Chapter 77.2: Cold Plum

Fu Rou left the palace to visit her family. Unexpectedly, Yan Zifang came up to her as soon as she left the palace. Fu Rou spoke coldly, “What do you want now?” She thought that he had thought things through after he left her alone for a period.

Yan Zifang laughed bitterly, “After looking around, you're the only person that can accompany me while I drown my sorrows in this foreign city.” He then turned to leave. 

Fu Rou thought about it and eventually followed him into a wine house.

Yan Zifang poured himself a drink and downed it. Fu Rou suddenly understood. His troubles with love had nothing to do with her this time. She finally breathed a sigh of relief. She had said whatever needed to be said, if he still persisted, she would have to cut him off. However, he was a good older brother to her when they were children and she had already lost him once. 

Yan Zifang drank another cup. “It seems like I am always struggling with love. Back then when you fell for Sheng Chumu and disregarded our engagement, I was depressed for a long time.”

“What you were trying to catch was the illusion that was created from spending a long time out in the ocean.” As long as they resolved their engagement issue, she did not mind being friends with him. “But who are you drinking for today?”

Yan Zifang drank cup after cup. “I am not drinking for anyone.”

Fu Rou had no choice but to point out. “For Consort Liang?”

 Yan Zifang’s face fell. “Don’t call her that. She has her own name.”

“So I am right.” Fu Rou had no intentions of digging out the secrets between the two of them. “Something that was obtained from nothing is not worth cherishing. Only when it is lost will men then understand what it means to them. Isn’t that right?”

Yan Zifang spoke fiercely, “A failure like Grand Prince Liang is not worthy of having her. But I don’t understand why she would help him? He was going to be banished to the feudal land. I had arranged everything to help her get rid of him and she would have nothing to worry about!”

Last night, during Imperial Concubine Wang’s banquet, Grand Prince Liang suggested adopting a child for Zhiyun. As Zhiyun’s mother, Imperial Concubine Wang was extremely moved. Lu Yingying then took the chance to mention that Grand Prince Liang was about to leave Chang’an. Thereafter, Imperial Concubine Wang then spoke to the Emperor for Grand Prince Liang. The Emperor promised to give Grand Prince Liang another chance. 

Fu Rou was shocked. “Yan Zifang, you were a pirate and will always be a pirate. Before Lu Yingying was married, you did not care. Now that she is married and wants to stay by Grand Prince Liang’s side, you start to become greedy. Do you know how troubled she was because of Grand Prince Liang’s issue?”

Yan Zifang slammed the cup on the table. “What troubles? He abuses her! He doesn't treat her like a person! Grand Prince Liang is not worthy of her!”

“Then what about you? Do you have the right?” Fu Rou’s tone was sharp. “You always hate it when people bring up your pirate background and think that they are looking down on you. But have you thought about it? It is not where you come from but the way you behave. You mix right and wrong and do not follow the rules. You don’t care about how others think, you are uncivilised and unreasonable. You force your view onto others and that is why other people look at you differently. You said you came on land to become an official because I looked down on you as a pirate. You asked me why I still look down on you. But up until now, you are still a selfish pirate. In order to reach your goal, you will do anything, regardless if it's right or wrong.”

Yan Zifang’s eyes slowly turned frigid.

“This is the real reason why you lost her. Not because of anyone else but yourself.” Fu Rou drew blood on the first prick. 

“Court Lady of the Six Offices, you are getting sharper as you speak. Why? Sheng Chumu doesn’t want you and in a fit of anger, you are treating all men on earth as enemies?” Yan Zifang was not drunk but grew courageous from his drinks. More importantly, he did not want to admit that she was right. 

“Drink your wine. Speak any more nonsense and I am afraid there won’t be anyone left for you to drown your sorrows with in the entire Chang’an.” Fu Rou picked up a cup. She took a sip before drinking the entire cup.

Sigh, Yan Zifang was also the only friend she had to drink with.


After night fell, Sheng Chumu came to an inn.

There were quite a few customers drinking in the main hall on the first floor. He walked past silently and headed up the stairs. He entered a guest room. In the room, there was a round table and small dishes of food, a jar of wine and two cups were set upon it. One cup was already filled and the food had been touched. 

Sheng Chumu was not surprised as he sat down and poured himself a cup.

A person walked out from within the room, holding a candle in his hand. He placed it on a candle holder by the window and sat in front of Sheng Chumu. He picked up a mouthful of vegetables and drank a sip of wine. He then wiped his mouth with his sleeves.

“They have decided to take action?” Sheng Chumu asked. 

“Yes. On the ninth of this month, they will kill him on his way back to the Han Mansion. Jisun Chenxin will be leading the group.” The candlelight lit up the room and the person’s face. It was the third son of the Sheng family, Sheng Chujun.

The three brothers from the Sheng family had put on a show to deceive their enemies. They all believed that their sister and Prince Han would never poison the jujube cake. Hence, the person that placed the poison could only be from the Eastern Palace. In order to find out the truth, Sheng Chujun pretended to fight with his two older brothers and join the Crown Prince. 

“The ninth?” Something shifted in Sheng Chumu. “Isn’t that tomorrow?”

“The Eastern Palace does not know that Mao Shouping is already dead and is worried that he will tell the truth about Zhan Xuanzhi’s murder. Hence, they are extremely anxious. The Crown Prince has decided to kill the brat, Prince Han, and get rid of the stump in his heart.”

Sheng Chumu laughed. “The brat, Prince Han? He is called Brother-in-law.”

Sheng Chujun pursed his lips. “I have gotten used to calling him that in the Eastern Palace. With the Crown Prince, I call him whatever they call him.”

Sheng Chumu felt guilty. “Chujun, this has been difficult on you.”

Sheng Chujun shook his head and took out a map. “They will attack here. Jisun Chenxin will be leading two-hundred suicide troops with the goal of taking Brother-in-law’s head. Some of the guards in Han Mansion have been bribed. When the Eastern Palace takes actions, they will change sides. This is the list of the betrayers.”

Sheng Chumu was concerned. “Have you found out who was the one that put poison in the jujube cakes?”

Sheng Chujun shook his head. “Not yet. Initially, I suspected the Crown Prince. However, seeing how angry he is about this, it seems like he really believes that Prince Han wanted to poison him. If it wasn’t the Crown Prince, then who would have done it?”

“Don’t think too much. After we expose their plot to kill Brother-in-law tomorrow, the Crown Prince will not be able to protect his position. We can then dig out all the secrets in the Eastern Palace.” Sheng Chumu got up, everything was imminent. “From this moment on, you don’t have to go to the Eastern Palace, that place is too dangerous.”

Sheng Chujun agreed and recalled, “Elder Brother, I need you to do something for me. I also need you to talk to Brother-in-law. When the Eastern Palace falls, everyone will be unlucky but please do not make things difficult for the Crown Princess.”

Sheng Chumu understood. “Because of her?”

Sheng Chujun replied, “Lingwei was always very protective of her sister. If the Crown Princess has a tragic ending, Lingwei will not be able to rest in peace.”

“The Crown Princess has always added fuel to the fire…” Sheng Chumu saw Chujun’s serious expression. “Okay, I will discuss it with Brother-in-law.”

After Sheng Chumu left, Sheng Chujun entertained himself as he drank and ate. He was done eating and reached for his pouch to settle the bill.

“Eh? Where is Lingwei’s hairpin?” He lowered his head to look at the small pouch he attached to belt. “I might have left it in the Eastern Palace. I have to get it back.”

 

Sun Lingshu walked towards Fu Shui’s residence. She did not bring Shuangxi with her.

Shuangxi has been looking at her strangely these past two days and she had suddenly asked about the bag of arsenic. She had to avoid her question and said that she had passed it to Fu Shui to throw outside the palace. However, she wanted to tell Fu Shui about it first in case Shuangxi asked him about it. As to how she was going to bring it up to Fu Shui, she had yet to think about it.

As she was hesitating, she realised that she had walked into a dead end. She realised that she had been distracted and wanted to head back. However, she heard someone talking. She silently took a few steps closer and saw that one of the people was Fu Shui. The other was an unfamiliar internal attendant. 

Fu Shui spoke, “Go back and tell Chief Yu that the Eastern Palace will make a move tomorrow. The world is finally going to undergo a huge change.”

As Sun Lingshu heard this, she paled in fright. In the entire palace, there was only one chief with the surname Yu. Concubine Yan’s attendant, Yu He. There could only be one explanation for Fu Shui to alert Yu He of such a big secret at this time.

Sun Lingshu was extremely shocked and her legs seemed to turn to steel. It was when Fu Shui saw her that she finally woke up from her trance. She was flustered as she ran back to her residence. 

However, Fu Shui ran after her. Sun Lingshu turned around sharply. She glared at him. “Get out! If not, I am going to shout!”

Fu Shui was calm. “Crown Princess, what are you doing?”

“You heartless trash. The Crown Prince and I have treated you so well but you colluded with Concubine Yan!” Sun Lingshu did not understand why he was not afraid.

“Crown Princess, you have misunderstood. My interaction with Concubine Yan’s people is not to betray the Crown Prince. Contrary to that, I am actually helping the Crown Prince.” After staying in the Eastern palace for so long, he knew that this woman’s heart was weak and she was not clever.

As expected, Sun Lingshu’s anger turned to confusion. “Helping the Crown Prince?”

“Tomorrow, we will be able to get rid of Prince Han. The next one we have to deal with is Concubine Yan and Prince Zhou. Don’t you think we should place some informants by their side?” Fu Shui laughed, “That person is Chief Yu.”

Sun Lingshu did not believe him. “Yu He has served Concubine Yan for so many years and is Concubine Yan’s most trusted servant. How could he betray Concubine Yan and side with the Crown Prince?”

“Everyone has ambitions. As long as you can satisfy his ambition, he will be able to do the thing that satisfies you. Sheng Chujun is a perfect example. Even brothers can turn to become enemies, much less a master and a servant.” Fu Shui smiled once more. 

Although Sun Lingshu was not smart, she was not stupid. “You men are always full of schemes. No matter what, I have to tell the Crown Prince.”

Fu Shui was stern. “No, you will ruin my plan.”

“I am the Crown Princess and I will be loyal only to the Crown Prince.” From the past till now, she only had one goal. That was to walk with the Crown Prince all the way.

“Fine, if you want to tell the Crown Prince about this, then should we also tell him how you personally poisoned your own sister?”

Sun Lingshu froze as she turned around sharply. “Don’t accuse me!”

Fu Shui made the final decision. “When you poisoned the jujube cakes, I was standing right outside the window.”

In the silence, a pearl rolled out from beneath the cupboard, a shadow was trembling. 

Fu Shui’s gaze was penetrating. “Come out!”

Shuangxi stood up from behind the cupboard. She was carrying a jewellery box in her hands with a fearful expression on her face.

Previous Chapter Next Chapter

Coca's Thoughts

Ohhhhh snappppppp. I'll do a mass release later on tonight so you guys don't have to be in suspense every few hours.