Chapter 7.1: Saving Beauty

Fang Ziyan walked into the room only to see Fu Rou sleeping on her side. On the table, there was a newly made cape. 

He smiled. He had forced her to make it but did not think that she would actually listen to him and finish it so quickly. Although he was happy, he also felt pity. As he kneeled in front of the bed, his thumb lightly brushed the bottom of her eyes. Her exhaustion was apparent from her eyebags.

“Rou’er, I am sorry.” He said softly. “I have always wanted to wear something that you personally made for me. Now that I have the chance, I was too impatient.”

Fu Rou suddenly opened her eyes. Fang Ziyan froze in shock. Fu Rou was equally shocked as well. She immediately sat up. “What are you doing?”

Fang Ziyan breathed a sigh of relief. Fu Rou had not heard what he said. Until the day he clears the injustice the Yan family had experienced, Yan Zifang will not be able to openly give her happiness. But if only she liked Fang Ziyan...

“Sleeping.” He then proceeded to lie on the bed.

“You are sleeping here?” Fu Rou shrunk towards the wall once again. Fang Ziyan, however, pulled Fu Rou into his embrace. Fu Rou was stunned and she tried to struggle.

Fang Ziyan tightened his arms. “If you continue to struggle, I am going to take off my clothes.” Fu Rou froze.

Fang Ziyan laughed. “Okay, close your eyes and go to sleep.”

Fu Rou’s eyes widened. Fang Ziyan sternly warned, “If you continue staring at me, I am going to make you sew a pouch for me.”

Fu Rou grumbled, “Your greed has no limits.”

Fang Ziyan lowered his eyes and looked at her. The tip of his nose touched hers. “Or you can let me kiss you. Choose.”

Fu Rou quickly shut her eyes. As Fang Ziyan looked at her sleeping profile, her face was scrunched up and he thought she looked adorable.

“Don’t leave.” He blurted out.

“Why not?” Fu Rou was afraid to open her eyes and did not see the warmth in his eyes.

“We have food, silk fabric and jewelry here. I don’t scold you nor hit you. What is so bad about staying here?” If Yan Zifang couldn’t give her the happiness she deserved, maybe Fang Ziyan could. 

Fu Rou shook her head. “You are a pirate.”

“So what if I am a pirate?” A pirate had saved his life in the past. “The ocean is vast and free. We can spend our days doing anything we want.”

“Pirates rob ships and kidnap women. How is that being free? Any man with functional limbs should make an upright living. Isn’t it embarrassing to steal from others? I would rather die than stay with pirates.”

Fang Ziyan pinched Fu Rou’s chin and Fu Rou immediately opened her eyes. Fang Ziyan was taken aback by how brightly Fu Rou’s eyes shone.  Eventually, he sighed as he covered her eyes with his hand. He turned his back to her and went to sleep.

He added, “Remember to make me a pouch tomorrow.” Fu Rou also turned her back to him. With her fist clenched, she went to sleep. She was able to sleep because she was exhausted. Deep down, she believed that this man was not evil.

 

Bam bam bam! There was someone slamming on the door!

Fang Ziyan’s eyes shot open. The interior of the room was dimly lit, signalling that it was still in the wee hours of the morning. Something must have happened! Fang Ziyan immediately hopped off the bed and opened the door. 

His vice-leader, Ma Haihu hurriedly reported, “The South Navy has appeared 15 km away from us. They have about forty big ships.”

Fang Ziyan shut the door as he quickly instructed, “Tell the men to guard the beach and silently observe for any changes. As soon as there are new developments with the South Navy, immediately report them to me.” 

Ma Haihu rushed to carry out his orders.

Fang Ziyan entered the room once again as he saw Fu Rou still in deep sleep. He adjusted her blanket before heading out and closing the door lightly behind him. Very soon, there was news. The South Navy had sent a small boat to try and dock at the beach. They had successfully ambushed the small boat.

Ma Haihu was proud. “Our island was chosen specifically because it is much easier to defend than to attack. It won’t be easy to land here!”

However, Fang Ziyan felt that something was not right. “They have forty big ships but only sent one to try and dock at the beach. Clearly, they should’ve known we would most likely ambush them.”

Ma Haihu sighed, “The South Navy has never been particularly capable.”

Fang Ziyan’s eyes flashed. “Maybe they have an expert with them this time. They will definitely try to find another entrance.” He suddenly narrowed his eyes. “Convey my orders. Get everyone on the ships. We are evacuating!”

Ma Haihu was stunned. “Must we give up on the island? Even if we face them head on, we might not lose.”

Fang Ziyan pursed his lips. “Other than a few dilapidated houses, there is nothing on this island. It is not a pity to give it up. If they were to find the other entrance, we would become easy pickings for them. I want to minimize losses. Rather than behaving like a moth heading towards a flame and putting ourselves in a dangerous position, I would rather shift us completely.”

Ma Haihu was confused. Fang Ziyan continued, “Du Long’s ships have been stationary these few days. The old geezers from the other sects have also left their stronghold. How can there be such a coincidence? I believe that they are meeting now to discuss how to deal with me.”

Ma Haihu came to a realization. “I was wondering why you let Du Long go so easily. So this has been your plan all along.”

Fang Ziyan smiled confidently. “Many find it unacceptable that I took over the Four Seas Sect at such a young age. Du Long is not the only one. It is too troublesome to deal with them one by one. So I figured why not let them all gather together and deal with them in one shot.” 

Ma Haihu gave him a thumbs up. “Brilliant! Just brilliant!”

Fang Ziyan waved him off. “Lead two ships out first to divert the attention of the South Navy. There is no need to go into battle, just escape when you get the chance. Go.”

Ma Haihu acknowledged loudly, “I will follow your orders.”

Taking big strides, Fang Ziyan entered the room. Without regard as to whether Fu Rou was awake, he wrapped the blanket and carried her in his arms. He did not forget to grab the cape. Fu Rou was jolted awake by the sudden movement. As she saw Fang Ziyan carrying her, she immediately struggled. “Put me down! What are you trying to do?”

Fang Ziyan smacked the blanket. “Come with me if you don’t want to die.”

Fu Rou became alert. All of a sudden, her vision darkened as she smelt the damp air. They were surrounded by stone walls. She struggled to lift her head to look around her. As she looked up, she saw a huge cave. There were numerous pirate ships lined up in front of the cave and the entrance of the cave was covered in large vines. Fu Rou knew that this must be the exit out of the island.

Suddenly, the vines were pulled apart from both sides and two ships sped out. The ocean wind blew into the cave ferociously, carrying with it human voices. They could faintly make out, “The pirates are out.” And “Don’t let them escape.”

Fu Rou joyfully commented, “This is karma for doing so many bad things. Are you trying to escape?”

Fang Ziyan got onto one of the boats and threw her down. He was not in a good mood. “Don’t forget that we are on the same boat now. If I can’t escape, you will not be able to either.” With a poker face, he continued, “Arrows have no eyes. Stay here and don’t come out.”

Without waiting for Fu Rou’s reply, Fang Ziyan locked the cabin door. He ordered the ship to set sail. Fu Rou leaned forward as she looked through a slit between the wooden shutters. Soon, their ship took off. In the distance, the sails of the navy’s ships looked like clouds. The navy’s ships were all a monotone colour with a narrow body and pointed head. The flags were also a monotone coloured attached with the word “South” on it. Men dressed in identical battle gear stood on board the ship.

“It’s the navy!” Although Fu Rou had never seen them before, she could not help but feel happy. “Help is here!”

Looking around, Fu Rou grabbed whatever she could use and broke the wooden shutters.

 

However, what Fu Rou would never be able to guess would be that the person leading the South Navy was Sheng Chumu.

After heading to Chang’an in a fit, Sheng Chumu realised that even spending his days drinking had become dull. What was even scarier was that every girl reminded him of Fu Rou. He was heartbroken. He decided that if he was a man, it was no big deal to suffer because of a lady. He was going to thicken his skin and beg Fu Rou to forgive him. With Fu Rou’s personality, being tough on the outside and soft on the inside, she would eventually forgive him. Hence, he had headed to Guangzhou to apologise. Who knew that he would receive news of Fu Rou getting kidnapped by pirates as soon as he reached the Fu Residence.

Only the navy was capable of dealing with pirates. Sheng Chumu then mustered determination that he had never had before and convinced General Wu from the South Navy to send out his men. He even used his official title to break through the ranks to speak to the General.

 

General Wu was leading the hoard of ships and was about to give chase to the two ships that Ma Haihu had sent out. 

However, Sheng Chumu felt that something was suspicious as he ran to the back of the boat. He saw a huge pirate ship leave the cave and head in the opposite direction.

“General Wu, be careful! They are trying to lure you away!” Sheng Chumu shouted as he ran back. “I believe that the pirates' main forces are in the big ship!”

Initially, General Wu had looked down on Sheng Chumu. But it was Sheng Chumu that had convinced him to send only one boat to try and dock at the beach, preventing the navy from suffering a huge loss. At this very moment, he trusted Sheng Chumu and immediately changed the direction they were heading to.

As they saw pirate ships leave the cave one after the other, anyone would know that this was the pirate’s main force.

Under Sheng Chumu’s orders, the South Navy had turned in time and slowly closed the distance between them and the pirate ships. General Wu commanded, “Release the arrows!  Slow them down!”

At that moment, Fu Rou had successfully broken the wooden shutters and ran out of the cabin. As she saw the navy giving chase, she immediately grabbed onto the railings and shouted for help.

Sheng Chumu heard a woman’s voice from the pirate ships and immediately scanned the area. However, the distance was too far for him to see clearly. He did not care about anything else as he shouted loudly, “Fu Rou! Fu Rou! Fu Rou!”

Fu Rou heard someone calling her name but could not see who it was. She suddenly saw numerous black spots fill the sky above her. It was a shower of arrows! No matter how brave Fu Rou was, she was still a noble lady and had never been caught in a battle. She stood frozen to her spot. 

A swift shadow dashed towards her, grabbing her and falling to the ground. They managed to hide behind the wall of the ship in the nick of time. In the spot that she had been standing earlier, there were tens of arrows.

“Are you trying to die?!” Her saviour was Fang Ziyan. 

Fear lingered in Fu Rou’s heart. “This is all because of you—”

Fu Rou’s words disappeared into Fang Ziyan’s mouth. He kissed her fiercely. He needed to pacify his fear of almost losing her a moment ago. Fu Rou’s face blushed from shock, unable to say a single word. When she finally refocused, she had already been locked in a cabin by Fang Ziyan.

Sheng Chumu was staring fixedly at the pirate ship with the woman’s silhouette. He pointed. “Ignore the other ships, that one is the biggest. It must be the one that the leader is on.”

General Wu agreed with his logic and ordered his ships to focus on Fang Ziyan’s ship. He did not know that this was exactly Fang Ziyan’s plan. Fang Ziyan lured the navy to the territorial waters that Du Long was in with all the other sect leaders. General Wu’s attention shifted. He was delighted to have come across the meeting of the leaders from several sects.  Taking them down would be a huge achievement. He no longer cared about Fang Ziyan’s ship.

Seeing how Fang Ziyan was about to escape, Sheng Chumu made a decision and borrowed a ship to give chase himself.

Fang Ziyan had been pleased with himself. He had managed to use the South Navy’s might to get rid of the old geezers that were against him. However, he did not expect to have someone continue chasing him. The chase stretched from day to night, unrelenting. 

Fang Ziyan had always been smart from a young age. Although he had met with misfortune in the past, he had performed brilliantly in the sect after being rescued by the leader of the Four Seas Sect. He got to the position he had today all because of his desire to survive. It was rare for him to meet such a stubborn opponent and Fang Ziyan felt like he should greet his opponent and slowed his ship.

Sheng Chumu never thought that Fang Ziyan would invite him on but he was also not afraid of stepping into the enemy’s territory. Putting up a plank that stretched over to Fang Ziyan’s ship, he hopped over and got into a fight with Fang Ziyan. 

Although Sheng Chumu had improved quite a bit under Niu Wudi, he hadn’t been training long enough. When compared to Fang Ziyan, who had grown up fighting on the seas, he was still somewhat lacking. Sheng Chumu had only managed to get a cut on Fang Ziyan’s cape whereas he himself had gotten kicked in the stomach as his entire body flew and knocked the side of the ship.

Fang Ziyan respected Sheng Chumu’s determination to fight to the very end and thought that Sheng Chumu looked slightly familiar. But nothing was more important than killing the enemy as he pointed his sword and prepared to pierce him.

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