Fu Rou opened her eyes. The candlelight illuminated a tall figure standing in front of her bed.
“Your Highness.” She wanted to get up but Prince Zhou pressed down on her shoulder. “Lie down. Imperial Physician He said that you were extremely upset and have to rest.”
“Shu’er told you.” Fu Rou still wanted to sit up. “It is no big deal.”
Prince Zhou grabbed her hand and his gaze was as gentle as water. “I remember the time when you were very ill and I took care of you the entire time. I was happier than anyone when I saw you slowly recover as the days passed.”
Fu Rou was uncomfortable. “Your Highness, I have made myself clear.”
Prince Zhou only cared about himself. “I want you to become more ill. I want you to be so ill so that you cannot interfere with the things going on in the palace. I wish that you could temporarily fall asleep like Imperial Father. When you wake up, everything will be over and the days that greet you would be the clear days after the storm. I will also always be waiting for you.”
Fu Rou pulled her hand back sharply. “You are deceiving yourself! If it is supposed to be yours, it will be yours. No one needs to fall ill or die for it and you will still get it. If not, it is deceiving! It is a lie! Concubine Yan captured Sheng Chuling and beat Zhenzhu to death. Because of that, Princess Xinnan committed suicide. Do you know that?”
Prince Zhou spoke solemnly, “I know.”
Fu Rou asked again, “She pretended to have captured my family and forced me to take poison to commit suicide. Did you know that?”
Prince Zhou froze. “That cannot be! Mother has promised me that she will not take your life!”
Fu Rou took out the poison bottle. “This was left behind by Yu He. I will not lie to you.”
Prince Zhou took the medicine bottle and turned it over.
“Concubine Yan is your mother and you are filial to her. But is she really telling you the truth about everything?” From what she saw, Prince Zhou was oblivious about a lot of things. “I am just a female official and my life is not worth a mention. Your Highness can choose not to believe what I just said. But I want to ask you, if Concubine Yan has done something to the Emperor, what would be your choice?”
“Mother treats Imperial Father…” Prince Zhou denied fervently, “It is impossible! Although my mother will do extreme things for my future, she is deeply in love with Imperial Father and will definitely not…”
Fu Rou cut him off, “The Emperor’s illness suddenly activated. Following that, Concubine Yan sealed off Ganlou Palace and did not allow Imperial Physician He, who has always been treating the Emperor, to enter. She appointed two Imperial Physicians, Imperial Physician Zhang and Imperial Physician Yang to treat him. Have you never been suspicious about this?”
“When Imperial Father fell ill, Mother needed to control the situation and could only adapt.” Prince Zhou resigned himself to being impartial. “I am not a fool. This cannot be evidence to determine that Mother has done anything to Imperial Father.”
“When His Majesty fell ill, the first thing should be to treat his illness. Why is there a need to change imperial physicians to control the situation?” Fu Rou took out a prescription and handed it over to Prince Zhou. “This was given by Imperial Physician He for His Majesty. He said his medicine is more useful than the ones prescribed by Imperial Physician Zhang and Imperial Physician Yang. Imperial Physician He understands the Emperor’s health best. I trust him.”
Prince Zhou was actually feeling anxious. “You are forcing me to cooperate with you and feed Imperial Father this unknown medicine?”
“Do you really understand Imperial Physician Zhang and Imperial Physician Yang’s medicine?” Fu Rou felt like Prince Zhou was trying to avoid reality. “Moreover, you are in control of the situation now. Who has the ability to force you? There is no point of me holding this prescription. Even if I make it, I can’t give it to the Emperor. Your Highness has it now. As for what to do with it, it is entirely up to you.”
Fu Rou placed the prescription in Prince Zhou’s hands. Prince Zhou closed his fingers over her hands as well as the prescription.
Fu Rou pulled her hands away. “Your Highness should return.”
Prince Zhou's desire to speak was once again stopped by her. In the end, he left without saying anything.
Tonight, he would kill Sheng Chumu. He was not afraid of killing and had no pity for Sheng Chumu. But if he saw Fu Rou upset, he would feel more pain than her. However, he wanted to be selfish for once. Once he obtained the world, how could he not get the lady he loved? Like what his mother said, they had tolerated for so long. There was no need to tolerate any longer!
Fu Shui’s villa was built on top of a mountain. On the other side of the platform that Lian Yan’er had met Fu Shui, there was a cliff.
Sheng Chumu walked up alone. He saw that Yan Zifang had brought a group of men and was waiting for him humorlessly in formation.
Yan Zifang tilted his lips. “You are quite punctual.”
“That’s right. An elder brother is like a father. Not being punctual would ruin my reputation.” Sheng Chumu had a glib tongue. At the same time, he took out a scroll. “I have what you want. I have written down Prince Qin’s location and the way to secretly contact him. It took me two entire days without sleep.”
Yan Zifang could not be bothered with his smooth words. “Hand it over.”
“Do I look like a fool? If Chuling does not appear in front of me, why would I hand this over to you? I have no patience, if you drag on-” Sheng Chumu shifted the firestick nearer to the scroll. “We shall just cancel this deal. After all, my reputation has long been bad.”
Yan Zifang was impatient. “Bring Sheng Chuling out.”
All of Sheng Chuling’s limbs were bound as he was pushed out by someone. “Elder Brother, this is a trap! Don’t try to save me and leave!”
“What’s the point in acting brave now? If you are capable, don’t let them catch you.” Sheng Chumu waved his hand. “Shut up.”
Sheng Chuling immediately shut his mouth. He could offend anyone but he could not offend his elder brother.
“Yan Zifang, let him go first.” Seeing Yan Zifang was about to speak, Sheng Chumu cut him off. “You brought so many people and there are only two of us. Don’t be a coward.”
Yan Zifang had always been proud. He could not stand being looked down by Sheng Chumu. Once he made arrangements, he agreed to release Sheng Chuling.
Sheng Chuling walked to the middle of both of them and Sheng Chumu automatically threw the scroll over. As soon as Yan Zifang opened the scroll, Sheng Chumu threw the firestick he was holding as well.
Although it was obvious that Sheng Chumu had missed, the scroll suddenly caught on fire. Yan Zifang realised that there were traces of fire powder on the scroll and quickly threw it away. He watched it burn to ashes. At the same time, he heard a loud sound behind him. He turned back to look and had yet to figure out what was going on when he saw Sheng Chumu pull Sheng Chuling and rush to the side of the cliff.
“Grab the rope. Go!” Sheng Chumu shouted.
Yan Zifang had a sudden realisation and grabbed a firestick from his subordinate and threw it forward. The light from the fire clearly illuminated a line suspended in midair. Sheng Chumu had made preparations. A steel arrow had been shot from the opposite mountain and formed a link with the rope.
Yan Zifang shouted, “Catch them!”
Sheng Chumu stayed behind and fought with Yan Zifang’s troops that surrounded him. Sheng Chuling was being brought away by the rope and turned back. “Elder Brother, let’s go!”
Sheng Chumu finally managed to get Yan Zifang’s men to retreat slightly. He turned back to grab the rope. Unexpectedly, an arrow shot and pierced his back. Because of the sudden pain, he missed the rope and fell down the cliff.
“Elder Brother--” Sheng Chuling was horrified but he was moving further and further away. He was slowly engulfed in darkness.
Fu Shui held onto a bow and walked out of the darkness. He stood shoulder to shoulder with Yan Zifang. They both gazed out to the bottomless abyss.
Sheng Chuling’s miserable cry echoed for a long time.
Prince Qin and Xiao Lu were sitting at the same table. Their heads were down as they tore at their food. They played for the entire morning, looking for new things and were starving.
“Eat slowly.” A pair of chopsticks picked up a huge amount of meat and placed it in Prince Qin’s bowl. Madam Sheng was smiling. “I personally marinated this dried meat. Chujian really likes…” She suddenly stopped talking. She then raised her spirits. The dining table was also vibrant with children around.
Seeing the way the two of them ate, Madam Sheng recalled when Chumu and his brothers were still young. At that time, all four children sat around the huge table. Every meal was like a war and caused her to have headaches. However, now as she thought back, she felt like that was the happiest time. Her eldest daughter and her youngest son were gone. A parent sending off their children. Although she was not going to cry now, her heart hurt.
Prince Qin suddenly placed his chopsticks down.
“Your Highness, why aren’t you eating?” Madam Sheng was concerned.
“Is Sister Xinnan...really dead?” Although Duke Lu Residence looked peaceful, they were actually keeping a tight watch on the palace. News spread to them very fast. Prince Qin was young but he was sensitive.
Madam Sheng’s eyes were kind as she kept quiet.
Prince Qin believed that she was silently agreeing and was upset. He changed the topic, “Does Imperial Father not want me anymore?”
Fu Rou did not want Prince Qin to worry so she did not tell him the details. She only said that the Emperor was ill and Prince Zhou was in control. He should stay in Duke Lu Residence for a few days. When the situation in the palace was clear, she would fetch him back to the palace.
Madam Sheng did not know how to explain that at this very moment, the palace was full of traps and everyone was in danger.
“The Emperor dotes on you the most. Court Lady Fu said that while the Emperor is sick, we should stay at Duke Lu Residence. Your Highness just has to pray for the Emperor every day. The Emperor will then recover and call you back.” Xiao Lu was candid and Prince Qin cheered up.
All of a sudden, the housekeeper rushed in frantically. He said that the imperial guards had arrived at Duke Lu Residence.
“Why are you panicking!” Madam Sheng slammed the table and stood up, a heroic look on her face. Her gaze was calm and confident. “Xiao Lu, bring Prince Qin to hide at the place I showed you before.” She was prepared for this day to come!
Xiao Lu pulled Prince Qin away.
Madam Sheng instructed the housekeeper, “Go and ask everyone to gather at the main hall!”
The housekeeper left. Madam Sheng returned to her room, she had to prepare.Previous Chapter Next Chapter