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   Chapter 69 The Feast

Eight-year-old Princess: Phoenix Reborn By Lan You Ruo Characters: 16502

Updated: 2018-08-21 17:33

Right after Yun Shang arrived at the Princess Palace, she went to find Hua Jing to inform her sister of her return. She had hardly reached Hua Jing's courtyard when she heard a noise coming from inside. It sounded like someone was smashing things.

Yun Shang raised her eyebrows in surprise and wondered what was going on. She stepped over the threshold and crossed into the yard.

"Princess Hui Guo is here." The maid standing by the door raised her voice to announce Yun Shang's presence as soon as she saw her.

The noise stopped abruptly. Yun Shang smiled at the maid, "I have just returned from the Palace and I wanted to greet my sister. What is she doing right now? I can come back later if it's inconvenient for her."

Then she heard Hua Jing calling out, "Shang'er, do come in."

As soon as she entered, Yun Shang saw jagged shards all over the ground. Surprised, Yun Shang stood still for a moment before asking, "Sister, what's going on here?"

Hua Jing snorted and ignored her question. She simply asked Yun Shang, "Did you have fun today? What did you do at the Palace?"

Yun Shang looked at Hua Jing discreetly. She was still frowning. Yun Shang whispered, "Not at all. Father wanted to marry me to that Wang Jinhuan. He looks like quite a dandy, and I don't like him at all. Luckily, it occurred to me that Master Wu Na had foretold my fortune. He said that bad things will happen to me if I marry before I turned 18. Only after father had seen Master Wu Na's handwriting did he drop the idea of forcing me into an ominous marriage."

Hua Jing frowned and calculated quickly in her mind, 'Wang Jinhuan and Prince Jing go back a long way. If Yun Shang does marry Wang Jinhuan, she will have Prince Jing on her side. And that, under no circumstance, is going to be good for me.'

Thinking of that, Hua Jing took Yun Shang's hands and consoled her, "Indeed, Wang Jinhuan is not an eligible husband. Rumor has it that despite being single, he has a long list of mistresses. He is a player. I'm sure that it will do you no good marrying such a worthless man."

Yun Shang agreed with a nod, "That's what I meant. True, he saved my life once, but I can surely find other ways to thank him instead of marrying him." Yun Shang thought for a moment as she studied Hua Jing. "Sister, you look quite vexed. What happened? Did the servants do something wrong and upset you?"

Still frowning, Hua Jing glanced at Yun Shang and replied, "A monk performed fortunetelling for my mother-in-law yesterday. Now the entire Imperial City is gossiping about how I am a bad omen for my husband and my mother-in-law. They say that Master Wu Na's disciple confirmed the prophecy."

"What?" Yun Shang looked at Hua Jing wide-eyed, "But there were only a few people present yesterday. Who could be so evil to spread a rumor like this? Sister, we can't let the person get away without reparation."

For a long while, Hua Jing fixed her eyes on Yun Shang as if she were trying to read her real thoughts. Then she spoke, "I sent my people to investigate. It turned out to be the butler's wife. He told her last night, and she spread the rumor this morning when she went out shopping for groceries."

"Did she?" To prevent Hua Jing from seeing the glint of slyness sparkling in her eyes, Yun Shang lowered her head and muttered.

"What do you plan to do now?" Yun Shang asked.

"What can I do?" Hua Jing snorted again, "Rumors stop at those who are witty. I will only make it worse if I try to refute the rumor. I have sent people to take word to the Emperor's Son-in-law. I'm sure the rumor will be scotched once they return with my husband's message."

With a smile, Yun Shang echoed, "You are doing the right thing, sister. We don't have to care. However, facts speak louder than anything. Speaking of which, I heard that Her Ladyship is quite pleased with the Buddhist Texts I sent over earlier. I can put in a good word for you if I visit her more often. After all, family is above all. It doesn't matter how people talk about you so long as your mother-in-law trusts you. Am I right?"

Hua Jing simply nodded and braced her forehead with her hand. She looked tired. Yun Shang hurried to stand up and said, "I'll leave you to rest, sister." Then she left the room.

Hua Jing covered her eyes and waited for Yun Shang to disappear. Then she sneered and mumbled, "I married into this clan years ago, yet I'm not a rival to her and her lousy books. Yun Shang is just a teenage girl, but she already knows how to buy Lady Zhao's approval. What kind of trouble will she cause if I leave her alone with Lady Zhao? She will only turn out to be a threat to me in the future. I must get rid of her. The sooner, the better."

Standing behind her, the maid, Qing'er quickly responded, "Yes, Your Royal Highness. I will take care of it."

Time flew by and the day of Hua Jing's banquet finally arrived. Hua Jing had put earnest efforts into arranging the feast and, as promised, she involved Yun Shang in all the preparatory work. The feast would be held at Qianxin Tower. It was said to be a mysterious and secluded villa with spectacular scenery and few visitors. Hua Jing had a remarkable ability to pick famous spots for her parties, which impressed her guests tremendously.

Normally, a feast would start at noon. However, Hua Jing decided to begin her banquet in the morning. Yun Shang rose extra early and accompanied Hua Jing to Qianxin Tower to check the preparations one last time.

The sky was getting brighter when some of the guests arrived. Yun Shang sent them to a quaint hut in the bamboo forest outside of the Tower to rest before the feast officially began. She opened the gate and welcomed the guests after she made sure that everything was perfect.

There was a lake inside Qianxin Tower. Mist lingered over the icy cold water all year around. No one understood why. But the lake was like a mysterious wonderland, which somehow befitted the theme Hua Jing had set for the feast, Once In A Lifetime.

Music floated softly in the air from the misty lakeside. The guests were greeted with this melody as they streamed through the entrance.

"It is so beautiful..." Hearing this praise from all guests, Yun Shang burst into laughter. She turned to Qin Yi and said, "I don't really understand what they are thinking. How could they know whether it's beautiful or not if they cannot see anything but the mist?" No sooner had Yun Shang finished her sentence when she heard a disharmonious voice among the cheerful guests.

"Oh this is horrible! What is this place anyway? Luo Qingyan, stay close to me. I can hardly see you. Tell me. Where is the fun when we are almost blind?"

Yun Shang recognized the voice to be Wang Jinhuan's. Her lips curled into a small wicked smile. He really was a grouch. But the man with him... Wang just called him Luo Qingyan. Wasn't that Prince Jing's name? Did Prince Jing come to the feast as well?

Yun Shang was quite surprised. It was said that Prince Jing hardly attended such idle feasts. Then what brought him here?

"Your Highness, please come this way. Princess Hua Jing is waiting for you in the mid-lake pavilion." A maid ran towards Yun Shang in a hurry. Apparently, she had been ordered to find Yun Shang. She sighed and reported to Yun Shang while wiping the sweat off her forehead.

Yun Shang nodded and replied, "Fine. I'll be there at once."

As soon as Yun Shang arrived at the pavilion, she was stunned by the wonder in front of her. The misty lake could be seen clearly from where she stood. Although she could see the pavilion in the middle of the water, the lakeside was still secluded by the mist. It felt like they were on top of a floating cloud.

"Shang'er, the feast is about to begin. Come over here." Hua Jing waved at Yun Shang and called out. Reluctantly, Yun Shang looked away from the lake and walked towards Hua Jing, "Sister, this place is really breath-taking. We were surrounded by the mist at the lakeside. But now, it feels like a completely different world, yet we can still see the mist from up here..."

Yun Shang stopped abruptly because she realized that she could see through the mist from the pavilion. She could see

the guests in the mist, walking, talking and smiling. Their every move and expression was vivid as if there were nothing standing between them. Only that she wouldn't have noticed it if she hadn't look carefully.

Hua Jing smiled, "That's the best part of this place. Well, the guests are about to come. Take your seat."

Yun Shang nodded and sat next to Hua Jing.

One after another, guests flooded into the pavilion. Each exclaimed about the beautiful view from the lakeside. Glancing at their surprised looks, Hua Jing couldn't help but smirk silently.

Yun Shang looked at them as well. It seemed that no one had discovered the secret of the pavilion. With a questioning frown, she turned to Hua Jing. But to her surprise, Hua Jing looked calm about the situation, as if she had had everything under control.

"Luo Qingyan, Luo Qingyan. Look here. I can see through the mist from here. It's crystal clear! How peculiar." From among the guests came Wang Jinhuan's loud voice again. Hua Jing rose from her seat and stepped towards them, "Uncle."

Prince Jing simply nodded and said nothing in return. Hua Jing smiled and continued, "It's my great honor to have you here."

"Is that Prince Jing? Heavens! I never thought I would see him from such a close distance." All of a sudden, the women began whispering. Prince Jing seated himself opposite Yun Shang and answered casually, "Jinhuan wanted to have a look, but he didn't receive an invitation. So I decided to bring him here to have some fun."

Hua Jing didn't expect such an answer. She then apologized to Wang Jinhuan with a polite smile, "It was my mistake. I promise I will personally deliver the invitation for my next feast."

"Who is that Mister Wang? Why is Prince Jing so nice to him? Perhaps Prince Jing is gay and Mister Wang is his lover?" Yun Shang heard a woman mumbling to herself. She wasn't sure whether she heard the woman correctly. And when she was, Yun Shang couldn't help bursting into giggles. However, Prince Jing who sat opposite her, stared at the giggling Princess. Yun Shang didn't dare to laugh out loud, so she lowered her head and curled her lips into a naughty smile.

The band started to play, signaling the beginning of the feast. Guests then found their seats and sat down. When all the guests were seated, Hua Jing raised her hand, smiled, and announced, "It is my pleasure to hold this feast and I do hope that you enjoy it. It is meant to be a casual party, so having fun is the only rule today."

While Hua Jing was speaking, Yun Shang felt someone was staring at her. She looked around and saw a familiar face among the guests. It was Mo Jingran.

Yun Shang then recalled Hua Jing's request before the feast. Hua Jing had asked Yun Shang to take care of Mo Jingran for her during the feast.

Thinking of Hua Jing's request, Yun Shang said to herself, 'This is getting more and more interesting. It seems the show is about to begin.'

"We all know how scenic the Qianxin Tower is. So first things first, let's take a tour around the Tower. Since it was not easy to bring all talented guests present together, I'd say we don't waste such a precious opportunity. The thing is, there are lots of riddles hidden in this Tower. I suggest that the guests find and solve as many riddles as possible while enjoying the view. Actually, the game also comes with a little encouragement. By the end of the event, the one who has solved the most riddles will be awarded a small surprise gift. Remember the last time? Our gift was the ownership of a grand hotel in the Imperial City. And this time, it will be something even greater and better. Let's see who will be the lucky winner in the end." Reclining on her chair, Hua Jing added lazily.

A grand hotel? That was quite generous. With the landscape, the beauties, and, if possible, a huge surprise gift, no wonder every celebrity tried so hard to earn a spot in Princess Hua Jing's feast.

Enticed by Hua Jing's words, people were eager to get started. Hua Jing was proud to see the fever in her guests' faces. She then smiled and continued, "Please, help yourselves to the food and beverages placed around the lakeside. Now, shall we begin? I'm looking forward to seeing who triumphs."

"Luo Qingyan, Luo Qingyan. Did you hear her? There is food over there. Come quickly. Follow me here..." Wang Jinhuan's eyes lit up the minute he heard the word, food. He caught hold of Prince Jing's arm and soon, they disappeared in the mist.

Following their lead, the guests scattered about to either enjoy the view or to look for riddles. Hua Jing, Yun Shang, and Mo Jingran were left alone in the pavilion.

"Mister Mo, I should have accompanied you today, but I have been too busy to find the time. How about I lend my little sister to you and let her show you around?" Hua Jing rose and stepped in front of Mo Jingran.

"The pleasure is all mine." Mo Jingran smiled and turned to Yun Shang. He stared at her gently.

Were it not for what he had done to her in her previous life, Yun Shang would have been lost in his gentle smile again. But she was not the silly girl she used to be. She would not be worthy of a second life if she were stupid enough to be fooled by him again.

"Shang'er, I can manage from here. Why don't you take a walk with Mister Mo?" Hua Jing turned to Yun Shang and asked sincerely.

Yun Shang nodded. Eyes fixed on the ground as if she were shy, Yun Shang stepped slowly towards Mo Jingran and whispered, "Mister Mo, this way please."

Mo Jingran hurried to follow her.

Hua Jing stood still until both, Yun Shang and Mo Jingran had disappeared in the mist. She leaned closer to the handrails and soon saw the two figures emerging from the mist. From where she stood, she could even see Mo Jingran's shaky hands behind his back. Yun Shang was looking at the ground all the way, like a shy little girl.

Hua Jing sneered, cruelty reflecting in her eyes, "Yun Shang, let's see how you are going to get away this time."

"Your Highness... My name is Mo Jingran. I wonder whether you remember me." Mo Jingran who had been following Yun Shang, thought for a moment before finally asking with uncertainty.

Yun Shang let out a smile to hide the sadness in her eyes, "Of course I remember you." Yun Shang turned to Mo Jingran and continued, "I remember you played a song for me at my Coming-of-age Ceremony. I can't recall the name of your song, but it was really lovely."

"Did you like it? I can play the flute for you anytime you wish." Excited, Mo Jingran raised his voice.

Yun Shang smiled and said nothing. She pointed at a nearby tree and said, "Well, Mister Mo. Is that a riddle?"

"What? What did you say?" Mo Jingran was still thinking about playing the flute for Yun Shang. So he wondered why Yun Shang would mention a riddle. The second he spoke up he realized that she was thinking about the riddle game of the feast. Embarrassed, he cleared his throat, "Right, a riddle."

Mo Jingran was about to reach for the riddle when someone picked the fruit before him and peeled away the parchment. The man then waved the parchment high in the air and cried, "Hey! Luo Qingyan! Look, here's a riddle! They wrapped a parchment with a riddle around my favorite fruit. How annoying. Here you go."

Startled, Yun Shang looked up and saw a pair of cold eyes staring back at her. Yun Shang smiled docilely and greeted, "Uncle..."

Prince Jing nodded in return. He opened the parchment and read, "What is too much for two and just right for one? I think the answer is, a secret. Am I right, Mister Mo?"

Mo Jingran paused as Prince Jing said his name. He then hurried to comply, "Right, right. Your Royal Highness is truly brilliant."

Prince Jing said nothing. Instead he turned his eyes away from Mo Jingran, and cast a casual look at Yun Shang before leaving.

"Such a shame. It could have been ours. And to be honest, it was not very difficult." Mo Jingran sighed heavily as he saw Prince Jing leave. After a moment, he turned to Yun Shang and said, "Your Highness, I saw a riddle when I arrived in the morning. I wasn't quite sure what it was for back then. I still remember where it was. Shall we have a look together?"

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