Sheng Chumu led a hundred troops on one of the mountains in the Restricted Area. They were galloping quickly, like fierce wind. They startled over a hundred birds and chased away another hundred beasts. He had brought a hundred men army to train on Cangshan Mountain previously. They were all capable and it would not be an exaggeration to say that each of them could take on one hundred men. The Emperor was delighted, and allowed them to train in the Restricted Area.
The Restricted Area was near to the palace’s twenty-four offices. Outside stood the Wei River, while the palace was inside. The perimeter was about sixty kilometres. Within the circle, various kinds of plants and animals could be found. There were also all kinds of exercise fields. The two imperial armies, Shence Army and Yulin Army, were also stationed here. Not only was it for the royal couple’s entertainment, they were also there for protection. One had to either be a royalty or a highly recognised general to enter the Restricted Area.
The hundred men were in high-spirits as they shouted repeatedly. They sped along, getting on and off their horses to shoot and train with their swords. They switched over easily and were no longer the weak lads they were before. However, as their instructor, Sheng Chumu did not show a hint of approval at all. The playboy back then, who could not even ride a horse properly, had trained so much that his body was like steel. The sharp edges of his face were distinct as if they had been carved out with a knife.
As they neared the vegetable and fruits garden, Sheng Chumu suddenly caught sight of Fu Rou and subconsciously pulled on his reins.
“General, what is the matter?” Ye Qiulang stopped as well. He looked in the direction Sheng Chumu was looking. “Oh, that female official looks so imposing with the group of palace maids that she is leading. She is like you, General. She is pretty too.”
“Be careful or I will tell your Yan’er that your eyes are not faithful.” Sheng Chumu rolled his eyes at him.
“General, don’t. I am just saying.” Ye Qiulang immediately protested.
Sheng Chumu laughed, “Continue the training, I will catch up soon.”
Following that, Sheng Chumu appeared in front of Fu Rou, looking down from his horse.
The palace maid in charge of the vegetable and fruits garden greeted, “General Sheng, this is the newly appointed Court Lady…”
Sheng Chumu cut her off coldly, “There is no need to introduce us. We know each other.” His tone changed to a snarky one. “Court Lady Fu, congratulations on your promotion.”
Fu Rou instructed the palace maids, “Go to the garden and tell the chief to prepare the records of all the vegetables and fruits that were harvested.”
The palace maids left.
Fu Rou lifted her head to look at Sheng Chumu. Her eyes did not give anything away. “If you are unhappy, there is no need to pretend to congratulate. It sounds so insincere, don’t you feel uncomfortable saying it?”
Sheng Chumu got off his horse and took the chance to look away from her. “Nope.”
Fu Rou sighed, “Sheng Chumu, who are you angry with exactly?”
“You.” Is there a need to ask?
“You have found happiness elsewhere and like Lian Yan’er. How can you be angry with me?” He did not even give her a chance to explain.
“Liking Lian Yan’er and being angry with you are two entirely different things. I just want to like Lian Yan’er and be angry with you. Why? Court Lady of the Six Offices, are you going to punish me?” How could she lift her head so highly in front of him?
“Despicable.” She could not help but scold.
“Yes, I am despicable. I am not as noble as you. You nobly gained the Empress favour and attracted Prince Zhou. Everything is going your way and everyone likes you. You are noble and can watch happily by the side as my sister was forced to death.” As he spoke, his eyes burned with anger. He thought that no matter what, she would not stay out of it when his sister was in trouble.
“You are blaming Consort Han’s death on me?” She was being wronged by him all over. “When the Empress gave the order, I did not stay out of it, I was simply too powerless to do anything.”
“In a blink of an eye, a palace maid in the Lateral Courts became the leader of female officials. You even know how to do such a high level play. When you were by the Empress side, didn’t you have any ideas? Couldn’t you have sent a letter to my brother-in-law or me? Just a little warning and maybe my sister would still be alive.”
To think that he thought she was suffering in the Lateral Courts. He even went to look for Prince Qin and expose her location. Unexpectedly, her ability was beyond his imagination. “No, it is not that you were powerless. You were not willing to help.”
“Chumu, I…” She wanted to tell him the truth.
He cut her off coldly, “You say that you like me but you have actually given your heart to Prince Zhou. You don’t even care about me, why would you care if my sister lives? It was not easy for you to gain the Empress’ favour, why would you cut off your good fortune for Consort Han? That’s right, I like Lian Yan’er. Even though she used to be a prostitute, she is a hundred times better than someone like you who says one thing but means another and is greedy for power!”
She lifted her hand and slapped him hard. He did not care but got closer to her. His hand curled into a fist. He cornered her until she had nowhere else to back off to and was leaning against a huge tree. He raised his fist and saw her gaze waver, exposing a hint of fear.
That one punch, landed on the tree and caused all the remaining dried leaves to fall to the ground.
He stared at her. Pausing after every word, he spoke emotionlessly, “This will be the last time. The next time you dare to touch me, don’t blame me for not having mercy.”
She stared coldly for a moment before pushing him away. However, she tripped over the tree roots. He subconsciously reached out to help her but retracted his hand in the next second. She fell onto the ground and lifted her eyes to look at him angrily. He looked back at her. However, as he stared at her, his heart softened and he wanted to reach out to help her.
A hand cut in between the both of them. Prince Zhou had arrived.
“No thank you, Your Highness. I can stand up by myself.” Fu Rou strained to stand.
“Let me send you back.” Prince Zhou’s gaze was soft.
“No need. I have things to do. I will take my leave first.” She did not need to rely on either of these two men. She could move independently by herself.
Prince Zhou did not force her but simply glanced at Sheng Chumu.
Sheng Chumu stuck out his chin and looked challenging at him. “What do you have to teach me, Your Highness?”
“What is there to teach you? You are completely self-taught. You have done whatever I want you to do. You even did it better than I imagined.” The corners of Prince Zhou’s mouth turned up. “Thank you.”
Sheng Chumu’s face changed and he looked ashen.
Du Ning was in the midst of writing a letter. He was rushing and his words were ugly. However, he did not care, he had to quickly send this letter to the Emperor.
He had gone with Lu Yunji to Sheng Country. Lu Yunji wanted to declare an outright battle whereas Du Ning wanted to hold peace talks. In his opinion, this rebellion is strange. He found several citizens that escaped and found out that this was because of rumours. The officials that were sent by the court to take over Ningwu County were even more shady than him. The citizens had then ganged up against them and the newly appointed official mistook it for a rebellion and forcefully subdued them. Things then got blown out of proportion and now the entire Sheng Country was in a mess.
Lu Yunji believed that Du Ning’s information was not accurate but decided to give him a chance. He asked Du Ning to discuss with the leader of the rebel army, Hong Ze. Unexpectedly, Hong Ze accepted the suggestion for peace talks and sent three ambassadors.
Lu Yunji’s motive this time was to take the attention off the Crown Prince and wash away his own crime. He wanted to return home victorious and strive for himself one last time. The meat that he had grown was right in front of him, and he could not let Du Ning ruin it. Therefore, he killed the ambassadors as soon as they arrived.
The fact that Lu Yunji dared to kill the ambassadors meant that he intended to kill Du Ning. At the critical juncture, Du Ning told Lu Yunji that the three ambassadors were not Hong Ze’s men but were people that he arranged to pretend to be ambassadors. Lu Yunji had always viewed him as a thorn and never shared any strategies with him. Du Ning had no choice but to use this method to test Lu Yunji. Du Ning then said that he was actually on the Crown Prince’s side.
Lu Yunji seemed to believe him and did not pursue the matter further. This was how Du Ning got the chance to write the letter.
When Du Ning finished writing, he instructed his close confidante to ensure that the letter was given to the Emperor. His confidante persuaded him to leave as well but Du Ning was determined to stay. As soon as Lu Yunji realises that he is gone, Lu Yunji would go crazy and decide to gang up with Hong Ze to rebel. If that happens, Chang’an would be in danger.
In the end, he still underestimated Lu Yunji’s viciousness. When his confidante opened the door, he was immediately stabbed and fell right in front of Du Ning.
Lu Yunji walked in with no intentions of letting Du Ning go. “Official Lu, you said that you respect your teacher. However, you neglected to follow his instructions. Zhan Xuanzhi wanted you to protect the Crown Prince, yet you conspired and set up a trap for the person that the Crown Prince recommended. How can you face him?”
“I will always respect my teacher. As long as the Crown Prince and whoever he recommends do not do anything against Great Tang’s interest, I will definitely do as my teacher says and do my best to protect the Crown Prince.”
When he set out on this journey, he had bid goodbye to his parents and Sheng Chumu. He also bidded farewell to Fu Yin, the person that he had held for a long time in his heart. There was no turning back. Thankfully, when he is left all alone in this world, it was easy to embrace death.
Lu Yunji chuckled sinisterly, “Against Great Tang’s interest?”
“I am an official of Great Tang. My loyalty will be to Great Tang first.” He finally understood. Like what his teacher said, the chaos in the Sheng Country and Lu Yunji were all planned by the traitor in the Eastern Palace.
“Very well. Official Lu, die for loyalty for Great Tang.” Lu Yunji turned to leave.
A sword pierced through Du Ning’s heart. Colour disappeared from his face. He left the last train of thought for his own selfish desire -- Yin’er, you have to take care…Previous Chapter Next Chapter
I recommend stockpiling some chapters. Don't drop the novel, guys! You gotta see how things will turn around!!!
The misunderstandings will be cleared & Chumu and Fu Rou still loves each other. He just has a love hate relationship with her.
If you guys need a distraction, I recommend one of my translation projects! Here's a snippet:
If you enjoy that, check out the novel here! (There are lots of jade bunnies, plucking the radish, big bird, perky raisins and etc. Just don't drop Court Lady!!!) YOU GOTTA HANG IN THERE!!