The sun rays of the setting sun shone on the building and night was approaching. The military flag spread its corners and fluttered in the wind. Sheng Chumu stood alone at the stand and looked far into the distance. He had undergone a huge change; his appearance was cold and hard, as though he had been carved out using a knife. His skin was burnt by the blazing sun and it seemed to shine with cold rays. His deep eyes carried a mysterious feeling.
“That is the direction of Guangzhou City.” Du Ning remarked, “Your mother has met up with mine and my mother has been pushing me to persuade you to at least pick one.”
“Good things should not be enjoyed alone. You pick first and I will take the rest.” Sheng Chumu turned to look at his good friend.
His worried mother was afraid that he would have to go to the borders again and had been trying to set him up on a blind date recently. She brought all the portraits of Chang’an’s rich girls. However, his heart constantly had one person in it. He thought that he would be able to get rid of his feelings after staying at the border for a period of time. However, when he returned to the court that day, his feelings came rushing back in a flood when he caught a glimpse of her. He desperately wanted to rush to her and ask her whether she had him in her heart. The trip to the border was wasted.
Du Ning did not laugh at Sheng Chumu’s words. Ever since Fu Yin disappeared, he had not laughed ever again.
Sheng Chumu knew Du Ning’s feelings but remained professional and asked, “Have you met Fu Tao?”
Du Ning answered, “Yes, I did. He praised your observation skills in the siege at Prince Zhao’s residence. Lu Qi had ordered him to head to Prince Zhao’s study room to retrieve the letter that the Crown Prince had given Prince Zhao. He found it but did not know the use of it. However, he did not want to pass it to Lu Qi and lied that he did not find the letter.” Du Ning took a letter from his pouch and said, “He told me to pass this to you.”
“He does not know that I have already…” Sheng Chumu could not even bear to say Fu Rou’s name. “We are no longer together.”
“You and the Fu family have the same enemy. At least you are in a better position than me, no one in the Fu family knows of my existence even after I lost Fu Yin.” Du Ning grabbed a silver flask attached to his waist and drank two mouths from it.
There was wine inside the flask. He did not know when he started having the habit of bringing wine around with him. Every time he thought of Fu Yin, he would drink to ease the pain in his heart.
“Stop drinking.” Sheng Chumu pushed the flask away from him and said, “Otherwise, before Fu Yin returns, your body will break down.”
“I will not drink after this.” Seeing Sheng Chumu’s suspicious stare, Du Ning smiled bitterly and reassured, “I am serious. After this bottle, I will not drink anymore because I found her.”
“Where is she?” Sheng Chumu could instantly tell that Du Ning was unhappy.
“Fu Tao has met with Fu Yin and he told me that she is in a very safe place. Once she clears things on her side, she will return. But he refused to tell me where she is.” It was strange. Although he knew Fu Yin was safe, he also knew that he had missed his opportunity to be with her this lifetime.
Sheng Chumu exclaimed, “When did that lad start to mature? What does Fu Yin have on her mind that she needs this time? Why didn’t you ask Fu Tao for more information if you had been searching for Fu Yin for so long?”
Du Ning shook his head. “I wanted to press him further but I could not bring myself to ask. When Fu Yin left, I kept asking myself why she wanted to leave. Fu Yin is timid and if it weren't for a big issue, she would not leave. When she left, she had already decided that she would not marry me. No matter what I do, the outcome will be the same.”
Sheng Chumu asked, “You can stop trying to find her. However, will you be able to stop thinking about her?”
“I can’t do that but there is also nothing I can do. The choice was hers.” Du Ning hesitated, “But you can still do something, you can talk to her. My situation is different. After so long, there is no way to change the outcome.”
Sheng Chumu turned to face the night sky. “I am inferior to you. I do not have the courage to face the outcome.”
Du Ning gulped down the rest of the wine and threw the flask aside. “I have finished the last bit of the wine.” He patted Sheng Chumu’s shoulder and left.
Sheng Chumu gazed at the stars in the sky silently. As he observed the stars glittering in the sky, he wondered if he could see the constellation lyra. After some time, a sweet fragrance filled the air and someone walked towards him. It was Lian Yan’er.
“I met Official Lu coincidentally and he told me that you were here.” Lian Yan’er stared at Sheng Chumu’s side profile and said, “I can not stay at General Zhenhai’s residence anymore.”
“Why?” Prince Han visited Belle Shop everyday and his sister had been nagging at him that he missed a good lady like Ma Hainiu. That was how Sheng Chumu knew that the two were the owners of Belle Shop. “I heard that the two of you have become entangled.”
Lian Yan’er sighed, “Ma Haihu wants to marry me.”
“And you are not willing to marry him?” Sheng Chumu had once been in the same field as Lian Yan’er and knew that although she had a poor origin, she was beautiful and had many talents. A woman like her would soar high.
Lian Yan’er stared at him and murmured, “All this time, you are the person who understands me the most.”
Sheng Chumu did not deny it. “Is there anywhere you can go?”
Lian Yan’er shook her head and Sheng Chumu suddenly turned around and left. Lian Yan’er was disappointed that he left but suddenly, Sheng Chumu stopped.
“What are you standing there for?” Sheng Chumu turned to face her. If he brought her home, at least he could appease his mother for a while.
Lian Yan’er was stunned but she broke into a smile and ran towards him.
Sun Lingwei blew the candle out but could not sleep. She leaned against her window and stared at the stars, enjoying the time she had to herself.
Because her sister was the Crown Princess, her father also had high expectations for her. In the past, she would have to learn whatever her sister learned. Poetry, singing, playing instruments and drawing were among things she had to learn even though she may not have liked those activities. She was not as pretty nor as smart as her sister and she would be exhausted after each lesson. However, she was very filial and she would listen to her parents to please them. She would not complain.
The stars glittered and the image of a handsome face appeared in her mind. This man’s face was brighter than any star in the sky. Somehow, everything he said could make her laugh. He was that incredible. The two peace knots that he had given her allowed her and her sister to make up and also helped her sister and the Crown Prince to get along better.
Sun Lingwei was lost in her thoughts. In her mind, the stars seemed to project Sheng Chujun’s face. She said, “If I could see you everyday, that would be great.”
“Oh, are you proposing to me?” Sheng Chujun jumped in from the window. With bright eyes, he said, “I agree. You better not regret this.”
Sun Lingwei jumped in shock and stammered, “Are you real?”
“Of course!” Sheng Chujun took her small hands. “Touch me if you do not believe.”
Sun Lingwei’s face reddened and she withdrew her hand. “What…what are you here for?”
“Must I have a reason to come?” Sheng Chujun was not feeling well today. His mother had brought a large number of women portraits for his brother today. Among them was Sun Lingwei’s. He wanted to hide her portrait secretly but was caught and punished by his mother who scolded him for wanting to steal his brother’s potential wife.
Therefore, out of anger, Sheng Chujun sneaked into the Sun Residence. Sun Lingwei would never be his sister-in-law because she was the one he liked and the one he would marry!
“This is my room.” Sun Lingwei did not know what he was thinking.
Annoyed, Sheng Chujun asked, “Must I wait till you marry to find you in your husband’s room? I am a proper man and I will not have eyes for a married woman. If I have to find a woman, I would go to an unmarried woman’s room.”
Sun Lingwei could tell that he was not happy. “What is wrong with you today? You are so fierce.”
“I…” Sheng Chujun’s gaze sharpened but his heart softened when he saw Sun Lingwei’s innocent eyes. “Forget it, it is not your fault.”
Sun Lingwei raised her hand and patted his back softly. “If you are not happy, I will pat your back to comfort you.
Touched, Sheng Chujun said, “Lingwei, marry me.”
Sun Lingwei immediately withdrew her hand. “I cannot decide matters of my marriage and will abide by my parents’ decision.” She glanced at him shyly. “But you don’t need to be too discouraged. You can talk to your parents and propose an engagement to me. After that, we can go through the official matters, seek a fortune teller, calculate our fates, decide on a date for marriage. Then we can be husband and wife.”
“Will your father agree to you marrying a rich playboy?” His family was more easygoing and would be glad if there was any woman he could marry. However, Sun Lingwei’s parents had high expectations.
Sun Lingwei’s expression hardened slightly. “No way. My father said that rich playboys destroyed their own reputations. If I get close to them, I may also lose my innocence. My mother also said that since my sister married to the Crown Prince, she would become the mother of Great Tang in the future. As the younger sister of the mother of Great Tang, I have to marry well. I have to marry someone who is capable, has a good personality and reputation.”
Sheng Chujun’s head hurt. This was what he expected.
Sun Lingwei continued, “Otherwise, the person I marry would embarrass the Crown Prince, Crown Princess and the Sun family. My mother also said…”
Sheng Chujun cut her off. “Lingwei, I want to marry you but you have to give me some time.”
Sun Lingwei was confused. “What are you planning to do?”
Sheng Chujun was sincere. “You probably have no idea, but a person so incredible and brilliant like me is envied by many people who are out to tarnish my reputation. I did not bother about them in the past but it is different now. I have to rebuild my reputation and get rid of that rich playboy image I have before I can propose an engagement to your family properly. Are you willing to wait for me till then?”
Sun Lingwei nodded heavily. “I am willing to.”
“What would you do if your father asks you to marry another person as you wait for me?” There had to be precautions.
“Then I will listen to father.” Sun Lingwei was completely serious. “Obey the parents, obey the husband and listen to the children. Before I marry, I will listen to whatever father says. Once we are married and you are my husband, I will listen to whatever you say. If you pass on earlier than me, I will listen to whatever our son has to say.”
“Aiyo…” Sheng Chujun wanted to smack himself and did not know whether to cry or laugh. He has found his little treasure. “I have really given into you…”
Sun Lingwei beamed. “You have given into me? That must mean that I have learned the principles of marriage well.” She placed her palms together and turned towards the sky, “Amitofo, I have not wasted my mother’s efforts of teaching me.”
Sheng Chujun jumped forward and hugged Sun Lingwei. She is the best. She has completely won my heart!Previous Chapter Next Chapter
I feel bad for Du Ning. Sigh.
And awww Chujun is also so good at flirting! All the Sheng bros are shameless. Haha.