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   Chapter 18 Fire Phoenix and the Feathers

Fire Phoenix By Yi Jian Zhong Qing Characters: 10202

Updated: 2018-07-27 15:08


In the backyard of the General's House, there was a rock garden in the middle of the yard, surrounded by bamboo and orchids. Late at night, the breeze moved through the bamboo, creating melodies and would carry the fragrant scent of orchids throughout the yard and house beyond. Inside, everyone slept soundly, except for the guards and one six-year-old child.

Yun Canglan was at the window looking out.

"What happened?" Considering the late hour, Yun Canglan knew there was a problem because her bodyguards were not at assigned posts and needed to speak with her down in the yard.

The guards below the window thought Yun Canglan looked awe-inspiring and imposing in the moonlight, even though this was a mere six-year-old petite and weak child wearing only a nightgown.

The guards, Yun Shu and Yun Hua, knelt trepidatiously. "Master Yun, the Crown Prince was ambushed by an assassin while he traveled back to the palace earlier. He and the guards lost and he was injured. We are sorry we failed you. Please punish us; we did not keep the Crown Prince from harm."

"What?" Yun Canglan's voice sounded young but stern. The two guards shivered when they caught a glimpse of the murderous look in Yun Canglan's eyes.

Yun Shu bent his head lower, "I beg forgiveness. Master Yun, I was called away to tend to Her Ladyship, leaving Yun Hua alone to protect the Crown Prince. He couldn't overpower the assassin and was injured when I arrived. Please, Sire, punish me."

Her thoughts were on Huo Liuyun worrying his condition when Yun Canglan's expression turned vicious.

'Right.' Yun reviewed what had gone on mentally, 'They finally took action. However, they hurt Huo Liuyun.' she decided they would need to pay with their lives, starting with the assassin. 'First though.'

"Yun Shu, you will receive 20 lashes, administered by Yun Ri, for leaving your assigned post against direct orders." Yun Canglan was consistent about the rules applied for rewarding or punishing. She was an amiable master, but to maintain balance and order; she would severely punish anyone who broke a rule.

"Have you found out who the assassin is?" Yun Canglan inquired next.

Yun Hua's voice dripped with bitterness as she ground his words out gritted jaw, "It is the killers' gang, named Tun Tian. I must be permitted to destroy Tun Tian, he offended you and brought harm to the Crown Prince while under your protection."

"Harm did come to the Crown Prince because you failed to protect him. So, you have three days to destroy Tun Tian and bring the head of all its members to the Crown Prince's palace."

"I will see it is done, Master Yun."

"Yun Qi, Yun Qin." Two people came from the rustling bamboo forest under the moon.

"Yes."

"Discreetly inquire as to how extensive the Crown Prince's injuries are as well as his recovery."

"I will not fail you."

The four kneeling below visibly relaxed as they saw the young maser's expression soften. Yun Canglan breathed deeply, feeling more relaxed after making sure things were controlled. Yun would not wholly relax until it was known the extent of injuries to the Crown Prince and that he would be fine soon.

The figure that was up in the open window could not be a child of six years, thought the four looking up, but a demon instead. There was no way a six-year-old could gather an army and lead! How could a six-year-old be one person in private and in public completely different? How could a six-year-old child be so imposing? They wondered if Yun Canglan was a demon in a previous life. Yun Ri had followed Yun Canglan for over one year, but he still didn't know much about his young master, so did the other four.

All he knew was that they were all loyal to Yun Canglan. He also knew that since joining Yun Canglan, no one had regretted their choice.

A thought came to Yun Canglan, "Yun Qi, Yun Qin. Do you have any information about the investigation I tasked you to recently?"

Yang Gezhi was the tenth prince of the Ling Kingdom, and a hostage held in Can Kingdom. The sixth prince of the Lie Kingdom, Shui Minghan, escaped here to Can Kingdom after being framed. However, more appearances seemed out of place. Yan Zangyue, the third prince of the Zhi Kingdom, the crafty Xi Zhiyao and then there was Hua Luosui, with the beautiful eyes treated her with disdain. Could these possibly be a coincidence?

And Hua Luosui also came to him. He was indeed the seventh prince of the Si Kingdom, who it was said to be born with a blood-red feather in the corner of his eye.

It would mean that three of seven feathers were from royal bloodlines.

The day of the party, after the ministers and Huo Liuyun had left, Yun Canglan was in her room when she decided to unwrap the small parcel from Hua Luosui. There was a scrawled note which read, "My true name is Lei Tianyan. Turn to me at the palace of Si Kingdom when you have no other way to turn."

What did it all mean? Yun Canglan was going to have no way to turn? No, never.

Yun Qi and Yun Qin were silent momentarily before responding. "The Emperors of t

he seven kingdoms saw a divination at almost the same time." Yun Qi retold the familiar prophecy, "Fire Phoenix landed in the world with seven male birds accompanied. Feathers gathered together as water and fire mingled. Waves roared among heads as the world united into one." He continued to explained what was happening now, "Considering the importance, the emperors wanted only those trusted by them to investigate the matter, so they dispatched the most honest and influential princes to them, somehow, only Prince Yan Cangyue and Xi Zhiyao have arrived."

Was it destiny? Wondered Yun Canglan. Feathers were destined to gather together because of Fire Phoenix?

Since ancient times, the male phoenixes have courted the females.

Yan Cangyue and Shui Minghan had blood-red feathers on their bodies. Yun Canglan wondered if Yang Gezhi, Lei Tianyan and Xi Zhiyao did as well.

"I want you to look into whether or not Xi Zhiyao, Lei Tianyan and Yang Gezhi have a blood-red feather birthmark. I would also like to know if any prince of Can Kingdom wears the mark as well."

"We will not fail you."

Yun Canglan never asked for this destiny of unifying the world. All she had ever wanted was to remove any obstacles blocking Huo Liuyun from attaining his dreams. If Huo Liuyun wanted the world, then she would make it happen.

For Yun Canglan to return to her time, she would need to gather seven feathers, according to what the Taoist priest said after her birth.

Yun thought about going back, 'Just you wait, Qi Yuntian. I'll return soon and when I do, swallow you whole.'

The Royal Palace was in a state of chaos. In confusion, someone left hundreds of heads in Lady Lian's sleeping chambers. She was frightened and stayed abed. As one of the Emperor's favorite concubines and the mother of the eldest prince, her discomfort angered the Emperor.

The emperor ordered a nationwide search for the culprit. In the already heavily guarded Can City, official checkpoints were set up everywhere and arrested anyone suspicious.

The Yangqing Palace at Can Kingdom

On the throne, Huo Yang sat engrossed in memorials.* Close by at the desk covered with more memorials was Huo Liuyun, who was busy finishing another for Huo Yang to affix his seal.

(*TN: a memorial was an official communication to the emperors of China. They were generally thoughtful essays written with care in classic, traditional Chinese. The presentation of a memorial was a formal affair directed by government officials.)

Huo Liuyun may only have been 12 or 13, but he had the same power over the military as Yun Yajun, and he had conducted state affairs alone.

"What are your thoughts on what happened last night?" Huo Yang was interested in hearing Huo Liuyun's thoughts.

Without looking up, Huo Liuyun continued his task and shrugging replied, "The heads were of members from the killers' gang which was led by Tun Tian, the man who injured me."

"And?" Huo Yang smiled satisfactorily.

"They were sent as a warning. It appears that Lady Lian and the eldest Prince hired Tun Tian to assassinate me. However, the attempt failed, and an unknown ally found Tun Tian and killed his men as a warning to Lady Lian and her son, the eldest Prince."

"Who do you think he is?"

"I have no idea yet."

"What do you think about what happened at Yun Canglan's birthday party?"

Huo Liuyun finally raised his head and answered coldly, "You ordered those two bullies from Mount Kun to do that? It was stupid."

"Have you heard of Medical Sage and Poison Sage?" Huo Yang asked indifferently.

"No, they are 13 or 14 years old and known to jianghu, but they serve someone."

"Who?"

"I don't know, but I felt that they appeared at just the right time."

"Do you suspect Yun Yajun?"

"That is possible, if Yun Yajun saw through our plans, he could have hidden the secret forces that day, and gotten the Medical Sage and Poison Sage there to help him." The innocent indifference in Huo Liuyun's dark eyes was gone, replaced with a shrewd mature expression.

Huo Yang nodded agreeing with the shared secret. Reassured with such a son; he was willing to pass the crown to Liuyun, son with Lady Ying, a favorite concubine.

"What will you do?"

"We will find the secret forces in the General's House." Huo Liuyun calculated coldly.

He had half of the military power, which had concerned him, but he had been unsuccessful in discovering how many forces were in the General's House. He wouldn't attack until he knew he would win.

"What about Lady Lian?"

"Lady Lian is conceited, and her son is arrogant. If not for the Grand Preceptor, we wouldn't need to worry about them. We have much of the military power, and the people live in peace. First, we recover the other half of military power. The Grand Preceptor isn't strong enough, so we don't need to guard against him. We can temporarily work with him to eradicate Yun Yajun's forces."

"Will you need my help?"

"No."

"What of Yun Canglan?"

"Well, my first priority is to get the world. I won't let him down."

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