Gu She and Tao Mo descended from the mountain, with Lu Zhenxue following them all the way.

“Brother Gu.” Seeing Gu She and Tao Mo preparing to board the carriage and leave in a cloud of dust, Lu Zhenxue couldn’t help but speak up. “Please wait.”

Gu She turned around.

Lu Zhenxue said, “I wonder if Brother Gu would mind taking a step aside to talk?”

Gu She stood still in his place and said, “Brother Lu, please speak.”

Lu Zhenxue glanced at the passersby, lowered his voice, and said, “I wonder if Brother Gu has found a lawyer to handle the case of the woodcutter from the neighboring county?”

Gu She said, “No.”

Lu Zhenxue said, “If Brother Gu doesn’t mind, I’m willing to take on this case.”

Gu She remained calm and said, “What made Brother Lu change his mind?”

Lu Zhenxue said, “If I say it’s for the sake of justice, would Brother Gu believe me?”

Gu She said, “Can Brother Lu believe himself?”

Lu Zhenxue smiled and said nothing.

Gu She said, “In that case, Brother Lu might as well come to the county office tomorrow.”

Lu Zhenxue clasped his fists and said, “I’ll eagerly await our meeting tomorrow.”

Gu She boarded the carriage. He saw Tao Mo holding the candied haw, staring at his knees with a satisfied and sweet smile, seemingly immersed in beautiful memories.

Gu Xiaojia stuck his head in, moved his mouth toward Tao Mo, and gestured with his lips, “What’s wrong with him? Did he find money?”

Gu She looked at him with a smile that wasn’t quite a smile.

Gu Xiaojia stuck out his tongue, quickly sat back at the front of the carriage, and drove back.

The bumps on the road brought Tao Mo back to his senses slightly. He blinked and caught sight of Gu She, who was close by. His face suddenly turned red and he asked, “When did we come back?”

Gu She said, “Just now.”

Tao Mo’s face reddened even more. “Was I… daydreaming just now?”

Gu She said, “What were you thinking about?”

Tao Mo changed the subject and let his eyes wander around the carriage. “Nothing, I wasn’t thinking about anything.” If Gu She knew that he had been repeatedly recalling the conversation with the young novice monk from earlier, he would surely be looked down upon.

“Perhaps you’re just tired,” Gu She offered him a step.

Tao Mo nodded hurriedly. He discreetly lifted a corner of the curtain, and the wind along the way blew on his face, making his drowsy mind slightly clearer. “By the way, where is Brother Lu?” Suddenly, he realized that one person was missing.

Gu She said, “He went back.”

Tao Mo felt embarrassed. “I didn’t even bid farewell properly. It was so impolite.”

“He’ll go to the county office tomorrow.”

Tao Mo wondered, “He’s going to the county office? Why?” Lu Zhenxue was a lawyer, and the first thing he thought of was that there might be another lawsuit in Tianyang County. “Did something else happen?”

Gu She said, “He wants to take on the woodcutter’s case.”

Tao Mo was taken aback at first, then he rejoiced and said, “Really? He really wants to handle this case?”

Gu She said, “He said it himself, and I heard it with my own ears.”

Tao Mo took a deep breath and said, “That’s great.” He knew that Gu She didn’t want to appear in court, so even though he hoped to vindicate the woodcutter, he didn’t want to force Gu She. Now that Lu Zhenxue had volunteered, it couldn’t have been better.

Gu She said, “It’s settled.”

Tao Mo was bewildered. “What?”

Gu She said, “The candied haw.”

Tao Mo looked down and indeed saw the syrup from the candied haw flowing down and sticking to his hand. He instinctively raised his hand to lick it, but then remembered that Gu She was still beside him and awkwardly put his hand back down.

Gu She took out a handkerchief and gently wiped the syrup off Tao Mo’s hand.

As Tao Mo watched the white handkerchief turn red, he felt embarrassed and said, “I’ll wash it and give it back to you.”

Gu She folded the handkerchief, covering the dirty spot inside, and handed it to him. “Good.”

Tao Mo took it, tightly squeezing it in his hand. The image of Gu She’s gentle expression while wiping his hand kept replaying in his mind. The area that had been wiped felt faintly warm.

After dismounting from the horse, Tao Mo bid farewell to Gu She with a forced calmness and made an appointment to meet again tomorrow. He watched as Gu She’s carriage disappeared at the end of the alley, then quickly rushed into the county office and grabbed someone, asking, “Where’s Lao Tao?”

He asked the third person and suddenly realized that it was Lao Tao himself.

“Young Master?” Lao Tao saw him holding a candied haw in one hand and a handkerchief in the other, looking at him with an excited and bright gaze. He immediately had an idea in his mind and calmly said, “Master Jin has already returned. If there’s something, it’s better to discuss it in the study.”

Tao Mo had no objections and followed him back to the study.

“Young Master, you and…”

“Xianzhi bought candied haws for me to eat.” Tao Mo exclaimed.

Lao Tao: “…”

If he remembered correctly, he had also bought a lot of snacks for him to eat.

Tao Mo continued, “He also used a handkerchief to wipe my hand.”

Lao Tao: “…”

He wiped not just his hand, but his whole family.

Tao Mo said, “He also gave a silver note to the young novice monk, asking him to pray for my safety every day.”

Lao Tao: “…”

That sounds pretty good.

Tao Mo collected himself and suddenly looked at Lao Tao with a serious expression. “Why do you think he treats me so well?”

Lao Tao replied, “Why not ask Gu She directly, Young Master?”

Tao Mo hesitated and said, “I’m afraid even he doesn’t know.”

Lao Tao: “…”

Though he shouldn’t think this way about Young Master, if there’s one person between Young Master and Gu She who doesn’t know what he’s doing, it definitely isn’t Gu She.

Tao Mo said, “What if I ask him and he realizes he’s been treating me well and doesn’t want to continue?”

Lao Tao said, “I thought Gu Gongzi is not that kind of person.”

A flicker of joy appeared in Tao Mo’s eyes. “Are you saying that he knows he’s being kind to me?”

“Yes. Gu Gongzi is not a passionate person, nor is he one who easily develops feelings. If not for seeing you… in a different light, he would never have agreed to go to court for you.” For the first time, Lao Tao’s mood subtly leaned towards Gu She in the relationship between Gu She and Tao Mo.

Tao Mo had a smile on his lips, but there was a trace of sadness between his eyebrows. “I know. That’s why I’m afraid.”

Lao Tao raised an eyebrow.

“His kindness and the kind of kindness I desire are different.” Tao Mo whispered, “But his kindness and the kindness I desire are so similar. I’m afraid that one day, when he finds the person he truly wants to be kind to, he will take back his kindness towards me. Knowing I shouldn’t hope for it, but after experiencing such kindness, I always wish for it to be everlasting. Am I being greedy?”

“You’re being insatiable.”

Tao Mo’s face fell.

Lao Tao cleared his throat. “I’m just correcting your words.”

Tao Mo felt even more dejected. “He is the most talented person in the world, while I don’t even recognize the word ’talented.'”

Lao Tao fell silent for a moment and then said, “Young Master, if you don’t try, how would you know that you’re not the person he truly wants to be kind to? Perhaps Gu She doesn’t even care if you recognize the word ’talented.'”

Tao Mo’s body trembled. He raised his head, looking like a bewildered child. “But I’m a man.”

Lao Tao said, “Gu She is also a man.”

Tao Mo said, “Then how could he…”

Lao Tao said, “Before Young Master discovered it, did you ever think you could be?”

Tao Mo fell silent. He couldn’t answer that question. Because he discovered it too early, much earlier… before that, he never even considered matters of gender. And the first time he did, he found himself completely uninterested in women.

Lao Tao was still quite optimistic about the future of the two. As long as Gu She was willing, all of Tao Mo’s emotions were irrelevant. The only concern now was whether Gu She’s intentions were genuine.

Footsteps sounded outside the door.

Before the person knocked on the door, Lao Tao quickly opened it.

The gatekeeper hesitated for a moment and handed over a letter. “It’s a letter from the Prefect of Qin City.”

“Him?” Lao Tao frowned, took the letter, and opened it to read.

Tao Mo shook his dazed head and approached, asking, “What’s the matter?”

Lao Tao said, “The letter says that the nephew of Minister Shi is coming.”

Tao Mo looked puzzled. “Which Minister Shi?”

Lao Tao said, “Minister Shi is the father of the current Noble Consort and enjoys the trust of the Emperor. He is one of the powerful officials of the current court.”

Tao Mo asked, “So what does his nephew have to do with us in Tianyang County?”

Lao Tao folded the letter and sighed. “If everything remains peaceful, it has nothing to do with us. But if there’s something… then it’s a big concern.”

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