Only a Hint of a Smile
"Where did the beasts come in from? Get them out of here! Agh!" Only a faint cry could be heard from Hua Jing before the barking of the dogs drowned her out. Craning her neck to see, Yun Shang saw a courtyard full of people running in panic. Several wild dogs ran wildly around the yard, jumping and people and occasionally biting them.
The Taoist priest had fallen to the ground, and his face was covered with wounds. Hua Jing's gown had been ripped and soiled and there were visible scratches oozing blood on her arms. The phoenix crown was tilted on the empress' head. She was hurriedly running around the yard shouting at servants to get rid of the dogs.
With a smile on her face, Yun Shang hid behind a tree, watching the scene unfold. After the eunuchs and maids had finally driven the remaining dogs from the yard, she came out and in a fake panic cried out, "Mother, sister, are you OK? Where did these mad dogs come from? Why are they biting everyone? Hurry, you stupid servants! Chase them away!"
The eunuchs and maids quickly beat the remaining dogs unconscious and whisked them away. The yard was finally quiet, the ground now covered in a mix of human and canine blood.
With the help of her servant, Princess Hua Jing finally made it to her feet. Her whole body was in pain. Especially.. Her butt! A dog had bitten her square on the butt! Embarrassed at the sensitive nature of the wound, Hua Jing dared not call attention to the wound. She winced as she endured the throbbing pain. In a terrible mood she called out to the empress, "Mother, where did those beasts come from? How did they get in here all of a sudden?"
The empress was also a mess, her ropes ripped to pieces. But she was better at controlling her emotions. She snapped at the attendants around her. "Keep all of the beasts! Call Ming! I want to know where these crazy beasts came from!" The empress shot a cold glance at Yun Shang, who was totally unhurt, before walking away with her maids.
Yun Shang pulled her face into a pout. She walked over to Hua Jing. "Sister, are you hurt? Let me have a look." Yun Shang pressed her hand firmly onto the bite wound on Hua Jing's backside.
"Ahhhh!" Hua Jing let out a shriek and pushed Yun Shang away. However, as she did so, Hua Jing let go of her maid and fell to the ground. Yun Shang fell too and landed on top of her. Hua Jing shrieked again.
"I'm so sorry sister, I didn't mean to…. I just wanted to help.." Muttering apologies to Hua Jing, Yun Shang didn't budge, pressing the other princess into the hard ground.
"You… Ahhh… Get off me!" Hua Jing sounded feeble and weak.
With just the slightest hint of a smile, Yun Shang cried out, "Qin Yi, Qin Yi! Help me up!"
Qin Yi quickly hurried to the princess' side and pulled her up. The rest of the maids helped Hua Jing to her feet. When Hua Jing was pulled to her feet, she lacked the spirit even to rebuke Yun Shang.
"What about the priest, Your Highness?" Qin Yi asked, looking at the Taoist Priest covered in dog bites and still on the ground.
"Send him to the Supervisory Office. I will ask my father to deal with him later. I'll speak to him myself about the matter." Yun Shang smiled. She altered her gaze between the woobling Hua Jing and the palace behind her. "With this much fresh blood, I dare say the yard has been cleansed. No need for an exorcism after all."
After entering her chamber, she spoke again to Qin Yi, "Lin has been orchestrated this whole this masterfully. He has been invaluable this time, but I don't fully trust him. Keep your eyes on him, Qin Yi. By the way, the Queen had asked for my bracelets. Have you given them to her yet?"
Qin Yi nodded, "I have. I gave the empress the pair of bracelets, as you wished. I've also accomplished the other matter, as you asked. But I worry that the Princess Hua Jing's wounds are too severe. She may not be fully recovered in time for her coming-of-age ceremony in a week. It would be a real shame if something went wrong with the ceremony."
Yun Shang couldn't help but let out a soft laugh. "Look at you. You've really got a lot of tricks up your sleeves after all."
With Qin Yi's mention of Hua Jing's ceremony, Yun Shang couldn't help but recall memories of her own ceremony in her past life. In that life, she had fallen for a young attendee during the proceedings. She found him to be gentle and chivalrous, yet handsome and masculine. It had been Hua Jing herself who had convinced her to give in to her feeling for him. Yun Shang had been smitten by him wanting to get married immediately. She had even professed her love before the court. As a young maiden, just come of age, she had become the laughing stock of the imperial city.
Now, she finally knew why she had met him at that time.. A wry smile crept onto Yun Shang's face. She could finally see what was behind all of the accidents and drama.
In her previous life, she had been reckless because of her noble birth. Now, looking back, she could see the empress and her daughter's fingers on everything that happened.
She would not allow that to happen again.
"By the way, Qin Yi. I heard about an ointment that prolong the healing process. It is also said to itch terribly. Do you happen to know where I might procure such a thing?"
Qin Yi was slightly shocked at the princess' request. "Your Highness is well informed. There is such an ointment. As it is, I am acquainted with an apprentice at the imperial hostile. He should be able to give us some by tomorrow."
Yun Shang nodded. Her smile had gradually transformed into a grin. My dear sister, Hua Jing, she thought. You've always been so good to me…. I'd feel terrible if I didn't give you something to repay your years of kindness. Why not a present for your coming-of-age ceremony!
Yun Shang cocked her head to the side mischievously. "Qin Yi, what do you think my mother and sister are doing right now?" delete
Qin Yi tried to suppress her laughter. After pretending to think for a moment, she said, "My guess is they are just about to lose their tempers."
Qin Yi guess turned out to be right. Inside the great hall, attendants walked quietly and spoke in muffled voices, trying to avoid the wrath of the two furious nobles.
"Mother, that wench must be behind this! We had that eunuch poison her food, but there was no effect! Perhaps he didn't follow the order!" Princess Hua Jing lay face-down on a bed, a maid fast at work on her injured derrière. At the though of teeth marks, she grimaced. "Ouch! That hurts. Be careful back there!"
The empress had already changed her robes and washed the blood from her hands. No longer uncomfortable she sat on the end of the bed and pondered the events. "I will find out who was behind it. In the meantime, how many times have I told you to act like a princess? No matter what happens you must show nobility, civility and class. Don't let anger ever take that away! This is the only way to get what you want in this life!
Hua Jing pouted. Just as she was about to speak, a eunuch's voice came from outside, signaling the Emperor's arrival "…His Imperial Majesty and Her Highness, Yun Shang…"
YOU ARE READING
Eight-year-old Princess: Phoenix RebornHistorical Fiction
Bathed in the love of her imperial family and her husband, Yun Shang was a spoiled princess and the envy of many at the Royal Court. Her life had been perfect right up till the moment when she realized that everything was just a sham, a ruse designe...