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    At first, Madam Shen thought Rong Shu was joking until Rong Shu unfolded the official document with the government seal, making her realize that her daughter had actually quietly divorced Yunzhi without a word.

    The mere thought of that official divorce letter made Madam Shen even more agitated.

    She poked Rong Shu's forehead and said, "What are you doing? You've only been married for less than seven months. How can you treat this so lightly? Do you know how much effort your mother put into arranging your marriage to the Gu family?"

    Rong Shu quickly went to soothe Madam Shen and said earnestly, "I just don't want to settle. Mother, I don't like Gu Changjin, and he doesn't like me either."

    Madam Shen didn't believe a word she said.

    "Don't lie to your mother. You've always been sentimental, holding onto things you like even when they're broken or spoiled. Besides, how could Yunzhi not like you? When he came to Minglu Yard last time, it was obvious he had feelings for you. Tell me, what happened?"

    "I really don't like him anymore," Rong Shu said, raising three fingers. "If you don't believe me, I'll swear on it."

    She was about to make an oath.

    Madam Shen held down her fingers and said, "What are you playing at now?"

    "I'm not joking," Rong Shu replied. "In the seven months we've been married, Gu Changjin and I have never consummated our marriage. He doesn't like me, and I don't like him anymore. Mother—"

    The young maiden put down her crescent moon pillow with a serious expression. "I don't wish to confine myself within the confines of the inner courtyard. I did genuinely have feelings for Gu Changjin in the past, but now I realize my mistake. I haven't been truly happy in Wutong Lane. If that's the case, it's better to separate early and live the life I desire."

    Once upon a time, she was indeed willing to dedicate herself to cooking for Gu Changjin and sharing harmonious days with him, playing music together.

    But that was then, the sentiments of the previous life's Rong Shu who loved Gu Changjin, not who she is now.

    Now, when she sees him, her heart is as still as a tranquil lake, harboring only respect, devoid of any other emotions.

    Madam Shen gazed at her for a long while before sighing. "Just make sure you don't regret your decision later on."

    The child probably anticipated her objections, which is why she hastily finalized the divorce papers. Now that things have come to this, what else could she do? She could only reluctantly accept it, fearing that Zhaozhao might regret it later.

    "How could she regret it?" Rong Shu smiled and said, "Mother, your daughter never hesitates or drags things out. I'm quite decisive, so you should learn from me."

    She was even praising herself now.

    How could Madam Shen not know that her daughter was again advocating for their separation? She playfully scolded, "Do you think Mother is as impulsive as you?"

    Rong Shu shook her head and said, "Mother's situation is different from yours. You have to protect the Shen family."

    At the mention of the Shen family and that person from the family, Madam Shen's heart sank. She waved her hand dismissively, saying, "Don't try to persuade your mother to divorce. I'm living freely in Minglu Yard now, and there's nothing wrong with it."

    Knowing that Madam Shen truly disliked discussing these matters, Rong Shu remained silent.

    The next morning, as soon as she woke up, she sent people to Songsi Courtyard to retrieve all her belongings.

    Minglu Yard was spacious, so finding an empty room for her possessions was effortless. There was no need for her to handle such trivial matters personally; Madam Shen had assigned Aunt Zhou and Mother Zhang for the task.

    When Aunt Zhou returned from Wutong Lane, she wore a look of deep regret.

    "I've heard that, oh, Mister Gu, or rather, Lord Gu, has been exceptionally promoted to be the Right Assistant censor in the Board of Censors. That's a fourth-rank official position!"

    To hold such a high office at such a young age promised a brilliant future, not at all inferior to the esteemed son-in-law of Qiuyun Hall.

    Miss Shen was indeed too impulsive!

    If they hadn't divorced, she could have gone back to the Cheng'an Marquis Estate and slapped the faces of the old madam and Lady Pei!

    Rong Shu was already aware that Gu Changjin would go to the Board of Censors after the imperial examination results were announced. In her previous life, immediately after the exam, a scandalous case of corruption among scholars had erupted.

    This case involved a highly respected examiner of the imperial examination, creating a huge scandal. It was the first case Gu Changjin took on after joining the Imperial Censorate.

    Aunt Zhou now regretted her actions, but she would likely change her mind in due time.

    At the Imperial Censorate.

    Gu Changjin strode into the office in his scarlet robe adorned with cloud and wild goose patterns, bowing to the person inside. "Vice Censor General."

    Meng Zong's sharp eyes scrutinized him without revealing any emotions. After a moment, he nodded. "No need for formalities. Sit down."

    After Gu Changjin sat, Meng Zong handed him a thick stack of documents. "This year's scholar cheating scandal will be investigated by you and Lord Hu. Yesterday, after the list of successful candidates was announced, a student caused a disturbance, alleging that an examiner had abused their power during the exam. I've already instructed Lord Hu to start looking into it. Since you're newly arrived at the Imperial Censorate, go find Lord Hu first to familiarize yourself with the case. Tomorrow, visit the Ministry of Rites. The chief examiner for this year's exam is Minister Fan from the Ministry of Rites."

    Lord Hu He was the Left Vice Censor General of the Imperial Censorate, one of Meng Zong's trusted allies.

    Gu Changjin received the documents respectfully. "I will not disappoint your trust, Vice Censor General."

    Meng Zong nodded, his weathered face stern. Watching Gu Changjin's departing figure, his gaze darkened.

    Exiting the office, Gu Changjin went to an adjacent chamber in search of Hu He.

    Hu He had a soft, pale complexion and kind eyes, appearing nothing like the sharp-tongued official he was known to be. Of course, to have reached the position of Left Deputy Censor-in-Chief, Hu He was by no means a weak or lenient individual.

    Upon his arrival, Hu He greeted him with a warm smile, saying, "Does Lord Gu wish for me to look into this case?"

    Gu Changjin replied, "On my way here, I briefly perused the documents presented by the Chief Censor. I now have a general understanding of the situation."

    It took only a short tea break to walk from the Chief Censor's office to this chamber. Noticing the document in Gu Changjin's hand, Hu He smiled and asked, "Tell me, what is the current status of the case?"

    Observing that Gu Changjin was standing, Hu He waved his hand casually, inviting him, "Sit, sit, why stand? What's the point?"

    Only then did Gu Changjin take a seat.

    "In the documents sent by the Chief Censor, there are three candidates involved in this case. The most notable among them is Pan Xueliang, the top scorer in the metropolitan examination. According to the confidential reports, this young man has average talent. In the previous provincial examination in Yang State Prefecture, he ranked at the bottom. Yet, since arriving in the capital, he has mysteriously visited Minister Fan's residence twice. The informants suspect that Minister Fan may have facilitated cheating, providing an unfair advantage to Pan Xueliang. Given his abilities, it would be a stroke of luck for him to even pass the exam, let alone rank first."


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