Chapter 14.2: Prince Zhou

With Prince Zhou’s appearance, Fu Rou did not dare to go and rest as she continued working in the Seamstress Department. The sun was about to set and Fu Rou knew that she could not put it off any longer as she headed to Lingxiao Palace. She could not help but admit that no matter how many times he used this to threaten her, she would have no choice but to comply. She could not afford the consequence of disobeying. Even if she could accept the punishment, there were so many innocent people in the Seamstress Department.

Endure! Endure! Endure! Fu Rou’s head was about to explode as she remained determined. As she rounded the corner, her vision suddenly flashed black. Her body tilted to the side and she knocked into the person in front of her.

“Who are you? How dare you knock into the Crown Princess?”  

Fu Rou looked up. It was really Sun Lingshu. Dressed in the outfit of the Crown Princess, she had a completely different aura from when she was a young girl worrying over a dance costume.

Fu Rou rushed to greet her. “Your Highness, please forgive me. It was unintentional.”

Sun Lingshu smiled as she helped Fu Rou to stand. “Head Seamstress Fu, you don’t have to be too courteous.” As she saw Fu Rou’s pale face, she asked out of concern, “You don’t look very well. Are you feeling alright?”

Fu Rou shook her head. “I am just short of sleep.”

“How have you been?” Although Sun Lingshu carried herself with a noble aura, she had been feeling uneasy, having just moved into the palace recently.

Fu Rou glanced at Sun Lingshu and could sense her feelings. “It is neither good nor bad. I have just been doing tasks to the best of my abilities. When I finally get permission to leave the palace, I will reunite with my family.”

“You wish to leave this place whereas I wish to make this place my home.” Sun Lingshu sighed softly, “You have it much easier.” When she was still single, she admired the Empress for having the world under her control. She had the power to control the six offices. However, after marrying the Crown Prince, she realised that there were so many people above her and this was not even taking into account people from the Grand Emperor’s side.

“Your Highness, do not worry. It was heaven’s blessing for you to be chosen. From now on, happiness will follow.” Fu Rou knew where to draw the line. In this kind of situation, she could only say a few good words.

“I am thankful to the heavens and I am also thankful to you for helping me back then.” Sun Lingshu patted Fu Rou’s hand. “When I get the chance, I promise to repay you.”

Fu Rou bowed as Sun Lingshu left. She then turned around and headed toward Lingxiao Palace. She breathed in deeply. Repay. That’s right. She would just take it as repaying Prince Zhou. As a person, she must know how to repay other people’s kindness.

Yet, when Prince Zhou told that he wanted to paint a woman and asked her to pose as a sick beauty, her intention to repay Prince Zhou immediately disappeared. 

“A palace lady’s main duty is to serve the Royal Family. I am from the Royal Family and you are a palace lady. Attending to me is your duty.” Prince Zhou pointed to a couch under the window. “Go over there and lie down. Do a pose of a sick beauty.”

Fu Rou felt dizzy and had no energy to argue.

She walked to the couch and lay down. She closed her eyes. If she could not see him, she could pretend he did not exist. 

Prince Zhou wanted to ask Fu Rou to open her eyes but saw her delicate and frail disposition. Her complexion was white like snow while her lips were a shocking red. All of a sudden, he got an inspiration and started painting.

As he was about to finish his painting, Prince Zhou looked up only to see that Fu Rou had laid down completely. Her hands lay limply off the couch and her head tilted downward.

“Don’t lie down. You are supposed to depict a sick beauty and should look frail and beautiful. The position you were in just now was good. Now, it is too much and—” Prince Zhou suddenly realised that something was off. He threw down his brush and took big steps towards Fu Rou. He shook her. “Head Seamstress Fu?”

Fu Rou did not move. She had fainted. Prince Zhou’s expression changed as he carried Fu Rou and dashed out of his residence.

 

Fu Rou sighed out loud and got up slowly. She felt like she had just woken from a very comfortable sleep. She was shocked out of her wits when she saw Prince Zhou standing in front of her. Sitting up, she retreated backward slowly. Prince Zhou saw how shocked she was and decided to tease her. He got on the bed and closed the distance between them. He moved in until she had nowhere else to go. When Fu Rou started panicking, Prince Zhou pulled backward.

“I…” Fu Rou silently called for help as she surveyed her surroundings. Beautiful decorations and exquisite furnishings filled the room. It was apparent that she was in Prince Zhou’s residence. “Why am I here?”

“You were supposed to act like you were sick, not actually be sick.” Prince Zhou was now beside a couch, but his eyes remained fixed on her. Fu Rou noticed the bowl of medicine he was carrying. Prince Zhou informed her, “The Imperial Physician said that you need more rest because you have overworked yourself. He prescribed you this medicine.”

Fu Rou was still half conscious as she reached for the medicine. “Thank you, Your Highness.”

However, Prince Zhou did not give the bowl of medicine to her. Instead, he blew gently on the hot bowl of medicine and served a spoon to her, “Open your mouth.” 

Fu Rou instantly became alert and tried to get off the bed. Yet, with his bigger stature, Prince Zhou easily stopped her with his arm.

“Be good. Don’t think of running away when I am feeding you.” It was fun to play with this girl.

“A man and a woman should not be so close to each other. Your Highness, you are becoming increasingly excessive. Please pardon me for not complying.” What nonsense!

“Lie down.” Prince Zhou continued to laugh, his mood hardly affected. 

“You…if you are so straightforward, I will have to call for someone.” Fu Rou blushed.

Prince Zhou remained calm. “You can shout and let everyone know. Then you have to choose between remaining single forever or marrying me and becoming my concubine.” Prince Zhou was looking forward to marrying her.

Fu Rou was startled as her mind ran. She knew that things might really turn out to be what he just said. She would rather die than let him have his way!

“If others see a female official on my bed, you will never be able to regain your innocence. On the other hand, I will escape just fine. After a brief reprimanding by my Imperial Father, I can take you in as my concubine. If you want to take the hard way and shout away, you can go ahead…” Prince Zhou intentionally dragged the end of his sentence.

Fu Rou was silent.

“Not going to shout?” Aiya, what a pity! “Lie down obediently and keep your reputation in mind. I have even sent the maids outside and am personally here to serve you. What else are you unhappy about?”

Fu Rou calmed down. “Didn’t the Imperial Physician come to see me? The rumors would still spread.”

“I have a few people that I trust among the Imperial Physicians. They will not spread any rumors.” Prince Zhou lifted the spoon. “Open your mouth.”

“I will drink the medicine by myself.” Fu Rou stubbornly declined.

This made Prince Zhou more interested and he purposely made a serious face. “Head Seamstress Fu, do you know that men do not like being provoked by females?”

Fu Rou could not help retort, “Females also do not like to being fed medicine by men.”

“If you talk back to me one more time, I will take you right now.” Prince Zhou was filled with desire. “I stick to my words. Do you want to challenge my patience?” Come, try me. I will see if you dare!

Fu Rou unwillingly opened her mouth. Regardless of what she wanted, she had to give in to Prince Zhou in order for him to back off. Prince Zhou fed Fu Rou the medicine. He laughed inwardly when he observed her surprise reaction from the bitterness of the medicine. He continued to feed her and very soon she finished it.

As Prince Zhou scooped the last remaining medicine for Fu Rou, he suddenly asked, “What is the name of the man you like?”

Fu Rou desperately wanted this whole situation to end and replied, “His name is…” She suddenly came to her senses. “Why are you asking me this?”

Prince Zhou remained expressionless, but many thoughts formed in his mind. “You are so afraid of being caught on my bed, so you are obviously unwilling to become my woman. That means that you must have another person in your heart. What is his name? Is he working in the palace?”

Fu Rou’s eyebrows knitted together. “Why must I tell you this?”

“You did not correct me. That means he really is working in the palace.”

Fu Rou had not imagined that Prince Zhou would be so sharp and was slightly taken aback.

“I wasn’t too sure initially, but your expression now has allowed me to confirm my suspicions. If he is working in the palace and he can come into contact with the Head Seamstress, is he a guard? Or an official in court? He can’t possibly be a eunuch, right?” Prince Zhou’s curiosity was piqued.

Fu Rou had her guard up this time and she remained silent.

“Do you think you can hide everything by remaining silent?” Prince Zhou chuckled. “I heard that you were from the Han Mansion before you entered the palace. That man must be related to the Han Mansion.”

Fu Rou shut her eyes. 

“Closing your eyes? I must have guessed right?” This woman does not hide her feelings, it is easy to read her. 

Opening her eyes, Fu Rou stared bravely at Prince Zhou. “I don’t care whether you make the correct guess or not. You are right, I already have someone in my heart. In this lifetime, I will only have him in my heart.”

She said it, so please let her off!

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