Sheng Chumu was back from hunting but could not find Fu Rou anywhere. He felt his heart drop and was afraid that she had left without saying goodbye. He knew that she was feeling torn internally. That was why he had been trying his best to use his actions to prove that he could give her a family.
Sheng Chumu rushed by the lake and suddenly heard the sound of water splashing. He looked over the lake and halted. He laughed at himself for thinking too much. Fu Rou was wearing only thin innerwear and was washing herself by the lake. It was like a painting of a beauty beside water. The only thing lacking was the radiance of spring.
“You...close your eyes.” Fu Rou very soon felt Sheng Chumu’s presence. She saw how he was hugging his knees with his mouth open, saliva about to drool out.
“I have already seen everything. I am not closing my eyes.” He laughed and opened his eyes wider.
“Frivolous.” Fu Rou said in a displeased tone. She slowly walked onto the shore and combed her hair on the grass. “You can at least bring my outer robe to me.”
Sheng Chumu’s gaze did not shift as he looked at her back view. “What outer robe?”
Fu Rou turned back and laughed, “Look by your feet.”
Sheng Chumu lowered his head and realised that he was stepping on her outer robe. Although he wanted to look at her more, he was worried that she would be cold and eventually picked up her outer robe. Something fell out of her robe and he stared for a moment before bending over and picking it up. It was Yan Zifang’s beloved Longevity Pendant. He said that it was a betrothal gift.
Sheng Chumu kept the Longevity Pendant and handed the outer robe to Fu Rou.
“Rou’er, I think we need to redo something.” He tested.
“Redo what?” Fu Rou did not understand.
“Didn’t you say that a hunter’s family saved you on Cangshan Mountain and even gave you a set of clean clothes? Before we leave, we should go and thank them.” Tell him the truth. Don’t let his imagination run wild.
“...” No matter how smart Fu Rou is, she could not read someone’s mind. “Let’s talk about it when we get a chance in the future.”
“...Okay, we can talk about it next time.” He changed to a casual tone, “I shot a few wild ducks. Let’s keep one to eat and sell the rest in the city. We will get money once we sell them.”
“Chumu…” Fu Rou had thought about this multiple times. “I want to see my family.”
Sheng Chumu’s expression hardened. “So in the end you still want to return to Chang’an.”
Fu Rou explained, “No, I meant my Elder Sister, Fu Jun. She is in Guangzhou with my Brother-in-law. It is not far from here.”
Sheng Chumu was slightly surprised as he chuckled, “Okay, let me go with you. Let’s sell the ducks first to get some money for the journey.”
Fu Rou nodded as she wore her outer robe and muslin hat. As the two of them walked down the mountain, they met with two minor officials.
“Eh, what do you have in your hands?” One of the minor officials spoke rudely.
“Wild ducks. I just caught them” Was there even a need to ask?
“You look pretty strong for a petty thief.”
“Who did you call a thief?” As soon as his young master temperament flared, he was formidable.
“I am talking about you.” The minor official pissed Sheng Chumu off even more. “My grandfather is Guangzhou’s Lord Cao, Cao Junlin. Lord Cao said that all the natural areas around Guangzhou belong to the Emperor. If you hunt in the Emperor’s mountain, you have to pay hunting taxes. If not, you are considered to be stealing from the Emperor and the punishment is death. Country bumpkin, you are lucky that I shall let you go this time. However, the wild ducks are stolen goods. Out of the goodness of our hearts, we shall help you get rid of it.” As the minor official said this, he extended his head. However, Sheng Chumu twisted his arm causing the minor official to cry out in pain.
Fu Rou spoke softly to Sheng Chumu, “Don’t create more attention, we need to hide our identities.”
Sheng Chumu fiercely let go of the minor official.
Fu Rou handed the wild ducks over and spoke gently, “We are sorry. Young officials, please be magnanimous and not bother about us.”
“Peh, lowly things, I want…” However, his imposing manner shriveled away as soon as Sheng Chumu glared at him. His hand still hurt. “I shall not bother with you all!” He snatched the wild ducks and walked off.
“He is just an official in Guangzhou but dares to use the Emperor’s name to collect taxes and prey on the citizens. If I were in Chang’an, a single sentence would…” Sheng Chumu took two steps but did not hear Fu Rou’s footsteps. He turned back to see her still standing on the spot. “Rou’er, is there something wrong?”
“Chumu…” Fu Rou lifted her gaze, looking like she had made up her mind. “I don’t want to go anymore.”
“What did you say?” Sheng Chumu clenched his fists.
“We have a close relationship and it is important that we stay together, but does it mean that other things are not important? Just for our happiness, we are causing our family to worry about us day and night. Moreover, we have to hide our identities and cannot go out in the open.”
“Do you regret it so much?” It did not matter how much he did, it was all useless.
“You are talented in literary and martial arts. You are an outstanding hero and can fight for the country and free the citizens. You can contribute to a better future for our country and make your parents proud. But what are we doing now? Because of me, you get insulted by those men and have to bear with it. I can’t let you do this any longer and diminish your ambition. I can’t let you live the rest of your life so ordinarily.”
In the end, she would regret it, so would he. They should turn back while they have the chance. “We were wrong right from the beginning. We only thought of ourselves and wanted to escape. But if we run now, we have to run for the rest of our lives. Our parents will have to worry about us for their entire lives. We can no longer show what we learn and are capable of. We can’t repay our parents. As long as we work together, we will definitely find a solution.”
Sheng Chumu lowered his eyes and Fu Rou could not tell what he was feeling. His tone was calm. “Then let’s go back.”
Fu Rou did not think anything was strange and thought that he had thought things through. “Okay, let’s not run anymore. Let’s go back together and courageously face any challenges posed our way. One day, we will be able to be together outrightly and receive everyone’s blessing. I will go and pack. We will leave after.”
“The hunter that saved you on Cangshan Mountain has the surname Yan right? Yan Zifang.” Sheng Chumu spoke coldly.
Fu Rou, who was leaving excitedly, was stunned as she turned back. “How did you know?”
“No wonder you keep wanting to return to Chang’an. No wonder you don’t let me touch you even after so many days.” Sheng Chumu ah Sheng Chumu. You are a fool.
He took out the Longevity Pendant and threw it in front of her. He turned in the other direction. “From now on, you can go on your way.”
Fu Rou chased after him. “Chumu, listen to me…”
Sheng Chumu spun around and grabbed ahold of Fu Rou’s shoulders. His gaze was menacing. “Stay far away from me. When I get angry, I can kill.” He then pushed her to the ground.
When Fu Rou got up, he had already disappeared before she could chase after him.
She stared blankly in the direction Sheng Chumu disappeared in as tears streamed down her cheeks. They supported each other the entire journey, fooling themselves and each other. She had been forcing down the guilt she was feeling. However, as she saw the officials use their power to bully them today and how Sheng Chumu had to suppress his anger, she decided that they could not carry on any longer.
They were the same. Although they were in Guangzhou, their hearts were in Chang’an. An invisible string was tied around their hearts, pulling on their conscience. The more it pulled, the more painful it became such that every step they took felt like a tear to their hearts.
If he cared about how she was feeling, then she was willing to be the bad person. She had to convince him to take the proper route and love each other openly. Only happiness obtained in that manner would be able to last a long time.
This time, he did not have to find her. She would find him. It did not matter if she had to chase, shout, beg or cling onto him without letting go.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
This is the end of volume 1!! It's a bit of a strange spot to end, but the second volume is going to be action packed and very dramatic!
Stay tuned! The novel gets increasingly more dark and becomes more unpredictable. Even until the very last chapter, I could not predict the outcome. Hope you guys will enjoy!!