Author: Su Youbing
Translator: EXandros, Renkun27
Old Tao and Tao Mo had been together for many years and had never been separated. Bidding farewell was difficult.
The two spent a long time exhorting each other. After that, Old Tao reluctantly set on his journey.
Mu Chun saw Tao Mo’s eyes were red, so he comforted him, “Elder L…Old Tao’s going back to reunite with his old friend even though the journey will be long. So it’s a happy event. No need to worry too much about him.”
“Since Old Tao came to my house, this is our first parting. Without him, perhaps I won’t be who I am now,” Tao Mo said.
“It’s good if you’re attached to each other, but if you blindly rely on him, I’m afraid you’ll outsmart yourself instead.”
“I know. I’ll try to be a good official and I won’t make Old Tao disappointed,” Tao Mo gloomily said.
Mu Chun smiled and did not say anything.
All of a sudden, Secretary Jin came in a hurry.
“Secretary Jin, did you come to send Old Tao off, too?” Tao Mo asked.
Secretary Jin was dumbfounded by what he said. “Send Old Tao off?”
Before Tao Mo could open his mouth, Mu Chun cut him off and changed the topic, “This is the famous Secretary Jin?”
Secretary Jin was dumbfounded again. “This is…”
“Humble me is Mu Chun.” Mu Chun cupped his hand in obeisance. “May I know why are you such in a hurry, Secretary Jin?”
Secretary Jin responded, “The members of the Qius and the Liangs are fighting. They’re now in front of the Tongs’ residence.”
Tao Mo wondered so he asked, “Who’re the Qius? And who’re the Liangs?”
Secretary Jin waved his hand and said,” I’ll explain it further on the way.”
Due to the large number of passengers, Hao Guozi specially brought out the carriage, which Old Tao insisted to leave behind.
Tao Mo, Mu Chun and Secretary Jin got on the carriage in order.
Secretary Jin heaved a sigh of relief and collected himself together. “The Second Miss of the Qius and Liang Wenwu of the Liangs made a marriage agreement two years ago. There’re red cards  as proof. After the Liangs changed residence, they agreed to marry the Second Miss of the Qius into their family within two years. Who would’ve thought that after two years, the Liangs’ bridal sedan still hasn’t arrived. Coincidentally, the eldest son of the Qius owed a huge amount of gambling debts and is being held hostage, so the elders of the Qius decided to marry off the Second Miss to Master Tong, who was ready to take in a concubine.”
( 红庚 or Hong Geng are red cards exchanged during an engagement which contains the groom and bride’s Eight Characters, which indicated the year, month, day, and hour of a person’s birth, formerly used in fortune-telling.)
“Master Tong?” Tao Mo asked.
Secretary Jin nodded and said, “Precisely the father of Tong Yinghong.”
“But, he already has Madam Tong, doesn’t he?” Tao Mo followed up.
“It’s originally a private matter of the Tongs’ household. I shouldn’t comment on it.” Secretary Jin paused. “But since you asked about it, I’ll speak of what I know without reserve, Master. Master Tong and Madam Tong have been unhappy since Miss Tong died. Madam Tong has been married into the Tongs for ten years without conceiving any heir and the family’s only heir hanged herself, that’s why Master Tong considered remarrying. Although he’s taking in a concubine, I heard that they weren’t short of each and every components of the Three Letters and Six Etiquettes and they also mentioned that the entrance will be from the main gate.” Secretary Jin added.
Mu Chun asked, “But those Liangs received the news and won’t let it off easily?”
Secretary Jin nodded and said, “Indeed. I don’t know from where the Liangs got the news. They unexpectedly caught up when the Qius were about to enter the Tongs’ residence to discuss this matter and intercepted in front of the gate. They stirred up trouble until all of their heads and faces were covered with dust.”
“How about Official Clerk Cui?” Tao Mo asked.
Secretary Jin replied, “Once he heard of the news, he rushed away to go there with the yamen attendants.”
Tao Mo was now slightly relieved.
Once they arrived in front of the entrance of the Tongs’ household, the Qius had gone back. After all, they were on the bride’s side. If this matter escalated, it would be nothing for the groom’s side, but the bride’s boudoir reputation would be greatly damaged.
The Liangs were still in front of the entrance to the Tongs’ household. Judging by their looks, they were still unconvinced.
When Cui Jiong saw Tao Mo get off the carriage, he hurriedly came over to him and greeted, “Your Excellency.”
Tao Mo totally felt that the expression in his eyes today seemed different from those in the past, but he could not pinpoint the difference, so he had to blame himself for his oversensitiveness. “What did the Liangs say?”
Cui Jiong answered, “The Liangs wanted the daughter of the Qius to wait for one more year.”
“Wait for one more year?” Tao Mo recalled Tong Yinghong and asked, “Do you know the Second Miss’s age?”
Cui Jiong replied, “Nineteen years old.”
Tao Mo frowned and said, “Not young indeed.”
Cui Jiong said, “That’s why the Qius won’t agree no matter what. They said, unless the Liangs will marry her into their family within three days, the marriage agreement back then shall be voided.”
Mu Chun asked, “Do you know why the Liangs wanted to delay it for a year?”
Cui Jiong glanced at him. Seeing that he was extraordinary and that he came with Tao Mo, he replied, “The Liangs said that Liang Wenwu offended the God of the Year  this year, so he can’t get married.”
( A deity who was believed to change his dwelling on earth every year, and to allow no building wherever he happened to dwell, his every location being set by the almanac.)
Tao Mo asked, “Just because of this?”
Cui Jiong observed that he did not approve of it so he said, “Many people in Tanyang believe in it.”
Mu Chun laughed and supported it, “I believe in it, too.”
“Oh? Where did you come from, Young Master?” Cui Jiong took the opportunity to ask.
Mu Chun replied, “His Excellency Tao and I are fellow villagers.”
Tao Mo was surprised, so he said, “Really?”
Mu Chun kept his calm and said, “Of course. Oh? Is this Master Tong?”
Tao Mo and Cui Jiong turned their heads at the same time and saw Master Tong walking out from the inside.
After Tong Yinghong’s incident, Master Tong was disgusted with the yamen attendants and the county magistrate. Besides, this incident happened in front of his residence’s entrance. He totally lost his face. Therefore, although he came out, he had a dark face.
Cui Jiong knew the relationship between the Tongs and Mr. Yichui. He hurriedly smiled in a conciliating way and said, “Master Tong, we don’t wish to disturb you anymore.”
Master Tong replied, “It’s no bother. It’s this old man’s trifle that has disturbed everyone, am I right?”
Cui Jiong replied, “What are you saying Master Tong? How did this matter become your responsibility? It’s just that this matter happened in front of your doorstep.”
What Master Tong wanted to hear was these sentences and the corners of his mouth finally raised a bit. “Then please take care of this, Official Clerk Cui.”
“Certainly,” Cui Jiong answered hastily.
Seeing Tao Mo, Master Tong hesitated, but he still came over and said, “Your Excellency Tao.”
“Master Tong.” Tao Mo asked straight to the point, “Do you really want to marry the Second Miss of the Qius, Master Tong?”
Master Tong’s complexion that had just cleared up was suddenly pulled down. He said with a deep voice, “I don’t know what you mean by these words, Your Excellency Tao.”
Mu Chun had previously heard of Tao Mo’s deeds and thought that the rumors were exaggerated. Now that he saw it with his own eyes, he could not help but be lost in awe. On the prestige of words, among the people he knew, perhaps only the Huihuang Sect’s sect leader could compare with him. However, the rare thing was that he himself did not even sense it.
Tao Mo replied, “There’s only one Second Miss in the Qiu family. She can’t be married into two families. I want to know the two families conditions and then make a decision.”
“We dare not trouble you, Your Excellency.” After saying this, Master Tong said rudely, “We’ll solve this matter by ourselves.”
“Who said it will trouble His Excellency?” Someone from the Liangs stepped out. “I insist on taking this matter to be reported to the court and ask His Excellency, the county magistrate, for justice!”
Master Tong frowned. The Tongs had been troubled by Tong Yinghong’s case before. At this point, he did not want to stir up trouble again, but the Second Miss of the Qius…he remembered her flower-like features and moonlike face in the portrait and felt unwilling to let go of her. In his heart, he infinitely vacillated now to the left and now to the right.
On the other side of the alley, there were rumbling sounds.
Cui Jiong, who was arguing with the Liangs, suddenly ran over, pulled Tao Mo’s sleeve and whispered, “It’s the carriage of the Yangs’ household.”
“Yangs’ household?” Tao Mo did not respond for a short while.
“Mr. Yichui.” Cui Jiong said in a low voice.
Tao Mo was dumbstruck. The daughter of Mr. Yichui was surnamed Yang. Of course, Mr. Yichui was surnamed Yang as well.
The carriage stopped but the one who came down was Gu She.
It was only a day since he last saw him, yet Tao Mo looked at him as if it had been three years of yearning.
Gu She also saw him. His gaze swept across Mu Chun quickly and finally landed on Master Tong.
Nowadays, Master Tong would get a headache if he saw Gu She, yet he did not dare to offend him. He forced a smile and greeted him, “Young Master Gu.”
Gu She replied, “My teacher’s wife heard that you want to take in a concubine and specifically asked me to bring a few things over.”
Master Tong knew that his little sister was careless. Afraid that she would come up with something that would make it more difficult for him to back down with good grace, he conveniently said, “I think, it would be better to go inside then talk about it.”
Gu She nodded and said, “All right.”
“Young Master, wait for me.” Gu Xiaojia jumped down from the carriage. He pulled a long face and asked, “What should I do with this tiger penis and ox penis  in the carriage?”
( Served as delicacies to boost libido in Asia. lol)
Gu She answered, “Listen to Master Tong. Let’s go inside then talk about it.”
Master Tong’s old face turned red. Do they still need to go inside then talk about it? Everything was perfectly clear in the call he had just made.
Seeing Tao Mo’s gaze following Gu She and Master Tong as they cross the threshold, Mu Chun proposed, “Why don’t we go inside and listen to what they have to talk about?”
“But we’re not invited to go inside…”
“We came for investigation.” Mu Chun helped him to find a reason.
Tao Mo nodded right away and said, “But, of course.” As soon as he was about to raise his feet to walk, a man from the Liangs called out to him, “Your Excellency!”