Yue Dingtang didn't express any surprise or refute Ling Shu's words, he just nodded calmly.
This indicated that he also agreed with Ling Shu's opinion.
Those pieces of gold foil and ivory products were so rare that even outsiders like them who didn't know much about antiques could tell.
How could Second Master, who was supposedly enthusiastic about collecting and researching antiques, not know?
From Second Master's words and actions, it was unclear whether he really needed money, but he certainly valued silver coins.
So why would he easily hand over valuable carved scripture pages to Zhang Chaofeng?
Unless he was lying--
The carved scripture pages were not a reward from the old master, but rather stolen from the study.
Now things were getting interesting.
In a household with several brothers, the eldest, second, and fourth brothers all reached into the study while their father was gravely ill. They each took a few pages of the carved scriptures, treating their father's study as a free treasure trove. However, even the greatest wealth cannot withstand the extravagance of these brothers.
"There's another interesting thing," said Ling Shu.
After a long journey, they should have been able to clean themselves up, but they couldn't find a servant to boil water for them anywhere.
In the end, Yue Dingtang had to give money to Steward He to buy two large barrels of hot water, allowing them to take a hot bath separately.
This was the first time Ling Shu had ever visited his relatives' home and had to buy his own bathwater.
He changed into his pajamas and sat cross-legged on the bed, chatting away.
"The old man divided the keys to the storeroom into five and asked his sons to gather and open the room together to distribute the goods. Isn't this clearly showing that he doesn't trust his sons?"
Suddenly, an old piece of clothing was thrown over his head, covering his face completely.
"Don't talk nonsense, dry your hair and go to sleep," Yue Dingtang pushed him.
"Go sleep inside," he added.
Ling Shu slowly played with his hair and asked, "Can I sleep outside?"
Yue Dingtang raised an eyebrow and replied, "You can either sleep on the floor or go to the next room. Choose one."
Ling Shu said fawningly, "I won't say anything more!"
He crumpled the old clothes into a ball and threw them under the bed. He lay down, pulled the covers over himself, revealing only half of his head.
His half-dried hair was still dripping water onto the pillow.
Yue Dingtang was a bit of a neat freak.
During his stay at the Yue family, Ling Shu had slept in his room due to illness. Now, with the floor scrubbed clean, he was starting to feel at home. He didn't mind much, except for the annoying water droplets of water dripping from Ling Shu's hair.
Unable to bear it any longer, he grabbed a clean towel and wiped Ling Shu's head.
Ling Shu grunted twice but didn't resist as his head was rubbed and flattened by the towel.
"Hey, Old Yue, I didn't know you had this kind of skill. If you ever lose your job as a university professor, you could make a living by rubbing people's backs and feet at a bathhouse," he joked.
"That sounds a bit strange to me," Yue Dingtang paused, unsure of how to respond.
Although there was no structure to his rambling, Ling Shu was so tired that he was almost falling asleep.
He felt his eyelids getting heavy and noticed that the other person had stopped rubbing.
He quickly said, "Hey, don't stop! I'm praising you. You can do anything and everything, and you're the best at everything!"
Yue Dingtang replied, "As long as I still have the surname Yue, and as long as the Yue family hasn't fallen, even if I'm a fool and sit silently on the podium, the school won't dismiss me. They'll still let me continue to be a respectable professor. If one day I can't even be a university professor, then I guess even if I wanted to work at a bathhouse, no one would dare to hire me."
Ling Shu didn't move his head and stuck his thumb out from under the covers, "Clear and thorough!"
Yue Dingtang said, "Did you not expect that I haven't been blinded by vanity and superficiality these past few years? I'm still quite clear-headed."
Ling Shu said, "I have a great idea, Old Yue."
"I'm tired," replied Yue Dingtang.
"Don't sleep yet, listen first!" Ling Shu was excited and sat up, with a towel hanging on his head and a few strands of hair sticking out.
"What if you give me some money now to open a bathhouse, and I'll use the annual profits to pay you back? And in the future, if you fall on hard times and no one else will hire you, I'll definitely hire you as a masseur. How does that sound?"
Yue Dingtang: ...
Not very good.
What kind of terrible idea was this?
It was then that Yue Dingtang noticed how fair Ling Shu's skin was.
Perhaps it was because he had just washed his hair, but his wet hair looked shiny and his skin looked even fairer.
It wasn't an unhealthy or cold kind of fair, but more like the smooth egg white that is revealed when you peel off the thin film under the eggshell.
In his twenties, he still had a bit of baby fat on him.
"Ouch, let go!" With a sudden impulse, Yue Dingtang reached out and pinched him. The feel was just right.
"Go to sleep!" He answered Ling Shu with only two words.
The towel was snatched away and the light was turned off.
Darkness enveloped them.
Ling Shu had no choice but to retract his hand into the covers.
"Hey, Old Yue, are you asleep? Let me tell you a ghost story.
"The Guan family's house was probably bought from someone else. The walls around it were all painted, and the house itself might be over a hundred years old. With these old houses, there are always some spooky things going on. I just heard one from the Guan family's servant on my way back. Do you want to hear it?
"Old Yue, give me some face. We rarely get to sleep together. Don't you have any happy memories?"
Yue Dingtang didn't respond, but soon there was a steady and long breath.
Ling Shu had no choice but to shut up.
He liked to sleep with the lights on, even if it was just a small candle, a little light was enough to prevent him from falling into endless darkness in his sleep.
This weakness was discovered by Yue Dingtang a long time ago, and he intentionally or unintentionally tested it several times.
Ling Shu didn't mind letting Yue Dingtang test him, this weakness was not insurmountable, but when there was light, he would never torture himself.
Closing his eyes, he could clearly feel the presence of someone beside him.
Ling Shu reluctantly convinced himself not to care about the fact that he was in the dark.
He thought he would toss and turn and couldn't sleep, but he didn't expect that after a few breaths, he fell asleep.
Perhaps he was too tired.
Yue Dingtang was also very tired.
He fell asleep quickly. In his dream, he was eating donkey meat hotpot, but not with Second Master Guan, but with his family.
At that time, the relationship between his eldest and second brother was not so strained, his parents had not passed away yet, his third sister had not yet married, and the whole family was together, with old family members like Uncle Zhou by their side.
It was a true reunion.
His mother kept putting food in his bowl, urging him to eat more, even though he was already a grown man. Her gaze was still that of a mother looking at her child.
In the past, Yue Dingtang couldn't stand this kind of gaze from his mother. He always felt that she was nagging and talking too much, and his ears would grow calluses after just a few words.
He was mature and steady at a young age, and didn't need his parents or elders to say much. Being lectured too much made him not take it seriously, even if he didn't say anything on the surface.
Years after his mother's passing, Yue Dingtang realized how precious his memories of his youth were.
He longed to hear his mother's nagging again, but it was now impossible.
Everything from the past had become a treasure, including the competitive and argumentative school days with his classmates, who were once his rivals and enemies.
As his mother served him food, Yue Dingtang felt too full to eat anymore.
But his mother, with a smile on her face, suddenly grabbed a large fish and threw it at him, saying, "You must be starving! This fish is full of meat, so eat it first!"
Caught off guard, Yue Dingtang was crushed by the fish, which was as tall as a person.
He couldn't even catch his breath.
"I won't eat it. You guys can have it. How can I eat raw fish?" he protested.
He couldn't help but shout out, but no one reached out to help him.
The Yue family continued to sit and eat, chatting and laughing as if they hadn't even noticed that Yue Dingtang was about to be crushed by a big fish.
Suddenly, Yue Dingtang opened his eyes, drenched in sweat.
His chest felt like it had a boulder on it, and he couldn't catch his breath. He reached out to feel around and realized that the blanket had been rolled up by Ling Shu, who was like a sushi roll, and was pressing down on him.
No wonder he dreamt of a big fish. He knew his mother couldn't do something so foolish.
Yue Dingtang took a deep breath and pushed Ling Shu away. The entire blanket was rolled up and taken away by Ling Shu, and Ling Shu himself had rolled to the other end of the bed, seemingly still asleep.
Yue Dingtang reached out to pull the blanket, but after struggling for a while, he couldn't pull it back from Ling Shu, who was still pressing down on him.
He had no choice but to give up. Yue Dingtang got up and prepared to go find another blanket.
He remembered that Steward He had just had someone move another blanket to the next room, so they could go get it if they needed it.
Just as he reached out to grab his coat, he heard a piercing scream.
The scream came from far away, but echoed through the silent night.
"It's a flood!"
"There's a ghost!"