Chapter 216: Revenge (II)
Everyone was filled with hate given how badly the family had been oppressed. They aimed bright looks of anticipation at Qin Yining when they heard her words.
“Tell us what you’ve thought of,” Qin Huaiyuan rumbled.
“There are four critical things we need to handle as soon as possible. First, have everyone know how malicious the Great Zhou emperor is. He tried to exterminate the Qins because of the Soothsayer’s fortunes and jealousy of father’s talents. Spread the news of how devastating the attack was so that everyone can see how badly we’ve been persecuted.”
Qin Huaiyuan nodded. “I was planning to do that as well.”
The third elder master nodded after momentary thought. “It’ll be good to have everything out in the open. The emperor might want to just smooth everything over if we keep our mouths shut. We’ll really have suffered all this for nothing then.”
“Third uncle’s right. That’s what I’m thinking as well.” Qin Yining mused quietly. “Whatever the emperor feels most guilty about is what he wants to hear the least discussion of. So once this matter spreads, he’ll have to consider his reputation before taking any action, not to mention that with father’s reputation, what happened to us will absolutely arouse public anger. That might even translate to a positive effect on the war.”
The second elder master, Qin Han, and Qin Yu all nodded.
“Second is to let the public know when we hold the burial, we’ll be dismembering the three assassins in front of our family’s tombs.”
“Dismember!” The second elder master was flabbergasted and paced fretfully. “This probably isn’t very appropriate. The three haven’t been give a trial. We’re already opening ourselves to criticism with our interrogation. If we take it another step further and put them to death, not only do we run afoul of the law, but it’ll give the Caos another excuse to persecute your father, not to mention what gossip it’ll cause again.”
“That’s right,” Qin Han agreed. “What happened with the Ministry of Revenue hasn’t been settled yet. This will only give the Caos more fuel.”
“Although second uncle and second brother make sense, the law doesn’t care about people’s feelings. With what’s happened to our family, the people will only applaud us if we cooked and ate the assassins, much less just pull their limbs off.
“Are we easy targets to be kicked and thrown around however others want to? Our attackers have charged through our door, are we too scared to take revenge even after capturing them? We’ll be the laughingstock of the entire world! Great Yan and Great Zhou are at war. There’s no place left for playing nice in hopes of preventing conflict. This is when we should be displaying our attitudes. The emperor is too much of a coward to do so, so someone at court should step forward strongly.”
These words struck Qin Han like a bolt of enlightenment. The second elder master nodded as well.
“Although this is risky,” Qin Huaiyuan picked up the conversation, “it’s not a bad plan. Once the news spread, their compatriots will try to rescue them. We’ll just need to lay a trap to capture them all. And if they don’t come, killing the three we have will be some comfort to those who have passed.”
“That’s right.” Qin Yining nodded, her eyes bright. “The Great Zhou emperor gave them a mission to come kill me. He’ll fault them if they don’t complete the mission. I’ll give them an opening when we bury our family. I highly doubt that they’ll be able to refrain from taking action then.”
“No, that’s too dangerous.” Qin Yu frowned. “Fourth sister, I know that you want to take revenge for the family and nip trouble in the bud, but you’re injured and our family’s finally found momentary peace. We can’t lose anyone else. What if something happens to you after we lure the assassins here?”
He really wanted to exact revenge for his wife, but he wanted even more for all of his family to remain safe and sound.
Qin Yining smiled gratefully at her older cousin and sighed. “How will we accomplish anything major without some degree of risk? It’s not that dangerous, really.”
Qin Huaiyuan had already thought of all this when his daughter proposed her plan. “I’ll go discuss this with that person. I’ll try to borrow their experts.”
The fourth miss looked at her father and nodded with a smile. Others might not know who the marquis was talking about, but she did. He was planning on borrowing some Silver Masks from Cao Yuqing. This had been part of Qin Yining’s plan as well.
“Alright, thank you then, father. I’ll go ask Sir Mu myself, as well as approach Azure Justice.”
“Azure Justice?” Qin Han widened his eyes with surprise.
The girl smiled. “I know some people in the alliance. If things go well, they can help us as well.”
“But they’re rebels!” Qin Han murmured.
“Rebels?” Qin Yining laughed despite herself. “The heavens themselves are unfair. Who cares about this at a time like this? If it wasn’t for these so-called rebels coming in time to scare the assassins off, we’d all be dead!”
It was then that Qin Han and Qin Yu learned that the crowd of people who’d rushed in to help the Qins were from Azure Justice. The second and third elder master already had their suspicions, so they weren’t too surprised.
Qin Yining carefully went over the particulars of her plan with her father. The group offered a multitude of suggestions before the marquis picked the best way to proceed.
Seeing his daughter’s pale face, Qin Huaiyuan dismissed the meeting. “It’s getting late, why don’t we all head back and rest? We can make our next moves when daughter Yi is feeling better.”
“Alright.” The room dimmed before her eyes when Qin Yining rose. She had to close her eyes and compose herself before feeling better.
Back at the Venerable Study Hall, she fell fast asleep right after taking her medicine. Meanwhile, Qin Huaiyuan invited Cao Yuqing to the rear garden for a quiet discussion. Their conversation went on for a full hour.
In the military camp outside Xihua, Pang Xiao was finally greeted with the arrival of his Elite Tigers after several days of worrying. These were his confidantes. All of them were highly skilled and very loyal. The Yan capital was under heavy guard these days with the advent of war. Getting any information out of the city was difficult for even these elites, much less typical scouts.
Recently, Pang Xiao hadn’t been in the mood to train his troops at all. He brought this confidantes to a quiet, spacious opening and made sure that there was no one else around. “Hurry and tell me, how are things in the capital? Did the emperor’s men make it in?”
“In response to Your Highness, the emperor arranged for a hundred deathsworn to enter the capital as merchants. They raided the Marquis of Anping’s manor a few days ago. We looked in on them and saw that many were indeed dead. A majority of the servants, head maids and mamas, as well as the third madame, first wife, sixth and seventh miss…”
“I don’t want to know about them. Just tell me about the fourth miss.” Pang Xiao stood with hands balled into tight fists behind his back. Though his expression was the same as usual, a frosty aura emanated, imparting a frightening sensation of an unsheathed blade hungry for blood.
It was the first time that the Elite Tigers had seen the prince so angry. They cut their report short. “The fourth miss took a hit and lost a lot of blood. It might harm the foundations of her health. She was apparently still in a feverish sleep when we left.”
“What did you say?” Pang Xiao’s tone remained even, but the threat within was taking almost material form. His suppressed response made the Elite Tiger drop to one knee.
“Please quell your anger, Your Highness.”
Pang Xiao forced a few deep breaths, telling himself to be calm. But he itched with anger when he thought of how his emperor had reached a decision to kill Qin Yining, using the excuse of her being the talisman of Great Yan.
The emperor had actually sent an eunuch to Pang Xiao with orders to assassinate the official daughter of the Marquis of Anping. When Pang Xiao refused, the eunuch started lecturing him, also under imperial orders. The eunuch berated him for not understanding priorities and showing disrespect in defying an imperial order.
This was the second time the prince had defied an imperial order at Xihua. He was someone who could bend and extend with the times. If it’d been before, he wouldn’t have gone overboard with his response, no matter how irritating or hoity-toity the eunuch was acting. There would be a certain degree of mutual respect since they were all just doing their jobs.
But the eunuch’s every word had been to take Qin Yining’s life!
He couldn’t bear to even touch such a treasure. How would he tolerate others wanting to hurt her?
And so the prince ended up in a loud argument with the eunuch, beating up the palace servant in the end.
The servant had left in tears, undoubtedly filling the emperor’s ears with complaints and accusations when he returned.
But this had to do with Qin Yining, an occurrence that always evaporated all of Pang Xiao’s rationality, leaving behind only instinct.
When the eunuch had rushed off, he’d also sent a messenger pigeon to Mu Jinghu, urging his friend to enter the capital with all haste to protect Qin Yining. If he could, Pang Xiao really wanted to go himself. But he’d already left the military camp once a few days ago. If he left again when the battlefield was so tense, he’d be running afoul of an enormous military taboo.
He could only grit his teeth and tamp down the unease in his heart, pray for the safety of the Qins, and pray that Mu Jinghu would get there in time.
But she’d still been injured!
Pang Xiao closed his eyes, his fists clenched so tightly that his knuckles were white.
This was a sight that the Elite Tigers had never seen before. Their master was usually a mysterious and reserved one. He was most wary of other people seeing through him, but all that was apparently going out of the window!
“This prince understand.” Pang Xiao emitted a long sigh after a moment, his tone still the same as usual. “Take some men and secretly protect Qin Si.”
Incomprehension blanketed the Elite Tigers. They were highly trained people. They.. were being sent to protect an unmarried girl?
“Is there a problem?” Pang Xiao arched a brow.
“No, not at all. This subordinate understands and will go immediately.” The guard bowed and scurried off.
Pang Xiao remained standing in the clearing, his arms crossed as he lifted his head to look at the crescent of the new moon. He slowly spat out through grit teeth after a while, “Well now, aren’t you something!”
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