Chapter 70.1: Snowfall

Fu Rou entered Princess Xinnan’s palace. Princess Xinnan was sitting by the window in a daze with a helpless expression on her face. She went up to her and greeted.

“Fu Siyan, have you seen Chuling? Is he severely injured?” Princess Xinnan was most worried about Sheng Chuling. 

Fu Rou spoke blandly, “Sheng Chuling is being taken care of by the Duke Lu Residence. I don’t have time to see him nor do I have to see him.”

Xinnan recalled that Fu Rou and Sheng Chumu had nothing to do with each other anymore. However, she felt that there was no need for Fu Rou to rush to draw such a clear line. Xinnan could not control her tone and asked her what she came here for.

Fu Rou replied, “Her Majesty requests for you to go to Lizheng Palace.”

“Imperial Mother wants to see me?” Xinnan seemed stunned as she could not help but curl up. “I...I don’t want to go…”

Fu Rou’s expression remained unchanged. “Your Highness, are you trying to anger Her Majesty? Today, the issue with the Eastern Palace has already caused her to be angry. She is not well to begin with and now, her health is worsening. Your Highness should not go against Her Majesty and go to Lizheng Palace quickly.”

“But Imperial Mother must be furious. I am afraid...what should I do? Fu Siyan, you have to save me!” She had nowhere to go and only Fu Rou had a lot of ideas. “Even if your relationship with Sheng Chumu is not good and you are not Sheng Chuling’s sister-in-law, I have treated you well. You can’t watch me die and not save me. Moreover, if the both of you can’t become a couple, shouldn’t you at least let the both of us have some hope?”

Fu Rou did not know whether to laugh or cry. “I can only give you one suggestion. All parents will soften towards their children. When you meet Her Majesty, you just have to do two things. The first will be to apologise for your mistake. The second is to cry.”

Not only did Xinnan cry, her tears fell like a downpour. 

Empress Zhangsun rubbed her eyebrows. “Don’t cry. I haven’t said anything and you are already crying like this.”

“It is my fault. I did not follow the rules and liked Sheng Chuling. It is entirely my fault. I have disappointed you and made you sad. Even if I were to be beaten to death by Grand Prince Liang, it will not be enough to make up for my wrongdoings.” Xinnan lifted her hand to wipe her tears. Her sleeve rolled backwards, exposing the numerous scars.

Empress Zhangsun felt her heart ache. “Why didn’t you apply any medicine?”

Fu Rou replied on her behalf, “Her Highness said that she has made a mistake and should be punished. She is not willing to use medicine.”

Empress Zhangsun was angry. “Ridiculous! Your body is given to you by your parents. Any injury you have will hurt me.” She instructed the internal attendant to quickly call for an imperial physician.”

“Imperial Mother.” Xinnan kneeled by Empress Zhangsun’s foot. “There is no need to call for an imperial physician. I have humiliated you as well as the Royal family. What is the point of living for a criminal like me? I am willing to die to erase the humiliation that I have brought to you and Imperial Father. Please grant me poison wine or...or a white silk.”

“Your relationship with an Eastern Palace guard...is indeed wrong. However, no matter how angry I am, there is no need for you to kill yourself. How did you come up with such a foolish idea?” After all, her daughter had reached the marriage age. Moreover, her previous two marriage engagements had failed. Empress Zhangsun sympathised with Xinnan.

“But with what happened with Eastern Palace, everyone will know about my situation with Sheng Chuling. My reputation has been ruined. If Imperial Father knows about this, he will be furious and make me become a nun. I will have to remain single and only have the buddha statue as accompaniment for the rest of my life. I would rather die.”

“Amongst all his daughters, your Imperial Father dotes on you the most. He will not be so cruel.” Empress Zhangsun had initially summoned her daughter to lecture her but ended up trying to comfort her.

Xinnan continued to talk about how miserable her life was as she cried out loud. “Even if I don’t have to shave my head and become a nun, the best scenario would be that he arranged a marriage for me with a random man. If my future husband’s family knows that I had a relationship with Sheng Chuling before, how can they accept me? I will be scolded by my mother-in-law and ignored by my husband. I am afraid that I cannot escape this. I have made a serious mistake and I thoroughly regret it. Imperial Mother, you should just give me a harsh punishment. I am willing to accept it.”

“Punishment is to make someone change. You already know your mistake, why would I need to punish you?” 

After catching several looks from Xinnan, Fu Rou finally said, “Your Majesty, what is important now is to arrange Her Highness’ future. There are many people in the Eastern Palace and they will talk. If this spreads, Her Highness’ reputation will not be salvageable. We should turn this situation into a good one.”

“Turning a bad situation into a good one…” Empress Zhangsun immediately understood. “You mean granting marriage between…”

Fu Rou took over. “Only in this manner, can the situation between Princess Xinnan and Sheng Chuling become positive. Her Highness will not need to bear with a bad reputation and can even have a new home. The Royal family’s reputation will not be ruined.”

Empress Zhangsun shook her head. “No.”

Princess Xinnan became anxious and wanted to speak. However, she saw Fu Rou’s gesture and could only cry more bitterly.

Fu Rou replied, “Sheng Chuling is just an imperial guard. His status is indeed a little too low and is not suitable to marry the princess.”

Empress Zhangsun explained, “It does not matter if his status is low, he can just be promoted a few times. His father is Duke Lu so his family background is good enough. However, Prince Han said before that Sheng Chuling likes to drink and he will abuse people when he is drunk. If Princess Xinnan marries him, won’t she be abused?”

Fu Rou came up with a good idea. “This is easy. Your Majesty just has to set a decree that Sheng Chuling is not allowed to drink from now on.”

Empress Zhangsun fell silent for a moment. “This person is so bold. He actually dares to like my daughter. Now because of Xinnan, I cannot punish him. From now on, he shall not be allowed to drink anymore. This shall be his punishment.”

Princess Xinnan’s mouth opened. Under Fu Rou’s gaze, she changed it back to a crying face. “Imperial Mother, I don’t want to marry. I can’t bear to leave you.”

Empress Zhangsun sighed, “If you can’t bear to leave me, why did you make such a mistake? Now that you have done it, you have to bear with the consequences. You have to marry Sheng Chuling and protect your reputation as well as the Royal family’s. There is no need to discuss this further. I will bring this matter up to your Imperial Father. Xinnan, you should be prepared to get married.”

Princess Xinnan hugged Empress Zhangsun’s leg as she cried out loud.

Fu Rou saw everything clearly. It was like thunder without rain. All that was missing was a proud smile. This proud princess had finally gone through the tough times. Good times were just beginning. It made her envious.

 

Consort Han was helping Prince Han prepare his luggage. She could not help but sigh. Empress Zhangsun had ordered him to go to Fengtian Monastery to pray on her behalf. However, the truth was that she just wanted him to go until the Crown Prince had calmed down.

“Consort, don’t be like this. I already can’t bear to leave you. If you are so upset, I will feel even worse.” Prince Han could not bear to see his beloved wife upset. “Come and smile for me.”

Consort Han rolled her eyes. “You are so dumb. You do whatever your mother says, don’t you know how to stand up for yourself? You Jianming did things on his own accord. The fact that the Crown Prince blames you for it is already ridiculous.”

Prince Han replied, “Imperial Mother knows this as well. However, at this point in time, the Crown Prince will not listen to anything and will think that Imperial Mother is biased and trying to help me. Actually, Imperial Mother takes pretty good care of us. She did not say anything about your wrong diagnosis and only told me to take care of you.”

Consort Han laughed bitterly, “If only it were so simple. I am afraid people don’t know your good intentions.”

Anyway, she had no more expectations for the Crown Prince and Crown Princess. Perhaps anybody that sits in that position will always be suspicious. She was thankful that she had married Prince Han.

“I heard that in the mountain behind Fengtian Monastery, there is a flower called Purple-dress Goddess. I heard that it is extremely beautiful. When I reach there, I will pick all the flowers back for you. During the Lantern Festival, you can have a whole head of flowers and wear the newest dress from Belle Shop to see the festival. Everyone in Chang’an will be attracted to you.”

Consort Han’s bitter smile changed into a humorous laugh. “A whole head of flowers. I would look like a crazy woman.”

Prince Han was happy. “You smiled! You smiled! It is good as long as you smile!”

“Your Highness, let’s not try to fight or snatch for anything. After you return, let’s ask Imperial Father and Mother for a piece of land. We shall leave this place and have a simple and peaceful life. Won’t that be great?” 

The family banquet could not mend the brothers’ relationship. In the end, they had to face the truth. Consort Han finally understood.

“Okay!” Prince Han also felt that staying in Chang’an was no longer easy. “As long as you are with me, anywhere is good! Oh right, Imperial Mother also said that as long as we have anything good, we have to remember to share it with Eastern Palace. When I am not around, you have to remember. After all, as long as we are still here, making the Crown Prince feel good means making Imperial Mother happy. We should be filial. Didn’t you make some jujube cake? It is rare that it is actually eatable…”

Consort Han glared at him.

Prince Han immediately changed his words. “It is the best. It is comparable to the ones made by the Imperial Kitchen. I told Imperial Mother that you would give some to the Eastern Palace. Don’t forget.”

Consort Han smiled. “Yes.”

After Prince Han left, snow fell heavily for the entire night. Winter had arrived.

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Coca's Thoughts

lol Xinnan is so dramatic and Prince Han is so cute.