Fuzhu’s Ballad Chapter 43

CHAPTER 43 Powerless to break free

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As soon as Shentu Rui’s carriage entered the gate of the Prince of Yan’s mansion, Lan Cheng’s carriage followed closely behind. He had no choice but to get out of the carriage in the front yard.

Lan Dan hesitated in the carriage. There shouldn’t have been a third person present in this scene. Lan Cheng’s arrival was already a desperate move to support Shentu Rui. Any bystander, especially herself, watching this hopeless struggle, would be too cruel.

Lan Cheng got out of the carriage and stood stiffly in the courtyard, staring at Shentu Rui without saying a word, until Sun Shi Xiang ordered the closure of the mansion gate and dispersed everyone. Only then did she speak.

“Why?” she sharply questioned Shentu Rui.

Although Lan Dan had already quickened her pace, she had only just reached the gate when Lan Cheng spoke. The cry-like question poured into her ears, and her heart was stung fiercely.

She knew that the moment of endurance had reached its limit for Lan Cheng. If it were her, she might not have been able to wait until the gate was closed and everyone had dispersed. She had also experienced that raging resentment and profound sorrow before— when the executioner’s sword fell, and the city was empty. If she had seen Shen Tu Cheng, she would only ask him, “Why?”

Shentu Rui remained calm. Although he had drunk a lot of alcohol, there was not a hint of drunkenness in his tone. He had long anticipated this scene with Lan Cheng, but he didn’t expect her temper to be so impatient that she would chase him from the imperial palace.

“The Empress Dowager should have already told you,” he said flatly, almost coldly.

“Yes! She told me that you absolutely cannot!” Lan Cheng shouted without restraint.

Lan Dan had already hurried past the Chuihua Gate, but saw Zi Fu rushing over in a hurry. She saw Lan Dan but ignored her and went straight to the front yard. Obviously, she wanted to be the cruel bystander. Lan Dan had to grab her forcefully. Even though there was a wall between them, they could still communicate. Lan Dan couldn’t speak, so she could only shake her head repeatedly at Zi Fu with a furrowed brow. Zi Fu sneered contemptuously, shook off Lan Dan’s grip, and then Lan Dan got angry and grabbed her arm even harder, dragging her back.

“Then what’s the problem?” Shentu Rui’s voice drifted over, and Zi Fu sensed his attitude. She didn’t rush to show herself, and stopped struggling with Lan Dan, instead listened quietly to the movements in the front yard.

“Yes! None of you have a problem, but you still become relatives with the Su family, making them even more loyal to you. But I have a problem! The person I like is you! The person I want to marry is you! I…”

Shentu Rui clicked his tongue in disgust and interrupted her, “Stop talking nonsense! I am your brother, I can’t marry you.”

“You’re not my brother! You’re the son of Shentu Rong Qing. We’re not blood-related!” Lan Cheng’s sharp and piercing voice grew even louder, making it clear to those inside the wall. “The Emperor is my brother, not you!” She started crying and becoming a bit crazy. “I know you don’t have feelings for me, but you don’t have feelings for Zi Fu either, right? If you can accept her, why can’t it be the same for me?”

Zi Fu sneered, and seeing that she was not moving, Lan Dan let go of her hand.

Lan Cheng in the front yard took a deep breath, trying to control her tears so that she could speak clearly. “I… I only want to be with you day and night… even if it’s just to see you day and night.” She started crying again and her words were cut off.

Shentu Rui sighed softly, “Cheng’er, you are still young, what do you know?” He smiled wryly, “Listen to Big Brother, Su Yi Ming is very good, kind and handsome. He will be a good husband…”

“You are not my brother!” Lan Cheng strongly objected to this term and retorted in a high-pitched voice. “Even if he is good, I won’t marry him! In this life, I will either marry you or not marry at all!”

Shentu Rui could not persuade her and became a bit annoyed. His voice became cold, “Stop being foolish! Whether we have blood ties or not, in the eyes of the world, I am your brother. The Da Yan Dynasty has just been established. The Eldest Princess cannot marry the Prince of Yan. Are you completely shameless?”

Lan Cheng paused for a moment, and this sudden silence in the quiet night made people feel particularly uneasy.

Sure enough, Lan Cheng let out a cold, harsh laugh, “Shameless? Isn’t it true that Lan Huang is dragging her feet and refusing to take her rightful place as the Empress because she was plotting to marry you, his brother-in-law, in an upright manner someday?”

Zi Fu swayed, as if she wanted to rush out, but remained standing in place.

Lan Dan’s heart sank, unsure if it was due to Zi Fu’s actions or Lan Cheng’s words.

To Lan Cheng’s surprise, Shentu Rui did not react with anger as he had expected. He remained indifferent and only chuckled at himself, “Oh? Is that so? What have I done to make her fall in love with me?”

His attitude further infuriated Lan Cheng, who laughed sharply. “You think I don’t know? The person that Lan Huang has liked all along is none other than you. You know it too!”

Shentu Rui laughed again, full of sarcasm, and calmly stated, “Her child belongs to Chong Wen, and she sleeps in the same bed with Shentu Cheng every night.”

“So what?” sneered Lan Cheng in response. “Do you think that the incident where Lan Huang invited you to share a bed with her is a secret that only the heavens and the earth know?”

This time, Shentu Rui fell silent.

Lan Cheng felt a sense of sorrowful satisfaction that she had gained the upper hand. Her attitude became haughty and condescending as she continued, “In fact, the clever plan of using pregnancy to force a marriage was intended to be carried out with you, right? Back then, you were just the Second Young Master of the Duke’s Mansion, unknown and unnoticed. So if not for getting the princess pregnant, Father Emperor would never agree to her marrying you, even if he favored Lan Huang. Unexpectedly, you refused, but how could Lan Huang withstand this shame with her temperament? It’s better to follow the law and calculate Chong Wen. Hahaha, I understand her too well! What grudge does she have against Father Emperor for killing Chong Wen and then seeking refuge with you? Chong Wen means nothing to her! Of course, becoming the Nanue Empress through Chong Wen was also a good way out for her at that time.”

“What exactly do you want to say?” Shentu Rui said indifferently and slowly.

“Marry me, or everyone will suffer a disastrous end.” Lan Cheng said, mimicking his cold tone.

Shentu Rui suddenly burst into laughter. “Fine, go ahead and make trouble. I’ll see how we end up suffering a disastrous end.” He coughed and tried his best to suppress his smile “If you want to inform your Brother Emperor, then forget it. He knows more about this than you do.”

Lan Cheng sneered. “Don’t underestimate me.” She flicked her sleeve. “Prepare the carriage! We’re going back to the palace!”

Shentu Rui called Sun Shixiang and ordered him to make sure Lan Cheng entered the palace before coming back to report.

When Lan Cheng ordered the carriage, Zi Fu turned around coldly. Although Lan Dan didn’t want to appear to be on the same side as her, Shentu Rui would soon arrive in the backyard. Being seen by him would be embarrassing, so she had no choice but to follow Zi Fu quickly back to their room.

Upon entering the courtyard, Lan Dan finally breathed a sigh of relief. She hated being in this kind of situation and would rather have a layer of window paper between her and Shentu Rui. It was embarrassing for all three sisters to be involved with him.

“Don’t get too arrogant.” Zi Fu stood in front of her room and half-turned to her.

Lan Dan was very speechless. When had she been arrogant? What did she have to be proud of?

“Even if the Prince doesn’t like Her Excellence, he will never like you! Regardless, Her Excellencs will successfully be with His Highness, and you will just be a toy to fill his emptiness!”

Originally, Lan Dan wanted to sneer and argue with sharp words. Her mistress might not get what she wanted in the end, and no matter how it ended, Zi Fu would probably not even be considered a plaything. Based on her understanding of Lan Huang, once she obtained absolute power, Zi Fu could become a thorn in her flesh that must be removed for her own benefit. If Shentu Rui controlled everything, there might be a glimmer of hope. However, when it came to the point, Lan Dan couldn’t say it. Did two failures need to argue about who was more of a failure here?

She turned and entered her room. She already knew her pitiful situation, but what about Zi Fu? She probably hadn’t come to her senses yet to say such words.

When Shentu Rui entered, Lan Dan was in front of the mirror removing hairpins from her hair. On the dressing table was a delicate plum-shaped lamp, holding a slender red candle. In the dim light, her figure looked particularly charming. With her hand held high, her sleeve falling to her elbow, a delicate and slender arm was revealed. As her fingers moved, her long hair cascaded down like a waterfall. Shentu Rui sat down next to her and held her wrist, not allowing her to move. In her hand was a coral and gold tassel, hanging a pink coral pendant with a cherry blossom pattern under a glittering gold chain, swaying at her wrist. Her skin looked even whiter against the pink pendant, causing Shentu Rui’s heart to warm up. He leaned in to kiss her.

She didn’t struggle and her pulse didn’t quicken. He immediately noticed and furrowed his brows, looking up at her. The hand gripping her wrist unconsciously tightened.

“It hurts,” she said coldly, turning her head to look at him. They were so close that he stared straight into her eyes, the only familiar feature to him— the eyes of Danyang.

“Are you angry?” He loosened his grip and pulled her arm down. With his other hand, he took the hairpin from her hand and tossed it on the vanity. He then grabbed her other hand and forced her to face him.

They were so close that Lan Dan could no longer meet his gaze. His eyes were the most deceiving because of their clarity, making them appear sincere and captivating. She lowered her head, and her hair fell in front of half of her face, feeling somewhat secure in this small shadow.

“I’m not angry,” she said softly.

“Hmm?” He didn’t believe her and was not satisfied with her lie. He let go of her wrist and instead grabbed her shoulders, lightly shaking her to force her to look up at him. He kissed her lips and lightly bit her as punishment. “Tell me the truth! You heard everything at the Chuihua Gate, didn’t you?”

“I’m not really angry,” she still didn’t look at him, “just a little annoyed.”

“Annoyed?” His mood improved, and although his brow was still furrowed, the corners of his mouth secretly lifted.

“I hate this situation,” she said expressionlessly, “I don’t know if you’ll become my Elder Brother-in-Law or Younger Brother-in-Law in the future.”

Shentu Rui took a deep breath, but it seemed like he couldn’t get it into his chest. He was still so suffocated. How could he forget that her sharp tongue was her specialty? He shouldn’t have asked her the unnecessary question!

He didn’t want to scold her or hit her, so he suddenly let go of her and fiercely knocked over the plum blossom lamp on the dressing table. The lamp stand fell to the ground with a dull sound, and there was immediately a commotion outside the door. Shentu Rui, annoyed, said, “It’s fine! No need to come in!” The commotion outside the door subsided.

Lan Dan was originally held by his shoulders, but when he suddenly let go, she fell to the floor and her elbow hurt from the impact.

“What’s wrong with you?” he asked in a troubled tone. He knew something was wrong, but couldn’t figure out what it was. This was a strange experience for him, leaving him feeling powerless and frustrated. She, of course, didn’t say anything. He didn’t know whether her silence was good or bad. If she didn’t speak, he was anxious; if she did, he got angry. “I don’t even know what’s going on with you! Do I need to explain myself to you? I did it all for you… ” He couldn’t continue, he sounded too pitiful, and he felt pathetic. “I’m too tired,” he said in irritation, as if giving up. “I’ll explain everything to you later. You just need to know, me and them, your Elder Sister, your Little Sister, and also that Zi Fu, do not have that kind of relationship! I don’t want to be your Elder Brother-in-Law! I don’t want to be your Younger Brother-in-Law either!” As he spoke, his anger rose, and he couldn’t look at her anymore. Otherwise, he might really lose control and hit her. If he agreed to be her brother-in-law, his life would be much easier, but he didn’t want that. That was why it was so difficult.

He was about to get up when she suddenly threw herself at him and hugged him tightly. He was caught off guard and was hugged tightly by her.

“I haven’t do anything…” Her tears came out, soaking into his clothes, and soon he could feel the warmth. “I’m just too scared, scared of getting hurt.”

Holding onto him, Lan Dan trembled. Rationally, she knew that she should let him go, let him gradually grow tired of her. But she couldn’t do it! She couldn’t control herself… she just wanted to hold him tightly and not let go!

He relaxed completely and let her hold onto him, but Lan Dan understood that it was not Shentu Rui who was trapped, but herself.

His hands slowly encircled her waist. “I’m scared of hurting you too…” An easy promise was of course easy to make, but he didn’t want to say it. He didn’t want to placate her.

Warmth began from the meeting of their lips, and it was unclear who kissed whom first.

Lan Dan was lost in the heat, but suddenly felt a sense of reckless abandon. She was already in too deep to extricate herself, so she decided to indulge herself, knowing that all her struggles were in vain.

Her response was enthusiastic, and for the first time, she felt like she was the one possessing Shentu Rui, not the other way around.

Shentu Rui looked down at her face. Her hair was stuck to her forehead by sweat, and her cheeks were flushed. Despite the blissful moment, her eyes were filled with sadness that he could not decipher.

He didn’t want her to look at him with that expression, so he leaned down to kiss her eyes, forcing her to close them. She suddenly moaned, perhaps because he had gone too deeply.

The sound drove him mad. He liked to hear her shout his name like this, as if only in these moments she could shout so passionately and provocatively.

“Danyang…” He spent all his energy and leaned down, burdened by his worries and sorrow. He was replaced by an extremely comfortable exhaustion, and he hugged her. “Danyang… can we not separate?”

She gasped for a while before she could speak, her sweet voice somewhat complaining. “…It’s easier to get pregnant if we don’t separate. Don’t leave.”

He was stunned for a moment before bursting into laughter. “You’re so vulgar,” he scolded her.

She also knew that what he said was a sweet nothing, unwilling to show embarrassment, she closed her eyes and pretended to sleep.

Shentu Rui laughed silently and kissed her face. After a while, he said, “Danyang, you are the only one in my heart.”

Lan Dan frowned quickly. Afraid that he would see it, she tried her best to smile.

He bumped her head in dissatisfaction. “What about you?”

“Me too.” She didn’t dare say more, afraid that every word she said would become a knife in her heart in the future. 

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