Hao Guozi was speechless.

Miss Tong was truly a faithful person, enduring five years of wasted time. No wonder there were rumors in the city that she was fierce and ferocious, probably to keep her promise with Cai Fengyuan. But this Cai Fengyuan was really disappointing.

Cai Fengyuan said, “I have full confidence in this township examination and am sure to pass. When the time comes, I will go to the capital for the provincial examination, achieve success, and bring honor to my ancestors. Then I can propose to the Tong family.”

Tao Mo asked in confusion, “Is this the request of Mr. and Mrs. Tong?”

Cai Fengyuan replied, “Though they didn’t say it in person, the Tong family is a prominent household. If I have nothing to offer, how could they look favorably upon me? Naturally, I need to make a name for myself before I can mention this matter.”

Hao Guozi said, “That’s convenient. Now that Miss Tong is dead, you can take as long as you want to pass the exam. After you become successful, you can propose a posthumous marriage to fulfill Miss Tong’s lifelong wish.”

Cai Fengyuan was left speechless by his remarks and could only shed tears after a while. “How could I have known, how could I have known it would turn out like this? It must have been her stubborn parents’ coercion. Otherwise, why would she have thought of such a thing? She was perfectly fine just two months ago.”

Tao Mo asked, “Did you see each other two months ago?”

Cai Fengyuan replied, “On the fifteenth day of that month, we met at the Guanyin Temple. I told her that I needed to focus on my studies and couldn’t meet temporarily. She agreed, and there was nothing wrong with that.”

Tao Mo asked, “No complaints at all?”

Cai Fengyuan’s eyes flickered. “After all these years, she also hoped to marry soon.”

Hao Guozi sneered but didn’t say anything more.

Tao Mo thought for a moment but couldn’t come up with anything else to ask, so he said, “If you truly love Miss Tong, why don’t you pay your respects at the Tong family? Mr. and Mrs. Tong might not be as you imagine. Let bygones be bygones for the sake of Miss Tong, even if there were any grievances.”

Cai Fengyuan fell silent.

Hao Guozi couldn’t help himself. “Everyone knows that you’re a bully who fears the strong. It’s unfortunate that my young master, who has no connection with Miss Tong, becomes the scapegoat for your cold mockery. Mr. and Mrs. Tong are Miss Tong’s biological parents. How could they have the face to meet you?”

Cai Fengyuan’s face turned gray and defeated, as if his inner thoughts had been revealed.

Tao Mo sighed inwardly and pulled Hao Guozi out of the room.

Hao Guozi said, “Young Master, that person is clearly taking advantage of your kindness. You shouldn’t pay him any more attention.”

Tao Mo said, “Losing a loved one is a great sorrow in life.”

Hao Guozi saw Tao Mo lost in thought and feared that he would remember past events, so he said, “Ah, I’m hungry. Let’s grab something to eat.”

Tao Mo nodded mechanically.

As they walked out of the inn, Hao Guozi suddenly stopped.

Tao Mo asked, “Why aren’t we moving?”

“Somebody has been watching us over there. Ah, he’s coming this way.” Hao Guozi nudged Tao Mo with his elbow.

Tao Mo turned around and saw Gu Xiaojia.

Gu Xiaojia reluctantly said, “My master requests your presence.”

Tao Mo’s eyes lit up, and he was about to take a step forward, but Hao Guozi stopped him. “Does your master invite just anyone? My young master is the county magistrate of Tanyang County.”

Gu Xiaojia rolled his eyes and said, “Tsk tsk. Last time, you were eagerly delivering letters at the entrance of my master’s mansion. Now, in the blink of an eye, my young master is the county magistrate?”

Hao Guozi looked at him suspiciously. “Who are you?”

Gu Xiaojia said, “Surname Gu.”

Hao Guozi was taken aback. “Gu She?”

Gu Xiaojia’s face turned dark. “My master is Gu She. Didn’t you know? Why, did you think it was you, County Magistrate?”

Hao Guozi replied, “…”

Tao Mo ran over to Gu She, but was stopped by Hao Guozi. “Your master invites us, but do we just go? My young master is the county magistrate of Tanyang County.”

Gu Xiaojia frowned and asked, “Who is Old Tao?”

Hao Guozi said, “The person inviting us to dinner.”

Gu Xiaojia: “…”

Hao Guozi suddenly let go, and he and Gu Xiaojia turned their heads.

Gu She stood in front of the carriage, and Tao Mo ran over excitedly.

Gu Xiaojia proudly said, “It seems that Old Tao’s charm isn’t all that great.”

Hao Guozi: “…”

When Tao Mo reached Gu She, his heart pounded wildly. “How did you come here?”

Gu She said, “Passing by.”

Tao Mo looked left and right, suddenly realizing something. “Are you going to the Tong family?”

Gu She stepped aside and said, “Get on the carriage.”

“Oh.” Tao Mo obediently climbed aboard.

When Gu She got on the carriage, he realized it was a bit narrow inside. Tao Mo was blocking the doorway, and it was unavoidable for them to brush against each other when he tried to pass.

Gu She stepped back again.

Tao Mo looked puzzled. “Why aren’t you getting on the carriage?”

Gu She said, “Go and inform your servant.”

Tao Mo tapped his forehead and smiled wryly, “Almost forgot about that.”

After Tao Mo got off the carriage, Gu She calmly got on.

Gu Xiaojia and Hao Guozi came over, arguing.

Gu Xiaojia shouted, “Go and tell Old Tao that your young master has been invited by my master.”

Hao Guozi’s face darkened. “Old Tao will surely be furious.”

“Haha, it serves Old Tao right for not being as handsome and dashing as my master,” Gu Xiaojia thought that Old Tao was angry because Tao Mo stood him up.

Hao Guozi looked at Gu Xiaojia, who was gloating, and whispered to Tao Mo, “I’ll go with Gu Gongzi. You go back first.”

“Go where?” Hao Guozi asked warily.

Tao Mo was taken aback by the question and replied after a moment, “Maybe, maybe to the Tong family. I want to inquire about Miss Tong’s case with Mr. Tong and Mrs. Tong.”

Hao Guozi muttered, “Handling the case is the yamen’s business. I don’t know why Gu She is getting involved.”

Gu Xiaojia, with keen ears, heard his comment and retorted, “Hah! My master is the smartest person in the world. It’s already a great favor for him to assist your young master, the county magistrate. You don’t know how to appreciate it.”

Hao Guozi sneered, “The smartest person in the world? Aren’t you exaggerating a bit? Why not say that your master is the most intelligent, outstanding, powerful, and talented person in the world, both in civil and military affairs, who can handle money and work hard?”

“…When did my master handle money and work hard?” Gu Xiaojia stared at him.

Hao Guozi couldn’t come up with a response. He had just spoken without thinking.

Seeing them endlessly bickering, Tao Mo quickly said, “I’ll be right back, it won’t delay us. You go back first.”

Hao Guozi didn’t want to lose face in front of Gu Xiaojia, so he reluctantly said, “Alright, Young Master.”

Tao Mo jumped back into the carriage, and Gu Xiaojia drove straight to the Tong family.

The Tong residence appeared unchanged from before.

Gu Xiaojia knocked on the door, and the gatekeeper’s expression immediately changed when he saw Tao Mo getting off the carriage.

Unaware of the gatekeeper’s reaction, Tao Mo followed behind Gu She after he alighted from the carriage, heading towards the main gate.

The gatekeeper looked warily at Tao Mo, and with great respect towards Gu She, said, “Young Master Gu.”

“Is your master in?” Gu She asked.

“He is,” replied the gatekeeper, his gaze still lingering on Tao Mo.

“We’ve met before,” Tao Mo said.

The gatekeeper remarked, “The noble appearance of the gentleman is unforgettable.” He found it hard to forget a gentleman who wanted to open a coffin and examine the body after the burial.

Tao Mo blushed and said shyly, “Actually, I’m quite ordinary.”

Gu Xiaojia burst into laughter.

Just as Gu She was about to enter the gate, he suddenly turned around and said to Tao Mo, “Among ordinary people, you are not that ordinary.”

“…”

Gu She… was he complimenting him?

Tao Mo felt light on his feet, almost floating as he entered the courtyard.

Upon hearing the servant’s report that Gu She and Tao Mo had arrived together, Mr. Tong couldn’t help but be surprised and hurriedly greeted them at the door.

“Master Gu, Mr. Tao,” the difference in address clearly reflected his ranking of the two in his heart.

Tao Mo clasped his hands and said, “Mr. Tong.”

Mr. Tong smiled perfunctorily and turned to Gu She, “Please, have a seat inside.”

Gu She took the lead.

The three of them sat down, with Gu She naturally taking the seat at the head of the table, above Tao Mo.

Tao Mo didn’t mind and was actually quite happy about it.

After the servants served tea, Mr. Tong tentatively asked, “May I know the reason for Mr. Gu’s visit?”

Gu She replied, “Mr. Tao came to my residence yesterday, wanting to exhume Miss Tong’s body for examination.”

Mr. Tong’s face turned dark. He thought the matter was finished after the burial. He didn’t expect Tao Mo to come with Gu She. Could it be that he wouldn’t give up until he examined the body?

He hesitated. It was easy to send Tao Mo away, but as for Gu She… he was someone not to be offended.

Tao Mo quickly said, “There’s no need to examine it anymore.”

Mr. Tong asked lightly, “Why is the honorable gentleman showing mercy?” This phrase actually lacked mercy.

Tao Mo said, “It was my impetuousness. I came here without collecting Cai Fengyuan’s testimony. Please forgive me, Mr. Tong.”

Seeing Tao Mo yield, Mr. Tong’s expression softened, and he said, “It’s alright. I just wonder who this Cai Fengyuan is.”

Tao Mo replied, “He was Miss Tong’s beloved.”