Fu Zhiyu didn’t know what others thought, but he found that when he didn’t like Xie Ke, his romantic life was very vigorous.
Needless to say, the six concubines in his residence were extremely obedient and always ready to please him. The steward also told Fu Zhiyu that they said behind his back that their master was very good to serve and that they were now much better off than before and wished to stay here forever.
Like Lu Jian, they were all people with difficult fates. After all, since they had met each other, he could help a little bit. Fu Zhiyu had given them some silver and even invited a teacher to come to the mansion. It was always good for people to study, at least to keep them from being stuck in the harem. When he left, they wouldn’t be reduced to the same situation as before.
Outside, there was Princess Miaotang. The girl’s heart was full of courage, and she was also very bold in this matter, not hiding her affection at all.
It was not that no one liked Fu Zhiyu in his previous life, but he had a clear goal at that time. When he met others, he refused, and he would never involve people when there was no hope for them.
But he was different now. Although he directly told Emperor Qingyuan that he didn’t want to marry and he also euphemistically expressed his rejection to the young girl, Emperor Qingyuan always felt that young people would get along well, and he wouldn’t dispel the idea of political marriage just because Fu Zhiyu said he didn’t like it. Lin Miaotang was even more stubborn and didn’t seem to plan to give up.
Fu Zhiyu really had never dealt with such a young girl before. After all, he was a man who had lived a lifetime. He felt that his mind was too heavy, and he and this young girl were like people from different worlds. He had never considered the possibility of them being together, and he was a bit afraid that he would hurt an innocent person, so he had to do his best to avoid her.
After the civil and military competitions, the dynamic program wasn’t over, and the autumn hunt followed.
Fu Zhiyu was forced by Emperor Qingyuan to cultivate his feelings with Lin Miaotang. He felt very helpless. He had already begun to seriously consider whether to pretend to be sick again, or simply to create a reputation for himself of someone who wouldn’t live long. Anyway, he didn’t care what rumours spread about him now.
Lin Miaotang was very excited, but Fu Zhiyu pretended that he was in bad health and couldn’t bear the autumn wind and cold, so he hid in the tent and didn’t go out. Then Lin Miaotang deliberately came to visit him.
“Don’t worry, don’t worry.” She looked at Fu Zhiyu’s face, reassuring and a little shy, “Have a good rest here. I have also learned archery from the master in the palace, and I have shot a big deer at home. When I go out today, I will shoot some turtledoves to stew them in soup to nourish your body.”
Fu Zhiyu smiled distantly and said, looking weak: “No need to bother, Princess, this wang has an old problem, ahem. My health has always been bad, I’m sick and disaster-prone. I’m no good.”
He said this with the intention of making Lin Miaotang deeply understand that he had a bad temper and was not in good health. Since he was really sick and might not live long, he was really not a good match. But when she heard it, she looked distressed.
“It’s okay, I’m in good health. When I was a child, the Grand Master counted my horoscope and said that I was a natural blessing star. Really, I have never been sick since I was a child.” She was a little ashamed when she said this, and her voice was a little lower. “When I… get married, I will give you half of my blessing, so you won’t get sick often.”
Fu Zhiyu was taken aback and couldn’t answer. Lin Miaotang seemed to feel that it was too bold for an unmarried young lady to say such things, and the more she thought about it, the more embarrassed she felt, so she turned and ran away.
What a kind young girl.
Fu Zhiyu sighed, knocked himself on the head, and said to himself: “With so many good people in this world, why did I have a crush on Xie Ke in my previous life? It’s really…”
It was probably the persistent blindness caused by the temporary life-saving grace. Fortunately, he could see clearly now.
Fu Zhiyu also brought Mingdao. This hunting ground was very large and Yuan Mingdao happened to have nothing to do recently. He had been staying in the residence to practise martial arts but he had no chance to use his skills. Fu Zhiyu gave him the token of Wang Zhao, asked him to wear protective armour and told him to be careful when he went out to play.
“I’ll hunt a fox for the Master and come back. It can be made into a shawl for when it’s cold.” Yuan Mingdao moved his joints, not forgetting to take care of Fu Zhiyu before leaving. “Master, have a good rest in the camp, I will be back in a while.”
“It’s okay, there are guards outside. I told them that I am not feeling well and about to fall asleep, so I won’t see anyone,” Fu Zhiyu stroked Mingdao’s head. “This place is heavily guarded, nothing will happen. Don’t go too far either, come back quickly.”
It just so happened that Xie Ke wasn’t there either. He was ordered by the emperor to accompany him during the hunt. According to Emperor Qingyuan’s habit, he wouldn’t come back until the evening, and Fu Zhiyu was really going to get some peace and quiet.
The people who came here to hunt were all motivated to come back with more prey, and only Fu Zhiyu was so apathetic that he really didn’t go out of the tent for a whole day.
The air in the mountains was good. He originally said that he wasn’t well and used the need to rest as an excuse. As a result, he fell asleep while lying on a couch reading a book. This sleep lasted until the evening. Fu Zhiyu was awakened when he heard the sound of cheering outside.
Someone had hunted a big wild boar, slaughtered it on the spot and now it was being roasted for eating. Emperor Qingyuan and his party also came back, with a lot of prey. It was lively outside, and Fu Zhiyu couldn’t sleep anymore. After a while, a young eunuch came to deliver a message, saying that Wang Zhao would be invited to the table to eat something to warm his stomach.
The mountains were not like the capital and the hunting environment wasn’t as refined. The place to sit was a layer of mats and carpets on the ground, with a bit more exquisite cushions placed over them. Even the seat of Emperor Qingyuan was nothing more than an extra layer of soft fur. Basically, they sat on the ground and also had no bowls, just taking large washed leaves to eat the meat from them.
But all the generals were present, and they didn’t think there was anything wrong with that. Emperor Qingyuan also thought it was good, and he seemed to be more casual and happy than usual.
Fu Zhiyu sat by the campfire and lowered his head to eat a few slices of venison. The freshly roasted venison was extremely tender and delicious, but he was a little absent-minded.
Where did Mingdao go?
He shouldn’t have followed the big group, but now it was late, he should have been back by now.
Fu Zhiyu guessed that he was probably called by Emperor Qingyuan when Mingdao came back, so they just missed each other. Now it was time for the various hunting teams to compare their prey and roast it on the spot. The whole place was in a mess. Mingdao should be found in a while, right?
The reason why he didn’t immediately worry about Mingdao’s safety was that Mingdao’s strength was enough to deal with most people here, and he had Fu Zhiyu’s token on him, so no one should deliberately provoke him. Second, this was the imperial hunting ground. Many places were guarded by soldiers, and the chance of an accident was very small.
He was thinking of Yuan Mingdao absent-mindedly, while someone was looking at his profile in the light of the fire from the other side of the campfire.
Wang Zhao had just woken up from a nap and he hadn’t participated in hunting. He wore a loose white robe, which glowed in the light of the campfire. He sat quietly on the cushion, surrounded by the generals who talked and laughed loudly, drinking and eating meat. He was like a rabbit who strayed into a pack of wolves by mistake.
Fu Yanran took a bite of meat in silence. Fu Yanxi, who was a little embarrassed, sat beside him.
“I didn’t hunt anything…” Fu Yanxi complained sadly and looked at his hand. There were a few small scratches on it. “I don’t know martial arts. This is the hand to hold the brush. I don’t know what Father Emperor wants me to do, everyone has their own specialisation.”
Fu Yanran didn’t reply to him. Fu Yanxi glanced at him suspiciously, and then followed his gaze.
“Ah, you are looking at Ninth Brother,” Fu Yanxi also stared at Fu Zhiyu for a while, and then said with emotion, “Ninth Brother is so beautiful. Look, there are so many princesses from the four countries, but none of them is as good-looking as our Ninth Brother.”
“En,” Fu Yanran nodded, agreeing with him, and after a while, he murmured, “Apart from the good looks…”
The next words were almost inaudible.
“What are you talking about?” Fu Yanxi asked.
“Nothing.” Fu Yanran said, “I just think that I don’t know who can get such a good-looking person as Ninth Brother in the future.”
“Ah? Isn’t it Princess Miaotang of Jing? I have heard that when the gathering of four countries is over, they will be married.”
Fu Yanran finally withdrew his eyes from Fu Zhiyu and glanced at Fu Yanxi with a complicated expression.
“Even if he remains pure like this forever, it is also a blessing,” he murmured. “Sure enough, only those of us who are heavy-minded have to live hard.”
Fu Yanxi really didn’t understand. He blinked and looked at the Ninth Brother, and then at Fu Yanran with a confused expression on his face.
Although he was two years older than Fu Yanran, he felt that Fu Yanran was like his elder brother recently, and sometimes he didn’t understand what Fu Yanran said.
On the other side, Fu Zhiyu was already waiting impatiently. He looked around for a long time but didn’t see Yuan Mingdao’s figure.
It was completely dark now, with no sunlight at all. As soon as it was dark in the woods, it looked terrifying, and no one could know what danger was hidden inside.
Even if he had just missed Mingdao when he left the tent, it had already been so long that even if Mingdao couldn’t guess that he was called away by the emperor, the guards by the tent should have found him. He was sitting in the middle, so even if there were many people here, it wouldn’t be difficult to find him.
Fu Zhiyu couldn’t sit still when he thought of this and stood up all of a sudden.
At this very moment, he heard the questioning voice of the Lord of Jing. He seemed to be talking to the attendant next to him and seemed to be quite anxious, not lowering his voice
“Where did the princess go? Didn’t I tell you to keep an eye on her? She is a girl, if something really happens to her here, I will have your head!”
Was Lin Miaotang unexpectedly absent too?
As the Princess of Jing, she must have followed a large group, with at least four guards arranged around her.
As soon as Fu Zhiyu asked, he learned that although Lin Miaotang had been following a large group, when she chased the prey, she ran off somewhere. After a while, everyone was separated and naturally divided into small groups. The scene was chaotic. There were so many people and no one noticed someone missing for a while. Now everyone was back. After looking carefully, it was found that she was gone.
Mingdao didn’t come back either. Fu Zhiyu didn’t care if this was a coincidence or not. For the first time since he was reborn, his mood fluctuated so violently that his whole face darkened.
“Lord, take your men and prepare to go into the mountains to search,” he said. “I will now go and ask His Majesty to issue a decree to find them immediately.”