On one side, there was chaos and noise, but on the other side, the scenery was beautiful.
Ling Shu had rooted himself to the ground and refused to leave, preferring to enjoy the peaceful surroundings.
Yue Dingtang was at a loss and could only stand there and watch.
Steward He felt embarrassed and couldn't force the young master to leave, so he resorted to making jokes.
"Yesterday, someone was supposed to pick you up, but he was clueless and didn't go to the station. He wandered around outside for a long time and couldn't find you. Just now, the young master had him punished. Please don't be angry with him. The young master is overjoyed to hear that you've arrived and has already prepared food and drinks to welcome you!"
Yue Dingtang suddenly asked, "So, the one in charge of the Guan family now is the Second Master?"
The smile on Steward He's face froze for a moment.
"It's not exactly like that. The Old Master just passed away not long ago, and now the important matters in the family are being discussed by the various branches sitting together. Several old masters, without distinction of seniority, are all the masters of the Guan family. By the way, when The Old Master was seriously ill, the family sent a telegram to the Fifth Master. He rushed back immediately and fortunately saw The Old Master for the last time. Now he is also still at home. I heard that you also returned from studying abroad, and happen to get along well with the Fifth Master."
He hurriedly changed the subject, not directly answering Yue Dingtang's question, but Yue Dingtang already knew the answer.
The Guan family was not only not peaceful, but also not united. After the old master passed away, there was no leader among the group, so when it came to important matters, no one could make a decision. They would all sit together and discuss, but in reality, no one would listen to anyone else.
But let's be honest, if the eldest and fourth sons were already arguing, how could they expect anyone else to do anything?
"Speaking of which, how many of the family's young masters are there and where are they?" Yue Dingtang didn't dwell on these matters and instead asked about others.
He was just a guest for a few days, after all, and was still an outsider to the Guan family. He wasn't suitable to interfere, nor would he.
He thought it was a common question, but even then the steward looked troubled.
"The Eldest Master had a son and a daughter. The daughter had already married and left Fengtian City, while the son managed several pawnshops and was often busy outside. The Second Master had two sons, the older young master is following in his footsteps to do business, and the younger one is still in school. The third and Fifth Masters are not yet married, while the fourth one had three daughters, with the oldest married, the middle one studying, and the youngest only eight years old."
Yue Dingtang was puzzled and asked, "The Third Master has not yet married?"
Steward He smiled awkwardly and replied, "Yes."
Another strange thing had come up.
The five brothers of the Guan family were ranked according to their skills in music, chess, calligraphy, painting, and poetry. The third brother, Guan Shuzhi, was almost fifty years old, an age where most men would have grandchildren, yet Steward He said he had not yet married.
The two men locked eyes, and the awkward expression on Steward He's face had yet to dissipate.
His expression clearly conveyed the message: "Don't ask me any more questions."
Yue Dingtang quickly caught on and decided to end the conversation there.
"The weather is nice today," he said.
Steward He breathed a sigh of relief and chuckled.
"Indeed, it's so blue and bright. We haven't had weather like this in days!"
Despite the overcast sky and gusts of wind, they both pretended to see a clear blue sky.
They were in perfect harmony, one telling a white lie and the other blindly agreeing.
Meanwhile, on the other side, the commotion between Second and Fourth Masters Guan had escalated.
But where was Ling Shu?
Yue Dingtang was puzzled. He had let his guard down for a moment, and Ling Shu had slipped into the crowd and become the center of attention.
The Second and Fourth Masters Guan were now arguing furiously, their faces red with anger.
"You're practicing some kind of evil magic. If you want to worship a god, you should worship a proper one. I think all that Grandmaster Huang is fake, and you're just using this as an opportunity to make money! After Dad passed away, how many valuable things did you take from his room? Don't think I don't know. The jade ring he wore on his hand and the jade pendant under his pillow were never found when the family prepared for his funeral. You were the only one with him in his final hour. Who else could it be? You're a family thief, and beware that even after Dad's death, his spirit may come back to take you away in the middle of the night!"
With a cold sneer, Fourth Master wiped off the spittle that had landed on his face from the outburst of the First Master.
"Big brother, you speak with such righteousness and self-righteousness, but in the end, it's just jealousy towards me! I have the fate of immortality, while you do not, so you can only use these fake moves to try and bring me down. But my fate is real, and you, who mix up Buddhism and Taoism and worship recklessly, are the ones who truly offend the gods and Buddhas, and will be punished by them!"
The elder brother angrily retorted, "What right do you have to speak for the gods and Buddhas?! Every person who comes to you seeking answers has been deceived by you. I don't believe that everything you say is accurate. You are just fooling the common people and cheating them out of their hard-earned money for your own gain. Look into your own conscience, have it been eaten by dogs?"
Fourth Master: "Big Brother, are you getting angry out of embarrassment? How unfortunate. I am always honest in my words and deeds. Look at the long line outside the door. Everyone is here for me. And yet, you take advantage of the crowd to promote yourself and steal my followers. Otherwise, let's compare and see who is the donkey and who is the horse. Let's take this matter out for a walk!"
"Exactly! Well said!" Ling Shu applauded, enjoying the spectacle.
The two turned their heads and looked at him together.
"Who are you?"
"Who are you?"
"I was queuing outside to see Fourth Master and ask for advice, but I was just brought in."
Ling Shu looked completely innocent and uninvolved, to the point where the two didn't even think to pick a fight with him.
Instead, Fourth Master took a step forward and grabbed Ling Shu's arm.
"Perfect timing, let him come and test who is the real thing and who is just pretending! The loser will kneel down and apologize in front of everyone, confessing how they deceived their brothers and sisters. Can you do it?"
The Eldest Master asked, "Why should I gamble with you?"
The Fourth Master sneered, "Are you scared? Fine, in front of all these people, just kneel down and admit your mistake, and we'll call it even. Don't spout nonsense in the future!"
The Eldest Master agreed, "Let's gamble! But first, what are the stakes?"
The Fourth Master looked at Ling Shu and asked, "What do you want to know?"
Ling Shu smiled and said, "If we're talking about the future, no one can be certain. It's hard to judge whether it's accurate or not. How about you two elders predict my fortune from last month?"
The Eldest Master and the Fourth Master fell silent. The two of them scrutinized Ling Shu from head to toe, as if they wanted to see every strand of hair on his face and every line on his hands.
The Eldest Master grabbed his arm and examined his palm lines.
The Fourth Master closed his eyes and muttered some words, making strange hand gestures and occasionally trembling, but no one could hear what he was saying.
After a few breaths, suddenly, the Fourth Master opened his eyes!
The Eldest Master sneered, "Still pretending to be mysterious?"
The Fourth Master ignored him and stared straight at Ling Shu.
"Last month, you had a close call with a bloody disaster, but luckily a benefactor helped you turn the situation around. As someone with a water destiny, good fortune comes with water. However, you always seem to be wandering far away from water, which is not ideal. You should pay attention to this in the future! Also, your destiny is filled with peach blossoms, and last month you encountered a rotten one. But as the saying goes, when one door closes, another opens. It seems that your new peach blossom is already starting to bloom, and if nothing unexpected happens, you will soon meet someone special."
The Eldest Master was quick to pour cold water on the situation.
"What new peach blossom? You're just trying to push your own daughter onto this young man because he's handsome. Let me tell you, with the temperament of our third niece, she still needs another two years of polishing. Don't ruin this poor guy's life!"
"Guan Qinzhi!" Suddenly, the Fourth Master shouted. "You are destined to have no children, no reliance on your relatives, and to be someone who brings bad luck to your father, mother, wife, and children. Yet you still don't know how to love and care for your siblings, unite your family, and instead you have squandered all of the blessings of the Guan family! The Guan family was supposed to have thirty years of good fortune, but because of you, this unfilial son, the Guan family has fallen into misfortune. You are the culprit of the Guan family!"
"You are talking nonsense! I let you speak, and now you dare to speak to me like this!"
The Eldest Master was so angry that he forgot his composure and immediately rushed forward with a punch.
The Fourth Master was caught off guard and let out a cry as he stumbled back several steps, his previous air of superiority instantly gone.
He refused to show weakness and quickly regained his composure before pouncing towards the Eldest Master. The two brothers immediately began to fight, leaving the onlookers stunned.
No one dared to step forward to stop them, only shouting empty words of "stop, don't fight". Eventually, the two angry men were pulled apart, but not before causing a scene.
Yue Dingtang remained silent, observing the chaos around him.
Meanwhile, the one in charge, Steward He, was at a loss for words and his face turned red with embarrassment.
Just moments ago, he was discussing matters with the young master of the Yue family, but now he was witnessing a full-blown brawl between the eldest and fourth sons.
Steward He felt exhausted, as he had worked hard to maintain the peace within the Guan family. However, it only took half a day for the masters to break it themselves.
The women of the household soon heard the commotion and rushed over, crying and pleading for the fighting to stop. The Guan family's residence was now filled with excitement, even more so than the crowds outside their gates.
Both of them were not skilled in martial arts, and being of a certain age, they quickly grew tired after a few moves and gradually stopped.
The servants took the opportunity to pull them apart.
Fourth Master couldn't help but turn his head and ask Ling Shu, panting heavily.
"You tell me, tell me, am I right or not?"
Ling Shu scratched his chin. "It should be somewhat accurate, right?"
Fourth Master exclaimed, "What do you mean by 'should be'! Either it's accurate or it's not! Do you know how much it costs for someone to ask for advice? I only give three sentences per person, and I won't say more. Today, you got lucky, and the extra ones don't count as your money!"
Ling Shu grinned, "Fourth Master, as for those new peach blossoms you mentioned, I haven't encountered them yet, so I don't know if they're accurate or not. Besides, I didn't pay to come in, so whether it's accurate or not doesn't matter to me!"
"You didn't pay, how did you get in?" Fourth Master glared, "Who let you in?"
The Eldest Master gloated, "Ha! Serves you right, don't give in! Young man, let me tell you, you don't have to pay. These crooked ways are all scams, deliberately confusing you with things that seem true but are not!"
"Don't let him go, someone come and take him down, he can't leave without paying!" Fourth Master shouted hoarsely, pointing at Ling Shu. "Catch him!"
Someone from the Guan family really stepped forward to try to catch Ling Shu, and Yue Dingtang couldn't bear to watch.
"Eldest Uncle! Fourth Uncle!"
His call really caught everyone's attention.
The Eldest Master was stunned, "Where did you come from, nephew?"
Yue Dingtang said in a deep voice, "I am Yue Dingtang, here to pay my respects to the late Old Master Guan."
"Yue Dingtang..." the Eldest Master exclaimed, "You are from the Yue family? My cousin's son?!"
"Yes, I am the third son of my mother, as my elder brothers are too busy to come, so I came instead," Yue Dingtang replied.
He pulled Ling Shu over.
"This is my friend who accompanied me here."
The members of the Guan family were speechless, including the women who had stopped crying.
As they looked at Yue Dingtang and Ling Shu, they couldn't help but think of what Mr. He had thought just fifteen minutes ago: this is a huge embarrassment.