Chapter 33.2: Instigate

The more Grand Prince Liang thought about it, the angrier he got. He immediately headed to the brothels. Initially, he had plans with other people but dropped them so that he could find the Crown Prince. He did not expect the Crown Prince to avoid him. He had gotten closer to the Crown Prince only to secure his own future. The Grand Emperor was getting old and he had no brotherly relationship with his brother, the Emperor. If not, he would not have lowered himself just to get on his nephew’s good side.

In the brothel, Grand Prince Liang had a lot of scoundrels as friends. They had arranged to meet in the day because Du He, the Emperor’s son-in-law, was in their group and he had to attend to his wife in the night. When Grand Prince Liang sat, he saw that Lu Qi was around and found it strange.

“The Lu family’s upbringing is so strict, how come you are with these guys?”

Lu Qi smiled, “Du He asked me to come. I did not think it would be this unconventional place. But since I am already here, I might as well enjoy it.”

Grand Prince Liang clapped and laughed. “What a great statement. That is something a man would say.”

Zhang He, who always hung out with Grand Prince Liang, found it strange. “Aiya, I thought Your Highness was going to find the Crown Prince to hang out and didn’t have time for me?”

Grand Prince Liang fumed, “I don’t know why but the Crown Prince suddenly decided not to acknowledge me. It seemed as if he was scared that I would bother him and looked down on me. Yesterday, we were still enjoying ourselves and I saw that he was quite happy when he returned to the Eastern Palace last night. However, when we met this morning, he said that he was going to Prince Han’s residence to discuss geography and left without saying more.”

“The Crown Prince can't change overnight. Did someone try to ruin the relationship between Your Highness and the Crown Prince? The Crown Prince is the heir and will be the future ruler. If he misunderstands or even despises you just because someone tried to instigate him... It doesn't matter now, but I worry about the future. Since the Crown Prince was rushing to Prince Han’s residence, I wonder if this has something to do with Prince Han…” 

Like father, like son. Lu Qi was identical to his father in which they loved to push the blame onto Prince Han.

“Hmph! Prince Han looks loyal but he is actually full of crafty thoughts. Today, Sheng Xiaojing’s son was also with the Crown Prince. He also was expressionless. It makes me angry just looking at him.” Grand Prince Liang immediately believed Lu Qi.

Lu Qi’s gaze froze. “Sheng Xiaojing’s son? Sheng Chumu?”

Grand Prince Liang nodded, “Yes, that’s him.”

Lu Qi chuckled coldly, “Then that’s it. Sheng Chumu is sly and harbours unfathomable motives. Previously, my father and I were almost ruined because of him. I never thought that he would turn his attention to you, Grand Prince Liang.”

Grand Prince Liang thought about it and shook his head. “I have no animosity with the Duke Lu Residence, why would he do that?”

Lu Qi fanned the fire. “Consort Han is Sheng Chumu’s sister. Prince Han just needs to speak and Sheng Chumu would say bad things about Your Highness to the Crown Prince.”

Grand Prince Liang gritted his teeth. “Ridiculous! Sheng Chumu, watch how I will deal with you!”

Lu Qi’s eyes lit up. “Also, let me tell you something. Sheng Chumu likes a female official in the palace. That person was previously in the Seamstress Department. However, the Empress thinks highly of her and promoted her to a Siyan. She is beautiful…”

Grand Prince Liang’s eyes lit up.

 

Lu Qi entered the study room. Fu Yin tied up the curtains. He suddenly stopped and pinched her chin, lifting her head up. He realised that there was a bruise on her face.

“What happened to your face?” Lu Qi asked.

“No...Nothing.” Fu Yin did not want to quarrel.

It had been less than two days, but Fu Yin was already tired of the trouble that Ling Long was giving her. Washing clothes, wiping the floor, Ling Long even started to control and reduce her meals. But Fu Yin knew that she had to bear with it. Only by staying beside Lu Qi could she find a chance to take her revenge.

Lu Qi found it bothersome. “Go and ask the housekeeper for some medicine. No one is allowed to have such an ugly face when serving in my study room.”

At this moment, Ling Long walked in. She threw Fu Yin a look before heading over to help Lu Qi prepare ink.

“Are you working hard again today?” As Ling Long spoke, her eyes kept drifting to the paper. Lu Hanxing mentioned that Lu Yunji had given him and Lu Qi homework and he wanted Ling Long to find out how Lu Qi was doing.

Unfortunately, Ling Long focused too much, causing the black ink to fly all over the place and ruining the piece that Lu Qi was writing. In a frenzy, she tried to save it but ended up knocking over the teacup next to it. The whole study table was in a mess.

“The more you help, the more trouble you create!” Lu Qi threw his brush down and stomped off.

Ling Long acted as if she had been wronged. When she saw that Lu Qi did not look back, she immediately became fierce and shouted at Fu Yin. 

“Aren’t you going to hurry and clean up! Useless thing. If you dare to do anything poorly, watch how I will tear your slutty self apart! Aren’t you very good? You have only been here a few days and you know how to complain to Young Master. You don’t allow me to pinch your beautiful face? Pah! What do you think you are? So what if I can't pinch your face? I can pinch here, here, here!” Ling Long used all her might to pinch the back of Fu Yin’s neck and over her arms.

Fu Yin did not complain as she cleaned the floor. For her mother, she was not afraid of hardship.

As the sun rose the next day, Fu Yin was already done with a lot of her chores. However, she had no choice but to help Ling Long wash her clothes. She struggled to carry the wooden pail. While walking past Ling Long’s room, she suddenly heard a man’s voice. But it was not Lu Qi’s voice. Fu Yin sneakily peeped through a small crack by the window.

Ling Long was wearing a glamorous pearl dress as she turned around to assess herself in the copper mirror. She looked proud. Lu Hanxing was standing behind her. The two of them were so intimate it would make anyone who saw them jealous.

“Didn’t I tell you that we can’t keep this? We have to get rid of it.” Lu Hanxing reached out to stroke the pearl dress.

When the Lu father and son pair were in prison, Lu Hanxing had taken the chance to get this pearl dress from Lu Yingying, using the excuse of exchanging it for money. He then gifted it to Ling Long to please her.

“I took it out because we have to get rid of it. It is so beautiful. What a pity. I wanted to wear it for a while before getting rid of it.” Ling Long pouted and took off the pearl dress, quickly cutting off the pearls. “Are you satisfied now? No one would be able to tell.”

Lu Hanxing could sense her unwillingness. “It is just a pearl dress. Wait for me to finish another two more battles and I will bring one back for you.”

“Forget it, how can a servant like me where this? Even if you really gave it to me, I can only keep it at the bottom of my closet. Sigh, we have different fates. Why wasn’t I reincarnated in a good family?” 

She hated it. When she wore the pearl dress, she was comparable to Lu Yingying in terms of looks.

“Stop complaining. Isn’t it great that you met me?” Lu Hanxing hugged Ling Long from behind. “When Lu Qi wanted to take that beautiful Fu lady as a concubine, didn’t you hate her to death? I even helped you get back at her.”

“Show off. Of course I know you helped me.” Ling Long turned around. Lu Hanxing blurted, “I was the one that set the Fu family’s house on fire…”

Stunned, Fu Yin quickly walked to the arched door in the small yard. However, her vision was blurry from tears and she tripped over the door sill. The wooden pail she was holding fell to the floor with a loud sound.

Ling Long and Lu Hanxing dashed out and saw Fu Yin sitting on the floor. They exchanged glances as they walked over to her.

Ling Long became fierce. “Yin’er, you useless thing, what have you done now?”

With tears still in her eyes, Fu Yin answered timidly, “I finished washing the clothes and was about to hang them out to dry. But the clothes were too heavy and I lost my balance…”

“Eh, which noble lady are you? You just washed a few sets of clothes and you look so wronged? Wait! Isn’t this the new dress that I just wore yesterday?”

Fu Yin picked it up. “I will go and wash it now…”

“I’ll say, how can a pail of clothes fall to the ground so easily? Very good! You just can’t bear to see me have a beautiful dress. You black-hearted witch! You did it on purpose!” Ling Long grabbed onto Fu Yin and started to pinch her.

“Stop hitting her. It is just a skirt, I will buy you a new one. Look at her white neck, there are bruises from you hitting her. If Lu Qi sees, he won’t be happy.” As Lu Hanxing spoke, he reached out his hand. His face seemed to be smiling as he made a move to touch Fu Yin’s neck.

Ling Long slapped Lu Hanxing’s hand away and glared menacingly at Fu Yin. “What are you looking at! Go and do your job! You wave your tail every time you see someone. Who is going to fall for your tricks?!”

Fu Yin wiped away her tears and picked up the clothes to place them in the wooden pail. She turned to leave.

“Stop right there!” Ling Long suddenly shouted.

Fu Yin was extremely frightened that they might have found out that she was eavesdropping. However, Ling Long just wanted her to buy perfume powder. She could not help but breathe a sigh of relief. She left the yard and ran to a hidden corner where she sank to the ground. Hugging her knees, her entire body trembled and she cried bitterly.

She had found her mother’s murderer!

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