Chapter 41.2: Surrounded by Four

Sheng Chumu was in trouble and Fu Rou was under pressure as well.

The entire morning was filled with people pointing and talking about her as well as those that tried to get on her good side. They all thought that Fu Rou must have some good skills to be able to attract four guys at once. They did not know how it felt to be caught in the middle. Her head was splitting. 

This time, she went to Huayin Palace on her own accord. It was both to hide from other people as well as to have a heart to heart talk with her sworn sister.

Li Baolin smiled as she welcomed Fu Rou. “Congratulations, Fu Siyan. Bless you, Fu Siyan. It is almost time for you to fly onto a higher branch and become a phoenix.”

Fu Rou sighed, “When other people say this, I bear with it. But if you say this as well, I am going to get angry.”

“Don’t get angry, I admit my mistake.” Li Baolin held onto Fu Rou’s arm as they walked into the palace.

Fu Rou repeated what happened the previous night.

“So that is what happened.” Li Baolin surmised. “Grand Prince Liang is despicable, Yan Zifang is determined to carry out the engagement both of you had when you were young. Prince Zhou just happened to be at the right place. Only you and Sheng Chumu are innocent and pitiful.”

“With so many people involved, the whole thing has blown up. Now, the decision is up to the Empress.” Although this was what Fu Rou said, she was extremely indignant.

Li Baolin could tell. “But the one in your heart...is the one that the Empress will definitely not choose. On the surface, it seems like a decision between four men but it actually is a decision between two.”

“Even you think this way?” That is why she felt uneasy.

“Anyone with a slightly functioning brain would think so. Would the Empress disappoint Grand Prince Liang and Prince Zhou to favour the Duke Lu Residence? What does Sheng Chumu have for the Empress to take this kind of risk for him?” 

It was not that the Empress was cruel but this was the pressure of reality.

“But I can’t just sit and wait.” Fu Rou had never believed that success would come to those that did not do anything. Especially after she entered the palace, the various things she witnessed made her understand how lamentable it was for someone else to decide your fate. 

“Now there is only one solution. It is for Her Majesty to not choose Grand Prince Liang or Prince Zhou.”

 

Shuangxi was looking around. A palace maid, Xi’er from the Rites Office, had arranged to meet her in the Imperial Garden. All of a sudden, she saw Fu Rou and Li Baolin walking in her direction and quickly hid herself.

Li Baolin said, “With Prince Zhou, only good days await you.”

Fu Rou replied, “I don’t wish for good days. I just want my future to be peaceful and not have people create trouble for me.”

“The Crown Princess was baselessly nitpicking on you when you were submitting embroideries to her. Everyone in the palace knows about it. Even the Empress said that the Crown Princess was not magnanimous. In the past, you were serving the Crown Princess and had to bear with her. In the future, you will become Prince Zhou’s consort. What can the Crown Princess do to you? I think the Crown Princess will be extremely jealous of you.”

“Why would she be jealous of me?”

Li Baolin continued, “Prince Zhou is talented and gentle. Since he has asked His Majesty for your hand, he must love you deeply. When you are married to Prince Zhou, you would naturally be loved and treated importantly. Whereas in the Crown Prince’s heart, the Crown Princess is not...with how the Eastern Palace is like recently, you should have heard about it right?”

Fu Rou shook her head. “It is too early to say, Her Majesty has yet to issue an Imperial Decree.” 

“I think it is a matter of days before she issues the Imperial Decree. Would anything change in these few days?” Li Baolin believed that the nail had been hammered.

“If someone has other intentions, I am afraid…” Fu Rou lowered her voice.

Shuangxi was delighted that she was standing near to them and could hear everything clearly. When Fu Rou and Li Baolin left, she came out of hiding, looking thoughtful.

Xi’er rushed to her. “Sister Shuangxi, I am sorry for coming late. The palace lady on duty suddenly asked to retrieve a pair…”

Shuangxi turned and walked away. “Xi’er, I have to leave now.”

“Eh?” Xi’er found it strange. “I still have something to tell you. The rose powder that you asked me to make…”

“Let’s talk about the rose powder later.” Shuangxi was in a rush to get back to the Eastern Palace. “I have something urgent to do.”

Xi’er looked on as Shuangxi left. She then turned to look at one of the corners of the garden. Rites Official Wu nodded at her.

Rites Official Wu turned. “We have done as you instructed.” Standing behind her were Fu Rou and Li Baolin. 

Li Baolin muttered, “Isn’t Prince Zhou a pretty good candidate? It is such a pity that you want to cut him out.”

Fu Rou could not be bothered with her as her gaze settled. Unless it is Sheng Chumu, she did not want anybody!

 

Consort Han was restless as she sat in front of Lizheng Palace. She held a brocade box in her hands. Chumu had actually personally sewed a portion of a handkerchief and wanted her to deliver it. She did not dare to do anything under her Imperial Mother’s eyes and had to think of a way to do it openly.

Wei Song came up to her. 

Consort Han smiled, “Is Imperial Mother feeling better?”

Wei Song shook his head. “Her Majesty has been feeling tired these few days. There are too many things going on and she cannot help but worry.”

Is he trying to say that she is adding to her troubles? She could not help but scold her brother internally. When she entered the palace, she greeted the Empress but did not speak immediately.

Empress Zhangsun then asked, “How come you dropped by today?”

“I heard that Imperial Mother was not feeling well and I was worried.” Her eldest younger brother was even more worrying. “Imperial Mother, how are you feeling?”

“Are you really here to see how I am doing? Did no one tell you about Fu Siyan’s issue?”

“I have indeed heard of the issue regarding Fu Siyan. However, the reason why I entered today is definitely not to plead on behalf of my brother, Sheng Chumu.”

“Oh?” Empress Zhangsun found it hard to believe.

“Who Fu Siyan will marry is Imperial Mother’s decision. It is not my place to speak. It is just that she stayed at the Han Mansion for a period of time and I am quite fond of her. No matter who she marries, I will be happy for her. Hence, I prepared a small gift for her. I hope you will allow me to give it to her.” Consort Han handed the brocade box over.

Empress Zhangsun gestured for Wei Song to open the brocade box. She took out the handkerchief and looked at it. “Although I did not expect you to have much embroidery skills, these stitches are too untidy. You should practice more.”

Consort Han felt awkward. “Yes.”

Empress Zhangsun did not say more as she instructed Wei Song to send the handkerchief over to Fu Rou.

Consort Han silently breathed a sigh of relief. “Imperial Mother, please take care of yourself. I will take my leave.”

Zhangsun nodded as she looked at Consort Han leave. She was feeling satisfied. Consort Han did not ask for anything demanding and was much steadier.

The internal attendants reported that Xinnan was requesting an audience.

Consort Han had just left and Princess Xinnan was already here. This made Empress Zhangsun assume that Consort Han was trying to be cunning. She believed that Consort Han instigated Xinnan to say whatever she did not dare to bring up.

Wei Song advised, “Your Majesty, you have not met Her Highness. Why are you already getting angry? Maybe the Princess is just here to greet Your Majesty and has no other intentions.”

“Call her in. We will find out if she has any other intentions. If she dares to speak up for Sheng Chumu, I will punish her and Consort Han together.” Let’s see if they still dare to try any tricks.

Xinnan entered. “I heard that Imperial Mother is not feeling well. Are you feeling better today?”

Empress Zhangsun pointed out, “If there weren’t so many things troubling me, I would naturally feel better.”

“Then--” Xinnan leaned on Empress Zhangsun and acted cute. “Let me share your worries.”

“Share my worries?” Empress Zhangsun narrowed her eyes. “Are you talking about the issue with Fu Siyan?”

“Imperial Mother, you are very smart. Don’t you have a headache because you’re unsure of who to give Fu Siyan to?”

“It seems like you have an idea?”

Xinnan noticed Empress Zhangsun’s face turned serious. “That’s right. That’s right. I have a good idea.”

Empress Zhangsun snorted, “Does this idea have anything to do with Consort Han’s younger brother, Sheng Chumu?”

“No, no! I truly want to help share your worries. It has nothing to do with Sheng Chumu or Consort Han. I swear!”

“Then I am slightly relieved. Now that you are much older, you can’t behave like you did before. You can’t say and do things without thinking and you should be careful of being used by others.”

“Why would I be used by others? I understand what is going on.” Xinnan did not think that Empress Zhangsun would tie her and Consort Han together. “...I have an idea…”

“Speak then.” There was no harm in listening.

“Then I shall be frank. I think that Imperial Mother will not choose Sheng Chumu nor consider Yan Zifang. The real reason why you are having a headache is because of Grand Prince Liang. Imperial Mother, you know what Grand Prince Liang’s personality is like. However, if you don’t let Grand Prince Liang have Fu Siyan, you will be offending Imperial Grandfather. But if you let Grand Prince Liang have Fu Siyan, Fu Siyan will be extremely unlucky. Grand Prince Liang will definitely torture her. Imperial Mother, you are so kind, I am sure you can’t bear to arrange such an ill fate for Fu Siyan right? You are now torn between Grand Prince Liang and Prince Zhou right?”

Empress Zhangsun did not respond to her question but said, “Continue.”

Xinnan was proud. “My idea is definitely the best idea on earth. That will be to--see heaven’s will.”

Empress Zhangsun raised her brows. “Heaven’s will?”

“Imperial Mother, there is a famous face reader. When he read and predicted Du Yan, Wang Gui and Wei Ting’s faces, they were all accurate. He is amazing and profound. Even Imperial Father could not help but praise him. Since Imperial Mother has met with a dilemma, asking him would be the best.” Xinnan opened her fingers, counting out two words. “Master Yuan.”

“You really like to stray from convention.” What an idea. Empress Zhangsun smiled, “However, the issue with Fu Siyan is not that big of a dilemma to the point that I have to seek out Master Yuan. You can go.”

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