“Why?” I was slightly surprised.
“If he wanted to test you, he didn’t need to use such complicated equipment at all,” he said. “He just needed to send a message to your cell to see if your reply was the agreed message. These computers and other things are redundant.”
I thought it over for a moment—it really did sound reasonable—and then asked, “What are you thinking?”
“This was definitely not a trap and these two computers must be useful,” he said. “That person has been living under this house; otherwise, you wouldn’t have seen those quilts when you went down.”
“Didn’t you say that basically no one used these two computers?” I asked. “How do you explain the contradiction?”
“Contradiction is contradiction. Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s (1),” he said. “It’s very simple. This person lived below, but his communication with you didn’t depend on this computer. The computer was a trap, but the secret room below wasn’t.”
I smoked a cigarette, “So what do they rely on to communicate?”
All the conversations above could be heard clearly in the basement below, but I was certain that the person above couldn’t hear anything below.
“Maybe there was no need to communicate?” He said. “Maybe he wasn’t hiding, but monitoring?”
I only had to think about it for a few seconds when it suddenly hit me like a thunderbolt and all of the previous contradictions started to line up.
He didn’t make the modification to Uncle Three’s computer. Maybe Uncle Three didn’t even know there was such a room under his house, that his computer was connected to another computer, and that all of his words could be heard.
Any and all messages from Uncle Three could have been intercepted by that person.
But who exactly was this man? He was like a ringworm living in Uncle Three’s belly.
I sent my classmate away and promised to pay within three days so that he would continue to ponder over this issue and immediately tell me any new ideas he had.
After that, I sat among the debris in the yard at the table where Uncle Three usually drank his tea, leaning back in the chair to make a phone call to Uncle Two. When he picked up, I asked him, “When did Uncle Three build his house?”
Uncle Two hesitated for a moment, but instead of answering, he suddenly asked me, “Where are you?”
I prevaricated to say a place, but Uncle Two still hesitated, apparently not particularly convinced.
There was something strange in his tone and I kept feeling like something had happened, but at this time, I didn’t want to know more. Instead, I just wanted my question answered. Uncle Two eventually told me, “The foundation of the house was built in the 1970s, but I don’t know since it’s undergone several renovations since then. At first, there was only a small bungalow, but your Uncle Three made more money later and slowly expanded it. The biggest expansion was in 1988 when he practically lived at my house.”
After saying this, Uncle Two suddenly said, “Stop messing around so much and stay in Hangzhou.” Then he immediately hung up.
I always felt like Uncle Two was busy dealing with something. After hanging up the phone, I thought some more and decided to call my father.
I sat there smoking while chatting with him. I wasn’t thinking about any particular problems, just taking one sentence at a time while thinking about some small details that would help me with my own reasoning.
I hadn’t had such a good chat with my father in recent years so he was completely blindsided. In the middle of the conversation, he carefully hinted to me, “Little Xie, are you lovelorn? You know you can tell your dad anything that’s making you feel sad.”
I gave a little chuckle and smiled, thinking that my dad was quite sensitive and could tell that something was on my mind. But I knew my father so well that even if I told him everything, it wouldn’t help.
From the chat with him, I was able to grasp the whole course of events surrounding our Wu family from Changsha to Hangzhou. After listening to it, I found that it was just like a part of a serialized drama. The stories of my grandfather, Granny Huo, and my grandmother in particular sounded like a very good feature film set under a historical background.
My grandfather became famous in Changsha when he was very young because he was the first master to train dogs to smell the earth. A well-trained dog was ten times more efficient than a human. It could smell all kinds of oil and fire traps, and even smell whether a zombie was dead or not.
Since my grandfather had trained his first dog, his wealth had accumulated extremely fast. In a few years, he may have even been the number one in Changsha city: the number of tombs he knew, the number of ghostly objects he didn’t sell, etc. Even Zhang Da Fo Ye’s men would come to ask him for the location of tombs.
At that time, although the Huo, Qi, and Xie families were already well known, the Huo family was forced to slowly focus on their business because of the serious civil strife, and no one went down into the tombs (it was too easy to lose soldiers and leaders). The Qi family had always been good at business and was neutral when it came to the Huos, while Xie Jiuye had just returned from Japan. My grandfather’s accumulation in recent years had even exceeded that of several generations of the Qi family.
My grandfather was quite proud of this experience at that time and always said, “Scientific and technological innovation was the first productive force, especially in the traditional industry of grave robbing. A little innovation can bring about earth-shaking changes.”
My grandfather really had a good time in Changsha. He was young and legendary at that time, but he had no dignity, spent money like dirt, and was amiable. This kind of person would definitely have countless friends—and friends of friends—who were full of admiration for him. This was where his relationship with Huo Xiangu began. At that time, she was older than him and absolutely infatuated with him.
My father then told me about the previously mentioned Changsha case from before, where Qiu Dekao sold everyone out. My grandfather’s family wealth was gone and he hid in a tomb for a period of time before fleeing to Hangzhou. Xie Jiuye was already on the up and up at that time. Although he didn’t have as much wealth as my grandfather, he became the best businessman in the Mystic Nine because of his family background, wide contacts, and good management skills. It was through Xie Jiuye’s protection that my grandfather met my grandmother.
At that time, my grandfather was supposed to have moved to my grandmother’s house under Xie Jiuye’s introduction (her family and the Xie family were distantly related), and she was responsible for taking care of him. At that time, the temperament of Jiangnan’s pretty daughter was completely different from that of Hunan’s female grave robbers. As a result, this must’ve been when my grandfather cheated. Without any sort of explanation, Huo Xiangu was directly defeated by my grandmother. Of course, my grandmother didn’t know about it.
At that time, the whole country was in a state of war and chaos and even letters couldn’t be sent. So, the matter slowly passed by. When Huo Xiangu came to Hangzhou about two years later, my grandfather had already married my grandmother, who was pregnant with my father. At that time, Huo Xiangu didn’t see my grandfather and just politely chatted with my grandmother in the room for an hour and then left.
From then on, each side knew the existence of the other and how they were doing, but they never met again.
No one knew what they were talking about that day, but all the servants could say was that they had a good time.
When my grandfather heard the news at that time, he must’ve been sweating like a waterfall. I couldn’t help sympathizing with him.
It took about three more years for my grandfather to push his business back to Changsha, and then he basically moved back and forth between the two places. Every time he went to Changsha, my grandmother would accompany him, so my grandfather and Granny Huo would never have the chance to revive. In another year, Huo Xiangu was married in Beijing. My grandfather was very emotional when he talked about it, saying that he felt terrible when he was there and disappointed when he left.
My Uncle Three joined the business when he was thirteen years old. He first played around in Changsha, and then he got some experience and money and came to Hangzhou to buy this piece of land. At that time, he didn’t buy it with any particular idea in mind and simply got it through his connections and built a house. It was later that he slowly shifted his focus to business and expanded this place many times, making it better and better.
Uncle Two had been studying and opened a teahouse about seven years ago. It wasn’t to make money, but simply to have a meeting place with his friends. I had never seen a woman beside my Uncle Two, and it seemed like no safflower (2) could enter his world. But maybe Uncle Two’s mind was particularly meticulous and no one knew about his troubles. Back then, my father left home very early and went from the south to the north to do geological surveys. He didn’t come back until the late 1970s.
Following his return, he got married and had me. My old mother was from a strong family, a girl from a local official’s family in Hangzhou. Later, there was a period of time when she divorced my father every day, which almost annoyed me to death.
At this point, all of the events surrounding the Wu family’s stay in Hangzhou were very clear. But the question now was how exactly did the secret room under this building come about? Was it dug before or completed during reconstruction?
If Uncle Three himself didn’t know of its existence, then the room must’ve been secretly completed. And if that were the case, it couldn’t have been designed when this place was built. It must have been excavated during a later reconstruction.
I studied architecture, so I knew that digging a basement wasn’t a simple thing. I went out and took a few steps to measure it pace by pace and soon found that things weren’t as complicated as I had originally thought.
The exact location of the basement wasn’t under Uncle Three’s house, but under the wall that connected his house to the next house.
I looked at the building next door and realized that I had never noticed it before. There were a lot of farmers’ houses here, but every time I came to visit Uncle Three, I always went up to the second floor to see the goods and didn’t stay too long. I really didn’t know who was next door.
My mind was chaotic as I walked to the gate next door and knocked.
It was a metal door, which was a kind of special security door for farmers’ houses that was especially sturdy and familiar. After knocking a few more times, I noticed a piece of paper on the door that had almost peeled off. It said, “Room for rent” and had a phone number listed below it.
No one came to open the door and I knocked for half a day without getting any response, so I took out my cell phone and dialed the number.
It rang three or four times but no one answered.
I looked around but didn’t see anyone, so I found a place to climb over the wall and jumped.
My own agility startled me. It seemed that this was the result of the “field” exercise I had done over the past two years. After landing, I found that the house was probably unoccupied, as the courtyard was in a depressed state full of fallen leaves. I was wondering where these fallen leaves came from when I saw several more floating down. As soon as I looked up, I saw some plants growing on the roof of this house. The plants hadn’t been cared for in a long time and had all died, causing the leaves to fall from the roof.
I measured the yard with my steps and found that if someone wanted to dig a passage from here to underneath Uncle Three’s house, it was really feasible. But I had to know when it was dug up.
I walked to the door of the building and saw another guarded entrance that turned out to be a large copper-clad door. This family clearly had no taste. This kind of brass door looked golden and magnificent, so many rural local bosses liked it.
Although the door looked tacky, the security was really excellent. I figured that ordinary small explosives couldn’t be used to blow it open, and this kind of door usually had six or seven latches that were really difficult to pry open.
How could I get in? As I was thinking about it, I saw that the second floor was also heavily guarded with iron railings. Moreover, all of the windows were tightly sealed, as if to specially guard against a large group of burglars. Just as I was about to call for help, my phone suddenly rang. I looked at the screen and saw that the number I had just dialed was calling me back.
I immediately picked it up and heard a man’s voice asking me why I had called. When I said I wanted to rent a house, he said, “The house has been rented for a long time.”
“Impossible,” I said. “The house has never been occupied.”
“The house was rented nineteen years ago,” he responded. “The note may not have been torn off. The rent’s been paid on time every year for the past nineteen years so I’ve never asked around.”
Nineteen years ago? I paused and looked at the layout of the house again. It definitely wouldn’t have looked like this nineteen years ago and must have been renovated. I asked him if it had been renovated at any time during those nineteen years.
The other party said he didn’t know and couldn’t help either, especially since there was an increasing amount of money every year. Then he asked, “Is something wrong?”
“It’s nothing,” I replied. “I just wanted to rent a house.” As I said this, I had a sudden idea and asked him, “Can you give me this person’s contact information? I want to see if he’ll sublet and then you’ll have two renters.”
The other party was quite enthusiastic and told me to wait a moment while he got the number. He said that he hadn’t contacted the tenant for a long time, but if there were any problems, he would be able to call him.
My heart warmed as I thought that there was still good in the world after all. I quickly dialed the number he gave me and waited as it rang a few times. No one answered. I lowered the phone to see if I had dialed the wrong number when I suddenly saw a name pop up on the screen. The number was actually in my contacts!
Looking at the name, I immediately clutched the phone tightly and thought to myself, son of a bitch! That’s impossible!
<Chapter 70> <Table of Contents><Chapter 72>
(1) “Render unto Caesar” is the beginning of a phrase attributed to Jesus in Matthew 22:21, which reads in full, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s”. The phrase has been interpreted a lot of ways. Per Wikipedia: “The original message, coming in response to a question of whether it was lawful for Jews to pay taxes to Caesar, gives rise to multiple possible interpretations about the circumstances under which it is desirable for Christians to submit to earthly authority.”
(2) Tiffany figured this one out. Safflower means women in this context.
5 thoughts on “Chapter 71 Computer Trap”
Hello… Thank for your wonderful job!
I have a doubt… poker face is another meaning of men you ping? or is a new name wuxie call xiaoge?
Sorry about my english
“Men you ping” is basically something like “stuffy oil bottle” which sounds absolutely stupid in English lol. The translator who did the licensed books chose “Poker-Face” (I guess because he’s always expressionless) and I thought it was very fitting so I stuck with it. It’s also easier on the readers so they don’t have to figure out who is who. But I refused to call Fatty “Fats” so I changed it 😂
LikeLiked by 1 person
I see… thank you
“Little Xie, are you lovelorn? You know you can tell your dad anything that’s making you feel sad.” 🤣🤣🤣
Yes a little Xiao Ge broke his heart. Please find that person and scold him. 😁😊 😇
Про Сяо Гэ мне понравилось 🤣😂 а ведь и правда…💔
LikeLiked by 1 person