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   Chapter 10 Prudence

Eight-year-old Princess: Phoenix Reborn By Lan You Ruo Characters: 11842

Updated: 2018-07-20 21:04

Price: $2.99

ASIN: B07GXDC2D9

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ISBN: 978-1719927130


After what had happened, Yun Shang felt that the sun shone brighter. She and Qin Yi were at the gardens at Qingxin Hall. Qin Yi stood behind her, pushing the swing while they spoke.

"Your Highness, although His Majesty has already asked Lady Shu to handle this matter, the Empress will certainly not give up. If she traces it, I'm afraid..." When Qin Yi thought of the events of the day, she found herself impressed. She'd seen so many hidden depths in this eight-year-old princess.

Yun Shang smiled, "She won't let go. In a few days, someone will come to interrogate you. But don't worry, just tell them what I've prepared. She will never find traces of my involvement, and all evidence will lead to Shuya Palace. Once that happens, Her Majesty will pursue Lady Shu. And we will watch in safety while the others fight."

Qin Yi remained silent. The Palace was indeed a place full of intrigue and conspiracies. Her Highness was merely eight-year-old, but she had been thorough. She didn't know whether that was good or bad.

"By the way. Qin Yi, does anyone in our kitchen smell of sandalwood?" The question led Yun Shang to think over the day's events. The dogs had gone mad after they sniffed the sandalwood. And the Taoist priest was still trying to bring the burning incense closer to her. It was obvious that the sandalwood was the catalyst that turned the medicine poisonous. But Lin had reported that the chickens had gone mad after he put the medicine into their feed.

Qin Yi thought for a while, and said, "Your Highness asked me to watch the servants, and I have paid attention to their daily movements. I noticed that an old maidservant who works in the kitchen, wears a string of sandalwood beads on her wrist. But she is a Buddhist."

"I see." It made sense then. But Lin still seemed like a highly suspicious person.

Yun Shang contemplated for a while. Just as she was about to speak, she saw a maid approach them. Qin Meng had been chosen by Yun Shang the same day she selected Qin Yi to work at her Palace. Qin Meng curtsied and said, "Your Highness, the kitchen made green bean soup for you as it is scorching hot today." She looked at the sky in dismay. "I don't know what is happening this year. It hasn't rained at all."

"It hasn't rained? And it is hot." Yun Shang trembled as she recalled a memory. She asked, "How long has it been since the last rain?"

Qin Meng quickly answered, "Since February. It's August now...So, half a year."

Yun Shang quivered as she recalled the vents from her previous life. For half a year there was no rain. At that time, she only thought to complain about the hot weather all day long, demanding that the servants think of ways to release the summer heat. In her new life as well, everything was the same as before. The only thing that had changed was that Yun Shang was no longer the little girl who knew nothing.

She remembered how Princess Hua Jing had earned the respect of the people of Ning. In her new life, Yun Shang could not perceive the magnitude of the implications of the lack of rains. All she knew was that it meant severe drought for the Ning people. In her last lifetime, after half a year of drought, it had rained on Hua Jing's Coming-of-age Ceremony. The Empress had grabbed the opportunity to plant the idea that it was Princess Hua Jing who had brought the rain. As the Ning people were firm believers of the mystical, they saw Hua Jing as bestowed with the blessing of God.

Emperor Ning had been very pleased as well. He had rewarded Hua Jing with land and the title of Princess Fu Hua. Since Fu meant blessed, and the title had been awarded by the Emperor himself, the Ning people's beliefs had been reinforced by his actions. Yun Shang remembered being jealous. She remembered how she had been required to send many expensive gifts to congratulate Hua Jing.

Anyway, the Empress was not powerful enough to manipulate the weather. In retrospect, she could see that the events were a coincidence. She could also see how the meticulous and quick-minded Empress Yuan Zhen had taken advantage of the opportunity to bring the Ning people to admire Princess Hua Jing.

Yun Shang thought of an idea. She asked her maid, "I've heard that most ordinary people grow crops to feed their families. If it doesn't rain, will the crops still grow? Will they starve?"

Qin Meng had always been straightforward. She quickly answered, "Yes, Your Highness. My whole family works in the field, so I am familiar with how dependent the crops are on the rains. The peasants live at the mercy of the heavens. If there is a long drought or too much rain, they have a poor harvest. It has been dry for so long this year that I am worried about my family."

Yun Shang sighed, "Qin Yi, open my bank, and give everyone five teals of silver. Since my monthly allowance is limited that is all I can afford. But I hope that the money will provide families with a little relief. Qin Meng, you may give the silver to your loved ones when you take your monthly leave. At least they can buy some food with it."

Hearing this, Qin Meng was very touched and fell to her knees, "Thank you for your kindness, Your Highness."

Yun Shang nodded and stood up, "Fetch a bowl of soup for me. I'm going to visit father."

Yun Shang changed her clothes, and headed for Qinzheng* Hall with a bowl of green bean soup. She knew that the Emperor would be at the Hall handling government affairs. When they reached the Palace, the Princess and Qin Yi saw Lord Zheng, the Emperor's Imperial Eunuch Director, guarding the door. He quickly came up to Yun Shang and asked, "Princess Yun Shang, what brings you here?"

(*TN: Which literally means diligent.)

Yun Shang flashed a smile, "It is very hot today and my kitchen made some green bean soup for me. I thought father might be tired after dealing with government affairs. So I brought some soup

as refreshment. Lord Zheng, is father still busy?"

Lord Zheng answered with a smile, "I'll inform His Majesty. Your Highness, please wait here for a moment."

Yun Shang nodded, and watched as Lord Zheng entered the Hall. Qin Yi was puzzled, and asked, "Your Highness, His Majesty doesn't like to be disturbed when he is dealing with the state affairs at Qinzheng Hall. How come you..."

Yun Shang smiled, "The Empress is always watching my moves. When father comes out of the Palace, I cannot see him without the Empress knowing. Thanks to Lady Shu, I had a chance to visit him yesterday. But today, I have to visit him here. And I come here with a serious state affair, His Majesty won't blame me for my interruption."

"A state affair?" Qin Yi was confused. Just as she was about to ask, the door creaked open. Lord Zheng had returned. He said to Yun Shang with a smile, "Your Highness may enter now."

Yun Shang returned the smile, and said, "Thank you, Lord Zheng." She winked at Qin Yi who then quickly put a silver ingot into Lord Zheng's hand.

Yun Shang then entered the Qinzheng Hall with her offerings. When she entered, she noticed that there were several officials in the hall as well. Keeping her head down, Yun Shang glanced at the officials from the corners of her eyes.

Even though Hua Jing had an affair with Yun Shang's husband in her previous life, Yun Shang was still her lord husband's one true wife. She had some memories about the senior officials due to her contacts with the noble families in the Imperial City.

Yun Shang recognized Li Jingyan, the Grand Councilor and Wen Yunqing, the Deputy Minister of Revenue. But there was another man whom she had never seen before. The Grand Councilor was Empress Yuan Zhen's lord father. He was greatly respected among the officials. The Deputy Minister of Revenue was a middle-aged man with urbane demeanor, whom Yun Shang had met only a few times in her previous lifetime. The man whom she had never seen, seemed to be of high rank but she couldn't be sure as he was dressed in dark blue instead of official robes. He was also very handsome. His face was narrow and long but with distinct outlines and dashing eyebrows. Yun Shang found herself drawn to the little smile that played his lips. She could also see from his eyes that he was unruly and untamed.

She found herself curious about this man. She couldn't remember him from her previous life. How could she not have noticed such a dashing person at the Imperial City? Yun Shang dared not to be too obvious. After a few quick glances, she focused on her task. With a curtsy to Emperor Ning, she walked closer to The Royal Table and put down her offerings.

"I didn't know my father was discussing state matters with his loyal officials. I am very sorry to intrude." She glanced around before looking at Emperor Ning.

The Emperor smiled, "What brings my Shang'er here?"

Yun Shang shot a quick glance at Li Jingyan. Then she frowned and said, "It's so hot today and my maid has made some green bean soup for me. I brought some for you as refreshment." She uncovered the bowl of green bean soup and handed it to Emperor Ning.

The Emperor lifted the bowl and took a sip. Then he asked, "Just the soup?"

Yun Shang giggled. "You know me so well, father. This morning, when I was having the bean soup, my maid told me that it hasn't rained for half a year. If it doesn't rain, the people will have no harvest. She also told me that they will have no food to eat. I don't think there's much I can do about it. But I wish to go to the Ningguo Temple to pray for our people, and also pray to the heaven for rainfall."

Emperor Ning looked at his daughter with mixed feelings mounting in his heart. After he had sent Lady Jin to the Cold Palace, and asked his Empress to raise Yun Shang, he felt that he owed his daughter for separating her from her mother. He had also heard of her various misdeeds. He recalled how he had seen her losing temper several times or punishing people at random. Gradually disappointment had set in, and he began to care less for her. These two days, however, he found that his daughter was different. She was calm, generous, and kind. Since he had wronged Lady Jin and felt guilty, it was comforting to see that their daughter was wise and kind.

"It's so good to know that you care so much about our people. I would be unreasonable if I disapprove your request. But you are a young girl. I worry about you traveling alone. I'll have the Commander of my Royal Guard and several of his men protect you."

Yun Shang smiled. Before she could thank her father, an official said, "Female members of the Imperial Household are not allowed to meddle with the state affairs. Although the Princess is still young, Her Highness should know that."

She recognized the voice to be Li Jingyan's, the Empress's father.

Though Yun Shang's eyes turned cold, she smiled as she spoke. "The Grand Councilor is right. And I am aware that I am not allowed to intervene with the running of the State. And I have obeyed as His Majesty demanded. That being said, I heard of the drought from my conversation with my ladies. Though I am not allowed to interfere in political matters, I can pray for His Majesty, and my father's State. That is all I am requesting. How can you call that governing the State, Lord Li?" With that, she raised her head innocently and looked at Li Jingyan.

Emperor Ning laughed when he heard Yun Shang's justification. "That's my daughter. Then it is settled. You can go there tomorrow, Shang'er."

Yun Shang curtsied to the Emperor, and said, "Thank you, father. Since you have been discussing important matters with your Ministers, I'd like to ask your permission to leave." Emperor Ning nodded. Yun Shang curtsied and left the Hall. She sensed that she was being watched, but she walked away without turning her head.

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