Chapter 4.2: Wudi

Sheng Chumu was back!

When Ziyun told Fu Rou the news, Fu Rou was filled with happiness. When she finally focused on the present, she realised that she was seated in front of her dresser. As she delicately drew her eyebrows, she was shocked to realise that she started to care so much about Sheng Chumu. Just the thought of finally seeing him had thrown her into a frenzy.

Fu Rou had never been the type to spend much time dolling herself up. Today, however, she took quite a while before she was finally ready. She then asked Ziyun to get a box, and placed the fragrance pouch in it. She personally held the box as she left her courtyard.

As she turned the corner, she saw Sheng Chumu talking and laughing with Fu Tao. However, Fu Rou suddenly halted her steps as her heart sped up. She hid behind a pillar while she secretly watched him. Sheng Chumu’s clothes were as magnificent as before but his robe seemed tighter and more filled now. Fu Rou couldn’t help but think of Fu Tao. Back when he had left for Jiuhua Mountain, he was as skinny as a monkey. However, when he returned, he became bigger and more muscular as if he was a different person.

Fu Rou became curious as she subconsciously walked out from behind the pillar, wanting to ask Sheng Chumu where he had been.

The moment Sheng Chumu caught sight of Fu Rou, his mind went blank and he went up to her enthusiastically. 

Fu Tao smiled warmly. “Second Sister, what took you so long? Teacher has already finished talking about the Art of War’s fire attack.”

Fu Rou greeted, “Young Lord. Thank you for taking time to teach Fu Tao.” As she faced Sheng Chumu, she forgot what she was supposed to say.

“You are still calling me Young Lord?” Sheng Chumu stared at her, not wanting to shift his gaze away from Fu Rou. One day of not seeing her felt like three seasons had passed. 

“Sheng Chumu.” Fu Rou tried her best to sound natural.

“Who calls someone with their surname?” Sheng Chumu did not allow her to get away with it.

“……Chumu.” Fu Rou fidgeted, blushing slightly.

“Where is my fragrance pouch?” Sheng Chumu spread out his palm. 

Fu Rou handed the box over to him. Sheng Chumu opened the box carefully. He could not help but reach out to touch it as he saw the intricate embroidery on the fragrance pouch and the flower that looked practically real.

“Although I have heard from your mother that you are excellent in embroidery, I never thought that your embroidery would be so beautiful. I am afraid that even the palace’s embroideries pale in comparison to yours.” 

Fu Tao came over and looked into the box. He wanted to reach in, only to have it slapped away by Sheng Chumu.

“Second Sister, you are biased. This fragrance pouch is so much nicer than the one you gave me.” Fu Tao suddenly noticed, “Eh, why are there thorns on this flower?”

There was a deeper meaning behind Fu Rou’s words. “Although flowers are beautiful, their thorns can hurt you.”

Sheng Chumu carefully tied the fragrance pouch onto his belt. “I don’t care if it hurts me. I am not afraid of pain and I like excitement.”

Fu Rou lowered her head to hide her smile as she turned and left.

Sheng Chumu stared at Fu Rou’s back view, only stopping when Fu Tao hit his back. “Teacher, the fifteenth of next month is my Second Sister’s birthday.” Fu Tao winked.

“Then what are we waiting for?” Sheng Chumu pulled Fu Tao along. “Let’s go get a present!”

 

Fu Tao brought Sheng Chumu to the most exciting street in the city. Both sides of the streets were filled with Guangzhou’s famous stores. There were also numerous small stalls. The coastal areas were prosperous as ships, transporting goods, could be seen all around the area. There were even thick-bearded and blue-eyed merchants amongst the crowd. 

“Teacher, how is it? Isn’t our Guangzhou exciting?” Fu Tao had thought that Sheng Chumu would find this new.

“If you are not at home, you are in the mountains. You haven’t seen much of the world.” Sheng Chumu looked proud. “Only when you get to Chang’an will you understand why it is the number one city in the world.”

“Then can you bring me to Chang’an to take a look?” Fu Tao could not help but express his interest.

“No problem, we are a family after all.” As Sheng Chumu said this, he suddenly realised how serious he was about Fu Rou and started to harbour thoughts of marrying her. He could not help but feel slightly fearful but also happy at the same time.

“Teacher, this looks nice. My Second Sister will like this.” Fu Tao could not sense the change in Sheng Chumu’s emotions as he picked up a hairpin from a stall. 

Sheng Chumu glanced at it and immediately expressed disdain. “How can a wooden hairpin be good enough for Rou’er?” He turned and looked around. He saw a jewellery store on the opposite side of the street. The entrance looked grand. “That store looks not bad—”

He had yet to complete his sentence when a horse dashed through the streets. The man on the horse was extremely arrogant as he brandished his whip wildly.

Fu Tao shouted, “Teacher, look there!”

Sheng Chumu saw it too.

A young girl stood in the middle of the streets, having froze in shock. The horse was just about to reach her as it raised its hooves into the air. Sheng Chumu and Fu Tao reacted at the same time, one of them grabbed the young girl while the other grabbed the reins. The horse was shocked as it threw the rider off its back. Sheng Chumu quickly stepped forward and sat on the man. Fu Tao pressed down on one of his arms. The people around them could not help but exclaim in amazement at the teamwork. 

“You blind shits! I am the messenger of the Great General Lu!” The rider was rude and unreasonable.

Sheng Chumu beat him up like he was stir-frying chestnuts. “Open your eyes and take a good look at me. I am Sheng Chumu from the Duke Lu [1] Residence!” He did not continue arguing with the rider and moved to the side with Fu Tao after beating him up.

“Sheng Chumu, Sheng Chumu, just you wait!” The messenger’s face was swollen as he crawled up. He grabbed onto his horse and stumbled as he ran away.

Sheng Chumu looked coldly at the rider as he ran away. He remembered that the Lu family lived in Guangzhou. He thought of the saying on how enemies would always meet. Wherever the Sheng family went, they would always bump into the Lu family. But he was not one that was afraid of trouble. He had announced his name for them to know that if they wanted to seek revenge, they should go straight for him.

“Oh no, if Second Sister knows that I got into a fight, she will definitely not forgive me.” Fu Tao was scared of Fu Rou’s duster.

“To deceive one’s superiors and delude one’s subordinates. That is something a man must learn. Can’t you just hide it from her?” Sheng Chumu believed that the solution was simple. “Come on, that was a good fight. Let me treat you to a drink.”

As his future brother-in-law, it was his responsibility to bring his future younger brother out to see the world. Since he was going to bring Fu Tao to see the world, then they could not simply drink any kind of alcohol. They had to go drink with ladies.

 

The next day, Sheng Chumu supported Fu Tao, who smelled of alcohol, back to the Fu Residence. The moment he stepped into Fu Tao’s room, he sensed danger. A feather duster flew towards him. His mind immediately cleared as he pushed Fu Tao in.  

“You spent the entire night out at the brothel and even sent the bill back home. Fu Tao, are you trying to piss me off?!” Fu Rou was furious. This brat was making them lose money. 

Sheng Chumu silently cursed as he hid by the door. Ever since he came to Guangzhou, he had chased Fu Rou, entered the Fu Residence and went to the Wudi Manor to train. It has been a while since he had drank so happily and he might have gone slightly overboard. He had actually passed out before Fu Tao and forgot to pass on the knowledge of paying for the drinks upfront. Fu Tao, that foolish boy, had actually asked for the bill to be sent to the Fu Residence.

“I only slept there because I was drunk, I didn’t do anything.” Fu Tao covered his head and ran around wildly. At the same time, he disregarded any sense of loyalty as he dragged Sheng Chumu down with him. “ Teacher was the one that brought me there!”

Sheng Chumu had wanted to escape but as he heard his name being called out, he knew he could not run. If he did, wouldn’t he make Fu Rou misunderstand his personality? Therefore, he gritted his teeth as he walked into the room and secretly glared at Fu Tao.

Fu Tao dropped everything. “Teacher, help me to pacify my sister.” He immediately ran off.

Fu Rou slowed down as she lowered the feather duster. Her fingers, however, tightened. She believed that her own younger brother would not fool around or frame others. She had thought that Sheng Chumu was not a playboy like other men. It seemed like he was no different.

Under Fu Rou’s gaze, for the first time in his life, Sheng Chumu felt like a child that had done something bad and he could not raise his head to meet her eyes.

“Yesterday was my fault. I was the one that brought Fu Tao to the brothel. But we only drank, we did not do anything else. If you are angry, just hit me.” Actually, he had already toned down.

Fu Rou actually raised the feather duster. 

Sheng Chumu shrank his neck and closed his eyes to prepare for impact, but nothing happened. He opened his eyes only to see Fu Rou holding the feather duster back in the proper orientation as she lightly brushed over his robe.

Fu Rou said softly, “A feather duster is used to get rid of dust, not to hit people.”

Sheng Chumu grabbed onto the feather duster, holding Fu Rou’s hand in his. Fu Rou was startled and immediately wanted to pull away. However, Sheng Chumu grabbed her hand tightly, not wanting to let go. Fu Ruo lifted her eyes and gazed into Sheng Chumu’s eyes. Her reflection in his eyes was dejected, an image of herself that she has never seen before.

“The brothel is a place where pitiful girls are being humiliated. Why would you go there to drink?” In the end, Fu Rou still wanted to ask.

“The brothel can also be a place for people to have intimate conversations and compose poetry. It is also a place to drink and have casual conversations. Du Ning loves to go to the brothel. Du Ning says that the girls at the brothel are very pitiful, if we don’t visit them, they won’t have any customers and won’t even be able to feed themselves.” Sheng Chumu could only use his friend to help him out of this situation.

“So, you like to go to brothels?” She was extremely afraid that he would say yes.

“No, no! Every time I go, it is to warn those dishonest guys that they are only allowed to drink and not play with the girls.”

Fu Rou laughed, “You are too gullible. Do you really think your warning will stop those perverts?”

Sheng Chumu replied wilfully, “I will try my best. In this world, we need some people to stand up for what is right.”

“You are right.” Fu Rou looked deeply at Sheng Chumu and suddenly put on a bright and cheerful expression. “In this world, we need people to stand up for what is right.”

Sheng Chumu looked into Fu Rou’s eyes and felt like he had entered another galaxy.

Meanwhile, Du Ning did not know that he had been used as a playboy. Du Ning carried an ink slab in his hands as he was about to turn the corner. A figure suddenly dashed out, knocking into him and causing black ink to spill all over his robe. Du Ning did not mind as he reached out to grab the person’s shoulder, helping her to regain her balance.

Although she was normally quiet and calm, Fu Yin was furious at that moment. However, when she saw the black ink all over Du Ning’s robe, she became apologetic. 

“Brother Lu, I am sorry.”

Du Ning accepted her apology graciously. “I am alright, but what happened to you?”

Fu Yin bit onto her lip as she fumed, “It is all because of my mother. Third Brother was hit by Second Sister for going to a brothel and my mother took her anger out on me. She said I –” Her mother scolded her brother for being useless and then scolded her for not being able to seduce Sheng Chumu. However, she obviously couldn’t say this. “She scolded me for no reason.”

Du Ning advised, “Your mother must have scolded you because she was worried about your brother and became too anxious. Don’t take it to heart.”

Fu Yin made a small sound of assent. Du Ning smiled and was about to leave.

“Brother Lu, did you prepare the ink to practice calligraphy?” Fu Yin blurted. She needed to find something to do. Du Ning nodded.

“Then can you teach me calligraphy? Brother Chumu had agreed to teach me, but I never seem to be able to find him.” Tsk, the more her mother wants her to get close to Brother Chumu, the more she would avoid him.

“Chumu was going to teach you? He said that?” Du Ning wanted to laugh.

“Yes, Brother Chumu’s words are very beautiful. Even my Second Sister agreed.” As Fu Yin saw how Du Ning looked as he laughed, she thought he was extremely handsome.

“He must have written the four characters, 自强不息 (to strive for self-improvement) right?” Du Ning also knew the backstory. Very unfortunately, he had grown up with that said person and attended the same school.

“Oh, Brother Lu you guessed it. You are amazing.” Fu Yin was intrigued as her eyes widened. “No matter how good he is, he doesn’t teach me. Brother Lu, can you teach me?”

Facing such an ‘open-minded and keen’ adorable face, Du Ning could not bring himself to say no. So, after agreeing to meet in the study room, Du Ning went to change. When Du Ning finally entered the study room, Fu Yin unexpectedly lifted a piece of paper with a string of ugly characters, stoically.

“Brother Lu, did you write this?”

Du Ning answered in a spur of a moment. “Nope, it is Chumu—” He almost bit off his own tongue as he suddenly shut his mouth.

Unfortunately, it was too late. Fu Yin was shocked as she heard every word he said.


1. Remember that Duke Lu is a title Sheng Chumu's father received and not their last name

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