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The Tale Never Ends - Chapter 88

Published at 29th of July 2019 12:00:12 PM

Chapter 88

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Lin Feng looked at us, and we too looked at him for a few uneasy seconds . "Why are you all looking at me?" he asked bashfully . I chuckled and whispered to him something . He took out his mobile phone and made a call . "Aunt," he said to his god-aunt, "It's me . Can you get me the number of your nephew's wife? . . . Ohhh . . . It's nothing . I just have something to ask her . . . Okay, I'll wait for your message!" He ended the call and explained that his god-aunt would send the phone number via SMS to us . She was not very adept in using her mobile phone, hence sifting through her phone book would need some time .

His phone rang suddenly and Lin Feng forwarded the message to me . I immediately pressed at the number on my screen to make the call . "Hi there . Do you remember what happened at the bazaar?" I said to the woman when she answered the call, "I am a colleague of the man who took you . We are part of the same investigations agency . You remember who, do you?" "Is there anything I can help you with?" A timid and quivering voice came from the other end of the line . "The police had wanted to take you in for questioning, but I have stopped them . But I need only one detail from you! Have no fear, and listen well! How did you lose your money in the first place?" "I had left the briefcase at the counter of the hotel . But somehow my boss got wind of it and took it from the hotel staff!" she replied . "Very well . Do you remember the name of the hotel?" "I think not . . . But I have a pack of disposable toiletries from the hotel, the name of the hotel is printed on the wrapping of the toiletries . Please wait a moment while I find it . . . It's called the Dawn Light Hotel!" "All right . That will be all!" I said .

I replaced my phone on the table and smiled at Zheng Shuang . "Despatch a team immediately to the Dawn Light Hotel! Arrest their manager! We need to find out who was it who had supplied the information of the briefcase containing the money to the group of swindlers!"

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To our amazement, Zheng Shuang demonstrated a sudden flip-side of his former ambivalence; with a squad of police cars wailing blatantly as they charged as quick as they could towards their destination, the manager was quickly apprehended in no time . We discovered that the hotel was but an insignificant establishment in the locale and the manager was in fact the owner of the hotel . Without much effort, the manager caved in, admitting to everything: he and Li Shanpao knew each other and he, in fact, was once part of the swindling syndicate! But Li Shanpao did not disclose his involvement to the police during his arrest, and hence the manager had always been grateful for that . After saying goodbye to his days of cheating and scamming, he started a small hotel in the neighborhood of his hometown . But when Li Shanpao's search for the runaway woman had led him to the hotel, they recognized each other instantly . Li Shanpao revealed to him that a female occupant at the hotel was actually a member of his syndicate who had escaped after whisking away all their money! With a little nudging laced with intimidation and coercion, the manager buckled and relented, handing to Li Shanpao the briefcase . The female occupant never reappeared, until rumors of Lin Feng's audacity with the one million yuan reached his ears and he heaved a breath of relief, thinking that he would not have to suffer policemen darkening his door .

"Do you have Li Shanpao's contact number?" Zheng Shuang questioned . "No . It was merely a meeting by chance! I had never been in contact with him for many years now . But, one of the men that came with him . . . I recognized the person . . . They call him Qin Erwai (Qin the Twice Crooked) . . . "

The manager was released after Zheng Shuang completed his interrogation . He assigned a surveillance detail on Qin Erwai and the stakeout ultimately bore fruit, for the police managed to arrest Li Shanpao!

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We were invited by Zheng Shuang to listen in to the interrogation of Li Shanpao . When the man saw Lin Feng at the station, he collapsed into his chair, utterly dismayed . Never had he thought that the tough brute he almost picked a fight with at the bazaar was related to the police! How the Fates had abandoned him, he thought despondently!

During his interrogation, Li Shanpao admitted that he was trained by his superior . He was a pickpocket when he was very young, and one day, he was discovered and caught . But the person who caught him did not have definite proof to accuse him . The man demanded to search and frisk him in public but the young Li Shanpao refused to relent! "What would you do if you found nothing on me?" The fiery boy barked at the older man . The man replied loudly, saying that he would apologize in public if he found nothing! Their arguments and tussle resulted in a stalemate until a strangely-dressed middle-aged man walked past . He walked up to the little Li Shanpao and said, "Just let him frisk you, young man! He would have to apologize humbly to you in public if he found nothing on you! Don't worry! We'll make sure that he does not renege on his promise!" With his back to the wall, Li Shanpao could only reluctantly agree to a search .

But not only the man found nothing after a thorough frisking, the mob of onlookers also began clamoring for fairness, mocking him with jeers and catcalls that the man had to bent to a shameful bow and apologize! But Li Shanpao was neither happy nor gleeful; he was angry! The wallet that he had stolen was missing! Somebody had stolen the item that he had pilfered from that man! Despondent and crestfallen, he wandered off and went to a nearby inn for food and saw the middle-aged man sitting just beside his table . The man had just ordered for a dish of food and a flask of liquor and Li Shanpao added to the server, "Add another flask of liquor to the tab for this man!" "No thank you! I do not drink excessively!" The man declined his offer, waving his hand . After his meal, Li Shanpao dug for his wallet to pay for his food . He told the server who came to him with the bill, "Please bring me the bill for this man as well . . . " His voice trailed off before he could finish; his own wallet was missing! He rummaged desperately through his pockets but his wallet was nowhere to be found! He felt a rush of embarrassment coursing through him as his cheeks burned . The middle-aged man stood up . "You need to have the means before you can be chivalrous, young man!" he said to Li Shanpao before turning to the server . "This young man's bill is on me!" He took out a wallet and took out a wad of bills to pay the waiter . But Li Shanpao could only stare with disbelief; the wallet that the man was holding was his!

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The man began to leave the restaurant . Li Shanpao ran after him as the man walked out, calling loudly at him as he chased behind . "Sir! Please, Sir!" The man stopped in his tracks and looked at him . He patted the young boy's shoulders and said gently to him, "Come work with me, young man!"

From then on, Li Shanpao followed the man wherever he went, learning from him his skills as an apprentice . In time, he learned that his mentor was called Bai Chuanwei, a professional thief who normally disguised himself as a Taoist priest . Li Shanpao was trained in various skills of deception, fraud, and thievery . Their travels eventually brought them into the regions of Shanhai Pass . It was there, Li Shanpao was covering for his mentor when he was caught in his act and was tossed into jail . He served a prison sentence for a few years, but when he came out, his mentor sent one of his underlings to collect him . It was then Li Shanpao learned further about his teacher, who was part of a diabolical order, the Apostles of the Creed, an evil cult that wore the guise of a Taoist order! His mentor, Bai Chuanwei was the Sixth among Apostles, the one with the moniker of "the Invisible Hand"! Hearing this, I thought quietly, the man must be truly confident in himself to give himself such a name!

After his release from prison, Li Shanpao volunteered to enlist his former cellmate to join their operation . Through their time together in prison, Li Shanpao had learned that Wang Laosan was part of a gang . He would induct Wang Laosan and his gang into the order and share his bounty with them . With his mentor supporting from behind, his partnership with Wang Laosan began working well as they enjoyed success committing a series of crimes! Until one day, word came to them that the rest of the Apostles were all caught and arrested! His mentor began devising an intricate plan to eliminate those who had dared offend the brotherhood of Apostles in Wu Zhong County . But to accomplish their purpose they would need manpower and connections to set a trap for us, hence their employ of Wang Laosan and his henchmen . With the village councilman Mr . Kang as the bait, they lured us into their trap, only to have their plans failed miserably when the henchmen were all ingloriously defeated by Lin Feng and Wang Laosan was killed! But to leave no further loose ends, his mentor executed Mr . Kang before they withdrew back into hiding .

With another defeat in the books and the depletion of their funds in the offing, Li Shanpao voiced his opinions, criticizing that the methods used by the others at Wu Zhong County were to slow in generating the required amount of funds . He proposed and began an idea so heinous and hateful: to kidnap children and demand for ransom! But they had barely seen a glimpse of success, when half of the money he collected was stolen by one of his female underlings . Li Shanpao led his syndicate in a close chase of the woman and at last, they found her and managed to recover the money . But this time, they were stopped by Lin Feng and the money was divided among others like wolves feasting on carcass! When news of another addition into a long list of failures reached his mentor, Bai Chuanwei leaped and stomped the ground with uncontrollable rage!

Time was running for Li Shanpao and his mentor, for their higher-ups were pestering for more funds! But petty thieving would never be able to solve their problem in a short time! Finally, despite his unwillingness to do so, his mentor had used the Seventh Apostle's spirit rodent to infiltrate the mall at night . The rodent found no cash and money, but it managed to make off with some jewelry and valuables . But before they managed to recover the loot, their plans were once again foiled by us!

The spirit rodent belonged to Zheng Tong, confessed Li Shanpao to us . After his fall from grace, the spirit rodent was recovered back into keeping by the higher-ups of the Creed and was re-assigned to the Sixth Apostle, Bai Chuanwei, hoping that the spirit beast would be able to assist the Apostle to hasten his efforts in procuring funds . This explained how the CCTV cameras failed to pick up anyone slipping into the mall . Spirit beasts could only be seen by humans, not cameras! Bai Chuanwei had always been close to Zheng Tong; Zheng Tong was a native of these areas that he once recruited into the order before his thereafter assignment to take charge of the Black Dragon Keep . He had even shed tears for Zheng Tong when news of his death reached him and had even carried out the final rites for his fallen friend!

"Where is Bai Chuanwei now?" Zheng Shuang questioned . "I don't know! Really! No one contacts the Mentor; only he contacts us, via our mobile phones!" Zheng Shuang then grilled Li Shanpao further and was finally supplied with Bai Chuanwei's phone number .

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