“Picture of a beauty?” Prince Zhou raised his brows as he looked at Fu Rou. It was extremely rare that Fu Rou would take the initiative to come to Lingxiao Palace and he did not expect her to make such a request.
Fu Rou had gone to see her fellow sisters in the Seamstress Department today and found out that Grand Prince Liang had requested for them to do an embroidery of a beauty. However, they submitted a few pieces but he was not satisfied. Head Seamstress Yuan wanted to ask Prince Zhou for help as they knew he was skilled in drawing beauties but did not know how to ask. Hence, Fu Rou agreed to help.
“Just one picture will do. I will repay you.” Fu Rou did not say more.
“Do I look like a random street artist?” Prince Zhou’s tone changed as his interest seemed to be piqued. “What kind of reward?”
“What kind of reward would Your Highness like?”
“Fu Siyan, you can’t get angry after hearing it…”
“Then don’t say it.” Fu Rou immediately strangled the cradle, “I will sew you an embroidery piece as your repayment.”
Prince Zhou felt like it was not enough. “You should make me another set of new clothes. Although the previous set has been mended, it has been torn before. I want a new set. It is very reasonable.”
“Okay.” This was easy.
“I have another condition.” Prince Zhou was pushing his luck. “The next time you are allowed to leave the palace, accompany me for a day.”
Fu Rou did not hesitate. “No.”
Prince Zhou did not feel good. “Are you afraid that Sheng Chumu will be angry? He has a complicated relationship with that female pirate. Can you really stand this kind of man?”
Fu Rou did not waver. “That is my business.”
“If you do not accompany me, then I will not do the painting of the beauty.”
Fu Rou turned to leave.
“Okay okay, isn’t it just a picture of a beauty? I will give it to you.” Prince Zhou saw that she could not take the joke and hurried to open his cabinet. He grabbed a bunch of drawings and sat them on the table. “These are all fresh, you can choose any you like. Since I am feeling good today, I will let you have it easy.”
Fu Rou flipped the drawings over and was surprised to find that they were all paintings of her. Prince Zhou stared intensely at the side of Fu Rou’s face. “That’s right, they are all of you.”
Fu Rou looked down and continued flipping through the pictures. They were all paintings of her reading, embroidering, looking at the moon, and sick in bed. She had never seen these sides of herself before. Eventually, she picked a half-body picture of her front view and was satisfied.
Prince Zhou laughed. “Mmhm, good taste. I believe I have managed to capture your grace in that piece.”
“Thank you for the picture, Your Highness.” Fu Rou bowed. “After I hand this drawing over to Seamstress Xue, I will work on the new set of clothes.”
“Seamstress Xue?” Prince Zhou held back his smile. “Isn’t it for yourself?”
“Grand Prince Liang says that the embroidery of a beauty presented by the Seamstress Department is not up to standard and wanted to ask you for a picture.” To prevent Prince Zhou from thinking that she was vain, Fu Rou explained the situation.
Prince Zhou snatched back the picture and stuffed all the drawings back into the cabinet. He even locked it.
“Do you have brains? Grand Prince Liang is a pervert and other people are trying to avoid him. On the other hand, you are presenting your picture to him. Are you afraid that Grand Prince Liang is unaware of your beauty? Or do you think that your life is too comfortable in the palace? Do you know what consequences are if Grand Prince Liang starts to harbour intentions after seeing your picture? The Grand Emperor dotes on him and he just needs to ask and he will be able to get any palace lady. Even ten Sheng Chumus will not be able to save you.”
It was only then did Fu Rou react. “You are right, Your Highness. I was just thinking of the errand for the Seamstress Department and did not think much.”
Prince Zhou laughed bitterly, “You are considered experienced in the palace but you still don’t know how to protect yourself.”
She had been in the palace for less than a year, how was it considered experienced? She wanted to argue with him but saw that Prince Zhou had laid out a piece of paper as he pointed at the ink slab and gave her a look.
Fu Rou mechanically stepped up to prepare the ink.
“I promised to give you a picture of a beauty, you can't use the ones I have drawn. I shall draw another one for you now so that you will be able to get back to the Seamstress Department.”
Fu Rou was grateful. “Thank you for your kind understanding.”
Very soon, Prince Zhou drew a beauty. She had peach blossom eyes and cherry lips. Her skin was white as snow and she had a slender waistline.
“Your Highness, this lady is--” Fu Rou immediately recognised her.
A sinister look flashed through his eyes. “Lu Yunji’s daughter, Lu Yingying.”
Fu Rou fell silent for a second before saying, “Your Highness, can you draw another one?”
“Don’t you hate Lu Yunji?” He was helping her.
“Yes, I hate Lu Yunji. But that does not mean I want to harm his daughter. I have nothing against Lu Yingying. Knowing Grand Prince Liang’s character, I don’t think we should sew a picture of her and present it to him. Isn’t she innocent? Your Highness, you do not have to do this for me.”
“To tell you the truth, it is not only because of you. I hate Lu Yunji as well. Lu Yunji is currently holding onto the Crown Prince tightly and trying to get into his good books. He is always creating trouble for me.” He was not as magnanimous as her.
Fu Rou looked at Prince Zhou and sighed gently.
Prince Zhou tested, “Are you really not going to consider using Grand Prince Liang to get back at Lu Yunji?”
Fu Rou shook her head.
“I like your honest and fair personality. Okay, I will draw another piece.” Prince Zhou started to draw once again. Very soon, a beauty appeared. When the ink dried, he handed it over to Fu Rou.
“This time I did not draw it based on a person and thought of this beauty myself. No one will suffer because of this. Kind Fu Siyan, are you happy now?”
“Thank you, Your Highness. I will take my leave now.” Fu Rou took it and walked to the door. She suddenly turned around, “Although you did not manage to make Lu Yunji suffer, you won't feel horrible now and might even feel slightly relaxed. There is nothing to lose in being a good person.”
Prince Zhou looked on as Fu Rou walked away before muttering to himself, “Now that you've mentioned it, I do feel quite relaxed.”
Fu Rou held onto the drawing and walked past the Imperial Garden. She heard a cat meowing from behind the fake mountain rock. She thought it was a pet of one of the ladies. However, as she turned behind, a huge and tall black figure appeared and Sheng Chuling’s mischievous face could be seen. Assessing his surroundings, Sheng Chuling frantically beckoned her to come over.
Fu Rou walked over. “You are an Imperial Guard and should be doing your job. What if someone catches you sneaking around?”
Sheng Chuling sighed, “I know that but I had to come. If I don’t pass on the message, Elder Brother will kill me when I get back.”
Fu Rou laughed, “Okay, tell me now.”
Sheng Chuling coughed twice. “The following words are sincerely spoken by Sheng Chumu to Fu Rou.” His voice became extremely shy, “Rou’er, I don’t care what you are thinking but you have to believe me. I have nothing to do with Ma Hainiu…”
Sheng Chuling spoke a whole bunch.
“...this was what happened. Nothing that has been said is a lie. I, Sheng Chumu, swear that I only have you in my heart.” Sheng Chuling coughed and acted as if he could not take it anymore. He changed back to his normal way of speech before breathing out. “My god, I finally recited everything. I have sacrificed my skin to goosebumps.”
Fu Rou was calm. “Chumu forced you to come and find me just to say this?”
“Yes.” Sheng Chuling suddenly recalled, “Oh right, there is another thing that he wanted me to tell you.”
Fu Rou asked, “What?”
“Your sister, Fu Yin, has left the family.”
Fu Rou was bewildered. “What? She left the family?” She stomped her foot in anxiousness. “Why...why are you only telling me this now?” Everything he said before was useless!
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