Chapter 183: Killing Intent
Qin Yining rose and paced slowly, Riceball in her hands. “Let’s all do our jobs well in the days when I’m in charge and try our best to be considerate. As long as no mistakes are made, I don’t wish to gain a bad reputation either. But at the same time, all of you know that I don’t have a good temper. If you really do make a mistake, don’t think you’ll be lucky or can escape my notice. I know how the servants and people outside talk about me. I already have a bad reputation and am not afraid of it.”
“We will remember your teachings well.” The group of servants were now fully on board with answering to the fourth miss.
Qin Yining’s taut body relaxed when she saw that the servants were listening to her. She’d never been in charge of so many people before and was just proceeding with her thoughts after power suddenly made its way into her hands. She didn’t know if this was the right thing to do, but it looked like she could heave a sigh of relief now.
Outside the moon gate, née Sun flashed a gratified smile to see how easily her daughter was navigating the scene. Thus reassured, she left to take care of Jin-mama in the back.
Qin Yining listened to various reports after this and gave her orders accordingly. She also had someone wait outside the palace doors for news of Qin Huaiyuan.
Her movements were relayed to the other branches, as well as the second and third elder master in the outer residence. Second Elder Master Qin Xiuyuan’s study in the east side yard. It was separated from Qin Huaiyuan’s by only a wall. The two elder masters as well as senior master Qin Yu, second master Qin Han were listening intently to a pageboy’s report.
The pageboy carefully recounted word-for-word how Qin Yining had disciplined the servants and the new rules she’d set. The second and third elder master kept nodding. The two breathed a long sigh of relief in unison when the pageboy was dismissed.
“Senior brother’s eye has always been unique. This arrangement is very good.”
Qin Han smiled in agreement. “Indeed. Senior uncle’s foresight is as strong as ever. I told you father, that you were worrying too much. Fourth sister is a smart and capable person. Even if the manor isn’t airtight after these arrangements, it will cut off a lot of trouble at the knees. At the very least, it’s better than us keeping a close eye on the outer manor but failing to secure the inner. With fourth sister in charge of the inner residence, while she may not turn it into anything tremendous, at least we can be assured that the inner residence won’t do anything stupid.”
“Precisely,” the third elder master commented. “We don’t need to worry about the inner residence as a source of trouble this way. It’ll save us all a bit of effort with niece Yi at the helm.”
The second elder master nodded and moved on with worry. “I wonder if the emperor will be displeased with our elder brother. To think that Great Zhou would rip up the peace accords so quickly after coming to an agreement! My head is still spinning from the speed of this change. We wined and dined Lian Shengjie and sent beauties to keep him company. The emperor wanted to be friends with Great Zhou and played the best host he could, treating Lian Shengjie as the most honored of guests. But the Faithful Prince of the First Rank came attacking as soon as he left with the last of the reparations!”
“Our hands are tied in this matter, there’s nothing any of us can do. I’m now worried about senior uncle. We all know what the emperor is like, and Pang has repeatedly expressed how special fourth sister is to him. I’m afraid the emperor will project his anger…” Qin Yu trailed off worriedly.
His words made everyone frown silently. They were all very afraid. The dreadful blood and gore from the destruction of the Suns yet lingered in the air.
“The emperor is capricious and there’s nothing we can do to steady him otherwise. We won’t be able to do anything if that really does happen. How mighty was the Duke of Ding once? He was still caught off guard by catastrophe, to the great pity of all the Sun males.” The third elder master was immensely saddened when he thought of the Suns’ tragic downfall.
“And father,” Qin Yu continued. “You’ve just settled in as the Right Attendant of the Ministry of Education. If the emperor really does vent his anger on our family, your hard-won promotion will likely evaporate as well.”
Who could be more depressed than the second elder master about this possibility? But really, what could they do now in this situation?
“With how things are, we need to thank the heavens if we can hold onto our lives. I’m not afraid of my position, but most worried that our family’s lives are in danger. We don’t know how elder brother is in the palace and there’s no point to wildly speculating here. We should head back to our residences and tell the females of our branches to listen to niece Yi’s arrangements. Let’s make it through this first.”
“Second brother speaks truly.” The third elder master nodded approvingly. The men discussed a bit further and decided to have someone wait outside the palace for new of Qin Huaiyuan.
The second and third elder master returned to their residences and talked sternly to their wives and daughters. They might have caused general panic if they spoke too bluntly of certain things, so the two masters didn’t fully clarify everything. However, impending disaster still loomed over everyone’s heads.
They all knew that if they would invite calamity if they didn’t remain on the alert at this time. Therefore, the original dissatisfaction from Qin Yining holding the reins of power was slowly replaced by panic.
Within the Garden of Tranquility, Songlan and Qin Yining carefully pondered over the news from the second and third branches. The maid broke out in compliments. “To think that the second and third elder master would be so perceptive!”
“Naturally. Second uncle is a third rank official at court now, so his mind is naturally clear. Third uncle must also be a smart person given what an accomplished businessman he is. They’re already skilled at reading situations. Add to that their years of experience… they know better than anyone what’s really going on here.”
“That’s right. Who doesn’t raise a thumb in admiration when outsiders talk about the Qins? The three elder masters are heads above others, particularly the marquis!” Qiulu piped in.
Qin Yining smiled faintly at this, but began worrying again when she saw how the hour was getting late.
“Have our men not received word of father?”
“Not yet. The marquis is still in the palace. Qitai is also frantically waiting outside.”
The fourth miss nodded, her heart in her throat. She itched to charge right into the palace and slaughter the damn trash emperor and trampress. The danger to the Qins would be half eliminated without them! Killing them would also be exterminating evil for the Great Yan citizens.
Qin Yining’s expression slowly darkened. It was the first time that she’d felt such an acute urge to get rid of the imperial couple. She had a better appreciation now of what her maternal grandmother had wanted to do.
The lives of her entire family were at stake. It was an agonizing feeling to be on someone else’s chopping block. She’d rather she herself was the blade, even though these kinds of thoughts were highly treasonous!
The girl’s eyes narrowed. The night ahead was long, but she was in increasing spirits as a variety of thoughts crystallized in her mind. Although she might not be holding a good hand, it was still enough for her to give it her all. Perhaps her treasonous thoughts wouldn’t be tolerated anywhere in the world, but so what? She’d just think of it as ridding the world of an evil!
It was the quiet depths of night. Née Sun had already gone to bed and Qin Yining was cuddling the soft and cute Riceball next to a lamp with an embroidered cover. She had thoughtful maids by her side keeping her company. She just couldn’t relax as long as her father had yet to return home, and could only comfort herself with the notion that no news was good news.
In the morning, this comfort was extended to the old dowager as the fourth miss was summoned as soon as she woke up. She saw Qin-mama waiting on the outer side of the room divider as soon as she set foot into the residence. The old servant looked meaningfully at Qin Yining, who responded with a wink and an understanding nod.
The fourth miss circled past the auspicious divider into the house proper and made a curtsey to the family matriarch. “Old Dowager.” She took the forehead wrap from head maid Jixiang’s hands to help the old dowager with it.
Her grandmother was frowning up a storm. “Granddaughter Yi, your father didn’t come back all last night and there’s been no news today either. I just asked your second uncle, but he hasn’t heard anything from the palace either. What do you think the emperor’s summoned your father for? What if, what if…”
Tears had welled up in her eyes. All thoughts of power and profit paled in comparison to her son’s safety at this moment. She didn’t care who wielded the command token and just wanted her son to return safe and sound so that he could be by her side like before.
Qin Yining quickly fished out a handkerchief to wipe away the tears and spoke comfortingly. “Old Dowager loves my father so much that it’s causing you to panic. At a time like this, no news is the best news. Have you heard of what’s happened outside?”
“Yes.” The old dowager nodded and frowned even more ferociously. “So many refugees have streaming in! It’s already a year of drought and it’s dreadfully humid outside. The refugees have no housing or food to eat. It’ll be a great problem trying to settle them in.”
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