Great Doctor Ling Ran Chapter 639

641 Scavenging

Mutton Lane, Xisi area.

There was a white iron arch with the words [Geological Display Hall of Jewelry Street] carved on it in red at the entrance to the street. 

The words were written haphazardly, and they were not eye-catching as the calligrapher did not inscribe his or her name. 

The pedestrians paid no attention at all to the iron arch as they walked past it, just like what they had done for many years, and they would continue doing the same thing for the coming years. There was no need for them to pay particular attention to this kind of thing.

Academician Du excitedly opened the back door of the Rolls Royce and gazed profoundly at the street.

This place harbored his hopes and dreams when it came to China as a brand new country, and he had spent his youth—almost half a century—on nurturing the mining industry of China. He was young and confident when he started his journey, and he had weathered through plenty of obstacles as well as enjoyed his fair share of success.

Even though Mutton Lane was not an elegant name, this placed symbolized the hardships Chinese geologists had to weather through as they traversed the country, made their way through perilous mountains, and conquered uninhabited lands.

Academician Zhu still remembered how the place was like when he first visited it as a young child.

Academician Du could not help but take a deep breath. It was such a beautiful and familiar place.

"Cough, cough, cough."

A car happened to pass by, and the exhaust smoke entered his lungs.

Zuo Cidian, who was sitting in the front passenger seat and was reluctant to get out of it, saw this. He could not help but shook his head. "This academician is really a difficult patient, isn't he?"

Ling Ran and Tian Qi got off the car after Academician Du, and they sized up their surroundings curiously. 

The name Mutton Lane itself had an old and localized air, and the area was still a little reminiscent of the bygone years. However, it looked modern at the same time because of the bustling tiny shops along the street.

A few passersby and shop owners sized up the Rolls Royce without bothering to hide the fact that they were looking. The appearance of a Rolls Royce Phantom in the jewelry street was definitely a strange sight.

"This used to be the back door of the Geology Department, and there's a geological display hall in front of it. In the past, movie screenings were often held here…" Academician Du walked over and introduced the place to them as he remembered the past with nostalgia. "The Jewelry Trading Center is right in front of the geology department, and people often like to go there to trade when they have a lot of jewelry with them."

Ling Ran listened quietly to Academician Du. He was not good at socializing and did not like to chit-chat either. However, considering the fact that Academician Du was a patient and that his current behavior was influenced by his illness, Ling Ran decided to try his best to put up with Academician Du and listen to him.

"I have a shophouse in Mutton Lane that's situated along the street, and it's now a jewelry shop too. My eldest grandson is watching over it. There's a storeroom behind the shop. Half of the jewelry there are pieces he buys and sells for fun, and the remaining half is my collection." Academician Du smiled and continued, "It's a lot easier to collect jewelry pieces compared to other things. They are stones, so they can withstand harsh environments. I just needed to modify the place a bit so that the pieces are well-kept."

Zuo Cidian sucked in a sharp breath when he heard what Academician Du said, "You have a shophouse in Beijing?"

"I did sell off part of my collection, but I also bought other pieces after that. I need a place to display all the pieces, right? My wife told me that I had dedicated my youth to geology and made my son a geologist. She said that I shouldn't get my grandson into the field of geology, because he's not only our grandson but also our son's son. My son is not willing to have his son venture into geology either." Academician Du lowered his voice a little. "Geologists have to endure a lot of hardships. It's a bittersweet experience, but it's more bitter than sweet."

Zuo Cidian could not help but become silent.

If he had a say in whether to send his son to medical school, he would still give some consideration to it. But he really did not have it in him to make his grandson a doctor. Of course, he would only face this dilemma if he ended up having a grandson.

Unlike Zuo Cidian, Academician Du had a grandson right now. He raised his chin a little and laughed out loud, "My eldest grandson is pretty talented at collecting things, though. He's pretty good at purchasing quality pieces. Sometimes, he would even get great bargains from the market for quality pieces. If you guys like this kind of thing, you guys can bring him along for a shopping trip later."

Zuo Cidian gasped in astonishment and said, "Even though your job is hard, your wallet sure has it easy. The pieces you collected when you were younger are probably tremendously valuable now, as I heard that people back then didn't use to collect jewelry pieces. I'm sure that you've profited a lot from this."

"It's a rising trend." Academician Du smiled. "Antique and vintage jewelry pieces only became rather valuable a few years ago. And the gems are mostly the ones that fetch high prices. There are still not many people who like stones that are not gems."

Zuo Cidian asked questions, and Academician Du answered them one by one. This made the atmosphere pretty lively. However, Ling Ran and Tian Qi did not care about all these.

Compared to the shophouses with interesting items for sale, Ling Ran preferred how symmetrical the old buildings were, and mainly focused on them. As for Tian Qi, an opportunity to go on a trip together with Ling Ran was hard to come by, and she was so excited to the point that she hardly paid any attention to her surroundings.

And the Audi A8 which followed the Rolls Royce closely had slowly come to a halt too. Someone opened a car door, and three people got out of the car. Two of them were middle-aged men of amazing builds, and the other was an old man with silvery-white hair.

They stood around fifty feet away from Tian Qi, and they neither tried to approach her nor greet her. All they did was to stand there without saying a thing.

Academician Du merely glanced at them before deciding to ignore them. He would be receiving surgery tomorrow, and he was not in the mood to care about this kind of thing.

"Come on, let's go and take a look at my shop. I'll tell you guys about my collection." Academician Du excitedly led Ling Ran into his shop. After greeting his eldest grandson who was a plump man, he headed straight into the storeroom.

There was row after row of wooden shelves that were covered with the pieces Academician Du collected.

A gold nugget was the most eye-catching one among all the pieces. It was positioned not far away from the entrance, and it was the first thing people who walked through the door would be attracted to.

Academician Du, though, spoke nonchalantly about it. "I found it when I was taking a walk in Menyuan Hui Autonomous County."

"I didn't know that it was possible to find gold when taking a walk." Zuo Cidian was astounded.

"You wouldn't be able to." Academician Du displayed slight pride as he said, "At that time, we were looking for a coal mine together, and after we found it, we get to go on a break for two to three weeks. All of the older geologists went home. I was still young at that time, and I know for a fact that there's gold in Menyuan Hui Autonomous County. That's why I explored the place together with two friends…"

Academician Du's plump eldest grandson knew about the doctors and Tian Qi's background. He could only try his best not to look at Tian Qi or Ling Ran as he lowered his head and said in a low voice, "Grandpa used half of the gold nugget to make my grandma's gold wedding ring. This is what's left. He intended to give it to my dad for future uses."

Zuo Cidian hummed in acknowledgment. "Why didn't he end up using it?"

The plump grandson said, "My father found his own gold."

Zuo Cidian gasped in astonishment. "Does your family own Menyuan Hui Autonomous County or something?"

"He only found a few tiny gold nuggets about the size of a bean after searching for two months, and the wedding ring ended up being super thin. He would have had better luck sieving gold." Academician Du pouted, looking dissatisfied. "He can't even find gold that's out in the open properly. Let me tell you about him…"

"Grandpa!" Academician Du's eldest grandson called up.

"I'll show you guys the topaz I dug out." Academician Du decided to stop complaining about his son. He took Ling Ran by the hand and led him forward as he said, "Topaz look a lot like sapphires, and could be said to be the best substitute for sapphires. Some of my topaz pieces are from Inner Mongolia, and some are from Jiangxi Province. There are even some that are gifts from an old friend. He got them from Brazil. I met a lot of fellow geologists from work, and they would often give me gifts or purchase pieces on my behalf…"

As he spoke, Academician Du stood before a wooden shelf and opened a black box. He then took out a few shiny gems from it. The bigger ones were as large as a person's finger, and when they were illuminated by the spotlight of the storeroom, they looked rather beautiful.

The old man with silver-white hair who was walking behind everyone immediately rushed over and stopped Ling Ran as well as Tian Qi from going forward. Zuo Cidian, though, moved closer to the box of topaz.

He got very interested after hearing the word "sapphire". He sized up the topaz with an extremely curious gaze, and right now, he was as excited as a young man of Academician Du's grandson's age.

"Go ahead and take a look." Academician Du wrapped a topaz, which was the size of a fingernail with a soft piece of cloth and placed it on Zuo Cidian's palm.

Zuo Cidian held it between his fingers and placed it directly below the spotlight. He studied it very earnestly.

Academician Du explained with a smile, "The half-life of newly dug out topaz is a hundred days…"

Zuo Cidian froze for a moment, and his hand trembled a little. "Half-life… you mean that these topaz are still emitting radiation?"

Academician Du smiled. "The newest topaz gems here are already more than a year, almost two years, actually. There's only minimal radiation, and it doesn't really affect the body."

As Zuo Cidian gazed at Academician Du, who was a cancer patient, he had no confidence in Academician Du's words at all.