Chapter 22.2: Hidden Treasure

Fu Rou had been summoned by the Empress. On her way to Lizheng Palace, she was distracted.

This morning, Fu Rou received the embroidery that Princess Xinnan had returned. It had been cut into pieces. Princess Xinnan sent word that the embroidery was too ugly and even targeted Fu Rou, asking her to redo it personally. Ever since Fu Rou took charge of the Seamstress Department, they had been producing embroideries quickly and of good quality. They received numerous compliments, It was the first time that they had received such a reaction and Fu Rou could not help but feel dejected.

Although Fu Rou had reassured her subordinates and the palace maids in the Seamstress Department, she was still concerned. However, she had nothing against Princess Xinnan, she was simply brooding over how to make the princess happy. After all, she checks every piece of embroidery before they are submitted and their quality was definitely up to standard. 

Fu Rou was unaware that Princess Xinnan had misunderstood that she had something going on with Sheng Chuling and hence directed her anger onto the embroideries.

“Head Seamstress Fu.” A soft and gentle voice brought her back to reality. She realised that she had already reached Lizheng Palace.

Lu Yingying walked out of the palace and stopped beside her. “I know that you are the reason why the internal attendant brought me water. I will repay you tenfold of what you gave me in my time of need.”

Fu Rou paused. “You don’t have to think much into it. Actually, the Empress intended to choose you as a concubine to the Crown Prince. It was my words that caused the Empress to give up on the thought.”

Lu Yingying was slightly taken aback before she laughed. “I rather be a chicken’s head than a phoenix’s tail. I should be the one thanking you for this.” She then walked past her.

Fu Rou gazed at Lu Yingying’s departing figure. 

The Lu family had a good daughter. She then turned and walked into the main hall.

“Head Seamstress Fu, come over here. Let me show you something precious.” Empress Zhangsun immediately beckoned Fu Rou over.

Fu Rou walked up and saw the thing that was displayed on the table. She momentarily could not shift her eyes away.

Empress Zhangsun said, “They say that this is a mountain-river embroidery by Lady Hui. I thought about how talented you are in embroidery and thought that you should see this.”

Fu Rou looked at how detailed it was and expressed delight. “Your Majesty, this is indeed a piece by Lady Hui. I have a piece by Lady Hui that has been passed down my family for generations. I have always loved Lady Hui’s embroidery and am familiar with her style of sewing. I can confirm that this is definitely done by Lady Hui.”

“I knew I found the right person!” Empress Zhangsun exclaimed in happiness. Since you understand Lady Hui’s embroidery, then look carefully and tell me if you can find the secret map?”

“Secret map?”

Empress Zhangsun said, “Many people said that the mountain-river embroidery is an artwork with a secret map. I have stared at it for very long but cannot figure it out. Look at it, can you figure anything out?”

Fu Rou looked at it for a while before shaking her head. “If there really is a secret in it, I don’t think it will be easy to figure out.”

Empress Zhangsun nodded. “Head Seamstress Fu, you are the head of the Seamstress Department and anything that you manage anything related to embroideries. Since you said that you are familiar with Lady Hui’s embroidery, I will hand this task over to you.”

“I will try my best.” Without a second thought, Fu Rou accepted. She was extremely excited.

 

At Lingxiao Palace’s rooftop, Prince Zhou was reading while leaning on the rail.  All of a sudden, a flying black dot in the corner caught his eye. He turned his head to look out of the window. A kite was hanging from the roof. He stood up to take it down and realised that there were words written on it.

“I only like red flowers with thorns—” Prince Zhou’s expression became sharp as he thought of the flower that Fu Rou had embroidered in the bundle that she had carried previously. They were all red flowers with thorns.

It was obvious that since the person could not come in, he could only use the kite to relay his message.

“Guards.” He called for the Imperial Guards. “Recently, there are always kites flying in with nonsense written on them. It is polluting the Royal Palace. Go and inform the other guards to patrol around the palace walls. See who is so bold as to do this.”

With Prince Zhou’s order, the Imperial Guards did not dare to delay the matter and immediately sent guards to check. From afar, the guards saw two suspicious shadows.

“Who! Who is that releasing the kites! You are disrupting the order of the Royal Palace!” The guards immediately gave chase. 

Their target stumbled to keep the rest of the kites before running away. They escaped extremely quickly. It was only after they managed to get the guards off their tails did they finally stop to catch their breaths.

“Your idea is useless! It even attracted the attention of the Imperial Guards.” Sheng Chumu grumbled and complained. 

“I didn’t know that things would turn out like this. When I did this for Xinnan, nothing happened.” Sheng Chuling was obviously the one who came up with the idea.

The two of them never would have thought that not only did the kite not reach their intended recipient and landed in Prince Zhou’s hands, it also reached another person – Princess Xinnan. 

 

In the beginning, when Princess Xinnan saw the kites, she had thought that Sheng Chuling was seeking forgiveness. She happily went to chase one of them. However, as she saw another one, she asked Zhenzhu to pick it up. She then saw the words “I only like red flowers with thorns” and could not help but fume. She misunderstood and thought that Sheng Chuling was doing this on purpose to piss her off. It was also because of the kites that Zhenzhu got into trouble. When she was chasing the kites, she bumped into Grand Prince Liang and almost let him take liberties with her. Grand Prince Liang was the son of the Grand Emperor (previous Emperor) and was the current Emperor’s brother. He was incredibly lecherous and used his status to bully a lot of females. 

Princess Xinnan was extremely furious and brought Zhenzhu to Lizheng Palace to complain to Empress Zhangsun. Princess Xinnan wanted Empress Zhangsun to be the judge and punish Grand Prince Liang. Before Empress Zhangsun could say anything, someone came from the Grand Emperor’s side. The retired Emperor instructed Zhenzhu to be sent over to Grand Prince Liang.

The Grand Emperor had always sided with his son and would agree to anything Grand Prince Liang wanted. This time, all he wanted was a palace lady and the Grand Emperor did not think it was a big deal. Similarly, Empress Zhangsun did not think it was worth it to offend the Grand Emperor over a palace maid and immediately agreed to the Grand Emperor’s request. 

Zhenzhu had followed Princess Xinnan for many years. Princess Xinnan was indignant and ran to ask the Crown Prince for help.

“It is clearly Grand Prince Liang’s fault but not only did Imperial Mother not punish him, she even ordered me to send Zhenzhu over to him. Zhenzhu has been serving me for so many years and even if she has no achievements, she has to be credited for her hard work. Grand Prince Liang teased her, and she resisted against him. She accidentally pushed Grand Prince Liang onto the ground. It was not on purpose.”

“Don’t talk about Imperial Mother, even Imperial Father has to respect him. Since the Grand Emperor has already spoken, this situation is final. Just listen to Imperial Mother and send Zhenzhu over.” The Crown Prince had similar thoughts. After all, his Imperial Father owed the Grand Emperor.

Princess Xinnan was adamant. “No. Grand Prince Liang is cruel. Elder Brother, haven’t you heard? Last month, Grand Prince Liang was contradicted, and he beat five palace maids to death. If Zhenzhu offends him, how can she live? Imperial Father dotes on you. Elder Brother, please help me please for mercy from Imperial Father. Beg Imperial Father for help and not send Zhenzhu to Grand Prince Liang.”

The Crown Prince sighed, “Xinnan, you really don’t understand Imperial Father. Imperial Father wishes for the entire world to see him as a filial son to the Grand Emperor. He will definitely not risk making the Grand Emperor angry over such a small matter.”

Princess Xinnan cried, “So, I can only just watch as Zhenzhu gets abused by Grand Prince Liang?”

“I heard that the Grand Emperor loves collecting unique stones.” The Crown Prince retrieved a stone from his stand. He looked at it for a while before reluctantly handing it over to Princess Xinnan. “Bring this to the Grand Emperor to beg him for mercy and protect Zhenzhu.”

Princess Xinnan crinkled her nose. “What is so special about this stone?”

The Crown Prince tapped on Princess Xinnan’s head lightly and placed the stone under the sunlight.

The word “Fortune” slowly appeared on top of the stone. Princess Xinnan could not help but exclaim, “Wow—”

The Crown Prince was proud. “Don’t rush, there is more.” He flipped the stone over and a “Longevity” word could be seen. “This is called a Light Fortune Stone and there is only one of such stones in the world.”

Princess Xinnan's eye widened. “Elder Brother, you are the best! Thank you, Elder Brother!”

The Crown Prince held onto it for another second before reluctantly placing the Light Fortune Stone into Princess Xinnan’s hands. Seeing her delighted look, he also smiled. Forget it. After all, someone has to bury the bones after a fish is eaten. If this stone could save a person, it would be worth it.

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