Author: Su Youbing
Translator: chiangyushien, Renkun27
Tao Mo looked him up and down. “Your Excellency is?”
“My name is Mu Chun.” Mu Chun cupped one of his fists in his other hand and there was a bit of chicness in his demeanor. “I’m Old Tao’s old acquaintance.”
Hao Guozi frowned and asked, “How did you find out that he’s here?” They left their hometown without telling anyone.
Mu Chun smiled and replied, “You can rest assured that I don’t have any malicious intentions. I only wanted to look for a friend to talk to about the past, that’s all.”
Hao Guozi coughed dryly and muttered, “I didn’t say that you have any malicious intentions. There’s no money here .”
( The complete idiom is 此地无银三百两 which literally means “no 300 taels of silver buried here.” It means someone made a clumsy denial resulting in self-exposure.)
“Such being the case, just follow me.” Although Tao Mo wanted to go and chase after Gu She more, at this very moment, he could not temporarily put down this thought of leading Mu Chun back to the county’s yamen. As a matter of fact, he was also quite curious about Mu Chun’s relationship with Old Tao. Somehow, when he saw Mu Chun, he could not help but think of the old master that Old Tao once mentioned. Could he really be someone who works for that old master?
Mu Chun smiled at his frequent gaze, never showing a bit of dissatisfaction.
When they entered the county’s yamen, Hao Guozi grew a third eye  and asked Mu Chun to wait for a little while outside, then he and Tao Mo notified Old Tao first. In case any shady person comes to the door, it might not be a bad idea to discuss how to send that person away.
( An idiom which means being cautious.)
When Old Tao heard that someone was looking for him, his complexion changed, and when he heard that Mu Chun was the name, he was panic-stricken.
Hao Guozi closely watched his expression and exclaimed, “Don’t tell me that it’s Old Tao and his old madame’s illegitimate son who came to our door?”
Old Tao suddenly turned to his side and glared at him.
Hao Guozi shrunk his head.
“What did you just say?”
“No, I didn’t say anything.” This was the first time Hao Guozi saw such a stern look on Old Tao’s face. How could he dare to admit what he said?
Old Tao asked, “Are you saying that he’s young enough to be my son?”
Hao Guozi was dumbfounded by his question that he quickly changed the topic. After a few moments, he nodded and answered, “Yes. He doesn’t seem to be much older than Young Master.”
“Mu Chun?” Old Tao frowned. “Could it be he’s…”
“That’s me.” Mu Chun entered from outside with a smile on his face.
Hao Guozi placed his hands on his hips and asked, “Why did you break in as you please without any permission?”
Mu Chun cupped his hands in obeisance and said, “I’m sorry.” However, he kept looking at Old Tao.
Old Tao had calmed down at this moment and there was no trace of any anxiousness on his face. “It turns out to be Mr. Mu who honored me with his presence.”
Mu Chun smiled and said, “You flatter me. I’ve long looked forward to meeting you, Old Tao. Back in the day, you had a great reputation. Seeing you today, you really live up to your reputation.”
Old Tao replied, “The rear waves of the Yangtze River drive on those before  and each age offers its own men of talents. Now, the world is for your generation.”
( An idiom which means that each new generation excels the previous.)
Mu Chun replied, “You’re too modest. Tales of your magnificent feats of old are still circulating to this day. My generation has heard and admired them.”
Old Tao’s complexion changed slightly and he fixed his gaze at him, as if he wanted to see a hole in that elegant smile.
Hao Guozi pulled Tao Mo and whispered, “What are they talking about? What fully justified reputation? What magnificent feats? Don’t tell me Old Tao used to be famous?” In fact, it had not been long since Old Tao entered the residence, but he was capable and Old Master Tao trusted him a lot, so in just a few years, he became the chief butler of the Taos’ residence. Old Master Tao entrusted his only son to Old Tao immediately before his death.
Tao Mo answered hesitantly, “Perhaps, he’s a worker of Old Tao’s previous master.”
“Previous master?” Hao Guozi was shocked and immediately worriedly asked, “If that’s the case, he won’t ask Old Tao to go back, will he?”
Although they were whispering, they were too close so Mu Chun and Old Tao could hear them even if they did not want him to.
Old Tao looked at Mu Chun and said nonchalantly, “We’ll talk again once we’re in my room.”
Mu Chun smiled and nodded as he replied, “That’s what I have in mind as well.”
The two spoke and ignored Tao Mo and Hao Guozi, who were still standing in the same place and staring at them anxiously. After that, they headed for Old Tao’s room.
Hao Guozi was about to follow them, but was stopped by Tao Mo.
Hao Guozi opened his eyes wide. “Young Master, don’t you want to know what they’re talking about?”
“I want to.”
“Then let’s go.” When Hao Guozi was about to move, he was pulled back again.
Tao Mo earnestly said, “Don’t listen to things that don’t concern you.”
Old Tao and Mu Chun chatted for the whole night.
Soon after Tao Mo got up in the morning, he saw Hao Guozi stealthily walking over. “I heard a noise in Old Tao’s room yesterday.”
“You heard a noise?”
“It’s the sound of heaven and earth turning upside down,” Hao Guozi spoke with a deep voice.
Tao Mo was taken aback and asked, “Did they fight?”
“Who knows.” Hao Guozi shook his head.
Tao Mo took a step over the threshold and was about to rush to Old Tao’s room, but he was stopped by Hao Guozi. “You…”
Hao Guozi, in all seriousness, said, “Don’t listen to things that don’t concern you…Young Master.”
As a result of the compromise, the two squatted sneakily at the door of Old Tao’s room together.
It was awfully quiet inside.
Hao Guozi asked, “Were they tired from fighting and already fell asleep?”
Tao Mo replied, “There are so many rooms in the yamen. Why should they squeeze into one room?”
Hao Guozi answered, “Perhaps they want to cram in.”
There was a sudden silence all around.
Hao Guozi and Tao Mo looked at each other and saw the shock in each other’s eyes.
Could it be that Old Tao and Mu Chun were…in this kind of relationship?
Tao Mo suddenly became extremely envious in his heart.
The conversation outside the room was pleasant, but the atmosphere inside the room was not…as harmonious as they thought.
Mu Chun looked at Old Tao with a faint smile and asked, “Elder Lu, do you intend to stay here and not go out?”
Old Tao turned his head. “How would you let me go out looking like this?” His old face was covered with bruises.
“It’s better than the cuffs and kicks on my stomach that you used to greet me.” Mu Chun covered his belly and grinned.
“At least yours can’t be seen on the surface. You made me look like this. How can I explain this to Young Master!?” Old Tao kept looking in the mirror.
Mu Chun replied, “I didn’t expect you’d be really loyal and devoted to him, Elder Lu.”
Old Tao suddenly froze. “I was hunted down at that time and it was Old Master Tao who saved me. A drop of water should be returned with a burst of spring, is there anything wrong with that?”
“I didn’t say that that’s wrong. It’s just that, I didn’t expect that there’ll be a day when you’d be perfectly happy to serve others, that’s all.”
Old Tao became reticent and it was only after a few moments that he responded, “It’s me who’s wrong in the first place.”
Mu Chun looked at him.
“Ming Zun was actually right.” In just five words, he put what he did—half of his lifetime—into the water .
( Literally means that everything he has done half of his life had been all in vain.)
Mu Chun’s countenance faintly changed. He knew that it was easy to kill people like Old Tao, but it was extremely difficult for him to admit defeat.
“At least, I don’t think I can do better than him. But,” Old Tao suddenly changed the topic, “please forgive me for not agreeing with his and Marquis Xue Yi’s matters.”
Mu Chun laughed. “I don’t think Marquis Xue Yi and Ming Zun need your approval.”
Old Tao heaved a sigh. “I didn’t expect that the old one would be like that and the young one would be like that as well.”
“I think you’re quite clear about my intention today, Elder Lu,” Mu Chun said.
“I can’t go with you for the time being, ” Old Tao answered.
“Oh.” Mu Chun was not surprised by this answer.
“Young Master still needs me.” He paused, then continued, “I should at least wait until I’m sure that Young Master has great assistance and no longer needs me to stay around.”
Mu Chun smiled. “Elder Lu. What made you think…that you still have leeway to bargain at this day and age?”
Instead of getting angry, Old Tao smiled. “Even though I carelessly moved and lost the whole game during that time, I still have a lot of chess pieces on the board. Even a cornered dog would jump over the wall, let alone people, right?”
“I also heard about the Taos’ residence. Revenge is as easy as lifting a finger for the demonic cult.” Mu Chun added, “As long as you agree to return to the demonic cult, I can still give you justice for this trivial matter, Elder Lu.”
“If I want to take revenge, I can do it alone,” Old Tao replied.
“Do you want Tao Mo to take revenge personally?” Mu Chun asked.
Old Tao shook his head and answered, “The ways of this world is originally based on the law of the jungle. Whether to take revenge or not, that should be decided on by Young Master himself. The only thing I want to do is to help him become a predator and not to become meat to be eaten!”
“Rabbits don’t eat meat,” Mu Chun said.
“He doesn’t need to eat meat. He only needs a lion’s heart,” Old Tao said.
A rabbit with a lion’s heart?
Mu Chun thought about Tao Mo’s appearance and could not help but smile and shake his head.
“This is my only wish. As long as this wish is fulfilled, whether I would be killed or cut into pieces, I’ll obey,” Old Tao said.
“Do you think Ming Zun will kill you?” Mu Chun asked.
“As long as this wish is fulfilled, whether he will or not, it’s no longer important.”
Mu Chun hesitated for a long time, then he said, “How about if we make a bet.”
“I believe, Ming Zun will definitely spare your life.”
Old Tao maintained his composure. Although he was not afraid of death, he was also not tired of living. He knew that the person in front of him was one of Ming Zun’s most trusted retinue. There was some sort of basis for what Mu Chun said and because of this, Old Tao could not help but relax.
Mu Chun said, “How about if we do it like this. Go back to Mount Pini first while I attend to Tao Mo for the time being. If you’re not dead, you can come back and continue to attend to him. If you die, I promise you that I’ll keep him safe for life.”
Old Tao frowned.
Before he could even open his mouth, Mu Chun rushed to speak, “Otherwise, you have no other choice but to meet with a real sword.”
Old Tao was taciturn and he kept on looking closely at him.
On the other hand, Mu Chun looked unperturbed.
After a quite a while…
Old Tao responded with a deep voice, “That’s settled then.”