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   Chapter 91 The Dust Settled

Eight-year-old Princess: Phoenix Reborn By Lan You Ruo Characters: 15589

Updated: 2018-08-31 17:09

"What do you mean by missing?" Yun Shang frowned.

"Earlier today, a soldier noticed that the Princess was not in her tent while delivering breakfast to Lady Zhao and Her Highness, so he reported to me. I thought she might be taking a walk somewhere, so I didn't pay much attention. But Lady Zhao told me Princess Hua Jing still hasn't returned. I have sent them to look for Her Highness, but no one has found her yet."

"Have the guards seen her? I specifically ordered that no one would be allowed to leave the camp today." Prince Jing rolled down his sleeves and asked calmly.

The Deputy Commander answered. "No. The guards reported that no one has left the camp today."

"It should be fine then. She must still be in the camp. She couldn't have left. It's not easy to find her in such a big camp, but I'll find a way to make her show up."

Knowing Prince Jing was a resourceful leader, the Deputy Commander was about to leave when he suddenly recalled something and asked quietly. "But we still need people to bring water. We've got to let someone out."

Yun Shang thought for a while and replied. "Not a problem. My people will bring water to the gate. Soldiers in the kitchen just need to pick it up from there."

Hearing Yun Shang mention her cruel and heartless female warriors, the Deputy Commander trembled. He nodded. "Please convey my gratitude to the ladies." Then he hastened to exit.

"I think we have mistaken Hua Jing's intention. We thought she came here to steal the Deployment map for Prince Qingsu, but one fact was overlooked. That she was a hostage herself. She suggested Qingsu write a letter asking for you to marry the Prince. If His Majesty agrees and she's still in Qingsu's army, the truth will naturally come to light. So she had to run, or her plan would fall through and maybe, she would be the victim of her own plan." Prince Jing picked up a book and fixed his eyes on it.

"But she doesn't know that the name on the letter has been changed to Princess Hua Jing." Yun Shang smiled. "Qingsu is taking a wait-and-see approach. He is waiting for His Majesty's reply and your Deployment map."

Prince Jing nodded and smiled. "He will never get the Deployment map since Hua Jing has run away. I'm thinking about letting her go back to the Imperial City. I'll send messengers back at top speed and suggest that His Majesty invite Prince Qingsu to the Imperial City for further discussion without disclosing the content of the letter."

Prince Jing turned to Yun Shang. "At that time, maybe they will think you are the one that is going to marry him. Then, I'll arrange for an encounter between Hua Jing and Qingsu. Qingsu will know he had been fooled by Hua Jing. We never know what he might do out of anger and shame."

Yun Shang frowned. It also meant that she would have to give up her plan to kill Hua Jing at the border. However, on second thought, if Prince Jing's plan worked well, it would be utterly disgraceful for Hua Jing and the Empress. Simply killing her wasn't that satisfying. Wouldn't it be better if Hua Jing was detested by the whole world?

"If we leave what will happen to the border?"

Prince Jing sensed her hesitation. "It's time to release the Emperor's Son-in-Law."

Emperor's Son-in-Law? Yun Shang squinted. Now? All right, she would follow Prince Jing's plan. Yun Shang thought before whispering to Prince Jing. "The Emperor's Son-in-Law is in..."

The Deployment map was stolen and a Princess was missing. Two inconceivable incidents occurred in succession within one day. Everyone was jittery in the camp. Yun Shang heard them talking about these incidents everywhere.

Yun Shang stopped at Hua Jing's tent and asked loudly. "Lady Zhao, I'm Xiao Yuan. May I come in?"

Lady Zhao answered from inside. "Yes, please."

Yun Shang walked in and saw Lady Zhao counting her prayer beads. Lady Zhao stopped and turned. "Is Mister Xiao here to inform me that Princess Hua Jing is missing?"

Yun Shang was stunned. "Has Lady Zhao heard of it already?"

Lady Zhao sneered. "Bad news travels fast here. I bet they all know now. I just heard the soldiers on patrol talking about it."

Yun Shan nodded. After a short silence, she bowed to Lady Zhao. "We are deeply sorry for failing to protect Her Highness."

Lady Zhao put on a strange smile. "She's free to go anywhere. Who can stop her? There are tens of thousands of soldiers in this camp but not one is missing. She tossed and turned all night yesterday. Maybe she just doesn't want to see me. Don't bother looking for her. I bet she will show up in one month."

Yun Shang listened attentively without saying a word.

After a moment, Lady Zhao sighed and stood up. "It's been a long time since I lived in a camp. So many memories of old times. Now, my only worry is Yingjie..."

Yun Shang smiled. "The Emperor's Son-in-Law is blessed with good fortune. He must be safe right now."

"I hope so." Lady Zhao said. "If Yingjie comes back alive, I will stay here and guard the Ning border with him. The Imperial City is too bustling and complex for us. There are people from Li clan everywhere, even in this army. But at least, it's much better here, so I guess will never go back to the Imperial City."

Yun Shang was in a daze for a moment. She felt that Lady Zhao seemed to know something but she dared not ask directly. She had to reply tactfully. "The view at the border is spectacular. If the war ends, it should be a lovely place to settle down."

Lady Zhao nodded and turned. "Mister Xiao..." She stared at Yun Shang blankly and then smiled. "You are lucky, Mister Xiao. Prince Jing is a good person."

Yun Shang was more confused. What did Lady Zhao mean?

"Princess Hua Jing will be fine. Excuse me, Mister Xiao." Then Lady Zhao turned and knelt on a cushion before continuing to recite Buddhist Scriptures.

Yun Shang returned to Prince Jing's tent and repeated all that Lady Zhao had said to her. After a brief silence, Prince Jing said. "Lady Zhao is a very wise person."

Yun Shang shivered as she suddenly remembered what Lady Zhao said earlier. "There are people from Li clan everywhere, even in this army..." All of a sudden, Zhang Ying, the man who looked familiar to her, came across her mind. She knew why now.

"It just came to me that Zhang Ying is from Li clan. His family name misled me so I didn't think much about it though he looked quite familiar to me. But what Lady Zhao said just reminded me that he is actually the brother of Grand Councilor Li's concubine. In her previous life, Yun Shang met many people from the Li clan because of Hua Jing. But they always taunted her, so Yun Shang always turned a blind eye to them. And that was why she couldn't remember all of them clearly in this life.

Prince Jing looked at Yun Shang. "Oh, really? No wonder..."

Yun Shang smiled. "Zhang Ying asked for a sick leave this morning and then Hua Jing disappeared. We need to be careful about this person. But looking at it in another way, we could also use him."

Prince Jing nodded, "I agree." Then he wrote a short note and gave it to Luo Ding.

Several days had passed, and all the exits were still blocked in the camp. Owing to Ning Qian's help, the daily necessities could still be supplied.

Yun Shang laid down a black piece on the Go board. "They are more patient than we expected. Is it possible that Hua Jing didn't tell Qingsu's followers the location of the Deployment map?"

"No. If she did, she would never get out of the camp. She should be getting anxious now after several days' of waiting." "It's snowing. It's snowing heavily." A soldier said from outside the tent.

Yun Shang paused. "The Emperor's Son-in-Law will be back tonight."

Prince Jing smiled and waited for her

move. "And the fish will rise to the bait."

It was the first snow of this year, Yun Shang thought. Was it snowing in the Imperial City too? In her previous life, it was about this time that she became pregnant with Huan'er. Huan'er...

Yun Shang went pale and the hatred returned to her eyes.

Prince Jing noticed her expression, but he pretended otherwise. He knocked on the table. "It's your turn. If you don't lay down this piece, I'll take it as a surrender."

Yun Shang came to her sense and laid down the piece.

Prince Jing shook head. "You lost."

After dinner, Prince Jing moved a couch to the other side of the folding screen. That was where he slept these days. Yun Shang wanted to say something, but in the end, she didn't.

As the night wore on, it got colder because of the snow. Prince Jing was concerned for the soldiers, so he ordered several bonfires to be lit and asked the guards to warm up in turn. To prevent the tents from catching fire, the bonfires were placed far away from them. As a result, it was especially quiet tonight.

Just about eleven o'clock, Yun Shang heard people treading in the snow. It was a subtle sound but in the silence of the night, it was clear enough. Judging from the sound, there were quite a few people. Yun Shang also heard armor colliding with each other, which sounded like a normal patrol. After a while, a faint scent was blown in.

Yun Shang held her breath immediately. The footsteps ceased all of a sudden and it became unusually quite. Yun Shang sat up and walked to the screen barefoot. She couldn't see anything in the darkness. She could vaguely hear breathing.

Just as Yun Shang was about to exit the tent, she felt someone grabbing her hand. She was alarmed, but when she smelt a familiar scent, she relaxed. In the definite silence, a bird screamed. Soon the outside was lit up. "Assassins!" Someone cried out. The cry was followed by the sound of fighting. The tent was broken into and someone rushed to the screen. Before Yun Shang could react, Prince Jing had taken action.

"You are conscious?" The assassin was astonished. Yun Shang realized that though she didn't take off her clothes in case of incidents like this, she was not wearing her mask. That was why Prince Jing stopped her from leaving. Yun Shang put on her mask and came out. The man fighting with Prince Jing outside the screen was Hua Jing's servant.

At the sight of Yun Shang, that servant turned his sword to her. Yun Shang was very vigilant. She dodged neatly, grabbed the dagger tied to her waist, and stabbed his shoulder. The servant managed to save himself but his clothes were slit up.

Prince Jing seized the chance, leaped to catch the assassin and pressed his sword against the servant's neck.

"Is everything alright, Prince Jing?" Luo Ding walked in, and the scene in front of him gave him his answer. He hurried to report. "They are all under control, Your Highness."

Prince Jing nodded and asked Luo Ding to tie up the servant and take him out.

Soon afterwards, someone came to report. "Your Highness, the General in Yupin Mountain requests to see you urgently. He came with an injured man."

Yupin Mountain was a high mountain nearby. Yun Shang smiled. "Send him in."

Soon a young man in armor entered. "Prince, while patrolling tonight, a soldier found an injured man so he brought him back to the camp. But to our surprise, he is the Emperor's Son-in-law who has been missing for days! He was badly injured and we don't have a military physician at the camp, so I brought him here immediately."

Prince Jing said promptly. "Bring the Emperor's Son-in-Law here. Hurry up. Send for a physician."

Yun Shang added. "Lady Zhao has been looking for the Emperor's Son-in-Law. Go and tell her about this great news."

In a moment, several soldiers lifted the Emperor's Son-in-Law, Zhao Yingjie, carried him into the tent, and put him on the bed as per Prince Jing's order. Yun Shang took a closer look at him and was relived to see that he suffered only minor injuries. The physician rushed in with his medical kit and after a while he reported, "General Zhao is fine. These are just minor cuts and bruises. From falling over, I suppose."

Then they heard footsteps approaching. Lady Zhao was heard before she was seen. "Where is Yingjie?"

Yun Shang went up to her. "Lady Zhao, the Emperor's Son-in-Law is alright. Just minor cuts and bruises."

Lady Zhao rushed to the bed and touched Zhao Yingjie's face tenderly. "My Yingjie. My child."

Yun Shang breathed a sigh of relief.

Prince Jing whispered to her. "Zhang Ying left the camp under the guise of tracking the assassins."

Yun Shang nodded.

A few moments later, Yingjie woke up. He burst into tears once he saw Lady Zhao. "Mother!" Then they cried on each other's shoulder.

A smile appeared on Yun Shang's face. Though her revenge hadn't been accomplished yet, the fact that she had at least saved Zhao Yingjie consoled her. Maybe she was changing everyone's fate somehow.

After they calmed down, Prince Jing dismissed the others and asked Yingjie about his experience.

Yingjie answered. "We were under siege at Linguan Town that day. It was an empty town and we were playing hide and seek with the army of Yelang. But without food, we got exhausted after a few days. Then we were caught by their soldiers. When I woke up, I found myself imprisoned in a dark room. I had no idea what was happening until today. The guard talked about sending me to the camp of Yelang, so I took the chance and escaped. But because of the heavy fog, I got lost in the mountain and fell over. Then I just passed out."

Prince Jing nodded. "A soldier in Yupin Mountain found you and recognized you. So they transferred you here. Lady Zhao came all the way to the border after learning that you were missing. She must have a lot to say to you. Take some rest here tonight and catch up with your mother."

Then Prince Jing left the tent with Yun Shang.

Outside, the ground was covered in a thick layer of fresh snow. The snow creaked as they walked on it.

"I have looked into it. Yingjie was indeed besieged by the army of Yelang. But how did you know he was trapped in Linguan Town and happen to save him?" Prince Jing looked at Yun Shang and asked softly.

Yun Shang smiled. Certainly she could not tell him about her rebirth so she said. "You know that Hua Jing is my enemy. I always keep an eye on people around her and of course, I wouldn't want to miss such a great chance."

By now, dawn was breaking. Yun Shang looked at the white snow on the ground and said, "I think I should go back to the Imperial City tomorrow. I'm supposed to be in Ning'guo Temple after all. Now that Hua Jing has ran away, I'd better go back and wait for interesting things to happen."

In a trance, Prince Jing took some time to respond. "All right. Go back then."

After a while, he added. "There's a talented physician in the army, maybe less talented than Xue Yan. But he is much more skilled than usual ones."

Yun Shang was confused about his intention.

Prince Jing looked at Yun Shang. "Zhang Yin was afraid it might raise suspicion if he kept Hua Jing around, so he disguised her as a guard in physician's' tent. That physician I just mentioned noticed that she was a woman despite her disguise. He told me Hua Jing might be pregnant."

Pregnant? A piercing look appeared on Yun Shang's face. The day of her child's death flashed back in her mind over and over again. She smiled cruelly. "Great. I was thinking about finishing her on the way. Now, it seems I have to spare her life until she's back at the Imperial City." Hua Jing. Hua Jing. An eye for an eye and a tooth for tooth. It is time for you to pay your debt!

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