'In the future Tu Yun will be living here,' Tao Fang Ao said. 'Big sister-in-law, Tu Yun is still weak. I'll take her back to her bedchamber to rest.'
Tao Fang Ao held Tao Tu Yun's hand and he glared at Luo Bing Liang for putting Tao Tu Yun's health at risk.
'Xiao Cheng, look at your second master Tao,' Luo Bing Liang said. 'Now his eyes can only see Tu Yun. He even glared at me for inviting Tu Yun outside for fresh air. Should I tell your first master Tao that your second master Tao disrespected me?'
Xiao Cheng was stuck in the middle between Luo Bing Liang and Tao Fang Ao.
'Mistress, if you tell first master Tao, he'll say that you shouldn't interfere in second master Tao's business,' Xiao Cheng said. 'Besides, isn't second master Tao falling for lady Tao what you wanted?'
'I changed my mind,' Luo Bing Liang said. 'Your second master Tao doesn't deserve a good woman like Tu Yun. I regret helping him pursue Tu Yun.'
'Mistress, I should take you back to first master Tao,' Xiao Cheng said. 'First master Tao will worry if mistress is outside too long.'
'Alright,' Luo Bing Liang said. 'Let's go.'
Xiao Cheng helped Luo Bing Liang stand, and Luo Bing Liang winked at Tao Tu Yun.
Tao Tu Yun sighed. She understood Luo Bing Liang left to give her and Tao Fang Ao privacy.
'Why aren't you coming with me to your bedchamber?' Tao Fang Ao asked.
Tao Fang Ao hated Tao Tu Yun keeping her distance from him.
'It's rude of us to walk away from Bing Liang,' Tao Tu Yun said.
'I shouldn't let you spend too much time with big sister-in-law,' Tao Fang Ao whispered in Tao Tu Yun's ear.
Tao Fang Ao enclosed Tao Tu Yun's hands in his hands and he blew hot air onto her hands.
'You're too close,' Tao Tu Yun said.
'You're still sick,' Tao Fang Ao said. 'You shouldn't be outside for too long.'
Tao Fang Ao kissed Tao Tu Yun's hands and she blushed.
A maid coughed awkwardly and Tao Tu Yun felt like Tao Fang Ao putting her in a compromising position ruined her reputation.
Tao Tu Yun hid her face on Tao Fang Ao's chest. She hoped in vain that the maid didn't recognise her.
Tao Fang Ao smiled at Tao Tu Yun's failed attempt at hiding herself. Anyone of his servants could recognise Tao Tu Yun's hair style. He felt it was natural for him to kiss her and hug her in front of people.
'I'll take you back to your bedchamber,' Tao Fang Ao said.
Tao Fang Ao wrapped an arm around Tao Tu Yun's shoulder and escorted her back to her bedchamber. He took no notice of Li Tai Feng who was glaring in their direction from a distance.
A couple of days later, Tao Tu Yun sat next to her open bedchamber window and let the breezes into her bedchamber. She didn't feel the cold.
'Mistress, why did you open the window?' Su Wu asked. 'What if you catch another cold?'
Su Wu closed the window. She helped Tao Tu Yun sit on the bed, draped a blanket around Tao Tu Yun's shoulders and put a cup of warm tea in Tao Tu Yun's cold hands.
Tao Tu Yun stared blankly at the cup of tea in her hands.
'Mistress, the last couple of days you haven't been yourself,' Su Wu said. 'Does it have anything to do with second master Tao?'
'Su Wu, you understand me the most,' Tao Tu Yun said. 'You know why I'm troubled.'
Tao Tu Yun understood if Tao Fang Ao kissed and hugged her in front of his servants, it meant his feelings for her were serious. She was conflicted. If she shouldn't return his feelings then she shouldn't mislead him.
'Mistress, can you say you don't have feelings for second master Tao?' Su Wu asked. 'Everyone can see that he cares about you.'
Su Wu heard the rumors from the servants that Tao Fang Ao wanted to marry Tao Tu Yun.
'Which is why I can't stay here,' Tao Tu Yun said.
'What?' Su Wu asked. 'Mistress, didn't you say you wanted to leave the Tao Manor honorably. Mistress, don't you want to wait until your reputation is restored?'
'I'm scared when the truth is exposed, I can't leave,' Tao Tu Yun said. 'Su Wu, can you go pack our belongings? We'll leave at the right opportunity.'
'But...' Su Wu said.
Su Wu didn't want Tao Tu Yun to be sadder so she swallowed her protest. She understood why Tao Tu Yun couldn't stay. Why did the heavens need to be cruel to good people like Tao Tu Yun?
'Lady Tao are you inside?' elder Jiang asked from the door.
Su Wu opened the door and greeted elder Jiang.
'Elder Jiang, do you need to see mistress?' Su Wu asked.
'Second master Tao invited lady Tao for a game of chess,' elder Jiang said.
Tao Tu Yun walked slowly to the door and coughed a little to decline Tao Fang Ao's invitation.
'Elder Jiang, I'm not feeling well,' Tao Tu Yun said. 'I'm resting today. Please tell your second master Tao that I'm sorry I'm not well enough to play chess.'
'I'll inform second master Tao,' elder Jiang said. 'Lady Tao, do you want me to call a physician?'
'No,' Tao Tu Yun said. 'I still have bags of herbal remedies I haven't opened.'
Tao Tu Yun didn't want elder Jiang to call a physician for nothing, and she didn't want Tao Fang Ao to suspect she was avoiding him.
'I hope lady Tao will get well soon,' elder Jiang said. 'I'm going to see second master Tao now.'
'Elder Jiang, wait,' Tao Tu Yun said. 'Are you going to the markets?'
'Yes,' elder Jiang said. 'Lady Tao, do you want me to buy anything for you?'
Elder Jiang hoped that Tao Tu Yun would marry Tao Fang Ao, because he knew Tao Tu Yun would be a good mistress to everyone at the Tao Manor.
'No,' Tao Tu Yun said. 'Elder Jiang, trust me. When you're at the markets, if you hear someone call your name, do not turn around or stop. Remember to keep walking.'
Elder Jiang was surprised by Tao Tu Yun's warning, but the seriousness in her eyes showed him that she wasn't jesting.
'Lady Tao...' elder Jiang said.
'Elder Jiang, remember my warning,' Tao Tu Yun said.
Tao Tu Yun closed the door, and left elder Jiang standing confused on the same spot for a while.
After elder Jiang left, Su Wu opened the door to let fresh air in.
'Mistress, you shouldn't put elder Jiang's life on your shoulders,' Su Wu said.
'But I can't stand by and let something bad happen to elder Jiang,' Tao Tu Yun said.
Su Wu sighed. Her mistress' heart was too kind. She saw Tao Fang Ao walking toward her mistress' bedchamber and she smiled.
'Mistress, it looks like you can't avoid fate even if you wanted to,' Su Wu teased.
Tao Fang Ao walked toward Tao Tu Yun and he frowned.
'Tu Yun, didn't you say you're unwell?' Tao Fang Ao asked. 'What are you doing standing at the door on a windy day?'
'I... we can talk inside,' Tao Tu Yun said.
Tao Tu Yun turned around and avoided the scrutiny in Tao Fang Ao's eyes.
Tao Fang Ao followed Tao Tu Yun into her bedchamber and they sat at a table. He looked around her bedchamber and became suspicious why all the furnishings looked neat and tidy like they were untouched.
'Are you used to living here yet?' Tao Fang Ao asked.
'Your home isn't my home,' Tao Tu Yun said. 'There's no reason for me to get used to living here.'
Tao Fang Ao poured warm tea into Tao Tu Yun's cup and he smiled like he didn't hear her.
'Tu Yun, if you're bored here,' Tao Fang Ao said. 'I can take you sightseeing.'
Tao Fang Ao hated Tao Tu Yun talk as though she was going to leave him.
Tao Tu Yun walked to the open window.
'No...' Tao Tu Yun said.
Suddenly Tao Tu Yun had a coughing fit and pressed a hand over her constricted heart.
Tao Fang Ao rushed to Tao Tu Yun's side and he held her in his arms.
'What's wrong?' Tao Fang Ao asked. 'Where are you feeling pain?'
Tao Fang Ao's heart ache to see Tao Tu Yun's whitened face and to feel her frail body in his arms like she would disappear if he let go of her body.
Tao Tu Yun suppressed another sharp heart pain. It was her fault for interfering with the fates of people around her.
Tao Tu Yun cared about her imperfect fiance. Her hands naturally held his cheeks. She wished she had more time, but they weren't meant to be.
'Tu Yun...' Tao Fang Ao called.
Tao Tu Yun fainted in Tao Fang Ao's arms. He carried her to the bed, and ran outside to instruct a maid to call a physician.
A shichen hour later, the physician examined Tao Tu Yun.
'Second master Tao, lady Tao's heart is beating erratically,' the physician said. 'I'll give her an herbal remedy to reduce her heartbeat.'
'Are you certain Tu Yun will be alright?' Tao Fang Ao asked. 'Before she fainted in my arms, she had heart pain.'
The physician knew Tao Tu Yun was Tao Fang Ao's future wife so the physician wasn't surprised Tao Fang Ao was worried about Tao Tu Yun's health.
'Second master Tao, I'm certain lady Tao doesn't have a heart condition,' the physician said.
'Thank you,' Tao Fang Ao said. 'A maid will escort you outside.'
The physician left and Tao Fang Ao stood guard by Tao Tu Yun's bedside. Tao Fang Ao wanted to stay with Tao Tu Yun until she woke up, but elder Jiang ran into the bedchamber looking for Tao Tu Yun. Tao Fang Ao signalled elder Jiang to follow him into the courtyard so they wouldn't disturb Tao Tu Yun.
In the courtyard, elder Jiang recounted what happened at the markets to Tao Fang Ao.
'Elder Jiang, say it again but calmly,' Tao Fang Ao said.
'Second master Tao, before I left the Tao Manor, lady Tao knew I was going to the markets even though I didn't tell anyone,' elder Jiang said. 'Lady Tao warned me when I'm at the markets if someone calls my name then I shouldn't turn around and I should keep walking. At that time I didn't know what lady Tao meant, but she didn't look like she was jesting...'
Elder Jiang rubbed his pounding heart. He was grateful toward Tao Tu Yun for warning him otherwise he wouldn't be alive.
'I walked toward the markets,' elder Jiang said. 'I heard someone calling my name. I wanted to turn around, but I remembered lady Tao's warning so I walked faster. At a distance I heard someone screamed. I turned around, it was an innocent man lying dead on the ground. The dead man's head was bleeding. Above the dead man was a drunk man drinking on the balcony. The drunk man had dropped a wine jar on top of the innocent man's head and killed the innocent man.'
Elder Jiang understood if Tao Tu Yun didn't warn him then the innocent man who died would have been him.
'Elder Jiang, are you saying Tu Yun predicted the future?' Tao Fang Ao asked.
Tao Fang Ao remembered what happened on the first day he met Tao Tu Yun. He heard there were two young women who weren't locals had warn a cook about a fire. He suspected they were Tao Tu Yun and Su Wu. Did Tao Tu Yun suddenly fainting had a connection to her warning elder Jiang about the future?
'Yes,' elder Jiang said.
'Go bring Su Wu here,' Tao Fang Ao said.
Elder Jiang found Su Wu talking with Xiao Hong in the kitchen, because Su Wu had wanted to give Tao Fang Ao and Tao Tu Yun privacy.
'Second master Tao, where is mistress?' Su Wu asked. 'I thought you were with mistress.'
'Your mistress and I were talking then she suddenly fainted,' Tao Fang Ao said.
'What?' Su Wu asked. 'I knew it. But mistress wouldn't listen to me, and risked her life to save other people.'
'Explain what happened calmly,' Tao Fang Ao said.
'Mistress... she was born with a gift, she can see the future,' Su Wu said. 'At the age of sixteen, mistress met a master sage. The sage warned mistress that because she interfered in the fates of other people, she was going to pay with her life at a young age.'
Tao Fang Ao was scared of losing Tao Tu Yun. He knew Tao Tu Yun was a kind person, and would risk her life to save other people.
'Su Wu, promise me that you won't tell another person what you told me about Tu Yun otherwise you'll put her life in danger,' Tao Fang Ao warned. 'Elder Jiang, you can't tell anyone about Tu Yun's gift either.'
Tao Fang Ao didn't want anyone to take advantage of Tao Tu Yun's gift and he didn't want to lose her.
'Second master Tao, I understand,' Su Wu said. 'Can I go see mistress?'
'I'll take care of Tu Yun,' Tao Fang Ao said. 'Go and see if Tu Yun's herbal remedy is brewed yet.'
Tao Fang Ao walked back into Tao Tu Yun's bedchamber. He sat on her bed. He didn't expect someone who looked frail could predict the future, and didn't know whether she was kind hearted or foolish.
Tao Tu Yun opened her eyes, and felt disorientated.
'Tu Yun, are you in pain?' Tao Fang Ao asked.
'What happened?' Tao Tu Yun asked.
Tao Tu Yun turned her head to shake off Tao Fang Ao's hand on her forehead. She hoped he didn't see her feelings the moment before she fainted.
Tao Fang Ao remembered how fragile Tao Tu Yun felt in her arms.
'Tu Yun, is there something you want to tell me?' Tao Fang Ao asked.
'I...' Tao Tu Yun said.
Tao Fang Ao saw Tao Tu Yun avoid his eyes and he sighed.
'Su Wu explained to me about your gift,' Tao Fang Ao said. 'Tu Yun, don't you know it's dangerous to interfere with fate? You shouldn't risk your life.'
Tao Tu Yun was grateful Su Wu didn't tell Tao Fang Ao that she was going to die soon.
'I can't stand by and watch people suffer,' Tao Tu Yun said.
'How many people do you think you can save with your body?' Tao Fang Ao asked. 'Can't you see how weak your body is? You...'
Tao Fang Ao saw Tao Tu Yun lowered her head so he calmed himself down.
Tao Fang Ao hugged Tao Tu Yun and he signed.
'Tu Yun, tell me what I should do with you,' Tao Fang Ao whispered Tao Tu Yun's ear.
Tao Tu Yun's eyes stung. She believed Luo Bing Liang's words, Tao Fang Ao didn't care about arranged marriages because he would only marry for love.
Tao Tu Yun regretted she couldn't marry Tao Fang Ao because her life was ending soon.
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