Author: Su Youbing
Gu Xiaojia ran past two streets before he caught up with Tao Mo. “You. Why do you run so fast?”
Tao Mo replied absentmindedly, “Not at all. I have two legs after all.”
Gu Xiaojia almost could not catch his breath.
When Tao Mo saw that he was not talking, he turned around and left again. Gu Xiaojia hurriedly jumped in front of him to stop him, “Where are you going?”
“Back to the yamen.”
With great alarm, Gu Xiaojia asked, “Why do you want to go back to the yamen so quickly?”
Tao Mo shyly replied, “I want to ask Secretary Jin to write a visitation card.”
“This… actually… the visitation card isn’t that important.” Gu Xiaojia hesitated for a while before he grabbed Tao Mo’s hand and pulled him back. “Follow me. I’ll notify in your place.”
“Not good, not good.” Tao Mo hurriedly shook off his hand. “The courtesy can’t be disregarded. It won’t be good if Gu She gets annoyed.”
If you’ll procrastinate like this, you’ll really annoy Young Master, Gu Xiaojia thought. “You can rest assured that if l’m there, Young Master won’t say anything.”
“This isn’t appropriate either.” Tao Mo insisted. “If this matter was known by others, they’d get dissatisfied with Young Master Gu. It’s not good.”
Who’d be dissatisfied with Master because of this trifle? Gu Xiaojia was almost speechless.
Tao Mo added, “How about if I go back to the yamen first, and when Secretary Jin’s free, I’ll ask him to write a visitation card, then come to visit again?”
Gu Xiaojia was puzzled: “Why do you have to wait for Secretary Jin to be free?”
Tao Mo’s face blushed, then he replied, “Secretary Jin’s dealing with his official duties. He shouldn’t be bothered with such personal matters as writing a visitation card. I’ll wait until he’ll be free.”
God knows how long this would take. Gu Xiaojia glared and said, “Do you intend to make our household’s Young Master wait for you like this?”
Tao Mo ignorantly replied, “I haven’t sent you my visitation card. How can your household’s Young Master be waiting for me?”
Gu Xiaojia obstructed him and gritted his teeth. “Stop, let me write the visitation card for you.”
“This is still not good.” Tao Mo still hesitated.
Gu Xiaojia was so angry so that all of his hair almost stood on its end, “What’s still not good with this?”
Tao Mo responded, “In case that your household’s Young Master recognizes your handwriting, he may suspect that I’m not sincere enough.”
“You think too much.” Gu Xiaojia stomped his foot. “You can rest assured that I won’t let Young Master make out that it’s my handwriting!”
Since he talked big, he had to live up to his promise.
Seeing Tao Mo filled with joy as he was grinding beside him, Gu Xiaojia was completely depressed from reaping what he had sown.
“Why do you write using your left hand?” Tao Mo asked.
Gu Xiaojia grumpily answered, “Young Master, what kind of eyes do you have? If I’ll use my right hand to write this, no matter how I write it, it’ll be seen through by Young Master Gu at first glance.”
Tao Mo was amazed as he said, “It turns out you can actually use both hands to write characters.”
“No, I can only use my right hand.” After Gu Xiaojia said this, the brush fell.
Tao Mo: “…”
In no less than a cup of tea’s worth of time, the visitation card was finally written.
“This,” Tao Mo showed signs of hesitation, “I don’t know whether Gu She would be able to read this or not.”
Gu Xiaojia looked at the visitation card and was also not confident. “Probably, he’ll understand this, right?”
The two looked at each other in blank dismay.
Gu Xiaojia said, “Or better yet, don’t give the visitation card.”
“It’s still better to give it.” Tao Mo grabbed the visitation card. “Anyway, I’m totally illiterate. Writing the characters like this is also excusable.”
Gu Xiaojia hatefully bit the shaft of the brush.
The visitation card was presented.
It was not porridge but tea that was placed in front of Gu She.
Gu Xiaojia carefully measured Gu She’s complexion with his eyes.
“Please come in,” Gu She said indifferently as he laid the visitation card aside.
“Yes.” Gu Xiaojia heaved a sigh of relief and at once, he turned around and called for Tao Mo, who was waiting outside the door.
Tao Mo came in anxiously. At first glance, he looked at Gu She’s expression and on the second, he looked helplessly at the visitation card that was placed next to the teacup.
“You wrote it?” Gu She asked.
Tao Mo wanted to nod but felt ashamed. He blushed and found it difficult to advance or to retreat.
Gu She added, “Using my household’s brush, ink, paper, and ink slab?”
Tao Mo stammered as he spoke: “I… I went out in a hurry. It’s too late to prepare it. Fortunately, this little brother gave me a hand.”
Gu Xiaojia, considering he was sitting in the same boat, explained to him, “His Excellency Tao was afraid of breaking the rules, so he must write the visitation card to be given to you, Young Master, with his own hands.”
“With his own hands?” Gu She swept his eyes over Gu Xiaojia’s hand like lightning.
Gu Xiaojia looked down and saw the ink on his hand was clearly visible.
Tao Mo also saw it. He hurriedly said, “Don’t blame him. It was me who forced him.”
“Forced?” Gu She vaguely smiled, then asked, “You coerced people in my residence?”
Gu Xiaojia wanted to slam his head against the pillar. Why is this matter only getting worse?
Tao Mo responded and hurriedly said, “No, no, no, it was a request.”
Gu She lightly touched the visitation card with his finger. “Let’s not discuss about this matter for a moment. What business do you have in my residence?”
Tao Mo did a cupped-hand salute and answered, “I have a favor to ask for about a matter.”
The corners of Gu She’s mouth slightly raised. He picked up the teacup leisurely, gently took a sip from it, and said, “What matter?”
Tao Mo responded, “I want to ask you to accompany me to the Tongs’ residence.”
Gu She asked, “To do what?”
Gu She’s fingers became stiff and disbelief flashed across his eyes. “What did you say?”
Tao Mo thought that he spoke with a lisp, so he pronounced every syllable correctly in a full, mellow voice. “Au-top-sy.”
Gu Xiaojia suddenly jumped up. “Who do you think my Young Master is? You actually invited him to accompany you to do the autopsy.”
Tao Mo hesitated and replied: “I know nothing about autopsy, so I think Young Master Gu might know it.”
Gu Xiaojia sneered and said: “Isn’t it that there’s a coroner in your yamen? You’re not properly requesting the coroner to go and you insist on inviting our household’s Young Master to do the autopsy. You’re clearly making fun of my Young Master!”
“No, no, no.” Tao Mo hurriedly waved his hand and said, “I thought, everyone’s asking Young Master Gu for help, so he must have a way. That’s why I thickened my skin to come here and ask. Actually, it’s all right if he can’t. I, I better take my leave.” He quickly turned around. Just when he was about to take a step, he heard Gu She say indifferently, “Wait a moment.”
Tao Mo was unable to move. He turned around a little bit and uneasily looked at him.
“I remember that Miss Tong’s corpse had already been examined.” Gu She added, “Why do you want to check it again?”
Tao Mo answered, “This morning someone beat the drum and cried out his grievances for Miss Tong. I think, there may have been some omissions. As Secretary Jin had said, only Miss Tong, herself, knows the truth in this world.”
Gu She said, “Was it Secretary Jin who advised you to do a second autopsy?”
Tao Mo nodded.
“Such being the case, I’ll accompany you on a trip to go there.” Gu She stood up.
Gu Xiaojia hurriedly said, “Young Master, you can’t go! For someone as precious as you, how could… how could you do this kind of filthy thing?”
“Filthy?” Gu She shot a cold glance at him.
Gu Xiaojia bowed his head. “It was the slip of my tongue.”
“Let’s go.” Gu She signaled to Tao Mo.
Tao Mo was delighted beyond measure. He barely held himself back from dancing for joy.
Since Tao Mo ran to the Gus’ residence with his two legs, he must take a ride on Gu She’s carriage to the Tongs’ residence.
When he got on the carriage, Tao Mo finally knew how Gu She enjoyed his daily life.
There was a fox woolen blanket, a mink fur mat, a jasper pillow, and a heater made of gold of the best quality. In the middle, there was small yellow rosewood tea table linked to the carriage. A white jade tea set was steadily placed on it. Regardless of the carriage moving, it did not shake.
Tao Mo curiously asked, “How can they remain motionless?”
Gu She leisurely poured boiling water into the tea. “Lodestone.”
Tao Mo’s eyes opened wide. “Could it be that it was inlaid in the table?”
Gu She placed a teacup in front of him. “How are you going to expose the truth of this case?”
Tao Mo whispered, “Let’s take a step and look around before taking the next.”
Gu She turned to him and looked at Tao Mo without any profound meaning. He indifferently said, “It may not be a bad idea.”
When they arrived in front of the Tongs’ residence, Gu Xiaojia went over to present their visitation card.
The gatekeeper, however, replied, “Today is the Miss’ funeral. Master and Madam had already left.”
The carriage door suddenly opened. Tao Mo jumped down from the carriage and anxiously asked, “How long have they been gone?”
The gatekeeper replied: “They left when the sky was not yet bright.”
Tao Mo climbed back into the carriage and waved to Gu Xiaojia, “Let’s quickly chase after them.”
Taken aback, Gu Xiaojia responded with a question, “Chase after what?”
Tao Mo replied, “If by any chance she’ll be buried, we can’t perform the autopsy anymore.”
Gu Xiaojia stomped his foot. “After the funeral procession, the coffin’s already nailed. How can you still do the autopsy?”
The gatekeeper listened to their conversation. He was even more surprised, “Why do need to do the autopsy again?”
Tao Mo replied: “Let’s not talk about this first. Hurry, tell us, where they are going to bury her?”
The gatekeeper bowed his head, “This little man doesn’t know.”
Tao Mo weakly sat in the carriage. He held his head with both hands and said: “How can this be done?”
Gu She replied: “How about drink some tea?”
When Tao Mo looked up, it was right on time when his eyes met with Gu She’s pair of sharply-contrasted bright eyes. His state of mind rippled and only felt that all of his fret and distress were dispelled. In his eyes there was only Gu She who was looking into his eyes.