The Emperor recalled that Prince Qin’s tutor was on leave and was worried that Prince Qin would slack off. He decided to spring a surprise check. When he reached the palace entrance, he saw Fu Rou telling Prince Qin a story. Prince Qin and Xinnan were both extremely absorbed in her story.
“During the Warring States Period, Wei Wenhou was the emperor of Wei Kingdom. One day, during a court session, Wei Wenhou asked his ministers what kind of emperor was he? His ministers replied that he was a benevolent emperor. There were also some that held a different opinion. A minister named Ren Zuo came up and spoke to Wei Wenhou. He asked the emperor why he did not bestow Zhongshan Country, which the emperor had just obtained, to his brother and instead gave it to his son. What kind of benevolent emperor was he? When Wei Wenhou heard this, he was furious. As soon as Ren Zuo realised the situation was not right, he hurried and left. Wei Wenhou got even angrier and vented his anger on the remaining ministers. He saw Di Huang standing among his ministers and pointed him out. Wei Wenhou asked him. What kind of emperor am I?” Fu Rou paused as she reached this point.
“Fu Siyan, why did you stop talking? How did Di Huang reply?” Prince Qin was very interested and rushed to ask her.
“Your Highness, when listening to stories, you must think. If you just listen without thinking, you won’t benefit from listening. I wanted to ask. If both of you were Di Huang, how would you reply Wei Wenhou?”
Xinnan immediately answered, “Is there a need to ask? At this point in time, you can’t dash out and be the scapegoat. He should say that Wei Wenhou was a benevolent leader like everyone else. There is no need to risk his life.”
Prince Qin objected, “That’s not right. The ministers receive their salary from the emperor and they should be devoted to him. The duty of ministers is to aid the emperor. When they see something wrong, they have to stand out and say it. If Di Huang is a loyal minister, he should speak the truth and point out what Wei Wenhou has done wrong. Even if he offends Wei Wenhou and is punished, he should not disregard his character as a minister.”
“Both Your Highnesses have your own points.” Fu Rou smiled. “Di Huang replied to Wei Wenhou and said he was a benevolent Emperor. Wei Wenhou’s fury subsided by half and was even slightly proud. He could not help but ask. Di Huang, how do you know that I am a benevolent emperor? Du Huang replied, I heard that only when an emperor is benevolent, then would his subjects dare to speak their mind. Just now, Ren Zuo was bold and said such honest words to you. That’s when I knew that you are a benevolent emperor. When Wei Wenhou heard this, he came to a realisation and hurriedly asked Di Huang to chase after Ren Zuo. When Ren Zuo returned, Wei Wenhou personally got off his seat to welcome Ren Zuo and treated Ren Zuo as the guest of honor.”
Prince Qin had an expression as if he realised something. “Wei Wenhou should treat Di Huang as the guest of honor. Di Huang is the loyal and capable minister.”
“That’s right. Wei Wenhou naturally also rewarded Di Huang. He appointed Di Huang as a minister and started the century of rule in the Wei Kingdom. Wei Wenhou became one of the most accomplished leaders in the Warring States Period. Hence, only when you are able to discern talent and take advice then will you be able to bring blessings to the common people and gain favors from everywhere.”
As the Emperor heard Fu Rou speak till this point, he walked in and praised her. “Xinnan, Prince Qin, Grand Emperor is not feeling well, don’t forget to visit him. As children, being filial is the most important thing. From now on, Fu Siyan should also tell you stories on filial piety.”
Xinnane and Prince Qin immediately understood and went to see the Grand Emperor.
Li Shimin smiled at Fu Rou. “A person will say things depending on what kind of experience and frame of mind one has. Prince Qin is still young and Xinnan is headstrong. If you are able to guide them, I will be able to be rest assured. Prince Qin’s tutor is on a two month leave. Even after he returns, you should not relax and continue to urge Prince Qin. It looks like he really listens to you.”
“His Highness, Prince Qin just likes to listen to me tell stories.” Fu Rou did not dare to flaunt.
“The principles of the world are hidden amongst stories. You can just tell him stories.” As long as people enjoyed listening, it was good enough.
At this moment, an internal attendant came in to report that Sheng Chumu had returned to Chang’an and was seeking an audience at Ganlou Palace. Fu Rou had been thinking about him day and night and she could finally be at peace.
The Emperor saw Fu Rou’s expression change. “Sheng Chumu went to find you by the Empress’ decree. In the end, you are already back but he took so long to return. Fu Siyan, how about you follow me to see what he has to say?”
Fu Rou did not reject. Even if she could not talk to him, seeing him was good enough.
Fu Rou followed the Emperor to Ganlou Palace. She saw that Prince Han, Prince Zhou and Yan Zifang were there as well. Finally, she caught sight of Sheng Chumu. She smiled at him but he looked at her coldly and did not spare her a second glance. Her heart froze but she cheered herself up. As long as she explained herself to him, everything will be back to normal.
The Emperor spoke, “Sheng Chumu, I wanted to evaluate the merit of your actions and reward you but you were nowhere to be found. You are the first person that has been in this situation. You have finally returned?”
Sheng Chumu kneeled. “My apologies.”
Prince Han specially came to speak up for him. “Imperial Father, Sheng Chumu had no choice. Do you recall his unmentionable disease? He heard that there was a highly-capable person that had a spiritual medicine to cure his disease. However, this worldly person’s whereabouts are difficult to locate. We finally got a trace of him and Sheng Chumu had to rush to find him. This concerns his lifetime of happiness. Because of this, I specifically requested leave for him.”
The Emperor nodded. “Since it is to cure an illness, it is understandable.”
“Imperial Father, in the Cangshan case, Sheng Chumu rescued the Grand Emperor and Empress while Yan Zifang captured Hong Yide. They are young but have contributed greatly to court all because Imperial Father is brilliant.” Prince Zhou was partial.
“Prince Zhou, half of what you just said was to make me happy while the other half touched on all the relevant points. What heartened me most is the fact that they are young. Although the old ministers have military achievements for all to see, the young ones have also demonstrated their abilities. The court has a pool of young and vigorous generals. Very good. Yan Zifang.”
Yan Zifang kneeled. “Here.”
“You captured Hong Yide and demonstrated your abilities. Heed my decree, Yan Zifang shall be awarded with a thousand pieces of gold, a sword and one Ruyi Scepter. He shall be promoted by one rank and defend the west city. You shall be in charge of law and order in Chang’an west city and arrest thieves and bandits.” With all personnel present, the Emperor rewarded him.
“Thank you, Your Majesty!” Yan Zifang kowtowed. He finally had authority.
“Sheng Chumu. You saved my father and my wife. I haven’t decided on how to reward you.”
Prince Han took the opportunity. “Imperial Father, this is a huge achievement. You cannot be stingy.”
“You are speaking for your brother-in-law again. Okay I will be generous.” The Emperor smiled. “Sheng Chumu, tell me what you wish for.” Even if it was love, the Emperor would give it to him.
Prince Han whispered to Sheng Chumu, “This is your chance to get the woman you love. You can’t miss this opportunity, it will not come again.”
Sheng Chumu was expressionless. “Your Majesty, I would like a chance to render my service to the country. I want to leave Chang’an and protect the borders.”
Prince Zhou and Yan Zifang were surprised. They had thought that he would definitely ask for Fu Rou. They never thought that he would give up such a good opportunity.
“Sheng Chumu, are you okay?” What kind of situation was this? Protect the borders? If his consort were to know about this, she would throttle him! Prince Han stopped him. “Imperial Father, he must be overjoyed and is talking nonsense.”
“No, I am not delusional. In the past, I believed that the most important thing was romance. Now I have realised that love is just an unrealistic rosy picture. From today onwards, I am cutting off everything of the past. I am willing to go to the bitter-cold borders to strengthen my resolve and repay Your Majesty’s benevolence. I will bring honour to my family.” He was going to put the past behind him and start again!
Fu Rou never expected Sheng Chumu to misunderstand her so deeply and not even give her a chance to explain. He was going to leave once and for all.
“Since that is the case, I will allow it. Sheng Chumu, today Fu Siyan’s story surprised me. Now, you do not want rewards and even volunteered for military service. I am very happy today.” The Emperor would naturally not know about the reason behind it. He only cared about this great result.
While the Emperor was delighted, the people that left Ganlou Palace had mixed expressions.
Prince Han pinched Sheng Chumu. “Are you crazy? The border is a cold and bitter place. Is it even a place for humans? Why are you making things difficult for yourself?”
Sheng Chumu was indifferent as he walked past Fu Rou without glancing at her.
Prince Han glanced at Fu Rou before sighing. He chased after Sheng Chumu and shouted, “Not only are you harming yourself, you are implicating me as well. If your sister finds out that you want to go to the border and I did not stop you, she will take it out on me when I return.”
Prince Zhou walked behind Fu Rou and asked. “Do you regret it? Exposing your identity that day?”
Fu Rou looked at Sheng Chumu’s back view. He was determined to leave. Although she was heartbroken, she did not want others to see. “Should I regret?”
Prince Zhou’s tone changed to one of delight. “Maybe it is a good thing. Didn’t you like someone with a sense of responsibility and an indomitable spirit? With this, Sheng Chumu actually feels like a hero. It is much better than when he pesters you and forces you to abandon your family and duty.”
Fu Rou could not control herself and flared up. “You are mocking someone when they are already feeling down.”
Prince Zhou smiled once again. “Someone is not in the best mood now. I think I better make myself scarce.” With someone leaving on their own accord, he had ample time in the future.
When Fu Rou looked in the direction Sheng Chumu had left once again, he was already gone.
“I am sorry.” Yan Zifang walked up to her.
“A simple apology cannot make up for what you did.” No one could force her to lie about her own feelings. It didn’t matter whether Sheng Chumu misunderstood or not, it was not for a third party to interfere.
“Then why didn’t you report me? I hid news about Hong Yide and even kidnapped you.” If she had spoken the truth, he wouldn’t have gotten a promotion or rewarded. Perhaps, he would have even lost his life.
“I promised the person that rescued me to keep it a secret.” It was not because of their past.
Yan Zifang froze. “Lu Yingying?”
“I know that you hate Lu Yunji but Lu Yingying is innocent. Even if you cannot treat her well, you should at least not hurt her.” Based on her woman’s intuition, she could sense an ambiguous sentiment between the two of them. “Yan Zifang, what you cannot let go of is a mirage of your childhood. Don't miss the opportunity to be with someone in front of you just because of it.”
Yan Zifang remained silent and watched Fu Rou walk off.
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Chumu is so foolish. Aaaiii.