Chapter 189: Returning Home
Qin Yining slowly put down the teacup in hand and responded with confusion. “Didn’t I say to let her in if she came back? Why is she kneeling in front of the door?”
The messenger felt awkward and snuck a quick look at the miss’ expression. He continued haltingly when he saw that the mistress wasn’t angry. “She was fine at first, but started crying when she heard that you’d arranged a guest residence for her. She wants the old dowager to make the decision for her. Those in the outer residence didn’t dare disturb the old dowager, so they sent me to you instead.”
“I see.” Qin Yining thought for a moment and turned to Songlan and Jiyun. “The two of you can make the trip. Tell Qin Huining that if she wants to take up residence in the Qin Manor, she can do so as a guest. I’m arranging only the guest quarters for her. If she doesn’t want to want to come back, then she can do whatever she wants with herself. Father’s still in the dungeons at the moment, so she can keep crying at the door if she’s not afraid of getting dragged into this.”
The girl looked at Jiyun. “Pay careful attention. Throw her out if she dares become violent.”
“Will do.” Jiyun smiled and teased Songlan. “After you, Miss Songlan. See how much the miss loves you? She sends a guard with you on your errands.”
Songlan burst out laughing. “Wasn’t it a certain prince who sent a hired hand because he was afraid our miss might run into troubles? How are you teasing me instead?” She curtsied at Qin Yining and flounced off.
Qin Yining blushed and pointed accusingly at the departing Songlan. “Is she crazy? She’s teasing even me now!”
Bingtang laughed heartily. Jiyun, demoted from guard to hired hand, followed Songlan with a chuckle hanging in the air.
Their bantering carried back into the house to Qin Yining’s ears. It would seem that Jiyun had found her place amongst the rest of the maids. They weren’t as politely standoffish as they’d been when she’d first arrived.
The fourth miss thought for a moment and rose, calling for Bingtang. “Come, let’s go take a look too.”
“Why didn’t you go with Songlan and them just now, miss?” Bingtang immediately reacted and smiled. “You’re too evil, miss! You want to watch the show!”
Qin Yining smirked.
Songlan and Jiyun caught wind of stifled sobs and a low buzz of conversation before they drew near the side door. They looked at each other, feeling that something wasn’t quite right. They quickly stepped out to see Qin Huining kneeled in front of the door and a dozen other citizens clustered not too far away, pointing and murmuring.
Qin Huining’s hair was a messy tangle and her hairpins knocked askew. Although her clothes were made of fine fabric, they were somehow wrinkled with a two inch long rip in her sleeve. Threads poked out, adding to the effect created by piteous tears streaming down her face. She looked exceedingly like a Persian cat that’d been discarded by a wealthy family. There were knots and burrs in the previously glossy fur, making the sight even more forlorn.
Flames of irritation ignited in Songlan’s heart and she swallowed the urge to chuckle coldly. How dare this one come back to create more trouble with the chaos that was already engulfing the manor!
“Aiyoyo! And here I was wondering who’s causing trouble at the door. So it’s Miss Huining.” Songlan walked down and reached out to help the figure out. “Please rise, miss. What are you doing? Hasn’t the guest residence been already prepared? Why aren’t you willing to come in?”
The maid’s voice was a bit more striking than usual. It pitched her words perfectly at the crowd.
Qin Huining however, lowered her body even more and sobbed out, “I’m not going to the guest residence! I’m a Qin daughter, why am I living in a guest residence? The servants said that Qin Yining holds the command token now and is sending me there? What right does she have to treat me this way? I want to see the old dowager! The old dowager will give me justice!”
She sniffled and hiccuped, suffering from the gravest injustice beneath the heavens.
Songlan let her hands drop when she noted how the miss was insistent on making a scene. She smiled mockingly. “And what kind of words are these, Miss Huining? Do you still think you’re a Qin daughter? Ignoring the fact that our masters would be shocked and disgusted to hear that, even the servants will die laughing from that!”
“That’s right,” Jiyun piped in. “The lord and madame loved you like their own daughter. They never shorted you on anything the misses had. You had maids and servants at your side, ate the finest foods, and wore silks and satin. But you weren’t satisfied with that and tried to frame our miss. You even made a voodoo doll to curse the old dowager and frame the madame!”
Jiyun walked down the steps and spoke directly to the people watching the show. “Friends and countrymen, don’t you think it’s ridiculous that such an ingrate has the face to come trouble after all that?”
The crowd looked at each other. Some felt the show was boring and slipped away.
“Both, both of you are framing me!” Qin Huining flushed hotly, greatly dismayed to see that people were leaving. She didn’t think she’d be able to go back and live the life of an honored miss if she couldn’t make use of public opinion!
“The lord has a soft heart,” Songlan continued. “Even after you trying to hurt our old dowager, madame, and miss, the lord still thought of the many years of familial ties and only sent you to the country manor. Your stipend, food, and clothing allowance all stayed the same. If it’d been anyone else with a harder heart, they would’ve left you on the streets to fend for yourself! And you would’ve deserved it and had to take it!
“And now, we’ve had such a huge thing happen in the family. The old dowager and madame have fallen ill and authority over the inner residence is in our miss’ hands. She’s a kind and gentle soul. When she thought of how chaotic it must be outside, she left orders that you could have a guest residence if you came back. And you still don’t know to be satisfied with what you have? You actually dare think you’re still a miss of our household? Just where do you get all of this shamelessness from??”
Qin Huining was shaking from fury and her face beet red. That quickly changed to horrified shock and some regret when she saw the crowd start to point and talk about her instead. Perhaps she shouldn’t have been so greedy and made a scene? But with how things had developed now, she had to see things through no matter what!
“But I…” she started weakly.
Jiyun interrupted Qin Huining’s words and walked up to help the foster girl up. The guard effortlessly picked Qin Huining up without seeming to use any strength at all. “Our miss is busy taking care of her elders, managing the inner residence, and settling in the refugees. She doesn’t even have time to sleep. She said that she would help even a stranger, much less a previous foster girl like you. Although you’re shameless sort, we can’t just leave you out in the cold. The guest residence is ready. Stop making a fool of yourself and come in, miss.”
Fingers exerting moderate pressure on the foster girl’s wrist, Jiyun took Qin Huining’s arm. Her grip wouldn’t leave any marks, and also made it so that the foster girl couldn’t struggle free.
Qin Huining’s eyes were teary and she wanted to speak more, but words failed her when she met Jiyun’s coldly superficial smile. She was somehow brought inside the manor, just like that.
The few remaining for the show scattered, whispering to each other that this foster girl was really an ugly piece of work. After all, no one knew if Qin Huining had been bullied, but everyone knew about the Qin fourth miss selling her assets to help the refugees. Some curious citizens had even gone to see if for themselves at Eternal Spring Mountain.
Upon entering, Qin Huining was greeted with the sight of Qin Yining in a pale-green outfit. The fourth miss was standing charmingly beneath a plantain tree as she looked merrily back.
“You’ve come back? Hurry and go settle in at the guest residence.”
Qin Huining felt like someone had slapped her across the face.
She was about to respond when cheers broke out at the front door. “The lord is back! The lord is back! Hurry, go tell the old dowager, madame, and miss! The lord is back!”
Qin Yining’s initial shock was quickly melted by glee. She picked up the hem of her dress and sprinted to the front door. Qin Huining was forced to totter on her tiny feet in the fourth miss’ wake, dragged on by Jiyun and Songlan.
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