Chapter 243: To Flee
Both of them were highly intelligent people. There was no need to spell things out for everything to be clear. They understood what a backup plan would be for the former emperor.
Née Sun might not understand what was going on, but she didn’t care much for the matters of court to begin with and so kept them company quietly off to the side.
Qin Huaiyuan chatted with his daughter for a while longer. “I still need to enter the palace for an audience with the emperor. I’ll be on my way now. Be careful and be well here.”
Née Sun frowned with reluctance. “My daughter, your wounds haven’t healed yet so you must take care of yourself well. Don’t let any illnesses take root in your youth. Send someone to tell me if you lack anything. Don’t let yourself suffer, you hear?”
“I know, mother.” Deeply touched, Qin Yining hugged née Sun and rubbed her cheek against the madame’s shoulder.
It’d been a hard fought battle for her mother’s love, so the girl cherished it even more so. She whispered next to née Sun’s ear, “Mother, take care of yourself at home. Just indulge the old dowager more often. She’s probably going to be depressed for a long while with what’s happened to me, so don’t go toe-to-toe with her.”
My daughter is a sharp one alright! Née Sun refrained from letting her daughter know that she’d already fought with the old dowager before coming here. She didn’t want to add to the girl’s burdens and only stroked Qin Yining’s long hair. “Don’t worry, with how things are now, everyone’s just focused on getting through the days peacefully.”
“That’s good.” Qin Yining thought for a moment and murmured, “Don’t clash with Auntie Cao either. She has a complex background. Be careful in everything you do when I’m not at home. Talk things over with Jin-mama or surreptitiously ask Qin-mama as well. She’s the best when it comes to guessing the old dowager’s thoughts, so you can ask her more often than not.”
“Alright, I will.” Née Sun’s ached with affection and guilt. Just how immature had she been before that her daughter would worry about her like this when away from home?
Qin Huaiyuan’s gaze turned extraordinarily gentle when he saw his wife and daughter hugging and whispering secrets to each other. Though he didn’t know what his daughter was saying, he could hazard a fair guess with how moved née Sun’s expression was.
They were his source of motivation and driving force in the future! Although he was disappointed with politics and the royal clan, he wouldn’t lose purpose in life with them by his side.
Qin Yining sent her parents off by the flower-hung gate.
“I hired these ten martial masters,” introduced Qin Huaiyuan with a smile. “They’re here to watch over your safety. I’ll leave them here for your orders in the future.”
“Many thanks, father.” Qin Yining nodded with a smile.
The imperial guards at the inner door found themselves in a pickle at this. “Grand Preceptor Qin, we daren’t allow this without the emperor’s approval.”
A faint smile remained on Qin Huaiyuan’s face, but his tone changed to that of someone accustomed to wielding high power. “I know this puts you in an awkward position. I will be personally discussing this with the emperor and won’t have you caught in between different parties. I’ll be depending on you for my daughter’s safety from now on.”
“This humble servant wouldn’t dare. Please be at ease, my lord. These humble servants will do our very best to ensure Master Xuan Su’s safety.” The guards bowed in unison.
The title of ‘Master Xuan Su’ irritated Qin Huaiyuan to no end, but not a trace flickered through his expression. He thanked the guards with another smile and brought a tearful née Sun down the mountain with him.
Qin Yining stood motionless in front of the flower-hung gate for a very long time, seeing her parents off.
The guards didn’t dare move a muscle. They were all close imperial confidantes. Every single one of them had a thorough understanding of how much the emperor treasured this girl.
Bingtang flung a lotus-pink wrap around Qin Yining’s shoulders, bringing the fourth miss back to her senses. She looked back at the maid, an involuntary smile gracing her face.
Bingtang smiled as well. “You haven’t fully recovered yet, miss. Let’s go inside and rest for a while. I can take a look at your injuries as well.”
Though she was temporarily confined to this residence, she had her trusted confidantes with her. This was so much better than isolation in the palace. It’s just a short trip away from home, there’s nothing to be dissatisfied about.
With Bingtang at Qin Yining’s side, the girl’s health effectively took a turn for the better.
Meanwhile, news of the former emperor selling off the tax grain quickly spread throughout court. The most infuriating of it was that the emperor emeritus refused to hand over the silver from selling off the grain!
The emperor asked his father many times to no avail, with the emperor emeritus even hitting his son due to feeling harassed.
The silver from the tax grain seemingly gone, Weichi Yan set his sights on the national coffers and personal royal treasury. He ordered an inventory count during the next court session, but the results were stunning.
The personal royal treasury and national coffers had essentially been emptied! With no idea where the money had gone to!
The emperor immediately flew into a rage. The coronation ceremony was brusquely ran through and née Li of the Duke of An randomly selected as empress. All pomp and circumstance were stripped down as attention was wholly focused on where the silver in the royal treasury and national coffers had gone to.
The day after the coronation ceremony, the emperor emeritus had servants ready a ship and invited a few favored veteran officials and concubines to sail the seas with him.
Qin Huaiyuan happened to be speaking with Weichi Yan in the imperial study when news of this reached them. Urgency promptly flared in the marquis.
“No, Your Majesty, you can’t let the emperor emeritus leave! If he does, we’ll never be able to chase down the tax grain, royal treasury, and national coffers! The war effort is tense and the Prince of Ning was injured yesterday — silver is needed in everything from paying the soldiers to feeding the horses. Without money, what will you use to fight? What will you use to defend the lands? Your Majesty, the emperor emeritus is planning on throwing an unsalvageable situation to you and running away with a large fortune!”
The notion had circled in Weichi Yan’s mind for a long time, but not in such a clear and thorough fashion. With the marquis’ clear pointers, the emperor finally understood what was at stake here.
Livid, he had the servants ready horses and brought along Qin Huaiyuan, guards, and palace servants. The group whipped their steeds to make the fastest time possible to the harbor, making it just in time before the emperor emeritus boarded the ship.
“Royal father!” Weichi Yan jumped down from his horse and panted his way over. “Where are you going?”
A head full of whitening hair had aged the emperor emeritus greatly. Resentment tinged his cloudy eyes when he saw his son rush over.
“Do even you have the right to dictate where We go now? Your wings have hardened and you think you can stick your nose in Our business, hmm?”
Weichi Yan shook from anger, but he was a highly educated man, so he was unable to bring himself to cuss at his father.
“Royal father, since you’ve given up your position, you should be whiling the days away in easy comfort. If you don’t stay in the palace and your son is busy with the affairs of the nation, how will I be able to demonstrate the depths of my filial piety? Please return to the palace with me.”
The emperor emeritus knew what his son was really aiming for after hearing this. He snorted disdainfully. “Since We have resigned Our position, you are in charge of everything at court. It doesn’t make a difference to you whether We stay or not. We are old and your royal mother is gone. Our heart is bleak and heavy and We only desire to travel the lands from now on. You needn’t strive to keep Us."
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