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   Chapter 100 Breaking

Eight-year-old Princess: Phoenix Reborn By Lan You Ruo Characters: 17886

Updated: 2018-09-04 18:11

After Que'er fell to the ground, Yun Xi also fell beside her.

"Are they dead?" Prince Jing frowned and bent over the two maids. After confirming that they were dead, he examined them again. This time he found two silver needles embedded into their necks. He laughed, "These needles are poisonous. This is a poor strategy. Shift the blame on others and then kill them?"

The Empress squinted but didn't say anything. Yun Shang glanced at the Empress casually before smiling and speaking, "The maids were killed, apparently at the point of identifying the real murderer. From the position of the needles, the killer must have been behind the maids. So the range of suspects is narrowed down."

No one spoke for a while. Suddenly a eunuch rushed in and broke the silence. He cried, "Your Majesty, Changchun Palace was burglarized, and the Empress's seal has been stolen."

Emperor Ning raised his eyes. Inside, a storm brewed. He ordered, "Seal the Palaces, and search them all, one by one."

"What an eventful day. In that case, father, please keep the men standing behind Que'er and Yun Xi in custody. The Empress's seal is of vital importance. I'll go see Lady Yingying now." Yun Shang said to the Emperor. Then she turned and looked at the faces of all the guests in the Hall before walking toward the door.

"You can't go! You're still a suspect. Why are you going to see Yingying? What is your intention?" Hua Jing's voice came from behind. Yun Shang turned to look at Hua Jing. While Hua Jing looked cruel, Yun Shang smiled. "Princess Hua Jing, are you concerned about the Lady Yingying?" Yun Shang asked.

Hua Jing gritted her teeth and forced a smile, "Of course, Yingying is my cousin. I do care about her." Then she brushed past Yun Shang as she headed for the side Hall.

As soon as Hua Jing got the door, a eunuch collided into her. Her body shook violently, and subconsciously, she protected her belly. No one noticed her movement except Yun Shang.

"What's wrong with you?" Hua Jing rebuked him furiously.

The eunuch quickly held the Princess so that she wouldn't fall. Once she had regained her balance, he dropped to his knees before Hua Jing. "I'm sorry, Your Highness, please forgive me. Please forgive me, Your Highness."

Hua Jing gritted her teeth to hold back her anger. After all, she was in the Palace and there were so many guests. "It's okay. Get up." With that, she continued on her way to the side Hall.

Yun Shang lowered her head and said, "Now that sister is visiting Lady Yingying, I'll go later." Her eyes reflected the hurt she felt.

Everybody present had seen the situation clearly. Princess Yun Shang was obviously being framed, and Princess Hua Jing was very aggressive towards her. To the guests, it seemed apparent that Princess Hua Jing didn't like her sister. Princess Yun Shang's mother was Lady Jin. Although the Emperor favored Lady Jin, she was only a concubine. The status of a concubine's daughter was quite low in the homes of ordinary people. It wouldn't be any different in the Palace.

Emperor Ning was a little touched. He looked at Lady Jin only to find that she looked somewhat dejected and that her eyes focused on Yun Shang. Emperor Ning was now, even more displeased with Hua Jing. People say that children are the meat separated from their mothers. Lady Jin may have had little contact with her daughter since her birth, but a mother's and her child's hearts were linked. Lady Jin must have been heartbroken to see her daughter wronged.

At this time, several maids and eunuchs entered the Hall and saluted Emperor Ning. Emperor Ning nodded and said, "The Empress's seal was lost. I'm afraid it was deliberately done by someone who wanted to take it out of the Palace tonight. They probably planned on taking advantage of the comings and goings of the ministers and their families. The consequences arising from the loss of the Empress's seal will be catastrophic. All guests need to allow a body search."

No one dared to object. All the guests in the Hall formed queues and followed the maid and eunuch to the side Hall where they would be searched. The search did not yield the Empress's seal.

Just then, Hua Jing returned.

"Hua Jing, get yourself frisked." Emperor Ning looked at Hua Jing with indifference.

Hua Jing frowned and said, "Father, the Empress's seal is useless to me. I don't have to be frisked, do I?"

Emperor Ning knitted his brows and said, "Everyone in this Hall, including Yun Shang and Prince Jing, has been frisked. You are no exception. Go."

Hua Jing bit her lip with worry. She knew that if she continued to decline, it would certainly antagonize Emperor Ning. She placed her hands on her belly, and was secretly grateful that she didn't look pregnant. With this thought, she followed a maid into the side Hall.

After a while, the maid hurried back and reported, "Your Majesty, the Empress's seal was not found on Princess Hua Jing, but I found this in her sleeve."

In her hand was a small cyan bottle made of jade. Emperor Ning's eyes darkened. Then he ordered, "Call the imperial physician to check what's in the bottle."

The Empress's eyebrows twitched a little after her eyes fell upon the small cyan bottle. "It is probably an ordinary medicine to prevent daily accidents."

A sneer flitted across Yun Shang's eyes. As a precaution, many young Ladies and Noble Masters would take ordinary medicine when they went out. However, it was unusual for such a medicine bottle to be found on Hua Jing. There were two reasons. First, this kind of bottle was usually carried by a servant. And second, if a guest went to the Palace for a banquet, he or she would be strictly inspected before being allowed entry into the Palace. Such a medicine bottle was simply not permitted in the Palace.

Perhaps the Empress had not been in or out of the Palace in so long that she had forgotten the obvious?

Before the imperial physician came from the side Hall, Hua Jing rushed in. She looked a little anxious. "Father, mother, it's not mine. I don't know why it was in my sleeve. Father, mother, do justice for me..."

"Sister, the Palace is heavily guarded. How could someone secretly put such a bottle in your sleeve? This is absurd." Yun Shang exclaimed. Her eyes reflected astonishment.

An imperial physician rushed in just after Hua Jing's outburst. He took the small bottle from the maid and examined it carefully. After a long while, he said, "Your Majesty, this is a bottle of poison, and it's the same poison that was given to Lady Yingying."

Hua Jing paled. She turned to the Empress, "Mother, someone set me up. I'm innocent..."

"I believe you." The Empress was stunned. She gritted her teeth and wondered, 'Why? Why was that bottle found in Hua Jing's sleeve, when it should be...'

"Your Majesty, that's unfair. A moment ago, just because a maid said Princess Yun Shang's maid had been to the Imperial Treasure House, everybody firmly believed that Princess Yun Shang was the criminal. But now, the bottle with the poison has been found on Princess Hua Jing. Why does Your Majesty believe that someone set up Princess Hua Jing?" Prince Jing's eyes held a sarcastic gleam, but when the guests heard what he said, they had a completely different interpretation of it.

"Report..." Another guard rushed in, "Your Majesty, while searching the Palace, I saw a eunuch sneaking around Meiying House. He looked very suspicious. So I took him for questioning, and this is his confession..." The guard held a parchment in his hands.

Meiying House had been mentioned more than twice tonight. Everyone stared at the parchment and wondered what it would say.

"Submit it to me." Emperor Ning ordered coldly.

Master Zheng quickly stepped down and took the parchment from the guard. He then presented it to Emperor Ning. Emperor Ning unrolled the parchment. As he looked through it, veins throbbed on his forehead, and anger gathered in his eyes.

"Somebody, bring the eunuch here."

Two guards came in, dragging the eunuch. He seemed to have been tortured. Blood was pooling around his fingertips.

"Say what you said earlier." Emperor Ning stared sternly to the eunuch. The eunuch shivered as he knelt on the ground.

"Yes, Your Majesty. I'm responsible for cleaning Meiying House. After the snow stopped this afternoon, I began to clear the ground. When I became tired, I lay under a tree outside Meiying House. I was soon woken by a noise. I heard a young woman tell someone to spread poison on the qin, and she said she would send another person to convince Princess Yun Shang's maid to visit the Imperial Treasure House. After that, she asked them to insist on saying that the criminal was Princess Yun Shang's maid. Then the talking stopped and I was looking for an opportunity to leave quietly. However, I heard footsteps and didn't dare to go. Then young woman then told s

omeone to change all the characters on the lots to Chinese Pipa when Lady Yingying was going to draw. Besides, she said that if anyone inquired, to say that Princess Yun Shang had sent her maid to tell them to do so. That's all I heard..." The eunuch immediately kowtowed to Emperor Ning several times, "Hearing this, I was afraid of retaliation, so I did not dare to speak out."

Emperor Ning flew into a rage. He bashed the table in front of him. "How dare you? How could there be such a venomous person in the Palace? Did you see her face?"

The eunuch shook his head repeatedly. "No, I didn't. I only dimly saw that the young woman wore a dark-color dress with white pear flowers embroidered on the hem... I heard a maid call her Your Highness..."

Your Highness... Hua Jing and Yun Shang were the only two Princesses in the State of Ning. Yun Shang couldn't have framed herself, so there was only one possibility...

Everyone stared at Hua Jing, who looked a little pale. She was dressed in a dark dress... There were white pear flowers embroidered on the hem.

"Ha..." Only one person dared to laugh at the situation. It was Prince Jing. He turn to Grand Councilor Li, "Grand Councilor Li, it is now clear who tried to murder your granddaughter. Princess Hua Jing, you are really brave and astute. Using your own cousin as bait to frame Princess Yun Shang? You deserve to be Her Majesty's daughter."

His words were aimed at someone else, but at this time, no one paid any attention because they had been shocked by the truth. They had thought Princess Hua Jing to be talented, kind, and revered. To their surprise, there was a sinister heart under her beautiful, gentle appearance.

"I'm clearly being framed by someone. I've never done these things. I don't know why this medicine bottle was in my sleeve. Oh, it must be the eunuch. He must have been the one to stuff the bottle into my sleeve." Hua Jing shouted. Her beautiful face was now contorted with anger.

Emperor Ning frowned and ordered, "Unthinkable! Take Princess Hua Jing to the Dali Temple."

Hua Jing became even more anxious at Emperor Ning's words. "Father, I'm innocent. Mother, help me..."

Seeing that the Empress had clenched her hands so tightly that her long fingernails had dug deep into her flesh, Yun Shang imperceptibly curled the corners of her mouth. 'This alone makes your heart ache?' She thought. 'This is just the beginning...'

"Your Majesty, the Empress's seal has been found." The speaker was a eunuch from the Palace of Lady Ming. Emperor Ning gave a bleak smile, "Good."

Emperor Ning then looked away from the eunuch and glanced at Grand Councilor Li and the others. Then he softly asked the imperial physician, who was standing by. "Is Lady Yingying all right?"

The imperial physician hurriedly answered, "I have served Lady Yingying detoxifying pills as per her symptoms. She should be all right."

Emperor Ning nodded with relief, "Everybody's scared today. It's time to end the celebration." Having said that, he left his dragon throne and walked toward Lady Jin. "You're pregnant. You shouldn't be alone at such a time. I'll go back to the Palace with you."

Lady Jin obediently nodded her head. She stood and walked to Emperor Ning's side. Emperor Ning put his hand on her waist and led Lady Jin out of Jinluan Hall.

Still sitting on the high seat, the Empress paled at the sight. She suddenly stood and rushed out of Jinluan Hall.

"Make way for His Majesty. Make way for Her Majesty..." The people in the Hall hurried to their knees.

After the most important ministers had left, Prince Jing strolled to Yun Shang. "You were frightened today. Let me walk you back, " he said with a smile.

The eyes of those still in the Hall fell on Prince Jing and Yun Shang. They wondered why Prince Jing was smiling. He never smiled! Everyone was surprised and concluded that Prince Jing really liked Princess Yun Shang. Just now, the Emperor had shown extraordinary affection for Lady Jin. And Lady Jin was carrying the Emperor's child. If Prince Jing was defending and supporting Princess Yun Shang, something really needed rethinking...

Yun Shang refused to dwell on what other people were thinking. As she wanted to ask Prince Jing something, she did not refuse him and walked toward the door.

Qin Yi hastily took the Princess's cloak, but when she was about to wrap it on Yun Shang, Prince Jing took the coat from the maid. He then draped it gently over Yun Shang. He said, "It's cold outside. Tie your cloak first. You are weak. Be careful not to get cold."

Yun Shang paused, fastened her cloak casually, and turned to leave Jinluan Hall.

The snow had stopped. Not far from Jinluan Hall, the world was shrouded in silence. Only the occasional footsteps disturbed the quiet of the night. Yun Shang gathered her thoughts before asking, "You move so fast. What did you do to make my father agree to grant you the marriage?"

Then she heard Prince Jing's low laugh, "Grant me the marriage? No, it's for us... You're really smart. For this imperial decree of marriage, I have handed over my Hufu."

His Hufu? Yun Shang stopped. She knew that the Hufu could mobilize nearly half a million troops of the State of Ning. The former Emperor had divided it in two, giving one half to Emperor Ning and the other half to Prince Jing. Since Prince Jing schemed to kill the Emperor's children as carried by his concubines, it was clear that he desired the throne. So how could he be willing to hand over such an important thing?

Yun Shang squinted suspiciously at him, "What's your intention?"

Prince Jing's mouth curved into a smile. "I thought I had made myself clear in the camp. I love you, and for you, I will give up the throne. Have you ever been moved by my commitment to you?"

Hearing this, Yun Shang laughed in a low voice. Her laughter grew louder and louder. It was some time before she stopped laughing. "This is the best joke I've ever heard."

Yun Shang turned to look at Prince Jing. She spoke gently, "I kind of believed you when you said that to me at the camp. But now, with the imperial decree of marriage, I don't believe a word of what you've said."

"Eh? Why?" Prince Jing stopped walking and turned to look at Yun Shang. She was almost a head shorter than him.

"No matter how confident I am, I know I am not as important as the Hufu. You've been scheming for that position for over a decade, while you've only known me for a few months. But you said you loved me and that you were even willing to give up that high position for me. You might as well save your sweet talk for others." Yun Shang then smiled at him, before turning and walking towards Qingxin Palace. Prince Jing narrowed his eyes slightly, but did not follow her. Qin Yi and Qian Yin hurried to catch up with Yun Shang. Prince Jing laughed out loud when the three women disappeared from sight.

"She really doubts me."

Wang Shun craned his neck to see if the three women were still visible. It was not until they were completely out of sight, did he ask in a low voice, "Your Highness, Princess Yun Shang seems immune to both, soft and hard tactics. She is too tough. Why do you have to marry her? This is about the Hufu. Without it, you have nothing. Your Highness, you are confused..."

"The Hufu?" The corners of Prince Jing's mouth twitched slightly. "Now that I have given it away, I will be able to get it back."

"But..." Wang Shun sighed, "Your Highness, why do you have to choose Princess Yun Shang? In the court, there are many who oppose Grand Councilor Li, such as Field Marshal Qin. His daughter has just reached marriageable age. If you draw him into your camp, your path will be much shorter..."

Prince Jing responded with a sneer, "My path will be much shorter? If I were to marry Field Marshal Qin's daughter, the Emperor would be wary and afraid of me. He is already suspicious. If that happens, it will be harder for me to move. In the twenty years since he has ascended the throne, I have fought in the war for eighteen years. No matter how well we strategize our move in the Imperial City, without access to the City itself, there is no chance of success. Then how will I achieve my great cause? What is the use of half a Hufu? Half a Hufu is of no consequence. I might as well give it to him to ease his suspicions. Then I'll marry his daughter, and he will relax his vigilance against me. I will not have to woo my in-laws. Moreover, I will be able to stay in the Imperial City..."

"But, why don't you choose Princess Hua Jing? She is much easier to control than Princess Yun Shang..." Although Wang Shunlai was full of admiration for Prince Jing after hearing the plan, he still had some doubts.

Prince Jing curled his lips into a sneer, "Hua Jing is indeed stupider than Yun Shang, but she is the Empress's daughter, the niece of Grand Councilor Li..."

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