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   Chapter 68 Marriage Arranged By Emperor Ning

Eight-year-old Princess: Phoenix Reborn By Lan You Ruo Characters: 11723

Updated: 2018-08-21 17:27


"You are finally here, Your Highness. His Majesty has been pacing Qinzheng Hall restlessly since last night. I guess it's because His Majesty worries a lot about Your Highness, but he couldn't tell Lady Jin anything. When His Majesty went to the Empress's Palace, he didn't mention a word to Lady Jin. His Majesty would be relieved to see Your Highness here." Master Zheng was excited to see Yun Shang. A bright smile bloomed on his wrinkled face.

Yun Shang smiled. "Thank you, Master Zheng. I'll meet His Majesty right away." Then she hurried into the Hall.

Emperor Ning was at his desk. Although he held his writing brush, he was in a daze. He wasn't writing at all. Yun Shang walked up to him quietly and called. "Father..."

The brush fell from Emperor Ning's hand. He wasn't angry at being disturbed. Instead, he looked up at Yun Shang. "Shang'er?"

Yun Shang bowed to Emperor Ning. "It's my fault that you were worried, father."

"Are you all right, Shang'er?" Emperor Ning stood and checked his daughter. He felt relieved when he didn't see any injuries. "I was worried about you. But I couldn't come to see you or your mother would find out. She's pregnant now and we don't want to worry her. It's reassuring to see that you are all right."

Yun Shang smiled. "How is mother? Does she look more pregnant these days?"

"It has been only three months, Shang'er. It won't be obvious this early in the pregnancy. But your mother is having terrible morning sickness, which has brought her noticeable weight loss. It wasn't that bad when she carried you. Your little sister or brother is quite the trouble-maker." Emperor Ning sounded as though he was scolding the unborn child, however, he was smiling heartily.

Yun Shang noticed his real mood, and so she teased him mischievously. "Father, are you jealous of the baby because mother is paying it too much attention?"

Emperor Ning was speechless for a moment and then he laughed. "Naughty girl." He said after a pause. "I heard that it was Minister Wang's son, Wang Jinhuan who saved you yesterday. Is that correct? I have seen that man before. He's quite a decent young man although it might seem the other way around sometimes. Now that he has saved you, I have to reward him."

Yun Shang nodded. "He deserves your reward, father."

"Since you are here, I'll summon Wang Jinhuan to the Palace. You can thank him in person." Emperor Ning walked to the door and gave orders to Master Zheng.

Yun Shang sensed something usual, but she didn't stop Emperor Ning.

After a while, Master Zheng returned. "Your Majesty, the banquet is ready in the pavilion beside the Imperial Garden. And Mr. Wang just arrived with Prince Jing."

Emperor Ning remembered the Prince's friendship with Wang Jinhuan then. "Prince Jing knows Wang Jinhuan. Well, I haven't seen Prince Jing for two days. He came just in time. We'll have a drink together. Let's go, Shang'er."

Yun Shang was stunned. Banquet? Wasn't it too formal? Why didn't His Majesty just issue an imperial edict and reward him with something? Yun Shang didn't say anything when she noticed Emperor Ning's enthusiasm. She followed him to the Imperial Garden, where Wang Jinhuan and Prince Jing were waiting. After exchanging greetings, Emperor Ning asked them to have a seat. Yun Shang looked around and realized that though Master Zheng had called it a banquet, there were only four guests.

"I have heard from the Governor of the Imperial City that Jinhuan saved Shang yesterday. Tonight, as Shang's father, I want to thank you for saving my daughter."

Wang Jinhuan responded with a blank stare. He found it hard to believe what he had just heard. He forced a courteous laugh and said, "It's my pleasure, Your Majesty. My pleasure."

Yun Shang picked up some braised pork with cherry juice and ate slowly as if the conversation between the men was none of her business. Then she said calmly. "You are frightening him, father."

Emperor Ning was speechless. He stared at Yun Shang thoughtfully before laughing. "Feel free to eat." Then he turned around and said to Prince Jing. "You haven't come to drink with me for a long time."

Prince Jing poured some wine into his goblet, made a toast to Emperor Ning, and emptied his goblet in one large gulp. "It's my fault. I beg for your forgiveness, Your Majesty. I'll be on call for Your Majesty anytime."

Wang Jinhuan was relieved when he thought Emperor Ning would no longer pay attention to him. He sighed and started to eat. However, after talking with Prince Jing for a while, Emperor Ning turned to him again. "Jinhuan, you are 19 years old, aren't you? Are you married?"

Wang Jinhuan put down his chopsticks and answered. "Yes, Your Majesty. I am 19 years old. And no, I am not married."

Emperor Ning nodded and looked at Yun Shang, who was calm as usual. He smiled, "Shang has held her Coming-of-age Ceremony this year. It's time to find you a husband."

"Eh-hem..." Yun Shang choked on her wine in surprise. Qin Yi passed her a handkerchief and it took some time for Yun Shang to stop coughing. She would be a fool if she didn't figure out Emperor Ning's intention.

Yun Shang wiped her lips gracefully. "Father, I know you want me to get married, but it's a pity that I might not be able to. Master Wu Na told my fortune once and he said I couldn't get married before I turned 18, or I'll suffer from disasters." She turned and asked Qin Yi. "Where is the parchment on which Master Wu Na wrote? We brought it with us when we left the Temple as I recall."

Qin Yi smiled. "Actually I have it now, Your Highness. I was afraid Your Highness might lose it if not kept properly, so I keep it with me all the time." Qin Yi took out a piece of parchment from her sleeve and passed it to Yun Shang. Yun Shang took a look at it before handing it over to Empe

ror Ning. "Father, you recognize Master Wu Na's handwriting, correct? I'm not making this up."

Emperor Ning looked doubtful. After examining the parchment carefully, he sighed. "You are not."

Yun Shang smiled mischievously. "Father, why are you in hurry to see me married? You don't want me around, father? If so, I could always move to the Princess Palace. I heard that just after my Coming-of-age Ceremony, father started to build a Princess Palace for me. Or I could go to my fief. Jinling is said to be a beautiful place with mountains, rivers and other beauties. I haven't been there before."

Emperor Ning explained promptly. "Don't be silly. Of course I want you around."

Emperor Ning looked at Wang Jinhuan, who was still dumbfounded, and sighed. "Well, forget it. Just enjoy the food and the wine tonight."

After leaving the Imperial Palace, Wang Jinhuan finally understood what the Emperor was hinting at. He started at Prince Jing blankly, "Luo Qingyan, did Emperor Ning summon me tonight because he wanted me to marry Princess Hui Guo?"

Prince Jing raised his eyebrows as he climbed into the carriage. He didn't look at Wang Jinhuan. "What do you think?"

Wang Jinhuan felt like there was a thorn in his throat. He couldn't swallow. He pointed at the Palace. "Her?" Then he pointed at himself. "Me?" Prince Jing seemed to be in a bad mood. Just the thought of enduring the Prince's foul-temper made Wang Jinhuan tremble. He hesitated before climbing inside the carriage. "Hell no. I can't marry her. She is your little Princess..."

Prince Jing frowned and kicked Wang. Unprepared, Wang fell to the ground.

"Ah... Luo Qingyan, you son of a ... Why did you kick me?" Wang Jinhuan cursed sharply. But Prince Jing didn't even look at him. He closed the door and said coldly, "Home."

As Prince Jing's carriage rocked and bounced over the cobbled road, Wang Jinhuan became even more depressed. He said to himself. "My luck has been awful recently. Why does it have to be me? Maybe I should burn incense in the temple to pray for good luck." He said and stood up. Not only was he bitter about the evening, his bottom hurt from the fall and the bumpy ride.

"Ha-ha..." Someone was chuckling not far away. "Your Highness, this Wang Jinhuan is so funny. He was so angry but he couldn't do a thing about it. Isn't it amusing?" Qian Yin doubled over with laughter. She covered her mouth and quivered with delight.

Qin Yi couldn't help laughing too. "It seems that they do have a good relationship. He might be the only one who dares to call Prince Jing by his name and even curse him."

Yun Shang didn't answer them. She got in her carriage and said, "Alright, ladies. Get in. It's getting late."

Qin Yi and Qian Yin climbed into the carriage right away. Qin Yi said, "Luckily, Your Highness had taken precautions and asked Master Wu Na to prepare that parchment. His Majesty seemed determined to marry Your Highness to Wang Jinhuan. But then again, although he looks funny and is careless, he's not a bad choice."

Qian Yin cut in. "Qin Yi, don't depreciate Her Highness with that Wang Jinhuan. Her Highness deserves much better than that. From my point of view, Your Highness's husband should be talented in both, literature and military affairs and he needs to care a lot about Your Highness."

Yun Shang couldn't hold back her laughter anymore. "I know someone who fits that description."

"Who is he?" The two curious girls moved closer to the Princess.

Yun Shang shook head as if it was a great pity. "But he's married already. Oh, and he is His Majesty, my father."

They were surprised at first, but after a moment, they laughed out. "Now you are just teasing us, Your Highness."

While cheerful laughter filled Yun Shang's carriage, Prince Jing's carriage was shrouded in silence. Not even his breathing could be heard.

"We've arrived, Your Highness." Prince Jing looked at the open door coldly. He paused before climbing out. Looking up, he found the plaque that said Prince Jing's Mansion. It was quite gloomy even in bright sunshine.

Prince Jing went to his study.

Wang Shunlai whispered to the servant, "What's wrong? What happened to His Highness? Did something go wrong? Why is His Highness acting like this after visiting the Palace?"

"I have no idea. Just a moment ago, Mr. Wang was kicked out of the carriage. Could it be something Mr. Wang did that irritated His Highness?" The servant whispered back.

Prince Jing picked up his writing brush but didn't write. "Eighteen... Still... Three more years..."

When Wang Shunlai walked into the study with tea, he heard Prince Jing mumbling these words again and again. Wang Shunlai frowned. Eighteen? Three years?

What was His Highness talking about?

"Your Highness, the tea is ready. I wanted to discuss something with you and thought you'd be here. So I brought your tea here." Wang Shunlai cleared his throat and said.

Prince Jing didn't respond. Wang Shunlai scratched his nose while he waited. When he didn't get a response, he put the tea on the desk and stood back. He observed the Prince and felt that His Highness was not going to talk to him any time soon. So he decided to leave Prince Jing alone.

Before he could make it to the door, Wang Shunlai heard Prince Jing ask. "Wang Shunlai, how old am I?"

Wang Shunlai didn't know why Prince Jing wanted to know his age all of a sudden. But he turned around and answered honestly. "Your Highness is 27 years old. The best age to be if I may say so."

Prince Jing frowned and sighed. "Twenty-seven. After three years, I would be thirty."

"After three years? Yes, Your Highness would be thirty then." Wang Shunlai didn't know where this conversation was going, but he answered accordingly.

Thirty... Would he be a bit too old? Prince Jing wondered.

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