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   Chapter 225 The Confrontation

Eight-year-old Princess: Phoenix Reborn By Lan You Ruo Characters: 21860

Updated: 2018-11-02 00:02


The scene in Qiwu Palace was chaotic.

"Your Majesty, the Grand Councilor has asked you to gather all the concubines and send them to Jinluan Hall under guard." Wen Xi said to the Empress. The Grand Councilor had sent the maid to the Empress half a month ago. The Grand Councilor had explained that Wen Xi would convey his orders to the Empress and also protect her.

The Empress was surprised at the instructions Wen Xi disclosed. She raised her eyes and looked at Wen Xi, "What happened? Has the Emperor returned?"

Wen Xi lowered her head at the Empress's questions, "I don't know.

His Majesty might have returned." The Empress looked at herself in the mirror. The woman staring back looked graceful and elegant. She was wearing a robe with nine phoenixes embroidered on it. The phoenix crown glittered on her head. But the Royal Lady didn't look at ease. Her eyes reflected obvious anxiety. Her father was plotting a rebellion...... And she didn't have a choice...... Even though the Emperor didn't treat her well and he loved another woman, he was still the Empress's husband. How could she betray him?

"Your Majesty......" said Wen Xi.

'Majesty?' The Empress scoffed at the irony. If she followed her father's orders, the Empress would be a traitor to her own State. No matter whether her father won or not, she would never be an Empress again. Her father had forced her into the imperial household. The Li Clan had compelled her to fight so hard for this position. From now on, this position didn't belong to her anymore.

"Sister......" Li Fuyi's voice echoed through the Halls. The Empress's anxiety morphed into disdain. She walked outside, and found Li Fuyi standing in the outer Palace. She was smiling, "Sister, Father told you to gather all the Ladies in Jinluan Hall. Haven't you received his order? Why haven't you done anything yet?"

The Empress sneered at Li Fuyi and replied coldly, "I have my own decisions to make. Since you didn't fully devote yourself to the Li Clan, you have no right to question me. You were sent into the Palace to win favor for our Clan, but you didn't accomplish that. I wondered why you spent so much time serving Lady Ming in Changchun Palace. All you did was pray and practice abstinence from meat every day. I even thought about asking His Majesty to care for you more. Now, I finally know your real purpose for weaseling your way into the Palace."

Li Fuyi sniggered and looked at the Empress. She tried to seem charming, "Sister, you're behaving strangely. His Majesty is your husband. Even though I'm young and unexperienced in certain things, I know better than to steal from my sister. But it seems like you don't like me as much. What makes you so unhappy? Is it because I came here to relay Father's orders? Do you still want to be an Empress even after he betrays the State of Ning? Well, it's understandable. After all, His Majesty and you have spent more than twenty years together. You must be deeply in love with him."

"Shut up!" The Empress was resentful indeed. "Are you here to mock me?"

Li Fuyi smiled before shaking her head, "No. I'm here to inform you of my arrangement. To encourage you to comply, I placed a spy in the temporary imperial palace in Laifeng City. I have asked my spy to find a chance to assassinate Lady Jin and her newborn baby. If my spy succeeds, don't thank me too eagerly. But if she fails, she will confess to Lady Jin and His Majesty that you're the one who wants Lady Jin and the baby dead."

"Li Fuyi!" The Empress was shocked and angry, "I underestimated you. How could I forget that you are an expert in scheming? You are exactly the same as your low-born and pathetic mother!"

Li Fuyi paused before she grinned at the Empress. "Sister, why are you so angry? Father also agrees with my arrangement. He believes that you are loyal to our Clan. But it would not do to take such a risk. Things will end badly if you change your mind at the very last moment. I think our plan is perfect for now. The Emperor must hate you so much. Even without the assassination order, he will still penalize you. Besides, Princess Hua Jing has been framed by Princess Yun Shang many times. We don't even know whether Hua Jing is alive or not......"

"That's enough! Get out!" The Empress pointed at Li Fuyi. She was so enraged that the elegant woman the Empress had seen in the mirror a few minutes earlier was gone. In her stead stood such a bitter and resentful woman that she couldn't recognize herself.

Li Fuyi stood and spoke, "Well, I'll take my leave now. Remember father's orders. Don't let him down."

The Empress waited till Li Fuyi had walked out of the Palace and disappeared into the darkness before falling in her chair. Her whole body trembled with uncertainty and anxiety.

"Your Majesty......" Wen Xi called again.

The Empress turned to her maid with a cold expression. Wen Xi was scared and kept her mouth shut.

"Convey the order to take all the Ladies to Jinluan Hall." The Empress said emotionlessly and forced a bitter smile as she thought of something. Even if she took all the concubines as hostages, it would not increase the Li Clan's odds of winning. No one understood the Emperor better than the Empress. The Empress knew what the Emperor valued most.

To gain support for his power, the Emperor broke his promise to Lady Jin, the woman he loved the most. He agreed to marry Li Yiran and make her the Empress instead. Since the Emperor valued his power more than anything, he would not care about his concubines. The Emperor had everything he wanted. Lady Jin and his heir were with him in Laifeng City, under strict protection. The other concubines weren't worthy of his attention now.

Wen Xi took some guards and left to execute the Empress's order. Alone, the Empress buried her face in her hands as she contemplated what future lay ahead of her.

"Your Majesty doesn't seem happy. Why is that?" A soft female voice broke the silence. Recognizing to whom the voice belonged, the Empress shivered. The person spoke again, "Well, if the Grand Councilor ascends the throne and becomes the new Emperor, what would I call you? Your Majesty, or Your Highness? No matter what I call you, it seems inappropriate."

"Ning Yun Shang!" The Empress ground her teeth and hissed. She identified where the voice was coming from and rushed to the inner Palace. She halted at the entrance when she saw Yun Shang sitting on her chair. Yun Shang smiled at the angry Empress, "Your Majesty, why did you call me?"

foil other arrangements that he had made so carefully. So he decided to carry out his plot earlier than planned even though they were not fully prepared."

The Empress shook her head to deny Yun Shang's claims. She spoke with a dry voice, "You don't need to make up such a huge lie to fool me. Do you think I'll buy that?"

"Well, I'm afraid you already believe me. It's understandable that we, as loyal protectors of Ning, didn't know all this before. But as the daughter of the Grand Councilor, how could you not know? Even though the Grand Councilor didn't make it clear to you, he must have done something suspicious enough to catch your attention. If you think it through, I'm sure you'll understand." Yun Shang didn't take the Empress's response seriously. And so she suggested to the Empress in a casual way.

Just as Yun Shang finished speaking, Wen Xi was dragged forward by a guard. A man dressed in black walked in and bowed to Yun Shang, "Your Highness, the guards in the Palace have been replaced by our people."

Yun Shang nodded before turning to the Empress to examine her expression. The Princess smiled happily, "If the Grand Councilor fails in his rebellion, where do you think he will retreat to? Well, my guess is that he will come to the Palace. After all, he had made so many preparations in the Palace and placed so many guards. I believe that he thinks the Palace is the safest place for him to be. Besides, he has asked Your Majesty to bring all the Ladies to Jinluan Hall as hostages. He must think he holds the bargaining chip with the Emperor. And if Lord Li really comes into the Palace, do you think he will leave alive?"

This was too much information for the Empress to process. She opened her mouth but didn't know what to say. Her face turned pale, and her eyes lost focus. Li Yiran looked around Qiwu Palace. The glittering gold and jade decorations conveyed wealth and prosperity. They were so contrary to the desperate situation in which she found herself.

After a while, the Empress smiled. She had accepted her fate. Hatred reflected in her eyes as she spoke, "Yun Shang, do you really think I will end up as you planned? You're wrong. I don't fear death. If I can kill Lady Jin and her beloved child before I die, my death will be worth it."

Yun Shang was about to walk out of the Palace when she heard the Empress's statement. She stopped long enough to ponder over the authenticity of Li Yiran's threat. It didn't matter if the Empress was bluffing or not, Yun Shang couldn't risk putting her mother and younger brother in danger. Yun Shang walked out of the inner Palace and whispered to her shadow guard. After that, she entered the inner Palace again.

Yun Shang kept silent and stared at the Empress for a long time. The Princess had an eerie smile on her face. The Empress shuddered at Yun Shang's smile. However, she found the courage to return the creepy expression. "What? Are you afraid?" she whispered to the Princess.

Yun Shang shook her head and said, "No. But I lied to you about Hua Jing. I intended to keep her alive before you threatened me. Now I have changed my mind."

The Empress sneered at Yun Shang, "Don't try to fool me again. Do you think I'll believe your lie? Are you trying to tell me that Jing'er is still alive? Hahahaha...... Since I know I'm not going to live to see tomorrow, I have nothing to fear now. I don't care about Hua Jing. I wish she were dead. That way we'll reunite as a family in Heaven."

Yun Shang didn't say anything. She just sat and waited.

The Palace was deadly quite since no one talked. After two hours, the guard who had left to carry out Yun Shang's orders, entered the chamber. He carried a delicately carved box made of fine wood. Yun Shang waved the guard forward with giving the box a glance, "Bring it to Her Majesty."

The shadow guard brought the box to the Empress. But the Empress didn't open it. She glared at Yun Shang without saying a word. "Em, " Yun Shang smiled at the Empress, "Why not take a look, Your Majesty? Have you lost your nerve?"

The Empress sneered at Yun Shang before hitting the box. She was not going to fall for Yun Shang's tricks anymore. Nothing would make her look inside! The box fell from the guard's hands and clattered on the ground. As the lid loosened, an object fell out and rolled forward....

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