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   Chapter 83 Coming to the Borderland

Eight-year-old Princess: Phoenix Reborn By Lan You Ruo Characters: 18845

Updated: 2018-08-28 18:51


Emperor Ning's admiration for Master Wu Na grew after the incident. So when Master Wu Na asked whether Yun Shang needed to rest at the Ning'guo Temple, the Emperor promptly asked Yun Shang, and upon receiving her confirmation, he gave his permission.

Yun Shang bid Lady Jin and the Emperor farewell before leaving the Palace with Wu Na. She didn't take Qin Yi with her this time. She was accompanied by Qian Yin.

Although Yun Shang did enter Ning'guo Temple, she snuck out from the back door. She, together with Qian Yin, disguised themselves as men and left for the borderland.

Situated in the border area of Ning State and Yelang State, Xiyi town is home to open-minded and progressive people. It is common for boys and girls to laugh and joke together on the street.

When Yun Shang reached Xiyi Town, she stopped at a reasonably clean tavern. She ordered two bowls of beef noodles. Since it was past lunchtime, there were few people in the tavern. She called the attendant to her side.

"My little brother and I have come here for business. During our journey, we learned that recently a war broke out here. Is it true? We were worried. But when we got here, we see that everything is peaceful and tranquil. What's going on here?" Along the journey, Yun Shang and Qian Yin had both disguised themselves as men and called each other brother.

The attendant found few customers in sight so he simply sat by Yun Shang's side and said, "A few days ago, there was a fierce fight. We didn't dare go out. And this town almost become a territory of Yelang State. But later, Prince Jing came here and fought back. You know, Prince Jing is a capable man." At this point, the attendant gave a thumbs-up and continued, "Within no more than half a month, Prince Jing defeated Prince Qingsu of Yelang State and the army of Yelang State was forced to retreat for five li*. Prince Jing and his army set up their encampment five li from here so that civilians could live a normal life. A stretch of encampment is visible when you go to the west of the town."

(*TN: 2.5 kilometers)

Yun Shang said with a big smile, "We are lucky. We have been worried about being engaged in the war. Before we arrived here, we thought that if there was an ongoing war, we would leave as quickly as possible. We are here now. Luckily, nothing is happening."

The attendant said after thinking for a moment, "Prince Jing deserves all the credit. Were it not for the leadership of Prince Jing, we would have to bow our heads to Yelang State. I heard that our army had a battle with the army of Yelang State last night. Our army, led by Prince Jing, won at last. But I heard that Prince Qingsu caught Princess Hui Guo. Princess Hui Guo is a good person. I hope the Prince can get Princess Hui Guo back."

"Princess Hui Guo was caught?" Qian Yin exclaimed loudly. She looked at Yun Shang with surprise.

"Yes. Prince Qingsu, after being defeated last night, claimed that Princess Hui Guo was under his control and that if Prince Jing did not surrender, he would kill Princess Hui Guo." The attendant looked around cautiously before whispering, "I heard that Princess Hui Guo is a kind and beautiful girl. What a pity it is that she has been caught by the ferocious Prince Qingsu. She will be mistreated by that Prince."

On hearing this, Yun Shang frowned and said, "How could it be? We passed by the Imperial City a couple of days ago. Princess Hui Guo was still there. Master Wu Na and the Princess made an appearance together when a malefic appeared in the Imperial City."

"What?" The attendant thought this big news was something he could boast about. So he hastened to inquire, "Is Princess Hui Guo in the Imperial Palace?"

Yun Shang nodded her head and said assertively, "Yes, she is. The Imperial Palace is so heavily guarded that there is a very slim chance that Princess Hui Guo was kidnapped. Even if they kidnapped our Princess, they would be unlikely to arrive here ahead of us."

Qian Yin added, "Prince Qingsu must be deceiving Prince Jing. He is trying to force Prince Jing to surrender. Now Prince Jing is at the border, which is so far from the Imperial Palace that he doesn't know what is happening in the Imperial Palace. Even if someone had sent him a letter, it would take some time to reach the Prince. What if Prince Jing believes the lie?"

The attendant said in a worried voice, "Oh, Prince Qingsu is too crafty."

Yun Shang rose to her feet quickly. "I can't let this happen. I have to tell Prince Jing about the lie lest he be taken in."

"You should tell him. Let me tell you how to find him. When you walk out of here, turn left and go straight. You will see the west exit of this town. Pass the exit, and you will see Prince Jing's encampment." The attendant couldn't suppress his excitement. He said, "You two are gallant men. Please serve yourselves some noodles before you set off."

Yun Shang nodded. After a while, the attendant brought two bowls of noodles. When they had finishing eating, Yun Shang and Qian Yin set out to find Prince Jing according to the attendant's directions.

"Your Highness, why did Prince Qingsu claim that you are under his control? Apparently you are here with me. Doesn't he know that Prince Jing has seen you and he would recognize you easily?" said Qian Yin.

Yun Shang smiled coldly. "There are two possibilities. One, Prince Qingsu had found someone that looks very similar to me and ordered her to pose as me. Or he just asked somebody to wear a mask made of human skin to disguise as me. Second, Prince Qingsu has been deceived by someone. He has no idea of the real identity of the girl that he has caught. I was raised in Ning'guo Temple, so few people have seen me. It is possible that Prince Qingsu has mistaken another girl for me. I remember that Ning Qian told me that Prince Qingsu saved Hua Jing. I have every reason to suspect that the person whom Prince Qingsu has caught is Hua Jing."

"But why does Hua Jing pose as you, Your Highness?" asked Qian Yin with a puzzled expression.

At this moment, a grim smile appeared on Yun Shang's face. She said, "Only Hua Jing can answer this question."

"Don't move. Who are you? This is a military stronghold. You are prohibited from entering." said a soldier. As Yun Shang and Qian Yin rode to the gate of the encampment, they were stopped by two soldiers.

Yun Shang took out a token and said, "We are friends of your Prince. We come from the Imperial City. We have something important to report to your Prince. Please notify the Prince and give this token to him. He will know who I am."

The two soldiers looked at each other before examining Yun Shang from head to toe. Although dressed as a man, Yun Shang's appearance gave them the impression that he was of high-born elegance even though he looked quite tired after a long journey. The soldiers didn't dare snub Yun Shang. After taking the token from Yun Shang, one of the soldiers ran into the encampment.

Almost half an hour later, Yun Shang saw several people walking out of a military tent. They were led by a man with whom she was familiar. When he approached, her suspicions were confirmed. It was Prince Jing.

When Prince Jing looked at Yun Shang, he frowned and said, "Why are you here? Life is tough here. You shouldn't have come here." As he spoke, he walked up to the horse on which Yun Shang was seated and held the horse for her. Then he turned and began walking towards the encampment.

The soldiers escorting Prince Jing widened their eyes when they saw their Prince holding the horse for the emaciated guest who had come from afar. This gesture was beneath his rank and they couldn't help but look astonished. Yun Shang was also shocked and said, "Un…" Just before she could finish saying the word, Uncle, it occurred to her that if she addressed Prince Jing as Uncle, she would reveal her identity to others. So she corrected herself quickly, "Prince Jing, how can I let you hold the horse for me? Please let me get off the horse."

Prince Jing turned round to glance at Yun Shang before continuing to proceed towards the encampment without saying a word. Some soldiers saw this scene and followed Yun Shang. Yun Shang felt embarrassed and didn't know what the Prince's intentions were. She hurried to jump off the horse and walked alongside Prince Jing, only to find that the Prince was… in a daze.

"Prince?" called Yun Shang gently.

Prince Jing replied, "Yes" and turned to find that Yun Shang was walking by his side. He was startled. Then he looked at the horse and asked Yun Shang, "When did you jump off the horse?" After that he whispered to himself, "I am not dreaming!"

Yun Shang was not close enough to Prince Jing to hear him clearly and only caught a few vague words such as dreaming. Without knowing what Prince Jing said, Yun Shang explained herself, "Prince, if I keep sitting on the horse, I would feel as if I were a monkey in an acrobatic show, which is being watched by an audience."

Looking around, Prince Jing saw several soldiers following him and Yun Shang. He said in a cold voice, "You! What are you doing here?"

The soldiers broke into a loud laugh. "Prince, you act as if you've lost your senses. Do you mind introducing your guest to us? Introduce him to us, please."

"Don't bother me. Go away! Go!" Prince Jing frowned and said impatiently.

The crowd burst into laughter again. Yun Shang's face flushed but she stared at Prince Jing with a look of surprise. Prince Jing was always cool and emotionless. She had never seen Prince Jing act like this before. She was curious about Prince Jing's behavior.

A while later, they reached a military tent with a Chinese character for General painted on it. Prince Jing threw the reins to the nearest soldier and walked into the tent. Yun Shang and Qian Yin followed him. Just as they entered the tent, Prince Jing said in a joyless tone, "Why are you all here? Does Prince Qingsu provoke a fight again?"

Yun Shang's sight was blocked by Prince Jing. She couldn't see anything inside but heard a hearty laugh. A male voice spoke, "No, he doesn't. I am told that you have a guest here and you volunteered to hold the horse for him. We are curious about this person. So we came to meet this person. Where is he?"

On hearing this, Yun Shang began to realize what all she was going to deal with in the encampment. There were only men here, and it seemed that they spoke candidly without meaning harm. Before Prince Jing could explain, Yun Shang said, "I am Xiao Yun, a friend of Prince Jing. Today, he held the horse for me because he lost a bet to me."

On hearing this, people inside the tent stretched their necks to see the man standing behind Prince Jing.

Prince Jing smiled. He knew that Yun Shang had coined the name. Xiao was her mother's last name while Yun was one of her mother's first names. He really wanted to see what kind of bet she would make up to support this lie. With this thought, he walked directly to his seat and left Yun Shang to stand in the same place. Yun Shang was revealed to the people inside the encampment.

"You see, he is of fine bones and fair skin. He is well-preserved in the Imperial City. We have been exposed to the wind and rain all these years at the borderland. We can't compare with him." said one of the officers in the tent.

Yun Shang looked at the man who was speaking. He was a stout military officer with a moustache. He had a mild appearance.

Yun Shang smiled at him. Then she looked round to see another acquaintance besides Prince Jing. It was Wang Shunlai, Prince Jing's valet. Wang Shunlai recognized Yun Shang as soon as he saw her. He pointed at Yun Shang, "Prin…"

Just before he could blurt out the word Princess, he saw Prince Jing staring at him coldly. He immediately corrected himself, "Sir!"

"Xiao, you didn't tell us what kind of bet you had with Prince Jing. Tell us about it so that next time we can also have the same bet with Prince Jing. If he loses, we will ask him to do the same for us. How awesome it will be to let Prince Jing walk the horse for us!" said the officer with a moustache.

Yun Shang replied with a smile, "Well, you see, I have a delicate constitution. So Prince Jing bet that I would not dare come to the borderland from the Imperial City with only one companion within ten days. So we made a deal. If I lose, I would manage to persuade the most well-known courtesan to visit him when he returns to the Imperial City. And if he lost, he would hold the horse for me when I enter the encampment."

"Hahaha…" The whole tent was roaring with laughter. "Prince, we thought you had no interest in women. But it turns out that you have taken a fancy to the famous courtesan in the Imperial City. I have heard of the lady many times. She must be a peerless beauty."

Prince Jing was shocked at Yun Shang's explanation. He smiled and glanced at Yun Shang. Then, he pretended to be grave and said gruffly, "You officers rushed here to see me make a fool of myself. It would be better if you displayed the same energy in the battlefield."

Despite what Prince Jing said, the military officers didn't fear him at all. They continued, "Xiao, will you be able to call the lady to sell her body? I heard that Lady Qian Qian makes a living by performing instead of selling her body."

On hearing this, Yun Shang replied with a bitter smile, "No, I am not able to do that. I was afraid to lose to Prince Jing. So I tried my best to get here. You see, I won."

The officers laughed loudly. "Prince, if you do love that lady, you need only to tell me. I will kidnap the lady and put her in your bed, " said one officer.

On hearing this, Prince Jing frowned. He realized that the officers were going to talk about issues and use language unfit for a Princess. Upon glancing at Yun Shang, he saw that she was already blushing in embarrassment. So he asked the officers to leave his tent. After many protests, the officers retreated from Prince Jing's tent.

Yun Shang stood still as she didn't know what to do. A moment later, she heard Prince Jing. "Come here. Get seated. I heard that you were still in the Imperial Palace when the celebration of the Winter Solstice was held. But now you are here. When I saw you, I thought that I mistook someone else for you."

Yun Shang thought that Prince Jing was about to blame her for Lady Shu's misfortune. As she walked to a chair, she thought about how she was going to explain it.

"You should be in the Imperial Palace. Why did you come here?" asked Prince Jing with raised eyebrows.

Yun Shang thought for a while and said, "I heard that Hua Jing was caught by Prince Qingsu."

"Well, you are well-informed. You know all the things that happen here. Did you send people to look for Hua Jing after she left the Imperial City? I heard that on the day that Hua Jing was caught by Prince Qingsu, a group of killers was following her. Was it you that ordered those people to kill her?" Since the officers had left the tent, Prince Jing spoke openly. He languidly leaned back on his chair. As he took a cup of tea from the table, he fixed his eyes on Yun Shang.

Yun Shang nodded and replied, "Yes. I sent them here to kill her."

"I was right! I knew Hua Jing had no enemy who hated her as much as you do, " said Prince Jing. He paused as he thought of another detail. "Before I left the Imperial City, the Emperor told me that Hua Jing's husband was stuck in Linguan Town. I led a group of soldiers to search for the Emperor's Son-in-Law, but only found some of his subordinates. His subordinates said that it was not soldiers of Yelang State that attacked them and that the Emperor's Son-in-Law had been caught by those attackers and never returned. I wonder if you sent those people to kidnap Hua Jing's husband to force Hua Jing to come to the borderland. As long as Hua Jing is here, you can get rid of her easily." The more Prince Jing thought about it, the surer he was about his conjecture.

Yun Shang said nothing. Instead, she looked at her feet with a smile on her face.

"Well, well, Yun Shang, I shouldn't judge you harshly. I have seen Hua Jing oppress you several times. I thought you were incompetent. I didn't expect that you would make such a perfect plot to get rid of Hua Jing." said Prince Jing while laughing loudly. Judging from her expression, Prince Jing was almost sure about his theory.

Yun Shang said with a smile, "Uncle, thank you for praising me. The Empress is powerful in the Imperial City. So when I am in the Imperial City, I have to pretend to be innocent and weak. If I do something to contend with Hua Jing in the Imperial City, she will suspect me. But at the frontier, the Empress is unable to exert her power to control me. So I can do whatever I want here."

"And you intend to get rid of Hua Jing yourself this time?" asked Prince Jing. He remembered that Yun Shang had said that she wanted to kill Hua Jing with her own hands.

Yun Shang nodded and said, "I don't want Hua Jing to return to the Imperial City."

Prince Jing nodded, but then he shook his head. "You have been too impetuous this time. The frontier is full of dangers. You come here without taking that into consideration. What's more, the encampment is full of male soldiers. You are a maiden. You entered the camp without considering the potential danger.

Yun Shang smiled and said, "Uncle, please let me stay here. You know, Hua Jing is in Prince Qingsu's encampment, which is not far from here. If I stay here, I will get quicker updates about her situation."

On hearing this, Prince Jing thought for a while. Then he said, "OK. I will allow you to stay here. But you should be more cautious."

Yun Shang nodded quickly. "Uncle, trust me. I promise I will be more cautious."

"Whoa…" The sound was followed by the clap of hooves and the crash of armor. Then a voice said, "General, …"

"Come in." Prince Jing frowned and straightened up. A soldier entered and quickly spoke, "Prince, the army of Yelang State is provoking us again. They have thrown the head of one of our soldiers to us. Besides, they claim that If we do not surrender, they will kill Princess Hui Guo."

Prince Jing lifted his eyes to look at Yun Shang. He found that her eyes gleamed with excitement. He smiled and said, "Let's go face them."

Yun Shang hastened to stand up and said, "Prince, I will go with you."

On hearing this, Prince Jing raised his eyebrows. It seemed that everything was going as expected. He found Yun Shang, though disguised as a man, was stunningly gorgeous. He then took out a silver mask and gave it to Yun Shang.

Yun Shang took the mask from the Prince before putting it on and following him out of the tent.

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