The Phoenix Hairpin is Lost
Feng Yu Heng sighed to herself. She had to admit that Qing Shuang was usually very good, but she did not think that this sort of thing would happen.
“If you forgot then you forgot.” Xuan Tian Ming said: “It was originally something awarded to you. What sort of logic is there in returning it.”
Feng Yu Heng thinly smiled then said: “Then next time I go into the palace, I will return it to father Emperor. Having failed to fix your legs, I feel at a loss keeping this sort of thing.”
She said this while closing up the box and putting it back into her sleeve once more. Xuan Tian Ming handed her some tea and only regained his usual sly smile upon seeing her take the tea. Looking at the cloak on Feng Yu Heng’s body, he added: “It’s not cold in the room. Have the servant take it for you.”
“That’s fine too.” Feng Yu Heng turned and said to Qing Shuang, “You may take the cloak.”
Qing Shuang complied and went forward to help remove the cloak. While doing this, Feng Yu Heng spilled some of the tea she was holding, and Qing Shuang quickly pulled out a handkerchief to clean up. Xuan Tian Ming watched for a while, and his sly smile became even more apparent.
When it was finally cleaned up, the waiter came up with the first plates of food. Under the guidance of Xuan Tian Hua, they began to eat.
Qing Shuang placed Feng Yu Heng’s cloak on her arm and stood to the back. Subconsciously, she looked towards the third prince then immediately looked away. She pretended to act cool, but her heart was tossing about.
While eating, Feng Yu Heng seemingly haphazardly glanced at Qing Shuang then said with great interest: “When we left the manor today, I did not pay to much attention, but I only just noticed that Qing Shuang’s earrings are pretty good looking. It’s made of jade, right?”
Qing Shuang felt her ears and replied with a smile: “It’s not any particularly good jade. Last month, when the salary was paid, young miss gave this servant a little bit more, so this servant went and bought it. Speaking of, I still need to thank young miss.” Although she said this, she was quite confused. This was not the first time she had worn these earrings, and the second young miss had always been an attentive person. For her to say that she had never seen them before, Qing Shuang definitely did not believe it. But why did the second young miss say it?
While she was thinking, she heard Feng Yu Heng say: “The paltry amount given for monthly salary was enough to buy such pretty earrings?” She feigned surprise, “It seems to be of the same quality as the jade gourd that elder brother wore at the Mid-Autumn Banquet.”
Qing Shuang felt her heart drop and was no longer able to play it cool. Looking at Feng Yu Heng in horror, her heart nearly leapt up out of her throat.
So she was waiting for this!
“Second young miss must be joking. This servant… does not recognize the eldest prince.”
“Hm?” Xuan Tian Ming made a move, “Heng Heng only said elder brother, so why did you believe it to be the eldest prince?”
“This…” Qing Shuang was dazed then quickly knelt on the ground: “Young miss, this servant….” She did not know what she should say. The more she said, the more mistakes she made.
“What are you guys doing?” Xuan Tian Hua helplessly shook his head, “We’re having a good meal, so why get mad at a servant.”
“I have not gotten mad.” Feng Yu Heng personally helped Qing Shuang up then rested her hands on her arms for a while, “I merely said it on a whim and was joking with you. You are my personal servant, so why is it that you are unable to even recognize a joke?”
Qing Shuang lowered her head and used her grief to cover her fear, saying with a shaky voice: “It’s all this servant’s fault.”
The master and servant talked for a while, and they did not eat much of the amazing food made by the Refined Deity Building. Like this, the meal quickly came to an end.
When everyone was leaving the building, Xuan Tian Hua followed Xuan Tian Ming, and Huang Quan deliberately separated Feng Yu Heng and Qing Shuang. Earlier in the morning, Wang Chuan had told Huang Quan what had happened during the night. Adding on what Feng Yu Heng and the ninth prince had just said, although Huang Quan did not know what exactly Qing Shuang had done, she knew that she definitely could not allow her to continue staying next to Feng Yu Heng.
Outside the Refined Deity Building, the shopkeeper had already prepared some boats. When Feng Yu Heng got in her boat, she suddenly felt her sleeve and said in horror: “Not good! My phoenix hairpin has gone missing!”
“What?” Everyone was shocked, and even Xuan Tian Ming became nervous, “Didn’t you place it in your sleeve pocket? Search around a little more.”
Feng Yu Heng’s face had turned white with fear, as she reached to feel around her sleeves; however, everyone could see that there was nothing in her sleeve.
“What should I do?” She anxiously went around in circles, repeatedly asking Huang Quan and Qing Shuang: “Did you two see my phoenix hairpin?”
Huang Quan shook her head, “The last time I saw it was when young miss placed it in her sleeve.” She said this while helping Feng Yu Heng go through her clothes. She also shook the cloak Qing Shuang had held, but there was nothing inside. Huang Quan also became anxious and stared at Qing Shuang: “Earlier, you were the one closest to young miss. You also received her cloak and helped wipe away the tea. Young miss also helped you up. Qing Shuang, did you see young miss’ golden hairpin?”
Qing Shuang’s face was pale white. What she feared was not taking something then being discovered. What did fear was everyone believing she had it when she clearly did not, especially… Xuan Tian Ye.
Upon hearing that Feng Yu Heng had lost the phoenix hairpin, Xuan Tian Ye acted as though he was shocked, but he let out a sigh of relief on the inside. Giving an unseen look of praise to Qing Shuang, he helped look around for a while before saying: “Princess’ body has only just recovered. This prince can not return too late and cause her any fatigue. Seventh brother, ninth brother, you two must carefully help younger sister look for it. The phoenix hairpin can not be compared to other things. It would be no joke if it was lost.”
Hearing that Xuan Tian Ye was about to leave, Feng Yu Heng quickly used a pleading tone, saying: “Heng will definitely find the phoenix hairpin. I hope third brother will help hide it for a while. Father Emperor was not in a good mood today, and Heng does not want to cause father Emperor to become angry again.”
Xuan Tian Ye nodded, “That is natural. Younger sister, do not worry, this prince definitely will not tell anyone about this matter.”
“If that’s the case, then many thanks third brother.” She bowed, as did Huang Quan and Qing Shuang. While bowing, Feng Yu Heng noticed that Qing Shuang’s calf seemed to be trembling, and Xuan Tian Ye had wittingly or unwittingly looked towards her. Qing Shuang, however, did not even dare raise her head, seemingly completely horrified.
She smiled to herself, as she came to an understanding.
With Xuan Tian Ye leaving, the energy devoted to searching was no longer there. Feng Yu Heng pretended to search for a little longer then said to Qing Shuang: “Go upstairs and continue to search in the private room. Take a look and see if it fell anywhere. Remember, you must search carefully. You must not let any corner go unturned.”
Qing Shuang nodded, “Young miss, do not worry. This servant will look carefully.”
“Good.” Feng Yu Heng looked at Xuan Tian Ming and said: “I still feel a little panicked and a little cold. Let us go back first. Leaving Qing Shuang here will be fine. Also,” She turned to the shopkeeper and said: “You should also help look. It’s just a wooden box about this big” She gestured with her hands the size, “It’s made of redwood.”
The shopkeeper repeatedly nodded then left with Qing Shuang.
Feng Yu Heng turned and faced the lake before curving her lips up into a wicked smile.
Deity with miraculous hands? This was the name Xuan Tian Ming had told her. It was an extremely famous thief in Jiang Hu, who was exceptional and mysterious. She actually concealed herself as a maidservant at her side, and he truly was impressed with her.
She wanted the phoenix hairpin? What she did not know, however, was that the item was thrown directly into her space, even though it appeared to have been placed into the sleeve. Even if one hundred famous thieves appeared before her, not a single one could steal anything from her.
The group set off and headed towards the other side. As for Qing Shuang, who had been left behind in the private room to continue the search, she looked out the window and was shocked by what she saw.
The phoenix hairpin was lost? But she did not get it. She had tried three times, once when receiving the cloak, once when wiping the tea, and one final time when Feng Yu Heng had helped her up.
However, she could not find the item at all. That wooden box that had clearly been placed into her sleeve pocket was not there at all. She had basically gone through the entirety of Feng Yu Heng’s sleeve, but she could not find the location of the box.
But one of the bad parts was that Feng Yu Heng said that she had lost it! And the third prince believed it!
Even worse… she raised her hand and felt her earrings. Feng Yu Heng had said that they were of the same material as the eldest prince’s. These words truly troublesome!
Qing Shuang searched around the Refined Deity Building with one of its clerks for four hours. In the end, she left without finding it.
That night, Qing Shuang did not return to Tong Sheng pavilion, which was as Feng Yu Heng expected.
Huang Quan asked her: “Young miss, when did you begin to suspect Qing Shung?”
Feng Yu Heng pondered a while then said: “It was just after the snow storm. One day, when I woke up, I felt that there was something not quite right with the furnishings in the room. It was not messy, but it was too neat. Even the vase I tipped over the night before was righted.”
“The deity with miraculous hands truly has a well-deserved reputation. Even after entering the room, she was not even noticed by Ban Zou.” She deliberately spoke louder, causing Ban Zou to snort. “Then what should be done now?” Huang Quan was a little worried, “We still need to be a little more on guard. I will come stand guard for young miss at night. What if Qing Shuang comes back.”
Feng Yu Heng, however, shook her head, “She can’t possibly come back.”
“Because Xuan Tian Ye will not forgive her.” Ever since the “chance encounter” with Xuan Tian Ye at the Refined Deity Building, Feng Yu Heng was certain that Qing Shuang’s master was that person. Thus, she deliberately used a lie about the earrings to reveal the master and servant relation, “Now, I fear that Qing Shuang is currently suffering some hardships.”
Feng Yu Heng was correct. At this very moment, Qing Shuang was knelt in one of the Xiang Palace’s stone rooms. Blood trickled from the corner of her lips, and one side of her face was swollen. Her clothes were scattered all over the ground, and the only things that remained on her body was a belly band.
Sitting before her was the third prince, Xuan Tian Ye. That person who had originally been filled with anger was now like a devil that came from hell. Surrounding him was an aura of endless anger. Facing Qing Shuang, his eyes did not contain a sliver of wickedness, instead there was only an endless raging anger, which caused this stone room to heat up.
Qing Shuang’s entire body shook. Despite having undressed to this degree, she did not feel humiliated. Instead, it was she who took each article of clothing off to prove her innocence.
“Master, this servant truly did not succeed. It was second young miss who was telling a lie!”
Xuan Tian Ye raised a foot and kicked, hitting Qing Shuang’s chest.
She was unable to endure and was kicked a great distance. When she hit the stone wall, she coughed up a mouthful of blood.
But she still struggled to kneel before Xuan Tian Ye and begged: “Would master please believe this servant. This servant truly did not succeed!”
Xuan Tian Ye really wanted to kick her once more, but when he saw the blood that Qing Shuang had coughed up, he put down the foot that he had already raised.
It would be useful to keep this person around.
“You are the deity with miraculous hands. Everyone in the world knows that there is nothing you can not steal. You have even entered the imperial treasury before, so how is it that something that was clearly placed before you could not be stolen?”
This was also something Qing Shuang had doubts about. She had clearly seen it, but was that really the case? “Second young miss’ sleeve pocket… was empty.”
“How is that possible!”
That’s right, how was that possible. She did not even believe the words she just said.
“Master.” Qing Shuang kowtowed on the ground for a long time before suddenly remembering something. Quickly raising her head, she said to Xuan Tian Ye: “Didn’t we look in the wrong place from beginning to end?”