Fu Rou stared at Sun Lingshu’s back view. She could sense the sourness from Sun Lingshu when she talked about Lu Yingying. Although spring had arrived, Sun Lingshu was still lost and suspicious of others. It would be very unlikely of her to change.
Unexpectedly, as Fu Rou reached Lizheng Palace, Empress Zhangsun wanted to change her embroidery to Lu Yingying to a drawing of lotuses and lilies. Fu Rou knew that the Crown Princess spoke the truth, there was a high chance of Lu Yingying becoming the Crown Prince’s concubine.
Empress Zhangsun even praised Lu Yingying’s calligraphy and took it out for Fu Rou to see.
Fu Rou bit her lip and a surge of hatred overwhelmed her as she looked at the calligraphy. Chumu’s death, his missing body, Duke Lu’s sickness and Consort Han’s absence at the banquet. The Sheng family was going through tough times now. On the other hand, the Lu family’s daughter, who did nothing to earn her position, was now favored in the palace and held the hopes of bearing Imperial grandchildren. Regardless of how kind-hearted she was, Fu Rou could not bear this unjust treatment.
She lifted her gaze and calmly said, “The saying goes that calligraphy reflects the writer. I believe that Lady Lu is a dignified and elegant lady who will be a good wife.”
Empress Zhangsun happily added, “You think that way too?”
“I have seen Lady Lu at the Han Mansion before. She is beautiful, elegant and has a sweet smile. Her words, ‘The swallow flies across the pond, leaving a trial of its elegant feathers. The offspring returns from the far wild.’ This saying makes me think of someone else.” The good thing about reading books for Prince Zhou was that she gained a lot of knowledge along the way as well.
Empress Zhangsun curiously asked, “Oh? Who are you thinking of?”
“Zhuang Jiang.” Lu Yingying could only blame herself for writing these words. “’The Swallow Flies’ is written by Princess Zhuang Jiang of the Qi State during the Spring and Autumn period. It was highly regarded by people and is written in the <<Book of Poems>>. She is also very pretty. The words about beauty in the poem were originally used to describe herself.”
Empress Zhangsun nodded. “Lu Yingying is also very pretty. They are similar.”
“However, no one can be perfect. God gave her beauty and talents but forgot one thing.” Fu Rou looked down. “Zhuang Jiang was married to Lord Wei but was unable to give birth to a child. Lord Wei had no choice but to marry Dai Gui who gave birth to a son for him. Zhuang Jiang saw the child as one of her own. However, not long after the child gained an official title of a Duke, he was killed. Zhuang Jiang was unlucky throughout her life and she spent her days gloomily.”
Empress Zhangsun’s expression darkened, and she recalled the saying 'Heaven is jealous of beauties'.
"Head Seamstress Fu, you may leave.”
Fu Rou bowed towards the Empress and took her leave. However, as she was about to step out of the door, she heard Empress Zhangsun’s instruction to her internal attendant.
“Zhuang Jiang was too beautiful and she received heaven’s wrath. The calamity that befell Wei State eventually might have something to do with her. Fate may not be kind to those who are good looking. Anyone who has a cursed fate would bring the Crown Prince bad luck. The Eastern Palace will welcome new people, you don’t have to present Lu Yunji’s daughter’s picture anymore.”
Fu Rou remained expressionless as she slowly walked out of the palace. She did not feel ashamed because Lu Yunji and Lu Qi were despicable people. Too many people had gotten hurt. As the daughter of the Lu family, she could not escape everything.
However, the small revenge did not bring Fu Rou any happiness. On the contrary, she was filled with sadness as she walked through the corridor. She subconsciously walked until she was lost. Sheng Chumu was gone. Not only did she not get to see him again, she could not even send him off. She was locked in this icy palace. Initially she was focused on getting out of the palace, now everything had lost meaning.
All of a sudden, a silhouette appeared at the end of the walkway.
The glare of the light was dazzling as his back was facing her. His steps were smooth as he stood upright. He had a unique confidence and ease about him that caught Fu Rou’s attention. Fu Rou stopped in her tracks as she stared unblinking.
Why does he look so similar to the person that she had been missing to death? Is this her imagination or a miracle?
That person turned around to look in her direction. He suddenly hit his own chest as he jumped off the ground and did half a turn in the air. He then pointed to the main hall, indicating that he had to go and see the Emperor first. He waved at her and took big strides.
Fu Rou could hear her heart pounding as light flared in her eyes from the tears that had accumulated. It's Sheng Chumu! He's alive! He has returned!
Fu Rou shed tears of joy.
Sheng Chumu wasn’t dead. He was perfectly alive. Not only has he returned to Chang’an safely, he was going to report the Lu family’s father and son. The Emperor was furious as he threw Lu Yunji and Lu Qi into the Imperial Prison. At that time, the Lu father and son pair were enjoying themselves at a banquet when they received the Imperial Order. No one knew what caused the sudden change of events as they were forced to bring their celebrations into prison.
There was no doubt that Duke Lu Residence was in a celebratory mood. Everyone in the palace was discussing this and made Sheng Chumu seem like a God. Witty Yang Bo even ran to Fu Rou and congratulated her. “Congratulations, Head Seamstress Fu.”
Fu Rou slightly chastised him, “You are being playful again. What is there to congratulate me about?”
Yang Bo suddenly deepened his tone. “What do you have to hide from me? The last time you asked Chief Cao for help, who brought you before the palace gates to meet your man? I saw clearly that you passed him a spice pouch.”
Fu Rou smiled, “You are sharp.”
Yang Bo replied, “I am genuinely happy for you. I was really afraid that you would not make it after being severely ill. Not only are you better now, your man has returned from death’s door. This is truly a return from adversity.”
Yet, Fu Rou was not overly ecstatic. “What death's door? Don’t say such cursed words.”
Yang Bo could tell that Fu Rou was scarred from the incident. He hit his own lips and said, “Alright, alright. I won’t say it anymore. I will go off now.”
“Hold on.” Fu Rou pulled out a handkerchief from under her sleeve. A pair of earrings were wrapped in the handkerchief. “Didn’t you say that your parents passed on early on and your sister-in-law brought you up? I have a pair of emerald earrings here that Concubine Xi gave me. Take it and give it to your sister-in-law.”
Yang Bo retracted his hand from Fu Rou. “How can I take this from you?”
“Keep it. Emerald is rare. On the fifteenth of the next month, we are allowed to visit our families by the Empress’ grace. Give this to your sister-in-law and let her be happy.” There were only a few people in the palace who treated her genuinely. Fu Rou would not forget their kindness.
“Thank you very much then.” Yang Bo took the earrings and skipped off joyfully.
Fu Rou’s footsteps were light as she walked through the corridor and past the Imperial Garden. She did not shift her gaze as she continued onwards.
“Head Seamstress Fu.” A familiar voice entered her ears. Fu Rou froze before turning around. She then realised that Prince Zhou was sitting at the pavilion that she had just passed.
“Why? Do I not even have a shadow in your eyes anymore? You pretend not to see me when you do. You don’t even greet me anymore.” Prince Zhou’s face darkened as he caught sight of Fu Rou’s surprised face.
“I wouldn’t dare. I really did not see Your Highness.” If she had seen him, she would have hidden long ago.
“Sheng Chumu has returned.” Prince Zhou’s tone was pensive.
“Mmhm, he has returned.” Fu Rou found it hard to hide her smile.
“Why did he come back?” Prince Zhou felt like it was a thorn in his side.
“What do you mean, Your Highness? Should he not return?” Fu Rou turned into a mother hen protecting her chick once again.
“There are many that do not wish for him to return.” This included him.
“If Your Highness does not have anything else, I will take my leave.” Fu Rou did not want to continue talking.
Prince Zhou instructed, “On the ninth, come to Lingxiao Palace.”
“I already said…” That I would not go.
“You can choose not to come.” Prince Zhou looked at her. “But if you don’t, I will ask Sheng Chumu to call you over and I will tell him that I kissed you before.”
Fu Rou suddenly lifted her gaze and stared right into Prince Zhou’s eyes. Is he threatening her?
“On the ninth, Lingxiao Palace. I will be waiting for you.”
Prince Zhou tutted before glancing briefly at Fu Rou and turning to leave. Did she think he was going to be a mature adult? Dream on! The only people that could make him back off was his Imperial Father and his mother. He could give up on other things, but not the person he loved!Previous Chapter Next Chapter