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   Chapter 9 A Shimmering Light in the Dark

Eight-year-old Princess: Phoenix Reborn By Lan You Ruo Characters: 7110

Updated: 2018-07-19 09:15

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Price: $9.99

ISBN: 978-1719927130

Surprised, Princess Hua Jing quickly jumped to her feet and fixed her dress. Despite the pain, she forced herself to curtsy toward the figure, dressed in a yellow robe at the door. "Father, " she greeted him plainly.

The Emperor Ning stepped to a chair and sat down. His eyes glanced at the three women inside the hall. After a long time, he said, "Wife, I am so disappointed. You had reported to me about Yun Shang's recent abnormality and indicated that she might be possessed by evil spirits. So you asked me to send for a Taoist priest to perform exorcism. Even though I don't believe in ghost or demons, for Yun Shang's sake I still obliged. I never imaged you would let someone into the palace without at least some diligence. You are the Empress Yuan Zhen of Ning, the woman I have taken as my wife. And yet, you can't even handle such a small matter properly. How can I trust you with control of my palace any longer?"

Hearing his displeasure, Empress Yuan Zhen felt a chill crawl up her spine. She knelt before him and placed her forehead on the ground. "I'm so sorry, Your Majesty, it is all my fault."

Suddenly, the empress heard Yun Shang's voice coming from behind her. The tone was soft and caring, "Father, please don't blame mother. She did everything for me. That priest was a bad man. He cheated mother. Sister was hurt too! We can't let him get away with it!"

Emperor Ning didn't relax in the slightest. "A maid told me that the priest even pointed a sword at Yun Shang. What if he had hurt her today? What if he tried to assassinate me? How can you take responsibility for this, wife?"

Yuan Zhen kowtowed again to the emperor, "Your Majesty, it is all my fault. I shouldn't have been so neglectful. I will launch an investigation immediately."

Emperor Ning looked at her with indifferent eyes, "There is no need. His crime was obvious. He has already been dealt with. As for the travesty in the courtyard earlier, I have already dispensed Lady Shu to investigate the problem. You will have no further part in the matter. Hua Jing's coming-of-age ceremony is merely days away. You should busy yourself with the preparations. Be careful not to make anymore mistakes. Lady Shu will assist you."

Hearing the emperor's pronouncement, the empress felt rage building up inside her, but she dared not speak. She touched her head to the ground again and answered the emperor, "As you wish, Your Majesty."

Emperor Ning nodded, stood up and left the room, leaving Empress Yuan Zhen prostrate on the floor. After a while, as she got to her feet, the empress noticed Yun Shang in the corner of the room. Frowning and trembling with anger, she pointed at the girl and said, "I can't believe you can be this sophisticated at such an age. How dare you speak ill of me before my husband? Is this what I get for treating you so well, as my own daughter for all these years?

Yun Shang almost rolled her eyes. Treating me her so well? She restrained herself though, this was not the proper time to opening break from the empress. With this realization, she looked at the empress, teary-eyed. "What are you talking about mother? I don't understand a word? I didn't mean to say anything to father. I don't know who told him about what happened. I was napping in Qingxin Hall when father and Lady Shu came in. Lady Shu first took me in her arms to comfort me. She said I must be frightened to death. She cursed that bad priest and said she knew he was fake. She thinks he was too bold and reckless. After that, father asked me how

I felt. I told him I was worried about Hua Jing, because she got bit by a dog. He came here at once. I thought he wanted to comfort you, so I came too.

"Lady Shu, " the empress' eyes blazed with fury, "How dare she do that to me? Isn't it enough for her to be an open consort of the emperor? Or does she now need to replace me completely?"

Yun Shang felt the urge to smile again. No one's hands were clean in the emperor's harem. She hadn't forgotten when, in her last lifetime, Lady Shu had played her against Empress Yuan Zhen. Now, it was Yun Shang who would be adding fuel to fires around the palace! She would take this moment to gain the upper hand against her enemies.

Yun Shang pulled out a small white jade bottle from her sleeve and began to hand it to Hua Jing. "I want to give you this, sister. It is a medicine from the imperial physician himself. I used it before and it worked well. There isn't even a scar now."

"Who needs your damn snake oil!" Princess Hua Jing shouted as she slapped the vial from Yun Shang's hand. As the slap landed, Yun Shang lost her grasp on the vial, which smashed into pieces on the floor.

Yun Shang quickly squatted down and began to pick up the pieces of glass with her fingers. "Sister, your wound must be very painful. Mine also tortured me and put me in a sour mood. But it will be OK, I promise. Mother will get the best doctor in the imperium. You'll be fine in a few days."

"Hua Jing, apologize to your sister. She was only trying to help." And Yun Shang, be careful. The shards are sharp and cut through skin like paper. I'll have my servants clean it up. I'm fatigued now and need to rest. You should return to Qingxin Hall for a rest yourself. You must be exhausted from the courtyard earlier." The empress gazed contemptuously at Yun Shang, who was still squatting on the ground. Her voice though, was masked with a loving, motherly tone.

Yun Shang rose and curtsied to the empress. "Take care, Mother." She backed out of the room slowly and left Qiwu Palace at once.

After the door closed behind Yun Shang, Pricess Hua Jing walked gingerly over to the empress and held her hands. "Mother, it's obvious that she was behind this. Why did you take her side?"

Empress Yuan Zhen sat down in her chair and frowned, with a touch of weariness in her face. "No, it wasn't Yun Shang. For all these years she has been short-tempered and unwise. She is no capable of something so elaborate. Even if she had some part in the events earlier, it was while being used by another. I think I've become to kind and generous to the emperor's concubines lately. But it is them who are mistaken. I will not be an easy target. I will teach Lady Shu a lesson. The ladies of his majesty's harem will once again know who has power around her."

"Mother, how can you be so sure it was Lady Shu? How could she have known what we were planning? Besides, Yun Shang was the only person unhurt today. How do we explain that?" Hua Jing seemed to have her doubts.

But the empress didn't seem to be listening. She murmured to herself. "Even if his majesty has forbidden me to launch an investigation, I'll find a way to figure out who's behind this. And when I find out, I swear I'll show no mercy."

The empress stood and called for her attendant, "Xiu Xin, Xiu Xin!"

The top maid hurried in and bowed slightly to her master, diligently awaiting her orders.

"I need you to secretly bring all of the servants of Qingxin Hall before me. I'll sift through them and get to the bottom of this!"

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