Fuzhu’s Ballad Chapter 54

Chapter 54 Contradictory

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Although it was still summer, there was already a hint of autumn in the morning air in Tongye. Lan Dan washed her hair and planned to sit on the porch to dry it quickly, but she fell asleep leaning against a pillar. When she was gently awakened by someone, she felt a chill all over her body and shrank her shoulders, worried that she might catch a cold.

“If you’re sleepy, why don’t you go to your room and rest?” Su Yi Ming crouched beside her, his face full of concern. “These past few days you’ve been exhausted, and if you get sick again it’ll only make things harder for Brother Rui.”

Lan Dan smiled and shook her head at him, but then she felt a pain in her neck and had to use her hand to support her shoulder while she tried to relax the tense muscles in her back. Because of the Empress Dowager’s death, Shentu Rui was already upset and his fever had recurred. Although Ge Chun said it was good to release the pent-up emotions, it would still affect the healing of his wounds. She had been taking extra care of him these past few days, sleeping only one or two hours a day. Only yesterday night, when Shentu Rui’s fever finally subsided, did she have the energy to take a quick shower.

“In a little while…” Su Yi Ming smiled strangely and scratched the back of his head like a child. “Lan Cheng wants to come and see Brother Rui.”

Lan Dan glanced at him with displeasure, feeling that he was being unreasonable. She never stopped Lan Cheng from visiting, so why did he need to tell her about it as if she had a small-mindedness? “Are you telling me to avoid her?” she asked grumpily.

Su Yi Ming scratched his head again and explained, “These past few days, Brother Rui has been feverish and confused, and Divine Physician Ge doesn’t allow anyone else to visit. So Lan Cheng couldn’t come either. They have some things…” His eyes darted quickly to Lan Dan’s face, looking a little sly. “That they want to say to each other privately.”

Lan Dan pursed her lips and hummed silently. She knew that whatever Lan Cheng wanted to say, she didn’t want her to hear it. After all, she had once regarded Shentu Rui as her sweetheart. To be fair, if she were Lan Cheng and the man she wanted to marry became her own brother, it would be very embarrassing. She would definitely not want a third person present when they met and talked. It seemed that Lan Cheng and Su Yi Ming had made good progress in these days. General Su even came to be their vanguard and clear the way for her.

Su Yi Ming felt guilty under her gaze and chuckled foolishly, “I heard from Master Ge that we are going to collect herbs today. I will accompany you. Anyway, Brother Rui is getting better and you should go out and relax.”

Lan Dan raised an eyebrow and acted tough, “If you say that, then I won’t go! I want to stay here with Shentu Rui.”

Su Yi Ming helplessly surrendered, “Fine, fine, you go with me, go with me, alright?”

That was more like it. She had learned to take advantage of people like Shentu Rui. Lan Dan smiled, and Su Yi Ming followed suit, jokingly saying, “The city is still chaotic outside, I need Miss Fu Zhu’s protection.”

It had been so long since she had left the General’s mansion, and as soon as they stepped out of the gate, Lan Dan was horrified. The small city, which was originally simple and neat, was burned into a mess, with broken walls and ruins everywhere. The scene was miserable. The civilians in the city had all been sent to Jixian to avoid the war, and the streets were empty, with only groups of patrolling soldiers walking by. Because of the silence, the sound of footsteps and armor echoed in the streets and alleys filled with burnt walls, making it even more desolate. The spreading fire night suddenly came back to Lan Dan’s mind, and she couldn’t help but shiver. She thought of those things, those people… she knew thatFifth Brother had been killed and beheaded that night, and his head was sent to Beimo’s army camp. Beimo’s army lost its reason for attack, and retreated back to the border of Beimo, but there had been no action for so many days.

What about Zi Fu and the others… After Lan Huang’s death, how would Shentu Rui deal with them? She glanced at Su Yi Ming who was chatting with Ge Chun and wanted to ask him, but felt embarrassed. After all, Zi Fu was Shentu Rui’s concubine, and it would be too direct to ask.

Tongye was surrounded by mountains, and in the middle of summer, it was the time when medicinal herbs were abundant. Ge Chun forced Lan Dan to memorize several common herbs, saying that she would often boil them for Shentu Rui to drink in the future. Lan Dan was a little tired, but seeing Ge Chun’s stern face, she didn’t dare to complain. Young General Su was a carefree young man. Even in this situation, he still picked a lot of wild fruits, ate while walking, and laughed. When Ge Chun scolded him and told him to stop giving the fruits to Lan Dan, he just moved away to a distance and climbed up and down happily. Lan Dan couldn’t help but feel annoyed, but she was really here to accompany him to relax!

It was past noon when they returned to the city. Lan Dan was exhausted and hungry, and didn’t even have the energy to speak.

In front of the gate of Shentu Rui’s chamber, there was a small stove for boiling medicine, and a young soldier was specially assigned to tend to the fire, which was burning day and night. When Lan Dan entered the courtyard, she didn’t see the soldier, but she saw Zi Fu sitting on a small stool, earnestly tending to the fire.

She immediately became jealous, regretting thinking of someone she shouldn’t have. Even though she didn’t mention his name, just the thought of him brought him to her mind.

Zi Fu saw them come back, but her gaze didn’t linger on Lan Dan. She just turned back and softly said to someone in the room, “Eldest Princess, they’re back.”l

Ge Chun and Su Yi Ming clearly didn’t want to get involved in the scheming between the women. They avoided looking at them and quickly moved to the side. Su Yi Ming went to find someone to bring them food, as if these women didn’t exist.

As she walked out of the room, the moment when it went from dim to clear, it made Lan Dan’s heart tremble violently— it was too similar, Lan Cheng’s high head and cold gaze were too much like Lan Huang.

She stopped at the door, looked down at Lan Dan, and although there was no expression on her face, Lan Dan felt her arrogance.

Zi Fu got up, respectfully took the bowl and chopsticks from her, and served the Princess just as she served her former mistress. She didn’t feel ashamed or embarrassed. Only by relying on Lan Cheng could she stay by Shentu Rui’s side. She didn’t understand why Lan Cheng was helping her, perhaps it was simply out of pure jealousy, not wanting Lan Dan to be too comfortable and complacent.

“He has already eaten. You don’t need to serve him. You may leave.” Lan Cheng rebuked Lan Dan in the manner of dismissing a servant.

Lan Dan was stunned. She didn’t expect Lan Cheng to treat her with such an attitude. When she had previously let Su Yi Ming come to send her away, it seemed that she had some concerns for her. Why did she become so rude face to face?     

Lan Dan’s face darkened. She stepped forward to go into the room.

Lan Cheng didn’t stop her, just sneered and said lightly, “What’s wrong? Not convinced? I am the current Eldest Princess, and this is the Side Consort of the former Prince of Yan,” she pointed to Zi Fu, “Once Brother Rui ascends the throne, she will be the Empress. May I ask, who are you?”

Lan Dan pretended not to care and continued to walk into the room. As they brushed past each other, Lan Cheng laughed and said softly, “You’re just a cheap woman who let him down, almost costing him his life. Are you sure… he still feels the same way about you?”

Lan Dan had already stepped into the room, but these words were like knives, stabbing her heart and causing it to bleed. She gritted her teeth. She was sure! She didn’t want to listen to Lan Cheng’s nonsense. Although it would take time for Shentu Rui to calm down, his heart must still be the same!

The room was very cool, and the small window on the side was open. The gentle breeze swayed the bed curtains slightly, and Shentu Rui was half-sitting on the bed, quietly reading a book.

Lan Dan pursed her lips, with a heavy and somewhat clumsy gait, walked to the bed and sat heavily on a stool.

Shentu Rui’s eyes remained on the book, ignoring her.

Lan Dan swallowed hard, there was nothing that couldn’t be said at this point. She leaned on the edge of the bed with both hands and asked, “What are you going to do with Zi Fu?”

Shentu Rui struggled to turn a page in the book, not looking at her or answering.

Lan Dan’s grievances suddenly erupted. She wasn’t afraid of Shentu Rui getting angry or making things difficult for her, but she was afraid of his indifference. For several days, he had been like this! 

Although he had a high fever, he remained conscious, no longer as real and childish as he was when he was unconscious, obediently taking his medicine and eating, silent and cold towards her. The person who had just awakened and wanted to treat her external injuries with the help of Ge Chun and obediently took his medicine, had disappeared in the blink of an eye.

“Let her go, the farther the better…” Tears streamed down Lan Dan’s face. She was truly heartbroken and couldn’t help but plead with him, “I don’t want to see her again. I don’t want her to come near you, just let her go…”

Suddenly, Shentu Rui threw down his book and lay with his back facing her.

Lan Dan was stunned, her words stuck in her throat. Did he find her annoying? Did he not want to hear about Zi Fu? Tears stubbornly poured out, “Shentu Rui…” Her voice choked, they had quarreled many times before and she thought she could withstand his anger, but just the simple act of him turning his back on her could hurt her so much.

Zi Fu carefully brought in the medicine, and Lan Dan quickly wiped away the tears from her face. Facing Zi Fu at this moment made her feel especially embarrassed.

“Give it to me.” Lan Dan reached out to Zi Fu, ready to take the bowl of medicine.     

However, Zi Fu seemed to have not heard her and walked to the bedside without any hesitation. He sat down and softly said, “Take your medicine.”

Stunned, Lan Dan slowly lowered her outstretched hand. She stared straight at Zi Fu. This was something she had been doing for days, but she didn’t expect Zi Fu to do it so well and smoothly on her first day.

Shentu Rui turned calmly and waited for Zi Fu to hand him the medicine. Zi Fu scooped a spoonful and tasted it before handing the bowl to him. Shentu Rui drank it all in one go before lying back down.

Lan Dan’s position was somewhat obstructive. Zi Fu had to change direction slightly to avoid her when handing over the medicine, but they still had such a natural and tacit understanding that made her feel so redundant. Zi Fu knew how to advance and retreat, so he took the medicine bowl back without saying anything and quietly left.

Lan Dan sat stiffly on the stool for a while before slowly standing up to close the window. As she grabbed the window frame, her heart suddenly felt like it was being cut by a knife— she had actually wanted to run away to a place where she couldn’t see Zi Fu or Shentu Rui, but she remembered the words that the Empress Dowager had entrusted to her. Was she not afraid of dying for him, but afraid of being sad?

She closed the window because she was afraid of being sad. She underestimated how much being sad could hurt. When Shentu Rui got angry at her before, he forgave her easily because he liked her. She never thought about how scary it would be if he really got angry.

At the moment when Zi Fu tasted the medicine, she really doubted that many things were not necessary to be done by her, and Shentu Rui did not care who that person was.

The way Lan Cheng treated her suddenly changed. Did Shentu Rui say something to her? Was that why Lan Cheng no longer cared about her? Was that why Lan Cheng arrogantly questioned her if she was sure that his heart was the same as before?    

The power gap between Shentu Rui and her always existed. She had always ignored it. He seemed to be able to crush her confidence with just a raise of his eyebrows.

If it weren’t for the Empress Dowager’s medicine, and if it wasn’t for his attitude towards her when he just woke up, she would have collapsed and fallen apart at the very beginning.

“Shentu Rui…” She stood by the window, leaning against the wall, and asked him softly, “Are you really that angry? I’m back now…” At that time, she knew that coming back might mean certain death, but she didn’t hesitate to run to him. She was wrong and she knew it, but he should give her a chance to make it right, instead of immediately using such powerful means that she couldn’t stand.

Shentu Rui still didn’t move or speak, as if she didn’t exist.

Ignoring her was the cruelest punishment for her, and she stood there blankly, not knowing what to do.

Lan Dan hung her head and walked out of the room slowly. It seemed that her problem was still so serious, and she still saw things so simply and people so naively. How could she forget how decisive Shentu Rui’s personality was? Once Lan Huang crossed his bottom line, he would be indifferent to her fate.

She was too blindly confident because of what Sun Shi Xiang said.

The courtyard was empty, everyone was gone… Lan Dan sat on the steps, staring blankly at the small stove that had been put out, which Zi Fu had just used.

Lan Dan couldn’t eat, and after lying down for a nap, she never got up again. She caught a cold after sleeping with wet hair in the wind the night before, and coupled with the exhaustion of the past few days, the sickness hit her all at once.

She lay in bed for two days. Treating her minor cold was nothing to Ge Chun, but over the past few days, her emotions had been focused on avoidance. She was afraid to see Shentu Rui, or more precisely, afraid to see Shentu Rui and Zi Fu together, and she also disliked Lan Cheng. When she finally felt that she had gathered enough strength to withstand Shentu Rui’s anger again, she pushed open his door, only to find an empty room.

She ran to the courtyard in a panic, searched around, and even ran outside… only to realize that Shentu Rui, Zi Fu, and Lan Cheng were all gone, and even Ge Chun was not there.

When she saw Su Yi Ming coming from afar, Lan Dan felt like she had seen a savior. She ran over, grabbed his arm, and stared at him with big eyes, asking in a sharp voice, “Where are they? Where are they?”

Su Yi Ming wrinkled his nose, feeling a little uneasy, but he still had to say it, “They’ve all gone back to the capital. Brother Rui is preparing for his coronation ceremony.”

Lan Dan’s face instantly turned white. They had returned to the capital? They all left, leaving her behind?

His coronation was the most important thing in his life. Even if she was still angry with him and had not forgiven her, he should not have excluded her at such a time.

She shook off Su Yi Ming’s hand and took a step, but he pulled her back.

“They’ve been gone for two days, you can’t catch up to them,” Su Yi Ming looked at her with pity. He raised his hand, hesitated for a moment, and finally patted her back to comfort her. “It’s alright…don’t worry, Brother Rui will be back soon. You know, what he wants to do most is to attack Beimo.”

Her back was still stiff, her expression was gone, she just stood there, listening to him speak in a daze.

“At the latest, in a month…” Su Yi Ming said with some guilty conscience, “he will be back.”

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1 thought on “Fuzhu’s Ballad Chapter 54”

  1. This is so painful to read, I feel bad for both Lan Dan and Shentu Rui. Usually I’m the type to hate a weak character like Lan Dan but the author really made her a wonderfully flawed character and the story itself is great. Idk how else to describe it.
    Thank you so much for translating.


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