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    Duke Ying, Song Pei, was indeed a man of great patience. Song Yingzhen's marriage to the Crown Prince didn't automatically align Duke Ying's household with the prince's faction.

    The Jiang family, by insisting on involvement, would gain no credit for supporting the rising power and might even invite disaster upon themselves.

    Gu Changjin's reasoning was sound, but how could he make such a major decision about divorce without consulting others? He dared to keep the entire Liu Miao Hall in the dark, not revealing a single hint of his plans.

    "Since when did you mention the divorce to Rong Shu, and when did you both settle the legal documents at Obeying Heaven Mansion?" Xu Fu asked.

    "On New Year's Eve, when she came to the study, I brought it up with her," Gu Changjin exhaled slowly, his voice heavy. "Aunt, as you know, I don't have feelings for her. I don't want her near me, and I can't bear to share a bed or a house with her. I've already endured as much as I can."

    The man's expression clearly showed his extreme impatience.

    Xu Fu stared intently at his face.

    It had been a long time since she'd seen him with such an expression, one that seemed ready to erupt into furious flames at any moment.

    When she took him back, he was six years old. Perhaps due to the fire, he had been extremely resistant towards her.

    Xu Fu had put in considerable effort to gain his acceptance and had poured all her energy into nurturing him.

    Yet, despite this, he had still lost his temper twice.

    Once, when he was made to kill the mastiff, and another time when he ordered his long-serving attendant to stab him in the back.

    Ever since she brought him back, she had noticed that the child had a kind heart and an unnecessary compassion for the weak.

    He was destined for the throne, and such sentimentality would eventually be his downfall.

    As an emperor, one could not be overly benevolent nor blindly trust others.

    Had his father not trusted the wrong people, how could he have met with the tragic end of being poisoned?

    She swore to groom Yan-er into the most qualified emperor, reclaiming the throne for his father.

    She believed that over the years, his temperament had settled, no longer as stubborn as before, and that he would no longer let his emotions sabotage him.

    Unexpectedly, Rong Shu had stirred such intense aversion within him.

    However, this loathing that he felt towards Rong Shu strangely aroused a twisted sense of pleasure within Xu Fu.

    That small moment of satisfaction gradually extinguished her initial anger.

    Nanny An was right. Although Yan'er was the son of that person, he didn't inherit those traits.

    Enough, she couldn't afford another conflict with him.

    Otherwise, the hard-earned affection between them would dissipate once more.

    In the end, even if Rong Shu left the Gu family, she wouldn't escape Xu Fu's grasp.

    Xu Fu slowly softened her expression and sighed, "Since I arranged for Rong Shu to marry you, I naturally took these matters into account. You have no need to worry about the Rong or Jiang families implicating you. But since you dislike Rong Shu so much, Aunt won't force you. However, Yan'er..."

    Xu Fu paused slightly, her dark eyes fixed on Gu Changjin. A faint smile tugged at the corner of her lips as she said, "This won't happen again. If there's a next time, Aunt won't be so forgiving."

    ...

    Rong Shu was unaware of the conversation that took place in the Six Vast Hall.

    As soon as Gu Changjin left, she called Zhang Mama and the others into the room and told them, "We'll return to Minglu Yard early tomorrow morning."

    Mother Zhang's eyes widened in surprise. "Miss, you've only just returned to Wutong Lane, why do you want to leave again?"

    Not just Mother Zhang, Yingyue and Ying Que also expressed their disapproval. "If you go to Minglu Yard tomorrow, Madam might not even let you in."

    The divorce document was still warm in Rong Shu's embrace. She reached for it, intending to show it to Mother Zhang and the others.

    But if she revealed this matter, she might not be able to sleep tonight. She needed to conserve her energy to appease her mother.

    So, she withdrew her hand and smiled. "You'll understand why when we arrive at Minglu Yard tomorrow."

    In the darkness of the night, Rong Shu couldn't fall asleep. She tossed and turned like a pancake being flipped.

    Eventually, she lit a lamp, lifted the curtains, and sat on the bed, examining the room closely.

    She had lived in this room for over three years, personally selecting every item within. She once believed it would be her home.

    There were many memories here, but now they were gradually covered in dust, fading away, and becoming insignificant.

    This was what it meant to have no worries, she supposed.

    Rong Shu smiled, about to lean forward and extinguish the candlelight, when she heard a soft creak.

    Someone was outside.

    Pausing in her action, Rong Shu draped herself in a cloak and carried the lantern towards the entrance.

    The door creaked open, and the girl standing motionless in the courtyard abruptly lifted her gaze.

    It was Lin Qingyue.

    Rong Shu couldn't fathom why she would come to Songsi Courtyard in the middle of the night.

    Could it be that, like in her previous life, she was going to accuse her of stealing something?

    She approached with the lantern and asked, "Miss Lin, is there something you wish to discuss with me at this late hour in Songsi Courtyard?"

    Lin Qingyue looked at Rong Shu, biting her lip, and her eyes gradually reddened.

    "Do you know—"

    "Do you know just how many things I've taken from others?" Rong Shu's brows furrowed slightly. "Tell me, who have I taken something from? If you're referring to Lord Gu, rest assured, I've returned it."

    Lin Qingyue was momentarily speechless by Rong Shu's words. Her lips quivered, as if she were holding back a flood of words that she desperately wanted to unleash.

    Rong Shu waited calmly, and after much anticipation, saw Lin Qingyue open her mouth, seemingly ready to speak. Suddenly, a flurry of footsteps echoed from behind.

    Startled by the sound, Lin Qingyue snapped back to reality and quickly closed her mouth.

    Mama Zhang and Yingyue approached with lanterns in hand.

    Both were surprised by the scene in the courtyard. Mama Zhang hesitantly asked, "Miss, Miss Lin, what's going on here?"

    Lin Qingyue's gaze froze, and after biting her lip in silence for a while, she abruptly turned and ran out of Songsi Courtyard.

    Mama Zhang stepped forward to brush the snow off Rong Shu's shoulders and said, "Why did Miss come out dressed so lightly? Be careful not to catch a cold. Was Miss Lin looking for you just now?"

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