Qin Cheng was not far away, only half a day’s journey from Tan Yang County. Tao Mo woke up early, changed into his official robes, and had himself properly groomed by Hao Guozi before leaving with Jin Shiyee and Old Tao.

Although Jin Shiyee was in Tan Yang, he had accompanied the previous county magistrate to the prefectural government office a few times and had some connections in the city. In case of any trouble, he could lend a hand. Not to mention Old Tao, a senior elder of the Demon Cult, who was unparalleled in the vicinity of Tan Yang County. And with Hao Guozi running errands, even if the intentions of the prefect were unfavorable, Tao Mo wouldn’t suffer any losses.

However, when they reached the gate, they were stopped by Gu Xiao Jia. He stared at Tao Mo with widened eyes and asked, “Why are you going out so early?”

After burying Yi Yu the last time, Tao Mo’s feelings towards Gu She had grown stronger. He didn’t hide it and honestly answered, “I’m going to see the prefect in Qin Cheng.”

Gu Xiao Jia looked at him suspiciously. “What for?”

Tao Mo replied, “The prefect wants to see me.”

Old Tao impatiently interrupted Gu Xiao Jia’s persistent questioning, “Young master, it’s getting late. We should start our journey.”

Surprised to see Gu Xiao Jia waiting at the gate so early, Tao Mo asked, “Are you here to find me?”

Gu Xiao Jia absentmindedly replied, “Young master was worried that you might still be grieving, so he sent me to check on you.”

A warm current surged in Tao Mo’s heart.

Ignoring his overwhelming emotions, Gu Xiao Jia quickly ran off after speaking.

Tao Mo and the others got into the carriage.

As Jin Shiyee boarded the carriage, he murmured to himself, “I wonder if Gu She will come.” He had observed Gu She’s attitude towards Tao Mo these past few days. Although he didn’t understand why Gu She, who had always been aloof, suddenly favored a county magistrate like Tao Mo, it was undeniable that Gu She cared about Tao Mo’s every matter and actively participated in them.

Gu She’s background and the Gu Family were shrouded in mystery, much like the One Hammer Society, but from what he could see, Gu She was far superior to Lu Zhenxue.

After traveling for about half an hour, the sound of horse hooves from behind grew closer.

Old Tao lifted the curtain and looked out. To his surprise, it was Gu She and Gu Xiao Jia.

Gu She’s green robes billowed in the wind, displaying an indescribable air of arrogance.

The two horses quickly caught up with the carriage. Hao Guozi noticed them and halted the horses.

Tao Mo stuck his head out and saw Gu She, feeling both surprised and delighted. He had heard Jin Shiyee’s murmur earlier and had hoped, but he didn’t have much confidence. He didn’t expect Gu She to actually come.

Gu She dismounted and walked to the front of the carriage.

Tao Mo wanted to get off, but Gu She held him back and got on the carriage himself.

Old Tao frowned deeply.

The carriage was not spacious to begin with, and with Old Tao, Jin Shiyee, and Tao Mo already sitting tightly, adding Gu She made it almost shoulder to shoulder.

Jin Shiyee looked at Old Tao.

Tao Mo looked at Gu She.

Old Tao looked at Gu She.

Gu She also looked at Old Tao.

There were flickering sparks in their eyes that others couldn’t see.

The atmosphere inside the carriage became somewhat delicate.

Suddenly, Hao Guozi interrupted, “What are you doing here? The carriage can’t handle so many people. It won’t be able to carry the load.”

Gu Xiao Jia said, “Then you ride a horse.”

Hao Guozi shouted, “This is my family’s carriage. Why should I ride a horse? If anyone should go, it should be you!”

Gu Xiao Jia chuckled and said, “Could it be that you don’t know how to ride?”

“No matter whether I know or not, I’m not going!” Hao Guozi said stubbornly.

“Go tie the two horses to the carriage, so we can move faster. Otherwise, with your two old horses, we won’t arrive until who knows when,” Gu Xiao Jia said, unusually not arguing with him.

Hao Guozi said, “My horses and your horses aren’t familiar with each other. Putting them together will only cause trouble.”

“You haven’t even tried, so how do you know it will cause trouble?”

“I know even if I haven’t tried!”

Everyone in the carriage listened silently, no one spoke up. Finally, Old Tao couldn’t stand it anymore, got out of the carriage, mounted a horse, and said, “Don’t delay the journey!”

Seeing that Gu She was looking at him, Jin Shiyee smiled bitterly and said, “Gu Young Master, I appreciate your kind intentions, but I don’t know how to ride a horse.”

Tao Mo awkwardly added, “Neither do I.”

Gu She spoke up, “Go and ride a horse.”

He didn’t specify who, but after spending so many years together, how could Gu Xiao Jia not understand his meaning? He obediently got off the carriage and mounted another horse.

With the seating arrangement settled, the group finally continued their journey towards Qin Cheng.

Jin Shiyee, being familiar with the route, sat beside Hao Guozi on the front of the carriage. Although the wind had picked up and the weather had turned colder, at least Gu She wasn’t there, making the journey relatively relaxed and comfortable.

As a result, there were only Tao Mo and Gu She in the carriage.

Tao Mo’s heart was a jumble of nervousness, shyness, happiness, and conflict, so he tried his best not to look at Gu She, lest his feelings be exposed.

“Did you sleep well?” Gu She asked.

“Okay,” Tao Mo said with a stutter.

Gu She asked, “Do you know why the prefect is looking for you?”

When it came to the main point, Tao Mo regained his composure and said, “I don’t know. I only received an invitation from him.”

Gu She was not familiar with the officials of various cities and counties. Although Tan Yang County was close to Qin Cheng, the prefect there usually didn’t pay much attention to this place due to the numerous litigants in Tan Yang County, known as tough nuts to crack. If there was no other way, they would bring the person to Qin Cheng for questioning. Tao Mo’s current situation seemed to be one where questioning was unavoidable.

Suddenly, Hao Guozi shouted from outside, “Could it be that he wants to promote Young Master?”

Jin Shiyee sneered, “That’s wishful thinking. Does the prefect have the authority to decide promotions? At most, he can recommend. The young master has just arrived, with no qualifications, achievements, or background. Unless the prefect is completely blinded, how could he recommend the young master?” After saying that, he suddenly realized that his words sounded somewhat sarcastic, and he silently reprimanded himself for losing his composure. Perhaps it was because Tao Mo was usually so easygoing that he felt no discomfort in teasing him. But even though Tao Mo was easygoing, both Old Tao and Gu She by his side were not to be underestimated. If a slip of the tongue caused them to hold a grudge, it would be very troublesome. He quickly added, “Once the young master stays in Tan Yang for a year or so and the prefect sees outstanding performance in the assessments, he will naturally recommend him.”

Hao Guozi said, “What if they want to assess him first?”

Jin Shiyee said, “That’s possible.” His idea of assessment was different from Hao Guozi’s. Most local officials liked to develop their own confidants to consolidate their power and establish their own territory. He wondered if the prefect had that intention.

It seemed that Gu She said something inside, but because he spoke softly, neither Jin Shiyee nor Hao Guozi heard clearly.

The only ones who heard were Old Tao, who was riding a horse outside, and Tao Mo, who was sitting in the carriage.

Old Tao had excellent internal strength and had been paying attention to the movement of the carriage.

Tao Mo, on the other hand, was because Gu She had said those words while his face was very close. It seemed that Gu She was just adjusting his position to make himself more comfortable, after all, this carriage was not as comfortable and luxurious as the ones in Gu Mansion. But after Gu She adjusted his position to this spot, he didn’t move.

“After meeting him, I’ll take you for a walk,” Gu She said.

Tao Mo’s heart thumped wildly, and he unconsciously nodded several times.

Gu She said, “I’m going to sleep for a while.”

Tao Mo nodded again, then felt his shoulder sink as Gu She’s head rested on it. His body almost stiffened like a stone, and he didn’t even dare to move his toes. But after a stick of incense, he felt aches and soreness all over, yet his heart was filled with sweetness, wishing that this moment would last forever.

After sitting for a long time, he finally couldn’t hold it any longer and slightly moved his legs.

Gu She didn’t react.

He shifted his bottom, moving back a few inches.

Gu She still didn’t react.

Tao Mo let out a sigh of relief, wanting to move a little, but unexpectedly, the weight on his shoulder suddenly disappeared. He turned his head and saw Gu She looking at him expressionlessly.

“Are you done?” Gu She asked.

Tao Mo was stunned for a moment before realizing what he meant. He immediately sat cross-legged against the carriage wall and nodded, “Done.”

Gu She glanced at him, then leaned on his shoulder and continued sleeping.

Perhaps they had leaned on each other for too long, to the point of numbness. Tao Mo felt that the weight on his shoulder seemed lighter than the last time.

After sitting for a while, Tao Mo vaguely remembered that he hadn’t asked Gu She why he had come. He turned his head and looked at Gu She’s handsome sleeping face, suddenly feeling that the answer was no longer important to him.