Chapter 19.1: Empty Heart

On this day, the funeral was held at the Duke Lu Residence. Because Sheng Chumu had died on the battlefield and his body was not brought back, they only had a cenotaph.

Prince Zhou attended the entire procession and saw numerous beautiful ladies from all over Chang’an come to attend his funeral. They cried as if their intestines had been ripped apart. This scene made Prince Zhou angry, wanted to laugh and also made him look up to Sheng Chumu slightly. He had a reputation of being a playboy, yet he was not hated. It was clear that he was popular but not despicable. Prince Zhou returned to the palace after the funeral and immediately went to find Fu Rou. He was not going to take advantage of her while she was hurting but he could not allow her to sacrifice herself for Sheng Chumu.  However, as he reached the door to her room, he could hear a commotion from inside the room.

Shu’er, who had been serving Fu Rou, was sprawling on the floor. Rites Official Situ was standing in front of the couch as a few attendants were struggling to pull an unconscious Fu Rou. They were led by the Head of the Sick House, Zhao Lingban. 

“What is going on?” Prince Zhou spoke in a deep tone.

Shu’er crawled to Prince Zhou. “Your Highness, they want to take Head Seamstress Fu to the Sick House.”

The Sick House was where people who were critically ill in the palace spent their last days. Going there was equivalent to death.

Zhao Lingban was surprised and confused. He did not expect Prince Zhou to interfere as he quickly reported, “Your Highness, Head Seamstress Fu has been ill for numerous days and shows no signs of recovering. Your servant is merely acting according to the palace rules and does not dare to delay any longer.”

“I am aware of the rules. “Prince Zhou narrowed his eyes. “However, even if you want to bring her to the Sick House, you have to let her pack up. By behaving so cruelly, you are ruining Imperial Father and Mother’s virtuous reputation. Come back in four hours.”

“This…” Zhao Lingban was following someone’s orders and he thought back on what he had to do.

Prince Zhou looked at him icily. “Is there a problem?”

Zhao Lingban’s scalp tingled. “Yes, yes, I will heed Your Highness’ orders.” He lifted his hand and the rest of the attendants left with him.

The news of Prince Zhou standing up for Fu Rou and stopping Zhao Lingban from bringing Fu Rou to the Sick House was told to Sun Lingshu. Shuangxi had used the Crown Princess’ name to make Zhao Lingban go to Fu Rou.

“I said not to meddle with her, why did you do something like this? You didn’t even ask me beforehand. If the Crown Prince were to know about this, aren’t you bringing me trouble?” Lately, all she thought about was how to capture the Crown Prince’s heart.

“I felt injustice for you.” Shuangxi protested, “This is not considered meddling with her. The palace has palace rules. She is not even a noble, she is simply a female official. When someone like her falls severely ill, they have to be sent to the Sick House. I merely informed Zhao Lingban and he simply acted according to the rules.”

Sun Lingshu closed one eye and brushed over the incident. “Okay, okay. Leave this incident as it is, don’t interfere anymore. Since the Crown Prince wants me to rest, then I will rest my body. She can fall ill or die for all I care. She is simply a female official and I cannot be bothered with her. From now on, don’t waste your effort.”

“Yes.” Shuangxi obeyed, “However, if not for her illness this time, we wouldn’t know that she had gotten Prince Zhou on her side. In my opinion, she is extremely scheming. I am afraid that she is aiming high.” 

A slight smile appeared on Sun Lingshu’s face. “Even though she is really capable, she can’t ever be his official wife. She is simply warming his bed.”  

 

Four hours later, the internal attendants came to get Fu Rou. However, it was Yang Bo that came. She was not sent into the Sick House but to Concubine Yan’s palace.

Actually, Prince Zhou had requested for Concubine Yan to step in and help Fu Rou. The explanation for outsiders was when Prince Zhou had gotten punished, Concubine Yan had made a promise in the temple. As long as Prince Zhou recovered, she would personally save someone else. Fu Rou was fortunate to become the recipient of Concubine Yan’s promise.

Concubine Yan understood. She had never seen her son interested in any woman. Now that fate had it, she could help lay a cold towel on her forehead. 

“Thank you for agreeing to my request, Mother.” Prince Zhou was grateful.

“After so many years of suffering, seeing you happy makes me happy.” Not only did Concubine Yan not stop him, she even tried to please her son. “It is late now, and I am tired. As my son, you should help me fulfil my promise. Understand?”

Prince Zhou laughed as he bowed politely. “Have a good night, Mother.”

Prince Zhou waited until Concubine Yan left before straightening up and sitting by the couch. His eyes did not leave Fu Rou. He suddenly leaned over and placed his cheek against her forehead. Her temperature was boiling, and his heart raced. 

Fu Rou muttered in pain, “Chumu…Chumu…” 

Prince Zhou murmured softly, “Rou’er, Rou’er, Sheng Chumu has died. Forget about him.”

 

The sky and ocean were shades of blue. Birds skimmed the surface of the water before flying high. Fishes swam in the ocean. The boat rose and dipped silently, guided by the motion of the wave. Laying on the deck, a person stared into the endless sky. 

“So boring—” 

The man shouted. He suddenly jumped up and scanned the black shadow that was nearing him. In a flash, the two met. The person was then held down onto the deck of the boat by the black shadow. One side of his face was flattened.

“Hey, hey, I am still injured. You win without a fight.” That voice was clearly Sheng Chumu.

“I am only here to remind you to change your medicine.” The black shadow spoke in a cold tone. His expression was stiff. It was Fang Ziyan. “Don’t forget who was the one that helped force the seawater out of you and saved your life.”

That day replayed itself in Sheng Chumu’s eyes. Fang Ziyan brought his mouth close to Sheng Chumu, his face as big as a humongous pancake. Shen Chumu made a vomiting motion and struggled to sit up. “I already forgot.”

Fang Ziyan snorted, “Are you even a man? Such a sissy!”

Sheng Chumu retorted, “If I weren’t a man, would you be hoping I’d repay you with my body?”

Fang Ziyan exploded, “Nonsense! If not for your General Dingyuan badge, I wouldn’t care if you live or die!”

“Badge?” Sheng Chumu suddenly patted himself as his eyes scanned his waist. “Where’s my pouch?”

“Never seen it.” He's going to play stupid.

“Rou’er made it for me!” Sheng Chumu panicked.

“I don’t know.” He's both jealous and envious.

“My badge is still here. I purposely attached the pouch to my belt; how can it disappear?” Sheng Chumu found it odd.

“You were floating in the ocean and your clothes were torn and tattered. It is considered a feat that we could even fish you out. Am I supposed to take responsibility for your items as well? Most likely, the pouch that you are talking about had already fallen into the ocean.”

Sheng Chumu became suspicious. “Did you steal—” Fang Ziyan smacked his injury. Sheng Chumu’s face cramped from the pain.

“Your injury hasn’t even recovered, and it’s like you are half-dead. How dare you bicker with me?”

Ma Haihu ran over and called happily, “Leader, we have found the guys from Suicide Nine!”

Sheng Chumu asked, “Who?”

Fang Ziyan glanced at him. “Pirates.”

Sheng Chumu analyzed seriously. “The name itself already sounds more powerful than your sect. So, you are jealous and hate them. Are you going to do dirty on a fellow pirate?”

In one motion, Fang Ziyan grabbed the back of Sheng Chumu’s shirt and dragged him to the hold of the ship. With a rope, Fang Ziyan wrapped it around Sheng Chumu and turned him into a dumpling. Ignoring his shouts and curses, Fang Ziyan shut the door on him and left.

Sheng Chumu shouted until he became hoarse, but no one bothered about him. Clashing sounds could be heard from the outside. It seemed like they were really fighting.

After some time had passed, the door opened once again. “Hey, leader of the pirates—” Sheng Chumu perked up.

Who knew that the person who entered wasn’t Fang Ziyan but a huge burly looking girl. She was dressed similarly to the other pirates, with a short-sleeved shirt and a mid-length skirt. She even had long pants and leather boots.

The huge girl walked up and loosened some of the ropes around Sheng Chumu without saying anything. Sheng Chumu’s hands were still tied and he could only move his body. “Who are you? What do you want?” There were female pirates?

“I am Ma Hainiu. My brother asked me to come and change medicine for you. Oh right, my brother is Ma Haihu.” She then pulled open Sheng Chumu’s shirt. Ma Hainiu’s eyes glimmered as she reached out to poke his white chest. “Wah, you are the most muscular man I have seen. I like you!”

Sheng Chumu rolled his eyes. “I already have someone in my heart. Furthermore—” His gaze brushed over Ma Hainiu. “I don’t like such muscular women. Males and females should keep their distance. Don’t touch me however you like.”

“What distance?” Ma Hainiu did not understand him. 

“Males and females should keep their distance!” Sheng Chumu purposely repeated.

“If males and females don’t get together, then how do they have children?” Ma Hainiu swallowed her saliva. She switched from poking to stroking him as she clicked her tongue in admiration of what she was feeling.

Sheng Chumu blushed. “Who wants to have children with you? Don’t touch me!”

Ma Hainiu’s expression turned serious. “You are tied up, what can you do? I like to touch you so I will do as I like.” She pointed all ten of her fingers into the air and started to polish his beautiful looking chest.

Sheng Chumu bellowed, “I am the Assistant General Dingyuan of the Great Tang. If you dare to do anything to me, I will chop off your hands!”

Ma Hainiu’s eyes seemed to turn into stars. “So, you are an Assistant General. Wow, wow. You must be the best looking and most capable man in the world, after our leader, of course. When you shout, you sound so heroic. Shout louder, I want to hear you.”

Sheng Chumu immediately fell silent. After a moment, he suddenly stretched out his neck and yelled, “Fang Ziyan! Come here right now! Fang Ziyan, you bastard! How can you use such a despicable method?!” This woman is too horrifying!

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