Chapter 39.2: Life Exchange Paper

Fu Yin froze. “I was looking at this beautiful embroidery and saw how there are two holes in it. What a pity.”

“Don’t look down on the two holes, this embroidery is a gem.” Lu Qi was not suspicious of her as he moved beside Fu Yin. He took the embroidery away. “It might help me cause the demise of someone who hates me.”

“What are you talking about? I don’t understand.” Fu Yin wanted to use an indirect approach.

Lu Qi, however, smiled. “You are too innocent. It is better if you do not understand.” He turned around to hug Fu Yin. “Come, your Young Master suffered in the Royal Palace today, how do you intend on comforting me?”

“How about you return to your room first? When I am done cleaning up, I will sing for you?” Fu Yin wanted to send him away.

However, Lu Qi called for Housekeeper Wu. In front of Fu Yin, he handed the embroidery over to him. “Keep this in the storage room, I will not allow for any mistakes. Next, invite the best seamstress in this city to our residence.”

Housekeeper Wu took the embroidery away. With this, Fu Yin could not do anything.

Lu Qi looked at Fu Yin seriously. “So strange. I did not pass the Peacock Screen Selection today and did not manage to marry Princess Xinnan. Yet, I do not feel disappointed. On the contrary, I am slightly happy.” He stepped closer and held Fu Yin in his arms. “Yin’er, for as long as I do not marry a wife. You and I can spend our days carefree like this.”

Fu Yin’s gaze was slightly perplexed. “Young Master…”

Lu Qi tilted his head and kissed Fu Yin. Initially, her eyes widened. However, she slowly closed them and felt a tenderness from him. His strength was surprisingly comforting. 

 

Evening. Huayin Palace.

Li Baolin invited Fu Rou to play chess. However, Fu Rou kept on making mistakes.

“I thought that you would always only have one expression.” Li Baolin half laughed as she glanced at Fu Rou.  

Fu Rou had a lot of things on her mind. “What expression?”

“Calm and prepared as if nothing could knock you down.” Li Baolin’s tone changed as she blinked. “However, you made a lot of mistakes today. Your confused side makes me like you better.”

Fu Rou sighed, “I shall not hide from you. I do have some troubles.”

“Let me guess.” Li Baolin was the one that had a card up her sleeve. “This trouble of yours has something to do with Young General Lu not being able to shoot the Peacock Screen accurately?”

Fu Rou’s eyes widened slightly.

Li Baolin smiled, “I don’t know about other things but I have personally seen your embroidery skills. I heard that Young General Lu was grumbling after this morning and mentioned something about the peacock on the screen moving. I was once the head seamstress in the Seamstress Department and would naturally know that it is impossible for the peacock embroidery to become alive and move. However, you were the one who taught me how to incorporate silk into my skirt and use the sunlight to make my skirt glimmer. Maybe you had a way to create a miracle. If you believe in me, you can tell me. How did you do it?”

“It is not that I do not trust you, but I don’t want to implicate anyone innocent.” Fu Rou was meticulous and knew the seriousness of the situation.

Li Baolin held Fu Rou’s hand. “Ever since you helped me, I have treated you as my sister. In this palace, no one can walk alone.”

Fu Rou fell silent for a moment. “The secret to the Peacock Screen is the many layers of stitch that I added beside the peacock’s feathers. What if I told you that the colour of every layer could fade according to the way the sun shone and exposed the colour of the layer beneath it?”

Li Baolin was astonished. “Threads that can fade in colour?”

“My family has run a dye workshop for generations. Not only have we perfected the skill of dyeing, we also found the secret to fading colours. There is a herbal medicine called Cat Tongue Flower. Normally, it is nothing amazing. However, by using the correct amount of it when dyeing, it allows cloth that has been dyed to fade when sunlight shines on it. When I handed the screen over to the Seamstress Department, I specified told Attendant Yuan to only remove the red cloth covering the screen at the very last moment. It is to prevent the colours of the threads from fading prior to the event. When the red cloth was removed and Lu Qi aimed at the screen, the sunlight shining on it would have caused the colours of the threads to fade, gradually exposing the marvel of the embroidery. In this manner, it would cause him to think that the peacock is moving.”

“From a distance, no one would be able to tell such a small change is occurring.” Li Baolin was also experienced in the field.

“That is why I asked Yang Bo to convince His Majesty to allow Lu Qi to stand closer to the screen.” Everything had been planned.

“So that is what happened. But even if the top layer fades, it would turn white and hide the layer underneath it, how can it show the embroidery beneath it?” Li Baolin asked.

Fu Rou lowered her voice. “Baolin, when you were trying to win over His Majesty, do you remember how you made something unimpressive emit radiance?”

Li Baolin came to a realisation. “Silk.”

Fu Rou nodded. “That’s right, silk is transparent and has no colour.”

“Not only is silk transparent and colourless, it will also reflect light. When Lu Qi saw the change in the embroidery, he would have already been surprised. When the reflection of the sunlight shines into his eyes, it would naturally make it harder for him to aim.” Li Baolin was in awe. “Fu Siyan, only you would think of such a seamless trick.”

“This seamless embroidery has a slit. It is a slit that may take someone’s life.” If not, she would not have been worried. “This frightening slit is in the embroidery itself. Embroideries that have been dyed with Cat Tongue Flower as well as embroidered with transparent silk will not escape any expert seamstress eyes. If someone that is well-versed with the trade gets their hand on the Peacock Screen and checks, they will immediately find out. I asked Yang Bo to help me bring the Peacock Screen back but it was nowhere to be found. I am worried that it has fallen into the hands of someone with ill-intentions.”

Li Baolin suddenly stood up. “Fu Siyan, we were like sisters just now. But now, we are no longer sisters.”

Fu Rou froze as her eyes glistened, she was unflinching. She believed in Li Baolin.

“Have you heard of the Life Exchange Paper?” Li Baolin asked seriously.

“Life Exchange Paper?” Fu Rou shook her head

“When living in the harem, everywhere is full of thorns. With every step you take, you may fall into a trap. Amongst us weak women, there will always be a few that we trust and rely on. You trust me enough to tell your life-threatening secret to me. You entrusted your life to me. This is the Life Exchange Paper that you have given me. From today onwards, we are not just surface level sisters, we are in a relationship where we would exchange our lives for each other.” As Li Baolin finished speaking, she took out something from her room.

Fu Rou stood up in shock. “This…”

If that wasn’t the Peacock Embroidery, what was it?

“This is the life-threatening slit on your seamless embroidery.” Li Baolin handed it over to her. “Ever since I heard you speak on behalf of Princess Xinnan and even suggested using the Peacock Screen to choose her consort, I have been paying attention. Don’t forget that I am also from the Seamstress Department and have been your subordinate before. My attention would always first be on the embroidery.”

Fu Rou breathed a sigh of relief. “No wonder Yang Bo could not find it. You scared me.”

“Just now, if you did not treat me as one of your own and hid from me, I would not have handed this over to you. As to whom I would have handed it to, I am sure you can guess. Ultimately, deceiving the Emperor is a crime and no one would dare to have a part in it. The punishment is death. Even knowing and not reporting is a crime worthy of death.” Li Baolin stated clearly. “Just in case, I even instructed some attendants to throw a Peacock Screen into the broken basket to replace this. All the embroideries in the palace are custom-made, coincidentally I had one that was similar. Of course, I even pierced two holes in it. Now, we are in the same boat.”

“Because I trust you, that is why you trust me.” Fu Rou understood.

“You could entrust me with your life. Therefore, I can entrust you with mine.” Li Baolin smiled slightly.

“This is true friendship.” Fu Rou was extremely touched.

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Coca's Thoughts

lol hope you didn't get a heart attack :P

I actually thought Li Baolin was going to betray Fu Rou. It's good to see true friendship in the palace!