Under everyone's eyes, the carriage slowly headed towards the direction of the medical academy. Inside, Gu Beiyue sat on the left while Qin Min sat on the right. Both of them faced each other with heads bowed in silence.
Gu Beiyue secretly sighed, but finally opened his mouth. "Eldest Miss Qin, this matter dragged you in."
"As the Madam of the Academy Head, it's only natural I bear such hassles. It doesn't count as dragging me in, so Academy Head need not feel guilty," Qin Min replied.
To them, "Madam of the Academy Head" was a powerful status symbol that had nothing to do with feelings or their relationship.
"Thank goodness Shaoyao ran fast," Gu Beiyue said.
"Mm," Qin Min nodded. They fell silent again, and Qin Min spotted Shaoyao waiting for them at the gates of the medical academy from a long distance away. She ran towards them as soon as she spotted the carriage, so fast that it almost startled the horse. It reared up its legs in a whinny, but Lin Yue was experienced enough to rein it in.
"Young Miss, are you okay? What about the master? Where is he?" Shaoyao asked urgently.
Qin Min looked out the window, displeased. "What's with all the fuss? Aren't I back?"
Shaoyao gave a start before breaking into a radiant smile. "Yes, yes, yes! This servant was too fussy. With master here, anything can be fixed! Young Miss, you should bring him with you when you leave the house in the future. Nobody will dare look twice at you then."
Qin Min was too lazy to acknowledge Shaoyao, but Gu Beiyue glanced at her. Not expecting this, Shaoyao ducked her head fearfully and shut up. Actually, Gu Beiyue didn't mean to look, but just inadvertently glanced over.
He said, "Lin Yue, send over the wheelchair."
Before he could speak to Qin Min, the latter spoke first. "Your Excellency Academy Head, no need for the trouble. I want to go live in the Qin Estate for a few days. Have Lin Yue send me there, I'm not heading back."
Gu Beiyue thought it over and lowered his voice. "That's good too. It's about time to deal with the Qin Clan's matters."
"Mhm," Qin Min nodded again.
Gu Beiyue hesitated before steeling himself to be ruthless. "Eldest Miss Qin, it'll probably be chaotic in Medical City after a while. After capturing the mole within the Qin family…"
Before he could finish, Qin Min interrupted again. "Your Excellency Academy Head, I'll go back to Ningzhou when we capture the mole. I've already sent someone to Yunning last night to take Shadow back to Ningzhou. We won't bother 'you' anymore."
She…actually had a plan?
She…actually used "you" (您).
Gu Beiyue didn't know whether to laugh or cry. He nodded without hesitation. "Fine. I'll have someone escort you back when the time comes."
"Many thanks to Your Excellency Academy Head," Qin Min looked happy.
Gu Beiyue only secretly exhaled in relief. He never thought things would progress quicker and easier than he expected. After all, he had delayed his plans for days because of this matter.
Shaoyao was called up to the carriage before the trio headed for the Qin Estate. She had no idea what had happened just then, but seeing both her masters silent she didn't dare pry. After all, master's glance at her still left her with lingering fears.
When they were about to reach their destination, Gu Beiyue began to discuss the matters of flushing out the internal mole with Qin Min. Yet she refused, saying she'd rather deal with internal affairs personally behind closed doors. Gu Beiyue couldn't very well force the issue, so he just reminded her to be careful.
At the Qin Estate, Gu Beiyue personally carried Qin Min off the carriage. Right before he set her on the wheelchair, Qin Min remarked, "Your Excellency Academy Head, this should be the last time I trouble 'you' again."
Gu Beiyue's movements didn't stop, but his heart gave a jerk. When he stood up, he sighed subconsciously. At some point, he had started sighing at various actions of Qin Min. Now he didn't even know how many times he'd already sighed.
To be unable to love a person, yet not hate them; to be unable to accept a person, yet not reject them; to be unable to compensate a person, yet not hurt them…helplessness was probably the only option left.
Gu Beiyue looked at Qin Min and said, "Eldest Miss Qin doesn't need to be so formal."
None of the Qin family expected Gu Beiyue to personally send Qin Min back, much less that she'd live at home for a few days. Husband and wife had just returned to Qin Min's rooms before her marriage when the entire clan surrounded them. After a while, all of Qin Min's younger married sisters all rushed back with their families too. In the past, Qin Min was the family's laughingstock because of her crippled legs. Leaving aside the concubines' families, even her own sisters by the same blood disdained her.
Qin Min had Shaoyao block everyone at the door and refused to let anyone in.
"Young Miss, this servant told them you were tired and needed rest. But they won't leave. Young master, he…he mumbled that he wanted to see master. He wants master to let the old master free," Shaoyao said helplessly.
"Keep guard outdoors. Say that the master needs to rest too, so they should all disperse. If they're too noisy, they'll have to shoulder the consequences!" Qin Min was merciless.
Shaoyao was scared, but she recalled her mistress's current status and figured it was no big deal to throw such words at the crowd outside. Thus, she left in high spirits.
"Master, Young Miss, rest well without worries. This servant will make sure no one outside gets in!"
After she shut the door, only awkwardness remained. Gu Beiyue suddenly realized that this was Qin Min's boudoir. He stood up and heard the noise outside, but couldn't speak before Qin Min said, "You can't leave right now. It's rare for you to come to the Qin Estate, so you might as well drink a cup of tea first. Your Excellency Academy Head, please come with me."
Qin Min went into the inner rooms, but Gu Beiyue remained rooted in place, indecisive. This boudoir was divided into an inner and outer chamber. Inside was the bedroom while outside was the study. Between the two hung a thick draped curtain. Gu Beiyue had found Qin Min privately before the wedding, so this wasn't his first time in this boudoir. But he had never stayed in the outer room or stepped inside the inner one. Moreover, Qin Min had invited him to drink tea, but the tea things were right next to him, not in the bedroom.
Qin Min waited a long time. When Gu Beiyue didn't follow, she came back to take a look, teasing him. "Your Excellency Academy Head, are you afraid to enter the tiger's den? I'm not some tiger that will eat you."
Gu Beiyue realized that Qin Min had other matters in mind and laughed before following her in. The bedroom wasn't very large and only contained the bed and no tea table or much extra chairs. He was quite embarrassed and could only stand. However, Qin Min let down the curtains, which made the room feel even smaller. A man and woman in such circumstances was very ambiguous, perhaps awkward. In any case, Gu Beiyue began to feel uneasy.
He said, "Eldest Miss Qin, if there's anything to say, say it now."
Qin Min didn't reply. First, she sat down on the bed and propped one hand against the pillow while beckoning him with her other finger. Leaving aside her dazzling actions, her charming smile was enough to melt many a man's heart. But this scene only left Gu Beiyue shocked.
He had probably never been so frightened by a woman in his life.
He was dumbfounded!
Eyes gaping, jaw dropped, his mind went blank.
How could Qin Min…why so suddenly…
Seeing Gu Beiyue so stunned, Qin Min finally lost it and burst into laughter. She pressed down lightly on the bed before it split in half on left and right to review a secret passage underneath. Gu Beiyue recovered his wits and subconsciously stepped forward to a look, but Qin Min stood up to block him.
Her face was serious. "Gu Beiyue, say the truth. Did you take me for one of those women just then?"
Gu Beiyue was shocked once more. This was the first time Qin Min had ever called him by name. For some reason, he felt that Qin Min seemed like a changed woman when she said those words: so foreign despite being so familiar.
For a while, he didn't know what to say.
Qin Min stared at him gracely, but in the end she ended up laughing again. "Your Excellency Academy Head, I'm only joking with you. Don't take offense. This is a secret passage that leads to the back door of the Qin Estate. You can leave through here, I'll deal with the mess outside."
She stepped out of the way, but Gu Beiyue didn't budge. He seemed to be still recovering from the bombshells.
"Your Excellency Academy Head, you should leave," Qin Min said again.
In the end, Gu Beiyue didn't answer her question or say much else. He went down the secret passage, but spoke up when Qin Min went to close it.
"Qin Min, whatever happens, you have to be careful."
The bed slowly closed up again as Gu Beiyue's figure vanished from sight. He didn't see Qin Min sitting on the ground, much less heard her mutter to herself, "Gu Beiyue, isn't it nice for you to call me Qin Min?"
Gu Beiyue left just like that. Qin Min laid on the bed with eyes closed, though no one could tell whether she was asleep or awake. The crowd outside dispersed, but Shaoyao was still waiting like a fool outside. She cheerfully deduced that master and mistress might have some guy-girl things going on inside all alone.
Actually, she'd rather the Qin family kept watching the doors so they could force master to stay the night. Unfortunately, things didn't go as planned. Soon enough, Qin Min summoned her inside and Shaoyao understood as soon as she saw no sign of the master.
"Young Miss, you…why did you send master away? Are you a fool?"
Qin Min only replied, "Shaoyao, I think…he has someone in his heart!"
"Ah?" Shaoyao was stunned, then coaxed, "Young Miss, don't speak nonsense. With master's skills, he could marry anyone! He's just a blockhead who hasn't figured out romance yet!"
Qin Min looked at Shaoyao and stopped the words that came to her lips. Instead, she said, "You don't understand."
"Young Miss, how could I not understand? Master looks at you with different eyes than he does everyone else! Master definitely likes you!" Shaoyao was earnest.
Qin Min waved a hand. "Don't speak of these things anymore. Go tell them I want to eat a meal with the family tonight."
Shaoyao nodded and left, but her heart was full of doubts. Should she find a chance to talk with master privately?
Qin Min's mother had already passed away, while her little brother was too young to understand anything. Thus, the Qin Clan found the second master (Qin Min's uncle) to head the family.
On this night, Second Master Qin put on a show of strength to intimate Qin Min.
actually, i would 100% read a cnovel with a female lead like qin min. she has the smarts, calm, compassion, and humor to charm me. although she might not be as "exciting" as HYX, she comes off as very reliable and mature. i'm especially impressed at how well she reins in her emotions and conduct based on the situation...
sigh, and they say her acupuncture skills are amazing too. if PGC wasn't a transmigration work, perhaps i'd read an ancient china story with her as the protagonist...