Once again, Prince Zhou called Fu Rou to Lingxiao Palace. She did not know what for but it was not like she could disobey him.
“Head Seamstress Fu, do you know that my younger sister, Princess Xinnan, is about to be married into Duke Lu’s family? As her brother, I am extremely happy that she is going to be married.” Prince Zhou was grinning from ear to ear as his tone changed to a mocking one, “Head Seamstress Fu, why do you look so down? Could it be that you have met an unfaithful man?”
“He is not that kind of person.” Fu Rou had heard about this but did not believe that Sheng Chumu would lie to her. She just felt like the road for the two of them to be together were filled with thorny obstacles.
“In your heart, Sheng Chumu’s is the best man on earth and he would never let you down.” Prince Zhou did not believe that anyone could change a marriage bestowed by the Emperor.
“Yes.” Fu Rou was persistent.
“Then how about we make a bet.” Prince Zhou took the opportunity. “If Sheng Chumu marries Xinnan, you will forget about him completely and choose to be with me.”
Fu Rou shook her head. “I am not betting.”
Prince Zhou incited her. “So you are just saying words but you don’t actually have faith in Sheng Chumu.”
Fu Rou emphasised every word. “I care about him. I don’t make bets on people I care about.”
Prince Zhou felt unhappy but did not want to use his status to force her. “Okay, let’s not talk about this. I have something good to give you.”
Prince Zhou beckoned her over. Fu Rou walked over and saw drawings resembling ships on the desk.
“Isn’t this interesting?” Prince Zhou saw how she was absorbed. “These are all ships from overseas. They are very different from our Great Tang’s ships. The embroidery from the Seamstress Department is always about flowers or sparrows in forests. Every month, you have to present many embroideries and all the flowers, birds, insects and fish have been sewn by your department. Don’t you need something fresh and beautiful?”
“These overseas ships have a really interesting shape…” Fu Rou turned her head and was startled that Prince Zhou was right in front of her face. Her cheek grazed his lips.
Fu Rou was extremely awkward while Prince Zhou laughed happily.
“What did you want to say?” She had an alluring scent that caused him to be addicted.
“I wanted to say that these overseas ships have a very interesting shape. Their sails are all different and the front of the ships also have different unique shapes. If we sew them, the concubines will definitely be interested.” When she talked about embroidery, she was very focused and completely forgot about the incident that just happened.
“Mmhm, I am looking forward to your new work. When you have finished embroidering them, you better not forget about me. You have to give me one.”
“Of course.” Fu Rou believed that this was only appropriate. “Your Highness reads extensively, I did not know that you are researching overseas ships as well.”
“I am not researching them. This was given to Imperial Father by Yan Zifang.” Prince Zhou was not one to claim credit that was not his.
Fu Rou was stunned. “Your Highness, did you just say...Yan Zifang?”
Prince Zhou replied, “He is the pirate that recently pledged loyalty to us. The leader of the Four Seas Sect. Imperial Father has officially bestowed the title of General Zhenhai on him. His family was torn apart and he was forced to become a pirate. He was afraid of bringing shame to his parents and changed his name.”
“His family was torn apart and he was forced to become a pirate?” Fu Rou muttered to herself, “It was really him…”
Prince Zhou was curious. “You know him?”
Fu Rou could not help but sigh. “He is someone that I thought had died long ago.”
“Head Seamstress Fu, I have really underestimated you.” A merchant’s daughter from Guangzhou associated herself with Duke Lu’s son and even knows a pirate.
Fu Rou answered smartly, “Life is ever-changing and everything is up to fate.”
“You are right. Head Seamstress Fu’s life is much more exciting than the average girl. Maybe you will become a consort that everyone admires in the future.” Prince Zhou looked longingly at Fu Rou.
Fu Rou lowered her eyes. “I am not delusional.”
Prince Zhou was eloquent. “Things that are impossible are considered delusions. On the other hand, things that are possible are considered dreams.”
Fu Rou smiled and shook her head. She did not have such ridiculous dreams.
On the main street, carriages and people flowed constantly. The Crown Prince walked alone. He did not fit in, but he also did not stand out.
Today, his Imperial Father had scolded him once more and Prince Zhou stood out once again. At his Imperial Mother’s place, he was ordered to never contact Chen Ji ever again and she did not even want to receive his greetings. The Crown Princess was extremely possessive and disappointed him time and time again. She even caused the death of Official Situ, whom he trusted and relied on the most. He had difficulty in trying to be nice to her.
In the huge palace, there was not a single person by his side to listen to his true feelings.
All of a sudden, a silhouette resembling Chen Ji appeared in front of him. The Crown Prince subconsciously quickened his footsteps. However, when the person turned around, it was not Chen Ji.
The Crown Prince was extremely disappointed as he walked blindly for a long while. When he had finally focused, he realised that he was standing in front of the small house on Luoye Alley.
The wooden door was not closed and he could clearly see into the garden. Chen Ji was practicing swordplay with Xiong Rui and was drenched in sweat.
The Crown Prince stepped in. He should at least bid farewell to his best friend.
Chen Ji was surprised and immediately kept his sword. He bowed respectfully to the Crown Prince. “Your Highness, why have you come today?”
“I have come to see you…” He was suddenly speechless. Chen Ji also did not speak.
Xiong Rui smartly headed into the house.
After a long silence, the Crown Prince spoke, “In the future, I will not come here. I will also not call you over to sing Zhao Zilong’s Seven Charges into Changbanpo. For today, let’s not be uncomfortable and be like we were before. I will never get to have these kinds of days anymore.”
Chen Ji suddenly became comfortable. “Okay, I want to be a traveller. When Your Highness ascends the throne, I will wander the world. When I see injustice, I will take out my sword and fight for justice. That should be considered as helping you a little to ensure peace.”
The Crown Prince glanced at the house. “You were practicing with him?”
Chen Ji shrugged. “How would someone like me be able to learn from an expert? We are just trying to live.”
The Crown Prince was sarcastic. “If even the teacher is average, there is no need to mention the pupil’s ability. You are learning this kind of random skill and dream of going out to defend the weak? I think you will be considered lucky if you are not killed.”
Chen Ji replied, “If you have skill, then you should teach me.”
The Crown Prince rolled up his sleeves. “Okay, let me teach you. I will let you see what it means for a famous teacher to train a fine student.”
Chen Ji drew out his sword. “Come on!”
Again and again, Chen Ji’s sword was easily knocked to the ground by the Crown Prince. The two of them gave up and resorted to their bare hands. Before they started, they even put on a show. In the end, they did not even display any skill and relied completely on who had more strength and who had more tricks up his sleeve. They took turns squishing each other. Eventually, they both ran out of energy and lay on the ground with their limbs spread out. They panted happily as they gazed at the sky.
“Chen Ji, I really want to hear you sing as Zhao Zilong. I already promised Imperial Mother that I would not see you ever again. If you don’t sing for me today, I will never get to hear you sing ever again.”
Chen Ji pulled himself up and took a deep breath. When he opened his mouth, he vocalized --
“In ancient times, there was a brave hero. He did not fear death nor was greedy to live…”
The Crown Prince sat up and hugged his knees. He looked intensely at Chen Ji, as if to engrave the image of him into his heart. When Chen Ji finished singing, he cheered. The Crown Prince even brought the gem-embedded dagger that he carried along with him and handed it over.
Chen Ji smiled, “It is the last day and you still want to reward me?”
The Crown Prince shook his head. “This is not a reward, this is me giving my friend a gift. I like to hunt. Every time I hunt, I will bring along this dagger. Take it. Whenever you see it, think of me, your close friend.”
“A gift from a close friend. I cannot reject this. I will carry it around with me.” Chen Ji took the dagger from the Crown Prince.
The Crown Prince smiled and turned to leave. He knew clearly that if they continued hanging out like they did in the past, he would put Chen Ji in danger. With today’s farewell, he would never see him ever again.Previous Chapter Next Chapter