Shaoyao spread news that Qin Min wanted to eat with everyone, causing both the main household and second uncle's household to tense. The few who had planned to leave on business immediately cancelled their plans, afraid to miss the evening family banquet. But unexpectedly, everyone had hardly sat down when Second Master Qin, who hadn't been at the estate at all, suddenly showed up.
"Haha, I thought big brother left jail, but it's Madam of the Academy Head," Second Master Qin said in a sarcastic tone. Although he had some fears towards Qin Min, he couldn't bother once he thought she might help her younger brother fight for power in the household. No matter what, he didn't want to lose the position of family head! He refused to believe a married woman like her could do anything back home. So what if she was Madam of the Academy Head? Even if Gu Beiyue himself was here, he couldn't meddle in Qin family matters.
When it came to matters of status, Qin Min was highest. But in matters of seniority, he was the top. When Second Master Qin entered, everyone rose to greet him except for Qin Min, who waited until they were done to remark, "Second uncle, Min-er has offended by not being able to move."
Second Master Qin brusquely replied, "No matter."
Shaoyao was so angry she stomped her foot, but she couldn't act wild in Qin territory. She also grew up in this household and knew their customs as well as Second Master Qin's temper. Qin Min only smiled and said nothing.
She ate tonight without planning to say much. Being too talkative would lose the battle, while remaining silent would keep them guessing. With her current status, eating a meal in silence would be enough to cause everyone to have a sleepless night puzzling out her thoughts. Although she knew Gu Beiyue had a very thorough plan capable of ferreting out the mole, she still decided to risk it and conclude the matter personally. After all, she'd suffered for over a decade and needed to vent. Moreover she…didn't want to owe him too much.
Qin Min thought Second Master Qin would sit down and join them for the meal, but he actually sighed. "Aye…I've been busy the past few days, but had no way to rescue big brother out. It's hard to even meet him. Second uncle is old and incapable now, so I'd like to share some words with you all."
"Father, has anything happened?" Qin Zhengyuan asked anxiously.
Second Master Qin didn't answer, but walked to Qin Min's side and murmured, "Madam of the Academy Head, this matter concerns big brother's imprisonment. You better avoid suspicion."
Everyone looked over at those words. None of Qin Min's sisters or brothers-in-law spoke, but her own little brother Qin Changqing (秦常青) huffed, "Second master, are you treating my big sis as an outsider?"
"Haha, Madam of the Academy Head is just as righteous and impartial as the Academy Head, putting justice above family. Changqing, don't make things difficult for your sister," Second Master Qin laughed coldly.
"Father, it's inconvenient for Madam of the Academy Head to move about. Why don't we take this conversation next door?" Qin Zhengyuan suggested.
"True enough," Second Master Qin said politely. "Then I'll have to trouble Madam of the Academy Head to wait a while." So speaking, he left with his son to the side hall with the rest of the second uncle's family following. Qin Min's three younger sisters exchanged looks, obviously moved, while her brother remained sitting huffily in his seat. Qin Min said nothing and scooped up her soup to drink.
Her second uncle had certainly given her pressure. Although he looked to be embarrassing her, he was actually probing her intentions and making trouble by forcing her! To put it plainly, he was causing a divide between her and her siblings.
At last Qin Changqing lost it and cried, "Big sis, are you just going to let them bully you like this?"
The three younger sisters and their husbands all looked at Qin Min, waiting for her answer. Second uncle had been so blatant, wasn't Qin Min going to retaliate? Or express her opinion? Had she not come home to discuss with everyone how to save father? Was second uncle just going to bully her like that?
Qin Min only said two words. "Eat food."
"Big sis!" Qin Changqing slapped the table in anxiety.
Qin Min remained unmoved while her three sisters exchanged looks again. At last, Second Miss Qin spoke up. "Big sis, what do you mean by doing nothing? Hmph, are you still resenting father for not nurturing you in the first place?"
The other two soon followed suit.
"Big sis, you didn't come back to laugh at us, right? Well you should be happy now, second uncle and his son are both satisfied!"
"Big sis, I never thought you had a heart made of stone. Even if you won't save father, you should at least pull up your younger brother. You're such a disappointment!"
Qin Min neither rescued her father or supported her brother, because she knew soon enough that these large clans would cease to wield power in the medical community, replaced by actual talent. Even if you fought until you bled, it would all be in vain. It would be up to Gu Beiyue to figure out how to contain the Qin Clan and others in their camp so they didn't obstruct him. She was only here to find her poisoner.
She allowed her sisters to question and her brother to resent while peacefully eating and drinking. Her silence was to draw out the impatience of the guilty culprit. Back then, she'd only showed her talent before she was crippled in both legs. Today as the Madam of the Academy Head, she'd stunned with her amazing talents once more. How could the culprit sit still now that she was home?
If the poisoner had motive to hurt her back then, he or she had even more motive now. The longer she remained silent, the less the culprit would understand the motive of her trip. They would lose their calm and start to panic. She was almost certain one of the second uncle's family members was guilty, so she was even calmer before his provocation.
After eating her fill, Qin Min said, "Take your time, I'm heading back first. You can disperse once you're done."
Everyone was too angry to speak. When Qin Min left the rooms, Qin Jie (秦洁) suddenly chased after her and yelled, "Qin Min, why did you come home? Leave, the Qin family doesn't welcome you!"
Qin Min looked back. Everything that should've been hers had gone to this little younger, but she was still ridiculing her. She hadn't forgotten the past, but was too lazy to review old scores. Many times, revenge didn't mean doing something to the other side. One type of vengeance was simply to stand even higher, look even farther. When you were high enough that your enemy could only peer at you from below, you would win very elegantly.
She knew she was only the Academy Head's wife in name and didn't actually have such high status, but she didn't want to let down the elegance of a title like "Madam of the Academy Head." Ignoring everyone, Qin Min and Shaoyao silently left.
Second Miss Qin was furious and rushed back in to tell Qin Changqing, "Big sis is just here to see our joke! Chase her out! Right now!"
Qin Changqing had been protected by his father. Now that he was reduced to this, he had no mind of his own. He only remembered the best words his father told him before going to jail: "Listen to your eldest sister. Let her decide everything!"
Although his big sister hadn't said anything today, he didn't dare offend her.
"Go already!" Qin Jie was already pulling at Qin Changqing's clothes.
He batted her off coldly and demanded, "How would eldest sister living here a few days ever bother you?"
"She's already married, who told her to come back and live here?" Heaven knows how much Qin Jie loathed Qin Min to retort in a huff.
"Don't you…come back everyday too?" Qin Changqing muttered.
"You!" Qin Jie was so desperate she stomped her foot and tugged at her husband next. "Yes! I'm going to live here today too! I'll stay as long as she does!" Once she left, the other sisters remained silent but followed along. Obviously they were all on the same side. In the empty dining hall, only Qin Changqing was left with the spread of fine wine and delicious food. He had no appetite and sat for a while before wandering off as well.
It was only after they went that Qin Fengxian, Qin Zhengyuan, and the rest returned. Qin Zhengyuan burst into cold laughter and wanted to speak when Qin Fengxian stopped him. He had the others eat their meal while bringing Qin Zhengyuan away.
Outside the doors, Qin Zhengyuan burst out, "Father, what's wrong with that Qin Min?"
Qin Fengxian smiled icily. "I'd like to see how many days she lasts!"
"Father, there's no way she can help Qin Changqing. What…should we do?" Qin Zhengyuan was most concerned about this matter.
Qin Fengxian was unhappy. "How many times have I told you? You can't accomplish great things without self-restraint!"
As long as Qin Fengli was sent out of Medical City and became a true medical slave, the clan would naturally bring up matters of the next clan head. Qin Changqing's medical rank was clearly lacking, so he refused to believe that Qin Min could help her brother up the wall in such a short time! Right now he wanted Qin Min to face off against him directly. Over the past few years, he had achieved much in the medical field and saved plenty of lives, so there was no handle against him. He had no fear of Qin Min; as for the subterfuge inside the household, he'd done his share but not enough to lose the position of family head.
He was confident his "unchanging" attitude could win against Qin Min's "unmoving" one.
Qin Fengxian waited for Qin Min just as she waited for him to take the hook. But three days later, things took a sharp turn that left Qin Min rather off guard. She had remained in her courtyard the entire time. Although Qin Changqing paid multiple visits to her everyday, she didn't say a word. Third and fourth sister also found her to probe and question, but she never replied.
On the fourth day, Qin Changqing had just left with two sisters when Qin Jie appeared alone. Unlike her usual haughty self, she looked sincere as she said, "Big sis, we…let's have a heart-to-heart talk! I still remember what you said more than ten years ago!"
Qin Min had Shaoyao bring over some tea while she asked, "What was it?"
Qin Jie laughed helplessly. "Big sis, you said you wanted to marry Ji Yifeng (季一峰) when you grew up. Do you still remember?"
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can't believe this kind of domestic scheming is less stressful than any of qin min's interaction with gu beiyue, lol. i'm laughing at the qin family cluelessly scheming their hearts out when in a few weeks or months it won't even matter as LFY and HYX use imperial authority to scoop up medical and medicine city in one fell swoop.