Reign Of The Phoenix - novelonlinefull.com
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Cai Sang draped a soft fur blanket on a big stone and carefully supported Murong Zhining to sit down on it. In front of Murong Zhining was a small river flowing quietly, the water so clear that one could see through to the bottom. Cai Sang washed the towel in the river and gently wiped Murong Zhining's delicate face, then helped her fix the slightly messy hair bun. Murong Zhining had changed from the flamboyant costumes and luxurious ornaments into a plain white dress, her hair tied simply in a bun with a ribbon, the tails of the long ribbon fluttered behind her in the wind. Murong Zhining looked weak and pale, but her sickly face didn't affect her at all and instead it made her look like an otherworldly G.o.ddess. Luo Siyao picked a large bouquet of wildflowers on the river bank and handed it to Murong Zhining. Murong Zhining held it to her chest. With drooping eyelids, she gently sniffed the faint fragrance of the wildflowers.
On the other side of the river, an armored man arrived on a tall, black horse. His face was covered with a dark green cloth and a gold-rimmed eyepatch, his hand held a coldly glinting halberd. The man reined in his horse and quietly looked at Murong Zhining. Under the eyepatch, Murong Zhining could see those charming narrow phoenix eyes concealing the sharp ruthless look of the past, revealing a hint of tenderness and pity.
Cai Sang also spotted Chiyun Yuexuan on the other bank. She shot him a vicious glare, then held up Murong Zhining and headed for their camp. Chiyun Yuexuan remained in the spot for a long time before leaving lonesomely.
Over the next several days, Murong Zhining could see Chiyun Yuexuan following behind the Shangxia escort team. No matter where she was, Chiyun Yuexuan would be on his horse looking at her from a distance. She didn't know what he was doing. She had already returned Biwu to him and expressed her determination to never meet him again, but the other seemed like he was unwilling to let her go.
As if seeing through Murong Zhining's thoughts, Luo Siyao said, “Princess must be wondering why General Chiyun keeps following so closely. Siyao knows that General has something to say to you in person.”
Cai Sang unhappily glared at her. “You don't need to mention your worse-than-beast master. Princess won't see him even if you talk until your mouth is torn up.”
Murong Zhining also nodded. “I can't control what happened in the past, but I can firmly grasp my future. I don't want to see him again for the rest of my life.”
Luo Siyao still refused to give up. “But… But even if General Chiyun has made mistakes, he should be given a chance to explain himself.”
Cai Sang pinched her arm. “What chance? That's only because Princess is kind enough to not condemn him. If it were me, I'd absolutely have General Huyan beat him until he's ruined, or if a little I were to be more cruel, might as well beat him to death.”
Luo Siyao opposed in a weak voice, “Cai Sang, you're just too unreasonable.”
Cai Sang rolled her eyes in contempt. “Why do I want try to reason with a beast? What he did to Princess was absolutely blood-boilingly outrageous. Had he ever been reasonable then?”
Murong Zhining felt a dull ache, as if her heart was p.r.i.c.ked by something.
At dusk, it was time to camp down and rest for today. The escort team sent out a group of people to set up the tents. Murong Zhining, Cai Sang and Luo Siyao sat inside the carriage to wait with only three soldiers equipped with sabers guarding outside.
The carriage stood next to a small hill that looked inhospitable with dense trees and weeds. Cai Sang felt a bit uneasy. “This place shouldn't have any bandits, right? I just saw the gra.s.s move a little just now. Could there be people hiding there?” Cai Sang vigilantly looked out from the carriage and observed the hillside. “Siyao, hurry up and check if the camp is done setting up. Call some people back here.”
Just as she finished her words, several masked people suddenly jumped out from the bushes and charged toward the carriage. Cai Sang exclaimed, “Not good!” and helped Murong Zhining off the carriage and ran. The three guards rushed forth to fight the bad people.
There were over a dozen masked men. Outnumbered, soon, the three guards were unable to stop them. The masked men chased after Murong Zhining and Cai Sang. Their intention was obvious, they came for Murong Zhining.
Cai Sang shouted loudly for help. Commanding his troops to set up camp in the distance, Chiyun Yuexuan instantly galloped over on his horse when he heard the shout.
A masked men had captured Murong Zhining and about to escape to the hills. Seeing that someone was chasing after them, he stopped and pressed his blade to Murong Zhining's body, shouting, “If you keep chasing, I'll have her life. Our men only want money. When you have prepared the money, we'll let this little lady go. If you lot don't cooperate, we don't mind enjoying the beauty as well.” The kidnapper retreated into the hillside as he spoke.
Chiyun Yuexuan made a chop with his arm, motioning the soldiers from both Shangxia and Huayan to stop. He tried hard to suppress his hostility. “If you only ask for money, then it's all good. Name your price.”
The man who held Murong Zhining captive under his blade jabbed his finger. “Back off. We haven't decided how much money we want yet. We'll first take this little lady with us and contact you later after we have made a decision.”
Chiyun Yuexuan reined in his horse and retreated one step. “If it's wealth that you seek, then wealth is right around the corner. Release her now and I might give you a chance to live. If you hurt just a single hair on her head, I shall do things that make you want to die but can't die even if you beg for it.”
The Shangxia envoy ordered the soldiers to bring a large trunk of silver and place it on the roadside. The masked men still refused to release Murong Zhining, wanting to forcibly take her away. Chiyun Yuexuan suddenly realized that they didn't come here for the money.
He tried to distract the kidnappers and delayed for time. “Gentlemen, aren't you here for the money? The silver is right in front of you, take it and release the hostage. There is more if you don't think this is enough. As long as you can carry it, you can have as much as you want.”
Chiyun Yuexuan's aura overwhelmed the kidnappers. They quickly exchanged glances.
The one holding Murong Zhining pointed his blade at Chiyun Yuexuan, threatening him to make his subordinates retreat, “Don't try to fool me. How can we run after we release the girl? Quickly move back or I'll take her life.”
Chiyun Yuexuan briefly scanned the hillside behind the men. He then spoke in an icy cold voice that made the kidnappers trembled in their hearts, “This general has given you lot a chance, but it's you who don't want it. Take a look behind.”
Just as the kidnappers turned around to look, a group of the Chiyun Army who had secretly outflanked them from behind had shot the ten-something of them to death with arrows, leaving only the one holding Murong Zhining. Chiyun Yuexuan threw his halberd and cut off this man's arm, and the blade he held dropped to the ground with a clanking sound. Frightened, Murong Zhining limply fell to the ground. The Chiyun troops rushed down from the hill and subdued the kidnapper.
Chiyun Yuexuan came over to help Murong Zhining up. She defiantly gave him a push. Smiling, Chiyun Yuexuan got on his horse and bent down to lift her onto it as well, his hand tightly fastened around her waist. Murong Zhining struggled with all her might. “Let me down. Is this a scheme of yours? These masked men are all arranged by you, aren't they?”
Chiyun Yuexuan didn't respond. He only held tight on her waist and spurred the horse toward the camp.
Murong Zhining felt that her words just now had angered Chiyun Yuexuan, because she could hear the sound of teeth gritting from behind. Recalling his cruelty, she shuddered and didn't say anymore. Chiyun Yuexuan rode straight to the Shangxia campground, and as if punishing Murong Zhining, he threw her onto a pile of straw near the tent, then swaggered away on his horse.
Of the masked men who were killed, someone recognized several of them to be Shangxia people. General Huyan brought the only survivor to the big tent for interrogation and invited Murong Zhining to attend. As the black cloth was removed from the man's face, he put on a fearless expression and acted like he wasn't afraid of death. Under the bright light of the torches, Murong Zhining saw a scar on his eyebrow and a black mole on his earlobe. Even after so many years, these two marks were still carved deep into her memory.
Murong Zhining suddenly felt her body go weak. She couldn't help but tremble a little. “Why have you been pursuing me? Why did you kill my nanny?”
The man was taken aback. He didn't expect to be recognized by her with his mask on all the time. His face revealed a complicated expression of fear. As if contemplating something, the man spoke after a long silence, “Since I can't live much longer, I guess it's fine to let you know. Make these people retreat, what I'm about to say is very important.”
General Huyan refused to leave for fear that the man would harm Murong Zhining. Murong Zhining waved her hand gesturing for everyone to leave. “Please all step down. He's heavily injured and tied up, he can't hurt me.”
After everyone else withdrew from the tent, the kidnapper looked at Murong Zhining with complex feelings. “In fact, we are still relatives. I and your mother Murong Ruoyu, the current empress of Shangxia, are cousins. We are all the descendants of Emperor Murong Yun of Beiyan Country. When Beiyan fell, the Murong clan took away with them a huge amount of treasures as they fled. The most valuable treasure among this isn't silver or gold, but an atypical book said to be written by Qin Shi Huang himself. On their way to escape, our ancestors hid the treasure at…” An arrow suddenly zoomed in and impaled his chest. The kidnapper uttered on his last breath, “Your… music sheet… treasure map…”
The night was cold as water, unknown insects kept screaming ceaselessly outside the tent. Murong Zhining sat inside her tent with a tide of thoughts surging in her head. Now, she had basically figured half the answer for the mystery of her ident.i.ty and the cause of nanny's death. The missing half could only be fully unraveled after she saw her mother.
As Murong Zhining sat in a daze thinking about what had happened today, Cai Sang came over to help her change her clothes. Seeing the thing hanging off her waist, Cai Sang pouted in displease, “I didn't think you would forgive him so quickly and even accept the betrothal gift.”
Murong Zhining frowned and asked dubiously, “Forgive who? What betrothal gift?”
Cai Sang angrily tugged at her the corner of her vest. “You have accepted Biwu, and you're still telling me that you haven't forgiven him. I see you've forgotten the pain as soon as the wound is healed!”
Murong Zhining followed Cai Sang's line of sight to see that Biwu was dangling off her sash.