"Yes..." Qin Yi suddenly thought of something else and added hastily, "What about the medicine? I'll find the medicine prescribed by the Physician so that Madam Zheng can have a look." She walked out as she finished her sentence.

Lady Jin frowned and sighed. "I didn't expect Li Yiran to be malicious. Years ago, I didn't want to fight with her and voluntarily left for the Cold Palace hoping that she would be assured and not scheme to harm Shang'er. I never thought that she still wouldn't let go..."

Yun Shang smiled and reassured Lady Jin, "Mother, it is not your fault..."

Lady Jin still blamed herself, "It is my fault. You wouldn't have suffered if I hadn't been so weak. I didn't get to take care of you since you were taken away from me. And all this time, you've had to watch your back by yourself. One careless step and you could lose your life. Thinking about what you've endured all these years breaks my heart."

Yun Shang felt warmth rising in her heart. Even though she had seen Lady Jin only a few times, her concern and genuine sorrow were heartening. Yun Shang could not help but feel a lump in her throat. All this time she had cursed her mother without knowing how Lady Jin truly felt.

"Madam, here's the medicine. Please take a look and see if there's anything wrong..." Qin Yi could be heard even before she lifted the curtain and stepped inside. The bowl of medicine in her hand was still steaming as she walked in.

Madam Zheng took a deep breath, frowned, and said, "I don't need to look. I can smell it already." She turned around, "There is oleander juice in this medicine, and from the smell, it's a substantial dose."

Hearing this, Qin Yi's face turned pale. "What a sinister plan! If it weren't for Lady Jin and Madam Zheng, I would have brought this medicine to the Princess. If the Princess takes this..."

Madam Zheng calmly interrupted, "If she drinks this bowl of medicine, I'm afraid the Princess wouldn't live past tomorrow morning." She let out a sigh as she spoke, "Empress Yuan Zhen is indeed devious. She first made the Princess bathe in water mixed with oleander. Adding so much water to the oleander juice would certainly weaken the effect. Besides, she was only bathing, so instead of taking her life, the poison wouldn't do anything more than induce a fever and a coma, which then created the opportunity for an Imperial Physician to look after the Princess and add more oleander juice in the medicine. If something went wrong, they could just claim that the Princess was too weak to withstand the fevers..."

Yun Shang laughed mildly with a bit of self-deprecation. She thought she had been extremely careful, and that she could defeat Empress Yuan Zhen and Hua Jing. She did not expect to almost lose her life. Clearly she underestimated the Empress and her power in the Palace.

Lady Jin's face also changed, "I remember Li Yiran to be a smart woman. I didn't think she would use such schemes against people in the Imperial Household. Madam, how can we get the herbs to cure Shang'er?"

Madam Zheng paced back and forth in the bedroom for a while and eventually said, "In this Palace, it's almost impossible to sneak in the herbs and prepare them for the Princess without anyone noticing..."

Lady Jin stood up right away, "What? Then what should we do? Perhaps we can have another one of our maids pretend to be sick, so that she can go the the Imperial Physicians, seek these herbs, and deliver them to us. We can boil them and deliver the medicine to Shang'er, right?"

Madam Zheng shook her head and said, "My Lady, tell me, would a sick Palace maid be needing ginseng?"

Lady Jin sat down despondently. Yun Shang quickly took Lady Jin's hand and smiled, "Mother, don't worry. The Madam told us, didn't she? I was only slightly poisoned. The dose was so small that it won't kill me. At most there's some more pain. I'll be fine and I will get through it. Mother, please be at ease. I will be alright."

Madam Zheng closely observed Yun Shang. She was filled with admiration for this brave young girl. She thought a bit more and said, "The best plan right now would be to send the Princess out of the Palace..."

"Out of the Palace?" Lady Jin stayed silent as she thought. She then looked up at Yun Shang and said, "Even though I wouldn't want to leave you, but at this point, leaving the Palace is actually not a bad idea. I am well aware that you received your title and reward, and I feel happy for you. But I am afraid this is the exact reason why the Empress won't leave you alone. The higher you climb, the more of a threat you are to her. She will definitely get rid of you before you are fully in power."

Lady Jin sighed, "I heard everything about you through Qin Yi, and I think you are a smart girl. But no matter how smart you are, you cannot confront Li Yiran in your current state. Her cunningness aside, she has spies in every Hall and every Palace. Her father was the revered Grand Chancellor of the previous dynasty. Do you know, Shang'er, why Hua Jing and the Empress were grounded only for one day after setting you up? That's because there was a military revolt in the Northwest. Li Yiran's brother is the Chief Commander of the Northwest garrison. Your father, the Emperor, needs to rely on the Li clan..."

Yun Shang sighed, "The Empress' family wields so much power, and the Emperor is just going to allow it?"

Lady Jin frowned and lowered her voice, "Shang'er, be careful what you say. If others heard you, they would accuse you of dissent. It's taboo for the Empress' family to hold power, but even if we want to eradicate the Li clan, it's not the right time. We need to wait..."

"As long as the Li clan has its hold on the court, Li Yiran's authority cannot be challenged. Shang'er, you will not be able to overthrow her at this time. In the Palace, you certainly won't be safe. It's better that you leave the Palace. Although your grandfather retired from politics, his friends have many talents. The things that the Empress wouldn't allow you to learn in the Palace can be learned if you get out. If you can learn all these skills from your grandfather's friends, then my Shang'er, you might become the most talented woman in the world."

Yun Shang lowered her head and thought for a long time. Finally, she let out a gentle sigh. Her mother was right. She was only eight years old, and she had no power of her own. She was limited everywhere in this Palace. If she got out, it would be a good way for her to cultivate her own influence.

Thinking of this, Yun Shang nodded at last, "I will obey mother's arrangements. But how shall I sneak out of the Palace?"

Lady Jin's face lit up with a smile, "Leave that to your mother."

Eight-year-old Princess: Phoenix RebornWhere stories live. Discover now