Chapter 7.2: Saving Beauty

“No!” Fu Rou shrieked as she stumbled and fell, using her body to shield Sheng Chumu. 

“This has nothing to do with her!” After going through so much, Sheng Chumu finally managed to see her but never thought that it would be in such a life-threatening circumstance. He pulled Fu Rou behind him as he took on a protective stance. 

“Who is he to you?” Fang Ziyan was stunned as an unknown rage boiled within him. He pointed his sword at Fu Rou.

Fu Rou bit down on her lip. Who was Sheng Chumu to her? She did not know! She only knew that when she saw Sheng Chumu, she had been overwhelmed with happiness.

He had returned for her! It turned out that she had never lost hope in him and had only been disappointed when he decided to leave.

Seeing the lack of response from Fu Rou, Fang Ziyan got even angrier as he used his sword to shove Sheng Chumu away, intending to pull Fu Rou back to himself. 

Sheng Chumu reacted and grabbed the edge of Fang Ziyan’s cape, refusing to let go. “Fu Rou, even though I have let many women down. I will not let you down!” He then shouted at Fang Ziyan. “If you are a man then let’s end it in a battle with our lives on the line. Don’t bully women.”

Fang Ziyan turned around and pulled out his sword and the cape tore.

Fang Ziyan froze. When he turned around, he saw Sheng Chumu dash over and embrace Fu Rou. Fang Ziyan felt his heart break and the pain was equivalent to dying. However, as he looked at Fu Rou, the person he did not want to hurt the most in the entire world, she didn’t show the slightest concern for him. Instead, she was tightly embracing another man. 

“Get lost.” Fang Ziyan put away his sword. Fu Rou was shocked as she looked at Fang Ziyan from Sheng Chumu’s embrace. She could clearly see his pain and was startled. A scene suddenly flashed through her mind. The childhood Yan Zifang was thrown out by the Fu family’s servant. On the snowy ground, he gazed at her in sorrow.

“Get out of my sight now!” Fang Ziyan gripped the torn cape in his hand. 

He was not going to admit defeat. He just needed some time to think. Fang Ziyan had let Sheng Chumu go on account of Fu Rou. He had waited so many years and did not mind waiting for a few more days.

 

Sheng Chumu and Fu Rou returned home. They agreed not to mention the details of what they had gone through. They simply mentioned that they suffered a few minor injuries but were more shocked than hurt. The Fu family breathed a sigh of relief. Even Third Madam murmured a prayer. “Amitabha.”

However, as Sheng Chumu entered the guest room, he lost consciousness. Having travelled for days and fighting an intense fight with Fang Ziyan, it had depleted all his energy. Fu Rou stayed by his side the entire time, attending to him attentively. 

“Rou’er, I like you.” Although he was exhausted, his mind was clear. There were some things that needed to be said.

“I know.” As she thought about it, Sheng Chumu only lied because he wanted to make her happy.

“How about you?” What worried Sheng Chumu the most was how Fu Rou felt. 

Fu Rou shook her head. “I don’t know.” As she saw Sheng Chumu become anxious and try to stand, she lightly held him down. “Why do you like me?”

“I…I have gone crazy for you. When I was in Chang'an, I thought about you in the day and dreamt of you at night. I shouted your name from the top of the city walls. I forced myself to study, practice shooting and drink, but no matter what I did, I kept feeling depressed. My heart ached. I don’t know why but you mean so much to me!” His feelings for Fu Rou were different from anything he had ever felt before. He yearned for her.

“I am afraid that you will lie to me again.” She was afraid that everything was a lie. Like the moon’s reflection in the water or a flower’s reflection through a mirror.

“I will not lie to you ever again nor play with your feelings.” He was also afraid. He was afraid that she had no feelings towards him.

“I’m scared that you will resent a tigress like me and think that I am undeserving of you.”

“When…when I said those words that day, I immediately regretted it. I am really a bastard. I…I will slap myself for spouting rubbish.”

Sheng Chumu was about to slap himself but was held back by Fu Rou. Sheng Chumu flipped his hand over and grabbed onto Fu Rou’s hand. Laughing mischievously, he said, “Rou’er, you are the one that grabbed me this time. I will never leave ever again.” Fu Rou laughed.

All of a sudden, Ziyun ran into the room. “Oh no! Second Lady! The Chen family sold the marriage contract to the Lu family. Lu Qi is here for you. He said that he wants to take you in as his concubine!” Fu Rou’s eyebrows wrinkled as Sheng Chumu immediately hopped off the couch. Pushing up his sleeves, he ran out.

Fu Rou shook her head as she laughed and shouted, “Chumu, why are you panicking?”

Sheng Chumu answered as he ran, “I am not panicking. I am going to make whoever is trying to steal you away from me panic!”

When Sheng Chumu reached the main hall, he altered his footsteps and strode in as if he owned the place. Fu Rou walked beside him and saw a stranger sitting on her father’s usual seat.

That man was in his twenties and wore a white robe with cloud prints. His broad shoulders and thick waist showed that he probably knew martial arts. His features were neat and proper except for his eyes, which seem to emanate an evil aura.

“I thought that I had misheard. I didn’t think that it would be you, Brother Lu.” He had found out the truth regarding Lady Hui’s embroidery from Fu Yin. Lu Hanxing had caused a lot of misery for him and he had intended to get even with the Lu family.

Lu Qi was astonished. “Why are you here?”

“Me?” Sheng Chumu gestured for Lu Qi to get up as he invited Old Master Fu to take his seat. “I am Third Madam’s nephew.”

Lu Qi did not know the full story and thought that the Sheng and Fu family were really relatives. He was about to give up when he saw a bright-eyed, natural born beauty look in their direction. Her hips swayed as she walked towards them. She caused him to reignite his intentions once again. Who was Sheng Chumu? He was just a spoilt noble that was riding on his family’s fame!

Lu Qi laughed. “That’s great, then the two of us can become relatives as well.” Holding the marriage contract in his hand, he continued on. “The Chen family sold the marriage contract to me. The Second Lady of the Fu family belongs to me now.”

Fu Rou narrowed her eyes. “I am officially betrothed to Chen You. How can I be bought and sold like an item? I am not afraid to bring this up to court.”

Sheng Chumu’s eyes lit up. He finally realised why he had fallen for Fu Rou. It was her tenacious nature that had attracted him and made him fall so deeply for her.

“No wonder your mother-in-law mentioned that you like to use the Tang law to argue for your twisted logic. Great, I want to see for myself.” Tang law? Here, the Lu family’s rules are the law!

“How is the Tang law considered twisted logic?” Fu Rou refuted aggressively. “Even if you are related to the royal family, you can still be charged for going against the law.”

Sheng Chumu knew that there was no point in rationalising with Lu Qi. “Brother Lu, the Emperor just bestowed the title of General Zhenyong on you. I don’t think you want to make a fuss over a civilian lady.”

“Fine. For you, I am willing to use her as a bet. Let us have a martial arts contest in front of an imperial judge. If I win, she is mine.” Lu Qi cursed under his breath. He was going to leave it to Sheng Chumu as to whether Fu Rou is his. He was afraid of Sheng Chumu complaining to the Emperor. 

Sheng Chumu agreed without hesitation. “Okay, it’s a deal.”

“Take care, beautiful lady. Next spring, I will take very good care of you.” Lu Qi winked at Fu Rou as he took large strides out of the hall.

Sheng Chumu did not waste any time and immediately went back to his room to pack his luggage. He was going to find his uncle, Niu Wudi, to train some more. He was very clear about his abilities and knew that he had reached his limit. When it came to dealing with someone like Lu Qi, who has been training since childhood, he was still severely lacking.

Fu Rou was unhappy. “You don’t have to go anywhere. What right does he have to use me as the bet and what right does he have to challenge you. Ridi—”

Sheng Chumu placed his index finger on Fu Rou’s lips and took a step forward.

They looked into each other’s eyes, affection flowing between them. Naturally, Sheng Chumu made a move to kiss her. Fu Rou’s entire face reddened but she did not avoid him. She slowly closed her eyes as their lips met.

Sheng Chumu embraced Fu Rou. “Rou’er, trust me. For you, I am willing to go through the depths of hell. There is nothing on this earth that can stop me from protecting you.” 

Fu Rou could not help but hug him back as she nodded in his embrace.

 

On this day, while Lu Qi could not speak up at the Fu Residence, Lu Hanxing had finally returned. 

He was lucky to have run into some fisherman that helped him just when he was about to die of thirst and hunger. When Lu Yunji found out that their ship had been robbed by pirates, he fumed. 

“You brought so many men with you but still got robbed? Didn’t you tell them where you were from? How dare they touch our Lu family’s ship!”

Afraid to lift his head, Lu Hanxing remained in a kneeling position. “It was the Four Seas Sect. Their leader had the surname Fang and said that they were targeting our Lu family.”

Lu Qi snorted. “Asking for trouble.”

“If they are looking for trouble, we don’t have to be anxious.” Lu Yunji narrowed his eyes. “Hanxing, other than the Four Seas Sect, does anyone else know what was on board the ship?”

“At the port, one of the boxes toppled over and someone might have seen the contents that fell out.” Lu Hanxing recalled. “It was a merchant family, the Fu family.”

“The Fu family?” Lu Qi raised his eyebrows. “What a coincidence. I was just about to discuss the issue of getting a concubine with Father. They also have the surname Fu and own a dye workshop and an embroidery house.”

“It is the same family.” Lu Hanxing confirmed.

“This…” Lu Qi hesitated. He had really developed slight feelings for Fu Rou.

“You have been on the battlefield and killed numerous generals. What do you think we should do with this insignificant family after they have seen something that they should not see?” Women are like clothes. They are no big deal!

Lu Qi composed himself. “Sheng Chumu is related to that family and is currently staying there. Should we just…” He made a killing gesture.

Lu Yunji immediately shook his head. “I just said that you were soft-hearted and you are already making another mistake. If something were to happen to Sheng Chumu in Guangzhou, do you think Duke Lu will let it go? It might even draw the Emperor’s attention here. We should be covering things up, not blowing them up.”

Lu Qi was suddenly enlightened. “We are not allowed to touch Sheng Chumu. As for the rest of the Fu family, they are simply commoners. A bunch of useless ants. I will make them shut up forever.” 

With a single hammer, Lu Yunji had decided the Fu family’s fate.

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