The Rise of Phoenixes

Chapter 254



Chapter 254: Chapter 254


She had not mentioned Ning Yi since leaving Dijing and the brief words felt like a burning cluster of clouds pressing down on her heart and stirring it into a mess of a pain.


“I received a letter from His Highness at the steppe borders.” Chunyu Meng replied. “The Prince said that as a member of a military household, military achievements are my foundation. Instead of returning to Dijing and idling in the Chang Ying Guard, he recommended that I reinforce the Da Yue Army and join their officer camp. I have decided to take his advice and once things are settled here I will leave for the Yu Zhou Camp and take the position of Vice General. I will trust in His Highness’s plans; the Prince bas never been wrong.”


Feng Zhiwei looked at him silently for a long moment before slowly smiling and agreeing: “Yes, His Highness has never been wrong.”


Chunyu Meng suddenly felt as if he had spoken wrong and his heart jerked painfully. He opened his mouth to speak but he could not utter a single sound.


A giggling Mudan Hua finally squeezed out of the crowd and grabbed Feng Zhiwei’s hands. “Quick, come, come, let me show you The Second Potala Palace. The Main Palace will be prepared for you and I will move out immediately.”


“That is unnecessary.” Feng Zhiwei replied as she let the woman drag her away. “I’ll just take any convenient room…”


“I insist I insist.” Mudan Hua cried out, cutting her off as she almost glided across the smooth white-stone floor. “I already told people to prepare the Main Palace, and you just need to walk in. Wait till you see the room I’ve decorated for you, you’re going to love it hahaha…”


Feng Zhiwei wailed silently inside. How could she possible love something a strange woman like Mudan Hua had designed?


Beside her, Mudan Hua chattered tirelessly without pause, her lips moving so quickly that they almost blurred together. “Rest well first and Ji Dog’s Coronation will be held soon. We will need to wait for Dama Living Buddha to invite our God first, and I’ll ask Mama Living Buddha to also read your fate. Xixi, it was only after I was chosen by that old man years ago that Kuku could make all those patriarchs shut up about making me Queen…” and on and on it went as the woman led her down seven or eight turns, waving at guards and calling out orders as they went.


After a long, long walk, they finally turned onto a veranda and and Mudan Hua nearly trembled with excitement as she called out in onomatopoeic anticipation, her hands readied on the door. “Dang dang dang dang[1].”


Feng Zhiwei narrowed her eyes and she examined the room, mentally bowled over by the “dang dang dang dang.”


It was truly… celebratory.


Red everywhere. Red bed, red bed curtains, red vases, red felt rugs, and even red paintings. The room burned with red in every corner and Feng Zhiwei felt her eyes dazzled, her heart pound, and her head grow dizzy. Every item in the room bore the same pattern — two mandarin duck love birds tumbling merrily in water beside a peony flower. The ducks were green and the flower was yellow, and all around was green red and yellow wherever she turned. There was no escape from the horror, and Feng Zhiwei could only twitch as her mind began to shatter.


“Beautiful right?” Mudan Hua announced with great pleasure. “Bright! Joyous! Spiritual! Prosperous! It took a long time for me to come up with this combination!”


Truly, to imagine such a terrible and strange combination must have tasked Mudan Hua to exhaustion.


But Mudan Hua was not yet finished as she happily pushed forward and opened a door to the left. “This room was my youngest sons, but since he’s probably dead it’ll be just right for the little baby! We don’t have too many rules in the steppes, and the baby is still small, so Yiyi can live here with her.”


Feng Zhiwei turned mechanically, dazedly trailing behind Mudan Hua. An enormous room filled her eyes… this room?


Pink. Pink everywhere. Soft pink pads lining every wall. Soft pink cushions with decorative pearls the floor. Various nicknacks and strange belled whatever all around. Feng Zhiwei looked down at a strange contraption of pink and white piled in one spot on the floor, bending down to pick one up and examining it. It was stuffed with velvet cloth and cotton, and the shape…


She gestured with the five legged thing, one ear long and one ear short. “What is this?”


“Rabbit.”


“Why does it have five legs?”


Mudan Hua turned to eye Feng Zhiwei disdainfully. “Look closely, that’s a tail, a tail!”


Feng Zhiwei stared down at the long tailed rabbit, her mind stuttering to a halt and her eyes glazing over as she examined the little monster. No matter how she looked, the “tail” was even more leg-like than the four legs.


“Your work?”


The truly astonishing craftsmanship reminded Feng Zhiwei of a particular chest wrap and she was certain that the masterpieces must have come from the same hand.


Mudan Hua proudly squared her shoulders, her magnificent chest rising and falling like waves in the ocean.


Feng Zhiwei turned a pitying eye towards Young Master Gu — he was probably going to have to sleep in this pink room filled with toy monsters.


The man in question stood calmly behind her, his placid eyes taking in the room. To him, nothing seemed strange except Feng Zhiwei’s weird expression.


Done with this room, Mudan Hua grabbed Feng Zhiwei and Hua Qiong and pulled them a few steps away to another room. “Qiongqiong, you’re pregnancy is amlst over and you need to live close, this room used to…”


She pulled up short, yelping in surprise: “Yi?”


Through the open door, a figure on the felt rug unhurriedly climbed to her feet, her chin high as she looked out at them.


“Medora.” Mudan Hua began, eyeing the woman. “Why are you still here? Did I not tell you to move to the Back Palace with me?”


“I live here.” Medora smiled as she replied, gesturing with a pot in her hand. “Queen, the buttered tea is still hot, come and have a cup, the servant girl just finished preparing it…”


“Why are you still here?” Liu Mudan repeated quietly, no sign of her smile as she ignored Medora’s invitation.


A sudden aura seemed to fall around her as her words turned cold, her usual vapid flightiness replaced entirely with a sharp, cold edge.


Feng Zhiwei eyed the Queen Dowager, finally understanding how the curious and offbeat woman had ruled the chaotic King’s Court.


Medora stiffened, biting her lips before also repeating: “I live here.”


“Even I don’t live here, how could you live here?” Liu Mudan asked calmly as she stared at the woman. “Do you think you are more noble than I?”


Medora set down the pot and straightened, her voice clear as she calmly replied: “I have lived here for more than a decade and have grown attached. I do not understand why I cannot keep this room once the King is crowned. If I must leave, then let the King be the one to tell me.”


[1] imagine Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. It functions as ‘voilà’ in modern Chinese



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