Mind on the Verge of Collapse
Feng Yu Heng stood at the front of the hall and accepted the salute from all of the generals. She raised her small chin and looked at Xuan Tian Ming with a smile. It looked like she was showing off, and Xuan Tian Ming cooperated with her, giving her a thumbs up, mouthing silently: “Wife is awesome!”
In this match, not only had the seventh prince’s political marriage been canceled, Da Shun’s standing had also improved. Feng Yu Heng’s image had improved once again as it had after she shot the three arrows.
With everyone sitting down once more, the new year’s banquet formally began.
For a while, it was a large party, and the sound of the drums and music were very clear. Dancers in colorful clothes lightly danced, and their long fluttery sleeves would occasionally float past people’s faces, bringing a unique scent.
Feng Yu Heng returned to her seat, and Xiang Rong looked at her with a flushed red face. In her eyes, this second sister was basically a god. Earlier, she was moved and jumped up. How nice would it be if she could one day be like her second sister.
She pinched Xiang Rong’s face and said with a smile: “What are you doing looking at me like this? Do you not recognize me?”
Xiang Rong was honest and actually nodded, “I really did not really recognize you. Second sister, in just over three years, you have already seen this much success. Xiang Rong… Xiang Rong…”
She repeated Xiang Rong for a while but was unable to follow it up with anything. Helpless, Feng Yu Heng said: “There is no need to envy others because there are many people who envy you. If possible, I hope to be like you and live peacefully and happily in a large manor.”
Xiang Rong smiled bitterly, “If it’s truly possible for it to be peaceful and cheerful, I would not need to be envious.”
She was speechless. That’s right. If it were truly possible for it to be peaceful and cheerful, she still would not want to stay in the wind and rain.
With Feng Yu Heng returning, madams and young misses very quickly came and surrounded her, as they repeatedly praised her miraculous power. Some young misses even desperately pushed their way to her side and began to introduce themselves. Everyone wanted to develop a relationship with Feng Yu Heng. When the Empress had spoken earlier, the Emperor had made it clear that he was protecting the ninth prince once more. But it was Feng Yu Heng being able to break the iron essence that won back face for Da Shun, and she had agreed to help Da Shun produce weapons made of steel, which was the greatest capital that she had. That was without mentioning that she still had the ninth prince and the prime minister as mountains to lean on. Even if she did not have them, within Da Shun, who dared to take action against her now?
Feng Yu Heng knew that being surrounded was an inevitable outcome, and she did not reject it. Smiling, she chatted with them and did not give off the aura of a county princess. The madams and young misses that previously had complaints about her gradually changed their opinions, as they all raised Feng Yu Heng’s popularity to new heights.
At this time, three dances had already been completed. Finally, Xuan Tian Ge and friends appeared and temporarily dispersed the surrounding madams and young misses. Once they dispersed, Feng Yu Heng finally felt the air freshen a little. She could not help but take a few breaths then stare at the group with a look of blame: “Why did you only come just now?”
Xuan Tian Ge boldly sat down next to her and said: “Don’t we need to give other people a chance! Our A-Heng is a celebrity. For better or worse, we need to let them a taste your godliness.”
Bai Fu Rong repeatedly nodded, “Yes yes.” She said this and reached out her hand to touch Feng Yu Heng’s arm, “I’m going to get a taste of it too.”
She helplessly laughed, “Don’t join in on this now. What godliness. I just happened to recognize that iron essence and just happened to be able to make use of the knowledge handed down to me by my master. That’s all.”
Ren Xi Feng pulled a chair over then said to Feng Yu Heng with a serious tone: “If you were born earlier, you would have been producing good weapons for Da Shun a long time ago, and my father would not have suffered so many injuries on the battlefield. A-Heng, his Highness Prince Yu is also a general. If you have this ability, I am truly very happy. This will not just benefit thousands of soldiers, for yourself, it will also be an everlasting shield.”
“That’s right!” Fung Tian Yu also said: “Just now, I noticed his Majesty’s expression. Right now, his Majesty thinks even higher of you than before. If this goes well, you would be the benefactor of the entirety of Da Shun. But…” She leaned forward and lowered her voice: “My father told me to tell you, from this day forward, you will be in even more danger. The reason Zong Sui wanted to use iron essence as a bargaining chip for a political marriage with Da Shun was to make the other countries focus on Da Shun. Guiding a portion of the criminals that want the method for producing iron essence that had been guarded by Zong Sui for a hundred years to Da Shun. Here comes the good part. Iron essence has become obsolete, but these criminals will now turn their attention to you. You absolutely must be careful.”
Feng Yu Heng naturally understood this logic, but everything had happened too suddenly. Aside from this method, there was nothing else she could have done. Have her watch from the side as Xuan Tian Hua was married off in a political marriage? She could not do it.
“I will definitely be careful.” Feng Yu Heng solemnly promised to them, “There isn’t anything more important than life.”
The group nodded then began to talk about the things girls would talk about. But before they could talk for long, Xiang Rong tugged on Feng Yu Heng’s sleeve. Slightly worried, she asked: “Eldest sister and fourth sister have gone for so long but have not returned. Nothing should have happened, right?”
Feng Yu Heng shook her head, “I don’t know. Moreover, even if something happened, it was trouble that they were looking for. Xiang Rong, just enjoy the singing and dancing. Don’t think so much about them.”
Xiang Rong let out an “oh” then turned to watch the song and dance. When she turned around, she saw a person holding a cup of wine and coming towards them. It was the fourth prince of Zong Sui, Li Kun.
Xuan Tian Ge rolled her eyes and said: “What is he coming here for?”
Ren Xi Feng smirked: “The thing his family held as precious for a hundred years suddenly became wasted metal. Perhaps the fourth prince will find it hard to give an explanation to his country’s ruler!”
She was right. At this moment, Li Kun’s mind was on the verge of collapse.
The technique for creating iron essence had become a secret art passed down through the generations in Zong Sui. Only the ruler of the country could know of it. Originally, they wanted to use this to improve their relations with Da Shun. Who could have thought that not only would they fail to improve their relations, their national treasure was even shattered. Most depressingly, the person that had shattered the treasures was a young girl that did not look older than 12 or 13. He feared that nobody would believe him when he went back to Zong Sui.
Li Kun had a helpless look and walked over to Feng Yu Heng. Bringing both hands to his wine cup, he saluted her: “County princess Ji An.”
Feng Yu Heng stood up and returned the salute: “Your Highness.”
“I don’t dare.” Li Kun repeatedly waved his hand, “This lowly prince does not dare receive county princess’ salute.”
Feng Yu Heng looked at him with a smile, “That’s fine. The matters of the past are in the past. Now that your Highness is able to come to chat with A-Heng it is for a personal reason. Since it is for a personal matter, your Highness, please take a seat.”
Li Kun did not think that the valiant girl that had tested the weapons earlier would suddenly become a clever and beautiful young girl in the next instant. He originally thought that she would give him the cold shoulder, so he had prepared himself to be turned away, but Feng Yu Heng said that the matter was in the past and said that this was a personal matter.
For a while, Li Kun did not know what to feel and was at a bit of a loss, as he threw back his head and downed the wine in his cup.
Feng Yu Heng looked at him and knew that this prince from Zong Sui was an even-keeled person. Although he was a bit arrogant at first because he had iron essence, after the iron essence was broken, aside from the initial shock and the recognition of his loss, he did not appear to be too emotional. He did not even have the resentment that other people would normally express. This allowed Feng Yu Heng to look highly upon him. This was also the reason Feng Yu Heng was happy to invite him to sit.
Downing the cup of wine and seeing the young girl generously converse with him without avoiding him made Li Kun feel that there was nothing that he could not let go of. Thus he laughed heartily and sat in the seat that Xiang Rong had given up.
“Thank you, county princess.”
“There is no need for your Highness to be modest.” A palace servant came and filled Li Kun’s cup with more wine, and Feng Yu Heng said: “A-Heng is young and will inevitably clash with some people when doing things. I may have struck at your Highness’ face earlier, but I hope your Highness is able to forgive this.”
“Ah!” Li Kun waved his hand, “A loss is a loss. I, Li Kun, am not the type of person to argue over such things. Moreover, for a material even stronger than the iron essence of my Zong Sui to appear in this world can be considered a relief to my Zong Sui. Not to hide it from county princess, but in the past hundred years, scouts and experts are sent practically every year to Zong Sui to try and find the method for producing iron essence. The ruler of my Zong Sui is replaced frequently because there was a sequence of three rulers that were kidnapped and assassinated over 40 years. Now that county princess has the technique for producing steel, this lowly prince must remind county princess to act with caution.”
“Thank you, your Highness, for the concern.” Feng Yu Heng nodded and smiled. She could see that Li Kun still had something to say but was a little hesitant. Thus she took the initiative to ask: “Is your Highness worried that I will leak the method for producing steel?”
Li Kun was a little embarrassed and nodded, “County princess is extremely intelligent and is indeed correct. Because of the method for producing iron essence, many small countries had tried to steal it but failed. After that, they resented us. Now that iron essence is no longer the best material, this lowly prince truly fears that steel will end up being made by someone else. From that point, Zong Sui would suffer from their retaliation.”
“Your Highness, do not worry.” Feng Yu Heng put away her smile and said in a serious manner: “Previously, Zong Sui was able to keep the secret of how iron essence was produced for a hundred years. How could my Da Shun give away the secrets of steel production so easily to other countries? Also, Zong Sui is my Da Shun’s vassal state. As long as you do not harbor any thoughts of betrayal, my Da Shun will not treat Zong Sui poorly. This is also what father Emperor promised your Highness.”
Hearing this, Li Kun let out a sigh of relief. He truly feared the method of producing steel being leaked, and he truly feared Da Shun becoming unhappy! He did not dare ask these sorts of things to the Emperor, so he could only go to ask the person that had the method of producing steel, Feng Yu Heng.
But ever since Feng Yu Heng first began talking, he picked up on a detail. At this time, he heard her mention the Emperor, and he could not help but ask: “This lowly prince heard county princess call his Majesty father Emperor? But shouldn’t his Majesty’s daughter be a princess?”
Feng Yu Heng was speechless. Dear prince, did you not do your homework properly before coming to Da Shun?
But this indicated that Zong Sui was extremely loyal to Da Shun. At least they did not send any secret scouts to Da Shun to investigate. All of their information was from the previous new year’s banquet.
She began to explain, “I am not of the imperial family. I am the daughter of the first wife of Da Shun’s prime minister’s manor, but ever since I became engaged to the ninth prince, I was accorded father Emperor’s favor, and he prefers that I call him this way.”
“Ah…” Li Kun immediately froze, and a hard-to-hide disappointment appeared on his face.
Xuan Tian Ge let out a “pft” and began laughing, “Hey! I must say, could it be that you were interested in our A-Heng? This is no good. She is my ninth brother’s future wife. If you dare to have such thoughts, be careful that my ninth brother won’t whip you to death.”
While Xuan Tian Ge was telling jokes, Feng Yu Heng turned her gaze over to the stage. There, she saw that Zhang Yuan had just returned from outside the hall and was whispering something into the Emperor’s ear…