On Chun Sik Sik returning to Cheung’on and the escalating conflicts of the Li princes. Special thanks to Hannah for providing me excellent ideas that I now use in the early and latter parts of this chapter. A ‘deleted’ scene link will be provided later inside. Part 1 is here, Part 2 is here, Part 3 is here.
Late Autumn, 625
|Art by Ibuki Satsuki|
Chun Sik Sik had only experienced two autumns in Fusu, but those two autumns had prepared her for the third autumn. She felt that she could tell whether the upcoming winter would be harsh or not based on the autumnal weather patterns. If this year's autumn continued like this, Fusu and its surrounding regions would experience another harsh winter.
Which begged another question: would Tang refugees come again to Fusu this autumn or winter? Li Sai Man's letters, faithfully written and dispatched regularly to her, described his endless fight in the Court to fix the system, but it might be years before the corrupt system was fixed. The last letter he had was almost three weeks ago, concerning a partial investigation team to address the village pilfering during last year's autumn. The lack of letter afterwards would have her worried, had a Fusu spy not informed her in front of King Yau that Li Sai Man had been busy with some court business, but he was safe and sound. Eventually, Sik Sik decided to trust Sai Man to Heaven. She couldn't afford to sleep in fear every night, that wouldn't do her good.
With these thoughts in mind, one late autumn night, after closing the veranda door that connected her private garden to her chamber in the Fusu Palace, Sik Sik changed into a white long inner garment and retired to bed. She was about to drift to sleep when she heard a rustling noise outside the veranda. She opened her eyes and stayed still but alert. The veranda was not accessible from the outside, hence anyone outside would need to jump from the roof into the garden first. At this late hour, anyone in that group would be classified as intruders. Had Sai Man's brothers tracked her whereabouts??