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   Chapter 223 Sneaking Into The Imperial Palace

Eight-year-old Princess: Phoenix Reborn By Lan You Ruo Characters: 20458

Updated: 2018-11-01 00:06

Yun Shang was sure that something had happened in the Imperial City. She hid behind a tree outside the city gate and studied the guarded entry, and the dozens of soldiers who were examining the commoners entering the city. Something caught her attention. She realized that while the commoners were allowed to enter the City, no one was being permitted to leave. It looked like that the Li Clan had blocked the gate, and forbidden anyone from exiting the Imperial City.

How dare they? The Li Clan was too audacious.

Frowning, Yun Shang pondered for a while before she sent a signal to her guards. The Prince had kept the news from her because he didn't want Yun Shang to get involved in the civil war and worried for her safety. But since she had returned and learned about the Li Clan's movements, she wouldn't step aside and watch. And she didn't think Prince Jing could drive her away.

After a while, none of her guards responded. However, Jing Ying, Prince Jing's shadow guard, appeared in front of her and reported, "Your Highness, His Highness has asked me to bring you to him."

A little surprised, Yun Shang stared at her. After a long while, the Princess nodded. It seemed that the Prince had ensured that his guards would protect her no matter the circumstance. No wonder he always knew where she went and what she did. Seeing that the Princess had agreed, Jing Ying bowed before turning to lead the way.

Later, Yun Shang was led into a little compound located in the corner of the Imperial City. She was surprised again, for she knew that it was one of her guards' strongholds, and also a junction of the secret passages that lay beneath the city. Under the yard ran many tunnels that also led to other strongholds in the Imperial City and Qingxin Palace. Some tunnels even went outside the city. When tasked with renovating Prince Jing's Mansion, Yun Shang had heeded his advice and ensured that a tunnel was dug below the mansion. From what she remembered, the tunnel work had neared completion when she left the Imperial City.

Prince Jing was waiting for her in the yard. He appeared indifferent when he spotted her. After several quick glances at her, he asked plainly, "Is it a boy or a girl?"

Knowing that he was referring to Lady Jin's baby, Yun Shang nodded to him, "It's a little prince."

Prince Jing's body stiffened noticeably. However, he averted his eyes, and said, "I'm afraid that the Empress and the Grand Councilor have also received the news."

"Perhaps. How are things going in the Imperial City?" Yun Shang softly asked, "Lin has reported to me that the Imperial Palace is fully secured, with thousands of guards patrolling the Palaces and archers stationed throughout the walls. And I saw that the Imperial City has been closed, too. The gates are shut and no one is allowed to go out." Whilst she was talking, Yun Shang approached the Prince.

Prince Jing reached out and pulled her to him. He stood and hugged her around her shoulders. "You should not have come here. Over the past a few days, the Grand Councilor has been busy persuading the officials to ally with him. If they consented, they would be rewarded with gold and jewels. And if they refused, their whole family would be killed as a result of their defiance."

Upon hearing that, Yun Shang's eyebrows furrowed. She knew that every revolt was based on killing and torturing, but she didn't expect that the Grand Councilor would be so cruel and cold-blooded toward his fellow officials.

She asked with a frown, "Who have joined him? And who have been killed?"

Prince Jing sneered, "Before Li Jingyan could do anything, I informed all my allies to take their families away. None of them have been found and confronted yet. However, I can't fool him for too long. He will figure out what I have done in the coming few days. And I've also received reports from my men in the Palace. According to the report, the Ministry of Rites has been preparing for the enthronement ceremony. The crown is what they have been coveting. But I wonder which of them will ascend to the throne, Li Jingyan or Xia Houjing."

Gnashing her teeth, Yun Shang asked, "What's your intention? Has my father learned about what's happening in the Imperial City?"

Prince Jing nodded, "Of course, he knows about the rebellion. He has appointed me with the responsibility of handling the matter. Li Jingyan is a fool. He's stupid to believe that he could become Emperor just by gaining control of a city. Right now, there are no more than forty thousand Xia soldiers quartering in the Imperial City, whereas more than a million of them are laying siege at the border of the State of Xia. They are waiting for Li Jingyan's orders to invade Ning. But don't worry, I have mobilized our forces in secret, and our army is capable of defeating theirs. And within three days, the soldiers who guard the Imperial City will be there. At that time, I'll catch the rat in its hole."

Yun Shang felt relieved, but she suddenly recalled another matter. "If Li Jingyan wants the throne, he wouldn't harm the current Emperor, so my father is fine. But my mother is with him in Laifeng City, will she be in danger?"

Prince Jing patted her hair comfortingly. He lowered his head to look into her eyes, and smirked, "Well, what did I tell you? If you hadn't come back to the Imperial City, you wouldn't be worrying about your mother. You could've protected her in person. At the start, I wanted you to stay at Laifeng City and look after your mother, but you have come here, regardless of your parents and my warnings." At his words, Yun Shang appeared anxious. Seeing the anxiety in Yun Shang's eyes, Prince Jing continued though he softened his tone, "But they'll be fine, don't worry. Every Emperor has his own force, a small army of guards that listens to his orders only. Your father's force contains about thirty thousand men, and every one of them is an excellent soldier. Right now, his force must be with him, or somewhere near Laifeng City. And your father is also under the protection of many martial arts masters. Li Jingyan couldn't hurt

I'm fearful of the consequences if I refuse her. I only wish for my child to survive..."

Yun Shang smiled disparagingly before speaking, "It seems you have no idea about what's going on in the Imperial City. Or else, you wouldn't have agreed to her request. Do you know, why am I here?"

Qin Meng was dumbfounded. She shook her head in a daze.

Seeing that, Yun Shang emitted a loud laughter, "Let me tell you what has happened. You must be wondering why the Empress has been talking about loyalty over the past a few days, and why she mentioned that as long as you didn't betray her, you would survive and thrive. But you could never imagine what has happened. The Empress's father, Lord Li Jingyan, is now a traitor. He is aiding the State of Xia in their invasion of Ning. Right now, the Imperial City has been locked, and all the officials that didn't bow to the Li Clan have been killed. You see now? The Grand Councilor wants to usurp the throne!"

Hearing that, Qin Meng was more terrified than before. She stared at Yun Shang, blankly, face pale in horror.

Yun Shang raised her eyebrows and looked at Qin Meng as she continued, "The Empress is Lord Li's daughter. She will survive the rebellion, and thrive as the most honorable woman in whichever dynasty that takes over. And if the Grand Councilor succeeds the throne as the new Emperor, she would be his Eldest Princess. Huh. But what will happen to you and the other Ladies, Lady Meng? If that happens, all of you will be used women, and concubines of the late Emperor. What would happen to worthless women?"

Horrified, Qin Meng shook her head in disbelief. She whispered, "No, it's not true..."

Yun Shang stared at her before mocking, "And what will happen to your child? Do you think the Li Clan will let it live? How foolish of you to believe the Empress's words.

However, the Grand Councilor is not going to succeed. And the Empress will regret taking his side. She should never have staked all her hopes on a revolt. Although she has fortified the guard in the Palace, her force is not strong enough to stop anyone from breaking in. Right now, the Li Clan possesses an army of a mere forty thousand. But Prince Jing has been placing a larger and stronger army around the Imperial City. They will lay siege soon and the Empress will lose the war. And she will lose her life. Do you really think taking her side will bring you closer to fortune and glory? Well, in my opinion, if you take her side, your choice would only bring you closer to death. Oh, in the event that the Empress wins, perhaps what awaits you is a fate worse than death. You have fought with her for the Emperor's favor. She must already hate you." Said Yun Shang with a smile.

Qin Meng shuddered in terror. Sweat trickled from her forehead and her face was pasty white, as if she had imagined the most horrible thing happening to her. But Yun Shang was at ease. She sat comfortably on the bed and stared at the flickering candle light as she thought about Qin Meng's pregnancy.

Finally, trembling and panic-struck, Qin Meng fell to her knees. She crawled to Yun Shang, raised her head, and looked into Yun Shang's eyes, "Your Highness! Please save me! Please! You have the ability to save me!"

Yun Shang smiled. "Of course, I can save you and your child. But, I don't feel any necessity to save either of you."

Qin Meng hurriedly pleaded, "Your Highness, I've been working for you for such a long time..."

Yun Shang flashed a smile, "You've been working for me? But I thought you worked for the Empress. Just now, you were talking to her with such delight. What if I promise to help you survive the revolt, but you betray me and tell my plans to the Empress? Although I'm not afraid of her, you will die before me if you ever informed on me."

That said, Yun Shang intended to leave. But Qin Meng hurriedly hugged the Princess's thighs and pleaded, teary-eyed, "Please forgive me! It's all my fault! I would never betray you! And I know my mistake! Please forgive me! Please give me a chance to prove my loyalty!"

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