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   Chapter 2 Those Eyes

The Rise of the Phoenix By ALLI MES Characters: 7636

Updated: 2021-02-27 22:12


The night is calm and silent. Only the unusual beating of the heart of two people could be heard as if they were chased by horses. Rong was drawn to the young man’s stare─ who’s in front of her─ pinning her both arms on the sturdy old tree behind her. Meanwhile, Hwa Jin was also mesmerized by the beauty of the person whose gender is unknown to him. How could such two people get enticed at each other during their first meeting? Was it because of fate and destiny? Or was it just all an act to gain one’s advantage? These thoughts caught her off guard and have awakened her from her reverie. “Get your hands off me.” She warned the young man. The young man looked surprised at what she said. He was not even shaken by her indirect threat. Hence, he tightened his grip on her."Tell me, who sent you here" He emphasizes every word that he said. His expressions also tightened; the gentleness of his stares was all gone now.Exasperated, Rong’s teeth gritted as she began explaining to him once more, "No one has ever asked me to come here except for myself nor someone will.”The man’s forehead creased, “Right, I forgot. No thief confesses his crimes.”With his jaws clenching, he grabbed Rong’s wrist harshly and dragged her out of the woods. Panic was all over Rong.“Where are you taking me?”, but the man seemed deaf and has not bother answering her question.Thus, she swung her arm which made him halt. She pulls him back and gives him a knee. He curled, clutching his stomach. She kicked him hard on the knockout point before he continued to fall and lose his consciousness. This allowed her to run.

*** Hwa Jin wakes up as the striking rays of the sun hit his face. He groaned as he felt sores all over his body. He curled up while trying to get up. He looked around his surroundings, trying to figure things out. ‘What happened last night?’Then he finally remembers; he was almost got struck by a wild arrow. He chased the bandit and confronted him physically.He groans as he gets up lazily. But then, just like a lightning strike, he remembers what he came for. His eyes grew wide after realizing.“Lady Rong!”Suddenly, large and heavy footsteps were heard. Quickly, he looked over to find his sword. Meanwhile, the sound is getting clearer as it gets louder.Su Ki Qi then appeared out of nowhere."Duke Zhang!" He greeted and bowed to him. Feeling relieved, he nods his head. "Where have you been? We’ve been looking for you the whole night. Why didn’t you come back? Lady Rong already come back an hour after you went out─”“What did you say? She came back already?” He asked with a creasing forehead.“Yes, My Lord. She came home safe and sound.” Ki Qi confirmed. “Did she…mentioned where did she go?”“Yes. She told us she went to a nearby river to get some fresh air.”“And did you believe her just like that?" Ki Qi was taken aback by what he just asked. “Why, My Lord? Is there something we should be alarmed of?” Hwa Jin sighed heavily before picking the arrow left last night and handed it to Ki Qi. The latter was shocked upon reading the writings on the cloth tied around.“My Lord…”“I encountered someone last night…” He narrated. But then, he couldn’t find the courage to continue his words when those pair of eyes came to flash to his mind.It was like he suddenly feels attached just by the look of those pair of eyes. Like in a spur of the moment, he feels complete and secure with that stranger. “My Lord?” Ki Qi shook his arms which awakened him from his reverie. “Nothing. Let’s get going instead.” He tapped Ki Qi’s shoulder and preceded walking.

Soon enough when they reached the summer house of the Su family, Fu Shang, the person in charge greeted him.“Your Highness, thank goodness you are back! ─ Lady Rong already came back last night.” The old man gladly ann

ounced.“I am glad to hear that. May I see her and extend my greetings to her?” The old man's face turned sour after hearing him.“Unfortunately, my mistress already left with her carriage just a few minutes ago─ But I told her that your Highness visited us last night. Yet she couldn’t wait to go home because Master Lim Tan got sick.” This softens Hwa Jin’s reaction. He then decided to follow.“Then I guess, we must also get going.” The old man could only do nothing but to agree.

*** Still clad on her another set of men's clothes, Rong and her companion Chui Yuan, went out of the carriage. “Pardon me, Mistress. But the horse needs to rest already. It would no longer run no matter how much I beat it.” "Fine, fine. Just call us when it's done resting. We'll just look there ahead." “Yes, Mistress.” The coachman bowed. Finally, Rong marched to the other side of the street and looked for something she could bring back home. “Which do you think is good to bring, Chui yuan?” The servant caressed her chin as if thinking even though she already had in mind what to bring as her Mistress’ brother already told her so.“I think baijiu* would be great, Mistress!” The servant cheerfully suggested which earned a snarl from Rong.“Baijiu─ Don’t be fooled by Tang’er! Let’s have dates instead.” Chui Yuan couldn’t argue anymore as she already walked away. Consequently, the servant hurried to follow her.When they arrived at the snack store, many people were already in a queue which gave Rong second thoughts in buying.“Should we line and buy?” Rong asked worriedly.“I can manage to wait, Mistress.” Rong looked at her and smiled.“Great. Then, wait for me here. I’ll just look around. You line there for me.” Once again, Chui Yuan was left in despair.

***

On the other hand, Hwa Jin and Ki Qi are already approaching the capital when the latter asked him to stop in the market for a while.“Your Highness, can we stop by at the market? My spy and I agreed to meet at the market today in exchange for the information you asked for.”“Alright.” Thus, both of them stopped when they reached the market. Ki Qi headed him to the block where they would meet the former’s spy. Unfortunately, as they walked towards the block, someone familiar caught his attention.“It’s him…It must be him!” he murmured as he saw the stranger once again.Rong was busy choosing fragrant pockets on one of the stalls in front of him.Hwa Jin quickly called Ki Qi’s attention, “Ki Qi, I will not come with you. Go look for your spy. I have something to attend to.”He said without breaking his gaze to Rong and left him quickly.

*** Rong was busy choosing the best fragrant pocket when someone pulled her out of nowhere. “Ahh!”, But what shocks her most is the person who pulled her. It was Gu Wu Ping. Gu Wu Ping is a renowned businessman in their place. He is from one of the wealthy and powerful men in Shang who went to the city to try his fortune. With his good looks, no doubt he was sought after by many women. Yet, despite all of these, he remains humble. Especially when he’s with Rong. They have been friends since they met at Shang one time when the latter saved him 10 years ago. They've become very close with each other to the point that gossips about them like getting married to each other were spreading like a wildfire. “My, my, my─ little follower, you’re here!” She greeted him. “Still doubting my sense of hearing?” She pretended to puke which garnered him a laugh. They were laughing as they exchange funny conversations until someone caught her eyes. Those pair of brown eyes, she cannot be wrong. “It was him!” she murmured. Suddenly, they met each other’s gaze. Her lips parted. She doesn’t know what to feel anymore as she could only hear the familiar erratic beating of her heart.

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