Chapter 32: Cunning

Tao Muxian received enlightenment from his sister this morning.

After listening to the couple’s concerns, Tao Xinhe understood that her sister-in-law’s concerns were completely incomprehensible to the silly younger brother, but she was even more moved by her relatives’ willingness to defend her future.

She slowly explained, “Gu Ningxi is Face-Blind, Muxian has known about this right? If he’s going to be in charge of the next Jinshi exam, with the courtyard full of people, he wouldn’t be able to recognize your figure. His view will be full of flat blurr-tiled faces, there is no difference. He will not recognize you, not to mention how difficult it is for him to do so. As long as you answer the paper according to the rules, there will be no problem.”

Somehow, the scene when she was thinking carefully about the characteristics of Gu Ningxi’s peers that he had to get along with in the Gongyuan for a month flashed before her eyes. She wrote down each of them one-by-one, it was then followed by the details of that man who went back to his room and took her under the bed curtain to fool around.

Tao Xinhe frowned slightly, and then quietly whispered to herself again,

‘Quickly forget it, erase it all!’

She can’t think about the old days. She can only focus on the future!

She lowered her head in a concealed manner, exhaled the spicy breath, and casually thought that next time she would like to add more powdered sugar like the one in the Jichang Bo Mansion, and finally calmed down her emotions.

After glancing at her beaming younger brother and Lady Hong who was bowing her head in thought, Tao Xinhe continued to say slowly, “As for marking the papers, he is not the only one who has the final say about it, and he must be worthy of that position. I think I understand Gu Ningxi well. To be fair, he has always been serious about his studies, and appreciates the essays of the young talents, so he is not likely to fake public service for personal gain.”

Lady Hong bit her lips and looked at her eldest Sister-in-law, and asked softly, “… But what if?”

“How Dare he? If he really takes the opportunity to admonish Muxian for personal revenge…” Tao Xinhe followed the words of her younger sister-in-law and murmured, with a lot of thoughts in her mind.

The reason for this was because Gu Ningxi did not abide by private virtue, broke their agreement as a couple, and proposed to take a concubine. It was the only reason that she insisted on the separation. But she really did not have any criticism about the other aspects of this person’s character.

Even if they are no longer together, no one wants the person who they once put all their heart and soul into their relationship to be a scum, right?

If Gu Ningxi actually violated the duties of an official, then she would definitely hate herself even more for being blind. A few years later, if it really affects Tao Muxian, then what?

After a moment of silence, Tao Xinhe solemnly proposed a response, “Heh. Father is a High ranking official of the third rank. Muxian was born from an official family. We are by no means weak and easy to bully.”

“I am familiar with the wife of Minister Zhang and the wife of the Secretary of the Department of Etiquette, whose husband is Gu Ningxi’s boss. If he does something to harm us, I will definitely reach out to those wives to uphold justice. I do not fear him as a minister. In the worst case scenario, we can still sue at the imperial court and ask His Majesty to give us justice. The Jinshi Examination is a major national event, Gu Ningxi can’t just overshadow the sky.”

As he listened to her words, Tao Muxian admired his considerate older sister even more. He can’t help but jolt in joy. He agreed with his sister’s advice to ‘Study and prepare for the exams with a peace of mind.’

His eldest daughter had just returned home, so Tao Cheng reluctantly showed up, and had breakfast with his children and daughter-in-law.

“He Niang, you are still skinny, eat a few more chopsticks.” Tao Cheng narrowed his eyes and looked at his eldest daughter for a while, wanting to express his concern, and suddenly made a surprising statement.

Tao Xinhe didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, she waved her hand to refuse the maid who listened to her father’s order and stop her from adding porridge and vegetables for her. She then responded, “Father~ you just said three or four days ago that I have recently gained some weight, so I should not be a lazy woman!”

Tao Cheng twirled his beard, tried hard to remember, and then snorted.

Lady Hong thought she had discovered the truth, and that her father-in-law was judging her weight based on her eldest sister-in-law’s marital status right?

Tao Cheng ate first and was about to leave the table when he saw a servant sending in a greeting card.

After opening and reading it, he looked puzzled and said to everyone, “Ji Chang Bo threw in a post and is about to pass through the Manor to make amends, what’s going on?”

Tao Muxian didn’t notice his sister’s chopsticks stopping abruptly, he then responded, “Isn’t Sir Ji Chang the adopted father of Cheng Jia? Father, Cheng Jia is the one who came to the door last night to apologize for teaching Qiangniang some martial arts moves which caused her to sprain her foot.”

Tao Cheng slapped his forehead and suddenly realized, “This father and son, is really too polite! I didn’t expect Mr. Ji Chang to be so modest. Tao Muxian, if you cause trouble outside, you should bear the burden yourself and don’t drag us along, do you understand?”

Tao Xinhe saw her younger brother cast a grievous glance at his father, then lowered his head, so she hastened to round up the situation. But in her heart, she thought, ‘What a coincidence, she met with Ji Chang Bo for two consecutive days in a row, and today, on the eighth day, she was at her mother’s home, and Ji Chang Bo had also come to her door.’

‘Should I show up and say hello?’

She would definitely not be able to preside over Gu Runing’s marriage anymore. She was ‘The former sister-in-law after divorce‘, her identity is not suitable anymore. However, Tao Xinhe’s original plan was to settle the separation from Gu Ningxi first, and then inform Ji Changbo about it.

If she met with Ji Changbo today, and he mentioned the marriage of his youngest son, it would be wrong for her to answer, and it would be bad not to answer. So, she just won’t appear.

Tao Xinhe did not reveal to her family that she knew Ji Changbo beforehand, but only quietly urged Tao Muxian, “You should accompany father to entertain the distinguished guests, my separation is not known to outsiders yet, so do not mention that I am at home.”

Tao Muxian nodded blankly and watched his sister gracefully put away the chopsticks and turn around to go back to her courtyard, not understanding for a moment what she meant by her words. When Last night’s guest came to visit, his sister did not even show up, nor did she give any special instructions.

In the warm sunshine, Cheng Shicheng came to the door with a warm feeling.

He is quite good with exchanging pleasantries, and with just a few words, he was able to scratch everyone’s itches, so that the infamous “Elm Wood Bump” Tao Cheng, chase after him to ask, “Was it true that the tools recorded in ‘Record of Strange Events’ are stored in Sir’s house? “

“Brother Tao, why don’t you come to my house someday and see for yourself?” Cheng Shicheng remained calm and replaced the title from ‘Tao Yuanwailang’ to ‘Brother Tao‘ to appear more cordial.

Tao Muxian looked enviously at the strong man in front of him, he was so masculine, mighty, and majestic, he really hoped that he could also develop such a body.

After Feeling that the groundwork was almost done, Cheng Shicheng wanted to ask about his pressing matter and said, “My son Cheng Jia was reckless, and caused Brother Tao’s youngest daughter’s accident. It really should not have happened. I have already punished him. The compensation list has just been sent as well. I hope Brother Tao will forgive me. I heard that Brother Tao is very lucky with his children, even your eldest daughter as the wife of Minister Gu, has a well known reputation as a virtuous wife, and is praised everywhere she goes, isn’t it?”

The strings in Tao Muxian’s heart instantly jolted. Ji Changbo seemed to be casually exchanging greetings, but he can smell the intention of inquiry.

This man is not very decent. He would even talk about a married woman!

Unfortunately, before he could say anything, Tao Cheng, who was oblivious to that fact, smilingly answered, “Sir is too serious, this official is flattered. When it comes to my daughter, she definitely has a good hand at managing the household. Coincidentally, she is in the Manor. If she knew that an outsider like you praises her so much, she would be happy.”

‘Father! Sister is not your newly made parts and mechanism, she is not something you can show off like this!’

‘You also know that this Sir is an outsider, so why did you spit out my sister’s whereabouts just like this?’ 

Tao Muxian frantically shook his head at his father’s way of treating guests in his heart, but he didn’t dare to show it on his face. He couldn’t afford to offend either of these two.

When he heard that the beautiful woman was in the Manor, the corners of Cheng Shicheng’s mouth suddenly parted, and he laughed heartily, thinking that it was God’s matchmaking, deliberately helping him.

“The first time I came to see you, I had the honor of meeting your eldest daughter. I guess, it was sisterly love, she should be grieving for her younger sister’s injury, I would like to apologize to Madam Gu as well.” Ji Chang Bo was tongue-tied and convinced that he would get his wish.

As expected, Tao Cheng followed the thoughts he had penned down and muttered to himself, “Well, He Niang was just chatting about Qiang Niang this morning. She was afraid that she might not be used to living in someone else’s home. Maybe she would like to hear what the sir had to say. Besides, she is bored with herself. What’s fun on hiding alone in her yard, seeing more people is good for her mood.”

Without waiting for Tao Muxian to divert his words, Tao Cheng ordered his servants to ask He Niang if she had any intentions of meeting the guests.

Tao Xinhe is a very considerate person, after listening to the message, she thought about the gentleness of Cheng Sicheng who held an umbrella and gave her a blanket yesterday. After thinking about it, she didn’t know how he knew that she was in the Manor, but since she was invited to come, there was absolutely no reason for her to refuse to see him.

She changed out of her homely clothes, then put on an old-fashioned pomegranate red dress, and walked out of the reception flower hall step-by-step.

She put on a proper smile, then crossed the threshold and saluted Ji Changbo.

After crouching down and standing up straight, she was greeted by Cheng Shicheng’s unconcealed bright eyes and brilliant smile, Tao Xinhe was stunned, and a thought surfaced in her mind.

‘This Sir is really warm, after seeing people he met for the first time he’s acting like he was meeting with his close friend.’

As if Infected, Tao Xinhe’s lips curved even more, and her smile was a little more sincere.

Cheng Shicheng didn’t mention Cheng Jia and Gu Runing’s marriage at all, which made Tao Xinhe put down her worries.

Cheng Shicheng and Tao Xinhe seemed to act like it was the first time that they had met each other. They would just say a few polite words, abide by the distinction between men and women, and spend most of their time talking with Tao’s father and son, Tao Muxian secretly mocked himself for being too nervous.

With the beautiful woman by his side, Cheng Shicheng felt that he could sit here forever, but the more he chatted, the more dry it became. After all, there was no relationship between them before, and the topics were limited.

Based on their conversation, He found out that ‘He Niang’ would stay in the Tao Manor for a while, although everyone kept a secret about the reason why, but what could the reason be for a married woman to suddenly go back to her mother’s house alone, it was nothing more than a quarrel with her husband.

In this way, there is a gap to take advantage of, and he needs to find an opportunity to strike right now, so he can wait for the future.

With a light cough, Cheng Shicheng was about to leave when he saw someone from Tao’s mansion come in with a look of embarrassment on his face, and whispered something to Tao Muxian.

With his refined hearing that was trained in the army, he was able to catch the word “Sicheng”.

While Tao Muxian was listening to the report, he secretly glanced at his eldest sister. Although the movements were not large, they were all caught by Cheng Shicheng’s eyes.

Could it be that Gu Ningxi came to chase after his wife?

He weighed Tao Xinhe’s reaction who was still listening to the men’s discussions, Tao Cheng who talked about his own creations, and Tao Muxian who hurriedly found an excuse to go to the toilet to leave, Cheng Shicheng felt that his opportunity has finally arrived.

After Tao Muxian left, Cheng Shicheng actually relaxed a lot. Whenever he looked at Tao Xinhe or talked to her, the child would stare at him closely, the intention of protecting his sister was obvious. He was guarding against him like he was guarding against wolves. Presumably this child has never heard the rumors that he is impotent, he is really innocent.

In short, Cheng Shicheng dismissed his intentions and waited to see what would happen to the couple Gu Ningxi and Tao Xinhe today.

Tao Xinhe didn’t quite understand, as soon as her younger brother left for the toilet, Cheng Shicheng’s eyes were fixed on her, and he would even ask her to accompany him to walk around the Tao Manor. What was his intention?

His father agreed to Ji Changbo without much thought, but Tao Xinhe knew very well that it was very inappropriate for a single man and a married woman to wander around inside the Manor.

Guarding against his suspicious actions was not in his father’s mind at all, but what about in the eyes and mouths of the ubiquitous servants?

Even if this man is an alternative young version of Mrs. Zhang Shangshu in her eyes, that won’t work.

After waiting for Tao Muxian to disappear for a while, Tao Xinhe had a headache thinking how to politely refuse, Cheng Shicheng changed the subject by himself, “Forget it, I’ll bother you next time, it’s not too late to visit your mansion. Fortunately, Brother Tao and his children are not surprised, and I am satisfied today. Now that It’s too late, I think It’s time for me to leave too. Please Madam Gu, I don’t know if you can give me the honor to send me out of the house to board the carriage?”

Although civil servants are not compared with generals, Ji Changbo’s rank is still higher than her father. The honored guest has no pretensions, and actually lowers himself to their level. From visiting the host’s house to retreating and asking someone to send him off, it will appear that the host is rude if they refuse.

Tao Xinhe thought about it, then realized she is indeed a suitable candidate to send the guest off. She glanced at her father, seeing that he was still unperturbed. She decided to go with the flow and nodded lightly in response.

The author has something to say:

Let’s talk about the psychological knowledge that Ji Changbo Cheng Shicheng unconsciously used at the end of this chapter:

As for the characters, they are fictionalized by this little author. Cheng Shicheng took every step of the way, to get He Niang to agree to send him out of the house, which is in line with psychological logic.

This little author comes here to pretend to popularize science with the baby angel readers. Welcome to leave comments and discuss.

Cough cough, knock on the blackboard – His actions are called “House demolition effect”. It is easier to be accepted by others by making unreasonable “Big Requests” first, and then making “Small requests” later, rather than directly making those small requests. (Reported from 360 Encyclopedia)

Cheng Shicheng is just one of those that corresponds to the article. His “Unreasonable Big Request” is to let He Niang take him to walk around the Tao Manor, and the “Small request” is to send him to the carriage outside the mansion.

Baby Angel readers, put yourself in the shoes of He Niang, if Cheng Shicheng said directly to He Niang: “Send me away”, How would she react?

Also, in the next chapter, guess what will happen when He Niang and Gu Ningxi meet at the gate of the mansion?


Actually I don’t know how to react. I just want to throw Ji Chang Bo and Mo Qiqi together, and lock them away. So they don’t ruin my appetite.