Chapter 31: Death

“Master Gu.”

“Gu Sicheng.”

Around the end of dawn, the gatekeepers of the Tao Manor was slipping back and forth to digest the breakfast food in the side room by the main door when they saw the carriage of the Eldest Son-in-law coming again, and the driver was the one who sent the eldest lady yesterday.

Gu Ningxi got out of the carriage immediately after. He walked in fast strides, and stood outside the gate of the Manor. The servant lowered his eyebrows and hid behind him.

Obviously the sun hadn’t shown its powers yet, but he seemed to feel that the sun was blinding. He slightly folded his hands to cover his eyes, then raised his face to look at the gatekeepers of the Tao Manor.

A Gatekeeper who was used to calling Gu Ningxi blurted out “Master Gu” out of habit, but was pulled by the sleeves by the other person next to him. After remembering what the young master specially came over to tell him last night. He immediately changed his address to “Gu Sicheng”. They quietly looked at Gu Ningxi who seemed to be oblivious to the change of address.

Every time Master Gu came to the door, he was usually neatly and handsomely groomed by his Wife. It was not like how he is now in front of their eyes. He was wearing a dark brown tufted flower robe that seemed to have been worn for a long time. It was wrinkled and had some suspicious stains on it. It was gray and dark.

The housekeepyers came over and wanted to inquire about the reason for his visit, but he saw that the usually tall Gu Ningxi looked troubled. His shoulders were slumped, his back was slightly arched, and both his legs were shoulder-width apart, as if he was carrying a heavy burden.

They took a peek at his face again, Gu Ningxi’s bun seemed to have been combed hastily, and it was not neat and tidy. There was a faint green stubble growing around his chin, and his face looked dull, not to mention the chapped skin on his lips. His eyes looked so bloodshot, which forcibly added a bit of slovenliness to his normally jade porcelain-like appearance.

The gatekeepers murmured in his heart, ‘Master Gu usually had such a dignified appearance, how did his appearance now look so similar to those servants who were slumped after playing cards and drinking all night?’

‘That can’t be right? Most wealthy people are concerned about their health. They also sleep early and get up early?’

Besides, Master Gu is too ignorant. He came to visit his in-laws family but didn’t even bother about how he would present himself in front of them? Isn’t he embarrassing the eldest Lady?

Gu Ningxi turned his eyes back, then looked at the person who was dressed in Tao Manor’s standard servant clothes, and opened his mouth to say, “I’ll have to trouble…”, His voice was both hoarse and ugly that he couldn’t even finish his words. The pain in his throat felt like it was tearing, presumably because he hadn’t slept all night, and talked too much without taking any food or water.

Shihua, who came with his master, sighed and stepped forward to take charge instead, and asked the gatekeeper of the Tao Manor to pass a message and inform them that His master came to pay a visit to his father-in-law, and wanted to take his wife back home.

Gu Ningxi nodded his head, indicating that he had come with the intention to do so.

He watched as one of the Gatekeepers turned to enter the house, and another person fidgeted and explained that there was another guest inside the Manor, and that the master had not instructed them to do anything, so he did not dare to invite Gu Sicheng inside without permission.

Although he was surprised for a moment, Gu Ningxi turned to think that this could have been an opportunity for He Niang to let out her temper.

As long as she still made things difficult for him, there may be room for negotiation and redemption.

There was a small flame of hope in his heart, and he tried his best to ignore the shadow of the separation letter, which had been torn apart by him. He shook his head towards the gatekeeper to show that it was okay, and pointed to the carriage parked not far away.

The gatekeeper immediately understood his meaning. He nodded and bowed to send Gu Ningxi back into the carriage, and said courteously, “As soon as the master has commanded, this poor one will immediately come and invite you. Just wait for a moment.”

Gu Ningxi lifted his robe, supported himself into the carriage and turned up, but he almost staggered and fell down. Luckily he was able to stabilized his body and tried again before he entered the carriage smoothly. He nodded to the gatekeeper beside the carriage, and then let down the curtain.

The gatekeeper was even more bothered, wondering why Gu Sicheng was so unwell.

Shihua did not get into the carriage with his master. He hooked the gatekeeper’s shoulders, called him brother and started a conversation. He wanted to inquire about the movements of the master’s wife when she returned to her natal home yesterday. Under the scorching sun, the two of them came and talked in a lively atmosphere.

Hearing the voices of people talking through the window, although the volume was not loud, it was as if a hammer hit the forehead of Gu Ningxi who was sitting quietly. He slowly bent down, put his head on his knees, while his hands were behind his head. He wanted to be isolated from the rest of the world.

While his eyelids were fluttering up and down, Gu Ningxi forced himself not to fall asleep. The shocking events the past day flashed inside his mind.

Yesterday he made a difficult promise to the siblings Mo Qi and Mo Qiqi that he would take his righteous sister as his concubine, and he would tell his wife about it when he returned home but she ran away in anger.

He was so concerned about his wife, especially after reading the separation letter that she left behind. He could only cry after reading every word, but Gu Ningxi still tried to contain the pain and went to the small courtyard of the Mo family to send Mo Qi off for the last time.

Dr. Cao said that he only had a day or two to live, which was really accurate. On the eighth day of the first lunar month when the watchman in the city just announced the start of day. Mo Qi woke up from his coma, his energy suddenly improved, and he hissed “Qiniang”.

Gu Ningxi, who was dozing on a chair inside the room, woke up startled, and hurriedly ordered the servant who was lying flat against the wall and snoring, to invite Mo Qiqi to come over.

It’s not good for Mo Qiqi to spend the night with a room full of men, and Gu Ningxi told her that she is injured and should rest more, so she can only leave her brother’s bed at midnight, and returned to her own room.

Liu Guang, the elegant and gentle servant girl of the Gu family, stayed behind to take care of her, but Mo Qiqi insisted not to let Liu Guang sleep on the ground, so the two girls slept beside each other on a narrow wooden bed.

The two women slept side-by-side on the narrow wooden board bed, which had been spoiled by a villain not long ago. As if something was stuck on her throat, Mo Qiqi watched the empty space and sent the whole set of blood-stained thick bedding, including the sheets, to be burned in the kitchen stove.

But her family was so poor and she didn’t have any spare ones, so she and Liu Guang shared the thin spring and autumn quilt, which couldn’t keep out the cold night. She worried about her brother, so she couldn’t fall asleep at all. She just laid there while staring at the ceiling of her room.

After hearing a male voice calling “Miss Mo.” softly outside the window, Mo Qiqi got up straight away, with her clothes intact, and she directly got out of bed and slipped on her shoes and ran to her brother’s courtyard immediately. Liu Guang rubbed her eyes and followed behind her.

Mo Qiqi entered the room, while bringing a gust of wind along with her, and the shadows of the candles swayed around and changed.

Mo Qi was holding Gu Ningxi’s hand, while pouring out his unwillingness of missing the imperial examination and dying at an early age. His words was suddenly interrupted by Mo Qiqi’s arrival, and he suddenly waved to her, “Qiniang, come here.” Right in front of his bed, Mo Qi solemnly held Mo Qiqi’s hand while he put it into Gu Ningxi’s palm, he coughed and said, “It’s our blessings to get to know Brother Yi. After I leave, Qiniang will be entrusted to Brother Yi. I hope you will protect her for the rest of her life.”

Gu Ningxi let out a long sigh, and forced himself to respond, but he suddenly withdrew his hand away and carried it behind his back.

Mo Qiqi didn’t care about such details, she immediately pouted and glanced at her Brother Xi, then she tightly held her brother’s hand. She encouraged Mo Qi to hold on, and told him that the doctor would come back for consultation tomorrow.

Mo Qi shook his head and laughed at her, “Qiniang, I once blocked your affection for…, but I didn’t expect that it would become a prophecy, and I’m going to die. Please don’t hate your brother.” Mo Qi was worried that Gu Ningxi was present, so he swallowed back his words but Mo Qiqi still understood what he meant. She put Mo Qi’s hand on her face, and responded with tears flowing like a river on her face, “Brother, I’m not sensible. I, I don’t want Brother Xi anymore, I only want you to live!”

Gu Ningxi had silently dodged to the side just now, when he heard her words, he suddenly stared at Mo Qiqi, not knowing whether her words were true or not. His heart was slightly rippling, how good it must be for him to be back as righteous brothers and sisters instead!

He suddenly wanted to invite all the famous doctors in the world to treat Mo Qi, so that he could live longer. However, thinking that Dr. Cao was hopeless, he clenched his hands into fists and tightened them even more.

Mo Qi reluctantly exerted his strength, caressed his sister’s tender face, and sighed that he could no longer see his relatives wearing a red wedding dress. Before anyone could answer, he seemed to think that if Mo Qiqi was really turned into a concubine, she would never be able to wear a red wedding dress. With a wry smile, he started coughing for a long while.

After a little relief, Mo Qi thought of what to say, “It’s all your brother’s fault. I took you away from home and left you halfway. I’m sorry, Qiniang.”

“Qiniang! Remember what I said, you have to stick to your duty as a concubine, Don’t force what you want onto others, and don’t provoke the relationship between yourself and the madam.”

“Don’t forget your brother, from now on, you will be the only one to burn the paper money for my grave, Qiniang.”

Mo Qiqi also wanted to raise her hand to cover her brother’s mouth. She doesn’t want to listen to his ominous words but she was afraid that she would never be able to hear Mo Qi’s instructions ever again, so she listened intently, not daring to say a word, and while listening, she was violently shaking her head silently, just like a child playing with a rattle.

Finally, looking at the tearful younger sister in front of him, and at the silent brother-in-law under the shadow of the candlelight, Mo Qi smiled and said, “I need to be relieved even though I am a bit worried.” Those words were accompanied by his last mouthful of black blood.

Mo Qiqi found that her brother’s hand had lost its strength. His hands slipped out from her palm, and hit the edge of the bed heavily, she started screaming, “Brother, brother!”

She started shaking the patient’s body with her hands, but in despair she found that Mo Qi had already passed away.

Gu Ningxi dabbled in many books, and had a little understanding of medical writings. Just now, he realized that Mo Qi had finally left for the light. At this time, he stretched out his hand to check on Mo Qi’s breathing, he closed his eyes for a moment, and bid farewell to his friend and confidant. Unfortunately, their fate was not enough to last for more than four months. Such a young friend….

Hearing a gentle male voice beside her ears saying, “My condolences.” Mo Qiqi turned around and threw herself into Gu Ningxi’s arms, and started crying, “My brother is dead! How could he die?” What she was thinking was that Mo Qi obviously lived longer than in his previous life Well, why not live longer?

Gu Ningxi’s body suddenly turned stiff, and He Niang’s usual demeanor and joy suddenly appeared in his mind. He suddenly felt dizzy as if he was being struck by a thunderbolt.

He knew that he should comfort Mo Qiqi, but he still pushed the woman away in embarrassment. He backed up immediately and almost tripped.

He stood firmly and looked back at her, Gu Ningxi clearly saw the hurt look on Mo Qiqi’s face, and her tears were clearly visible under the candlelight.

He felt the same, but he didn’t move at all, he only pointed at her clear appearance and said, “Qiniang, you will precede over the funeral procedures, so it’s time to take care of the funeral for Brother Mo.”

Mo Qiqi is an orphan girl who doesn’t understand funerals. She only knew how to cry at Mo Qi’s corpse, what can she do?

Gu Ningxi arranged for some servants to call the housekeeper of the Gu’s residence and other experienced people. The funeral was then held in the middle of the night and they were so busy. It was not until the sun finally rose that the coffin was set up.

Gu Ningxi was only able to catch his breath after a while. He ordered Liu Guang and Zhui Yun to take care of Mo Qiqi, who was dressed in plain clothes, and was about to leave by himself.

After seeing the girl’s questioning look, he hastily prevaricated and said, “I’ll go back to the mansion first.” He got on his own carriage, changed his mind and went to the Tao Manor in a hurry.

Unfortunately for him, he was forbidden entry without permission, so he had to calm himself down and put himself in her position to think about the reason behind the lady’s refusal yesterday.

That’s right, the lady didn’t know that Qiniang’s unforeseen misfortune was said to be related to him, and she didn’t know that her brother, who depended on her for life, died suddenly.

After he meets with her, he would explain everything to her clearly. He would emphasize that he would only provide protection for her and never have any other intentions for her. He Niang should be able to forgive him, right?

She will, right?

Gu Ningxi was worried, after looking back to what went wrong yesterday, and remembering Tao Xinhe’s embarrassment, and how she started vomiting yesterday, it took a long time for him to realize, what happened to his wife afterwards? Did she see a doctor?

The back leaning on the carriage ledge was suddenly knocked on, Gu Ningxi returned to his senses and heard a playful, clear male voice calling out “Gu Sicheng? Did you fall asleep inside?” He raised his breath and responded, “No, I’m here.” Then he lifted the curtain and got out of the carriage. He was facing the blurred face of a man, he didn’t know how to address him for a while, and found it difficult to talk.

The person who came was Tao Muxian. The young servant Shihua saw this, and he hurried over to his master to remind him.

Tao Muxian, who was originally accompanying the guests in the main room of the outer courtyard, suddenly heard Gu Sicheng’s visit, and took the lead and went out of the house to meet the person.

He bowed his hands to Gu Ningxi in a sloppy salute, and said with a sneer, “Gu Sicheng personally visited, what’s your business here?” Without waiting for Gu Ningxi to reply, he said again, “Ah, I forgot that Gu Sicheng doesn’t recognize anyone. It’s okay. My sister doesn’t recognize you anymore. She is now accompanying my father to receive some distinguished guests, and she had no time to see you. So you can leave by yourself.”

Gu Ningxi’s thoughts seemed to have slowed down by half a beat. After seeing his brother-in-law finish his rhetoric and turn around to go back to the house, he only forced himself to resist the pain in his throat and asked, “Muxian, dare I ask if He Niang… Knows… That I’ve come to pick her up? ”

The author has something to say: 

When this little author was writing about Mo Qi passing away, he wanted to find some information about funerals in ancient times, but was surprised by the complexity of the whole thing.

In ancient times,”The matter of death is like the matter of life”, and it must be strictly considered. As the mourner, Mo Qiqi has to follow very complicated etiquette procedures.

In order to simplify the writing and promote the plot, this little author silently skipped the whole ceremony, hoping that no one would call me out for it, nor the whole thing be ruined by me. Thank you baby angel readers for the understanding.


Things are too complex, I don’t even know what to feel anymore, on one side there’s that innocent Mo Qiqi who don’t know what she’s doing, There’s Tao Xinhe who was filled by jealousy and wouldn’t even listen, Gu Ningxi who seemed smart but doesn’t even know how to explain nor consider his wife’s feelings, then there’s that Ji Chang Bo guy who seemed to want to snatch Tao Xinhe away..

Like so many things are happening! I feel like I need some breathing space. ᕙ⁠(⁠⇀⁠‸⁠↼⁠‶⁠)⁠ᕗ