Chapter 33: Bursting Bubbles 

Ji Chang Bo let the host family walk ahead, leaving himself two steps behind Tao Xin He.

It was now afternoon, and the warm sun stretched the two figures long.

The shadows are more or less distorted as they brush pass by the low flowers and trees on the roadside that have not yet rejuvenated to spring. Judging from the reflection, one is petite and the other is tall and strong, as if they were walking side-by-side. Cheng Shicheng watched from the corner of his eye. He was hoping in his heart that such a scene can be realized by the both of them as soon as possible.

The servants trailed further behind.

The aura of the strong man behind her and the faint heat emanating from him made Tao Xinhe somewhat uncomfortable. She thought that even though his body was damaged, his appearance could still bluff people, and he was still powerful.

She tried to take a few quick steps to increase the distance between them, but found that Cheng Shicheng was still on the same pace as her. It was as if he was maintaining a constant arm’s distance, subtly stuck on the borderline of offense.

When they first left the flower hall, they exchanged a few words of courtesy, then basically walked in silence as their pace changed.

Tao Xinhe didn’t want to rush around in her own residence, it would seem as if she was running away. So she looked ahead. When she saw the Manor gate behind the screen wall, she finally ignored the feeling of discomfort, and focused on sending Cheng Shicheng to his carriage to finish off her task of sending the guest off.

“Madam Gu, you have a depressed look on your face, did you encounter some troubles?” After seeing the half-open corner of the Tao Manor gate in the distance, Cheng Shicheng’s heart felt saddened. Why was this section of the road so short? He could not resist, looking at the side of the beautiful woman’s face, as if provoking a slightly rude topic.

(T/N: No absolutely not she’s creeped out by you. You creep!)

After hearing the mellow male voice for the first time in a while, she seemed to be a little frightened, Tao Xinhe paused slightly, and raised her hand instinctively to caress the center of her eyebrows.

It was only later that she realized that she was trying to cover up, she turned her face, looked straight ahead, smiled, and said that she was fine. She then thanked him for his concern and wanted to pass it by.

As they talked, they walked around the shade wall and came to the front door of the Manor, crossing the high threshold with mutual courtesy.

Cheng Shicheng hadn’t finished speaking, when she suddenly fixed her gaze on a spot. He stopped talking and stilled for a while. She simply stood there firmly in front of the Tao Manor. As if she was looking somewhere behind him, her eyes were fixed, her expression seemed sad but also happy.

As if he felt something, he turned around, and sure enough, six feet outside the gate of the Manor, there was a carriage with the emblem of the Gu Mansion parked. The horses obediently cuddled up to the driver, licking the sugar grains in his hand.

In stark contrast, the three people standing opposite each other by the side of the carriage seemed to be in a state of tension, or, at least, unilaterally.

The one standing facing the entrance of the house is the young and talented official of the Ministry of Rites, Gu Ningxi, whom Cheng Shicheng had met the day before, and he was followed by a servant.

The one with his back to them, based on his figure and his voice, Cheng Shicheng confirmed that it was Tao Muxian, who said that he was going to the toilet, but instead ran to stop his brother-in-law at the entrance of the Manor.

Tao Muxian spoke with his chest upright, had no restraint at all, and it was normal for his voice to be heard because it was too loud, “Gu Sicheng, what do you mean pick-up? This is my sister’s home, where are you going to pick her up? Oh, Gu Mansion. No, I’m sorry, my sister isn’t so special anymore!”

Gu Ningxi stayed up all night, after experiencing the grief of a friend’s death. He also helped an orphaned girl with a funeral, and he immediately rushed here at dawn, he hadn’t even had breakfast yet, and he already felt so dizzy.

However, he knew that he was in the wrong, and he wanted a favor from others, so he had no choice but to swallow the bitterness when he heard the harsh words, and swallowed the body fluid to moisten his throat.

He immediately said in a low tone of voice, “Muxian already knows, right? I have made my wife angry, you can scold me, I will accept it all. I just hope you can let me come into the house and make amends to my wife in person.”

Tao Muxian became impatient, and his voice became louder, “Who wants to scold you, it’s a waste of my saliva! I’ve said it just now, Gu Sicheng, you’re face-blind, but are you also blind? Or deaf? My sister has something going on in the house, she has no time to see her… well… Ex-husband.”

Seeing Gu Ningxi’s face paler as he wished, he didn’t forget to mutter, “Still an annoying ex-husband.”

Gu Ningxi’s stomach was full of blood and tears from the word “Ex-husband”, and his heart welled up. It hurts, and he didn’t even know where he is today or where he stands.

He was about to refute “We are still husband and wife”, but before he could say anything, Shihua came up and tugged at his sleeve, reminding him in a low voice, “Madam is out.”

Gu Ningxi was overjoyed, his expression lit up in an instant, his body immediately straightened up, and he looked towards the gate of the Tao Manor.

He then saw a pair of two people at a distance, they should be saying goodbye reluctantly. The man in the blue robe is tall and powerful, and the woman in the red skirt is slim and exquisite. The atmosphere between the two is harmonious and ambiguous, and their shoulders are almost touching.

Even though Gu Ningxi still couldn’t see any of their faces clearly, he had to admit that the scene was really pleasing to the eye. If he didn’t know that the woman was his wife.

When was there ever such a well-dressed and fancy clothed person next to his wife? Why is he using his body to cover the lady from the sun, as if showing an attitude of protecting the woman?

Gu Ningxi felt that his mind was in a state of chaos, and he couldn’t make out any clues, it seemed like even a lightning strike was nothing more than that.

As if feeling timid due to the proximity of his wife, he murmured and asked, “Madam is wearing a red dress today?” He didn’t know who he was asking.

Shihua nodded heavily, and was about to say “Madam”, but was choked back by Tao Xinhe’s chilly gaze. He stood back two steps, hoping that his master would seek his own good fortune.

Tao Muxian sneered and said, “Isn’t that my sister? Look, how happy she is without you. She had bright and clear eyes. Oh, it’s a pity that Gu Sicheng couldn’t recognize it clearly. Oh didn’t you say that you wanted to apologize? But you must ask permission to the right person first. How can there be any sincerity when others can not even determine their identities?”

Tao Xinhe looked at Gu Ningxi who was not far away, and found that her heart was peaceful.

She neither want to blame him for not chasing after her last night, nor ask why he is in such a sorry mess now.

Even if she thought of these two points in an instant, she didn’t want to hear a word of the other party’s lies. After all, this is Gu Ningxi who can say “Taking a concubine does not affect the husband and wife”.

Besides, after she left yesterday, whatever Gu Ningxi went through, what does it have to do with her?

She looked at this man, wearing a dark brown robe that she had selected and tailored for him last year. She found that the shoulders, waist, etc. were a bit too wide, which could not fully complement his clear and noble figure, so she ordered her servants to press it down at the bottom of the box.

It was really not suitable for him, somehow just by looking at his upper body, and today he looked even more empty, the man showed a slight look of frailty.

She closed her eyes silently, as if mocking herself in her heart. He already had Mo Qiqi, and she was so pretty. So why would he be so frail?

This man is really interesting, he doesn’t even care about the new stubble around his lips, he even looks heartbroken, is he here to play tricks on her again?

After adjusting her breathing, Tao Xinhe opened her eyes, and greeted her younger brother as if nothing had happened, “Muxian, come here, we will see off the guests.”

After seeing the way they interacted, Cheng Shicheng guessed their problem from the way the husband and wife were looking at each other but not even making a sound.

He raised his hand and waved at Tao Muxian twice to express his respect, and smiled more heartily at Tao Xinhe, “He Niang is too polite, I deeply admire He Niang as a person. If there is anything I can do for you, please let me know, I am willing to be used by you.”

As he spoke, Cheng Shicheng swept his eyes over where Gu Ningxi was standing, and saw that the other party stopped. He then proudly put his hands behind his back, turned his eyes to stare at Tao Xinhe, and waited quietly for her response.

‘He called her, He Niang?!’

Gu Ningxi caught the lady’s sweet and crisp voice, and even though she didn’t say a word about him, he was still happy. He was about to step forward and hold the lady’s hand to tell her a good story. He lifted his robe and moved forward, but was stopped by Tao Muxian’s elbow, while he snorted coldly.

As soon as he restrained his staggering steps and bypassed his brother-in-law, Gu Ningxi heard a somewhat familiar man’s voice, calling his lady’s boudoir name affectionately and naturally!

The man’s tone was intimate, as if implying something, and the meaning could not be studied in detail, as if… as if he knew that the lady had already separated from him!

Emotions such as embarrassment, bewilderment, and regret came overwhelmingly into him in an instant. Gu Ningxi only felt at a loss. His original heart fantasized several times about, “Him folding up all his care, to seek the understanding of his wife, and cancel the separation so they can return to their house..” scene, but like a laundress with a soap and a colorless bubble, when a light wind pass by, it would instantly burst, disappearing in the breeze without a trace.

Gu Ningxi shook his head imperceptibly, “My lady~~”. he was facing Tao Xinhe, he tried his best to raise the volume and call out. He sounded like a lost traveler longing for a guide.

Tao Xinhe was actually shocked by Cheng Shicheng’s straightforward words, she frowned and pressed her lips together.

Is it because generals don’t care about avoiding women’s boudoir names, or is it because Sir Jichang himself is different and just casually calls women’s boudoir names even though they are not even relatives?

The two of them just met for the first time the day before, and it was just a polite meeting, no grace, no grudge, and no involvement, how did it mention her using him?

However, this is not the time to care about the other party’s reckless words, she opened her mouth twice before making herself sound normal, “I thank old sir for coming here in person, please take your time and walk slowly.”

‘Hurry up and go see off the guest!’

She directed her brother with her eyes. Tao Muxian understood his sister’s glance immediately, and after glancing hard at Gu Ningxi, he walked up briskly towards Cheng Shicheng’s spot, he then stretched out his hand as a gesture of respect, and raised his face with a bright smile, “Sir, please.”

Cheng Shicheng was extremely reluctant, he turned his eyes twice between Tao Xinhe beside him and at Gu Ningxi who was four feet away, and bid farewell to the beauty, “He Niang, see you next time.” He secretly added in his heart, I will try my best to win you, as soon as possible.

Tao Xinhe bowed her skirt in a salute, and avoided Gu Ningxi’s anxious gaze. Who knows why that person is focusing on her?

As for the distinguished guest’s “Goodbye”, her tone was affirmative. She thought about Cheng Shicheng and the marriage between his adopted son and Gu Runing, she knew that the two parties would meet again, so she kept silent. She would only talk about it with him then.

After half a stick of incense, and seeing that the carriage of Ji Changbo’s mansion had turned around the intersection and there was no shadow in sight, Tao Muxian returned to his sister’s side, inadvertently interrupting the silent and stagnant atmosphere between her and Gu Ningxi.

As if some mechanism had been pressed, Gu Ningxi felt that time was flowing again, his heart was less stuffy, and finally he was able to call out with a tone of incomparable exclamation, “He Niang.”

‘Inhale as hard as you can first, and then exhale slowly.’

Tao Xinhe exhaled the breath that was choking in her heart for a long time. She was cold and indifferent, with an ethereal tone, and said her first words since seeing Gu Ningxi, “Gu Sicheng , you have overstepped your title.”