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   Chapter 88 The Unexpected Love

Eight-year-old Princess: Phoenix Reborn By Lan You Ruo Characters: 18939

Updated: 2018-08-30 18:20


"Yes, I am quite sure that the book on the table has been moved." The soldier nodded as he spoke.

Yun Shang said after pondering, "You have been here since the beginning. Did you notice a stranger helping the people who came to extinguish the fire?"

If Yun Shang was right, the person who started the fire had been hiding in the camp. Once the Deputy Commander's tent had been set on fire, and all the attendants had run off to fetch water, he snuck into the tent in search of something. Taking advantage of the absolute chaos, he then joined the group and pretended to extinguish the fire as one of them.

"Many men helped with the fire. But I didn't spot anyone behaving strangely. Your Highness, should I have those people watched?" The attendant asked Yun Shang's opinion immediately.

Yun Shang shook her head and walked out of the tent. There had been so many people running to and fro to fight the fire, the culprit must have escaped by now. It would be impossible to find him.

No sooner had Yun Shang walked out of the tent than she saw a flame soaring up into the sky. Then, there was a huge explosion. Yun Shang was taken aback at first. When she got past the shock, she realized that the flame originated near the Prince's tent. She looked around in search of Hua Jing, but could see no sign of her.

Suddenly, it dawned on her that the fire in the Deputy Commander's tent must have been a trick to distract her. Yun Shang scolded herself for her carelessness.

"Where is Princess Hua Jing?" Yun Shang asked.

A soldier stepped forward and answered, "Mister Xiao, Princess Hua Jing has returned to Her Highness's tent."

Returned to her tent?

"Take me to the Princess's tent."

Yun Shang was escorted to Hua Jing's tent by the solider. She hesitated for a moment when in front of the tent. At last, she raised her voice and said, "Your Highness, are you in there?"

Hua Jing replied from inside, "Yes. Is that Mister Xiao? Is there anything I can do for you? Please come in..."

"It's unnecessary. I was worried about Your Highness's safety as I haven't seen Your Highness since the fire. I came here to ensure that Your Highness is not hurt. As there have been some incidents in the camp today, Your Highness should stay in the tent and not walk around. I will arrange some guards to protect you." Then she turned and spoke to the soldier behind her, "Call thirty soldiers to guard the Princess's tent carefully. If someone sneaks into the Princess's tent and hurts the Princess, there would be no possibility for you to get a pardon from the Lord."

The soldier said "yes" and then walked away.

After everything had been arranged, Yun Shang returned to her tent. If someone had slipped into the Prince's tent, he would find that the Prince had not been in the tent. The flame must be a signal to inform the enemy about this, and the Prince would be in danger if he were in the enemy's camp now. However, the Prince had previously mentioned that there was a spy in the Ning army. If she took any action to rescue the Prince, the spy would probably find out and inform the enemy of the rescue mission. That would be terribly awful.

"Mister Xiao." Qian Meng hesitantly addressed Yun Shang who had been in deep thought.

Yun Shang lifted her eyes to see who had spoken. She saw Qian Meng. Then a thought occurred to her. She said to Qian Meng, "You, stay in the tent. There is something I need to handle. I must leave now."

Qian Meng was taken by surprise. She nodded at Yun Shang, and watched the Princess leave in a hurry.

"Mister Xiao, where are you going?" Seeing Yun Shang walk out of the tent in a hurry, Luo Ding caught up with her and asked.

"Are there any other generals in the camp?" Instead of answering Luo Ding's question, Yun Shang raised a question for him.

Luo Ding answered, "General Zhang is still in the camp."

Yun Shang selected a horse, and said to Luo Ding, "Go and tell General Zhang that no one should leave the camp tonight. Execute whoever violates this order." Then she mounted the horse, and whipped the horse to run out of the camp.

Luo Ding frowned as he watched Yun Shang's figure fade away. He knew something must be wrong. And so, he ran to General Zhang's tent without delay.

"Woo..." The night was tranquil. In spite of the cold, Yun Shang's forehead was covered in sweat. She reached Xiyi Town within half an hour, but the gate to the town was already closed. Yun Shang squinted as she studied the surroundings carefully. Then she jumped down from the horse and climbed over the wall around the town. She ran to an ordinary house in the town and knocked on the door. The voice of a familiar woman inquired from inside, "Who is it?"

Yun Shang lowered her voice and answered, "It's me. Xiao Yun."

The door was pulled open. Yun Shang was surrounded by several women as soon as she set foot inside the room. "Master, it's quite late now. Why are you here? Is something wrong?"

Yun Shang nodded, "Where is Ning Qian? How many people do we have here?"

"She is chatting with Qian Yin in the room inside, and there are over thirty people here." A soft voice replied.

Yun Shang nodded at the maid. Then she walked across the yard, pushed open the door of a room, and walked in.

"Master?" The women in the room addressed her simultaneously.

"There is no time to explain. All of you need to come with me now, and bring your weapons." Yun Shang's eyes swept across everyone in the room before she left.

Several women had been sitting in the room. Qian Yin was one of them. And in the middle, sat Ning Qian, the most beautiful among them. Ning Qian rose to her feet after Yun Shang left. She said, "Pack up and follow the master."

Once the women had changed and collected their weapons, they scurried out of the room and into the yard without delay.

"Master, there are thirty seven people in total. Everyone is here." Ning Qian said gently.

Yun Shang nodded and said, "We are going to carry out a secret mission in the enemy's camp. It is far from here. Prince Jing planned a surprise attack on the Yelang army. But Yelang's spy in our army has sent them a signal. I'm afraid the Prince might be in danger. The Prince told his plan to me before leaving. I believe the Prince to be near the river at the foot of the mountain on the right. We need to aid the Prince as soon as possible. But it would be risky for us to be seen together. We'd better leave town separately and meet up outside."

Yun Shang opened the door and left after finishing her explanation. Once all the women had collected at the designated meeting spot, they rode toward their destination.

The river was frozen, and the horses kept slipping on the pebble-paved path along the river. Yun Shang said with a frown, "It's too slippery. We'd better walk." She jumped down from the horse while speaking.

It was a long river. They had walked for about four hours before they vaguely heard something. Yun Shang gave a sign to stop the procession, "There is someone ahead. Hide."

Fortunately, the grove by the riverside was so thick that it was not difficult for them to hide.

Hidden in the brushwood, Yun Shang heard footsteps. Then she heard a man with a coarse voice speak, "We've gotten a signal from our man in the Ning army. The Ning soldiers must have escaped from our camp. We must find an excellent spot for an ambush, and kill them all."

There was a trace of Yelang accent in his voice.

Yun Shang needed to send out a warning. She mimicked a cuckoo.

"It's winter now. What kind of bird would sing in such cold?" The man asked in wonder. Then he resumed speaking, "Hurry up. Our men along the road have to be well prepared except for..." Before he could finish speaking, his head was already off his neck and fell to the ground.

Silence filled the air. After a short moment, a voice was heard, "Aha... dead..."

That man did not get a chance to finish his words either. Yun Shang rushed out from behind the brushwood. She held in her hand the sword given by Ning Qian. She dashed toward the soldiers. Shouts and screams were heard before they fell to the ground one by one. An instant later, the world was shrouded in silence again.

"Master, there were twenty four soldiers. All dead now." Ning Qian spoke in a soft voice.

Yun Shang nodded, "It seems there are many ambushes along the way. We must be very careful."

So the women continued to advance cautiously. An hour into their march, they heard the sound of fighting. Yun Shang squinted to look ahead, and guessed this must be a fight between Prince Jing and the Yelang army.

So she said quickly, "Let's hurry. Prince Jing must be fighting ahead. We need to help him as quickly as possible."

The women ran as fast as they could after hearing Yun Shang. When they got close enough to hear the fight clearly, Yun Shang stopped to listen attentively. She heard a familiar voice speaking, "My Lord, you go first. I will cover for you."

That was General Zhao, a subordinate of Prince Jing. Yun Shang recognized his voice. Prince Jing must be with him, as General Zhao had addressed the Prince just now. Yun Shang waved to give a sign to her female warriors, and they all dashed to join the fight.

"Who is it?" Prince Jing inquired aloud.

"It's me." Yun Shang responded immediately. She was afraid that the Prince would mistake them as reinforcements from Yelang.

Prince

Jing was taken by surprise. He turned around in search of the source of the voice. It was so dark that he could only see a silhouette. However, he recognized Yun Shang by the sparkle in her eyes. The Prince ran to Yun Shang and asked, "Why did you come?"

Seeing the Prince standing right before her, Yun Shang felt her heart settle in her chest. She answered, "You and your men must be exhausted after your fight. Withdraw several steps away lest we hurt them by mistake."

Prince Jing glanced at the people behind Yun Shang and nodded. He whistled, and his men withdrew at his signal. Then Yun Shang waved her hand to command her female warriors to launch an attack.

Although Yun Shang's female warriors knew nothing about the art of war, they were indeed skilled fighters. Every move they took was fatal enough to end a life. There were fifty or sixty Yelang soldiers, but all of them were killed by Yun Shang's warriors in a short while. It was dawn when the fight finished.

"Master, all the fifty seven men are dead." Ning Qian's gentle voice stood out against the bloody scene.

"A woman? It's a woman?" One of Prince Jing's senior generals asked in astonishment.

Paying no attention to the general's question, Yun Shang spoke to the Prince, "Let's leave. We eliminated their relief troops that were on the way here."

It seemed that no one was in the mood to speak after this hard day. They kept walking in silence for quite a while. When it was getting brighter, Yun Shang noticed that there was a long cut on the Prince's arm. The cut was so severe that it was bleeding profusely.

Yun Shang stopped and said, "You are hurt?"

Prince Jing cast a glance at the wound on his arm, and said with a smile, "Don't worry. It's just a minor injury. Why did you come?" The Prince repeated his unanswered question.

Yun Shang frowned at the Prince's wound. She looked around, but could not find any herbs to stem the bleeding. So, she tore off a part of the Prince's sleeve, and bound the wound with it to curb the bleeding.

"Alas, I was saved by a group of women." A bearded man walking behind Prince Jing exclaimed. He was following the Prince and kept a vigil around the marching troops. He only dared to speak when the atmosphere was no more lifeless as Yun Shang and Prince Jing had begun to talk.

All the women were dressed in black to camouflage themselves in the night. Although their lower faces were covered by a piece of chiffon, their petite stature betrayed their feminine features.

Yun Shang said with a smile, "General, I guess you have no idea that your tent was burnt to ashes last night."

That bearded man was taken aback, "What? Who did it?"

Yun Shang didn't answer his question, but she said to Prince Jing, "The spy set a fire to the Deputy Commander's tent, and snuck into yours when I went to check the fire. He must have known that you would launch an attack against the Yelang army, as you were not in the tent. I saw a signal flame when I was leaving the burnt tent. It must have been released by the spy. I was afraid you would be in danger, but I could not send your men to help you. The spy would know if I did so. He would have alerted the enemy and they would have been prepared. So, I went to Xiyi Town to gather my fighters. You are lucky as we came in time."

Yun Shang heard a man screaming just as she barely finished speaking. "Corpses, " the man shouted.

The river in front of them was dyed scarlet by blood. There were human heads and headless bodies scattered here and there. A soldier said in a trembling voice, "Who killed them? It was done so cruelly."

Ning Qian uttered in a cold tone before Yun Shang could get a chance to speak, "Us. If we hadn't killed them, you would have encountered an ambush right now."

"But..."

Yun Shang knew what he wanted to say, but she just curled her lips a little and kept quiet. The whole group sank into silence for the rest of their journey back to the Ning camp.

After six hours of walking, the camp was finally in sight. Yun Shang said to Ning Qian, "You can return now. But find a place to wash off the blood and tidy yourselves. You look terrifying."

Ning Qian replied with a nod, "Yes, we will." Then she waved at the women behind her, and in a fleeting instant, the women disappeared from view of the Ning soldiers.

"M...Mister... Mister Xiao... They know such a high level of Kung Fu..." Prince Jing's men stared in the direction the female warriors disappeared into for a long time before exclaiming in admiration.

Once they reached the camp, they went to Prince Jing's tent to hold a meeting about the fight and the fire. The meeting lasted until mid-day. Yun Shang felt so exhausted that she walked past the screen and went to bed without undressing.

Prince Jing dismissed his men after the meeting was over. He raised his head to look at the screen when he was alone. He pondered for a moment before walking around the screen. He suddenly arrested his steps. Yun Shang, who was supposed to have fallen asleep, was staring at him while lying on the bed.

"Why don't you sleep?" Prince Jing smiled at Yun Shang and said in a gentle voice.

Yun Shang sat up and frowned at Prince Jing, "You are still bleeding. Why not summon a military physician to treat your injury? Why don't you rest now?"

Prince Jing smiled and felt warm in his heart. "You care about me, right?"

This question was beyond Yun Shang's expectation. She frowned at the Prince and pretended to ignore his question. Then she cast him a glance before lying down again. Then, she turned her back toward him. "Uncle, you'd better go out. I'm going to sleep."

But she heard the Prince laugh. That was rare for the Prince, as he seldom laughed at ordinary times. Yun Shang felt her heart beat faster in her chest. The Prince always assumed an indifferent attitude whenever she saw him. He either smiled only with his lips slightly curled, or flashed a smile that no one would deem as a smile. Yun Shang wondered what the Prince would look like at a moment such as this when he laughed so heartily. His smile must be as valuable as a flower that would only bloom every hundred years.

"I have sent Luo Ding to find the military physician. He will come with the medicine soon." Yun Shang heard the Prince speak in a coarse voice and felt the bed sink a little. It seemed the Prince had sat down on the bedside. Yun Shang was so startled that her heart was in her throat...

Yun Shang was trying her best to figure out what was happening. But there was no more sound nor movement from behind her. She gave a gentle bite to her lip and held her hands tight. When she was about to turn around to look, she heard the Prince speak in a low voice, "I didn't expect that you would come tonight. I could not believe what I had seen when you came and stood right before me. I went to war when I was a teenager. I have saved my life from the God of Death many times, and I have never celebrated my narrow escape from death before. But last night, I did feel grateful that I was still alive. And I thanked the Heavenly God that I met you. You worry for me, care about me, and fight with me."

Yun Shang felt out of breath as if her heart had been grasped by an unseen hand. She was at a loss for a response.

She was reborn for revenge, and lived for revenge in this life. She even came to the border for revenge. She wanted to kill Hua Jing and enact her vengeance on the Empress.

She never thought of nor did she dare to dream of accepting love from a man. She had made up her mind to abstain from falling in love because of her husband's unfaithfulness in her previous life. Although she felt that Prince Jing was special to her, she was also clear that she didn't love the Prince enough to give up everything for him.

Yun Shang opened her mouth but could not utter a single word. After a moment, she curled her lips to calm herself down, and said, "Prince Jing is the God of War in the State of Ning. It's your responsibility to defend the populace and the land of Ning. Although I am just a woman, I will try my best to guard the Prince, as only the Prince can protect our populace from getting involved in the war."

Yun Shang could not help trembling while speaking those words, though she had attempted to speak them in a manner otherwise.

The man behind her seemed to freeze after hearing Yun Shang's words. After a long while, he said in defeat, "You must be tired after having gone through all this. You'd better rest now." The bed bounced to where it had been after Prince Jing had barely finished speaking, and Yun Shang knew that he had stood up.

After a short while, Yun Shang heard the Prince walk out of the tent. She was taken by surprise and frowned. Would he not wait for the military physician? Where would he go with his unattended injury?

Yun Shang felt a loss in her heart. Maybe the Prince was hurt by her words as well as her coldness. Yun Shang lowered her head, and clenched her teeth to prevent herself from crying. Her foes were still out there, and Hua Jing was living merrily at a stone's throw. Yun Shang shut her eyes. In the sheer darkness, she saw the pale face of her baby and the indifferent face of Mo Jingran. She could even hear the alluring voice of Hua Jing. She had to grit her teeth to subdue her heart which had wavered just now in its thirst for love. At last, she fell asleep.

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