Chapter 65.1: Empathy

When Fu Rou rushed to the Punishment House, the beating sounds that emerged from it made her heart clench with fear.

The Emperor had punished Sheng Chumu with a hundred strokes of the cane for not protecting the Crown Prince. He was demoted to the position of General Baiqi and had to stay in his home for a period of time to reflect. The moment Fu Rou received these news, she immediately asked Yang Bo for a favor to take care of Sheng Chumu well. However, even after Yang Bo assured her of it, she could not rest assured and decided to take a look for herself.

“Aiyo, Fu Siyan, you walk so quickly, I cannot catch my breath.” Not long later, a panting Yang Bo rushed towards her. “I already told you to rest assured. I got this.”

Meanwhile, Sheng Chumu was carried out by people. He was topless and only had an outer coat over him. As the wind blew softly, Fu Rou caught sight of blood stains on the outer coat and she immediately glared at Yang Bo.

Yang Bo was unsettled by Fu Rou’s glare and he said, “His Majesty ordered for a hundred strokes of the cane. We had to obey him and not miss out a single stroke. However, don’t worry about it, I told them to hit him lightly.”

The wind blew stronger and the outer coat around Sheng Chumu was blown off. Sheng Chumu’s back was covered in wounds and blood streaked down his back. Fu Rou immediately shot another glare at Yang Bo.

Yang Bo could sense her anger. “You do not know much about this. The wounds are just surface wounds, he will be fine.”

Fu Rou could not bear to look at Sheng Chumu’s wounds and shut her eyes. “There is no need for them to beat him until he is all bloody.”

“The blood may make his injuries seem very serious but it is good if it makes His Majesty pity Sheng Chumu. Who knows? If His Majesty may feel guilty later and promote General Sheng from General Baiqi back to General Xuanwu.” Upon second thought, Yang Bo said, “Sigh, this isn’t right. Didn’t you say that you are no longer in contact with him? Aren’t you showing your heartache too obviously?”

“Don’t be a busybody.” Fu Rou whipped around. She had accidentally turned too fast and triggered the back injury she sustained when Xiahan pushed her down. The pain shot through her in pangs and she held the wall for support as she took deep breaths in.

“If he is injured, your heart will ache for him. If you are injured, who knows whether his heart will ache for you.” Yang Bo shook his head.

Fu Rou turned around and glared at him. “It is my business if I am injured. Don’t tell him!”

“Fu Siyan is easily annoyed today.” Yang Bo patted his chest. “Alright, I won’t tell him.”

She was annoyed as she did not understand why the matter involving the Eastern Palace and Prince Han would end up implicating Sheng Chumu.

She had heard that the Crown Prince had acted by his own will and left his cavalry behind. If not for Sheng Chumu’s early discovery, the Crown Prince might not have awakened so quickly. Furthermore, it was also Sheng Chumu who suspected Xiahan’s involvement after investigating and discovering the oddities with the saddle. In the end, not only was he not rewarded, he was also punished by a hundred strokes of the cane.

A hundred strokes! In the past, Rites Official Situ had also received a hundred strokes of the cane and passed away before she could leave the palace and enjoy the rest of her life. Fu Rou hated that number hundred the most! Additionally, in her opinion, the Crown Prince had specifically chosen to target Sheng Chumu and it was not only because he was Prince Han’s brother-in-law.

Fu Rou also understood Empress Zhangsun well. As long as the Crown Prince and Prince Han were well, she would not care even if others were suffering. Empress Zhangsun had previously told Fu Rou that she was a mother before she was the Empress and the mother of the nation. A mother would be able to do anything for her son.

However, Fu Rou was disappointed. At such a high position like the Empress, how could she be a typical mother? This heavenly family could never be an ordinary family because they had the responsibilities of the nation on their shoulders and they had to place the lives of all citizens first!

 

Sheng Chumu returned to his residence with injuries all over his body. Madam Sheng did not waste any second before she personally applied medicine for him.

“You unfilial child!” Although she was harsh with her words, she was secretly holding back her tears. The older her child was, the more scars he had. Her only wish was for him to be healthy and safe.

“Yes, I am unfilial.” The children of the Sheng family prioritised filial piety.

“Why did you have to offend the Eastern Palace?” Who could not see the truth? It was obvious that it was a personal revenge act that was not only targetted at Prince Han.

“I discovered Jisun Chenxin in the city a few days ago and offended His Highness by accident.”  The hundred strokes were not a waste. Sheng Chumu had thought things through and understood what happened already.

That day, he led men to pursue Jisun Chenxin and lost track of Jisun Chenxin once he entered a wine house. Sheng Chumu had suspected that Jisun Chenxin was hiding in a room and he investigated each room individually. Jisun Chenxin was once the Crown Prince’s guard and Sheng Chumu had been careful during his investigations. Despite the Crown Prince's insistence that he had not seen Jisun Chenxin, Sheng Chumu searched thoroughly to the point that he even tore apart the table cloth. Ultimately, he still could not find Jisun Chenxin but he offended the Crown Prince. However, although Sheng Chumu could not find Jisun Chenxin, the coincidence was too high and his suspicions lingered.

Madam Sheng sighed, “You are insensible.”

“Yes, I am insensible. But if things were to happen again, I would do the same thing.” At the same time, he had to point out his stand.

Sheng Chuling could not bear it. “That is right. Mother, you are wrong. Elder Brother was on official matters. It is not Elder Brother’s fault that the Crown Prince was injured. The Eastern Palace used this opportunity to vent their anger out on him. The one who is insensible is not Elder Brother but the Eastern Palace.”

Madam Sheng glared at her second son. “Keep quiet! What do you know?” With the Imperial family, common logic made no sense. The power of having status could not be contested.

Sheng Chuling argued, “I know the difference between black and white.”

“You…” Madam Sheng pointed a finger at Sheng Chuling’s forehead. “Your useless brain! You are far from your Elder Brother!”

“Chuling, don’t argue back with Mother.” 

“Mother, I would like to rest.”

“Oh, okay. I will let you rest and not disturb you.” Madam Sheng dragged Sheng Chuling by his ear and left, even making sure to close the door silently.

“Mother, your biasness is becoming even worse.” Sheng Chuling struggled to get away and rubbed his ear. Madam Sheng glared at him. “What is wrong?” She wanted to smack Sheng Chuling but Sheng Chujun whistled a tune and walked over.

“Sheng Chujun, I haven’t been seeing you around these few days. Where have you gone?” Madam Sheng immediately turned her attention away.

Sheng Chuling felt that his pained heart had been healed. Thank goodness for the youngest in the family. Even if he could not compare to his elder brother, he still had his younger brother.

“Oh right, Sheng Chujun. Something big happened at home. Where did you go?” Furthermore, he could use this opportunity to get on his mother’s good side.

“Mother, Second Brother, let me show you guys something good.” Sheng Chujun seemed oblivious to the tense atmosphere and he pulled out a paper from his waist. He spread the crumpled paper out on the floor. “I worked very hard these few days! Look at the handprints on this. They represent the compliments and good words the citizens of Chang’an have to say for me. Now, I am probably the most famous rich playboy in the Chang’an! Hahaha! By the time I propose my marriage to the Sun Residence, I will let Sun Tan see this sheet of paper. This will be the evidence that I am a respected and famous person. In addition, I will bring spectacular betrothal gifts for him. Then, I can marry his daughter.”

“Who did you say you want to marry?” Both Madam Sheng and Sheng Chuling asked at the same time.

“The second daughter of the Sun family, Sun Lingwei.” Sheng Chujun was meticulous for his marriage. “Do you guys really want to let Elder Brother marry Sun Lingwei?”

Sheng Chuling shook his forefinger. “Elder Brother will definitely not agree to marry her.” 

Sheng Chujun heaved a sigh of relief. “Then I can be rest assured.”

Madam Sheng shook her head. “You will not be able to marry her.” 

Sheng Chujun asked in shock. “Why not?”

“Because her sister is the Crown Princess.” Sheng Chuling had not imagined that his younger brother would actually fall for the Sun family’s daughter. He felt that it was an ill-fated relationship.

“So what?” Sheng Chujun wore a blank face.

“Elder Brother has been caned. The Crown Prince did not want to make things hard for Prince Han and his wife in front of the Empress, so he took his anger out on Elder Brother. The Crown Princess also did not help and both husband and wife backed each other up.”

“Lingwei said that her sister is gentle and kind, she would not even step on an ant.” Sheng Chujun could not believe it. “Could this be a misunderstanding?”

“Our innocent Elder Brother was caned with a hundred strokes. Do you know what the Crown Princess did? She told the internal attendants to hit him strongly without any mercy. Xinnan had personally overheard this.” Sheng Chuling had a reliable source.

“But…” This did not concern Lingwei at all.

Madam Sheng said, “There are no buts! Chumu barely survived! The eldest daughter of the Sun family is too vicious and the younger daughter will not fare any better. If you interact with any Sun family member again, I will break your leg!”

Sheng Chujun’s face immediately turned solemn.

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