Chapter 171: Soothsayer (II)
Priestess Liu’s heart skipped a beat. Does Qin Yining really not know that I’m the Soothsayer, or is she just pretending? It look the woman a long while before she could retract her gaze from the notes. She coughed lightly and played dumb with a faint smile.
“Miss Qin loves to jest. The Soothsayer is Buddhist and renowned for her unerring predictions. This humble nun follows Taoism and hasn’t done so for a long period of time. How would I ever be able to shoulder such a reputation?”
Qin Yining dimpled. “Don’t dissemble, Priestess. You know that I’m asking you to pretend to be the Soothsayer.”
An eye twitched as a corner of the priestess’ mouth twitched. Paying so much silver for me to play act as myself… This was a very good deal!
Qin Yining saw the glimmer of success when she noted how the priestess was staring fixedly at the stack of bank notes.
“The Soothsayer disappeared after analyzing the lives of the Great Zhou emperor, Marquis of Northern Stability, and Faithful Prince of the First Rank. There have no been rumors of her for the past two years. Some say that she’s passed on from this world after revealing the secrets of heaven. Others say that she’s gone to seek higher enlightenment in the deep mountains after completing the mission from the heavens.
“I think that with the Soothsayer’s talent, she must be amongst us still, observing the matters of the world. I’m not asking you to do anything outrageous in pretending to be the Soothsayer, just to give questioners an unfathomably deep, ambiguous answer if anyone asks you about things. Just keep them guessing.
“For one, the Soothsayer is a nun. If she wants to conceal her identity, joining a Taoist temple is the most logical and best cover. Secondly, not many have actually seen the Soothsayer in person. There’s no risk that someone will see through our disguise. You’re also the right age and gender. Thirdly, I’m not asking you to take center stage at a grand occasion, just to borrow the Soothsayer’s reputation to make certain words more believable, so that my humble life may be saved.
“Priestess, you’re a nun and know that saving a life is an act greater than building a seven floor pagoda dedicated to the gods. My life is in danger as someone wishes to eat me alive. This is the only plan I can think of.” Qin Yining swept the priestess a curtsey at the end of all this.
What the girl didn’t know was that her listener had started sweating profusely when she mentioned ‘joining a Taoist temple is the most logical and best cover’. She disguised herself as a nun and fled all the way to Great Yan precisely to create a cover for herself!
She had indeed made predictions for Great Zhou Emperor Li Qitian, Marquis of Northern Stability Ji Zeyu, and Pang Xiao back in the day. One of them was graced with unparalleled fortunes, the reincarnation of the Emperor, also known as the Purple Star. The other two were the Field Marshal and the Army star. Of the three major inauspicious stars, the reincarnation of the Greedy Wolf was with the Tatars.
But after the Great Zhou nation was founded, the one to take the throne wasn’t the Purple Star! Li Qitian was the reincarnation of the Field Marshal star, and he’d taken the Purple Star’s rightful place!
The priestess fled in the night when she heard of this development. But who would’ve thought that Qin Yining would arrive on her doorstep with a stack of bank notes, asking her to pretend to be herself? The girl had even highlighted the crux of many issues with just a few words. Was this an eye of wisdom that only those with great fortunes and an unfathomable future had?
“Great blessings from above! Is Miss Qin using the Soothsayer’s identity to swindle others in the outside world?”
The Qin fourth miss didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. “You speak too harshly, Priestess Liu. I’m doing this only to save my own life. What would I be swindling others for?”
The priestess cast a conflicted glance at the stack of notes and swallowed hard. “Then might this humble nun ask, what rumors are you creating outside? You wouldn’t need to make use of the Soothsayer’s reputation if it was only for a small matter.”
“The priestess is immensely smart. This really isn’t a small matter. Someone wants to dig my heart out and mash it together with my bones and flesh. Apparently, this mixture will help them with their looks. The person’s about to do so, so in order to save my life, I’ve had people spread rumors that I have exceedingly good fortunes. Hopefully this will save me.” An awkward blush colored Qin Yining’s face at this time. “Actually, I already had people spread the word that ‘The Qin fourth miss has exceedingly good fortunes. Great Yan will be safe as long as she’s present!’, and said that this was a Soothsayer proclamation. It’s a four hour ride from the capital to the nunnery, so it’s very likely that every idle man in the streets, worker, poet, and singer in the taverns is already talking about this.”
The girl felt further embarrassed when she saw the priestess’ poleaxed expression. She hadn’t had a choice in heaping praise on herself as the ‘protection amulet of Great Yan’ and the ‘mascot of the nation’.
The emperor would certainly try to pin a crime on her. After some careful thought, the only crime the emperor could try for was one of an ‘evil portent that would hurt nation and people’. Only this would result in a righteous arrest of the fourth miss, refrain from hurting the Qins, and make Qin Huaiyuan continue working on the emperor’s behalf. This wouldn’t be an act of oppression then, but one of justice, of removing an evil spirit.
Thank goodness she was preparing for this and making the first move. When the emperor tried his tricks, her version would have taken root and flourished in everyone’s hearts. And even if the emperor changed his plan, as long as the majority opinion said she was the ‘protection amulet of Great Yan’, that would be enough to make the emperor reconsider any action.
But of course, spontaneous rumors like these wouldn’t be believed at all. That’s why she’d further added on that this was a statement from the Soothsayer, the very person who’d once laid out the destines of the Great Zhou emperor, Marquis of Northern Stability, and Faithful Prince of the First Rank. Making use of this mystical person’s reputation lent an air of credibility to the sayings.
But it wasn’t like she could actually find the legendary being on such short notice, and the Soothsayer might not be willing to get involved in this mess. Qin Yining didn’t know any nuns she could trust either, so the only person she thought of was Priestess Liu, follower of Taoism and wealth.
The priestess was such a lover of wealth that there was no problem that couldn’t be resolved with silver. Even so, the Qin fourth miss was still a little worried that the priestess wouldn’t agree. If she didn’t, Qin Yining would have to think of another plan then. Perhaps the new version could be that the Soothsayer was traveling the four seas after making her statement about Qin Yining’s fortunes?
Thoughts spun rapidly in the girls minds as worries chased ideas. Meanwhile, the priestess was drooling over the bank notes on the table, the drool almost falling out of her mouth.
So much silver, and in notes that could be redeemed all across Great Zhou and Great Yan! Five thousand silver, a full five thousand! She didn’t need to share it with anyone, it was all for her! This temptation was too great!
It wouldn’t be the first time she allowed someone to use her identity.
The priestess also knew who wanted to eat Qin Yining. The empress had rushed in a few days ago and threw a box of jewelry on the table, ordering, “This seat is going back to the palace to tell the emperor that you figured out the Qin bitch’s flesh is good for maintaining looks! If the emperor asks, say that you said it!”
Priestess Liu hadn’t even had a chance to respond before she was defeated by that box of jewelry, and here Qin Yining was, doing the same thing. Forget it, let’s just go with it. I earn money for this twice and save someone’s life, and do little Prince Pang a favor… The priestess carefully counted the notes twice over and shoved them merrily into her clothes. She patted the bulge with immense satisfaction and a grin.
“Miss Qin is wise indeed. This humble nun is indeed the Soothsayer.” These words were voiced with the most serious expression ever to be seen.
Qin Yining smiled slightly at the words and once again curtsied sincerely. “Many thanks to the priestess.”
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