Chapter 241: The Royal Residence
Qin Huaiyuan and née Sun sped off for Venerable Study Hall after leaving the Garden of Loving Piety.
When the old dowager thought of how furious Qin Huaiyuan had been just now and even said that he would move out for Qin Yining, an inexplicable feeling of being wronged rose up in her. She grabbed the second madame’s hand and sobbed heartily for a while.
Previously, the matriarch had liked the sweet-talking, quick-witted third daughter-in-law the most. Now that that beloved daughter-in-law was gone, good listener second madame became the old dowager’s confidante.
In other words, the matriarch still looked down on née Sun the most.
When the second and third elder master saw that their mother was having a good ole venting session, they looked at each other and left for other shelter.
Within the girls’ residence, née Sun sniffled as she led the maids in packing Qin Yining’s things. She summarized what had happened in between snatches of conversation, pulling Bingtang and Qiulu to the fuming mad camp as well.
Meanwhile, Qin Huaiyuan was giving Jiyun a thorough overview in the courtyard. “Daughter Yi is living in a royal residence. Though she has a hundred nuns as her disciples, they’re all strangers at the end of the day. Also, the emperor’s intentions couldn’t be clearer. Her quarters are away from everyone else, so I’m quite concerned about her safety.”
Jiyun immediately grasped the crux of the issue. “Is milord worried that the emperor will visit at random times?”
Qin Huaiyuan nodded.
It would be difficult to speculate what would happen with the emperor’s visit.
Jiyun flushed beet red with indignation. She really wanted to tell the prince what was going on so that the prince could just go and behead this dog of an emperor!
“And, imperial intentions are even more obvious with daughter Yi in a separate residence.” Qin Huaiyuan continued, “If someone wants to assassinate her, her safety would be at grave risk. I’ll request more guards from the emperor when I can, but I’ll have to rely on you and Sir Mu for her personal safety.”
Started by the polite attention, Jiyun curtsied. “Please don’t be so polite, milord. You flatter me. I’m just carrying out my duties when I protect the miss, plus I’m very happy to do so.”
The guard greatly respected Qin Huaiyuan and whispered further, “Don’t worry about the miss’ safety, milord. Please allow me speak out of turn today so I can give you a full report. The prince was frightened out of his wits after what happened in the manor. He blamed himself terribly and specially sent four Elite Tigers here. The four remained close by when the miss was still living with us.
“The Elite Tigers are the prince’s bodyguards, the best of the Valiant Tigers. Each one of them can face off against ten enemies. They’ll think of a way to disguise themselves and join the staff of the royal residence. As for Sir Mu, he’s from the jianghu and an unfamiliar face. He won’t attract attention if he’s spotted around the miss, which is why he can show himself openly.
“Sir Mu’s martial arts skills are much higher than the Elite Tigers. Let me put it this way, even with how masterful our prince is, he would only barely pull off a draw with Sir Mu — and that’s when the gentleman isn’t really trying. Sir Mu is also an upstanding person, hence why the prince is at ease requesting his help.”
Qin Huaiyuan nodded. Though he’d anticipated all this, it was different hearing it from the guard’s mouth. “So little Prince Pang has already put in great effort. I must thank him for all of this.”
“The prince’s feelings for the miss are true, how would he not put in effort?” Jiyun smiled.
“Since this is the case, I can be at ease while daughter Yi lives in the royal residence.” Qin Huaiyuan fell silent for a moment. “I’ll request an audience from the emperor today and send a few guards over for my daughter. Have the Elite Tigers conceal themselves amidst the guards. That will give them a legitimate reason for their presence and make things easier for them. As for their identities, say that they’re fighting masters from the jianghu that I hired for a pretty sum. Tell them not to explain too much if anyone’s curious and send all questions to me.”
“Understood. Milord is thorough and thoughtful. This would be for the best.” Jiyun greatly admired Qin Huaiyuan’s competency. Her miss’ excellence was inherited from such a smart, decisive, and highly knowledge father, wasn’t it?
Née Sun finished packing as the two spoke. Bingtang and Qiulu loaded all of the daily necessities into the cart. Qin Huaiyuan called for servants to prepare a carriage, and the group set out to deliver the baggage and Qin Yining’s maids to the royal residence.
The residence wasn’t too far from the palace, having been built to the northwest of the palace, next to a lake. It was an extremely resplendent park.
The first to greet the eyes was the jade-green waters of the lake, a white marble bridge flying over the lake, and two verdant mountains to the far distance of the water.
A pavilion stood in front of the mountains and faced the water. The covered hallway leading to it was decorated with opulent carvings and engravings. The lake was bordered on all sides with exceedingly magnificent gardens. White marble paths meandered between the flora. When the breeze picked up, the willow trees swayed on the banks as birds circled overhead. It was a refreshing sight that invigorated the mind.
Née Sun murmured sadly as she took in the scenery, “This is a royal residence alright. Though the view is good, it’s just a gilded cage for daughter Yi.”
“We can only see how daughter Yi responds to the changing situation now that things are thus. She’s a smart girl, she’ll be able to handle things well,” Qin Huaiyuan responded.
“I hope so. She does things like you — and thank goodness for that. That’s the only reason why I can relax.” Née Sun shook her head. “I’m a useless mother. I didn’t give my daughter a good life and didn’t even treat her well previously. I took out my anger on her and misunderstood her. My mother and sisters-in-law told me a few things before they left. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t even know that daughter Yi did so much for me behind my back. I really, really owe it to this child.”
Tears trickled down as she spoke and she quickly reached for a handkerchief to wipe them away.
Qin Huaiyuan sighed and comforted his wife. “The days are long ahead. This disaster will be over one day. We just need to look to the future. There will be plenty of time to be good to her then, no?”
Née Sun sniffled a few more times before she stopped crying.
It wasn’t until they reached the foot of the luxurious pavilion that they realized how grand its scale was. Three hundred nuns could fit inside, much less one hundred!
There were some walking around already, and some palace servants swapping out the decorations to make the pavilion look like a nunnery. The place teemed with activity.
Qin Huaiyuan had a word with the eunuch in charge and circled past the front hall. They entered the second gate, the Door of Ritual, and took the mountain paths to arrive at the rear yard on the mountain.
Due to the high terrain, the view was open and stunning. Guards were arranged at the doors to prevent random passersby from entering. Even Qin Huaiyuan spent a good deal of effort before the guards agreed to let them in.
They were greeted by the vast expanse of a white marble platform after going through the flower-hung gate. Lush strands of purple wisteria trailed down from the flower racks, adding an extravagant tough to the already luxurious two-story hall in the back.
Qin Yining was wearing white from head to toe and a honey colored padded-jacket on her shoulders. Riceball was plonked in her lap as she swayed in a rocking chair. She was leaning against a fence railing and admiring the view down the mountain. Two palace maids and two eunuchs flanked her sides.
“Daughter Yi.” Qin Huaiyuan finally relaxed when he saw how at ease his daughter was, then found it rather funny. “How’s the view here?”
Qin Yining turned her head to see her parents here with her servants. She shot to her feet in joy, the delight brimming in her eyes about to overflow. However, she still gravely made a gesture of greeting first.
“A view at the heights really isn’t quite something one sees everyday. This will be Xuan Su Temple in the future. Mother, you can come often to pray.”
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