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   Chapter 114 The Empress's Grief (Part One)

Eight-year-old Princess: Phoenix Reborn By Lan You Ruo Characters: 12484

Updated: 2018-09-10 10:03

Qin Yi and Qian Yin were reluctant to do so. However, as Yun Shang was their master, they had to obey. The maids stood up and said, "Lord, you see..."

Prince Jing smiled and said gently, "As I am an unwelcome guest here, I'd better leave. Anyway, Lady Jin will go to Ning'guo Temple to pray in a couple of days, and I will escort her to the temporary imperial palace. So, Shang'er, we will soon meet again."

Yun Shang was taken by surprise. She had been a little elated when she heard the Prince announce his leave. But her curled lips froze with an embarrassed smile after she caught the latter part of the Prince's words. That was tantamount to a threat, with which, however, Yun Shang had no way to deal. Yun Shang gritted her teeth in anger to squeeze out the following words, "Uncle, you speak as if I am forcing you to leave. If you'd like to stay, be my guest." She withdrew into the inner hall as soon as she had finishing speaking.

Prince Jing felt intrigued as he watched Yun Shang leave in anger. She behaved childishly, and that was normal for a fifteen-year old girl. Although she was charming when calm, and dignified on ordinary days, her beauty was not perfect for lack of vitality. Yun Shang when angry, seemed more natural and prettier than usual.

Even Qin Yi and Qian Yin were startled. They had served Yun Shang for quite a long time, but this was the first time they had seen the Princess behave so willfully.

Then Qin Yi remembered how Lady Jin looked when Lady Jin and His Majesty loved each other heart and soul. Though a little girl then, Qin Yi could still recall the capricious behavior of Lady Jin when she was at odds with His Majesty. How Yun Shang resembled Lady Jin when she was quarreling with the Prince! With Yun Shang's unusual behavior in mind, Qin Yi more or less guessed how the Princess felt about the Prince. In spite of the Princess's cold attitude towards Prince Jing, she must view the Prince differently in her heart of hearts.

So Qin Yi lowered her head in front of the Prince and asked him with a smile, "It is cold here. Why not go to the inner hall to warm yourself, Lord? I will serve you a cup of tea. What's your favorite, Lord?"

Prince Jing lifted his eyes to look at Qin Yi. He nodded, "That would be nice. It's very cold. Please prepare for me a cup of Que She Tea."

Qin Yi nodded with a smile. Then she held Qian Yin's arm, and left with her. Qian Yin almost tripped when Qin Yi pulled her out of the room. She wondered how it was possible for the Prince to feel cold. People who have learned a high level of Kung Fu usually have warmer bodies.

Yun Shang fetched a book after entering the inner hall. She lay on her bed and began reading. After a while, she habitually reached out for the teacup that was usually on the table. However, she felt nothing. Yun Shang was surprised when she realized that nobody was serving in the room as Qin Yi and Qian Yin hadn't followed her. Yun Shang frowned and wondered whether Prince Jing was brazen enough to stay and keep her maids to serve him. With this in mind, Yun Shang stood and walked out of the room. As soon as she stepped out, she saw Prince Jing sitting on the chair. Yun Shang squinted to study the Prince, and could not help but feel upset. What a brazen man he is! He hadn't the slightest intention of leaving even though I have grown impatient with him?

Yun Shang noticed that there was a cup of hot tea by the Prince's side. Judging from the smell, she found it was the Que She Tea that His Majesty had awarded her the year before. Yun Shang felt more agitated at this sight. So she returned to the inner hall in fury, and called aloud, "Qin Yi! Qian Yin!"

In a short while, Qin Yi and Qian Yin entered. Seeing Qin Yi carrying a cup of tea in her hands, Yun Shang uttered coldly, "Why did it take you so long to prepare the tea? I'm thirsty..."

Qin Yi grinned, "The Prince said it was cold. He felt frozen after having stayed outside for a long time. So, he is staying in the Hall to warm himself by the fire. Anyway, the Prince is a guest whom I cannot ignore. If I didn't treat him nicely, the other servants and maids would probably say something terrible about Your Highness. I had inquired the Prince's opinion before I served him the Que She Tea. Besides, Your Highness doesn't like the taste of Que She, do you? I had to prepare the tea for the guest before I could prepare your favorite one. I noticed that the plums have been in full blossom recently. So I prepared Your Highness's tea with the water melted from the ice on the plum trees. Please have a try, Your Highness."

Yun Shang nodded and reached for the teacup. She blew at the tea before taking a sip. It was sweet with a hint of plum. This eased Yun Shang's agitation from her quarrel with the Prince.

Qian Yin walked to Yun Shang and helped Yun Shang remove her hairpins. Yun Shang felt much better when all the makeup and accessories had been removed. Then she lay on the bench and resumed reading.

Qin Yi raised the curtain and peeped. There was nobody in the Hall. So Qin Yi smiled and said to Yun Shang, "Your Highness, Prince Jing has left."

Yun Shang only uttered a "hum" before sinking into silence. Qin Yi could not help bursting into laughter while seeing Yun Shang's sulky face. But Qin Yi put a hand on her mouth to check her giggle. She stepped aside to wait on Yun Shang.

The news of the quarrel between Yun Shang and Prince Jing reached Qinzheng Hall shortly after Prince Jing had left Qingxin Palace. Lord Zheng said to Emperor Ning with a smile, "Your Majesty, I heard that Princess Yun Shang had a quarrel with Prince Jing when they returned to Qingxin Palace, and Her Highness ordered her maids to drive the Prince out of the Palace. However, the Prince stayed even though the Princess was mad at him. I wonder what the Prince said to the Princess to change her mind. In my opinion, Prince Jing is the right person to tame the Princess. In spite of the Princess's capriciousness, the Prince didn't grow impatient with Her Highness today. He always pacifies Her Highness gently and patiently. The messenger must have felt startled too. He told me this was the first time he had seen the Princ

e laugh."

Emperor Ning felt relieved after hearing Lord Zheng's words. He nodded, "I was reckless in consenting to their marriage. Prince Jing is quite persuasive. But I regretted agreeing afterward. After all, this is Shang'er's marriage. I should have asked for her opinion before making the decision. However, as I have issued an Imperial Edict to announce their marriage, there is no reason for me to revoke the Imperial Edict. So, I let the Prince escort Shang'er back to her Palace. I feel much better after hearing the news. As Shang'er and I have lived together for only a short period, I feel regretful for her. I hope she can lead a life she desires."

The Empress was under house arrest again before she could get a chance to take back her seal. After the Imperial Palace regained peace, the day for the ladies to pray at the Ning'guo Temple was decided. It was on the eleventh day of the first lunar month. As soon as Yun Shang heard the news, she told Madam Zheng to prepare for the travel in advance. Though the temporary imperial palace wasn't short of supplies, food and daily utensils were not as good as in the Imperial Palace.

Lady Ming began to run the imperial household again as the Empress was under house arrest. So only six or seven ladies were allowed to go to Ning'guo Temple to pray.

However, it was by no means a trivial thing for the imperial ladies to take a trip outside the Imperial Palace. They took so much luggage with them that the luggage wagons alone constituted a long queue. On the eleventh day of the first lunar month, a mighty team proceeded toward its destination in the fresh morning air.

The Emperor issued an Imperial Edict shortly after the team departed. It said that as Lady Jin was so fragile with her pregnancy, she would stay in the temporary imperial palace until the delivery of the baby as the temporary imperial palace would be a better place for her pregnancy. It was rare for the ladies from the imperial household to spend their pregnancy period in the temporary imperial palace before the delivery of the baby. However, as the Imperial Edict had been issued and Lady Jin had already set out, no one could dare say anything against the Emperor's decision. But this Imperial Edict eventually caused a stir in the imperial household.

Everyone believed that Lady Jin miscarried as had been indicated by the rumor. But as per today's Imperial Edict, the Emperor mentioned Lady Jin's fragile condition because of the pregnancy. All the ladies in the imperial household were smart enough to guess what had happened. The rumor about the Lady Jin's miscarriage would be a scheme to prevent the Empress from hurting the baby in Lady Jin's belly. His Majesty must have designed all this to protect Lady Jin's baby.

The Empress would have a tough time if the Emperor became suspicious about her to such an extent. Some ladies, who had become miscarried by accident, even started to think over their miscarriages. They were suspicious that the Empress might have been the culprit behind their accidental miscarriages. Thinking of their dead babies, they all grew furious at the Empress in their heart.

The Empress didn't hear the news about Lady Jin until several days later. By then, Yun Shang had returned from Ning'guo Temple, and Lady Jin had arrived at the temporary imperial palace safely.

"Hum. Good! Good..." The Empress closed her eyes and allowed her tears to run. "I didn't expect that His Majesty distrusted me to such an extent. His Majesty must have taken precautions against me for all these years. His Majesty did all this to prevent me from killing his child, didn't he? Did His Majesty ever think about me? Did His Majesty ever treat me nicely? I still remember how His Majesty left me alone in our wedding chamber on our wedding day. What a stigma for me! I know His Majesty hates me because Lady Jin, his beloved one, cannot be the Empress because of me. For all these years, I have tried my best to be a good wife as well as a good mother. Have I shown any sign of jealousy when young girls are selected as His Majesty's ladies each year? If His Majesty is so cruel to me, what's the significance of my title, Empress?"

Upon hearing those words, the maid standing by the Empress's side said immediately, "Your Majesty, please don't say something like that."

The Empress lay back against the bedhead. Her hair fell over her shoulders, and her eyes were red. She said after a long while, "Why can't I say something like that? Since I am under house arrest in this Palace now, who will have any chance to tell His Majesty what I said? I'm afraid His Majesty is not willing to hear any news about me."

The Empress became so distraught after she finished speaking that she coughed repeatedly. The maid panicked and inquired about the Empress worriedly, "Oh, my! Your Majesty is so sick. But the imperial physicians always make the same prescriptions when they come to check you. It seems as though those medicines won't take any effect."

A bitter smile emerged on the Empress's lips. "What is the use in taking the medicine? I'm afraid His Majesty would be happy if I died immediately."

"No! No! No!" The old maid responded hurriedly. "That's nonsense. Please stop talking about death, Your Majesty. Buddha and Gods, please forgive Her Majesty. Her Majesty is so heartbroken that she has said something out of her mind. Please don't take it seriously."

The Empress leaned forward a little and coughed again. Then she straightened her body and asked, "I ordered you to send a message to the Grand Councilor. Did you do that?"

The maid replied in a hurry, "I have already sent a messenger. Lady Li has found a physician for you, but His Majesty won't allow any other physicians to see you. His Majesty said the imperial physicians from the Imperial Palace are the best in the world. Physicians from outside the Imperial Palace are no match for them. Lady Li is trying to find a way..."

The Empress nodded, and stayed silent. She lay on her bed, sleepless. She just stared at the ceiling until tears welled up in her eyes again.

Seeing the Empress shedding tears on her bed, the maid turned around and sobbed silently, too.

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