Prince Zhou was reading Cao Yuan’s statement of confession as Concubine Yan walked in. She had brought him some nourishing soup.
She sat down and watched her son drink the soup obediently. She glanced at the table and acted indifferently. “How has the case on Cangshan Mountain been going?”
“Cao Yuan admitted to clashing with Lu Qi but fervently denies exposing the return route to Chang’an. He said that Lu Qi only released the planned route to the troops just before they set out. Lu Qi even expressed that the return route will only be shown on the day that they were to set off. Unexpectedly, Cao Yuan’s leg was injured and he was not able to lead the troops. He did not even get a chance to see the second half of the planned route. I also found it weird. Cao Yuan is a minister with contributions and is favoured. Why would he collude with bandits just because he doesn’t like Lu Qi?”
“There is something fishy here.” Concubine Yan fell silent for a while. “It is rare that your Imperial Father is relying on you, you have to dig deeper. There is also someone you have to take note of.”
“Who?” Prince Zhou asked.
“Fan Zhang.” Concubine Yan smiled. “Fan Zhang happened to fall sick right before the Empress set off. He is the reason why Lu Qi had the chance to take over and lead the troops. Could Fan Zhang have known that someone was going to attack the Empress and pretended to be sick?”
“General Fan is an old minister trusted greatly by His Majesty and the Empress. He has always taken charge of the Royal family’s safety on trips. If he has intentions to betray, then things will be serious. Mother, your reminder is right. I will check up on him. Imperial Father’s safety is the most important. Without concrete proof, he is still innocent. I will have to convince Imperial Father to consider another person to lead the Imperial Guards.”
“Then Lu Yunji and his son…” Concubine Yan continued.
“I will continue to pursue the matter. The Lu family’s father and son already has a record of taking advantage of citizens. They might be blinded by greed and may have colluded with the rebel troops.” Prince Zhou knew deep down.
“Then I can be rest assured.” Concubine Yan’s tone changed. “Are you still upset over Fu Siyan?”
Prince Zhou was silent.
“It is a pity that something like this happened to Fu Siyan. But this is fate and it is impossible to change. Since she is no longer around, you have to take care of yourself. The future is long.” She never thought that such a smart girl will have such an ill fate.
“Mother, please do not worry. I know what to do.” Prince Zhou tried his best to sound emotionless.
“Since you know, then why are you still wearing this robe?” Concubine Yan sighed softly. She could tell that Prince Zhou was still wearing the robe that Fu Rou made for him. “Seeing an object makes you miss the person more. It hurts your heart and your body.”
Prince Zhou stood up. “I will take it off now.”
Concubine Yan watched as he left and let out a long sigh. Yu He, who accompanied Concubine Yan, suddenly said, “The Imperial Guards have been the most difficult to handle. With Fan Zhang and Cao Yuan gone, our people will finally have a chance.”
Concubine Yan raised her brows and exchanged looks with Yu He. The corners of her mouth lifted as a sharp look appeared on her face. It was an expression completely unlike the ones she had shown before.
Fu Rou assessed the guest inn’s room. It was one of the best rooms. The innkeeper requested that they pay the price of staying a day beforehand. Sheng Chumu straightforwardly agreed and left with the innkeeper. She did not say anything. The thing that she learnt most from the quarrel was to protect his pride. If he said that they could stay here, she would stay.
Fu Rou opened the window to let the air in and heard a knocking sound from below. She looked down only to see Sheng Chumu. His arm was exposed and he was in the midst of chopping wood. Beside him was a pile of chopped wood, stacked like a tiny mountain.
She suddenly understood how they got money to pay for the room and could not help but be moved. Du Ning once said that before Sheng Chumu met her, Sheng Chumu could not even ride a horse properly. He had been pampered since he was young. As the son of a Duke, he had changed from his past character to his hardworking self now.
She stared for a while before walking out. She wanted to ask the innkeeper to help arrange some things and in return she would pay him using embroideries. As soon as the innkeeper saw an embroidered handkerchief that she had made before, he immediately agreed.
Sheng Chumu was done with his tasks as he rolled his sore shoulders. He neaten his appearance in front of the room door and plastered a wide smile on his face. He pushed open the door.
“Rou’er, I am back---” He was stunned.
The guest room was completely different from before. A crimson satin was hung across the bed frame and the bedsheets were changed to crimson sheets. There were even two red candles on the table and a spread of dishes and wine. A brilliant ‘Double Happiness’ sign was plastered on the window. It was clearly a bridal room!
“Don’t just stand there, come over and have a cup of wine.” Fu Rou was still wearing the same clothes as before but now she was wearing a slight bit of makeup. She had combed and arranged her hair delicately. She looked gorgeous under the candlelight.
Sheng Chumu subconsciously moved and sat near her. He asked her in a daze. “What type of wine is this?”
Fu Rou blushed a pink shade. “What do you think?”
“This room is like a bridal room and this cup of wine is like the ones used to exchange between a bride and groom. But I am slightly confused. Rou’er, you--” On their entire way here, she had been guarding herself and even holding hands was too much for her.
Fu Rou cut him off, “In the past, I always felt like marriage had to be a bustling event. We had to have parents by our side, if not we would regret it for the rest of our lives. Now, I have thought it through. No matter how exciting, it is just a single day’s event. Who I marry is for a lifetime. As long as I am with the right person, even if the marriage is not exciting, it is worth it.”
She paused. He did not dare to breathe out of fear that he would miss out something she said.
“Chumu, are you willing to be my husband?”
“...” His gaze was locked on her beautiful face. “Why do I always feel like a fool and am being led by my nose by you.”
“You are not willing? Then I won’t force you.” Her expression did not change as she lowered the cup of wine. However, his hand caught hers before she could place it down.
“You cannot take back what you have said.” He controlled his facial expression although he was jumping for joy internally. “Once we exchange cups, we will be husband and wife.”
He hooked onto her hand and she hooked onto his in return. They exchanged cups and drank the wine.
“We don’t have a matchmaker and shall have to do it by ourselves. We have to eat a little bit of the peanuts, dates...ah!”
He carried her in his arms and headed straight for the bed. “We can eat the peanuts and dates later, I want to eat the yummiest thing first!”
“No, put me down. You can’t ignore the rules.” She hit his chest.
He did not seem to budge as he lowered her onto the bed and lay over her. “I will follow my own rules when marrying my wife. Let's hear you call me dear husband.”
Her face was completely red. “So embarrassing, I won’t say it.”
“If you don’t say it, I will.” This time, he could not scare his wife away. He was going to treat her well. “My dear wife! My dear wife! My Sheng Chumu’s dear dear wife!”
“Lower voice, be careful not to let others hear you.” She covered his mouth.
“Embarrassed? Then let us do something that will make you more shy.” He used his mouth to cover hers as his other hand lightly unhooked the silk curtain.
The red candle light swayed bashfully and spring arrived behind the curtain.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Awww so sweet. But nopeeee. This is not the end! We have a lot more drama coming up soon...