Chapter 76.1: Cactus Flower

Fu Yin had prepared a ribs soup and brought it to the study room. These days, Lu Qi has brought her to many interesting places in Chang’an and she started to feel that perhaps she could be happy too.

All of a sudden, a voice floated out of the study room. “Du Ning actually tried to set my father up?”

“Don’t look at him like he is just a scholar. He is quite bold. Not only did he send his own subordinates to pretend to be ambassadors from the rebel troops to test General Lu, he even used his teacher’s name to deceive General Lu. If not for General Lu’s vast experience allowing him to see through his plan, I am afraid that that letter signalling disaster for Duke Chen Residence would have landed on the Emperor's table already.”

“How did Father deal with it?”

“Is there a need to ask? General immediately made the decision and…” his voice suddenly paused. “To others, they said that assassins from the rebel army did it.”

“Good.” Lu Qi sounded unhappy. “He dares to go against us. Du Ning deserves to die without a complete corpse…”

Du Ning is dead?! Fu Yin covered her mouth and did not care about the tray that fell from her hands. The bowl shattered and the soup spilled all over.

Lu Qi dashed out from the room and saw Fu Yin’s disheveled look and the mess on the ground. He thought that she had scalded herself and asked in concern, “Did you burn yourself?”

Fu Yin recovered and swiped Lu Qi’s hand off. She glared at him with a hateful look. “You guys killed him.”

Lu Qi seemed to realise something was off. “Who?”

Fu Yin repeated, “You guys killed him…”

“Killed who?” Lu Qi glanced at his subordinate and signalled for him to leave. His face then fell. “You eavesdropped on our conversation?”

She suddenly pounced on him and started hitting him. “You guys killed Du Ning! You all killed him!”

He grabbed her hand and looked at her suspiciously. “How do you know Du Ning?”

“You guys killed Du Ning! Murderer…” She hated herself. Why wasn’t she determined? How could she think that she could be happy with this kind of person?

“You are all murderers!” She had known that the Lu father and son were not good people. Their hands were stained with blood. However, just because Lu Qi treated her sincerely, she was fooled into thinking that he had changed.

“Because of a stupid man, you are going against me? When did you go behind my back and fool around with the Lu guy? Tell me!” He had given her a chance and all he got in return was betrayal?

“That’s right, I fooled around with other guys. Even before I met you, I was already with Du Ning.” 

She was supposed to marry Du Ning. Perhaps if she had married him, she would have been able to stop him from going on this trip. Then Du Ning would not have died because of this father and son pair.

Lu Qi was shocked. “What did you say?”

Fu Yin shouted, “Du Ning taught me to write and draw. We loved each other and have pledged our love to each other. My biggest wish is to be his wife. He is the person that I truly love.”

Lu Qi was furious. “Shut up!”

“No. I am going to tell you everything. Do you know why I left Du Ning to come to you? Because I wanted revenge. I want to take revenge for my mother. She was the third lady from the Fu family. Do you remember the Fu family from Guangzhou? You instructed people to burn the entire residence. That night, a woman was burned to death. She was my mother. You killed my mother and you are my enemy!” 

She had given up. A superficial love and superficial happiness had caused her to worry too much about gaining and losing. 

Lu Qi was truly stunned. “Yin’er…”

“My name is not Yin’er, my surname is Fu. I am the Fu family’s fourth daughter. My name is Fu Yin.” She was going to be herself once again. The first thing she had to do was to admit her past.

“Stop talking. Don’t say a single word.” Lu Qi could not accept this.

“You thought that you're so smart but actually you are extremely stupid. The reason I stayed by your side is for revenge yet you never even realised. Lu Hanxing started the fire so I killed him. I never thought that you would actually cover up for me in front of your father. That’s right! And I was the one that burned the letter informing you that Hong Yide was captured by Yan Zifang... not Mo Li!”

“Stop talking! Shut up! You are not allowed to speak!” Right from the beginning, he felt like she was different from others. So what seemed like her shy and quiet side was actually her covering up her hatred.

“Every day when I open my eyes, I am waiting to see your Duke Chen Residence get destroyed!” Du Ning’s death has caused all the guilt in Fu Yin to pour out like a flood. She was brutal with her words. 

Lu Qi suddenly grabbed Fu Yin’s arms and pulled her back into the house. He took their child and locked the door. 

His son was shocked and started bawling. Lu Qi hugged his son tightly and placed his cheek against his son’s face, crying silently. 

He finally understood that they could never be happy together. He was willing to tear out his heart and guts to see her smile. However, his hands were stained with her mother’s blood and Du Ning’s blood. Her smiles were like cactus flowers and were short-lived.

 

On this day, Sun Lingshu met Sheng Chujun.

The reason for this was because Fu Shui gave a fast horse to the Crown Prince. The Crown Prince was anxious to show off his riding abilities and rode too roughly, causing the horse to lose control and charge towards Sun Lingshu. Luckily, Sheng Chujun saved her.

Sheng Chujun sent Sun Lingshu back to the palace. Sun Lingshu had mixed emotions and did not know what to say. All of a sudden she saw a hairpin poking out from his breast pocket. 

She could not help but comment, “This...looks like Lingwei’s purple sparrow hairpin.” 

Sheng Chujun lowered his head and retrieved the hairpin. He stared deeply at it. 

“That is my sister’s favourite hairpin. On the day of the Crown Princess Selection, Father brought me to Han Mansion to attend the selection. Before we left, Lingwei gave me her hairpin and told me to wear it. She said that if I wore it, I would definitely become the Crown Princess. Perhaps it was because of her blessing that I managed to defeat Lu Yingying and gain the Crown Prince’s favour…” Sun Lingshu suddenly could not continue as sorrow flooded her eyes. “Lingwei came to the Eastern Palace to beg me not to marry her off to Lu Qi. Was it because of you?”

Sheng Chujun acknowledged.

“Do you like her?” He kept the hairpin with him at all times. She could see that his love was genuine.

Sheng Chujun replied, “Yes.”

“Did she like you?” She was asking the obvious once again.

Sheng Chujun nodded. “She did.”

“Very good. My pitiful sister. At least she managed to have a taste of reciprocated love before she passed on.” Sun Lingshu stepped into her palace.

Sheng Chujun suddenly said, “On the night that Lingwei was poisoned by arsenic, I had snuck into her room to meet with her.”

Sun Lingshu immediately halted and listened attentively.

“She was as happy as a sparrow that had been freed because you had agreed to help her and she would not be forced to marry Lu Qi. We had a chance of being together. Crown Princess, I am grateful for you. Thank you for showing her sisterly love during her most helpless period. Thank you for helping and promising her. You allowed Lingwei’s last moment to be filled with happiness.”

Sun Lingshu paused for a moment. “Speaking of which, I haven’t thanked you for saving me today.”

“You are the sister that Lingwei respected the most. In the past, I could not protect Lingwei. From now on, I will protect you. Even if it costs me my life, I will not allow the evil person that killed Lingwei to hurt you.” Sheng Chujun expressed his determination sincerely.

Sun Lingshu did not turn back as she walked in. “Thank you.”

Shuangxi smiled at Sheng Chujun before rushing to catch up with Sun Lingshu. As she saw the Crown Princess’ side view, she could not help but fall in a daze. At this very moment, Sun Lingshu’s expression was not one of having been moved but her expression was icy cold. 

Shuangxi suddenly recalled an incident in which a palace maid got sentenced to death by the Empress for bringing in arsenic for rats. Because of that, Sun Lingshu had instructed Shuangxi to hide their small pack of arsenic well. However, two days ago, Guiyuan had come to bid farewell and Shuangxi had wanted to ask her to take the arsenic out of the palace. However, Shuangxi could not find the arsenic. She then recalled that Sun Lingshu had been having a series of bad dreams recently. During her nightmares, she would always shout “Don’t look for me.” Shuangxi had thought that it was Consort Han’s soul that was haunting her. However, if Consort Han had killed the Second Miss, Consort Han would have gone to hell. Why would she still remain in the human realm? But if it was the Second Miss that was calling out her grievance, she should be after Prince Han. Why would she look for the Crown Princess?

Shuangxi did not know why her heart suddenly fell. 

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