat dumpling.
The students were gathered in the playground with the soldiers surrounding them with their guns.
It was a sight they had never encountered before and they were all pale with fear.

“Dad-” I couldn’t hide the exasperation in my tone.

“Bingqing?” Father’s face had a momentary look of embarrassment but quickly covered it up with a smile. 

“Come, Bingqing, let me introduce you, this is Uncle Lu, and this is my second daughter, Ye Bingqing.”

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“Hello, Uncle Lu.” 

Towards a military commander, I dared not offend him so I greeted him with a small salute in a good manner.

The Colonel looked me up and down from head to toe and nodded in satisfaction with a smile appearing on his shadowy face. 

“I have long heard that Brother Ye has a pair of beautiful daughters.
Unfortunately, the eldest has long been married, and the second has stayed abroad.
I wonder when my niece has returned from studying abroad?”

“I came back last year and now, I’m studying at this Middle School,” I answered absentmindedly.
I saw a small-ranked officer along with a few soldiers hurrying over from afar, with an unconcealed joy and triumph on his face.
Father and I looked at each other.
He pulled out a handkerchief and wiped the sweat from his head.

“I have a report…on the road to the school, I found this in the books of a student called Yue Xiaoman!” 

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Almost as if he was pandering, he brought the pages filled with words to the Colonel’s face. 

After a few hasty glances, the Colonel smiled.
“A good patriotic young woman, trying to save the country and the people from the fire, but well⎯⎯”

“But what?”

“But, isn’t this idea of overthrowing the national rule pushing the people into the fire?”

“Uncle Lu, I think you have misunderstood.
Yue Xiaoman is a good friend of mine.
This is not her handwriting, I think she must have seen it from somewhere and casually stuck it in a book.
Uncle Lu is a man of great justice, don’t let this trivial matter hurt the peace.” 

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I was nearly prepared to put on a smile, but the fat man didn’t show his attitude and frowned instead. 

“You are wrong, niece.
The female students nowadays are not like the women in the past.
But if this is not Yue Xiaoman’s handwriting, as you say, then she must be an accomplice! Don’t worry, Uncle Lu won’t make things difficult for your good friend and will treat her well at the office.”

He said and winked at the little captain next to him.
“Why don’t you find the one called Yue Xiaoman and take her away?”

Before I could stop her, Yue Xiaoman had already walked out of the group by herself for fear of dragging others into it, and many of the girls fled in a flurry.

I walked over and gave one of the men a slap on the wrist who was forcefully trying to hold her arms.
I sneered, “I don’t care about myself but if your hands dare to touch her, I’ll make you suffer for it.”

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“Yes, yes, Second Miss Ye, we would obey your instruction!”

“What is your name?”

“I am Zhang Shun, the leader of team four.”

I gave Yue Xiaoman a reassuring look and returned to the colonel.
“Then please take good care of her, Uncle Lu.
I’ll visit her at your mansion soon.”

“My mansion always welcomes a visit from my virtuous niece.”

As the army began to withdraw from the school, the students from the boys’ school across the street came over and finally gathered around.
I hated myself for being negligent and causing Xiaoman to suffer.
A figure in the distance seemed to be following the procession, unhurriedly.
The lean figure was familiar, only I couldn’t recall for a moment where I had seen it before.

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