Chapter 38.2: Peacock Screen

The next day, Xinnan was in great spirits as she went to see her Imperial Father.

The Emperor asked if she had reflected. She expressed clearly that there was a reason why she could not marry Lu Qi. The Emperor was unhappy, “Tell me your reason.”

“The reason is--” Xinnan breathed in deeply, “Fu Siyan!”

The Emperor froze for a while before summoning Fu Rou.

“Fu Siyan, Princess Xinnan has a reason for not being able to marry Lu Qi but she is not willing to tell me the reason. She said that you would be able to help me understand the situation.”

Fu Rou was completely oblivious and looked towards Princess Xinnan. However, no matter how she looked, she could not catch Princess Xinnan’s eyes.

The Emperor pressed on, “Since Xinnan is not willing to say it, then you shall say it on her behalf. Why can’t Xinnan marry Lu Qi?”

“Your Majesty, I…” Fu Rou could not carry on. No matter how clever she was, she could not work without the right equipment. She didn't even know what was going on, how was she to make up a story? “Your Majesty, may I speak to the Princess in private?”

Although the Emperor found it strange as to why the two of them needed to speak, he agreed.

As soon as they walked out of the palace hall, Fu Rou asked her what was going on.

Xinnan chuckled, “Simply put, Imperial Father wants me to marry Lu Qi but I am not willing. However, I don’t know how to convince my Imperial Father. Therefore, I called on you to help me think. Fu Siyan, you are Sheng Chuling’s future sister-in-law. As a sister-in-law, you should take on some responsibilities right? Sheng Chuling is responsible for me and you are responsible for Sheng Chuling. Hence, I am your responsibility.”

Fu Rou was speechless. Xinnan pleaded, “Fu Siyan, please help me.”

“Since you already put it this way, I have to help you even if I don’t want to. But how can I think of anything with so little time?”

As they spoke, a peacock strutted towards them. Sunlight shined on its jade green tail feathers. Fu Rou’s eyes lit up. She thought of an idea!

Fu Rou walked back into Ganlou Palace alone. 

“So?” The Emperor did not bother asking why Xinnan did not enter along with Fu Rou and waited for Fu Rou to tell him the reason.

Fu Rou remained composed. “Your Majesty, the reason why Princess Xinnan is not willing to marry Lu Qi is related to someone else.”

“Oh? Who? Who is so bold as to influence the Princess’ marriage? Tell me, I want to see how many heads he has.” The Emperor pulled on his sleeve.

Fu Rou replied, “This person is Grand Empress Taimu.”

The Emperor froze. “My Imperial Mother?”

“That’s right. Grand Empress Taimu is brilliant and kind beyond belief. When she passed away, the Princess was still young. However, in the Princess’ heart, she has always longed, revered and even have a deep admiration for the Grand Empress. Grand Empress Taimu had a legendary and blissful marriage. The Princess has made a vow to the spirit of Grand Empress Taimu. She promised to be like her Imperial Grandmother and find a consort that is both good at martial and literal arts.”

The Emperor did not understand. “Lu Qi is someone that I have chosen as her consort. He is talented in both martial arts and literature. Which part of him is not up to standards? Since Princess Xinnan wants a well-rounded person, all the more she should agree to the marriage happily.”

“Your Majesty, the Princess is not willing to marry Lu Qi because he has yet to pass the most important test.” Fu Rou was neither subservient nor overbearing.

“What test?” The Emperor found it weird.

“The Peacock Screen Selection.” 

“That’s right! The Peacock Screen Selection!” Xinnan supported the Grand Emperor as he entered.

The Grand Emperor smiled, “If he wants to marry a wife, he has to go through the Peacock Screen Selection. If not, he cannot be chosen!”

Xinnan gave Fu Rou a suggestive look. Luckily Fu Rou had thought of asking her to invite this saving grace.

The Emperor immediately walked down and greeted respectfully, “Grand Emperor.”

The Grand Emperor accepted his greeting. “I remember when numerous men came for your mother. There were so many of them the doorstep broke from being stepped on too many times. Your grandfather cherished your mother dearly and would never dare to easily agree to a marriage. He then made a Peacock Screen. Those who wanted to marry your mother were given two arrows to shoot at the peacock’s eyes. Many tried but none managed to pass. At that time, I was just a small guard. I received the news late and when I got there, there were quite a number that tried already.”

Xinnan held onto the Emperor’s arm. “What’s the point of being first? What matters is ability. When Imperial Grandfather came, he took the bow and simultaneously shot both the peacock’s eyes.”

“That’s right! My two arrows shot both the peacock’s eyes.” The Grand Emperor reminisced about the old days and his voice was light. “My father-in-law appreciated me and immediately betrothed your Imperial Grandmother to me. Xinnan, I never thought that you would be the only grandchild of mine to miss your Imperial Grandmother.”

Xinnan spoke carefully, “Imperial Grandfather, don’t say that. I am not the only one that misses Imperial Grandmother. Imperial Father misses Imperial Grandmother as well.” She turned to look at the Emperor. “Right, Imperial Father?”

The Emperor was emotional as he recalled the past. “Of course I miss Imperial Mother.”

Xinnan suddenly kneeled. “Imperial Father, on account of Imperial Grandmother, please help me set up the Peacock Screen for my marriage. I really want to be like Imperial Grandmother and entrust my life with someone worthy.”

Xinnan, you are very filial to your Imperial Grandmother. If you had this intention, why didn’t you tell me directly?” Why did she need Fu Siyan to twist and turn and go an entire round.

“I...marriage is a big matter. I was shy to speak about it to you directly. That’s why I could only ask Fu Siyan to help me. Imperial Father, does that mean you agree?”

The Emperor smiled and nodded. Simply put, the Peacock Screen Selection was just a matter of archery. He was ninety percent confident of Lu Qi’s ability.

However, the Emperor forgot about Fu Rou. Fu Rou was excellent in embroidery. The Peacock Screen was embroidered. But when it came to embroidery, Fu Rou had a thousand ideas to make even the best shooter confused.

 

Fu Rou was working with Shu’er. They lowered blinds all over the windows to prevent the sunlight from shining in. Thereafter, they made different coloured dyes to dye strings. In front of her was a peacock screen that had just been delivered to her from the Embroidery Department. She was the one that embroidered the screen and left it in the storage room. She did not think that there would actually be use for it.

Shu’er brought over some herbal medicine. “Do we have to put in herbal medicine for this dye?”

Fu Rou did not say more as she took the herbal medicine and ground it. She carefully measured it before pouring it into the water. She did not allow for any mistakes. After the threads were dyed, they were dried before they could be attached to a needle and used to embroider the screen.

Shu’er did not understand. “This screen is already very pretty, why do you need to embroider further?”

Fu Rou said, “Because she called me Elder Sister-in-law.”

Shu’er made an ah sound. Fu Rou immediately corrected herself. “Because I think that there are too few feathers on the peacock’s head.”


The next day, Fu Yin was helping Lu Qi put on his clothes.

Meanwhile, Lu Qi grumbled, “I don’t know what the Emperor is thinking. If he wanted to bestow marriage then he should just do it. Why must they set up the Peacock Screen Selection? It is all because of Fu Rou creating trouble.”

As Fu Yin heard Fu Rou’s name, her actions slowed.

Lu Qi immediately noticed and was happy. “Why? Are you jealous that I am marrying the Princess? Don’t worry. I won’t let the Princess bully you when she enters our residence.”

“With Young Master’s affection, I don’t have anything to worry about.” Fu Yin did not care about Lu Qi’s marriage with the Princess. “How did this Fu Rou girl offend you?”

Lu Qi sneered, “She is precious to Sheng Chumu. I don’t get along with Sheng Chumu and will sort out whoever Sheng Chumu likes.”

Fu Yin was stunned. “You want to sort her out?”

“Don’t mention her and ruin my mood.” Lu Qi suddenly embraced Fu Yin intimately. Fu Yin wanted to push him away. “It is early in the morning…” All of a sudden, a pair of jade bracelets appeared in front of her.

Lu Qi helped Fu Yin wear the jade bracelets. “Didn’t the bracelets given to you by your mother break? I specially bought this pair for you. Although it cannot replace what your mother left behind, whenever you look at it, you will know that there is someone in this world that cares for you.” Warmth filled his eyes as he smiled gently. “Although I cannot choose my own wife, I can choose who to dote on.”

Fu Yin stared blankly at the beautiful bracelets. When she pulled herself back to reality, Lu Qi had already left. She could not help but place her hand on her heart. The bracelets gave off a clear ringing sound when they hit each other. It was as if they fell into her heart and created a ripple. She actually thought that he was gentle! What should she do?

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Coca's Thoughts

Uh oh. I think Fu Yin is falling for Lu Qi!! What do you think will happen?

Lu Qi may be a terrible person, but he treats Fu Yin and Yingying very well!!