Chapter 66.2: Breaking Ties

The internal attendant reported that Zhan Xuanzhi was requesting an audience.

The Crown Prince did not hesitate as he got up. “Let him wait in the study room. I will change and go over.” He turned back to look at Fu Shui. His eyes were determined. “You are right. I cannot hide in one corner. I have to protect my grilled fish.”

Although the Crown Prince spoke with determination, he was fuming when he returned. Fu Shui glanced at him before looking at the chess set. He then started setting up the chess pieces. 

The Crown Prince was furious. “Zhan Xuanzhi kept nagging at me for removing the chief historian from Han Mansion from the Ministry of Appointment’s Commendation List. Prince Han has already received many rewards from his battle. Father even personally wrote him the word virtuous. That is enough and he should stop there. However, Zhan Xuanzhi lectured me and said Prince Han was Prince Han while the chief historian was the chief historian. He said that I was not fair and was foolish.”

Fu Shui spoke absent-mindedly, “So Your Highness is angry because Zhan Xuanzhi spoke up for people from the Han Mansion. That’s natural. People walk up while water flows downwards. Zhan Xuanzhi is also a person. He sees that you are not in a good situation and chooses to side with Prince Han. It is nothing surprising.”

“Zhan Xuanzhi is siding with Prince Han?” The Crown Prince was shocked. He then shook his head. “No that cannot be. Zhan Xuanzhi was assigned to me by Imperial Father. Although his aloof face annoys me, he is not someone who is indecisive.”

Fu Shui said blandly. “I am just guessing according to common sense. You can believe me or not. Anyway, if I were you, I would guard against him.”

“How should I guard myself?” The Crown Prince had already been convinced by Fu Shui. “Zhan Xuanzhi is speaking up for Prince Han’s man so outrightly. Plus he is reasonable. If I don’t listen to him, he will bring it up to Father and I will become even more passive.”

“You are the Crown Prince. How can you not manage your own Eastern Palace personnel? Just think of a way to shut him up.” Fu Shui shrugged. “For example, ascending in brightness and falling in darkness.”

The Crown Prince murmured, “Ascending in brightness and falling in darkness?”

“On the surface, you should promote Prince Han’s subordinate. But actually, you should transfer him to a position with no power or duties. Let him become an empty frame…” Fu Shui looked into the Crown Prince’s solemn eyes and placed down the chess piece. He then turned to leave. “I have talked too much. These aren’t matters that I should be concerned with. I should leave.” 

The Crown Prince called for him to stay. “Fu Shui, since you have nothing to do, come here and help me prepare ink.”

Fu Shui turned and moved smoothly over to the Crown Prince, helping him prepare ink. He looked over to look at the comments the Crown Prince was writing. “Crown Prince, you are impressive. Now, Zhan Xuanzhi will have nothing to say.”

The Crown Prince was proud. “You are also contributing by helping me prepare ink. In the future, you should help me prepare ink when I am writing.”

Fu Shui lowered his eyes. The corners of his mouths tilted up as he agreed.

 

Fu Rou arrived at the garden outside Lingxiao Palace. She saw Prince Zhou in the midst of practicing sword dance. His sword was moving like a dragon as it hissed like water. Prince Zhou caught sight of her. However, he did not say anything as he turned away from her. 

“I am indebted to Her Majesty for her acknowledgement of me. She allowed me to teach Prince Qin. Yesterday, Prince Qin asked me what it meant to ‘Achieve nothing due to hesitations’ I could not answer and would like to ask Your Highness.” Since she was the one asking something from him, she did not mind speaking up first. 

“You usually hide from me. Only when you have a problem then do you think of me.” He swung his sword and the autumn flowers swayed. “Who do you think I am?”

“I have overstepped my boundaries.” She was slightly awkward. “I shall take my leave.”

“<<The Book of Lord Shang. Change>>” His swordplay was gentle as he brushed the red leaf that was floating in front of her and appeared in front of her. “Achieving nothing due to hesitations is from <<The Book of Lord Shang. Change>> Shang Yang believed that in order to achieve big things, one has to be decisive and cannot hesitate. If one has doubts about one’s own actions, they will not succeed nor achieve anything.”

She understood. “Thank you, Your Highness. I will take my leave now.”

He suddenly smiled. “You are leaving like this? You have no other issues?”

She was silent. She knew that he had seen through her.

“Is Sheng Chumu still being punished to reflect?” He saw her nod and was upset. Only Sheng Chumu could make her put aside her pride. “The Empress asked Imperial Father to punish Sheng Chumu on the Crown Prince’s behalf. Naturally, the Empress will not speak up for Sheng Chumu in front of Imperial Father. Therefore, you want me to do it. In your heart, am I someone who is so kind and can be repeatedly made use of?”

She was slightly astonished. “I know I should not have come but I couldn't help but try. When I think about it, I am embarrassed. Please take it as if I did not come here today.”

“Sheng Chumu already has someone else.” His source of news was a lot better than hers. “Lian Yan’er from Swallow House. Back then, she was Sheng Chumu’s confidante. Now, she has entered the Duke Lu Residence. He is supposed to reflect at home yet he has beautiful company. He is not as lonely and pitiful as you imagine him to be. Fu Siyan, you should start thinking about yourself.”

She turned sharply. “I don’t believe you. Although Sheng Chumu is not perfect and we have gone through many things, he is not indecisive.”

He snorted, “You are so confident in yourself? Fine! Then let’s make a bet. If you lose, you have to accompany me for a day.”

She silently agreed. There was a small gap in her heart that she had always hoped to make up for. However, since Sheng Chumu did not give her a chance, she had to create one for herself!

 

A few days later, the book <<Broad Geography>> was completed. Prince Han took the chance when the Emperor was happy to help Sheng Chumu get out of his house reflection punishment. Prince Zhou made an arrangement with Fu Rou to go to Duke Lu Residence on the day that Sheng Chumu had duty. When it was about time, Sheng Chumu wore a set of light armour and walked out of the door looking impressive. 

Prince Zhou wanted to smile but did not. “Do you want me to go with you? I can lend you my shoulder to lie on in case you want to cry and become too weak to stand…”

Fu Rou looked at him coldly. Prince Zhou raised both his hands in surrender. “Fine, I talked too much. Go then, I will be here waiting for you to come back crying.”

Fu Rou ignored him and prepared to walk up to Sheng Chumu. However, she saw a lady run out of Duke Lu Residence. She was gorgeous and had an enchanting aura.

“Chumu, you forgot your wallet.” Her movements were gentle as she pulled on Sheng Chumu’s sleeve.

Prince Zhou made a yo sound. “That is Lian Yan’er.”

Fu Rou pursed her lips tightly. They could hear what they were saying from where they were standing. Sheng Chumu took the wallet from Lian Yan’er. “Only you are careful.”

Lian Yan’er pouted playfully. “Is being careful my only good point?”

Sheng Chumu smiled as he praised her. “Not only are you careful, you are skilled as well. You managed to deal with my mother so well.” His ears could finally rest and he did not need to worry about looking at pictures of noble ladies whenever he opened his eyes.

Prince Zhou looked down and saw Fu Rou’s pale face. “Forget it, let’s return to the palace.” What kind of bet is this? He felt a stinging feeling in his heart.

However, Fu Rou took a deep breath and walked up determinedly. When Sheng Chumu saw Fu Rou, his smile froze. Lian Yan’er took a step back but continued to hold onto Sheng Chumu’s sleeve. 

“What relationship do you have with this lady?” Fu Rou asked Sheng Chumu. There are times the truth is not what you see. She wanted to hear him say it personally.

Sheng Chumu’s eyes flashed before he lifted his chin obstinately. “What relationship do I have with her?” He pulled Lian Yan’er to his side. “You have no right to ask!”

Fu Rou’s eyes turned cold. “Repeat that.”

Sheng Chumu’s heart seemed to shrink but he remained harsh. “It will still be the same even if I say it a hundred times! Do you think I will always be a fool in front of you? Do you think I will still be devoted to you after getting played by you over and over again? From the start till the end, it was always you then let me down. Who are you to criticize me? We have already cut off our relationship and have nothing to do with each other! It does not concern you whether I have a woman by my side or am in a relationship!”

Fu Rou fell silent for a moment before chuckling in bitter silence. “Okay, I understand.”

Sheng Chumu looked at Fu Rou’s departing figure as his hand that was on Lian Yan’er shoulder fell weakly to his side. His anger filled gaze quickly turned cold and filled with pain. 

Lian Yan’er, however, snuggled tightly up to him. “Chumu, your speech just now was so powerful.”

“Ah?” Sheng Chumu stared blankly. “Just now? What did I say?”

Lian Yan’er smiled gently. “You said that that woman treated you like a fool and kept playing you. You said that you have already cut off all ties with her and have nothing to do with her. You were so grand and manly when you said it.”

Sheng Chumu suddenly yelled, “No!” He rushed in the direction that Fu Rou was leaving as he shouted. “Rou’er, I don’t mean what I said!”

What was he playing at? He had been intentionally avoiding her recently and even went to the borders. But all it did was to embed her shadow more deeply into him. This time, she came to find him on her own accord. Isn’t this the best chance for him to step down?

However, when Sheng Chumu turned the corner, he quickly halted in his steps. Once again, he looked on as Fu Rou extended her hand out to Prince Zhou and rode away with him.

“Sheng Chumu, how many times do you want to get played by her? How many times must it be before you are done?” He grabbed the small dagger by his waist and fiercely stabbed it into his thigh. Fresh blood gushed out. He did not even frown. “I swear on my own blood that I will not make the same mistake ever again. I will not have any hope for Fu Rou anymore. I will not be delusional, obsessed or stubborn! Even if she kneels and begs me, I will not give in!”

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Coca's Thoughts

omg Chumu is too rash...T_T

What do you think Fu Shui's goal is?