Not long after, Fu Rou passed by the Crown Prince’s study room and saw Shuangxi behaving suspiciously and trying to look through the window gaps. She then snuck away. When she saw Shuangxi behave in this manner the previous time, Official Situ had lost three pearls. Fu Rou could not help but feel concerned as she purposely walked to the front door of the study, only to see Chen Ji sitting in there.
“Chen Ji, why have you entered the palace again?” She had a bad feeling about this.
Chen Ji spoke frankly, “I helped His Highness and in order to thank me, His Highness gave me a small house in Chang’an. However, the furniture is not ready and my leg is still injured. Hence, His Highness asked me to stay in the Eastern Palace for a few days to accompany him to play chess. When the furniture is ready, I will leave. Oh, my small house is along Luoye Alley. Come pay me a visit when you have time. That will be my home in the future. I don’t have many friends, but you are one of them.”
Fu Rou fell silent for a moment. “Since we are friends, can I say something honestly?”
Chen Ji replied, “Just say it.”
“You should not get too close to His Highness.” She could convince Prince Zhou but she could not stop the masses from talking.
“I am simply friends with His Highness, I never thought of gaining anything from him. He was the one who brought me to the house, that’s how I found out about it.” Chen Ji’s thoughts were simple.
Fu Rou sighed, “The Crown Prince is not like everyone else. He is the heir to the throne. If people were to know that you are friends with him, it will not be good for you or the Crown Prince.”
“So this is because I am an actor.”
Fu Rou replied, “I am just direct, don’t get angry.”
Chen Ji shook his head. “I am not angry, I also feel that this is not very appropriate. But we get alongvery well. Forget it, when I see the Crown Prince later on, I will bid him farewell and leave the Eastern Palace.”
“It is good that you can think this way.” Fu Rou smiled and left.
Soon, the Crown Prince returned to the study room. It was obvious that he was distracted as he played. Official Situ specially came to warn him after catching him drunk with Chen Ji the previous night. The Crown Prince believed that they were not behaving inappropriately but understood what Official Situ was trying to say. The worst that could happen was someone intentionally creating rumours out of it.
Thereafter, the Crown Prince found out that he was not the only one that was distracted. Chen Ji placed a black bead and made a fundamental mistake.
The Crown Prince pointed to the other corner. “You should put it here.”
“Here? Then my pieces here are doomed.” Chen Ji could not understand.
“Although you have to sacrifice these pieces, you protected your big dragon. At critical moments, you have to sacrifice small in order to protect the bigger picture. In chess, this is called abandoning pieces.”
“So this is what abandoning means. Your Highness, you said that life is like a chess game. Will there be a lot of abandoned pieces in your life?”
“They appear at any time.” The Crown Prince asked a question after he answered. “Do you think I am very heartless?”
Chen Ji smiled. “No, you are doing the right thing. I understand abandoning. It is like Zhao Zilong’s Seven Charges into Changbanpo. When he met with Madam Gan and Ah Dou, Zhao Zilong could not save the both of them. In order to help Zhao Zilong escape with Ah Dou, Madam Gan jumped into the well. Madam Gan was an abandoned piece. If she didn’t die, Zhao Zilong and Ah Dou would have died with her.”
The Crown Prince realised what he was getting at and stared at Chen Ji. “Luckily you are Zhao Zilong and not Madam Gan.”
“Your Highness, I know that you treat me as a close friend. If you ever need to use me as an abandoned piece, I am fine with it.”
“Shut up. For no rhyme or reason, you can’t say such unlucky words. You are really not sensible.” The Crown Prince stared at the chessboard as he rubbed a chess piece between his fingers for a long time. “Chen Ji, even if something happens in the future, I will not treat you as an abandoned piece. This is my promise to you.”
Chen Ji looked at the focused Crown Prince. “I am leaving.”
The Crown Prince suddenly lifted his head. “Where are you going?”
Chen Ji suddenly understood. Fu Rou was right. The Eastern Palace was not a place where he should be.
Prince Han rushed back home and showed Consort Han the rouge liquid that he bought for her. However, Consort Han did not behave like she usually did and did not even spare a glance. She stared at the paper in her hand and could not stop shaking her head and sighing.
Prince Han did not like it when she frowned and asked out of concern, “What happened?”
“The Crown Princess suddenly asked us to lend our actors to them and specified that she wanted Chen Ji to go over.” Consort Han knew that she had an ulterior motive.
She had just gotten Dong’er, who the Crown Princess had chased out two days ago. She took into consideration the brothers' relationship and was not calculative. Unfortunately, the Grand Emperor fell recently and the Empress requested for the Crown Prince to care for him. The Crown Prince had just left when the Crown Princess sent a request for Chen Ji to go and act. Her actions could not be pure.
“It is true that Chen Ji has been too close to the Crown Prince recently. It is no wonder that the Crown Princess is unhappy. However, he is still injured. I don't think we should let him go.” Prince Han was worried that something would happen.
Consort Han shook her head. “No, we have to let Chen Ji go. Firstly, it is because of you. We should not destroy the relationship between us and the Eastern Palace. The Crown Princess has requested something from us. If we avoid it, she would think that we are getting back at her. I am afraid that she will bear a grudge against you. Secondly, it is for Chen Ji. The Crown Princess is the Crown Princess after all. If we don’t let her vent her anger on Chen Ji, she will hold a grudge and if she explodes in the future, Chen Ji won’t be able to bear it. Chen Ji will be going over to act for her. At most, she will make things difficult for him but he can just hold it in.”
“You are right, let’s do as you say. We will let Chen Ji go over for the Crown Princess to vent slightly. Sigh, since she had become the Crown Princess, we have to be careful of everything regarding the Eastern Palace. Things are no longer as easy as before. Women are so difficult and petty.” Prince Han suddenly felt eyes burning into him. His tongue was glib and immediately corrected, “Oh, I said it wrongly. I meant the Crown Princess is difficult and petty. If she was like you, beautiful, smart and gentle, she would be easy to deal with.”
Consort Han smiled. “You are right.”
Meanwhile, the Han Mansion’s acting troupe entered the Eastern Palace and Fu Rou also received the news. She felt the same as Consort Han and believed that things were not as simple as they seemed. She personally brought a few palace maids to the Eastern Palace and set up red silks around the troupe.
Sun Lingshu saw how Fu Rou came uninvited and became suspicious. “What are you doing?”
Fu Rou replied calmly, “I heard that Your Highness will be watching a show here. Hence, I have asked them to hang red silk around the stage. Firstly, it is to improve the celebratory atmosphere. Secondly, it is for good luck. This has been passed down from olden days. It is said to be good for pregnant women and their child. Her Majesty, the Empress, has also instructed me before. Since you are pregnant now, no matter what you do, it has to be auspicious.”
As Sun Lingshu was most concerned about her baby now, she did not say anything more after hearing what Fu Rou had to say.
The gong sounded as the show started. In the beginning, Chen Ji was performing with ease. However, as his movements kept changing, his injury started to show itself. It was obvious that he was not steady and swayed several times on stage. Thankfully he was able to remain steady and complete the show.
Sun Lingshu clapped slowly as she smiled coldly. “Great singing, no wonder the Crown Prince never gets tired. Sing again.”
The gong sounded as Chen Ji performed once again. However, he could escape once but he could not escape forever. He stepped into empty space and fell off the stage.
Sun Lingshu remained expressionless and watched on without even blinking. This despicable man was not even worthy of helping her put on her shoes. How dare he sleep on the same bed as the Crown Prince and bewitch him? It will be best if such a shameless person were to fall to their death.
However, Sun Lingshu did not get what she hoped for as Chen Ji was saved by the red silk as he fell. He merely sprained his leg. Sun Lingshu could not make things difficult for him anymore and was forced to allow the performance troupe to return.
As the performers slowly dispersed, Sun Lingshu caught sight of Fu Rou standing beside Chen Ji. Fu Rou was looking at him in concern. Sun Lingshu looked at the red silk once again and could not help the menacing look that flashed across her eyes.
As expected, the people from the Han Mansion were all working together!Previous Chapter Next Chapter