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   Chapter 92 Lady Fu

Eight-year-old Princess: Phoenix Reborn By Lan You Ruo Characters: 19014

Updated: 2018-09-01 11:28


When the soldiers finished beating the early morning drum, Prince Jing returned to his camp and put on his armor. Then he went to the training ground.

Luo Ding ran to Yun Shang and asked, "Mister Xiao, several soldiers were asking me about the people that you caught yesterday. What do I tell them?"

Yun Shang smiled at him. "Just tell the soldiers that they are the thieves who stole our Map of Army Distribution. And tell them that the map has been found." Then Yun Shang walked into the tent. Zhao Yingjie and his mother were no longer in the Prince's tent. Since Yun Shang didn't bring many things when she came, there was not much for her to pack. So she just looked around for a while. Then she walked to the table and wrote something on a parchment. After that, she left the tent.

"Bring my horse here." Yun Shang said to Luo Ding.

Luo Ding nodded. "Mister Xiao, are you leaving the camp? I'll fetch your horse for you."

After a while, Luo Ding led the horse to her. Yun Shang smiled at Luo Ding and mounted. "Tell the Prince that I'm leaving." Then she raised her whip and dropped it fiercely. The horse neighed and took Yun Shang far away from the tent.

Luo Ding frowned. "Isn't he just going out of the camp? Is it necessary to tell His Highness about that?"

When Prince Jing returned from the training ground, Luo Ding decided to tell him about Yun Shang's leave, even though he was still confused about why he needed to do that. "Your Highness, Mister Xiao asked me to tell you that he left..."

As soon as Luo Ding finished his sentence, he saw Prince Jing's face change. Prince Jing quickly mounted the horse that was nearest to him and galloped to the gate of the camp with his armor still on.

However, it was already late. Even at the horse's fastest speed, Prince Jing could only see Yun Shang's silhouette from the mountain behind Xiyi Town. Yun Shang rode with several servants. Prince Jing grit his teeth in frustration. He squinted when he thought the girl on the mountain turned around to look at him.

Then his mouth curved into a smile. Ning Yun Shang, this is the last time that I let you get away from me.

Prince Jing's eyes darkened. He stood there and kept watching the figures until they disappeared. Then he slowly rode back to the camp.

"Of the Heaven's will and by His Majesty's command, to bring peace to the country after the accident on the day of the Winter Solstice, Princess Hui Guo went to Ning'guo Temple to pray and bring back their holy treasure. Now that Princess Hui Guo has returned with the White Conch, she has shown her sincerity. His Majesty is grateful for what she has done. The Princess will be rewarded with ten bolts of the finest brocade, three pearls from the South Sea, and a pair of jade ruyi*." The shrill voice of the eunuch rang through the Palace. Yun Shang led her maids to kneel and kowtow three times before respectfully accepting the Imperial Edict from the eunuch. "Long live His Majesty."

(TN* Ruyi is a long S-shaped handle with a head fashioned like a fist, cloud, or lingzhi mushroom. It is a talisman that symbolizes power and good fortune.)

Then Qin Yi helped Yun Shang stand. Yun Shang smiled and put a golden bead into the eunuch's hand. "Thank you for your trouble."

The eunuch's eyes widened. He smiled and said, "No trouble. No trouble at all. Congratulations to Your Highness. His Majesty treasures the White Conch very much. He even mentioned holding a grand ceremony for it and letting the Masters from the Temple give their blessings."

Yun Shang smiled. "The blessed object deserves to be treated respectfully."

After the eunuch left, Yun Shang handed the Imperial Edict to Qin Yi and smiled. "After the excitement at the frontier, it is a little hard for me to adjust to the boring life here. Qin Yi, tell me what has been going on in the Palace all these days."

Qin Yi smiled. She took the tea from another maid and put it on the table beside Yun Shang. "Nothing special. The Empress is still in recovery. Although His Majesty withdrew the guards outside Qiwu Palace, the Empress still isolates herself. Some ladies went to pay their respects but none managed an audience with the Empress. So no one visits the Empress anymore. But even so, the ladies in the imperial household still have something to do. They were busy ingratiating themselves with Lady Ming. What's more, Grand Councilor Li sent a girl to the Palace earlier. Now the girl has become His Majesty's favorite Lady.

"Oh?" Yun Shang was surprised and turned to Qin Yi, "A girl sent by Grand Councilor Li? What's her name?"

Qin Yi smiled and answered, "Her name seems to be Li Fuyi. I've heard that she's the Grand Councilor's youngest daughter..."

"She looks quite timid and weak as if she could fall over with the wind? And does she love to wear white clothes? Does she have a mole under her eye?" Yun Shang looked up and asked.

Qin Yi was more than surprised. She smiled and said, "Exactly. How do you know that?"

Yun Shang reached for her cup. How couldn't she know? In her previous life, Li Fuyi also came to the Palace. But she had been sent just a little later than now. Yun Shang remembered that the Empress picked Li Fuyi for the Emperor. It was said that Li Fuyi was sent as a maid to chat with the Empress to keep her from feeling bored. After a few days, however, she gained the Emperor's favor and became Lady Fu. Then, with the Empress's help, Lady Fu moved up to higher positions. Within a year, she had become the second most Royal Lady in the Palace.

Yun Shang sneered. Li Fuyi, what a lovely name. But deep inside Fuyi was more vicious than a black widow. She was even more scheming than Li Yiran, the Empress. In her previous life, the rupture between Li Fuyi and the Empress had been because of Li Fuyi. She used the Empress to set up the Ladies who were in her way, and then she went further by planning on setting up the Empress.

Yun Shang had been quite loyal to the Empress at that time. She felt it was unfair to the Empress, and helped make trouble for Li Fuyi several times. Yun Shang's eyes were filled with scorn. She had heard that at the Grand Councilor's mansion, Li Fuyi had often been bullied by her elder brothers because of her humble position. She had hidden her resentment and endured the unfair treatment. Her adversities had turned Li Fuyi into a difficult person.

"Your Highness, what's on your mind now?" Qin Yi waited but didn't hear anything from Yun Shang. So she asked.

Yun Shang smiled. "The Empress mentioned her to me. That's why I know what she looks like. Don't let her get near my mother."

Qin Yi nodded. Before she could say anything, a maid called to Yun Shang from outside. "Your Highness, Lady Fu asks to see you."

Yun Shang drank her tea and said, "Well, how fast. I've not even been back four hours."

"Your Highness, shall I ask her to leave? I can tell her that Your Highness does not feel well after the long trip, and that you have already slept." Qian Yin heard Yun Shang and suggested.

Yun Shang coughed, "Give me the mirror."

Qin Yi quickly handed the mirror to the Princess. Yun Shang looked pretty but pale in the mirror. Her face was morbidly white. That was her usual makeup. Yun Shang smiled, "Good idea. But even though I am not feeling well after my long trip, I should still get myself together and see my father's new favorite."

Yun Shang stood. She walked to the soft couch and lay down. Qin Yi hurriedly brought a quilt to cover her. Then she walked to the curtain and welcomed Lady Fu. As a cold wind blew in, Yun Shang raised her hand to cover her mouth and coughed. Qian Yin hurriedly handed a cup of tea to her and patted the Princess on the back. Qian Yin said, "Your Highness, since you were not here for a long time and we didn't know when you were returning, Qin Yi didn't prepare preserves for you. Is it OK if I fetch you some osmanthus honey when the decoction of your medicine is served here?"

Yun Shang nodded, "Osmanthus honey shall do. The medicine is too bitter."

Just as she finished her sentence, a timid voice could be heard. "It's my honor to meet Your Highness. I wish Your Highness good health and great fortune."

Yun Shang looked up. Li Fuyi's shimmering eyes were the first thing that Yun Shang noticed. Her eyes were so bright it was as if tears had washed them. Her eyebrows curved into an appropriate shape that gave her a worried look. She was wearing white clothes that lined her waist like a willow. She looked so delicate.

Yun Shang didn't let the Lady stand. She turned to Qian Yin and asked deliberately, "Has someone passed away in the Palace? Why does she dress like this? Father didn't tell me anything about recent accidents." Then she coughed harder and spoke in a hurry, "Go and ask who has suffered a misfortune..."

Li Fuyi heard the Princess and looked embarrassed. "Your Highness, everything is fine and no one has passed away in the Palace. Dressing like this is just one of my habits."

Yun Shang seemed stunned. Then she patted her chest and said, "Oh I see. I misunderstood. I thought you were wearing mourning apparel for someone. So, you are Lady Fu, right? I've just returned from Ning'guo Temple. This is our first meeting. You look so beautiful and delicate. Even I have the desire to protect you. No wonder father loves you."

Li Fuyi quickly lowered her head to hide her reddening cheeks. "You're teasing me. I've a

lways heard about the beauty of the Princess. Today, I realize that fairies do exist in the world. Two years from now, your beauty will undoubtedly make every man on this planet fawn over you."

Yun Shang smiled but did not respond. Then she acted as if she remembered something. "Oh, I forgot that Lady Fu is still kneeling. Hurry. Help her up."

Qian Yin quickly helped the Lady, but didn't use much strength. Then, Li Fuyi thanked them and said, "When I was still at home, I heard a lot about you. Your Highness has cared for the commoners from a young age. After entering the Palace, I've heard His Majesty also speak fondly about you. He's been eagerly awaiting your return. Today, I finally meet you in person."

Yun Shang put a smile on her face and appeared innocent, "Really?"

Before she started to say more, Qin Yi entered with a bowl of decoction. So Yun Shang addressed Qin Yi instead, "I've already had a pill. Why not put down this bowl and wait for the decoction to cool? Qian Yin, put some osmanthus honey in it."

Qian Yin agreed, but Qin Yi stopped the maid and said to Yun Shang, "Your Highness, we can't do that. The imperial physician has said that putting honey in the decoction will dilute the medicine. Your Highness, be brave and drink."

Yun Shang looked fearful and resistant. She shook her head repeatedly and grabbed Qin Yi's sleeves and acted spoiled, "Qin Yi, my Qin Yi. Please. Just once, OK? I've just had the pill and it left a bitter taste in my mouth. Just let me add a tiny amount of osmanthus honey in it. I promise I won't ask again. I'll have someone make preserves for me later."

"And no more preserves, too." Qin Yi sighed in defeat. She allowed Qian Yin to fetch the honey and warned Yun Shang in the same breath. Qian Yin hurriedly left for the inner Hall. Then Yun Shang said, "I know that you're the best. I promise I won't eat too many preserves. I'll listen to you."

"Why do you need to listen to her?" Someone new had entered the room and spoke with a magnetic voice. Yun Shang smiled and looked at the door. She glanced at Li Fuyi and found her expression had changed.

"Father." Yun Shang smiled and started to talk when Emperor Ning walked closer. "There are no preserves in my Palace, so I told Qin Yi to put some osmanthus honey in the decoction. And she said I shouldn't have so much honey or preserves."

Emperor Ning frowned and walked to Yun Shang. He picked up the bowl and sniffed. "Shang'er, do you feel ill? Why are you still taking medicine?"

Yun Shang smiled. "I'm OK. I was just so anxious to bring the White Conch back to the Palace and even worried that something would happen along the way. So I returned in a hurry. Maybe it was too much for me, so I got a prescription. I've been taking the medicine for several days. I will be fine soon."

Emperor Ning shook his head. "Look at you. Why didn't you tell me? I could have sent someone to escort you."

While they were talking, Li Fuyi joined the conversation. "Your Majesty."

Emperor Ning turned and noticed that Li Fuyi was in the room. He smiled at her. "You're here, too."

Li Fuyi hurriedly responded, "Yes. Your Majesty mentioned the Princess numerous times, so I hurried here to see her after I heard of her return."

Yun Shang smiled. "Congratulations, father. Lady Fu is really beautiful."

Emperor Ning smiled with embarrassment. Then Yun Shang coughed twice. The Emperor couldn't help but frown. His eyes fell on Lady Fu. His daughter had just returned from a half-day journey and needed to rest. But Lady Fu came to visit her. It seemed inappropriate. So he turned to Lady Fu and said, "You can leave. Go to Lady Ming's Palace. She was just asking me about you."

Lady Fu nodded and said, "I'll leave now." Then she bowed to Emperor Ning and Yun Shang before she took her leave.

After Lady Fu left, Yun Shang smiled. "Lady Fu is a beautiful woman. But she loves to wear white at such a young age. I was surprised by her outfit. I thought someone has passed away in the Palace."

Emperor Ning thought about Lady Fu's dressing style. He hadn't found it odd before. He only felt that the plain color matched her snowy skin quite well and made her more charming. Now, upon hearing Yun Shang's opinion, he felt that white might be ominous. It was almost New Year, yet Lady Fu was still wearing white. That was inappropriate.

Yun Shang saw Emperor Ning's expression, so she changed the topic. "I've heard that Lady Ming is still in charge of everything in the imperial household. She is aging now. With so many things to deal with, I'm worried it might be too much for her. The New Year is coming. She will soon become very busy."

Emperor Ning turned to Yun Shang and said, "Well, you also think that I should let the Empress out?"

Also?

Yun Shang smiled. "I didn't finish but father seems to already know what I was about to say. Looks like I'm not the only one to suggest that. Who else has mentioned it to you?"

Emperor Ning's eyes fell on Yun Shang's face. He smiled, "There was Li Fuyi, and your mother..."

Mother? Yun Shang squinted. After a while, she said, "Her Majesty has helped you tremendously all these years. And she has never made any huge mistakes. This time, she acted on impulse. But no one is perfect. You don't want her locked in the Palace for her whole life, do you?" Then she added casually, "And mother's belly is getting bigger, right? After some time, we will have more noise in the Palace."

Emperor Ning smiled. "Yes, her belly is getting bigger. In a few months, you'll be an elder sister. As for the Empress, I've told her to take good care of your mother's unborn baby. If your mother delivers her child smoothly, then I'll let the Empress out. But if anything happens to her or her baby, I'll deprive the Empress of her royal title."

Yun Shang was shocked. Emperor Ning was a smart person. He knew that Lady Jin had become the biggest threat to everyone in the Palace. All attention would be on her and her unborn baby. She was getting in the way of many. With Emperor Ning's arrangement, the Empress would do her best to protect Lady Jin and her baby.

Equally, the Empress will feel a growing resentment toward Lady Jin. After the child is born, the Empress would surely start her schemes. The Empress and Lady Jin had been incompatible since before Yun Shang was born. Father's arrangement wouldn't change anything.

Emperor Ning talked with Yun Shang for some time before leaving. After Emperor Ning left, a maid came to tell Yun Shang that Lady Meng asked to see her. Lady Meng? Yun Shang was confused and looked to Qin Yi for an explanation. Qin Yi curled her lips and said, "It's Qin Meng. She has gained His Majesty's favor these past few days, so she was entitled Lady Meng earlier."

Lady Meng, Lady Meng...... As Yun Shang secretly repeated the title twice, the door opened. Qin Meng entered and bowed to Yun Shang. "Your Highness."

She stopped acting humble...Yun Shang smiled scornfully.

"There's no need to be so polite, Lady Meng. You look much better than before. I believe that you are leading a good life now."

Qin Meng quickly kneeled. "All of my glory and achievement were given by Your Highness. No matter what position I'm in, Your Highness will always be my master."

"Your master?" Yun Shang smiled. "But I don't need a useless servant." Coldness flashed in Yun Shang's eyes. "I'm sure you've heard that Li Fuyi just visited me. I've heard that she is one of father's favorites now. You are favored by the Emperor too. You should talk to her and make friends with her. She is far more popular than you now. When you climb to a higher position than her, you can come back and call me your master."

Qin Meng's eyes darkened. She hesitated for a while and then whispered. "But Lady Fu is the Empress's younger sister, and she's also Lady Ming's niece. How can I compete with her..."

Yun Shang lowered her head and whispered in Qin Meng's ear. "I'll tell you a secret. Li Fuyi is one of the youngest daughters in the Li mansion. She was bullied by many. The Empress was among her tormentors. You've worked for the Empress, and you know her the best. I'm sure you and Li Fuyi can find a lot to talk about."

Qin Meng bit her lip. She looked hesitant. Yun Shang continued, "If I were you, I would cry out loud and weep in front of Li Fuyi. I would claim that I am sorry for what I've done to the Empress and wanted to apologize to her. I would mention that the Empress is in her recovery in the Palace so no one can see her. Then, I would beg Lady Fu to say something nice about me in front of the Empress, given that she and the Empress are sisters and they must be really close. Well, of course I wouldn't go there right after leaving Qingxin Palace. I would wander around Qiwu Palace for a couple of days and then bump into Lady Fu by accident..."

Qin Meng's eyes brightened. She kowtowed before Yun Shang and said, "I know what to do now. I will accomplish the mission."

Yun Shang smiled and leaned back on the couch. She squinted at Qin Meng. "Mission? When did I give you a mission?"

Qin Meng nodded repeatedly. "Your Highness is right. You have never given me any mission......" Then she kowtowed again and took her leave.

Yun Shang squinted her eyes. It seemed like Hua Jing hadn't returned yet. It made Yun Shang wonder what was going on with her sister...This Palace will soon become a stage for upcoming shows...

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