The Light Dragon Clan was in chaos and the Four Seas Sect got rid of the last poisonous weed in the seas. The moment Fang Ziyan returned to the ship, he looked for Sheng Chumu. Sheng Chumu sat down pompously. “So now you are willing to discuss with me?”
Fang Ziyan was quite impressed with him. “Since you are so smart, you should be able to guess what I am planning.”
Sheng Chumu laughed, “At the beginning, I thought you wanted to become the king of the seas. However, I don’t think that is the case anymore. You are trying to accumulate merits to return to the court. The reason why you did not kill me is because you need a high ranking official to back you up.”
Fang Ziyan asked, “Are you going to help me?”
Instead of replying, Sheng Chumu questioned, “Are you going to let me go?”
Without any hesitation, Fang Ziyan answered, “As long as you are willing to help me, I can let you go immediately.”
Sheng Chumu only reached out his hand and demanded, “Hand it over.”
Fang Ziyan knew what Sheng Chumu was referring to and he knew that he had been seen through as well. Yet, his pride meant that he refused to hand it over to Sheng Chumu. Sheng Chumu continued to stare at him with his hands out.
The two glared at each other intensely for a long time but Fang Ziyan eventually gave in as he was requesting his help. Digging through his pockets for a while, he finally took out a small thing and placed it in Sheng Chumu’s hand.
It was the spice bag that Fu Rou had given Sheng Chumu.
Sheng Chumu put the item away. “If you do not want to remain a pirate, you should get rid of your habit of stealing things from others. I am the one Rou’er likes and that spice bag was made for me. Keeping it with you would only make you a dirty thief.”
Fang Ziyan changed the topic. “Go back to your room and tidy it up. I will get men to prepare a boat for you. Hurry up before I change my mind. With your terrible mouth, the more you talk, the more I want to throw you into the sea.” Sheng Chumu better not think that he was giving up on Fu Rou. He didn’t get a spice pouch but he still had their betrothal gift, the Pendant of Longevity.
Sheng Chumu turned and rushed back into one of the rooms in the ship. Unfortunately, he randomly entered a room and found Ma Hainiu in the midst of changing clothes. She screamed at him and Sheng Chumu brought a hand up to cover his eyes. Turning around, he bumped into Ma Haihu, who had dashed over upon hearing his sister’s scream.
“What is wrong?” Ma Haihu stared at the situation in confusion.
“Brother, he saw me changing!”
Ma Hainiu’s voice strangely appeared excited to Sheng Chumu.
In the blink of an eye, Ma Haihu tugged Sheng Chumu’s shirt and pulled him back. He cursed, “You asshole, how dare you peep at my sister changing!”
Sheng Chumu desperately tried to explain. “I was in a rush to return something to my room and I accidentally opened the wrong door. Every room door on this ship looks exactly the same!”
Ma Haihu glared at him. “What are you shouting for? Are you guilty? Did you see my sister’s body?”
Ma Hainiu carried a gleam of hope in her eyes. “Are you satisfied?”
Sheng Chumu felt coldness and hotness surrounding his body at the same time. Gritting his teeth, he shouted, “I did not see anything!”
Disappointment overridden Ma Hainiu. “What? You did not see anything? How can that be? I will let you take another look.” Ma Hainiu suddenly took her hand off her chest.
Sheng Chumu quickly shut his eyes tight and traced the walls of the room with his hand to guide himself out. My god! I never want to return to this ship! They are a bunch of unruly barbarians!
Lu Yunji returned back victorious, having stabilised the region and getting rid of the rebel troops in Anxi Canyon. The Emperor personally went to greet him as the citizens cheered for him. No one knew that the contributions and sacrifices of Sheng Chumu and his numerous troops had been claimed by the Lu father and son.
A deathly aura overwhelmed the Duke Lu Residence. Sheng Xiaojing had not recovered from his grief and remained sick in bed. Lu Yunji visited him and pretended to be concerned. Not only was it a show for the Emperor, it was also to boast. As soon as Sheng Chujun heard that their enemies were here to visit them, he immediately drew his sword, wanting to fight them. All of a sudden, he heard his mother shout-
“Stop right there! Since Lu Yunji dares to visit us, we cannot lose to him. We must show everyone that despite losing a son, we have not gone crazy!” Madam Sheng roared at the housekeeper, “Go and invite Duke Chen  in!”
Sheng Chujun froze as he looked back at his mother in shock.
Sheng Chuling was also in a slight daze. He knew that his mother was very strict when it came to managing internal house affairs. She controlled their father till he was like a tortoise. However, he did not know that she had such strict standards for others too. She had the demeanor of a man on guard.
Lu Yunji was getting impatient as the door of Duke Lu Residence opened. Two servants ran out in sync. The servants both held long sticks in their hands as they stared at the two of them, daggers piercing out of their eyes. Although Lu Yunji knew they would not dare to do anything to him, their glare made him regret coming.
However, when Lu Yunji saw Sheng Xiaojing, who was sick in bed, his spirits were raised. While he sighed, he felt full of energy internally.
“Chumu is too pitiful. He was so young and brave. He conquered the Nine Pillar City and made a great achievement. It would have been sufficient for him to just stay in camp. It was unfortunate that he was ambitious and wanted to take down Anxi Canyon. Anxi Canyon had a difficult terrain and was known as the Death Canyon by people. The rebel army had several hideouts there. He did not listen to my advice and was determined to check out Anxi Canyon. He took several men with him and never returned.”
“Duke Chen, that's not possible. Who doesn’t know that a general’s command is law in the army? Without your order, Elder Brother has no reason to risk going against martial law to scout.” Sheng Chuling caught hold of the gap.
Lu Qi glared. “Sheng Chuling, what do you mean by that?”
“Elder Brother is an Assistant General. The only person that could order him go to the Anxi Canyon is the Main General.” They better not think he, Sheng Chuling, was stupid.
“Are you trying to say that my father intentionally killed your Elder Brother?” Lu Qi slammed the table and stood up.
“Lu Qi, that is enough.” Lu Yunji let out a long sigh. “Duke Lu, I feel guilty for not being able to bring Sheng Chumu back to Chang’an unharmed.”
Sheng Xiaojing lacked energy. “Duke Chen, you don’t have to feel guilty. People die in war. As the main general, you are in charge of so many people. If you are to ensure everyone returns alive, there is no point in going to war.”
Lu Yunji took over. “Duke Lu, you are as reasonable as before and understand the difficulties of being the main general.”
“We are both fathers and should be reasonable. I finally have a taste of losing my son. It really hurts to live. Young General Lu is brilliant in martial arts and has potential. I hope that he will remain safe and that you won’t ever end up in my position.”
Sheng Xiaojing was grieving, how could he not feel hatred?
Sheng Chujun’s eyes burned. “The fate between the Sheng family and Lu family is deep and we might meet during the hunt. We can exchange greetings then. Lu Qi, you should be careful. There are bears and tigers in the hunting ground. Last year, a wild animal attacked someone and even chewed off his head.”
Lu Qi could not help remarking, “You're the one who should be careful. Your brother lies in a cenotaph. If you are eaten by a tiger and your body cannot be found, you will need another cenotaph.”
Lu Yunji and Sheng Xiaojing looked at each other, letting their sons bicker. They were fighting each other internally.
Meanwhile, Fu Rou headed towards Lizheng Palace. Empress Zhangsun had ordered her to prepare the best embroideries for Lu Yunji’s daughter, Lu Yingying. She really could not bring herself to hate Lu Yingying. Lu Yingying was not evil but had simply been born into a despicable family.
“Head Seamstress Fu.”
Fu Rou turned back to look. She saw Shuangxi taking a walk with Sun Lingshu. They both had light expressions. Her gaze fell to Sun Lingshu’s usually flat stomach. She saw how Sun Lingshu placed her hand there and how Shuangxi had a slightly bent over position. The biggest news in the palace was that the Crown Princess was pregnant.
Fu Rou greeted, “Your Highness.” It was obvious Sun Lingshu was in a good mood, she even took the initiative to talk to Fu Rou.
Sun Lingshu smiled lightly. “I was in a bad mood previously and I was always at odds with you. I should not have done that.”
Fu Rou maintained a calm expression. “Crown Princess, please do not say that. It is my responsibility to serve you. If there is anything you are unhappy about, please point it out to me so that I can correct my ways.”
A kind expression returned to Sun Lingshu’s face, reminiscent of her times at Han Mansion. “I don’t have many friends in the palace. You are the first friend I met before entering the palace. If I do anything wrong, I hope you will not blame me. It would be good if we remain on good terms in the future.”
“Yes, it is definitely good for us to be on good terms.” Friends? She could not afford to be friends with her.
“You seem to be very down. Is there something bothering you?”
Sun Lingshu’s tone was slightly inquisitive as she recalled how Prince Zhou had helped Fu Rou out previously. Prince Zhou was the Crown Prince’s biggest threat and therefore hers. If there was something going on between Fu Rou and Prince Zhou, perhaps she could make use of Fu Rou.
Fu Rou did not want to divulge her personal matters with strangers. She replied, “No.”
“Head Seamstress Fu, you still don’t see me as a friend.” She casually glanced at the embroidery Fu Rou held. “I heard that Imperial Mother invited Lu Yingying to the palace. Is this for her?”
Fu Rou nodded in confirmation.
“Duke Chen repeatedly attained many merits for Great Tang. Imperial Father regards him in greater light. The Crown Prince told me that Imperial Father has ordered men to start constructing Lingyan Palace. He wants to put the portraits of the twenty-four heroes of Great Tang in that palace. Duke Chen will be one of them. This will be such an honor for him.” Sun Lingshu’s tone suddenly changed. “Imperial Mother also looks upon Lu Yingying highly and intends to marry her as one of the Crown Prince’s concubines. The Lu family’s future is limitless.” She smiled and slowly took her leave.
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