Finally, the members of the Guan family were able to sit together, but it was under these circumstances.
Yue Dingtang, as a semi-insider and the visitor who came from afar, was seated among them, while Ling Shu was a guest and also had a seat.
Eldest Master Guan and Fourth Master Guan each sat on the left and right sides, with cold faces and ignoring each other. Even when their eyes occasionally met, they quickly looked away, afraid of being contaminated by each other's bad luck.
With limited seats and the tradition of the Guan family, the women and the five brothers of the Guan family were unable to join.
Eldest Master Guan and Fourth Master Guan had left a deep impression on Yue Dingtang, and there was no need for introductions, he could recognize them.
Second Master Guan was the second to arrive. He leaned on his cane, with a pipe in his mouth and his eyes habitually squinted. He stood at the door, surveyed the crowd, and then strolled over slowly.
"Are you Dingtang?" The Second Master's gaze fell accurately on Yue Dingtang, without even looking at Ling Shu, as if he was very confident in his judgment.
Yue Dingtang stood up. "Yes, second uncle, I am Dingtang."
"Is there a courtesy name?" The Second Master asked.
"My courtesy name is Wude. Wu means martial arts, and De means virtue," Yue Dingtang replied.
The Second Master thought for a moment. "It's a bit too aggressive."
"Wude was the reign title of the Tang Dynasty's founding emperor. I believe the elders meant it in this way," Yue Dingtang explained.
The Second Master clapped his hands and laughed. "I didn't think of that. You're quite clever."
Seeing the two of them chatting happily, the Eldest Master couldn't help but snort coldly. As he caught a glimpse of Ling Shu's idle and curious expression, his annoyance grew even stronger.
In his eyes, if it weren't for Ling Shu's instigation earlier, he wouldn't have been ridiculed by Fourth Master.
Ling Shu noticed the gaze of the Eldest Master and even smiled at him.
The Eldest Master thought to himself, "This pretty boy looks good when he smiles. No wonder Fourth Master is eager to help his own daughter, but unfortunately, even if he likes her, she may not like him. This appearance of Ling's shows that he must have been pampered and spoiled at home. Fourth Master's plan may fall through."
With this thought, the Eldest Master's mood improved slightly.
Soon after, Fifth Master Guan Shizhi arrived. The young man with a poetic and romantic name was indeed around the same age as Ling Shu and his friends, but he stood out with his Zhongshan suit and confident stride, seeming somewhat out of place among his brothers.
"So, you must be Dingtang?"
Fifth Master extended his hand to Yue Dingtang, who quickly shook it, a satisfied expression on his face.
"My father has spoken of you before. He said that the Yue family has three talented sons, and today I see that it is not an exaggeration!"
Even though he was a younger relative, he was still a relative.
Judging by Fifth Master's age, it was clear that he was the beloved son of an elderly patriarch. He was young and full of energy, having traveled to the West and returned with confidence, but also with the flaw of youthful arrogance.
Yue Dingtang felt that he was always criticizing Ling Shu for being impulsive, but compared to this fifth uncle, Ling Shu seemed to have better judgment.
"Fifth uncle, I am Dingtang, pleased to meet you," he said.
Fifth Master looked around and asked, "Where are my nephews? Why haven't they come?"
Second Master waved his hand and replied, "They are young. In situations like this, it's up to us elders to make decisions. We can introduce them to their distant cousins when we have dinner later."
Suddenly, Fifth Master said, "Second Brother, before our father passed away, he called us all together and said he had some heirlooms to leave us. But he wanted to wait until the Yue family arrived before revealing them. Now that everyone is here, can't we open the box?"
Yue Dingtang looked at Second Master. When he received the letters and telegrams, they only mentioned the death and funeral of the old master of the Guan family, requesting the Yue family to send someone to mourn. Not a word was mentioned about the so-called inheritance. But now, hearing what the Fifth Master said, it seems that the old master may have left something for him or for the Yue family?
The Second Master said to Yue Dingtang, "That's right. Since the Fifth Master mentioned it, I might as well tell you. Before the old master passed away, he divided the Guan family's wealth into six parts. Five parts were given to us brothers, and the other part, the old master instructed us to hand it over to you. Because when your mother got married, the Guan family did not prepare a dowry due to some circumstances. You should have heard about this."
Yue Dingtang nodded, "My mother mentioned it occasionally before she passed away. She said she was young and foolish and hurt the elders' feelings."
The old man sighed and said, "Time has passed and we should not dwell on the past. No matter what, your mother's surname is Guan and she left the Guan family. The dowry was not given before, but it should be made up for now. Even if your mother is no longer with us, it should be received by the Yue family on her behalf. Now that you are willing to come, we can also fulfill our duty to the old man."
The Yue family did not lack any dowry, but since it concerned the old man's will and his mother, Yue Dingtang naturally would not refuse.
The Second Master turned to the Fifth Master and said, "What's the rush? Third brother hasn't arrived yet. Dingtang just arrived today. Let him meet all the elders first. We'll have dinner together tonight and pick a lucky time tomorrow to gather everyone. The old man's things are now sealed in the warehouse with five locks, one for each room. We need everyone to be present before the warehouse can be opened. No one can sneak away. Don't worry."
The Fifth Master was not very happy. "It's not that I'm unhappy. I just casually asked. In two months, I'm going to England for further studies. Who can afford to waste this time? If you want to say who's in a rush, it's our oldest brother!"
The Eldest Master slammed the table and stood up. "What did you say? Is this how you talk to your elder brother?"
Seeing that they were about to argue again, the Second Master quickly intervened.
"Alright, alright, we're all family here. Fifth brother, your nephew is still here, you need to act like an elder! We've been waiting for so long, and Dingtang came all the way from Shanghai, we need to make him feel welcome and get him acquainted. Where's our third brother? Why hasn't he come yet?"
As they were speaking, a servant from the Guan family came to report.
"Second Master, Third Master said he doesn't want to come."
Second Master Guan's face immediately darkened.
"What do you mean he doesn't want to come?"
The servant stuttered, "Third Master is busy and didn't have time to talk to me. When I mentioned that Yue family's young master was coming, he didn't seem interested and just waved his hand. So I had to come back and report."
"This is unacceptable, completely unacceptable!" Second Master Guan kept muttering a few words, but it was just that - muttering.
He didn't send anyone to forcibly bring the person over, nor did he say he would personally call for them. He just gave a bitter smile to his nephew Yue Dingtang.
"Dingtang, your third uncle has a bit of a strange temper. He usually likes woodworking and carving. He's probably working on a piece he really likes right now, maybe even a gift for you. How about this, I'll have someone take you to rest first, and we'll have dinner together later. What do you think?"
Yue Dingtang had never met his third uncle before, and now the elder didn't even say a word, let alone show any hospitality. His temper was more than just strange.
Yue Dingtang had originally thought that Second Master Guan seemed normal and reliable, but now it seemed that he was just putting on a show.
His authority was limited.
He replied, "As the guest, I will follow the host's lead." The Second Master seemed to feel a bit embarrassed and wanted to say something.
He opened their mouths but hesitated because of the presence of others, and ended up just coughing lightly.
"Steward He, why don't you take Dingtang and Mr. Ling with you?"
Ling Shu was in a good mood and hummed a little tune as he followed Mr. He.
However, when they arrived at the guest room in the backyard, even the carefree Ling Shu was left with his jaw dropped.
Mr. He looked embarrassed and gave a bitter smile towards Ling and Yue.