Author: Su Youbing
Translator: chiangyushien, Renkun27
The door, which was almost stared at by Tao Mo and Hao Guozi, finally opened.
Mu Chun came out first.
“Where’s Old Tao?” Tao Mo asked.
Mu Chun sighed and said, “Last night, we slept together and Old Tao accidentally fell off the bed…”
Tao Mo and Hao Guozi rushed inside…
…only to see Old Tao lying sickly on the bed with two obvious bruises on his face.
“How did you fall so miserably?” Hao Guozi straightforwardly asked.
Old Tao slightly pursed his lips.
“Is it painful? You should take a rest. I’ll call the doctor immediately.” Tao Mo said.
“No need.” said Old Tao while covering his face. “It’s just a small injury. It’s not serious.”
“The wound’s on your face. How can you ignore it?” Tao Mo frowned. “It’s not difficult to find a doctor anyway.”
“Actually, I have something to say to you.” Old Tao changed the topic.
“What’s the matter?” Tao Mo answered.
“I think you must‘ve guessed it already. Actually, Mu Chun is a worker of my old master.” Old Tao continued. “He came here to pass on a message from my old master, asking me to go back.”
Tao Mo recalled all sorts of grudges between Old Tao and his old master. He worriedly asked, “Do you have to go back?”
“Rest assured. My old master had long disregarded the grudges of the past. It’s just that he hasn’t seen me for so many years. That’s why he wants me to go back and talk about the past.” Old Tao coughed and turned to Hao Guozi.
“After I leave, you should take good care of Young Master. If you encounter any problems, just listen carefully to Mu Chun’s suggestions.”
“Mu Chun? Why should we listen to Mu Chun’s suggestions?” Hao Guozi asked with doubt.
“Mu Chun has promised to stay. Although he’s young, he’s very experienced in life. If you have any problems, just ask him.” Old Tao answered.
Tao Mo reluctantly looked at Old Tao and said, “I’m neither a relative nor a friend to him. I’m afraid it’s inappropriate.”
Old Tao knew that Tao Mo was introverted. If he will not make it clear, he was afraid that Mu Chun would turn into a hands-off leader , so he said, “He’s a really close friend of mine. You can just employ him with confidence.”
( Somebody who asks others to work but does nothing himself)
“A really close friend? But you look more of a father and son.” Hao Guozi said.
“The so-called closeness could only be discovered but not sought. Since I have the opportunity, how could I be so particular?” Old Tao answered. Actually, what he wanted to say was ‘how come you have so many questions?’
Upon hearing this, Tao Mo knew this matter was irreversible and he had no choice but to nod and agree.
Old Tao added, “There’s still one more thing to be cautious of. Although Secretary Jin‘s an aide hired by Young Master, he’s been serving in Tanyang County’s yamen for many years and his relationship with every branch in the yamen is unusual. There’s no harm in trusting him by 70-80% at times, but if it involves the yamen, he can only be trusted for 10-20%.” Although he could see that Secretary Jin’s attitude to Tao Mo had changed, there should still be some reservations. If Old Tao will still stay in here, he would not be afraid even if Secretary Jin turns a mountain into a sea. However, he was leaving.
He did not know whether Mu Chun would do his best.
With this thought in his mind, he looked at Tao Mo with concern in his eyes.
How could Tao Mo not understand? However, he realized that Old Tao’s departure was imperative, so naturally, he would not add his troubles.
He smiled and said, “Rest assured, I’ll be cautious. Since Mu Chun‘s still here, I’ll ask him if I have any problems.”
Old Tao nodded and told Hao Guozi, “Go call Mu Chun. I have something to explain to him.”
When Hao Guozi went out, Old Tao suddenly whispered, “Even with Mu Chun, you still need to be careful.”
Tao Mo was astounded and in a blink of an eye, Old Tao’s expression was back as usual.
In a flash, Mu Chun and Hao Guozi entered the door.
Old Tao took out a key from his chest and tossed it to Mu Chun.
Mu Chun caught it in surprise.
“I‘m handing over Young Master and the Tao residence’s estates to you,” Old Tao said meaningfully.
Hao Guozi was dumbfounded. This is… like entrusting everything to him for life?
Tao Mo obviously had some misunderstandings. He blankly looked at Old Tao and Mu Chun.
“Of course, when I come back, you still have to return everything to me.” Old Tao added.
Mu Chun smiled and said, “Of course.” After that, he turned to Tao Mo and bowed with his hands in obeisance, “Master.”
His voice was pleasing to the ear, his appearance was outstanding, and he had an elegant and smart carriage. He was graceful and poised. Tao Mo looked at him with rapt attention and his heart beat wildly. Mu Chun was so fluttering to the eyes and ears that he was almost like a celestial being and so he was speechless for a moment.
Old Tao saw Mu Chun was looking at him in confusion, so he quickly said, “I still have something to explain to Mu Chun. Hao Guozi, take Young Master out first.”
“Oh.” Hao Guozi pulled Tao Mo away.
As soon as Tao Mo sobered up, his whole face suddenly blushed, then he hurriedly followed after Hao Guozi as he went out.
When both of them had walked a long distance, only then did Mu Chun thoughtfully say, “I believe he’s the one who takes fancy of Young Master Yiyu.”
Old Tao nimbly got up from the bed and responded, “My young master’s foresight had always been bad.”
Mu Chun raised his eyebrows and said, “I think his new love, Gu She, is pretty good.”
“You know Gu She?” Old Tao asked.
“Not only do I know Gu She, but I also know his background.” Mu Chun smiled like the spring breeze, yet in Old Tao’s eyes, there is a kind of pretentiousness behind his meaning.
However, for Tao Mo’s sake, Old Tao had to put up a stern face and ask, “What’s his background?”
“Gu She‘s just his name. His courtesy name  is…Xianzhi.”
( Courtesy or style names are traditionally given to males at the age of 20 in Imperial China.)
“Gu Xianzhi…Gu Xianzhi?” Once Old Tao remembered his identity, his face changed. “How can he be in Tanyang?”
“You can be in Tanyang. Why can’t he be in Tanyang?” Mu Chun remained unperturbed as he replied.
Old Tao frowned and said, “If he’s Gu Xianzhi, then you mustn’t let Young Master meet with him again!”
Mu Chun raised his eyebrows and questioned, “Why? Isn’t Gu She‘s background just right for backing Tao Mo? If he’s got him, let alone his father’s enemy, it won’t be difficult for him to make rapid advances in the officialdom.”
“You already know what kind of feelings Young Master has for Gu She. Why do you still speak of such words?” Old Tao’s words implicated that he had doubted about whether he could take good care of Tao Mo.
Mu Chun smiled and said, “There’s nothing absolute in this world. Did you originally think the marquis would fall for Ming Zun?”
That was indeed something he never thought of. Old Tao admitted that when he heard the news, only after he had been on a daze for two days was he able to slowly come around. He originally thought that even if Ming Zun was homosexual, the other party should be An Zun. After all, there was a precedent for Old Ming Zun and Old An Zun. He never expected that both Ming Zun and An Zun were really homosexuals, except that one had chosen the enemy of the demonic cult—the Huihuang sect, while the other one had chosen the other enemy of the demon cult—Marquis Xue Yi. There was really nothing absolute in the world.
But Gu Xianzhi and Young Master?
Even though Old Tao was optimistic, he was not optimistic about this. “Some say Gu Xianzhi’s an ambitious and proud person. He even dared to treat the emperor’s decree lightly. How can he take a fancy to Young Master?”
Mu Chun laughed and answered, “Isn’t ambition and pride a weakness?”
Old Tao was suddenly dumbfounded.
Mu Chun recalled the scene at the Lantern Festival and he had a hazy notion of the matter. He said, “Rest assured. Even if Tao Mo did something to Gu She, I have the confidence to let him go all out.”
“Wait.” Old Tao looked at him with doubt. “What do you want Young Master to do to him?”
“I said if.” Mu Chun replied. He saw Old Tao was still glaring at him like a tiger watching his prey, so he had to yield. “I promise, I‘ll never intervene in things between Tao Mo and Gu She, all right?”
“Unless it’s to protect Young Master.”
“All right, unless it’s to protect your young master.”
Old Tao still felt uneasy, but things had reached this stage. He had no choice but to believe him.
“When are you going to leave?” Mu Chun asked.
“I’ll leave today.”
“So fast?” said Mu Chun who was panic-stricken.
“Since I’ve decided to leave, why bother to be slow?” Old Tao answered.
Mu Chun laughed and said, “Elder Lu, you’re really a straightforward person. I’ll summon the escorts to send you on the journey at once.”
Old Tao turned and looked at him. “Are you afraid that I’ll run away?”
“Why should I?” Mu Chun smiled even more brilliantly. “As the saying goes, the monk can run away, but the temple won’t run with him , isn’t it so?”
( An idiom which means “You can run this time, but you’ll have to come back.)
Old Tao coldly sneered, then he said, “Oh, by the way, I have a few things that I have to explain to you.”
Mu Chun saw the graveness in his expression. He restrained his smile and said, “Say it.”
“It’s about Old Master Tao…”
When Tao Mo and Hao Guozi found out that Old Tao was leaving today, they were both shocked. Tao Mo saw that persuasion was ineffective, so he could only get busy and arrange the preparation for the long journey.
Old Tao originally wanted to let Mu Chun do it, but seeing Tao Mo’s eagerness, he could not bear to disappoint him, so he just let him have his way.
Although it was Tao Mo’s first time to deal with preparations, with the help of Hao Guozi, it was quite different.
Mu Chun looked at the simple wooden cart and whispered to Old Tao, “The cart I prepared is waiting for you at Shili Pavilion outside Tanyang.”
Old Tao glanced at him and faintly nodded.
In any case, it was really time consuming to use the oxcart when he was in a hurry.