The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen

by Lloyd Alexander

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What happens in chapter 4 of The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen?

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Having gone out of his way in an attempt to help Master Fu, Prince Jen and his carriage are now stuck in mud. Because their escorts (Li Kwang and his soldiers) were instructed to stay behind, Prince Jen and Mafoo must free the carriage by themselves. When they finally get it free, they notice damage to the carriage that Master Fu insists will not stop them from making it the rest of the way to his village, Kwan-tzu. When they finally arrive in Kwan-tzu, Master Fu disappears without Prince Jen or Mafoo noticing as the villagers welcome them. Cha-wei, the "village administrator," appears and offers to repair their carriage and provide them with lodging in his own "private apartments" (31).

There, Prince Jen and Mafoo ask for an escort to get them back to where they left Li Kwang. Unfortunately, Cha-wei is unable to give them anyone that could adequately protect them, as the only "able-bodied" men were sent out to capture bandits. Instead, Cha-wei asks them to stay in the village and wait for his men to return to the town; however, they decline and ask for Cha-wei and his servants to accompany them on their journey (32).

Suddenly, one of Cha-wei's musicians, Voyaging Moon, interrupts to tell them that their plan is flawed, as it will attract the attention of Natha Yellow Scarf and his bandits. Rather than have Cha-wei go with them, she offers to guide them herself, as she is familiar with "pathways that [would] keep [them] clear of Natha and his gang" (35). As Prince Jen and Mafoo rest, Jen dreams of Voyaging Moon.

With their carriage repaired, Prince Jen, Mafoo, and Voyaging Moon set off the next morning through the "practically invisible paths and trails" of the countryside Voyaging Moon told them about (36). Having taken an interest in Voyaging Moon, Prince Jen attempts to find a way to talk to his new guide but finds himself "strangely tongue-tied" (36). When they finally return to the spot where they left Li Kwang and his soldiers, there is no one to be found, and the chapter ends on a cliffhanger.

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