There was no such thing in his previous life. Yuan Lu saw Yuan Mingdao for the first time practising martial arts in the outer courtyard, punching and shadow-fighting. His hair was cut short and he wore a thin shirt. His figure was obviously male and very athletic. No matter what, he could not be taken for a girl.
In this life, Yuan Lu’s young heart was severely hurt by this “beautiful little sister”. His poor first love ended as soon as it started, and he cried, aggrieved. From time to time, he turned his head to look at Yuan Mingdao. When he got permission, he stretched out his hand and touched Yuan Mingdao’s hard pectoral muscles, and then cried even more severely.
At this time, the adults also walked over from the pavilion, and after everyone saluted Fu Zhiyu according to the rules, they relaxed.
“There are no outsiders here, don’t be afraid. Zhiyu is not a person who adheres to etiquette.” Yuan Jiangxing walked forward. He was a general, stationed at the border for a long time, tall and dark-skinned. He stretched out his hand and patted his daughter on the shoulder, comforting, “Don’t be nervous.”
As an elder sister, Yuan Xi was not as young as Yuan Lu and remembered the past. She smiled amicably at Fu Zhiyu and said, “It’s been a long time since we met.”
Fu Zhiyu also smiled at her, took out a cloth bag from his sleeve, handed it to Yuan Xi, and said, “I brought a gift for Sister Xi. It’s a dagger from the palace. It was left from the previous dynasty. It’s a rare antique. Although it’s impolite to give a girl such a weapon, our family doesn’t care about conventionalities. This dagger cuts iron like mud, is dexterous and lightweight, and is very suitable for you.”
Yuan Xi took a look and fell in love with the blade on the spot. She liked it so much that she couldn’t put it down. She thanked Fu Zhiyu and went aside to try the dagger.
Fu Zhiyu also prepared gifts for others, but Yuan Jiangwen walked up at this time and picked up his son who was wailing like a dog. Yuan Jiangwen was thin, had moustaches, and had a hearty personality. He laughed boldly, greeted Fu Zhiyu and said, “Don’t give Yuan Lu a gift for the time being. With him like this, he won’t listen to a word. Come in and sit down for a while.”
Fu Zhiyu led Yuan Mingdao, who didn’t know what expression he should put on, inside, and greeted his two aunts. Soon after, he saw Old Master Yuan and Old Mrs. Yuan coming over.
“Practised outside with Madam for a while, got all sweaty and comfortable! It’s such a nice day!”
Old Master Yuan laughed out loud as soon as he entered, his face ruddy and full of energy. Fu Zhiyu looked at his face; it was indeed much better than the last time he saw him. It seemed that the pine nut candies he had sent were somewhat effective.
The elder aunt covered her mouth and smiled: “This time I come back, Father and Mother look much better. I’m happy to see it.”
“I think it’s just that if you eat enough and eat more meat, your body will naturally get better.” Old Mrs. Yuan moved her shoulders, sat down, touched the fruit on the table and then educated the room full of children with her own logic, “I will cook by myself later and make a table of dishes. You all eat more! Only by eating more will you be in good health like me.”
At this moment, everyone in the room burst into laughter. Everyone knew the usual practice of Old Mrs. Yuan and began to recall the previous events. The atmosphere was very relaxed, and even the crying Yuan Lu was distracted, following others in eating and laughing.
The two large boxes of pastries that Fu Zhiyu took a detour to buy also came in handy at this time and were shared by everyone while chatting.
The two uncles, Yuan Jiangxing and Yuan Jiangwen, were both talkative. One talked about his experience on the frontier. The small town he guarded was comparatively quiet. It was on the west side of the border, on the border with Jing.
In all fairness, Fu Qingyan was really good at ruling Jilin, and Jing was originally a small country with a weak army. Over the years it had a vague tendency to be more and more submissive and didn’t dare to make trouble at the border.
The place was very peaceful and was where the two countries traded with each other. The people were simple, the emperor was far away, and Yuan Jiangxing lived there like a local monarch. Life was not bad, but he was far away from home and couldn’t return to the capital to see his parents without the emperor’s call.
As for Yuan Jiangwen, who was a merchant travelling all around the world, he was even more interesting. He was also eloquent. When he talked about people in Southern Xinjiang casually eating the lychees that were more expensive than gold in the capital, everyone couldn’t help laughing. Yuan Mingdao also listened attentively, feeling as if he was in an immersive environment.
Although Fu Zhiyu came today to discuss some matters, he preferred to spend time doing these seemingly meaningless things with his family. For him, these were the really important things in life.
After lunch, he said to his two uncles that he had something to talk about with them.
When the two uncles stayed alone with him, they were not as lively as they had been in the morning.
Yuan Jiangwen took his seat, sighed and said, “When I was in Southern Xinjiang, I always thought of Wanyun. When she was young, she read a book and thought that Southern Xinjiang was full of flowers and warm during all four seasons, not as cold as the capital. She dreamed of going there with her family. In fact, Southern Xinjiang is not as good as she thought but…”
He didn’t go on and took out a hairpin from his sleeve, with fine flowers made of pink crystals on it, very beautiful.
“I bought this in Southern Xinjiang. Although it is worthless compared to the things in the palace, it was custom made for her by a handicraft auntie in Southern Xinjiang. She looked at the small portrait of Wanyun that I brought and said that such a beautiful woman needed to wear a beautiful hairpin,” Yuan Jiangwen handed it to Fu Zhiyu and said, “When you return to the palace, bring this to her. I have been thinking that it would be nice if Wanyun were not so beautiful. Maybe she would have had a smoother life.”
Yuan Jiangxing didn’t say anything and just listened; his face didn’t look very good.
Fu Zhiyu knew about his elder uncle beating the emperor and was afraid that he would be upset again and run to beat the emperor once more. He took the hairpin and said, “I also want Mother to come out and meet everyone.”
“Is it possible?!” Yuan Jiangxing became excited when he heard it, stood up with a hoot, and hesitated again, “But she is the Imperial Consort…”
Fu Zhiyu knew that according to the palace rules, the position of Consort Yun only allowed her to leave the palace for one day when mourning her parents.
It was not difficult for her parents to get the opportunity to visit the palace occasionally, but it was almost impossible for the rest of the family. Yuan Jiangxing was about to leave soon after his debriefing. Yuan Jiangwen couldn’t stay for too long because of his business. Although the future ahead of them was long, the past few years were difficult. Fu Zhiyu really couldn’t ignore his mother’s wishes.
“I want to take Mother Consort out of the palace, just for a few hours.”
“The emperor will not agree…” Yuan Jiangxing reacted as soon as he heard these words, and his voice suddenly lowered, “Are you planning to take Sister out of the palace without permission?”
Fu Zhiyu comforted: “Don’t worry, it will be fine. If something happens, I will take the responsibility.”
“We are not worried about this,” the two glanced at each other and calmed down together. “Do we need to do anything?”
“You don’t,” Fu Zhiyu said. “It’s just that even if Mother comes out, she can’t stay for too long. I will send a letter to the family in advance. Be prepared and don’t accept visitors at that time.”
“That’s natural,” Yuan Jiangxing responded, and then looked at Fu Zhiyu in surprise as if he had just realised something, “Wait, Zhiyu, are you… is your brain okay?”
After both of them came back, they quickly learned about what happened at Liuli Palace, and they didn’t dare to mention it in the morning, for fear of poking Fu Zhiyu’s wound. Fu Zhiyu also behaved very quietly, looking really different from before.
Fu Zhiyu smiled and said, “I had no problem in the first place, it was just pretending.”
Speaking of this, he also became serious and said, “I told my uncles about this matter, and it is not only my but also Mother Consort’s intention.”
It took him some time to explain the recent events clearly to the two of them. Naturally, he didn’t say anything about his rebirth. He only said that the palace was really a cannibalistic place. After walking through the Gate of the Ghosts, he found that it was extremely unsuitable for him and his mother consort. He wanted to get out of this predicament, and the sooner the better.
“You are planning to leave,” Yuan Jiangwen said with emotion. “Compared with this idea, coming home for a few hours is nothing.”
After Yuan Jiangxing finished listening, he looked very happy. He stretched out his hand and patted Fu Zhiyu on the shoulder vigorously, saying with a big smile: “It should have been done a long time ago! This is the best news I have heard for a long time.”
It was really not that easy to escape with his mother and Mingdao. It was not difficult to get out of the palace, but the difficulty was how to avoid the aftermath after leaving the palace and protect the Yuan family; otherwise Fu Zhiyu wouldn’t wait until now.
There was no easy way to do it. It was impossible to pretend to be abducted. The emperor would hunt them down to the end. What Fu Zhiyu wanted was to disappear, not to escape.
It was even more impossible to use Dr. Chen to fake death. The death of the Imperial Noble Consort was a major event, and the entire Imperial Hospital would be involved. Death was much harder to fake than illness. Even if you got away with the examination by the Imperial Hospital, the body of the Imperial Consort would be strictly guarded. After the coffin was sealed, it would be carried directly to the imperial mausoleum for burial. There would never be a chance for someone to snatch it. Even though Fu Zhiyu was stronger now, the matter of breaking into the imperial mausoleum was too big a deal. It was impossible.
He was currently alone and didn’t have much power. It was a sure fact that he couldn’t become the emperor. His mother consort was not the kind of nameless person in the palace who could disappear and no one would care about it. The escape was going to be very difficult.
After thinking about it, he only felt he had to wait for a chance to act.
According to Fu Zhiyu’s idea, he wanted to escape while the imperial palace was in chaos, when no one should have time to pay attention to Liuli Palace and it would be much easier to create a corresponding illusion.
Due to the training method of Emperor Qingyuan, in his previous life his transition to the throne was destined to be quite uneventful. About seven or eight years from now, the Crown Prince was so desperate to force his way onto the throne that the whole palace was in chaos, but it took no time at all before he was dislodged by Fu Zhiyu with his troops.
Fu Lingxiao was killed by Yuan Mingdao himself, and the half-moon scimitar penetrated his chest, avenging the Yuan family’s bloodshed.
But this time there was no need to wait for seven or eight years, nor could Fu Zhiyu wait that long. In his previous life, Fu Zhiyu was suppressed and beaten down by the Crown Prince for a long time. Fu Lingxiao basically felt no threat and was naturally willing to wait; it was not until later that he felt some sense of crisis.
But this time Fu Rongye was a threat, and he was far more mature than Fu Zhiyu, who used to be quite ignorant back then. With the tit-for-tat situation between the Crown Prince and the Third Prince, it was naturally predictable that all these things would explode in advance.
No matter how well Emperor Qingyuan took care of himself, he was so busy every day that his body would collapse in the next few years; besides, the Crown Prince couldn’t resist helping send him on his way in the end. Emperor Qingyuan had so many children and consorts, but few of them were sincere to him, looking forward to his early death.
Fu Zhiyu’s decision not to do anything to the emperor was already his last kindness. After all, he was now considered to be protected by Fu Qingyan. But thinking of the sins suffered by his mother before, he would never be able to make himself help this man. He would wait, watch the dynamic, prepare and look for opportunities, then act when he had a chance.
But before all that happened, Fu Zhiyu also wanted to find a way to let his mother get a breath of fresh air. Although it was indeed risky, if you didn’t take a risk for those you cared about, what was the point of being reborn?