Pan Zi frowned, “Why didn’t I hear anything? Master Three’s back? When did he order this?”
The man looked at the two of us. He obviously thought that Pan Zi was messing with him, because he just shrugged his shoulders and smiled, “Don’t try and play dumb with me. These things are for you. How can you not know?”
Pan Zi immediately became angry, “Why the fuck would I be messing with you? What did Master Three say? When did he say it?”
As the man continued to look at the two of us, he finally seemed to realize that we truly didn’t know. Looking perplexed, he said, “I don’t know the details. I was just doing what Boss Chu from the bank told me to do. He’s back there. You guys should ask him.”
Pan Zi snorted and then led me through the narrow passage. There was an unlocked iron door at the end, and when we pushed it open, I saw that there was a shabby office inside. A middle-aged man with a bald head and a shiny face was sitting on the sofa inside the office, smoking a cigarette. When he saw us come in, he threw the cigarette on the ground, stepped on it, and then stood up.
“Brother Chu,” Pan Zi greeted him. His attitude suddenly became very respectful, and I immediately realized that this person was the one who was supposed to give me Uncle Three’s message.
He looked at Pan Zi and then at me before saying, “Why are you guys so late? We’ve been waiting for two days.”
Pan Zi told him what happened on the way over. Then, without waiting for him to respond, he hurriedly asked, “Brother Chu, what’s going on? What did we do to catch the police’s attention?”
“Don’t panic, nothing’s wrong,” Brother Chu said calmly. “This is all part of your Master Three’s plan. He asked me to release some information on some deals he did a few years back in order to liven things up. Now a special task force has been formed to investigate. I don’t know what his intentions are, but it seems like he’s trying to set up obstacles for another group.”
“That’s right. But because of this, the whole antique market has now been implicated. Everyone who has business relations with your Uncle Three is under surveillance, so it’ll be difficult for those who didn’t prepare in advance to carry out activities now. It looks like your Uncle Three managed to buy you guys some time.”
I looked at Pan Zi, not quite understanding what this bald man was saying. “Time for what?”
The bald man shrugged, indicating that he didn’t know either. “Your Uncle Three is an old veteran in this business. I can’t even begin to guess what he’s plotting.”
“I heard from Jiu Si outside just now that the equipment is ready and you’re the one who arranged it. What’s going on?” Pan Zi asked.
“It’s because of that message from your Uncle Three,” Brother Chu said as he motioned for us to sit down. “Actually, we didn’t plan on your participation when we were initially getting the equipment ready. In other words, one of those five sets of equipment was meant for him.”
He paused and then continued, “But when he called me at that time, he also said that he wasn’t the only one making a move—someone else was ‘competing’ with him. This other party wasn’t some pushover, so if he couldn’t come back in time, you would be the one using his equipment. In any case, you must continue the job—you can’t let the other group get there first.”
Another group? I suddenly thought of the company A Ning worked for. Was it because Uncle Three had screwed them over in the undersea tomb?
“Did Master Three say who the other group was?” Pan Zi asked.
The bald man shook his head and said, “No, but I think Master Three may have already fallen into their hands. Otherwise, he should have appeared a long time ago. Unfortunately, we don’t know anything right now, which makes me think that the other party is quite powerful. I doubt we’ll be able to resolve this using the usual methods.”
I groaned to myself as the bald man added, “The place you guys are headed is the Hengshan Mountain Range in the Changbai Mountains of Jilin. The specific place can only be found using coordinates, but I’ve prepared a local guide to take you guys there.”
The first thought that came to mind when I heard Changbai Mountain was Wang Zanghai’s Heavenly Palace on the Clouds. There was no doubt that it was located somewhere in the Hengshan Mountain Range.
But…why did I need to go to a place like that? There was no reason. Was I really going to travel to such a strange place, and in the middle of winter at that?
The bald man, seeing my green complexion, suddenly sighed and said, “To tell you the truth, I’m also confused, but I’ve thought about it carefully. The only thing you guys can do now is to follow Master Three’s plan and try to find some clues. Otherwise, it seems like your Uncle Three may not make it through this.”
Pan Zi patted me, and then turned to address the bald man, “In that case, according to Master Three’s plan, what’s our next step?”
“There are five of you guys,” the bald man responded. “First, you’ll get on the train to Jilin—we’ll find a way to get your equipment there—and then you’ll take a car to the next point. Everyone has already been contacted by Master Three, so they should have arrived by now.”
Pan Zi and I looked at each other. Jilin… it seemed like we really would be climbing through the snowy mountains.
The bald man said that he would be responsible for all the details regarding our journey, so we didn’t have to worry about that. All we needed to do was hit the road and be careful not to get caught by the police. The schedule was very tight: we’d rest one night in Changsha, and then get on the train tomorrow. Our tickets and toiletries were already packed and ready for us. The other three team members knew all the details, so if we had any questions, we’d just have to ask them tomorrow.
The bald man’s administrative skills were far beyond anything I expected, and considering how Uncle Three had asked him to deliver a message to us, it seemed like this plan had been in the works for a long time. I just didn’t know for what purpose.
We asked some more questions, but the bald man only knew what he had been told. Judging by his tone, however, Uncle Three’s plan was absolutely perfect—this time, it seemed the old rogue had finally showed his full set of skills.
As we left the same way we came in, I noticed that a lot of second-hand monitors were being shipped from the shop. Pan Zi told me that the grave goods were hidden inside while they were being transported. This was because the packaging concealed the goods when they went through general checkpoint inspections. The bald man had mentioned finding some way to transport our equipment to Jilin, so this was likely the method he’d use.
Pan Zi was the local boss here, so later that evening, I went with him to Changsha to eat dumplings. I had been to Changsha more than once or twice in my life, so I didn’t feel like I was seeing anything new. As we ate, we discussed all the information that bald guy had given us earlier. Pan Zi thought for a long time before saying to me, “Little Master Three, after thinking about it, I can’t shake the feeling that there’s something suspicious about that company that prepared your expedition to Xisha. Do you think those people are the ones Master Three was talking about?”
“I’ve been thinking about it for a long time,” I said. “I think the problem isn’t with that company, but the people behind it. But let’s not focus on that—after all, when we get there, they’ll come to us even if we don’t look for them. My real concern is whether Brother Chu is reliable.”
“Little Master Three, I may look like a simple soldier, but I’m actually very good at judging people,” Pan Zi replied. “You don’t have to worry about this person. What I’m more concerned about is the fact that he said there are five people going on this trip. Who are the other three?”
“If Uncle Three arranged it, there shouldn’t be any problems,” I said.
Pan Zi shook his head, “It’s hard to say. Master Three often says that if you want to get to know a person, you have to watch them three hundred and sixty-five days, without missing a single day. After all, people change. If you don’t see someone for a week, he might already be planning to harm you, especially those uncultured people in our industry. To put it bluntly, who doesn’t have a lot of blood on their hands? If any become desperate enough, they’d even be willing to bury their own mothers alive. Since Master Three hasn’t come back for so long, the people here must’ve had a change of heart.”
I told him that his standards were too high and that we should just take things one step at a time.
The street was cold at night. After eating, I silently followed Pan Zi back to the house he used to live in and then went to bed. We got up and had breakfast the next morning, after which the bald man came to pick us up in a car. As I was carrying my personal luggage over, I looked across the distance and saw that someone was already sitting in the car.
Looking carefully, I found that it was an old man with a familiar-looking face. I felt as if I had seen him somewhere before, and it was pretty recent, too.
I didn’t really pay attention after that initial glance, too busy joking around with Pan Zi, but when I got a closer look, I suddenly felt as if I had been blindsided.
Judging by his figure and strange attire, that old man was none other than Chen Pi Ah Si, the same man I saw in Uncle Two’s teahouse in Hangzhou!
My mouth dropped open and my neck tensed up as I wondered, why is he sitting in the car? Is this old man one of the five? Surely something so outrageous isn’t possible…right?
Pan Zi, also noticing him at this time, muttered something under his breath and also looked surprised.
The bald man motioned for us to hurry up, so we both got in the car, feeling a little dazed. Pan Zi knew Chen Pi Ah Si and quickly greeted him. The old man was sitting there with his eyes closed but gave a slight nod in acknowledgment. Pan Zi immediately turned to the bald man in the driver’s seat, bared his teeth, and mouthed a question at him: what’s going on?
The bald man smiled helplessly, and mouthed back that he didn’t know; this was all Master Three’s arrangement.
No way, I thought to myself. Isn’t this old guy blind? Plus, he’s older than me and Pan Zi combined. What kind of trick is Uncle Three trying to pull here?
As we drove to the train station, I was in a constant state of anxiety as I thought about the rest of our team. If the first person Uncle Three arranged for us was an old man close to a hundred, then it was really hard to guess what the second person would be like—a pregnant woman on the brink of giving birth or maybe a disabled person in a wheelchair?
Did Uncle Three want to test how compassionate we were?
When we finally arrived at the station, I saw that Chen Pi Ah Si was actually very energetic—he climbed out of the car without any trouble, put his hands behind his back, and started walking towards the train. The bald man clearly respected him a lot and helped carry his luggage. In order for everyone to get used to each other, we chose a relatively cheap sleeper car that could sleep six people. Since there were only five of us, the extra bed could hold our luggage.
When we arrived at the compartment, I looked inside and saw a fat man eating instant noodles. As soon as he saw me, he raised his eyebrows and said, “Damn, it’s you again?”
I suddenly had a headache and my chest felt tight as I wondered how Uncle Three had even found him. Don’t tell me…is it the same team as before? I immediately turned to look at the bed above Fatty’s head and saw that, sure enough, a pair of indifferent eyes were looking at me.
I immediately breathed a sigh of relief. Poker-Face narrowed his eyes, stared at me for a second, and then rolled over and went back to sleep.
<Chapter 47><Table of Contents><Chapter 49>
At last! A Fatty and Poker-Face sighting! Feels like it’s been months since we last saw them *checks through old posts* Oh wait, it HAS been months since we last saw them (around December to be exact) o(〒﹏〒)o
6 thoughts on “Chapter 48 New Gang”
Yayy! The Iron Triangle is back together!
(I love how matter-of-fact Xiaoge is. Like a cat that likes you, so they sleep in your presence.)
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Since December!!! 😱😱😱
I missed them so much together! I can’t tell how happy I am right now, seems like I’m in the train compartment with them. My pretty babies ☺️💓
Thank you for the chapter!
Yay! The team is back together! Looove iiiiiiit!!! 🥰🥰🥰
Wu Sanxing is a clever bastard, I admit. Also yay Iron Triangle is together again!
Omg I’m so happy to see Pangzi and Xiaoge!! I feel like now *I* can relax and everything will be ok
if we think that “a pregnant woman on the brink of giving birth” is referring to fatty and “a disabled person in a wheelchair” is referring to Xiao Ge, then he guess it correctly, but with slight different, a fat master and a mute also the seniority is no longer with Chen Pi Ah Si.