Ling Shu remained motionless, his mouth slightly agape as if drool was about to spill out.
Dr. Ji's mouth twitched as he approached Ling Shu and patted his shoulder.
Ling Shu jolted awake, looking confused and dazed.
"Huh? Did my wound reopen?"
Dr. Ji gave him a thumbs up. "Have you heard of Broadway? They're missing someone like you!"
"No, I've only heard of the Bailemen."
Ling Shu yawned lazily, looking like he could never get enough sleep.
"Dr. Ji, are you going to see Dr. Liu? I heard he got married."
Dr. Ji's face suddenly turned cold, like the chill of winter that could freeze a person to death.
"What does it matter to me if he got married or not?" With that, Dr. Ji turned and left, not in the mood to talk to Ling Shu any further.
'Wow, he's got quite the temper,' Ling Shu thought to himself as he stretched his sore neck and continued to doze off on the table.
Yue Dingtang had seen him sleep like this before.
After taking a smoke break and returning to the clinic, Yue Dingtang was surprised to find Ling Shu still sleeping in the same position he had left him in.
Even Dr. Ji was impressed.
"I thought he was just pretending to sleep, but he really can sleep. He must have been a pig in his past life," he joked.
Yue Dingtang gave him a look and Dr. Ji raised his hands in surrender. "Alright, alright, I won't say anything. You two go ahead and enjoy yourselves. I need to hurry home for dinner!"
Yue Dingtang called out to Ling Shu a few times, but there was no response, so he had to go over and push him.
Finally, Ling Shu woke up.
Rubbing his eyes, he looked like he hadn't slept enough.
"It's time to go to the station, you can sleep when you get home," said Yue Dingtang.
Ling Shu was still groggy, with half of his mind still in dreamland.
He stood up slowly, obediently following behind Yue Dingtang. With every command, he moved like a well-oiled machine, even more obedient than a wind-up toy.
Yue Dingtang had to push him from behind, lest he wander off.
Time was short, and they couldn't get a first-class carriage.
They could only get a second-class carriage, but compared to the third-class carriage they had taken on the way back, it was much better.
At least they would be served food on the train, without having to prepare it themselves. The food was pretty good too.
As soon as Ling Shu saw the plate of dumplings that had been delivered, he immediately perked up from his drowsiness.
Originally, only Western cuisine was served on the train, but not everyone could stomach it.
After frequent protests from passengers, the railway department implemented a measure this year: the dining cars in first and second class carriages would also serve Chinese food.
Naturally, if passengers in third class carriages didn't bring their own food, they could only rely on the vendors selling chicken or bags of fruit and seeds during the brief stops at stations.
"I smell pork dumplings."
Before even opening his eyes or tasting them, Ling Shu already knew what was in front of him.
"Cabbage and pork filling, with shiitake mushrooms, right?"
Yue Dingtang: ...
He didn't believe him, but when he bit into it, it was true.
"Do you have a dog's nose?"
Ling Shu laughed heartily, "This is called a meeting of hearts, I have a connection with it!"
Yue Dingtang was also tired.
After all the mental and physical exertion of this journey, including the long trek and injuries, it was exhausting.
Even taking a nap in the clinic or on the train couldn't restore his energy.
When the train finally arrived in Shanghai, night had fallen.
Spring in Shanghai was much warmer than in the north. Taking a deep breath, he could almost smell the faint scent of grass in the air.
Ling Shu must have taken too deep a breath, as he suddenly sneezed.
"My sister must be worrying about me...wait! I can't go home now."
"I haven't fully recovered from my leg injury yet. If I go back home, my sister will definitely pester me with questions. She won't let me sleep peacefully until I spill everything. So, I'll just crash on your couch for a couple of nights. Once my injury is completely healed, I'll go back home."
Ling Shu chuckled and winked at him.
"If you feel like you're not being a good host, and you want me to stay in the newly cleaned guest room, I won't mind at all."
Yue Dingtang replied, "We'll see how you behave."
No objections meant agreement, and Ling Shu knew how to take advantage of the situation.
He quickly followed behind.
Earlier that morning, Yue Dingtang had called the Yue Manor in Nanjing to inform Uncle Zhou that he would be returning that night.
The Yue family driver was already waiting outside the train station to pick them up. It was a familiar face and a familiar car seat.
After narrowly escaping death, Ling Shu found everything to be comforting and even smiled brightly at the Yue family driver.
The driver couldn't help but joke, "Did Young Master Ling strike gold on his trip?"
Ling Shu shrugged nonchalantly, "No gold, but I almost lost my life. Come to think of it, ever since I met your young master, I've been getting injured every other day. Either I get shot in the arm or in the leg. It's only a matter of time before I get shot in the head!"
The driver glanced at Ling Shu through the rearview mirror, while Yue Dingtang's face darkened slightly.
He thought the Fourth Young Master Yue would be angry, but the latter's words were not what he had imagined.
"Kids say the darndest things. What's with that nonsense coming out of your mouth?"
Ling Shu's last sentence seemed to be the cause of Yue Dingtang's change in expression.
Ling Shu let out a sigh and said, "It was just a joke, why take it seriously?"
Yue Dingtang thought to himself that Ling Shu still didn't realize the extent of his jinxing abilities.
He coldly replied, "If you say something like that again, I'll deduct your salary."
Ling Shu shrugged and said, "I don't have much money anyway, deduct it if you want. As long as I have food and drink, I'm good."
Yue Dingtang couldn't help but feel frustrated with Ling Shu's nonchalant attitude.
After traveling far and wide, Ling Shu had lost his youthful pride and arrogance, and had become tough and resilient, able to withstand any challenge without breaking a sweat.
The lights were on at Yue Manor.
The front gate was wide open, and Uncle Zhou had been waiting on the steps for a long time. When he saw the car approaching, he quickly had the two iron gates in the courtyard opened.
"Fourth Young Master, Young Master Ling!"
The housekeeper greeted them with a smile, clearly expressing his relief at their safe return home.
"Thank you, Uncle Zhou," nodded Yue Dingtang, taking off his hat and handing it to a nearby servant.
The old housekeeper was accustomed to his reserved and subtle behavior, not just from Yue Dingtang, but from the entire Yue family. They respected him, but never displayed overly exuberant behavior.
In contrast, Ling Shu's actions were much more exaggerated. He went straight up to the old housekeeper and gave him a bear hug.
"Uncle Zhou, I'm back! Did you miss me?"
His lively tone spread through the chilly night like a stone dropped into a calm pond, creating ripples and awakening the slumbering flower buds beneath the water's surface, unaware of the arrival of spring.
"I did." The old housekeeper couldn't help but smile, and he patted Ling Shu's back.
"Ling Shu, you've lost weight."
"Really?" Ling Shu turned around and asked the old housekeeper, "How much weight did I lose? Is it obvious?"
The old housekeeper sighed, "How could it not be obvious? I can feel your bones from behind. What kind of trouble did you get into while you were out?"
"Oh no, my sister will definitely nag me for a whole month when she sees me. My ears will be gone!" Ling Shu exclaimed.
"Come inside first, don't block the doorway," Yue Dingtang's voice floated over to them, and Ling Shu was pulled inside.
The old housekeeper chuckled and followed them in.
"The food is all ready. I timed it for when you would come back, so it's just been served. It doesn't need to be reheated, and there are two types of soup: bamboo shoot soup, which Fourth Young Master loves, and corn and pork rib soup, which Ling Shu likes."
Ling Shu acted coquettishly, "I love bamboo shoot soup too. Can you leave me a portion?"
"Sure, there's enough for everyone. Eat to your heart's content, but don't overdo it or you'll have a stomachache later."
The housekeeper personally served them rice and soup, and seeing Ling Shu gobble it up, his heart ached even more.
"You must have suffered a lot outside. Eat slower, don't choke!"
"It wasn't that bad, just a few injuries. The food here is just so good, I haven't had it in a long time and I couldn't help but miss it!"
Ling Shu kept his head down, chewing with his cheeks puffed out and speaking unclearly.
But Uncle Zhou still understood and was shocked. "You're injured? What happened?"
"I got shot. Old Yue got hit in the arm, but I got it in the leg."
The housekeeper took a deep breath and exclaimed, "I'll contact the doctor right away!"
"Don't scare Uncle Zhou," frowned Yue Dingtang, gesturing to the housekeeper.
"Uncle Zhou, please sit down. We saw a doctor on our way back from dinner tonight, and we just changed the bandages. It's nothing serious, and we can see the doctor tomorrow if needed. We're all tired, so let's eat and take a shower before resting."
The housekeeper was still worried. "Were all the bullets removed?"
"Yes, don't worry," reassured Yue Dingtang. "The doctor who treated us is my classmate and has excellent medical skills. He's no worse than the family doctor of the Yue family."
The housekeeper sighed, "Master Ling has lost a lot of weight. It's clear that you've been through a lot outside. Rest at home for a while and don't go out if there's no need. Master Ling can also stay here tonight."
Ling Shu bit his chopsticks and looked up, "Then I'll just sleep on the sofa in the living room."
The old housekeeper replied, "What living room sofa? I've already prepared a guest room for you to sleep in."
Ling Shu innocently said, "But just now Captain Yue said he wanted to see my behaviour before deciding whether to let me stay in a bedroom."
The old housekeeper looked at Yue Dingtang with disapproval.
Yue Dingtang thought to himself, "This guy has even slept in my room before, what is he saying? He's just pretending to be tough!"
But Uncle Zhou fell for it!
"You can sleep wherever you want, why do you need to ask me?"
The old housekeeper laughed, "You see, Fourth Young Master has a sharp tongue but a soft heart. Just sleep wherever you want."
Ling Shu said, "Uncle Zhou, I want to wash my face with soap later."
The old housekeeper replied, "We have some at home, I'll get it for you."
Ling Shu added, "I always feel like there's still some rouge on my face that hasn't been washed off."
The housekeeper asked, "Why are you wearing makeup?"
Ling Shu replied with a pitiful tone, "On the way back, Old Yue asked me to dress up as a woman and pretend to be his wife. If I didn't, he wouldn't let me get on the car to come back."
The housekeeper couldn't help but find Yue Dingtang's expression strange, almost wanting to ask him directly if he had any strange fetishes or hidden illnesses.
Yue Dingtang didn't want to talk anymore.
He knew that Ling Shu would never let go of the cross-dressing incident.
The author wants to say:
At home, little Ling was most relaxed. Goodnight and sweet dreams!