Chapter 746 - Handkerchief
The guard sent Ji Yunshu’s handkerchief inside, but coincidentally met Mo Ruo on his way out. “Young Master Mo, Teacher Ji had me send this over for you to take a look and find out what kind of herb this is.”
Mo Ruo had a bottle of wine dangling from his fingers. He glanced at the handkerchief and accepted it. After the guard left, he took the handkerchief and passed it to an apprentice, instructing, “Bring this up into the pavilion. I’ll look at it when I get back. Don’t let anyone else touch it.”
“Okay.” The apprentice took the handkerchief and asked, “Shifu, where are you going?”
“Shut it.” He strode out the door and mounted his horse.
The apprentice chased after him, raising his voice to shout, “Shifu, what if Shimu looks for you?”
“Then say that I’m dead.” He tossed those words behind him as he left.
The apprentice’s mouth twitched as he stood there for a moment. Before he delivered the carefully folded handkerchief to the upper floor of the pavilion. Just as he put it down, he heard the sound of someone coming upstairs. The rapid footsteps made it obvious that it was Tang Si.
“Ah Mo!” Tang Si called out.
The apprentice turned around to see her cradling a large pile of food in her arms. There were pastries, fruit, masks, and sugar figurines…
“Shimu, why did you buy such a huge pile of things back again?” The apprentice fretted. If this continued, Shifu would surely be eaten out of house and home!
Tang Si put down her things, then started looking around as she ate a sesame pastry. “Where is Ah Mo?”
“Shifu said that he’s…” dead!
“What are you hemming and hawing for? I asked you, where is he?”
“Dead! Just died!” He replied innocently.
Tang Si’s fingers went slack and the sesame pastry  fell to the ground and broke with a soft thud. She was completely stunned.
The apprentice hurriedly waved a hand and tried to explain. “Shimu, you’ve misunderstood.”
“What did you just say? You said he’s dead?”
“No, not dead…”
“So is he dead or not?”
“Dead.” The apprentice then quickly slapped his own mouth. “Shifu didn’t die, he merely went out. As he left, he asked me to tell you that he’s dead.”
Tang Si almost expired from anger and glared at him. “You can kill someone by not completing your sentences. Where on earth did he go?”
“I…I don’t know.”
“Did he go to Prince Rong’s estate?”
“Probably not. It’s not far from Prince Rong’s estate and Shifu typically walks there. But just now, Shifu left on horseback. I reckon…that he’s gone to the palace.”
“To the palace? How long has it been?”
“Under a quarter of an hour. Shifu only asked me to bring this handkerchief upstairs and didn’t say anything else.” He pointed at the handkerchief placed on the desk.
Tang Si glanced at it and frowned. She reached out and picked up the neatly folded handkerchief, and before the apprentice could stop her, she had already unfurled it and waved it around. The tiny black specks that had been contained within fell out and landed on the corner of the desk, almost invisible to the naked eye.
Nobody noticed them either.
She fanned the handkerchief and brought it to her nose for a sniff. She immediately became incensed and questioned the apprentice. “Why is there a lady’s scent on this? Tell me, who gave him this handkerchief?”
“Very well, we’ve just returned to the capital and he’s already started to attract wildflowers and adoring butterflies.  Does he treat it as if I were already dead?”
“It’s not like that. A man delivered this handkerchief.” 
“What? A man?” A man gave Mo Ruo a handkerchief? Tang Si was so enraged that she crumpled the handkerchief into a ball and screamed down into the street, “Mo Ruo, I’m going to kill you!” Her piercing voice rang out clearly.
Mo Ruo rode his horse all the way to the gates of the palace. He drew out the jade pendant that served as an entry pass and showed it to the guard, then tossed his empty wine bottle at him. Finally, he sauntered inside.
The guard jiggled the wine bottle, then turned it upside down and shook it again. Not a single drop was left!
The guard opposite him smiled and mocked him, “You’re dreaming if you think you could ask for any wine from Mo-gongzi.”
“You…” His face was purple with indignation.
After entering the palace, Mo Ruo naturally headed straight to Tongren Hall.
The seasons were turning, fading into fall, and the weather had turned colder. As he entered, a cold gust of wind whistled through the run-down Tongren Hall.
Mo Ruo’s health could be considered rather robust and he had drunk so wine, so he was very warm and didn’t feel much. However, he thought about Jing Xian, who had been living in this palace hall for decades with his weak constitution. How did he survive till now?
Bi Lu was on his way back from the Office of Service and saw Mo Ruo about to enter the hall, so he hurried to catch up. “Mo-gongzi, you’ve arrived.”
Mo Ruo eyed the charcoal in his hands. “Give it to me. I’ll bring it in.”
“This servant can bring it in myself.”
“It’s fine.” He insisted on taking the charcoal and went into the hall.
The moment he entered, he directly brought the charcoal over to the furnace burner, not behaving as a guest at all. He looked at the smidgen of coal left in the burner and groused, “Really, you. Your hall had run out of coal long ago. Don’t you know to get Bi Lu to replenish your stock earlier? If you’re indifferent to it, your eunuchs would naturally also feel that it’s fine. This body is your own; if even you don’t care for it, do you expect other people to care for you?”
Jing Xian was sitting at his desk, engrossed in reading his book. No response was heard from him.
Mo Ruo took out a piece of charcoal and added it to the burner. “Don’t begrudge me for being annoying. After all, only I would come all the way here to your place.”
Haha! This garnered a laugh from Jing Xian. Without even lifting his head, he replied, “I already heard you even before you came into the room.”
“You already know that I have a loud voice.”
“You seem to have become much more energetic after your trip to Yufu.”
“Of course I’m more energetic after a leisurely and scenic holiday.” He looked at Jing Xian, who was still holding his book aloft and busy reading, and asked curiously, “You’re in a leisurely and carefree mood. Reading books and caring for your pigeons all day long.”
Jing Xian silently put down his book and sighed, then asked, “Did you enter the palace specially to visit me? Or are you here in search of wine?”
“What do you think?”
“I think that you’re here for idle conversation.”
“Why do you say that?” Mo Ruo poured himself a cup of tea and settled down as if preparing for a lengthy discourse.
Jing Xian smiled warmly and shook his head helplessly as he stood up and walked towards him. “You’ve been away from the capital for several months and must have experienced a lot. Although I remain in Tongren Hall and never take a single step out, I would still occasionally hear what Bi Lu natters at me. He said that, on this trip back to the capital, Jing Rong had brought the Late Emperor’s Edict with him but was obstructed by Secretary Ji. This enraged Imperial Father, who dismissed him from his post and sent General Ji away to the borders to deal with the Barbarians.”
“However… the most interesting thing I heard, was about the Dried Well Case that has recently caused an uproar within the capital. I heard that Jing Rong and Jing Yi will both investigate, and Imperial Father will bestow rich rewards on whoever is able to solve the case.”
Mo Ruo laughed and put on the guise of a seasoned gossip. “Jing Xian, oh Jing Xian. Tell me then, who do you think will solve the case this time?”
“This would be beyond me.”
“Is it difficult? But the way I see it, it’s not difficult at all.”
 Author, give him a name already! He's been around so much he's a proper char alrd ok =.=
 Flowers and butterflies = other girls. pretty self-explanatory right?
 For context, a handkerchief is a common love-token. So TS thinks he has a lover lol.