World of Hidden Phoenixes

Chapter 162 part 2

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The thundering of horse hooves upon the solid ground breaks the serene ambience of early morning as the rays of sunlight reflected off the cool steel of swords. 

At the top of the gate towers of Ning City, beneath the imperial canopy, a resplendent golden figure stood still against the passing wind. It was Ji Feng Li, the new Emperor of Southern Kingdom. 

In Ning City, the wind was much calmer compared to that at the western or northern borders. It was not strong enough to even blow Hua Zhu Yu’s robes. However, though there was a difference in the wind, difference in the city, it was still nevertheless the same, a war. 

 In those days, she was the young and aloof Asura who advanced fearlessly, free of reservations. Now, there were all kinds of obstacles in her way. To take one step forward, she would fall to the pits of hell. To take one step backward, she would sink into a deep oblivion. There was no room to advance nor retreat, she could only tread carefully with difficulty. 

Huangfu Wu Shuang urged his horse to sprint forward. He was dressed in noble black war attires embroidered with a golden, coiling dragon on the front. The light breeze fleeted across his clear, innocent face as the corner of his lips slightly curved into a callous smile. 

“Come, bring the bow and arrow! Today, this Crown Prince will avenge General Hua!” With that cold smile and cold tone, it was like a snowflake entering people’s hearts in the deepest of winters, bearing an absolute coldness. 

Immediately,someone presented him with a bow and arrow. He picked up the bow and set the arrow on the string, taking aim at Ji Feng Li  atop the city gate towers. 

“Leave it to me!” Hua Zhu Yu stated. 

She urged her horse forward and reached for the bow and arrow. Raising her hand, she set the arrow in place, tightened her grip on the bow and slowly pulled back the bowstring. 

She took a deep breath, and narrowed her eyes slightly. With a gorgeous smile on her lips, she glanced coldly at the group of people atop the city gate towers. With the release of her fingers, the arrow launches, the tip glistening coldly in the air as it aimed straight for Ji Feng Li.

Seemingly, she saw him smile faintly. 

He could still smile at her.

Hua Zhu Yu’s hand slightly shook. She knew the moment she shot that arrow, all the love along with the hatred between them would be vanquished. In fact, from the moment she found out she was the princess of the Nation of Mo, she knew they belonged to two separate worlds completely.  

Hua Zhu Yu felt a dull pain in her abdomen as her heart began to ache. The southern winds weren’t strong enough to raise her heavy war robes, but the strong internal strength she emitted flickered the ends of her robes in the air. 

 Ji Feng Li, this is the last thing I can do for you. I will help you sit peacefully on that throne of yours. From now on, between heaven and earth, you and I will never be. 

The arrow pierced through the air, flying towards the city gate towers. Someone made a move to block the arrow but Ji Feng Li had pushed him aside. 

With the arrival of the arrow, a painful grunt escaped his lips before he fell. 

“Attack!” Huangfu Wu Shuang ordered. 

Three days. The attack continued for three days. The troops at Ning City relied on the solid city walls and had fortified its gates to defend against the attack. They took on a defensive position and did not open their gates to fight head-on. It was even rumored that Ji Feng Li was heavily injured to the point of being bedridden. 

***

translations at peachblossomgrove . com

Ning City. 

Lying in bed, Ji Feng Li wanted to fall asleep but sleep never came. His mind was particularly clear, making him awfully conscious of the pain his body was in. But what was strange was that the pain was not just emanating from the injury her arrow inflicted on his right chest. Though there was a numbing pain there, it was insignificant compared to the excruciating pain he felt between his chest and abdomen.  

Why did it hurt there so much? 

He wasn’t sure how long it had been, but the pain had gradually subsided and he quietly opened his eyes. 

“Your Majesty, this old slave arrived late!” In the dimly lit space, Ye Fu Gui stooped down to kneel on the ground. 

Perhaps because he had been enduring the pain for far too long, Ji Feng Li felt slightly lightheaded and needed the assistance of a eunuch to help him sit up. 

“A’Gui, you’re finally here. Come take zhen’s pulse! Whatever it is, speak freely, no need to be afraid,” Ji Feng Li said, his eyes slightly creased. 

A’Gui bowed and went to examine the injury and feel his pulse. After a while, he said in a troubled voice, “Your Majesty, the injury on your right chest is not serious. After a few days of rest, it will be fine. However, Your Majesty has been poisoned with an unusual poison that is extremely rare. It had long since disappeared from this world so I didn’t expect to discover it today. This poison is called Slaying Demon and it is cultivated in the body of a woman. While in a woman’s body, it does no harm, but once the woman spends the night with a man, the poison will be transferred to the man. Although this poison is harmless to women, it is deadly to men. It is impossible to predict when the poison will suddenly activate and attack. Moreover, there isn’t a known antidote.” 

A’Gui’s remaining words fell to deaf ears once Ji Feng Li heard how the poison was introduced to his body. In that moment, he felt something eating away at his heart, leaving a deep, emptiness in its wake. 

 It turns out that this excruciating pain was due to being poisoned which was passed onto him after spending a night with a woman who had it. 

“No!” Ji Feng Li uttered after a long silence. He slowly stood and said incredulously, “She wouldn’t do that.” 

 Though she was the princess of Mo, though she may not love him, though she may have entered the palace for revenge, he couldn’t believe that those moments they spent together…..even the thought of it, he couldn’t bear. 

 “A’Gui, how long does it take for the poison to activate once someone has been poisoned with the Slaying Demon?” Ji Feng Li asked with difficulty after a moment of silence when he recalled that night in the army barracks. 

A’Gui was a little perplexed as to why Ji Feng Li would care about the time frame of when the poison first activates instead of worrying about how to clear the poison from his body. 

 Sighing, A’Gui said in a low voice, “I’m not too familiar with this poison so I’m not certain how long it takes for the poison to activate once it enters the body. However, I will do my utmost best to find an antidote for Your Majesty.” 

 Ji Feng Li took a deep breath, they slowly said, “A’Gui, the Tang Clan specializes in poison. As for my condition, besides Tang Yu, do not speak a word of it to anyone else.” 

 A’Gui nodded. He naturally knew that this matter was of great importance and would not dare to breathe a word of it to anyone. 

 “You may withdraw. Call Lan Bing in.” 

A’Gui nodded and bowed before taking his leave. 

 Moments later, Lan Bing lifted the curtain and entered. He was now a court official and was currently in charge of suppressing the rebellion. Although he had talked to Ye Fui Gui outside and knew that Ji Feng Li’s injury was not serious, his face still carried a heavy expression. When he entered, his gaze swept towards Ji Feng Li’s injury and he couldn’t help but furrow his brows and say, “Your Majesty, I’ve already said that I can deal with Hua Mu’s and Huangfu Wu Shuang’s rebellion but you still insist on coming here. Great, now you’ve been wounded. If it had been 3 inches closer….” 

 Lan Bing did not finish when Ji Feng Li’s cold voice suddenly cut him off. “Even if it was 3 inches closer, I still wouldn’t have died!” She would never shoot him dead, else she would not have missed by 3 inches. 

Lan Bing stood there, his mouth agape as he was at a loss for words. Since Ji Feng Li became Emperor, when they met in private, they would still speak candidly towards one another as before. But if it involved Yuan Bao, he could only bite his tongue because he knew it was a taboo subject that he could not arbitrarily touch upon. But today he could not hold it back any longer. He feared that Ji Feng Li would really lose everything because of her. 

“Your Majesty, I didn’t want to say this but i can’t stand by and watch you get hurt by her again. 

She had escaped from prison with the Northern Emperor and now he is helping her by attacking our northern borders. During the chaos, Hua Mu passed away suspiciously. It can’t be said for sure but she may be holding you accountable for it. She even shot you with an arrow. Your Majesty, do you really think she still has feelings for you? I do admire Yuan Bao, she cares for the people and is willing to sacrifice herself for her comrades on the battlefield but she and Your Majesty will forever be enemies standing on opposite sides!” Once he finished, he felt quite sorry. In truth, Yuan Bao and His Majesty were a match made in heaven. It’s a pity…..

After speaking his mind, Lan Bing was prepared for Ji Feng Li’s wrath. Unexpectedly, when he looked up, he saw him sitting on the bed, the candlelight, radiant as jade, illuminating his cold face. The corner of his eyes creased with despair as his brows knitted with sorrow. 

“What did Your Majesty call me for?” Lan Bing looked away and quickly tried to change the topic. 

 Frowning, Ji Feng Li slowly said, “Lan Bing, send someone to Yu City to escort Rong Si here. I have something to ask her.”

When these words entered Lan Bing’s ears, he raised his head in surprise and asked incredulously, “Your Majesty, you…you just said… escort who?” 

 “Rong Si, also known as Jin Se. The person who took Jin Se away from the Chancellor’s Residence wasn’t Huangfu Wu Shuang or Hua Mu, but me.” Ji Feng Li slowly continued, “I know you have feelings for her so I had kept this hidden from you.” 

Lan Bing stood there dumbfounded for a long while before finally comprehending what was going on. He lamented that he had been so ignorant thinking that Huangfu Wu Shuang or Hua Mu had taken her away. The matter regarding the Princess of Northern Kingdom was originally a scheme to beat someone at their own game. Jin Se was one of Hua Mu’s people so she couldn’t be allowed to testify. Because of the accusation at that time, the best way was for her to go missing. 

“I thought you were merely infatuated by her at that point in time but I heard you never stopped looking for her. It seems your feelings for her are sincere. This time, send someone to escort her here safely. I have things I need to ask her. It may be a chance for her to make amends for her past mistakes,” Ji Feng Li said faintly. 

“A chance to make amends? What can she do?” Lan Bing was confused. He couldn’t think of what Jin Se could do to make amends. 

Ji Feng Li smiled and said, “It’s not certain if she can or not. You just need to make sure she is escorted here safely.” 

Lan Bing nodded and asked, “Where is she being held?”

“In the palace with Empress Nie and Huangfu Yan at the Buddhist Nunnery,” Ji Feng Li replied.

Lan Bing didn’t expect Jin Se to be in the palace. He had sent people to look for her for so long yet she had been in Yu City all this time. He bowed to show his gratitude and quickly left. 

 Ji Feng Li got up and blew out the candle. 

 The room instantly sank into darkness. A sliver of moonlight spilled in through the window, illuminating his cold face. He leaned against the window and peered outside quietly. The moonlight was hazy, making his eyes appear all the more gloomier.  

***

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