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   Chapter 14 The Birthday

Fire Phoenix By Yi Jian Zhong Qing Characters: 8769

Updated: 2018-07-23 14:53


When September 20th arrived, it was calm and cloudless.

That day also happened to be Yun Canglan's birthday.

When Yun Yajun had started organizing the birthday party for Yun Canglan, he planned it to be a private affair, for only members of the family. However, Huo Yang let him know that Yun would be denied his due as titled royalty if he did not send invitations to members of the royal court, dignitaries and other prestigious members of society. An imperial decree citing the officials attending the event could bring their children under six years of age was issued as well.

Hence, the private family get-to-together turned into a state banquet, and most of the prominent officials throughout the Can Kingdom brought their families along with lavish presents for Yun Canglan.

General Yun, Dingguo Duke of Can Kingdom, was a favorite of His Majesty, and though his son Yun Canglan was an unruly child, His Majesty was very fond of the boy and titled Yun, His Royal Highness. Of course, they would want to fawn on General Yun and His Royal Highness, Yun Canglan.

Lin Wan'er doted on Yun Canglan the morning of her daughter's birthday. She got her out of bed, dressing her formal clothes fit for a prince, then took care to tie her hair in the fashion worn by noble young boys.

Yun Canglan began complaining right away, "Mom, I don't like these clothes. They are uncomfortable." She tugged at the sleeves to keep the fabric away from her skin underneath.

Lin Wan'er rolled her eyes, "No, you will behave Yun. Today you turn six, and there will be many officials in our house. You will wear the proper formal attire."

"Ugh!" Groaned Yun, "This hairstyle is babyish it looks stupid on me." Yun Canglan whined while she pointed out the two neat buns that looked like meatballs on her head. Yun felt foolish looking, because by her calculations, she lived twenty four years before passing away and another six since then, making this style far too immature for her.

"Children dress this way, Yun, stop acting out, there is nothing wrong with how you look!"

"Every other day I only need to wear a hairpin though." Yun Canglan argued.

"Today is not like every other day though, is it!" Lin Wan'er chided playfully.

Yun Shu and Yun Hua, two of the maids, were watching Yun Canglan and giggling to each other quietly in the corner.

Yun Canglan knew she would not win this argument with her mother, "Okay, fine, just this once I will, for you mom. These two meatballs are unpleasant to look at and I look like a fool" she conceded.

"Canglan, are you in here?"

Huo Liuyun asked while coming into the room cheerfully.

Lin Wan'er immediately stood saluting, "Your Crown Prince..."

Huo Liuyun took her hand, halting her from saluting, "Please don't be so formal. It is Canglan's birthday, I was there when he was first born, we should dispense with the usual conventions in honor of this special occasion."

Lin Wan'er smiled, "Very well Your Crown Prince."

Turning his attention to the child of honor, "Canglan, happy birthday!" Huo Liuyun beamed as he exclaimed.

"Thank you, Liuyun. Will His Majesty be attending?" Yun was curious to know. When Huo Liuyun had come in smiling, Yun immediately forgot how upset she was at the meatballs hairstyle.

"My father has many important affairs of the State that require his immediate attention, he asked me to congratulate you on his behalf." Huo Liuyun gave Yun an offering, "Canglan, look at this!" He smiled as he presented Yun Canglan with a jade plate carefully. The superior quality of the jade was obvious by the rich color. Yun's attention was drawn to the expertly carved, refined lotus adorning it.

"Liuyun, is this..." Yun trailed off.

Huo Liuyun took advantage of her loss to secure the plate around Yun Canglan's neck: "To me, you are as beautiful as the lotus, so I requested that a master engraver create this jade plate just for you." he stepped back to admire the plate about Yun's neck and told her, "You must wear it always, okay?"

"No problem." Yun Canglan answered with a sweet smile, feeling very satisfied.

"Your Crown Prince, this is too expensive. Canglan is just a little kid..." Lin Wan'er protested.

When Lin Wan'er saw the lotus jade plate, she wasn't upset about the expense, it was what and how Huo Liuyun said, "You are as beautiful as lotus."

She couldn't help but wonder if he knew Yun was a girl.

Huo Liuyun looked down at Yun Canglan with a doting smile, "I do not care, Canglan is my best friend and brother. He deserves the best, regardless of the cost!"

Yun Canglan twirled the jade plate with her fingers, "Liuyun, is this my birthday gift from you?"

Huo Liuyun patted her head affectionately, "Yes. Don't you like it?"

"Of course I like it. I just didn't expect you to give me a gift this early. I thought you would give it to me later like the adults." she explained.

"I was excited to give it to you and couldn't wait till later. Besides, With so many gifts later, this one may pale in comparison."

Yun Canglan childishly declared, "I won't! Your gift is the very best!" while hugging Huo Liuyun tightly.

"Canglan, don't be rude!" Lin Wan'er gasped when her daughter hugged the Crown Prince. Although she was playing the role of a boy, Yun Canglan should not forget she was a girl under there, and it was improper for a girl to be so familiar with a boy.

"It's alright; I am very fond of Canglan." Huo Liuyun picked up Yun Canglan and walked out of the room. A boy of 11 or 12 years might find it difficult to carry a 6-year-old child, but Huo Liuyun had no problem keeping Yun steady.

When Yun Canglan put her arms around Huo Liuyun's neck, she felt safe and smiled as she smelled the faint scent of his ambergris fragrance.

As he carried her, she recalled that day six years ago, when he held her before anyone else, giving her warmth, comfort and vowed to protect her. She was willing to defend him in return as long as he didn't betray or cheat her.

Out in the front hall of the General's House, Yun Canglan respectfully greeted each adult as they were seated, and the children next to parents, even though he was impatient to begin the festivities. He was given the top position, to honor him on his birthday.

"Announcing His Crown Prince." the proclamation came from outside, and all the guests stood to greet their sovereign leader's son and heir to the throne.

"Long live Crown Prince Huo Liuyun!" echoed through the hall, as the guests saluted.

"Sit! Sit! I'm here to join in celebrating Canglan's birthday, just like you. Let's not be so formal today!" Huo Liuyun said in a gentle and regal manner. He took his seat and then pulled Yun Canglan onto his lap.

The sight of the Crown Prince holding the birthday boy dispelled any doubts to His Crown Prince being fond of His Royal Highness.

The officials took advantage to introduce their kids to Yun Canglan and Huo Liuyun when they presented their gifts. As long as the Crown Prince or His Royal Highness had a crush on their kids, there would be endless wealth and rank.

A guest could be heard saying to another, "His Royal Highness is an outstanding individual, like his father, after all, eagles do not breed doves!"

Yun Canglan, beside Huo Liuyun, gave a yawn and thought, 'People do not say that. They say I'm a good-for-nothing boy from a wealthy family.'

Another guest said, "You're right. His Royal Highness is sure to be an elegant gentleman when he grows up."

Yun thought, 'No, people call me a rogue and proficient in eating, drinking, gambling and frequenting the brothels.'

"His Royal Highness is so smart and is sure to be a talented and romantic scholar in the future."

Yun Canglan considered the false praise, 'Sorry. I can't read or write, and everyone calls me an idiot.'

"His Royal Highness looks like a genius in kung fu and will surely be a famous general defending Can Kingdom in the future!"

'I doubt it, since I hate violence, and would rather surrender.'

"I am sure His Royal Highness will have his pick of the pretty girls in the future, given his charm and how handsome he looks at such a young age. He is bound to be a prince charming when he is grown."

'I don't know whether the girls will be attracted to me or not! Though, come to think of it, I certainly have tortured quite a few.' Yun reflected silently.

...

While the officials sat around the table giving false flattery about Yun Canglan, one of the General's guards interrupted, "General, a man is out front and would like to speak with you. He gave his name as the Sparrow."

Yun Yajun, agitated with the guests words already, jumped to his feet and shouted, "Please, let him in!"

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