Chapter 4 – Emperor’s Palace

Xiuying Chang could feel the movements from the horse as she slowly woke up after the crazy events doing the night. She opened her eyes and watched as the ground moved quickly below as her senses started to wake up too. She could feel the tears starting to press on and soon they started to fall but before her mind was able to think about why, a heavy pain started to feel hear body and she started to scream loudly which surprised both the horse and Yi Chang who tried to control the horse while making sure that Xiuying Chang was not hurt by the horse. Finally he managed to stop the horse and step off the horse before trying to calm Xiuying Chang down so she would stop screaming but her pains was too heavy to just stop quickly and the screaming got worse as she started to notice blood leaving her belly. Yi Chang tried to think in the noise but he had a hard time getting ideas plus he worried if any evil would find them before they could continue on their trip to the palace. It had been a while since he last had been there but he knew they were not far from it so if they just could get there without scaring too many civilians they would be safe at the emperor. He took a deep breath to block out the sound and then took Xiuying Chang of the horse and started to hold her like a little child to make her feel safe so it was not the reason for her to scream. It took the worst of the screaming and soon he could lay her on the grass as he started searching in the pockets on the horse for some fabrics he could use to make a new bandage even he knew it would become better when they would appear at the palace but maybe the screams would stop for good if he did that. He found a piece of bread that they had not eaten the even before and put it her mouth to block the screaming and soon after he had found a nice fabric which had been a gift for Xiuying Chang’s mother Ning Wang but there was no use for it. He started gentle to change the bandage and with every run around the belly the screams got lower and soon Xiuying Chang was quiet and only breathing heavy except for the few times that he had to touch the injuries. Xiuying Chang looked at him and even she did not say a word, he knew that she were thanking him for what he had down so far. As he was done he kissing her forehead before replying “Try not to scream when I lift you on the horse again, my child” Xiuying Chang got so confused about the my child that she just nodded in agreement and almost did not notice that he moved her even she at first landed on the wound. “Tell me when and where it hurts next time without screaming as we are not on safe ground yet but soon” he continued before he slowly started walking with the horse by focusing it way holding a tight grip in the harness and soon they were back on the trip to the emperor’s palace.
Xiuying Chang could feel the pain growing inside her again both in the mind and the injuries but she kept quiet as she did not want to lose more lives. She started to look on the sun which was red as blood even that it had been raising for a while. She wondered how much time there had been gone since her rage against the soldiers and now but she decided not to ask Jiahao ask he looked focused on getting to the palace as quickly and quietly as possible so she tried to get back to sleep again even it was hard because of the pains. Suddenly a yelling voice broke the silence and Xiuying Chang looked around to find the source and understand what it said but before she found it, the sound found her as head popped forward from the bushes. “Hello, are you alright?” He continued but before Xiuying Chang could answer him Jiahao had already taken a hard grip in the man without a single word. “What is wrong old man? Is the girl your daughter or something?” The stranger continued and Xiuying Chang wanted to answer him but the look from Jiahao told her that it was a bad idea and in the next second the stranger had pulled a knife and started yelling “give me your values or get cut, I am not asking twice” Jiahao who had been silence doing the all could not prevent himself from laughing which started to annoy the stranger. “Stop laughing” but before he could say more had Jiahao slowly drawn his sword and pointed it at the man. He made big eyes when he noticed the size, he started to lose focus and stutter “I am… sorry for… ruining you day… bye” he manage to say before he were gone and Jiahao stopped laughing and put his sword back on place before he pointed in from them. “We are almost there” he spoke as his fingers pointed outta a wall in the horizon which did not look like much.
As they got closer more people started to show up on the road they were following and Xiuying Chang knew it would be a bad idea to say anything about the attack at her home or she might start a panic which was not needed as the emperor had a big army which would be able to defend them. The wall have grown bigger and it was possible to see a gate in the wall now where people was lining up to get inside the town as the guards was checking if they were allowed to enter the place. The pain in her belly was getting better so she was seating on the horse so it would look normal and her bandages was had been changed too. Suddenly Jiahao stopped the horse and whispered “Stay here, do not make a move or sound and I will be back after done the paper works” Xiuying Chang just nodded and soon he walked away from them and over against two guards who was doing nothing. Xiuying Chang watched before focusing on keeping the horse in control. In the meantime was Jiahao arrived at the soldiers. “I am Yi Chang and I have a important message for the emperor” he started quiet and gentle which made the soldiers looked at each other at first and then looked stupid at him “Who is that, and why are you not in the line like the rest” one of them replied and Jiahao looked at be angry at them before he replied “I am Yi Chang and I have a important message for the emperor” with a more focused voice. The soldiers just shacked their head and pointed on the line “Go to the line like everyone else” they continued. Jiahao looked up at the sun for a moment before returning to them “I don’t have time this” and then he started searching for some proof of who he was so they could come trough the gate fast but before he could finish, one of the soldiers pushed him “Go to the line now, you cannot just jump the line because you feel you are important” That was stupid and Yi Chang had to focus his mind to not be yelling at the guards. “For the last time… I am Yi Chang and I have a important message for the emperor so please let me in”
Xiuying Chang had hear it all from the horse and had no idea what she should do until she suddenly remembered the medallion her mother have given her and if it had been the plan to show it to the emperor then she could maybe get into him by showing it, but where was it. She didn’t had it around her neck like her mother have given her and she started to be sad and worried about that it could be gone in the forest, lost doing the branch or the fights. As she turned the saddest she was about to yell to Yi Chang if he had it but a strange feeling started to appear in her heart and a light appear in her dark eyes. At first she was scared of the light and the feeling because she had heard many old people talk about a light that would appear when you were dying and the strange feeling could be a pain from her wounds that she did not know but then suddenly the light turned into a star and started dancing in front of her like it wanted to tell her something and she move her arms out after it and started following it and soon felt the pockets on the horse. She started to open the pockets but could not find any medallion and the fear returned but as the darkness was about to win, she felt something, something which only could be the medallion and even she was not sure that Yi Chang would have one too she knew it was her family’s. She wanted to yell about it to Jiahao but he had told her that he did not want her to move or yell so she decided that movement was the best as then she would be get up close to escape the people and make less know about the attack so she started to feel the horse. It was the first time she had been getting of a horse without anybody to help her but she had to make a try. She bend forward against what she knew was the head and whispered “please let me get off gentle” and she felt like the horses started to relax more and she started grip in the horse gentle and do the swinging of her legs like her father had learned her but as she managed to turn, the ground was longer down that excepted and she fell to the ground and landed in some mud. She was about to get mad at herself but felt lucky that she didn’t lose the medallion when without warning a loud scream was heard “Look out!” And in the next second she was hit by a horseshoe in the belly near the place she had been hit by the branch. Her tongue started to taste the blood coming and slowly feeling the mouth. She started to feel dizzy and held tightly at the medallion, a gentle voice appear in the dark “Are you hurt?” She tried to answer but the blood was taking over and instead she could hear the voice of Jiahao yelling of someone and her on the same time before the voices disappeared and she blacked out.
She woke up with a set almost screaming of pain but no voice left her mouth but she knew that she were not in the mud anymore and the medallion was no longer in her hand but around her neck and when she felt her surroundings even better she found it to be a soft bed and the blanket was nice too, but wait what was that it was sticky but still soft. As she started to feel it more a strangers laugher started and she knew that it was a head and it was not the old man she was used to but someone younger. She felt a hand grip hers and the laugher stopped but a gentle voice continued “Do you mind not picking my eyes out, my lady” she were not used to be called that so she could feel her checks getting red and unable to answer. “You are the shy type, aren’t you?” The the voice continued and before she had a chance to try answering “I like that, now if you will excuse me… I am the crown price and my father is the emperor. Ups I forgot to tell our names, guess I am still a bit sleepy as it is the middle of the night and you have been in bed for the most of the day and night but the old man you were with have told my father your story so I am sorry for your loss. Now back to the names, my father is named Jiang Chen and I am Jun Chen… what was yours again?” Finally Xiuying Chang voice started to work again and she replied with her courtesy “My lord, my name is Xiuying Chang” she could still taste the blood in her mouth and tried to clean it away with her tongue but it did not work so before Jun Chen could replied she continued “My lord, could you bring me some water as my mouth is full of blood” Jun Chen stood up from the bed and clapped two times before replying “you don’t need to call me, my lord after all what you and your family have done” and just as he were done a door was opened and steps were heard. “You clapped your highness?” And Xiuying Chang was about to repeat her request but Jun Chen was faster “Bring me some water for Xiuying Chang so she can get the blood out of her mouth” the servant was about to leave when Jun Chen stopped him “Did I tell you to go? Never mind… Xiuying Chang do you need something to eat too?” Xiuying Chang was about to answer when her belly started rumble loud making all three laugh loud. “I takes that as a yes” Jun Chen managed to replied while laughing and the servant left the room.
As the door closed it opened again and in walked the emperor Jiang Chen and Yi Chang entered. “Good to see you well, Xiuying Chang” Jiang Chen, Xiuying Chang could hear that the emperor was having mixed feelings so she just replied “Thank you, my lord” the emperor tried to laugh but it almost died in the sadness “No need to call me my lord” and a moment of silence filled the room before the emperor continued “I am sorry for your loss and Yi Chang have told your story but do you have any ideas of what happened to your father? Other than he and the other men was not there when you got attacked in the town?” Xiuying Chang could feel the tears pressure her eyes but she didn’t want to cry in front of the emperor but before she could answer she felt a pair of gentle arms surround her and a gentle voice replied “we are all here to help you with your lose and I know it is hard to answer but try”
Xiuying Chang closed her eyes as she felt the calm coming from the emperor that was more intense than she had expected the emperor to be so she felt that she had to give him an answer. She started to search her mind for clues and suddenly in the darkness small lights started to flash in front of her. At first it was hard for her to see what it was they were showing as she was not used to colors and light. She took a deep breath to focus on the pictures and notices they were alive and they’re showing to men fighting with swords in the forest. “I don’t know where I get this pictures are coming from, my lord” the emperor smile and replied “Still no need to call me, my lord and just tell me what you see and I will be the judge of if they are real or not” Xiuying Chang focused even harder and noticed that one of the men was her father because she could she the golden dragon hanging around his chest even she had it with her here.
“I see two men in a forest, preparing themselves for fighting and it is not going to be a fair fight” She held a break expected an answer form the emperor but the way he held her was answer enough so she continued. “The oldest of the two is in finer clothes than the young one and he has a medallion like mine and I guess he is my father.” She could feel the emperor nodding his head. “The other has a bread and no offense but his body is much like yours emperor…” she expected the emperor to be angry at her now but he kept his calm and gentle hold of her which seemed a bit weird but in right time as suddenly the vision started changing form it’s gentleness to a fight. “The two men are fighting and the young man is hurt” she started to cry and the emperor broke in the story “Stop focusing, I am here” but Xiuying Chang could not stop herself and she started to watch the two men fight and it got wilder and wilder for every second of the fight she witness but before they were going to kill each other the now two bloody men stopped and looked directly in her way and started to run against her like they had seen her watching the fight. She started screaming in the vision and in real life as at first she thought her father would protect her form her the evil man but before she could ask for help, she felt a sword slowly entering her belly, turning her white clothes red and when she tried to scream again her mouth was full of blood leaving no space for the voice to come out. As things started to get dark a man appeared in front of her and sent the men away form her before laying her down in the forest floor and played her hair gentle while saying some unclear words which got turned more and more clear as the darkness covered her vision. “Wake up Xiuying Chang, WAKE UP” It gave a set in her and found her back in the bed with the emperor still holding around her. “I am so sorry, we should never have done this” the emperor started before moving away from her. Xiuying Chang did not know what to say or do other than letting him go. Suddenly her eyes filled with tears and they ran out in fast and big numbers like there were nothing that could stop them. “Come here” her grandfather Yi Chang took the others in surprise and then he held her tightly and somehow she started to clam down and the tears soon dried out. As her breathing was back to normal and her tears was gone, she remembered the screaming in her vision and worried that the emperor had lost his hearing “I am sorry for screaming in your ear, my lord.” The emperor was surprised as he was still worried of the darkness he had made her witness just for him to know who was behind the attack so he kissed her forehead gentle before replying “It is me who is sorry for making you witness it, in the first place” Xiuying Chang yarned as the vision had taking a lot of her energy and replied “I am alright now, just I hope my poor description made sense for you” the emperor nodded but replied “Yes, but you better get some rest now so you can be fresh from your injuries the soonest… Come my friends, lets leave her too sleep” Then she heard the other leave her room and a few good nights before she were all alone in the room.
Xiuying Chang enjoyed the silence in the room and even it has been less than 24 hours since she lost her parents her mind was far too tired to focus on that now with all the other events. Just as she was almost asleep when she heard gentle steps enter the room but before you she could yell and gentle hand held her mouth closed which was about to make her even more wild but then a gentle voice replied “I am sorry, I just had to see you again” at first Xiuying Chang was not sure who the voice came from as she was so sleepy but then realized that it was the crown prince Jun Chen. There were a moment of silence before Jun Chen removed the hand and then continued “It is me, Jun Chen, I am sorry that I covered your mouth but didn’t want to make a mess of sounds that would ruin the sleep for the others” Xiuying Chang was a little worried about what would happen now because she have not been near guys her age before as her parents had kept her away from them plus her father was the general so often they had been out training with him before they came to her which leaved them them worried about how her father would react before turning completely off when they learned she were blind as who would want a woman who could not do her work at home without help. Tears started to press on as she realized she had say thought was instead of were about her family and her former boyfriends who never had turned into something. Suddenly she remembered that Jun Chen was in the room who much think she were crazy now by leaving him in silence for so long. “I am sorry my lord, I am just so sleepy and so many things in my heard” a small laughter came from Jun Chen before he replied “As my father said, there is no need to say my lord as you are practically family and besides I know you had a rough day so no need to be sorry about your mind” and then he took her hands and kissed them before he moved them around in his face so she could feel how he looked before kissing them again and put them back in the bed. “I hope that helped on your mind a bit so you can sleep better, I will leave you again but will be here when you wake up later no matter how much you need” Xiuying Chang could feel the sheets getting lighter before hearing steps leaving the room and her with a even more confusing mind than before but it was a good confusion. She wanted to call him to return or at least say good night but her voice was gone and before her mind could think about it she was fast asleep.
She woke up as she could feel the sun reach her body which she used to wake up by back home. She listened for the morning birds but could not hear them as they were replaced with those she was about to hear in the afternoon and she were about to yell for someone but then she remembered she had no idea of what direction she was sleeping in so it could be why she had slept so long beside her injuries had taken its toll on her too. Suddenly a gentle female voice broke the bird songs “Good afternoon, good to see you up as I am here to replace your bandages. Don’t worry I will be gentle” and before Xiuying Chang could do anything to prevent it, a pair hands started touch her belly and chest. The pain were still unbearable but she did not want to show she were weak so instead of screaming she just bit her teeth together and tried to act normal. The woman was gentle but still doing her job like she had done it a million times. Suddenly footsteps started and entered the room but before the person could say anything the woman who had wrapped her like a rice roll replied “Can you see, we are busy at the moment and need some privacy?” And Xiuying Chang could hear the steps stop before making sounds of turning around “I am sorry, Xiuying Chang I just heard that you were awake and wanted to ask you if wanted to have dinner with me?” Xiuying Chang could hear it was with the crown prince but her mind was too focused on the pain she tried to hide to remember his name so the word exploded our of her mouth “YEEEEEEES” she almost yelled which surprised all in the room and Xiuying Chang could feel the color turn more and more red in her face and it got worse when she just noticed that she have been naked in front of the crown prince, a man and person she have only just meet. Her thoughts was stopped by a gentle voice from the woman who had wrapped her bandages “I am sorry, I didn’t meant to hurt you in anyway so next time I will change your bandages please tell me so I can be even more gentle” Then the hands left her painful body which was shacking like she had been out in the icy snow instead. “We are done, you can turn back around now” The steps form the crown prince changed direction as the woman’s steps leaved the room. He laughed like she had done something stupid before he stopped himself “I am sorry for laughter and my entrance… would you allow me to guide you to the main hall for dinner with me, my father and your grandfather?” Xiuying Chang had forgotten all about her grandfather and her parents. The thought of them made a tear run down from her left eye before she stopped herself and tried to focus on present time instead.
She follow him thought the halls while she heard many new voices but Jun Chen keep dragging her past them all so she had no time to focus on what they said or the rooms they left. Suddenly Jun Chen stopped and Xiuying Chang could feel the wind and some leafs playing with her hair. It was so calming and relaxing that she almost forgot she were hungry. “When you are better again we will go out here in the palace garden every day and train as I have heard that you are good fighter even you are blind” Xiuying Chang smiled before her belly started to demand some food soon and they soon on their way again. They got back inside again and soon she heard voices she knew. The emperor and her grandfather. “What took you so long?” The emperor replied as he got an eye on them and before Xiuying Chang could answer Jun Chen had already open his mouth. “I wanted to show her the garden father” he answered like it was the simplest thing in the world. “Very well, but now it is time to eat and I am sure that Xiuying Chang is hunger too after about a day full of sleep.” Xiuying Chang could heard something was wrong in his voice but was too hungry to ruin the meal so she started to try find some of the food on the table in front of them. No one said a word as they were eating and Xiuying Chang used the change to relax and get as much food inside as possible as she were starved after the days with almost no food. Suddenly some quick feet entered the room and ran over to the emperor and a voice started whispering but not for long as the emperor yelled “Those people you see around this table are survivors for the attack so they are allowed to hear everything about it” the whispering voices stopped and took so deep breaths. “I am sorry my lord, I didn’t know it was no secret but what I was to say was that an army have been sighted not far form here” he wanted to say more but suddenly the whole hall was in chaos as more men entered the room screaming loudly. Xiuying Chang had been so focused on the food that she didn’t hear what they were saying before a hard grip took her arm and dragged her away form the food. “Heeeyyyy, I was eating that” she responded annoyed and her grandfathers gentle voice replied “didn’t you hear what happen, we have to get out now” Xiuying Chang’s voice changed form annoyed to worried “No, sorry grandfather, what happened.” But before he could answer an explosion happen near them and Xiuying Chang knew what was going on and was about to panic but her grandfather’s hard grip made her feel safe and she did her best to follow him even the fast movements had made her injuries hurt again.
Suddenly another explosion hit and her grandfather’s hand turned soft as they flew from each other. Xiuying Chang landed on something soft and at first, she was happy that she did not hit anything hard, her happiness quickly disappeared as she learn she had hit a person. She tried to figure out who it was but the explosion had ruined all her senses except touch so she started to move her fingers around on the body. It felt like a leg and she tired to follow it up but hit some sharp on the way with some liquid surrounding it. The body below her had not moved while she had touch the place which made her move so she started to doubt that it really was a person she had landed which leaved her no other choice than taste the liquid. She gentle touch her way up to the place again and sh was about to touch the place again when it crossed her mind that she already had the liquid on her fingers. She took a deep lick on her finger and froze before reaching the end. It was blood. Her heart started to slow down before stopping together with her mind and she felt her body closing down but when just as it looked at the darkest two different hands to a hard grip in her hands, no minding the blood or anything and pulled her away. “We have to go NOW” she heard two voices yelling in mouth of each other but she knew the voices. It was Jun Chen and Yi Cheng, their voice continued but she didn’t focus on them as the light and darkness was fighting inside her. “Get up NOW” she heard low but it gave the light and as a blind person she had never seen a light like that before and as she shake her head the light filled her from top to toe and she stand up like nothing could touch her. She started walking with them like her injuries was there no more and she followed them in a speed, way faster than before and soon she could feel water against her skin before the sounds of horses meet her too. They were in the royal stables, a place she always wanted to go but not like this. The last thought made the darkness suddenly appear in the bottom of the light and her senses started to turn off but before she could scream, she fainted.
“Help her up now” Jiang Chen yelled to his men when he noticed that she were laying in the wet grass and soon two men took her and tried to walk her up while putting her on a horse. “You need to ride with her, Jun Chen” Jiang Chen commanded his son. Jun Chen just nodded and prepared his horse for Xiuying Chang as the men had giving up on waking her up and put her on the horse. The rain started to fall faster and another explosion was heard from in other end of palace but no one had time to focus on that now because they had to get away now and they did not have a second chance. Emperor looked up at the sky before he closed his eyes and fell the rain hitting in his face for almost three seconds before he nodded like he had decided something and then he started walking over to the gate. He opened it like it was nothing which made the men including Jun Chen and Yi Cheng freeze for a bit. “Get our now and let our paths meet again some day safe” he yelled loud and looked at his son a last time as they started riding on each side of him. Jun Chen wanted to look back at his father but the gate had already closed and they were now just the three of them and they had to hurry away or they might become many more.