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   Chapter 94 Leaving It Unsettled

Eight-year-old Princess: Phoenix Reborn By Lan You Ruo Characters: 17307

Updated: 2018-09-01 11:41


Yun Shang squinted her eyes. It happened just as she had expected. When she ran across the cat in the bamboo forest, she knew that something interesting would happen.

It seemed that the trick was played by Lady Ming. As a senior member of the imperial household, Lady Ming would have gone through many ups and downs over the years. As a result, she must be very patient and calm. It didn't seem likely that she would do such a thing impulsively.

Maybe…

As Yun Shang bowed her head to smell her sleeve, she started to cough badly. Then she looked up and said, "There is undoubtedly an aromatic substance on my sleeve. Due to my poor health, I have never been accustomed to aromas except from herbs. Every time I smell pungent aromas, I cough. What's more, the physician has just said that the aroma would make people restless. Why would I take a substance that would make me very sick?"

"Well, " On hearing this, the physician timidly lifted his eyes to Lady Ming.

Yun Shang said with a slight smile, "During my walk from Qingxin Palace to Meiying House, I did not come across any smells. I believe that I got the aromatic substance on my sleeve when I touched the cat. I remember Lady Ming also touched the cat, so did the old maid by Lady Ming's side. Since the substance is harmful, I would suggest that the physician check whether it transferred to Lady Ming and her old maid."

The imperial physician hesitated. Yun Shang said with a smile, "Are you afraid that Lady Ming will be offended?"

The physician nodded and said, "Yes, I'm afraid."

Yun Shang bowed her head and thought for a while before she swiveled around to speak with the Emperor, "Father, I'm weak, but I'm young. So it's not all that dangerous if I'm stained with the harmful aroma. But Lady Ming is old if… Father, you can ask a few ladies to smell Lady Ming. Is that okay?"

The Emperor nodded and said, "Yes. Shang'er is right." Then he scanned the ladies present and thought for a while before announcing, "Lady Meng, Lady Ying, and Lady Lan, please check Lady Ming."

Lady Ming opened her mouth to object, but said nothing. The three ladies walked towards Lady Ming and took a deep breath. Then they approached Yun Shang. The Princess lifted her hands to let them sniff her sleeves. A while later, Lady Meng took the lead in reporting, "I found there is an odd aroma coming from Lady Ming and the old maid. The aroma is the same as that on Princess Hui Guo's sleeve. I also found something odd. Only one of Princess Hui Guo's sleeves has the aroma."

Yun Shang smiled, lifted her right hand and said, "It should be this sleeve. Father, I'm afraid that you don't know that a cat sprang at me on my way here and I was knocked to the ground. I guessed the cat must belong to a lady for it was well-cared for. So I brought it here. Just as we arrived, Lady Fu recognized it and told us the cat was Yuan Bao and that it belonged to Lady Ming. I then gave it back to Lady Ming. Lady Ming asked me to feel its soft fur. I used my right hand to touch the cat."

After Yun Shang finished her explanation, Lady Ming said, "Are you implying that I put the aromatic substance on the cat and tried to frame you with that?"

Yun Shang shook her head, "Lady Ming, I'm afraid you misunderstand me. I should be blamed for I brought the cat here. This incident would not have happened had I not suggested that the cat be brought to the House. Later, I will ask my maid to send my most effective vulnerary to Lady Fu. Now, Father is investigating the truth of the matter. I believe I should give a full account of this incident honestly so that Father is well-informed. I learned it from some novels where characters relate incidents in great detail. I don't know whether what I said is useful or not."

Yun Shang continued, "Lady Ming, I knew that it was not you who put the aromatic substance on the cat. Lady Fu is your niece. You won't harm your dear niece. But, I think the one that played the trick and caused suspicion was extremely audacious."

Dear niece. A mocking air appeared in Yun Shang's eyes but it disappeared soon. Though she didn't know whether Lady Ming played the trick or not, she had explained herself properly. If Lady Ming did play the trick, she must have discussed it with Lady Fu. At any rate, it was acceptable to put Lady Fu in the spotlight. Lady Fu was always holding grudges. Though she didn't say it, she would secretly hate Lady Ming.

The Emperor said nothing and watched the infighting. Impatience flashed in his eyes as he thought, 'These ladies are always contending with each other covertly every day. But today, they almost harmed the baby that Lady Jin is bearing. I should warn them.'

"Somebody Catch a cat for me." said the Emperor.

A cat? Everybody wondered what the Emperor intended to do.

Lady Ming frowned and said to the Emperor, "What are you going to do?"

The Emperor replied, "Just now, the physician said the smell would make people restless. And it would also make a cat go wild. So, I want to test the theory. I wonder how the cat go wild when it smells the substance."

On hearing this, the physician trembled slightly but said nothing. He stood by Lady Fu's side and continued applying medicine to her wound.

A while later, an attendant brought a grey cat and said, "Your Majesty, we've found a cat."

The Emperor nodded and said, "Give it to the old maid who was standing behind Lady Ming. I know she has carried Yuan Bao for a long while before it attacked."

The attendant followed the Emperor's instructions and hurried to pass the cat to the old maid by Lady Ming's side. The old maid looked down at the cat and hesitated for a while. But, she finally reached for the cat.

A while later, the cat meowed sporadically and seemed somewhat restless. Under the watch of so many people, the old maid stood straight and didn't dare to move. Then the cat jumped down from the old maid's arm, licked its feet and ran away.

The Emperor said, "I saw the grey cat grow restless when it smelt the substance. But it was not as aggressive as Yuan Bao. Yuan Bao's behavior was frightening."

Lady Ming sat leaning against her chair. She glanced at Yun Shang for a moment and said, "Perhaps someone has taken advantage of Yuan Bao."

The Emperor replied, "That is what it looks like."

Yun Shang walked forward and said with a smile, "Father, I think you should conduct a deep investigation of this incident or Lady Fu would feel wronged. I see clearly that the wound on Lady Fu's neck is deep. The physician pointed out that it would be hard to heal the wound because of the substance. Lady Fu is an acknowledged beauty. It will be a pity if there is a scar on her neck. In winter, she can cover the scar with a scarf. But in summer, there is nothing she can do to cover the scar."

Yun Shang sighed slightly. Everyone loves to be beautiful, especially women in the imperial household as being beautiful is their first priority.

As expected, fear appeared in Lady Fu's eyes. She clenched her teeth and pretended not to care. She said, "Thank you for your concern, Princess. You overstate my wound. I think it's just a small cut."

"However, what you have just said reminds me of something. Since the wound was caused by the cat's paw, we might as well ask someone to check whether there is something wrong with the paw. I noticed that Yuan Bao was brought here by the Princess's maid but there isn't such an aroma on the maid. So, I believe it was in here that the cat was stained with the aromatic substance." A gentle but somewhat cold voice interrupted Lady Fu. Yun Shang looked in the direction of the voice and found that the speaker wore a cherry red dress. The Lady was frowning at Lady Fu's wound.

The speaker was Lady Ying.

As Lady Ying was speaking, another imperial physician entered, and after curtsying to all, he said, "Your Majesty, I have checked the cat's paw carefully. I find there are some powders on the paw. I have identified this to be a certain common aromatic substance which won't make the cat go wild. But, I also found a pinhole in the middle of the paw. A silver needle or something similar must have been used. It is my opinion that the cat ran wild after being pricked."

"Really?" The Emperor turned to look at Lady Ming, "Mother, it seems the cat was pricked by someone so it ran wild and scratched Lady Fu's neck. I remember the old maid of yours had held Yuan Bao before it ran wild."

Upon hearing this, the old maid instantly dropped to her knees and said, "Your Majesty, it was not me. I didn't prick the cat. I have nothing

in my hands. So how can I prick the cat's paw with a needle under the watch of all the guests?"

Lady Ming didn't defend her old maid. Instead she glared at the young physician, "Emperor, I have hardly ever seen this physician before."

The Emperor smiled and said, "Mother, he is Gui Gu, a very learned and skilled physician. The imperial physicians in the Imperial Palace are mediocre. Every time someone falls ill or gets hurt in the Palace, those physicians don't dare to prescribe enough medicine. Lady Jin's belly is getting bigger. In all these years very few ladies have gotten pregnant. She is the first to carry my child in a long time. I am concerned and would like for her to give birth to our baby safely. So I requested Prince Jing to call for physician Gui Gu."

"Really? The learned and skilled doctor is so young." Lady Ming smiled coldly and said, "Since all of you think my old maid was the one who pricked the cat, just ask someone to frisk the old maid. Then you will see whether the old maid has a needle or something sharp."

The Emperor nodded and said, "We didn't suspect the old maid. Everyone here is a suspect. So I think everyone should accept a body search."

Several women in black robes walked in. The Emperor made a gesture. Then they started to search the people present, including Lady Ming. A while later, they reported to the Emperor, "Your Majesty, we found nothing."

Yun Shang glanced at Lady Ming's old maid. She saw a green-glazed vase behind her. At the time the women were searching Yun Shang, she heard a slight sound as though something was being dropped in the vase. The sound was too low to be heard by all present. Yun Shang smiled but said nothing.

"This is indeed bizarre. Since nobody here has a needle, why was there a pinhole in the cat's paw?" The Emperor snorted. His eyes gleamed coldly.

Lady Fu thought for a while and said gently, "Your Majesty, I can think of another possibility. Maybe Yuan Bao got injured in the bamboo forest where there were many fine bamboo strips. When Yuan Bao was running in the snow, he could have been accidentally hooked by a sharp bamboo strip. When the old maid held Yuan Bao in her arms, she may have touched the wound on the cat's paw. Yuan Bao's paw ached, so it darted out."

This explanation was seemingly reasonable.

"Lady Fu is right. It could also be that Yuan Bao knocked over a lady's box which contained aromatic substances and coincidentally stepped on a sharp object." said Yun Shang languidly. This coincidence sounded unusual and farfetched.

The Emperor knew that Lady Fu and Yun Shang were trying to make up a story to cover the trick played by Lady Ming. In the imperial household, as long as nothing serious happened, the Emperor had to turn a blind eye to tricks played by the ladies. Though unhappy, the Emperor said calmly, "Yuan Bao was raised in Lady Ming's Palace. But the maids in her Palace didn't take good care of the cat. So, the maids should be punished. Every maid won't get their payment for three successive months. Today's feast is over. You've made a mess of it. Shang'er, take a walk with me."

Yun Shang nodded and followed the Emperor out of the House. The snow had stopped falling and the fragrance of plum blossom filled the cold winter air. Yun Shang took a deep breath. She found the fragrance of plum blossom mixed with the smell of snow to be refreshing.

The Emperor said nothing but was intent on listening to the sounds in the garden. A while later, they reached the bamboo forest. The Emperor asked gently, "Is it in here that you were knocked down by the cat?"

Yun Shang replied smilingly, "Yes. The cat freaked me out."

The Emperor arrested his step and turned around to ask Yun Shang, "Who do you think played the trick during the feast today?"

Yun Shang squinted as she thought. 'Father asked me to take a walk with him to inquire about this? What's father's intention for asking me this?' Yun Shang hesitated for a while. Not long after she was reborn, she had indeed thought about letting her father be her supporter. But later, she found father seldom interfered with the affairs in the imperial household. Besides, although he said he dearly loved her mother, Lady Jin, he gave his love and concern to other ladies of the imperial household as well. All Emperors, by nature or necessity, enjoyed the company of many concubines. Since Yun Shang learned of this, she estranged herself from her father.

At this thought, Yun Shang smiled and said, "There is no evidence to prove who played the trick. All the guests seemed to agree that Yuan Bao should take the blame. I agree with them. Father, in dealing with the mishaps taking place in the imperial household, you should not try to find the culprit. Sometimes, you should turn a blind eye. If you insist on finding the culprit, the result may be disappointing. No matter which lady is the culprit, you would feel sad."

The Emperor was shocked at what Yun Shang said. He thought Yun Shang would say that Lady Ming played the trick. To him, it seemed she was implying that Lady Ming was responsible while they were at the House.

The Emperor thought about what Yun Shang said carefully and sighed, "You know everything. But you are by nature, meek. When you get married, you will be mistreated."

Upon hearing this, Yun Shang said with a smile, "Father, I am a Princess. You will support me. Nobody will dare to mistreat me. Besides, Master Wu Na said that suffering a loss is a blessing."

"Suffering a loss is a blessing. Only a wise man such as Wu Na can deliver such a wonderful statement." said the Emperor. "Do you want to visit your dear mother now?"

Yun Shang nodded her head. Then she added, "No. Father, you have seen that I am in the public spotlight now. Mother is bearing a baby, and many ladies are trying to hurt her. If I visit her too frequently, I will bring attention to mother. What's more, " Yun Shang paused for a while before continuing, "I have seldom been in touch with mother since my childhood. Even if I see mother, I don't know what to say."

The Emperor kept silent for a moment before sighing, "It's all my fault."

Then they walked their separate ways. Yun Shang went back to Qingxin Palace. Qian Yin closed the door and asked with a puzzled look, "Princess, you must have heard the slight noise coming from the vase. The old maid threw the needle into the vase. Why didn't you tell the Emperor about this?"

Yun Shang shook her head and said, "All the guests present pretended that they hadn't heard the noise. We should do the same thing. The Emperor's bodyguards also claimed they had heard nothing and found nothing. There was no way for us to contradict everyone."

Qian Yin took a tumble and exclaimed, "Well, I see. The Emperor tried to cover up for the old maid, or more specifically, Lady Ming."

"Hush!" Yun Shang made a gesture and said, "Don't say that. Don't talk nonsense."

Qian Yin stopped talking instantly and then whispered to Yun Shang and Qin Yi, "Princess, during the feast, a maid secretly gave me a small piece of paper."

"Really? What's on it?" Yun Shang felt slightly stunned. Then she recalled something and said, "You have accompanied me so long that I forget that you were sent here by the Empress to replace Qin Meng. Maybe the Empress ordered the maid to send you the small piece of paper? The Empress might want you to do something for her."

Qian Yin nodded and said, "Princess, you are right. The Empress asks me to lead you to the pavilion in the the Imperial Garden in the late morning, three days from now."

"Really? What will happen in three days?" Yun Shang thought for a while. In her previous life, around this time, she would have reported her pregnancy to the Empress. In this life, she didn't get married nor pregnant. The Empress was grounded. Everything was different. So what would happen in three days?

Qian Yin shook her head and said, "I don't know. The paper didn't convey the intention of this action. It just says I have to lead you there. You see…"

Yun Shang smiled and said, "Come what may, I'm not afraid. I want to see what scheme the Empress has made to frame me. There is another thing I want you to do. Tell our spies to monitor Princess Hua Jing. If Princess Hua Jing calls for a physician, our spies should bribe the physician in advance and tell him to prescribe an antiabortifacient. If Hua Jing sends someone to buy some medicine for her, our spies should secretly change the medicine to an antiabortifacient. Anyway, I hope that what Hua Jing asks for is an antiabortifacient."

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