World of Hidden Phoenixes

Chapter 152

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Outside the window, the bamboo forest was resting in silence for the longest time before a gust of wind blew past. Accompanied by the sound of flowing water, the rustle of leaves outside made the house appear all the more peaceful and elegant. 

 On the bookshelf of Tao Yuan Ju’s study, there were many books, all of which were ordered by Ji Feng Li for Hua Zhu Yu’s enjoyment. As she sat there engrossed in a book, she could hear Long Yu’s announcement.  

“Miss, Third Princess is here to visit you.”

Huangfu Yan? Hua Zhu Yu was a bit surprised since she knew that Huangfu Yan disliked her. However, Hua Zhu Yu was still fond of her and told Long Yu to invite her in. 

 As the servants pulled aside the curtains, Huangfu Yan slowly entered. Upon seeing Hua Zhu Yu, she immediately paid her greetings. “Yan’er greets Imperial Sister-in-law.” 

 Hua Zhu Yu was taken aback. Being called sister-in-law made her feel somewhat embarrassed. 

“Before, Yan’er had misunderstood Imperial sister-in-law. Today I’m here to ask for your forgiveness,” Huangfu Yan said with a bow. 

 Hua Zhu Yu raised her brow in surprise. She did not expect Huangfu Yan to try and make amends with her. She could still remember their meeting with Wen Wan in the flower garden clearly and the look Huangfu Yan gave her had been filled with animosity. But Hua Zhu Yu went over and held Huangfu Yan’s hand and smiled. “Princess, I don’t dare to accept your addressment.” 

 Huangfu Yan lifted her gaze and said somewhat nervously, “Sister Yu, sooner or later you’ll become Yan’er’s sister-in-law. Could it be that Sister Yu is not willing to forgive Yan’er? Do you still blame Yan’er?” 

Hua Zhu Yu lightly smiled and replied, “How could I blame princess?” 

Huangfu Yan gave a relieved look and then proceeded to explore around the room. Smiling, she said, “Sister Yu’s place is truly the most beautiful place in the palace, it doesn’t look like it’s part of the Imperial Palace at all, it’s more like a paradise! Sister Yu, can I come here and visit you in the future?” 

 “You are welcomed anytime,” Hua Zhu Yu replied with a smile. 

“Thank you Sister Yu!” Huangfu Yan exclaimed happily. “Yan’er wants to go out and play. Would sister Yu like to accompany Yan’er?”

Hua Zhu Yu shook her head and said, “I’m not feeling well, I’m afraid I cannot accompany princess.” 

Huangfu Yan lightly glanced over Hua Zhu Yu’s belly and covered her lips with her hand as she said with a smile, “I almost forgot that it’s not convenient for Sister Yu to move around. Alright, I’ll go alone.” 

Afterwards, Huangfu Yan turned around and headed towards the peach blossom grove with her maidservants for a stroll. Seeing her leave, Hua Zhu Yu’s brows slightly knitted. She understood Huangfu Yan’s temperament. Huangfu Yan was always prejudiced towards her so for her to suddenly show kindness truly made Hua Zhu Yu suspicious. 

Sitting by the lakeside, Huangfu Yan was holding a fishing rod and leisurely fishing. 

“You guys go away, don’t disturb my fish! It’s best to go play in the forest. Without this princess’s permission, don’t come over!” Huangfu Yan instructed her maidservants. 

“Yes! Princess!” the two maidservants exclaimed. 

On a sunny afternoon, a slight breeze stirred the petals of flowers to flutter in the background as the lake surface glistened under the rays of sunlight. It was truly a beautiful scenery right out of a water-colored painting. Huangfu Yan sat by the lake fishing while Hua Zhu Yu sat on a bamboo chair reading. 

 It was peaceful and quiet all around. From time to time, the tranquil ambience would be severed by Huangfu Yan’s sudden cheer followed by the sound of a fish falling in the basket. Unexpectedly, Huangfu Yan really knew how to fish. 

 While Hua Zhu Yu was engrossed in her novel, she suddenly heard Huangfu Yan’s sudden scream. She looked up and saw that Huangfu Yan had fallen into the lake. She was flapping her arms and shouting, “Sister Yu, save me!” 

 Hua Zhu Yu narrowed her eyes and walked quickly over to the lake and gave an order to Long Yu. “Long Yu, hurry and rescue the third princess!” 

 Long Yu’s face turned pale as she replied, “Miss, this servant cannot swim!” 

“Go call for help then!” Hua Zhu Yu coldly ordered. 

Long Yu quickly went to look for help while Hua Zhu Yu stood by observing the situation. It was obvious Huangfu Yan was beginning to become exhausted. Hua Zhu Yu went over to a tree and pulled off pieces of tree bark and threw them into the lake. Employing her internal force, she then jumped onto the tree barks floating on the lake surface and made her way over to Huangfu Yan. As she reached out her hand to pull Huangfu Yan up she heard her muttering in between her bouts of coughs. “You cannot …… marry him, I will not let you …… marry him! “

I know,” Hua Zhu Yu said with a faint smile.  

She knew there were many people in court that wanted her dead. She also knew there were many that didn’t want her to marry Ji Feng Li. The addition of Huangfu Yan was no surprise. 

She pulled Huangfu Yan out of the water and held her by the waist as she headed back to shore. 

Facing the blowing wind, the hair at her temples fluttered in slight disarray. As she was heading back, she felt her arm suddenly turn numb as if she had been stabbed. Hua Zhu Yu looked down and heard Huangfu Yan’s voice ringing at her ear, “I know you’re not pregnant! You can’t hide it anymore!” 

 Hua Zhu Yu didn’t expect Huangfu Yan to make such a ruthless move. Frowning, she said, “Princess, I have no animosity towards you. However there are some things I hope you will think through carefully so as not to let others take advantage of you. ” How could this little girl think of such a cruel scheme, she must’ve been instigated by someone!

Huangfu Yan was taken aback and she lowered her eyes, turning to look elsewhere. At this time, Hua Zhu Yu could see Long Yu arriving with a group of guards so she threw Huangfu Yan ashore before descending to the ground herself. Huangfu Yan screamed in terror and seeing her about to fall, Long Yu reached out her arms to catch her. 

Long Yu then looked over at Hua Zhu Yu. Noticing her slightly pale face, she quickly ran over to support her and asked, “Miss, what’s wrong with you?” 

“I’m alright. Long Yu, help me inside.” The tingling sensation in her hand was beginning to spread. She raised her hand to seal the acupressure point on her shoulder and used her internal strength to suppress the poison.

Huangfu Yan’s maidservants had already arrived with an Imperial Physician. “This princess is fine. On the other hand, because of helping me, Sister Yu had disturbed her fetus. Imperial brother’s dragon seed is more important, quickly take Sister Yu’s pulse!” 

translations at peachblossomgrove . com

The Imperial Physician’s eyes flickered with a light as he said in a deep voice, “Yes, Your Highness!” 

Hua Zhu Yu tried to remain calm. She feared that this Imperial Physician was already bought by Huangfu Yan in order to take her pulse. It seems that there are many people who do not believe that she is pregnant with Ji Feng Li’s child. She was just about to open her mouth to speak when a bout of dizziness overwhelmed her. She didn’t expect Huangfu Yan’s poison to be so strong. If she lost consciousness, it was only natural for the Imperial Physician to take her pulse. She finally understood why Huangfu Yan said she could no longer hide it. 

Trying to take advantage of her consciousness, Hua Zhu Yu gave Long Yu’s hand a hard pinch. Long Yu’s face grew serious and she said, “I don’t dare to bother Imperial Physician Yang. Miss has her own Imperial Physician to look after her. You should quickly take a look at the princess first!” After speaking, she tried to help Hua Zhu Yu back to Tao Yuan Ju. 

 “The princess is fine. Miss Hua on the other hand looks very ill. If you delay, her life may be in danger,” Imperial Physician Yang said in a low voice. 

 Long Yu’s heart gave a startle. She looked back at Hua Zhu Yu and saw that her face was pale as snow. She began to panic and did not know what to do. At that moment, Tang Yu arrived with a group of guards and he coldly said, “If it’s poison, leave it to this official.” 

 Long Yu immediately breathed a sigh of relief. 

 However, Imperial Physician Yang was not resigned and was just about to say something further but Tang Yu beat him to it.  “Tao Yuan Ju is a place where the Princess Consort resides during her pregnancy. Outsiders are not allowed to stay here. Imperial Physician Yang, it’s best that you return!” 

Though he was not resigned, he had no choice but to leave. This Tao Yuan Ju was indeed not a place he could enter as he pleased. If it was not for the princess’ maidservant asking him to come treat the princess, he would not be able to enter this place. Seeing that there was nothing else he could do, he withdrew with a downcasted look. 

Huangfu Yan slowly got to her feet. Her clothes were still dripping wet. Biting her lip, she ordered the two maidservants, “Let’s go!” 

***

In Qin Zheng Hall, on the black ebony dragon table, the 3-legged phoenix-patterned incense burner was emitting a mild scent. 

Ji Feng Li was sitting behind the dragon table, going through the stack of memorials. Beside him, the palace eunuchs stood by to wait on him. The entire hall was very quiet. He held a brush within his hand which remained in the air for quite some time, but not a single marking had been written on the memorial. 

All around him was peace and quiet yet his mind was not. 

 Outside the door, a eunuch announced, “Your Highness, the Third Princess would like an audience!” 

Ji Feng Li looked up as he knitted his brows. “Let her in!” 

Once he spoke, the brush in the air finally descended and the memorial was covered with red markings. 

The sound of footsteps approaching got closer and closer, only coming to a stop once she stood in front of him. But she remained silent for a long time without speaking. Ji Feng Li placed the brush down and put the memorial that had not been reviewed to the side. He narrowed his eyes and asked, “Yan’er, what’s wrong?” 

Huangfu Yan had not changed out of her wet clothes. She was still soaked and her slender body was trembling. Whether it was due to the cold or because she couldn’t suppress the emotion in her heart, or if she was nervous or scared, she was uncertain. Ji Feng Li had questioned her but she did not reply. After a while, she took a deep breath and tried to restrain her trembling body before fixing her eyes upon him. 

For so many years she had harbored feelings for Ji Feng Li, only daring to take peeks at him from the shadows and admire him in her heart. The day he had rejected her father’s proposed marriage, it was like a bucket of cold water had been doused all over her feelings. Though it pained her greatly, she did not blame him for she knew that she was unworthy of him. That day when he was to be executed, he had sent people to find her, to tell her to present a cup of poisonous wine to him on the execution ground. That day was the first time she had the courage to face him and he had told her that he considered her as his sister. Then she found out that she truly was his sister. 

 These days she’s been coming to terms with the fact that he really was her brother. But whenever she saw him, she had never called him brother before. 

She calmly looked at Ji Feng Li and put on a reluctant smile. “Imperial …… bro …”

Ji Feng Li furrowed his eyebrows slightly: “Yan’er, why did you come? Is there something urgent? Also why are you like that? Servants, take the princess back to change clothes!” His clear voice which was soft as a spring breeze, touched Huangfu Yan’s heart. She had stopped shaking and felt more at ease. 

“No need, I have something to tell Imperial Brother!” Huangfu Yan said as she lowered her gaze.

Ji Feng Li motioned for the eunuch and maidservants to all withdraw. He then stood up and walked in front of Huangfu Yan, quietly asking, “What happened?” For some reason he had a bad premonition.

Slightly startled, Huangfu Yan looked up at him.  Her bright eyes dimmed with a sense of loss as she gathered up the courage to ask, “You really want to marry… that woman?”

Ji Feng Li let out a deep sigh then replied with a smile, “That’s right! I want to marry her.”

Huangfu Yan’s eyes immediately turned red but she tried to hold her smile. She tightly pressed her lips together as her complexion became increasingly pale. “Forgive Yan’er to be so bold as to say this but she is not worthy! Don’t marry her!”

Huangfu Yan was the type of person to evoke tender feelings from anyone with just a glance. 

But due to this one sentence, Ji Feng Li’s eyes darkened. He lowered his gaze and said in a deep voice, “Yan’er, I thought you were different from other people …… Yan’er, you don’t understand. In my heart, no one can compare to her.”

Huangfu Yan gritted her teeth and said, “The person who doesn’t understand her isn’t me. You may already know this but when she was a eunuch, she and Huangfu Wu Shuang had ….. an ambiguous relationship. But you may not know that …… she ……” Huangfu Yan’s lips trembled and she didn’t finish her sentence. Ji Feng Li quietly closed his eyes, concealing the darkness looming within its depth. A moment later, he looked up again and calmly said,  “Yan’er, you can go back if there is nothing else. No matter what she has done, Imperial Brother will only love her in this life and will only marry her.” He then turned and headed back to the dragon table and lifted up a cup of tea. 

Ji Feng Li’s words had greatly provoked Huangfu Yan who shouted, “She…. she was pregnant!” 

 Ji Feng Li’s hand shook slightly and the tea had spilled from the cup. 

 The skies had begun to darken as the faint lights shone through the window to cast upon his beautiful face. The originally amiable face was suddenly covered by a layer of icy frost. His face was rigid cold and his eyes were sharp. 

He slowly turned around. With a raised eyebrow, he smiled and asked, “Yan’er, how do you know these things? Don’t you normally keep to yourself in your palace all day? Where did you hear these groundless rumors? If Imperial Brother learns that someone has been speaking nonsense in front of you, Imperial brother will certainly not forgive that person. You may leave.  Go visit Imperial Mother at the nunnery for a while. “

“Imperial …… bro!” Huangfu Yan looked at him in astonishment. She couldn’t believe it. He was actually going to put her under confinement! Since his return, Empress Nie was placed under house arrest at the Imperial Palace’s nunnery and today he was actually sending her there too. 

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