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   Chapter 213 The Identity Of The Culprit

Eight-year-old Princess: Phoenix Reborn By Lan You Ruo Characters: 23153

Updated: 2018-10-27 00:05

They hadn't hired any maid yet?

Yun Shang and Qian Yin fell silent as they pondered over the situation. Their faces turned pale at the chamberlain's words. If there were no maids working in Prince Jing's Mansion, who was the girl that brought the food into the bridal chamber the previous night? How did she get in? And who had sent her?

"Chamberlain, please summon the person to whom His Highness had given instructions to deliver the food." Yun Shang said determinedly. She wondered whether her food had been touched by malicious hands. The situation was indeed confusing. The midwife had told Yun Shang that she had been tainted with a pernicious scent. How could tampered food cause that? The Princess felt a sense of urgency. Perhaps it was already too late to start an investigation as the food had been eaten and the dishes were cleaned. It would be impossible to find any evidence from empty dishes.

The chamberlain bowed to Yun Shang, and relayed her request to a servant.

The servant hastened to the kitchen. Not long after, Prince Jing returned. Sweat beaded on his forehead due to the journey. Yun Shang smiled as she studied her husband. The attire he wore perfectly fit, which lent charm to his tall and handsome figure. At the sight, Yun Shang's heart warmed.

As the Prince stepped through the doorway, he noticed the awkward atmosphere. He glanced at Yun Shang. Her face was pale and her expression conveyed astonishment. He shot a questioning look to the chamberlain.

The chamberlain quickly briefed the Prince. Prince Jing frowned at his words. The expression on his face turned cold. He ordered, "All the guards patrolling the yard will be whipped twenty times on the back."

The chamberlain answered with a bow, "Yes, Your Highness."

However, Yun Shang frowned in disagreement. "We've got to figure out what happened. Before that, you..."

Prince Jing stopped her. He shook his head, "Whatever the reason, it would be dereliction of duty for them to allow a stranger to enter. We were lucky that the food was only drugged. What if it had been poisoned? What disastrous consequence would that have led to? Except this, all other mistakes can be forgiven."

Yun Shang wanted to plead for mercy for the guards. She opened her mouth several times, but couldn't utter a word. The guards were the Prince's subordinates. She should know better than to meddle with his decision regarding his men. Furthermore, the Prince was right. Neglect of duty was a serious matter. If this happened again, the consequence would be unthinkable. Her mother was lucky to have narrowly escaped death. Would Yun Shang still argue for mercy if the outcome had been different?

The Prince's orders were carried out. Before he retreated to the inner chamber, he said to Yun Shang, "Wait for me. I need to wash and change."

The chamberlain had left to oversee implementation of the punishment. With little else to do, Yun Shang contemplated the situation. Suddenly, someone tugged on her wide sleeve. Yun Shang snapped back from her thoughts and saw that Qian Yin sought her attention. Qian Yin glanced at the inner chamber before whispering, "Your Highness, His Highness is washing. Shouldn't you help him with that?"

Yun Shang gasped. She had been married in her previous life. She knew that it was her duty to tend to her husband. But she would rather not. After all, her marriage with Prince Jing wasn't...

Qian Yin became anxious and stomped her feet when Yun Shang failed to respond. She continued to emphasize her point, "Your Highness! Although you are a Princess of Ning, you still need to take good care of your husband. Qin Yi and I will not think less of you, should you choose not to tend to the Prince. But what would others think of you if they found out? What reputation will you earn if word spreads? What if others think of you to be a lazy wife?"

Yun Shang was amused by her maid's anxious tone. She flashed a smile to her maid, turned and walked toward the inner chamber. She hesitated a while before making her way to the wash-stand.

Prince Jing was standing by the wash-stand with his back toward the entrance of the chamber. He had removed his gown and hadn't as yet worn his fresh tunic. As Yun Shang looked up, she was confronted with a disrobed Prince Jing. Her cheeks flushed as her eyes traveled over his bronze-colored masculine shoulders. Yun Shang had seen glimpses of the Prince's chest on previous occasions. She had also removed parts of his tunic when dressing his wounds. However, no matter how many times she saw his body, she was still dazzled by the glow and expanse of his charm. He was indeed an attractive man.

Hearing footsteps, Prince Jing turned. He was surprised when he saw Yun Shang had entered the chamber. However, he maintained his composure and dressed calmly. Once ready, he walked to the shelf where the basin was placed and grabbed a towel. Quietly, he rinsed the towel with the water in the basin before wiping his face. Since Yun Shang had not spoken as yet, he casually asked, "Did something happen?"

Yun Shang bit her lip as she composed herself. After a brief pause, she boldly spoke, "Uncle, can I gather my guards in the courtyard? I want to ask them something."

Prince Jing wrung the towel dry. He turned his head toward Yun Shang. After studying her for a short while, he asked, "How's the wound?"

"Almost healed, uncle." Yun Shang hurriedly added, "Moderate activity is always good for health when one is injured or sick."

The Prince pondered for a while before he nodded, "Okay. You can do what you want. But till you are fully recovered, you can only do these activities for a half hour everyday."

At the start, Yun Shang was overjoyed when the Prince agreed. However, she celebrated too soon. Her eyes widened in shock when she heard the Prince's terms. She had not expected him to attach conditions to his consent.

However, upon seeing Prince Jing's emotionless face, Yun Shang sighed and accepted. After all, half an hour a day was better than nothing.

The Prince put the towel back onto the shelf before walking out with Yun Shang. The chamberlain was waiting for them in the living room. He approached the Prince and Princess as soon as he spotted them. He reported, "Your Highnesses, the boy who was instructed to deliver Her Highness's dinner has disappeared."

"Disappeared?" Yun Shang and Prince Jing blurted out in unison. Yun Shang sighed. She had expected that when she asked for the boy. If the culprit was capable of smuggling a maid into Prince Jing's Mansion, he or she would definitely be capable of silencing the boy.

"Send my men to investigate the matter and report every detail to me. Be quick and thorough." Snapped the livid Prince Jing.

Nervous and sweaty, the chamberlain quickly bowed and left the room.

"Let's go to the Palace. You've been worried about Lady Jin the whole night." P

g me. Why? For what?"

The Empress took several deep breaths to restrain her anger. Her chest ached with the rage she felt when she heard Hua Jing's rebellious questions. She snorted, "What gives you the right to ask me such questions? I've given you everything, and I can also take everything back. Who are you to argue with me?"

Hatred reflected in Hua Jing's eyes. She had nothing more to say to her mother. She glowered at the Empress before turning and running out of the Palace.

The Empress shivered at Hua Jing's hateful look. She felt as if ice had enveloped her heart. So, this ungrateful woman was her daughter. This was the daughter she had loved and cherished. What a marvelous result!

"Come! Send my men to keep an eye on the Princess. I'm sure she will try to do something without my permission. She needs to be watched!" The Empress snapped orders. She was aware that her father was preparing for an important matter. He was almost ready. The plan must not be ruined by Hua Jing's reckless deeds, or the Empress would be no longer able to protect her stupid daughter.

As Prince Jing and Yun Shang returned to Prince Jing's Mansion, the chamberlain approached them and reported, "Your Highnesses, Madam Bai is waiting for you."

Madam Bai? Who was she? Puzzled, Yun Shang shot a questioning look to Prince Jing.

The Prince explained, "She is the shop-owner of Qixiang House, a perfumery in the Imperial City, where different kinds of rare spices and perfumes are sold. Yesterday, I asked her to examine your cosmetics, and today, she must have come to tell us the result. Come with me, let's hear what she has to say."

Yun Shang nodded and followed Prince Jing to the front hall.

In the front hall, a young woman sat in a chair, waiting for them. Her hair was tied in a bun, which meant that she was married. Her face wasn't particularly beautiful, however, she radiated confidence and a sense of calmness. Yun Shang couldn't help studying this woman. When Prince Jing explained who Madam Bai was, the Princess had imagined the woman to be in her forties. She never thought the Madam would be this young.

As Madam Bai spotted them, she put down her teacup gracefully. She stood and clasped her hands before bowing to the Royals. "Your Highnesses."

Surprised, Yun Shang was now more curious about her. As a princess, Yun Shang was not allowed to go out of the Palace often, but she had heard the legends of Qixiang House. It was said that the rouge and powders made there possessed unique and long-lasting aroma, and its owner was skilled at socializing, which helped the business to flourish. However, Madam Bai was nothing like the rumor. The princess didn't spot any hints of flattery in her mannerisms. Her movement and speech were slow and unhurried. She was more like a lady born in an aristocrat house than an eager shop-keeper.

As Prince Jing and Yun Shang sat on chairs, Madam Bai cupped her hands again and bowed. Then she spoke, "I have examined Her Highness's cosmetics. They are our production, but someone has added an exotic spice to it. The spice is called Yi Xiang. And although it is a kind of spice, it doesn't have any special scent. So, it's pretty hard to identify the spice based on its scent. However, the spice added to the cosmetics was not very finely ground, and could be easily distinguished from the original smooth powder. Although ordinary people can't tell the difference, as a person who has been dealing with cosmetics and spices all my life, I was able to spot the spice."

Yun Shang nodded to her, as she asked, "What is the effect of the spice?"

Madam Bai frowned as she answered, "There was nothing special about it. It could be said that the spice has no effect at all."

"Really?" Yun Shang remained silent as she pondered over Madam Bai's explanation. Why would the culprit add a spice that had no special effect to her cosmetics? What was the culprit's intent?

Suddenly, the Prince asked, "If it is okay to use it alone, as you've said, what special effect will it have when used along with other herbs?"

Yun Shang narrowed her eyes. That was a possibility. However, a potion that could expedite child delivery was not rare, nor hard to distinguish. Many guests present during the celebration had medical skills. If there were such a thing that could trigger the effect of the drug, the guests would've noticed. It was not possible to hide such a thing from all the guests.

"There is a possibility, yes. But I have no knowledge of medicine. Your Highness will have to seek advice from a physician." Said Madam Bai softly.

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