Chapter 25.1: Chen Xin

When Fu Rou returned to the palace, she had to deliver embroideries to Princess Xinnan. She had expected to be met with a cold face but was surprised when Princess Xinnan shouted and jumped onto her.

“Wah! This is great! Amazing! Perfect! Outstanding! I have never seen such a beautiful piece of embroidery in my life! Head Seamstress Fu, your skills are amazing!”

Fu Rou looked at Xinnan in surprise. Princess Xinnan pulled Fu Rou personally. “Head Seamstress Fu, please have a seat.” She then took the tea from Zhenzhu and offered it respectfully, “Head Seamstress Fu, please have some tea.”

Fu Rou felt uncomfortable sitting down. “Your Highness, this…”

“Head Seamstress Fu, I am sorry for mistreating you previously and making you suffer. Please accept my apologies.” Princess Xinnan stated openly. 

A husband’s family is a woman’s future home. Sheng Chuling’s elder sister-in-law will be someone that she has to face frequently in the future and get along with for the rest of her life.

Fu Rou hurriedly got up. “Your Highness, you must not say this. I am merely a female official, the rules…”

“I know the rules. An elder brother is like a father while an elder sister-in-law is like a mother. Head Seamstress Fu, you are Sheng Chuling’s future elder sister-in-law. If only you had told me sooner, I would have treated you a thousand times, ten thousand times better! I offended you because I didn’t know. You have to forgive me.”

Fu Rou blushed. “Chuling...told you?”

Princess Xinnan nodded. “He told me, he told me everything. I was muddled. Sister-in-law, you have an upright personality and do things properly. Everyone in the palace knows about you but I didn’t know you and had misunderstood. Please don’t be angry with me. Are you angry with me?”

“No.” It was her fault in the first place, she could not blame anyone else.

Princess Xinnan spoke carefully, “Sister-in-law, then you won’t object to me and Sheng Chuling being together?”

Fu Rou laughed, “It is not for me to object.”

“It is good as long as you don’t object. Then if I get Sheng Chuling from the Eastern Palace to be my guard, Sister-in-law, you won’t object right?”

Fu Rou was laughing so hard that she could barely move. “The Imperial Guards Office is responsible for the guards allocation. It is also not my position to say anything.”

Princess Xinnan repeated the same thing, “It is good as long as you don't object!”

When Fu Rou was leaving, Princess Xinnan personally sent her out. Even when Fu Rou disappeared from view, she was still waving -- 

“Today’s embroidery is good. It cannot be any better! I am extremely satisfied! Head Seamstress Fu, come over whenever you have time. I have tea and snacks and…”

Even Zhenzhu wanted to laugh. “She is already gone.”

Princess Xinnan breathed a huge sigh of relief. “Aiyo, I managed to deal with her. I treated her so well, so she should not have any issues with me and Sheng Chuling.”

Zhenzhu replied, “Head Seamstress Fu is not such a petty person.”

Princess Xinnan asked fiercely, “Then are you trying to say that I am petty?”

Zhenzhu was silent and immediately shook her head.

 

While Xinnan and Fu Rou’s relationship was mended, cracks appeared in the relationship between the Eastern Palace and Han Mansion.

Sun Lingshu framed a palace maid, Dong’er, who came from Consort Han. She made up an excuse that Dong’er stole a bracelet and forcefully sent her away. She wanted to show Prince Han and Consort Han that she was not someone they could look down upon and talk bad about to the Crown Prince. Consort Han did not retaliate and seemed to understand her message.

On this day, Sun Lingwei entered the palace. She said that her marriage talk with the son of Duke Cheng, Peiji, had not gone well. Instead, Peiji was interested in Lu Yunji’s daughter.

Sun Lingshu was disagreeable with Lu Yingying. She thought that Lu Yingying had set her eyes on the son of Duke Cheng because she did not manage to become the Crown Princess and wanted to steal her sister’s potential husband. Sun Lingshu could not let this go. She then personally made chicken soup and invited the Crown Prince.

The Crown Prince recalled how he got angry with Sun Lingshu over Fu Rou’s matter even though she was pregnant, and felt slightly guilty. Hence, he came over. After drinking one bowl, he wanted a second bowl.

“Today, His Majesty talked to Duke Cheng for a long time.” Sun Lingshu thought that this was a good opportunity.

The Crown Prince did not think anything of it and simply made a sound of acknowledgement. Sun Lingshu faked a sigh. “Your Highness is kind and magnanimous. You trust everyone and treat them well. However, not all officials are as trustworthy and reliable.”

The Crown Prince stopped drinking. “What do you want to say, Crown Princess?”

“I don’t know what Duke Cheng is thinking. They know that our Sun family is definitely loyal to Your Highness, yet, they look down on our Sun family and decide to get together with the Lu family…”

“The taste of this soup has changed.” The Crown Prince suddenly placed down his bowl and stood up.

Actually, when Duke Cheng came, he had also asked him this. However, Duke Cheng helped him understand everything clearly. First of all, Duke Cheng wanted to avoid trouble. He was preventing the Emperor from being wary of the Crown Prince’s power. Lu Yunji was still loyal to the Emperor and Duke Cheng wanted to use marriage as a way of winning over Lu Yunji onto the Crown Prince’s side. That is why Duke Cheng chose the Lu family’s daughter. He had wanted to explain this to Sun Lingshu but did not expect her to bring it up first and try to incite disharmony.

Sun Lingshu did not know that she had caused the Crown Prince to be displeased. “If the taste of the soup has changed, there are still other dishes. I made them myself. Your Highness, please try them before you leave.”

“I am full.” The Crown Prince spoke coldly, “As the heir to the throne, I understand people’s intentions. As long as no one intentionally incites disharmony, the ministers by my side are all reliable and trustworthy. I don’t need you to worry about this and point things out to me.”

As Sun Lingshu watched the Crown Prince leave, she felt wronged.

Shuangxi sniffed the bowl of soup. “The taste of the chicken soup did not change.”

Sun Lingshu gritted her teeth. “The taste of the chicken soup didn't change but his feelings have. When I first entered the Eastern Palace, the Crown Prince was considerate and reasonable. Now, he has been bewitched by those beside him.”


As Chen Ji was summoned into the Crown Prince’s study, he realised that the Crown Prince was not in a good mood.

“Eh? Weren’t you in a good mood when the Crown Princess invited you to drink chicken soup? You mentioned that you might have scolded her too harshly because of the matter with Head Seamstress Fu and wanted to find a chance to accompany her.”

“Don’t mention it, play chess with me.” The Crown Prince brought out a chess set.

Chen Ji shook his head. “Why are you angry with the Crown Princess again? When a woman is pregnant, their temper will worsen. You should give in to her more.”

The Crown Prince rolled his eyes. “I can give in to her in other things, but there are some things that she does that I really cannot stand. A married woman’s opinion will ruin big plans. If I don’t teach her a lesson, I don’t know what kind of trouble she will cause in the future. If only she could be like you, simple and dumb.”

“How am I dumb? Look.” Chen Ji placed a black bead on the chess board and looked at the Crown Prince sympathetically. “Your big dragon is dead.”

“Your big dragon is the one that is dead.” The Crown Prince placed down a white bead, determining the winner.

Chen Ji was stunned. “Can I replay my move?”

“What do you think?” Looking at Chen Ji’s frustrated face, the Crown Prince laughed. “How about this? Whoever loses in chess will drink as a punishment.”

Chen Ji smiled. “Okay, you have a lot of good wine here, I can get addicted.”

Alas, Chen Ji lost game after game. Seeing how happy he looked while he was drinking, the Crown Prince decided to join him. They drank until they were drunk as they lay down on the couch, promptly falling asleep.

The both of them fell asleep without a care in the world. However, their actions startled two others. The first was Official Situ, who recently has been patrolling daily. The other was Shuangxi, who was sent by Sun Lingshu to find out where the Crown Prince had gone to rest.

Light shone as daybreak. Birds started to look for food as they chirped noisily.

The Crown Prince turned around on the bed. He opened his eyes only to stare straight into Chen Ji’s face. He sat up in shock. Chen Ji was awoken by his huge movement as he rubbed his eyes and sat up.

“What…” The Crown Prince looked around and realised that they were in the study room. He recalled their drinking session the previous night. “From now on, we cannot drink when we play chess. Otherwise, who knows what we’d do.”

“Huh? We wouldn’t do anything if we’re drunk. We would be lying down.” Chen Ji felt that he was not accurate.

“Thankfully no one saw us. Make sure you don't go out and spread this.” Regardless, the Crown Prince knew he did not behave according to etiquette.

“It is also my reputation, okay? You are also not allowed to spread rumours.” Chen Ji jumped off the couch and straightened his clothes.

At this moment, the internal attendants reported that Official Situ requested an audience. The Crown Prince pointed out that they did not complete their game the previous day and told Chen Ji to think about how to turn the situation around before he returns. However, given his lousy chess skills, Chen Ji did not know what there was to think about. Nonetheless, he still gazed at the chess pieces and thought about it seriously.

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