The old housekeeper chuckled at the words and held the bowl of soup in front of him, not moving a muscle.
He simply gave a signal to Ling Shu, who immediately rushed forward and snatched the bowl from him.
"It wasn't given to me by Uncle Zhou, I took it myself. Don't blame him," Ling Shu said after taking a sip of the soup, which immediately warmed his stomach that had been suffering from the cold.
"Uncle Zhou, did you put pork bones in this soup?" Ling Shu asked.
The old housekeeper gave a thumbs up. "It's for flavor."
Ling Shu boasted, "As soon as I drink it, I can immediately tell what's in it!"
Yue Dingtang said slowly, "There is an animal that is very similar to you."
"Captain Yue, I went through a whole day of trouble with Miss Zhen just for you. Even if I didn't accomplish anything, I still put in the effort. Are you not afraid of hurting the heart of someone who has done well for you?"
Ling Shu sighed, touching his chest after drinking a bowl of soup.
"My heart feels so cold," he continued.
But Yue Dingtang remained unmoved. "I sent you to deal with her, not to go on a movie date with her."
Ling Shu chuckled. "Oh, so you were really keeping tabs on me. It seems like you don't trust me. So, did you find out anything useful?"
Yue Dingtang remained silent and began eating his meal. He had a good habit of not speaking with food in his mouth, even in urgent situations. He would chew carefully and swallow before speaking.
This was in stark contrast to Ling Shu. Ling Shu had never paid attention to the speed of eating, especially when he was working at the police station.
If there was an urgent matter during a meal, he would either have to put down his chopsticks and attend to it immediately, or quickly finish his meal in just a few bites.
In the past, when the Ling family was wealthy, they also followed proper dining etiquette.
However, for common people who were constantly busy with their daily lives, the saying "food is not to be talked about, and sleep is not to be disturbed" was only meant for those who were wealthy and had leisure time.
Ling Shu felt that he had already completed the transition from a wealthy family to a commoner, and if he had to eat every meal like Yue Dingtang, who was so formal and long-winded, it would probably take him half an hour to finish.
However, after spending some time together, he also noticed a pattern.
When Yue Dingtang was not in a good mood or lost in thought, he would only pick at the two dishes closest to him, even if the dishes he really liked were further away.
It was clear that Yue Dingtangye was not in a good mood.
Ling Shu smiled and didn't rush to speak since the other party remained silent. He slowed down his eating speed, trying to reduce his chewing frequency from four times per second to two times, and sipping the soup in small sips.
For river-fresh dishes like steamed fish, one should dip a piece of fish meat into the soup, savor it for a while, swallow the soup, and then swallow the fish meat to fully enjoy the flavor.
Ling Shu was enjoying himself, stealing a half-day of leisure.
Yue Dingtang watched coldly, feeling that Ling Shu was always idle and carefree.
While others wished they could have three days in one, Ling Shu either slept in the office or went to the movies during work breaks.
If he hadn't skipped out halfway, how could he have encountered He You'an's assassination?
"If you have nothing else to say, you can go back," he said calmly.
After dinner, the servant brought out some fruit. Ling Shu didn't consider himself an outsider and reached out to grab a piece with a fork.
"Is this apple from Yantai? It's so sweet and crispy, really good!" Ling Shu finished one piece and reached out for another, but the plate was taken away.
"Uncle Zhou, please see the guest out," said Yue Dingtang.
Uncle Zhou hesitated, "Fourth Young Master..."
Yue Dingtang interrupted, "What's wrong? I can't even get you to do it? Then how about Old Hong..."
"I’ll speak, I’ll speak." Ling Shu snatched the fruit plate back and casually picked up an apple. "The news we found was too shocking. I was afraid you wouldn't be able to digest it for a while, so I wanted to give you some time to react. After I broke up with Miss Zhen at noon, I went to the old address where He You'an used to live and asked around the neighbors, friends, and relatives. Can you guess what I found out?"
He spoke like this, even if he was being mysterious, the answer was definitely unexpected.
Yue Dingtang was indeed a little interested.
"Was she a murderer before?"
Ling Shu replied, "She was married before."
Yue Dingtang raised his eyebrows, his face showing surprise.
"Could it be that her neighbors were jealous of her success and deliberately smeared her?"
Ling Shu said, "It shouldn't be, but not many people know about this. I visited several households and their impression of He You'an and her brother is that the elder brother is diligent and hardworking, studying by lamp light at night and working at the docks during the day to support himself and his sister. The younger sister also often goes out to find odd jobs to make ends meet. It wasn't until He Chang'an disappeared that He You'an lost all support. With her beauty and no brother to protect her, no one was interested, which is strange."
Yue Dingtang said, "Please continue."
Ling Shu said, "At that time, there was a family surnamed Liang. The parents were acquainted with He You'an's parents, and although they were also orphaned, their situation was slightly better. At least they had some wealth, and the Liang brothers were able to attend school. Liang Zhou, the eldest son of the Liang family, had long been fond of He You'an and proposed marriage to her."
Yue Dingtang asked, "Did she agree?"
Ling Shu said, "She did. One of the witnesses at the wedding, a neighbor of He You'an named Mr. Zhong, told me about this. Unfortunately, not long after they got married, her husband, Liang Zhou, fell under the influence of smoking drugs. He secretly took drugs behind He You’an's back and wanted to get rich overnight to earn back the money he spent on drugs. As a result, he lost everything in the gambling den."
These days, being addicted to smoking is bad enough, let alone being addicted to drugs.
Yue Dingtang said, "It seems like they ended up in ruin."
Ling Shu replied, "Although not exactly, it's not far off. Liang Zhou didn't die from a drug overdose, but instead, he was beaten half to death in the gambling den because he couldn't pay his debts. He came back that day and couldn't be saved."
Yue Dingtang said, "Some gambling dens will hold back and not kill people on the spot. Instead, they will inflict internal injuries, which will only manifest when the person gets home. This makes it easier for them to shirk responsibility. Often, they have the backing of gang forces behind them, and even if it gets reported to the police, it's useless."
Ling Shu nodded in agreement. "That's right. After Liang Zhou died, He You'an found out that Liang Zhou had squandered all his family's wealth just to smoke expensive drugs. He even borrowed money from loan sharks with exorbitant interest rates. Even if he worked for ten years without eating or drinking, he still wouldn't be able to pay it off. And to make matters worse, Liang Zhou had a younger brother, Liang Ye, who was still studying and needed financial support. The debt almost crushed them. It wasn't until shortly after that He You'an started selling flowers outside the cinema and was spotted by Shen Shiqi."
Yue Dingtang asked, "Did He You'an's neighbor tell you all of this?" Ling Shu nodded, "He You'an has many fans. If this matter is leaked, it will definitely damage her image and cause her reputation and value to plummet. The old neighbor took the hush money and also pitied He You'an's difficult background, so he has not spread the news widely."
Yue Dingtang asked, "But how did you get them to tell you?"
Ling Shu lifted his chin slightly, "That's just my ability. Uncle Zhou, don't you think so?"
The old housekeeper smiled and remained silent.
Yue Dingtang asked, "So what's your plan now?"
Ling Shu replied, "Don't worry, I have found out more than just this. Through that old neighbor, I found Liang Ye, the younger brother of He You'an's ex-husband. Coincidentally, he is currently studying at the university where you teach. In other words, Captain Yue, this Liang Ye is also your student!"
Yue Dingtang asked, "Which department?"
Ling Shu raised his eyebrows and spoke excitedly, "He's a sophomore in the Spanish department. And here's something even more interesting: the true owner of the gambling den that caused Liang Zhou's family to be ruined after he was lured into placing a heavy bet was none other than Jiang He, a henchman of Lu Tongcang."
Yue Dingtang replied, "He You'an once said that because Lu Tongcang had feelings for her, Jiang He was unhappy and afraid that her beauty would lead to Lu's downfall. He even warned her."
Ling Shu nodded, "That's right, it was him."
Yue Dingtang added, "But this incident probably happened after He You'an entered the entertainment industry."
Ling Shu speculated, "What if Lu Tongcang had already met He You'an before that and set up this trap to force her to sell herself? Unfortunately, Shen Shiqi ended up benefiting from it."
Yue Dingtang reminded him, "That's just your guess."
Ling Shu said, "So we still need further evidence. I plan to go find Liang Ye and Jiang He tomorrow. Maybe we can get some clues from them."
Yue Dingtang looked at the fruit plate. One apple was cut into eight pieces, but Ling Shu ate six of them and only left two for himself.
This guy eats every day, how come he still looks so skinny? Does he have two stomachs?
Ling Shu noticed that Yue Dingtang's gaze had shifted from the fruit plate to him, and he couldn't help but cover his chest.
"What, do you think I'm too smart and want to steal my heart?"
Yue Dingtang couldn't help but sigh.
He felt that the most important thing in getting along with Ling Shu was to practice the Buddhist virtue of calmness to the extreme. There's no need to get angry over small things. If I don't get angry when others do, I won't get sick alone. Yue Dingtang repeated these few sentences over and over again, and a smile appeared on the corner of his mouth as he looked at Ling Shu.
"After all that talking, you still haven't told me how things are with Zhen Congyun."
Ling Shu: ...
Perhaps feeling that Yue Dingtang's reaction was too strange, Ling Shu spoke quite happily this time.
"After meeting with Miss Zhen, I relayed your words truthfully. Surprisingly, Miss Zhen didn't give me a hard time, and we chatted for a while."
"What did you talk about?" asked Yue Dingtang.
"We talked about folk customs, popular trends. Although she came back from America, she has a broad knowledge and has read many books. We talked about Chinese and foreign movies, and we happened to mention the new work of He You'an and Miss He. She invited me to go to the cinema to watch it."
"Did you go?" asked Yue Dingtang.
Ling Shu said, "Of course not. If I went, how could I investigate the case? With my determination, I naturally declined Miss Zhen's kindness. However, Miss Zhen also invited me to dance at the Bailemen this weekend. The Zhen family will rent out the entire club and invite friends to celebrate her birthday."
"You agreed," said Yue Dingtang.
Ling Shu took out a list from his pocket and pushed it over to the table.
"This is the guest list I obtained from Miss Zhen. The names on it are the guests she intends to invite. The ones in black are her own friends, and the ones in red were added by her secretary to expand the Zhen family's network."
Yue Dingtang took the list and scanned it briefly. In one corner, next to Lu Tongcang and his family, there was a familiar name.