In Fu Rou’s memory, when the jasmine flowers in Fan Square bloomed, summer was about to come. She loved to go there to look at the flowers and sketch them so that she could embroider them later.
A year had passed since she left Chang’an for Guangzhou and currently she was walking through her favourite square, smelling that familiar fragrance. However, she no longer felt the same as in the past.
She missed her parents, Fu Tao, who had joined the military, and Fu Yin, who was missing. She also missed the various palace female officials and palace maids in the Seamstress Department. She missed her good friend, Li Baolin and even Empress Zhangsun, who was often sick. Although she had entered the palace against her will, it was already part of her fate and she felt a responsibility to return and say her farewells properly.
“Eh, pretty lady. Why are you all alone?” A glib yet familiar voice floated into her ears.
Fu Rou pulled herself out from her reminisce. She looked up to see a plump face and did not know whether to laugh or cry. She never thought that she would see Chen You ever again!
“Oh, Fu Rou! I finally found you!” Chen You immediately recognised Fu Rou and immediately gestured to the people behind him to surround her.
A passerby saw that something was wrong and asked Fu Rou if she wanted help to report to the officials. Chen You shouted, “She is my officially wedded wife. Report it if you want, I still want to seek justice for myself. On the day of our marriage, she did not even step into my Chen family’s residence and went back to her own residence. She tricked my family of over a few thousand taels.”
“Since you claim that I am your wife, then show me the marriage certificate.” Fu Rou was not a weak woman.
Chen You froze as he recalled selling the marriage certificate. However, he pressed on after considering how many of his useless friends that he had with him today. “Who cares about a marriage certificate. On the day that you married me, all these people were present to drink the celebratory wine.”
Everyone agreed with him. The people around them thought that they were having a couple fight and did not bother.
They cornered Fu Rou and forced her slowly to a small alley. She started to panic as she saw Chen You’s claws about to touch her shoulder.
“Harassing girls in broad daylight. How bold of you.” Someone whacked Chen You’s claws away and stood in front of Fu Rou, with one hand holding hers.
Fu Rou recognised the voice as well as the back view and bit her lip lightly. She thought that she wouldn’t find him again.
“Who are you? Why are you holding my girl? Let go!” As Chen You saw how they were holding hands, his soybean-sized eyes jutted out.
Sheng Chumu raised his fist and punched the mud brick wall. A hole immediately appeared. Chen You and his bad friends gagged.
“Okay, I'm the one that is harassing ladies. Not you. This lady has caught my eye.” Sheng Chumu pulled Fu Rou away as soon as he finished talking.
It was then that Chen You took a step forward. Suddenly, a sword brushed past the top of his head. Sheng Chumu’s gaze was terrifying. “Is it worth it to put your life on the line for a woman?”
Chen You was frightened. “No no, I...I just wanted to ask. You...you are so impressive, may I know where you are from?”
“I am the famous…” Sheng Chumu coincidentally caught sight of the wanted poster of Hong Yide. “The famous Hong Yide’s...subordinate.”
Chen You was trembling in fear. “Very...very famous.”
Sheng Chumu smirked and led Fu Rou away.
A devious look immediately took over Chen You’s face. Great, so he is a bandit. It didn’t matter if he lost his wife, the reward money was good too. He was going to notify the officials!
As soon as Sheng Chumu walked into a safe place, he let go of Fu Rou’s hand and walked forward by himself. He counted in his heart. She would run after him. After all, she was the one that kept a secret from him, she should pacify him and coax him sweetly. However, after walking quite a distance, his ears were straining to hear something but he did not hear Fu Rou call for him. He did not even hear her footsteps.
He turned back to look but realised that there was no one behind him. He rushed back. As soon as he turned the corner, he saw her squatting on the floor. Fu Rou heard the noise and lifted her head. Her tears had yet to dry.
“It is not that I cannot bear to let you go. I am angry, very angry!” His words remained stubborn. “Let me tell you, I will not forgive you so easily--”
“I am sorry.” She suddenly got up and hugged him. “I should not have hid the things that happened on Cangshan Mountain from you. But there is an inside story, Yan Zifang and I…”
His expression changed from one of enjoyment back to its hardened state. “Don’t talk about him! You are not in the wrong. I was the one that forced you to elope. In the past, I was a hedonist, how am I worthy of marrying you? Yan Zifang had a childhood betrothal with you, Prince Zhou protects you in the palace, and Grand Prince Liang is of royal status. Even that good-for-nothing Chen You had a marriage certificate with you. What about me? I have nothing and am nothing to you!”
“Don’t say that. I shouldn’t have lied to you.” She had reflected.
“Forget it, I lied to you before. It serves me right to be lied to.” It was time to reconcile, he had been suffering as he resisted. “But you cannot do it again in the future.”
Fu Rou pressed her face closed to his neck as she nodded. She had missed his warmth. Sheng Chumu started to become cocky. “You actually really like me, right?”
“Yes, I like you.” In the past, she had always pretended to be strong. However, her heart had gone to him a long time ago.
“Of all the men in the world, who do you care about the most?” He was nervous.
“Are you only going to listen to what Sheng Chumu says?” He looked into her eyes.
“I will only listen to what Sheng Chumu says.” She did not hesitate at all. He was very satisfied and held her hand as they walked forward.
Sheng Chumu was most afraid of Fu Rou not having feelings for him. She was unlike other girls and did not stick or rely on him. She was very independent and smart such that she was able to solve difficult situations by herself. It was hard for him to appear as a hero in front of her. However, she was not good at saying sappy things. Hence, he felt assured with what she had said.
Fu Tao was holding onto Fu Yin’s shoulders as he shook her vigorously. He gritted his teeth. He never thought that there would be a day where his younger sister would meet their family’s enemy, much less become their concubine.
“Third Brother, calm down.” Fu Yin tried to shake off Fu Tao’s hands.
“Calm my ass! You can take revenge but why must you give your innocence away to the son of our enemy? If Mother was alive, she would have been driven to death because of you.” He tried to grab her hand. “Come, return with me!”
All of a sudden, Fu Tao realised something was off. There was a shadow at the corner and there seemed to be a person hiding there.
“Who is behaving so suspiciously?” His gaze was sharp.
Lu Hanxing was confident in the information that he had gotten as he stood up without fear. “Stop shouting, we are all in the same boat. Lu Yunji is your enemy and mine as well.” He pulled up his sleeves to expose the scars from the rope that bound his wrist. “Lu Yunji, that old geezer, does not even recognise kinship. I must be super unlucky to be his nephew. Xi Tao, no, Fu Tao, let’s collaborate. We can burn this grand and majestic Duke Chen Residence to ashes like the Fu Residence.”
Fu Yin glared at him with hatred. “Third Brother, don’t listen to him. He was the one that set fire to our house and killed our mother!”
“So it was you!” Fu Tao bellowed. He punched Lu Hanxing, causing Lu Hanxing to see stars. Fu Tao jumped onto him and took out his dagger, about to pierce his heart.
Lu Hanxing shouted, “Wait! Let’s talk! That’s right, I was the one that set the Fu Residence on fire but do you know who was the one that ordered me to do so? It was Lu Qi! It is the bastard father of the child in your sister’s stomach!”
Fu Yin was in disbelief. “You are lying!”
“Your Second Sister saw the hidden valuables that the Lu Residence was sending back to their family house. In order to keep it a secret, Lu Qi asked me to eliminate your family completely and to set everyone with the surname Fu on fire.” Lu Hanxing was simply acting on orders.
Fu Yin shook her head as she cried. “That is not it. You are lying! You are lying!”
“Sheng Chumu!” Lu Hanxing said a surprising name as he laughed. “You can ask Sheng Chumu. On the night that the Fu Residence was set on fire, who invited him out for a drink? Lu Qi accompanied Sheng Chumu to drink while scheming and thinking when the Fu Residence would be burned to ashes. After the incident, Lu Qi told me that he could see the smoke rising into the air from their window where they were drinking. The blaze of the fire was exciting and went well with their alcohol! I had no choice but to do as I was told while Lu Qi was the true mastermind. Lu Qi was the one that killed your mother. Yet, you are helping him to give birth. What a good daughter! What a filial daughter!”
“You better shut up...shut up! Stop talking!” Fu Yin lost control of her emotions as she snatched the dagger from Fu Tao’s hands and stabbed Lu Hanxing. Lu Hanxing cried out in pain. He had never thought that Fu Yin would stab him.
Fu Yin had lost all reason as she stabbed him a few times. Even after Lu Hanxing had stopped breathing, she still did not stop. Fu Tao hugged her tightly. “Stop it! He is already dead!”
Fu Yin looked at how Lu Hanxing was drenched in blood. She froze. She had killed someone!
“Third Brother, you should leave.” She heard a cold voice coming out from her own mouth. It was completely unlike her.
“I can’t leave you behind.” Fu Tao was extremely worried as he looked at Fu Yin.
“You can leave me here to finish what I have to do or you can carry my corpse back right now.” She pointed the dagger in her hands at her own throat. Fu Yin was expressionless. “Choose.”
Fu Tao was anxious. “Don’t do anything foolish. I will listen to you.” He gritted his teeth and jumped over the wall.
At this moment, the guards that were searching for Lu Hanxing found them. As they saw the mangled state Lu Hanxing was in, they hurriedly called Lu Qi. He slowly walked towards Fu Yin, who was sitting paralysed on the floor.
“Yin’er.” Lu Qi pushed away Mo Li, who was supporting him.
Fu Yin’s gaze was lifeless. “Lu Hanxing, he...suddenly jumped out from the corner. He wanted to...I was unwilling and he wanted to kill me...I didn’t know how…”
Lu Qi kneeled and embraced Fu Yin. At the same time, he took the dagger from her hands. “Don’t be afraid. I am here.” He carried Fu Yin and walked while scolding the guards. “A bunch of useless shits! You can’t even watch a criminal and let him run and hurt others. Luckily Fu Yin is bright and knows how to defend herself. If anything happens to the child in Fu Yin, I will get rid of you! And Fu Yin is wrong. I was the one that killed this person. If my father asks, you have to reply with this. Anyone who dares to say anything more shall die!”
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Aww... Fu Yin..:( What do you think she'll do now that she found out Lu Qi is the one who instructed the fire?