Actually, Jin Shiye was also shocked in his heart at this moment.

He finally understood why Tao Mo would tolerate the other party so much. It was only when the man stood up just now that he realized his true intentions were to provoke Tao Mo. It seemed that he had taken himself as bait and set a trap, waiting for Tao Mo to fall into it. In the county of Tanyang, where lawyers were gathered, if the county magistrate made any mistakes or missteps, it would undoubtedly lead to relentless criticism and condemnation. Those county magistrates who were transferred, dismissed, or even lost their lives couldn’t bear such consequences. Unexpectedly, Tao Mo was prepared from the beginning, using a small trick to counter the man’s scheme and rendering it futile.

With these thoughts, Jin Shiye looked at Tao Mo with a complex gaze.

He didn’t expect this young man to be so shrewd and far-sighted at such a young age. Given time, he would surely rise through the ranks in the officialdom.

Tao Mo had no idea that Jin Shiye had already thought so far in such a short time. He currently had only one thought in mind… Could Miss Tong have been wrongly killed? If she was truly unjustly killed, why was there no news at all from the Tong Residence? Parents care about their children, so how could Mr. and Mrs. Tong force their daughter to death?

As he left the courtroom, the question continued to linger in Tao Mo’s mind. He didn’t even hear when Haoguozi called out to him.

“Young Master!” Haoguozi finally caught him before he bumped into a pillar, feeling both exasperated and amused. “What are you so lost in thought about?”

Tao Mo snapped back to his senses. “I was thinking about Miss Tong.”

Haoguozi was delighted at first, “Young Master, have you fallen for a woman?” Then he sighed, “But that woman is already dead.”

Tao Mo said, “I have no romantic intentions towards her.”

“Even if you did, it’s too late now,” Haoguozi said, “But it’s always a good thing for the Young Master to be interested in women. There are plenty of unmarried women in the county of Tanyang. The Young Master should take a look around. Who knows, you might find someone you like.”

“Nonsense! Young ladies in their chambers cannot be seen at will,” scolded Lao Tao. He had just heard the proceedings in the courtroom from Jin Shiye and hurried over, worried that Tao Mo would be unjustly accused and feel uncomfortable. “Go and prepare for an early meal.”

Haoguozi stuck out his tongue and ran away.

Lao Tao said to Tao Mo, “We don’t need to concern ourselves with the background of that person. Young Master shouldn’t worry about it.”

Tao Mo said, “Since that person dared to appear in court, what he said must be true. Perhaps Miss Tong really died unjustly.”

Lao Tao said, “Parents and children have a close bond. If Miss Tong really died unjustly, her parents would surely seek justice for her. How could a stranger come roaring into the courtroom?”

In fact, he was somewhat dissatisfied that Tao Mo allowed the man to leave unscathed, but now that things had come to this point, it was not appropriate to say anything further.

Tao Mo shook his head and said, “If it is as that man said, that they conspired to force her to death, then their failure to seek justice for her would make sense.”

Lao Tao said, “But Master Cui and the coroner have already examined the body and found nothing suspicious.”

Tao Mo thought for a moment and said, “Why don’t I personally visit the Tong Residence?”

Lao Tao’s heart skipped a beat. “Young Master, what are you going there for?”

“Naturally, to investigate the case,” Tao Mo said as a matter of course. “As the county magistrate of Tanyang, it is my duty to personally investigate every case, leaving no room for any omissions.”

Lao Tao furrowed his brow. “It’s not advisable.”

“Why not?” Tao Mo asked, puzzled.

Lao Tao said, “We have already sent Master Cui to investigate the case before. It has been determined that Miss Tong died by suicide. Now, to suddenly reopen the case without any evidence, it may provoke dissatisfaction from the Tong Residence.”

“That can’t be helped,” Tao Mo said, “I can’t let Miss Tong suffer injustice.”

“But the Tong Residence has a marital relationship with Mr. Yichui.”

“So what?”

Lao Tao could only speak directly, “First, the suicide of Miss Tong was affirmed by the Tong Residence and Mrs. Yichui. Second, Miss Tong was still unmarried at the time, and it was a man who came to beat the drum. If this matter spreads, it will damage Miss Tong’s reputation.”

Tao Mo suddenly woke up, “Oh no, I forgot to ask the man about his relationship with Miss Tong.”

Lao Tao said, “If you want to know, it’s not difficult. Miss Tong’s case has already caused a stir in the city, but the man only came to beat the drum today, indicating that he is not a local. Perhaps he rushed here from another place after receiving the news. As long as the Young Master sends someone to inquire at the inns in the city, you will probably find him.”

“Good, I’ll go now.” Tao Mo hurriedly took a few steps, then turned back and asked, “How do I send someone?”

Lao Tao sighed, “If the Young Master has anything to do, let Jin Shiye handle it for you. He can take care of it.”

“Alright.” Tao Mo rushed off.

Lao Tao pondered for a moment, still somewhat uneasy, and followed Tao Mo towards Jin Shiye’s study.

Jin Shiye was currently handling the affairs of the county yamen on behalf of Tao Mo. To say that he was handling them on behalf of Tao Mo was actually just organizing them and then reporting them one by one to Tao Mo.

“Jin Shiye.” Tao Mo rushed in like a gust of wind.

“Master Dong.” Jin Shiye had anticipated his arrival and put down his pen, leisurely standing up.

“I want you to help me investigate the identity of that man.”

“Send me?” Jin Shiye was taken aback, thinking to himself: Shouldn’t this kind of task be assigned to the yamen runners? Why me?

Lao Tao followed behind Tao Mo and said, “The young master wishes for Jin Shiye to convey his message.”

“I see. Very well, I’ll go.” Jin Shiye agreed to go, but he still felt somewhat uncomfortable. Originally, this kind of errand shouldn’t have fallen on him. He wondered what this master was thinking. Could it be because he glared at him in anger during the court session today, and now he wanted to assert his dominance?

Tao Mo said, “By the way, Jin Shiye, do you think Miss Tong was forced to death or committed suicide?”

Jin Shiye had just stepped over the threshold when he heard the question and had to step back. “I don’t know either.”

Tao Mo said, “But aren’t you the magistrate in charge of criminal cases?”

Jin Shiye smiled wryly. “I am a magistrate in charge of criminal cases, but I am not the heavenly god of criminal cases. If it were that easy to determine whether someone was murdered or committed suicide, then I wouldn’t be here as a magistrate; I would have gone straight to become a grand minister at the Dali Temple or the Ministry of Justice.”

Tao Mo sighed, “Who knows, then?”

Jin Shiye said, “There is one person who must know.”

Tao Mo’s eyes lit up. “Who?”

“Miss Tong,” Jin Shiye said, thinking that if he was being made fun of, he might as well turn the tables.

Tao Mo clapped his hands in realization. “You’re right.” Without waiting for Jin Shiye’s response, he turned around and ran off.

Jin Shiye looked at Lao Tao in a daze. “What logic did I just say?”

Lao Tao smiled and said, “Master’s mind is filled with deep thoughts. How could someone like me guess what you’re thinking?”

Jin Shiye watched Lao Tao’s departing figure and muttered to himself, “What deep thoughts am I hiding?”

Tao Mo left the county yamen and ran towards Gu She’s residence while asking for directions along the way.

Before noon, he stood out on the street in his official robes, attracting the attention of passersby along the way.

Before he even entered the Gu Residence, news had already spread through the streets and alleys that the newly arrived county magistrate was looking for Gu She.

Gu She was aware as well.

He was drinking porridge under the care of Gu Xiaoji when the servant came to report that Tao Mo was searching for him all over the streets.

“Finally, he’s here.” Gu She’s lips curled slightly.

Gu Xiaoji was skeptical. “Did Young Master already know he was coming?”

Gu She said, “The Tong family’s matter is thorny and not thorny at the same time. He is new here, so naturally he has no clue.”

Gu Xiaoji suddenly realized, “So the county magistrate came to consult Young Master?”

Gu She smiled but remained silent.

“Oh, then I’ll go and inform the gatekeeper. We can’t let him enter so easily.” Gu Xiaoji looked at Gu She’s expression and, seeing no objection, happily ran off to the gate.

Little did he know, he underestimated Tao Mo’s speed. Just as he reached the gate, Tao Mo arrived as well, smiling as he rushed over. “I recognize you! Take me to see Gu She.”

Gu Xiaoji rolled his eyes. “You recognize me, but I don’t recognize you. My master is not someone you can see just because you want to.”

Tao Mo was taken aback and said, “We’ve met before, at the entrance of the Lu Residence.”

“Lu Residence? Which Lu Residence?” Gu Xiaoji pretended not to understand. “I encounter people like you who boast about connections every day. Who knows if it’s true or false.”

Tao Mo thought he genuinely didn’t remember, so he said, “Then please take me to see Gu She.”

“What about an introduction card?” Gu Xiaoji shrugged. After all, he didn’t want to make things too difficult since Tao Mo was a county official.

Tao Mo felt embarrassed and said, “I came in a hurry and forgot to prepare it.”

Gu Xiaoji secretly delighted in his heart and deliberately widened his eyes. “Forgot to prepare? But it’s a rule of the Gu Residence that you must present an introduction card to see my master.” Seeing Tao Mo’s expression of difficulty, he smirked and said, “Do you want me to help you prepare the writing utensils?”

“No, no need.” Tao Mo stepped back. “I’ll come back next time.” With that, without waiting for Gu Xiaoji’s reaction, he ran off directly.

As he ran, Gu Xiaoji was dumbfounded. There was still someone waiting inside the residence. Although Gu She didn’t say anything just now, even a blind person could see that he was anticipating Tao Mo’s arrival.

When Tao Mo’s figure disappeared around the corner of the alley, Gu Xiaoji belatedly realized what was happening and hurriedly chased after him. “Hey, wait!”