Ninth Imperial Glorious Phoenix Chapter 7

Chapter 7: Bed Crossbow

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Unable to suppress her anger, Mingzhu rolled her eyes at him. She didn’t even want to wait for her shoes; she walked barefoot ahead, causing another commotion. Geng Momo cried again, and Mingzhu, feeling sulky, squatted on the roadside, drawing circles. When the shoes were finally brought to her, she resisted the strong urge to leave and forced herself to walk down the stone steps with her head held high, in a dignified manner.

Yuwen Chu only retracted his gaze when Mingzhu’s figure was no longer visible. He instructed, “Jing Song, find out who that boy was that was talking and joking with her earlier.”

A tall man stepped forward, bowed, and whispered, “Your Highness, I know that young man. He’s Ban Jian, an orphan adopted by the head of the Jade Emperor Temple. He was said to be an abandoned baby found at the foot of the mountain. He’s treated as if he were the head’s own flesh and blood, not allowed to become a monk or easily leave the mountain. He’s taught to read and write by hand, given whatever he wants, and people say behind his back that he’s the head’s illegitimate son.”

“One cut’s worth of lovesickness, half a cut*’s worth of sorrow,” Yuwen Chu pondered for a moment and smiled, “Now that you mention it, this young man does bear some resemblance to the head.”
* Ban Jian = half a cut

Jing Song chuckled along with him and said, “This young man is daring to dare joke around with Fu Mingzhu like that. He probably doesn’t know the identity and notoriety of that girl.”

Notoriety? Rumors abound, and one can’t believe everything. They all said that Fu Mingzhu looked down on everyone and only associated with princesses, noblewomen, royalty and such not caring for anyone else. But she clearly gave a glance of appreciation to this insignificant young man. The innocence and cuteness she showed didn’t seem fake. Where did she have any airs? Yuwen Chu shook his head disapprovingly, “Go and find out. If Fu Mingzhu wants to break off the engagement, it may have something to do with this Ban Jian.”

Mingzhu didn’t sleep well last night. After breakfast, she laid on the recliner, dozing off bit by bit. Su Lan knelt beside her, massaging her feet with scented ointment, and whispered, “Why are you so polite to Ban Jian? Boys who grow up in the mountains don’t understand manners, they don’t know about hierarchy, and they’ll only be ridiculed.”

Although Mingzhu knew Su Lan meant well, she was a bit impatient. She turned over and grumbled, “Don’t ask too much. I have my reasons.” In the future, this young man would shine and become one of the top craftsmen in the world. He would create many amazing and powerful weapons, becoming a precious talent sought after by various forces. Such a person, if grasped, would be like having a sharp weapon in hand. Not to mention just as a friend, she would even be willing to employ him.

Su Lan spoke softly, “Life in the mountains is austere, and Miss seems restless. This servant understands. Wanting some entertainment is understandable, especially since hardly anyone in these wilds would know. But if Ban Jian wins the bet and you truly bring him back to the mansion, it might cause a stir. You’ve just made a fuss about wanting to call off the wedding. Following that by bringing back a young man who has no relation to us, it wouldn’t bode well. Those people might not dare to confront you directly, but they might take it out on Ban Jian. If he suffers as a result, wouldn’t it go against your intentions?” 

“Who dares?!” Mingzhu straightened up fiercely, pulling her foot back from Su Lan’s embrace. She said viciously, “What does this have to do with him? They’re all so despicable!” She wanted to befriend Ban Jian because she knew he enjoyed crafting intricate tools. She specifically brought a blueprint for a crossbow to entice him, promising to show him her second brother’s collection of the finest weapons in the world if he could complete the missing parts of the blueprint. Her intention was to recruit Ban Jian for her own use. How could this be related to her calling off the wedding? 

Su Lan didn’t try to persuade her further, simply saying with lowered eyes, “If I don’t kill Boren, Boren dies because of me. Even if you protect him, there will come a time when you can’t. Miss, you’re an intelligent person. You understand.” 

Mingzhu stared at Su Lan for a moment, then sighed heavily and laid back down. After a while, she grumbled, “I understand. Let my elder brother handle this after things settle down a bit. That should work.” It was because of her carelessness that Su Lan almost lost her life. Although the circumstances were different then, if her father and brothers were determined to protect Ban Jian, they could certainly do so. But Ban Jian would still end up in the spotlight, which wouldn’t be good for anyone. She had been too hasty. 

Su Lan was initially trying to provoke Mingzhu, but she didn’t expect her to actually listen. She smiled gently, tucked Mingzhu’s feet back into her embrace, and gently massaged them with scented ointment, praising, “Our Miss has such beautiful feet, white, soft, and delicate. They are blessed feet. In the future, Miss will surely live a long and peaceful life.” 

Could one enjoy fortune solely with a pair of feet? She had walked her own path in her past life, all because of these “blessed” feet, which led her down a path of no return! Mingzhu sneered, closed her eyes, and grumbled, “How did I never notice your silver tongue before? So knowledgeable, quoting classics and making eloquent speeches, making me seem like a fool.”

Su Lan shook her head with a smile, “Miss, you’re flattering me. I’ve only learned a few things while serving you during your studies. How can I be considered knowledgeable? Mr. Jiang often praises you for your remarkable memory and extraordinary talent. And you have excellent painting skills too. If you were born a boy, you would definitely be extraordinary.”

Speaking of her own painting skills and her photographic memory, Mingzhu couldn’t help but feel a bit proud. These two abilities, along with her exceptional dancing skills developed for physical fitness, might not be prestigious, but they were the only things she could boast about.

She remembered very clearly that in a few years, there would be a giant bed crossbow capable of shooting thirty-six arrows at once, and Ban Jian would be the maker, the draftsman was unknown. Although powerful crossbows existed in the world, most were hand or foot-operated. This kind of bed crossbow that could shoot thirty-six arrows at once was already lost to history. Therefore, when this highly lethal bed crossbow appeared, the entire dynasty was alarmed. Yuwen You managed to steal the blueprints by any means necessary, and she accidentally saw them and remembered them until now.

Because of the appearance of this bed crossbow, the Fu family met a tragic end. Taking advantage of her rebirth, she obtained the blueprints of the bed crossbow and knew its creator. Of course, she had to keep these two things in her hands to feel secure, regardless of whether they were stolen from others. Hence, she intentionally took half of the incomplete and inaccurate bed crossbow blueprint to lure Ban Jian into a bet.

This matter was significant, so it couldn’t be rushed. It needed careful consideration. Anyway, Ban Jian wouldn’t be able to complete the blueprint anytime soon, so she didn’t need to worry too much. Feeling sleepy, Mingzhu tossed and turned on the recliner like a dumpling and fell asleep with her eyes closed.

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