TIGR Chapter 60
The Imperial Guard’s Revenge
Chapter 60 Kidnapped
In the darkness, Lu Heng’s eyes were shining brightly. Aware of his surroundings, he didn’t feel sleepy at all and immediately sat up. Wang Yanqing hadn’t slept soundly, she was dazed and unresponsive when Lu Heng lay down, but when Lu Heng got up, she woke up suddenly.
Wang Yanqing opened her eyes, and before she understood the situation, she reached out to touch the dagger under the pillow. Lu Heng pressed her hand, and softly hissed: “It’s me, don’t make a sound.”
Wang Yanqing’s eyes gradually focused. She saw the person in front of her clearly and nodded slightly. Seeing that she was indeed awake, Lu Heng slowly let go of her hand and stood up from the bed.
Both of them slept with their clothes on and now it allowed them to move. Holding a knife in his hand, Lu Heng quietly sneaked to the window and looked out through the crack.
There was no one in the courtyard. Wordlessly, Lu Heng made to push open the window. Wang Yanqing followed behind Lu Heng, and was shocked when she saw his actions: “Second Brother!”
As soon as she spoke, the window was pushed open and hit the wooden frame heavily. Wang Yanqing looked up, her pupils dilating uncontrollably.
A waning moon hung alone in the boundless night like a hook. On the roof of the opposite dark county government building, a paper man turned his back to the moon, with exaggerated red cheeks and black eyes, it was grinning at them.
Even though Wang Yanqing had experienced a haunting before, she was startled at this moment. This paper figurine was the same size as a real person. The body was made of white paper, and the clothes and facial features were painted with bright paint. It was so lifelike that it looked like a real person at first glance.
Wang Yanqing suddenly thought of the paper figurines used for worshiping gods on Sheri, they also looked like this.
|| Sheri (社日) is an ancient festival held in the spring and fall. It is dedicated to worshiping the God of the Land and aligns generally with harvesting dates.
The night wind was blowing, and the air was filled with dull water vapor. It would likely rain soon. Wang Yanqing calmed down after being blown by the cool wind. She approached Lu Heng quietly, and asked: “Second Brother, who put this paper figurine on the roof?”
Lu Heng stared at the roof, slowly shaking his head: “It may not have been put up.”
Wang Yanqing was puzzled: “What?”
Before she finished speaking, she suddenly saw the paper figurine on the roof move. Its joints were stiff as if it had just learned to move, and it made a few movements slowly and strangely, with an exaggerated smiling face always facing them. After finishing this set of actions, it suddenly turned around and jumped off the beam without warning.
Wang Yanqing took a deep breath, frowned, and asked: “What is that?”
The action of the paper figurine alarmed the officials outside, a loud cry came from the road, and then someone shouted: “Grab it.”
In the summer night silence, this loud roar was earth-shattering. Footsteps suddenly became denser, flames flickered everywhere, and then their courtyard door echoed in harsh banging: “Commander, there seems to be an assassin in the county government, are you okay?” ”
Lu Heng put his knife back into its sheath. He smiled briefly, and said: “Let’s go and take a look.”
The Imperial Guards knocked on the door for a long time with tightened hearts. When they were about to break in, the courtyard door suddenly opened from the inside. The commander was neatly dressed and stood calmly inside the door, followed by a lady. The guards breathed a sigh of relief, and hurriedly clasped their fists in salute. At the same time, they also felt foolish. Where did they get the confidence to think that the commander would be plotted against and needed their help?
“Commander. I just saw a paper man of unknown origin and worried about the safety of the commander, so I came to assist. Please give the orders.”
“I’m fine.” Lu Heng replied lightly and asked, “Where did that thing go?”
“It ran southwest.”
“Chase it. Surround it and don’t let it get away.”
The subordinates clasped their fists in unison and spread out from both sides well-trained and obviously used to rounding up these kinds of things. In addition to the Imperial Guards, the officials of the county government also woke up and ran out to help. There were chaotic sounds of people running from all over the government office, shouting one after another, piercing the quiet night in an instant.
Lu Heng stood at the gate of the courtyard with his hands behind his back, calmly staying out of the way. He turned around and asked Wang Yanqing: “Is it cold?”
The buttons on Wang Yanqing’s coat were neatly fastened, and she shook her head with a solemn face. Lu Heng said: “That’s good. It may be troublesome for a while, do you want to watch outside or go back to the house to rest? If you want to go back, I will send a team of people to guard the door, so you don’t need to worry about safety.”
Wang Yanqing still shook her head: “No, I want to watch from outside.”
Seeing that she was determined, Lu Heng stopped trying to persuade her, saying: “There will be too many people in a while, and I may not be able to take care of you. Be careful and don’t go into dark places.”
“I understand.” Wang Yanqing replied, “Second Brother, go get busy and leave me alone. I’ll just see for myself.”
The courtyards that had fallen into a deep sleep turned on their lights one after another, and Prefect Cheng ran out without even getting dressed, and asked in shock: “Master Lu, what happened?”
Lu Heng was standing in the center of the crowd wearing a blue official uniform, his waistline was tied up high with a leather belt, revealing his straight shoulders, straight back, and slender legs. He was the most eye-catching one even standing in the crowd, with outstanding independence and an amazing sense of oppression.
The moist and cool wind blew from the depths of the night. The flames swayed left and right, so both light and shadow quickly passed over Lu Heng’s body, flickering and unpredictable. In the firelight, the side of Lu Heng’s face was as delicate as jade: “I don’t know either. I heard a strange noise in the middle of the night, and when I opened the window, I found a strange-looking paper man standing on the roof. It gestured for some reason, and then jumped to the front yard.”
Prefect Cheng’s voice changed: “What, paper man?”
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The Imperial Guards brought by Lu Heng surrounded him, and one of them ran back quickly from the front, clasped his fists, and said: “Commander, I clearly saw the paper figurine running towards this direction, but it suddenly disappeared.”
“Oh?” Lu Heng asked, “Did you check the intersection ahead?” ”
“It was guarded, and no one saw it pass.”
Prefect Cheng hid behind Lu Heng, and when he heard this, his face turned pale with fright, and his voice trembled: “How could there be such a thing in the dignified government! Could it be that there are ghosts and spirits?”
Lu Heng looked back at Prefect Cheng: “The prefect believes in ghosts and spirits?”
Prefect Cheng hesitated a bit when asked this question, and said without much confidence: “If you didn’t talk about strange powers and chaos, I would naturally not believe it… But Master Lu saw paper figurines with his own eyes, and now there are officials everywhere, and that strange thing has disappeared out of thin air. I have been an official for twenty years and I have never seen such a weird thing.”
Lu Heng nodded and sighed: “Yes, after it jumped, I immediately arranged for the Imperial Guards and the officials to chase after it, but it disappeared in full view. The government office is only so big, where else could it hide?”
When Prefect Cheng heard this, he immediately said: “I have nothing to do with this matter. If Master Lu doesn’t believe me, you can search my room, I will not refuse.”
Seeing Tao Yiming slowly approaching from behind, Lu Heng asked with a smile: “County Magistrate Tao, what do you think?”
Tao Yiming also cupped his hands and said: “I hope to cooperate with Master Lu in investigating the case.”
Lu Heng was not courteous, and immediately sent people to search the rooms, even the houses of Cheng Youhai and Tao Yiming were not spared. Officers and soldiers opened the doors and searched each room one by one with the lights on. Everyone stood outside together, silently waiting for the results of the search.
The seventh month was hot, but the weather was getting cooler, and the night was already a little chilly. Prefect Cheng rubbed his arms and said: “Master Lu, forgive me, but when I came out, I was in a hurry and didn’t get dressed. My messy appearance must have made Master Lu laugh.”
Lu Heng nodded and smiled, indicating that he didn’t care. After waiting for a while, the Imperial Guards finished the search and came out to report to Lu Heng: “Commander, the paper man was not found.”
There was no movement on Tao Yiming’s face, but Prefect Cheng gasped: “This…what in the world is this!”
At this time, someone hurried in and said in a panic: “Master Cheng, Master Lu, County Magistrate Tao, something happened!”
Lu Heng’s expression remained unchanged, and he asked: “Why are you panicking?”
“I don’t know when, but a paper figurine was hung at the gate of the county government office, quickly go and have a look!”
When Lu Heng and Prefect Cheng heard about this matter, they hurried to the gate. Everyone in the county government rushed to the gate again. Sure enough, outside the main gate, on the steps was a paper figurine, with a fine beard and hair, eyebrows and eyes like a real person, and a bright red mouth that opened almost to its ears.
When Prefect Cheng saw the paper figurine, he let out a sound and quickly covered his eyes. There were also discussions among the officers and soldiers: “All intersections were guarded, how did it get outside?”
Sounds of surprise sounded as silent panic spread in the night. Lu Heng quietly walked up to the figurine as if he couldn’t hear them, and stood face to face with the tall paper figurine.
He couldn’t see clearly from a distance just now, but now that he stood closer, he realized that it was indeed lifelike. Lu Heng touched the paper and asked: “Which shop did this handicraft?”
Prefect Cheng closed his eyes and didn’t say anything, he didn’t even dare to look at the paper figurine. Tao Yiming could only come forward and say: “Although there are shroud paper shops in this county, their workmanship is very rough, and it would be impossible to make such a realistic paper figurine. It would have come from the outside.”
“From outside?” There was a hint of a smile on Lu Heng’s lips, “The gates of the city are locked, how can it come from outside?”
Prefect Cheng cautiously asked: “Then according to Master Lu’s brilliant opinion…
“Go back to sleep first.” Strange things happened one after another, but Lu Heng suddenly gave up pursuing the investigation and said, “It’s late at night, and not good for your health to delay any longer.” There were many interruptions tonight, thank you both for your cooperation.”
Prefect Cheng and Tao Yiming hastily declined, not daring to agree. Lu Heng broke up the meeting with his words, and everyone dared not follow up. People from the county government walked back one after another. An Imperial Guard looked at the paper figurine who was still smiling at the door, clasped his fists, and asked: “Commander, this thing…”
Lu Heng glanced at it and said: “Find a clean place away from water and put it away. Tomorrow’s investigation will fall on this paper figurine.”
The Imperial Guards had seen a lot of the living and dead, let alone a paper dummy. They stepped forward, lifted the tall paper dummy, and walked to the backyard. The crowd dispersed, and Lu Heng was at the end, walking back leisurely. Wang Yanqing walked up to Lu Heng silently. Lu Heng looked back and squeezed her face amusedly: “What’s wrong, so serious?”
Wang Yanqing shook her head but did not speak.
After returning to the house, Wang Yanqing immediately closed the door, and said to Lu Heng: “Second Brother, something unusual happened tonight.”
Lu Heng smiled: “I know.”
Lu Heng shook his head, held Wang Yanqing’s hand, tested the temperature on her neck, and said: “Your situation is special, you need to pay more attention these two days. It’s already late, go to bed quickly.”
Lu Heng said at the gate just now that it was late at night, and it would be bad for their health to delay any longer. He was actually referring to Wang Yanqing, otherwise, he cared about Cheng Youhai and Tao Yiming’s health.
Wang Yanqing heard Lu Heng’s lurking voice, and hurriedly asked: “What about you?”
“Don’t worry, I’ll stay in the house.” After Lu Heng finished speaking, he casually mentioned, “And look around the west room.”
“Didn’t you talk too much earlier?”
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“That’s right.” Lu Heng smiled and said lightly, “So I have to research now.”
Wang Yanqing was sent to bed to sleep, and Lu Heng read in the west room. He was afraid that it would affect Wang Yanqing’s sleep, so he tightly covered the lights. Through the bed curtain, Wang Yanqing saw a hazy orange pool reflected at the door and heard the faint sound of flipping paper in her ears.
She didn’t remember her past, but it seemed that summer should be like this.
At some time, she closed her eyes and fell into a deep sleep.
In her sleep, she seemed to hear the door opening and closing, someone had gone out and come back again. She wanted to open her eyes, but her limbs seemed to be filled with lead, and she couldn’t move.
In the early morning of the next day, Wang Yanqing woke up suddenly. She was lying on the bed, and when she moved a little, she felt pain in her waist and abdomen.
She let out a long sigh.
It was really unfortunate that Lu Heng was right.
Her period came.
Fortunately, she packed a small bag before leaving, so she wouldn’t be caught off guard. Wang Yanqing changed her clothes again, and when she came out, she found that Lu Heng had long since disappeared, the west room candle was half burned, and a half-read file was still spread out on the desk.
Wang Yanqing picked up a file that was stuck on a disappearance case. The reporter said that their family lived at the foot of the Qingxu Ministry, where young adults often disappeared nearby. Once when they were walking at night, they seemed to see a Taoist Priest of the Qingxu Ministry carrying something into the back door.
Young adults? This description was similar to that of Hegu Village. Wang Yanqing found a place to sit down and read this file carefully. The door was suddenly pushed open and Lu Heng came in. He saw that Wang Yanqing was already neatly dressed, and said: “You woke up so early? Why did you change your clothes today?”
Wang Yanqing lowered her head and turned a page, pretending not to hear. Lu Heng’s eyes moved, and without further questioning, he said: “You woke up just in time, I ordered the kitchen to bring you breakfast in a while. Be sure to eat well, don’t do anything improper.”
Wang Yanqing heard that his voice was wrong, so she raised her head and asked: “Second Brother, are you going out?”
“Yes.” Lu Heng nodded, “I asked someone to check the shop where the paper figurines were made, and I got a clue just now. I’ll go and see for myself, will it be okay for you to stay in the government office by yourself?”
“I’m fine.” Wang Yanqing shook her head, and after speaking, she sighed lowly and said guiltily, “It’s a pity that I always lag behind and can’t go out with you.”
Lu Heng stepped forward, put one hand on the table, and stroked the top of her hair with the other hand. He stared into her eyes seriously and said: “You will help me the most by taking good care of your body. Take a good rest and don’t think too much. If I don’t come back at noon, you can eat by yourself.”
He bent down in front of Wang Yanqing. His tone was not very forceful, but his posture was condescending as if he had circled a field and completely surrounded her. Wang Yanqing nodded silently. Lu Heng rubbed her hair again, got up, and went out.
He and the emperor issued a military order to solve the case within three days, and today was already the second day.
Lu Heng was so energetic that he didn’t seem to feel tired. Last night, he was disturbed for half the night and went out early this morning to check about the paper figurines. Prefect Cheng had no choice but to risk his life to accompany the gentlemen and forced his limp body to go out with Lu Heng to investigate the case.
They huffed and took away a large number of people. The county government suddenly became empty, and even the chirping of cicadas became quiet. Wang Yanqing was not in good health, so she stayed in the room and flipped through the files by herself. The west room left many files, enough for her to read for a long time. Wang Yanqing searched for related cases and carefully checked them one by one.
There was a knock on the door outside. Wang Yanqing wondered why lunch was delivered so early today, and said: “Come in.”
Wang Yanqing put down the file, and the food delivery person also came in and put down the food box in the main room. The person who came was wearing servant’s clothes, and with his head bowed, he had a young face. Wang Yanqing glanced at him and asked: “Why are you delivering the food?”
The boy lowered his eyes and said: “The kitchen is busy and Aunt Zhao asked me to deliver meals to the Miss.”
Wang Yanqing nodded, thinking that the maid from yesterday was surnamed Zhao. The boy opened the food box and brought out a bowl of soup first. Seeing the cassia seeds and chrysanthemums in the soup, Wang Yanqing frowned slightly: “This is the lunch ordered by Second Brother?”
After Wang Yanqing finished speaking, she immediately retreated, but she was still a step too late. The other party slashed at her and Wang Yanqing quickly raised her hand to resist, but the other party seemed to have predicted her move, dodged in advance, took out a pipe of cigarettes with the other hand, and blew it directly toward Wang Yanqing’s face.
A puff of white smoke rushed to Wang Yanqing’s face, she tried her best to hold her breath, but accidentally inhaled a little. Wang Yanqing soon felt dizzy, and the other party stepped forward and covered Wang Yanqing’s mouth and nose with a drug-stained veil. This time, she passed out completely.
Everything happened in an instant, and Wang Yanqing lost consciousness before she could even cry for help.
At Wei Shi, Lu Heng rode his horse and stopped in front of the mountain road. Tao Yiming raised his hand and pointed to the building hidden in the jungle above: “Master Lu, this is the Qingxu Monastery.”
|| Wei Shi (未时) 1-3 pm.
The sun was extremely hot, and Prefect Cheng couldn’t help wiping his sweat, he raised his head and looked up the mountain with effort: “The Taoist priest who can tie paper that the shopkeeper spoke about lives here?”
There were not many craftsmen who could make such a big paper man without deformation. Lu Heng sent someone to inquire about the shops that dealt with paper products for funerals. No one in Qixian County could make such fine paper figurines. Finally, a shopkeeper in Linxian County sent news that he had seen the rituals of the Qingxu Monastery, and the Taoist priests there knew how to do it themselves. Made of paper figurines, it was lifelike, much better than those sold in their stores.
From this, Lu Heng and his group came to the Qingxu Monastery.
“Yes.” Tao Yiming replied, “The Qingxu Monastery has been established for a long time, and it existed before I took office. It is just that the Taoist priests here are very strange. They don’t go to the master’s house to practice things, they don’t accept assignments from other places, and they rarely communicate with the people down the mountain, so there is not a lot of incense burning around the temple.”
“Weird.” Prefect Cheng said, “Don’t monks and Taoist priests try to get people to donate money to light incense? If they don’t interact with the people, how can they survive?” ”
Tao Yiming shook his head: “I have never had any contact with the monks or Taoist priests, so I don’t know.”
Lu Heng was wearing a dark blue tunic uniform, sitting upright on the horse. Even under the scorching sun and the flowing gold and rocks, he still held a straight posture. Refreshed all over, without a drop of sweat on his face, he was like pine and cypress in the mountains, and a breeze in the forest, no matter where he appeared, he remained sharp and awe-inspiring. Lu Heng reined in his horse with one hand, and said lightly: “What’s going on, just go up and have a look.”
While Lu Heng was walking up the mountain with the magistrate and his entourage, Wang Yanqing suddenly woke up with her white and cold face leaning against a pillow.
In a room, the windows were closed and it was dimly lit. The effect of the drug had not yet dissipated, and Wang Yanqing had cold sweat on her back, feeling extremely uncomfortable, she was struggling to even move her fingers. She secretly adjusted her breathing, and at the same time, she thought quickly, where is this place, and who kidnapped her?
They were able to knock her into an unconscious state and bring her out of the county office. The implications of that made her feel cold all over just thinking about it. Wang Yanqing felt cramps in her abdomen. She didn’t eat and was frightened again. The menstrual cramps, which had since adjusted, started again.
Wang Yanqing couldn’t help but put her hands on her abdomen. At this moment, footsteps sounded next to her, and Wang Yanqing realized that there was someone in the room!
She turned her head immediately, and at the same time, a familiar voice came to her ears: “Qing Qing, you’re awake.”