Chapter 279: Resolution in a Dominant Fashion (I)
Qin Yining tensed. She could endure any pain but the humiliation of rape!
The stranger’s callused fingers and stench of his sweat gave her the urge to retch! Her eyes suddenly snapped open and she glared viciously at him.
The man was watching her, entranced. He’d never seen such a beautiful girl in his life and felt that it didn’t matter if he caressed her a few times. Who knew she’d suddenly wake up?
He jumped and stumbled frantically backwards, almost tripping over himself.
Relief crept in when Qin Yining saw his reaction and she grunted, “What do you want? Don’t you know who I am?”
The twenty-some-year-old man coughed awkwardly, his gaze still lingering despite his bright-red ears. He finally fled, helter-skelter, in the end.
Raucous laughter greeted his exit from the tent. Some joked that he’d been disdained by the beauty, while others boasted of their prowess had they been the ones in the tent. Collective jeers sounded again.
Qin Yining frowned ferociously with anger as she listened to the base mockery and lewd remarks. She took a look around to get her bearings.
It was a medium-sized military tent. She was sitting on wooden, military-grade bed-slats that faced the tent door. A lantern made out of an ink well was placed on the table to her right, and a small jug next to a ceramic bowl off to the side. It looked to be for fetching water. There was a night bucket to the left corner of the bed.
Though her hands were tied, her feet were unfettered. She rose to blow out the light. Once it was dark enough in the tent, she would be able to clearly see the shadows of those outside.
There were five men standing guard around her. They were all very tall and broad, looking to be less than two steps away from the tent. Two were ramrod straight at the door while the other three were on her right. Their whispered conversation was punctuated by a round of snickering.
Her brow remained tightly furrowed. What the duke said earlier probably gave these people hope that they’ll get me when the duke is done with me.
She smiled coldly. Who would have the last laugh, hmm? They could have their fun for now.
Qin Yining laid back down and decided to rest while she awaited news from Bingtang.
Scattered footsteps sounded when dawn broke. The Qin fourth miss had been feeling a bit sleepy, but she quickly sat up at the disturbance. The tent door lifted and a man shoved in Bingtang, her hands bound behind her back.
“Do as you’re told or we’ll kill you!”
Bingtang spat viciously at the man before slowly walking over. Qin Yining relaxed to see the maid unharmed.
The two sat shoulder-to-shoulder on the bed slats. When Bingtang saw that no one was forthcoming, she murmured next to her mistress’ ear. “Miss, I saw the prince.”
Qin Yining nodded and breathed back, “Did you go directly to the Great Zhou camp? How is Jiyun?”
“I did. Jiyun got there ahead of me. The prince is fine. He’s recovered and tells you not to be afraid. He can handle this. Don’t worry and stay put for now. He’ll have us released before the day’s out.”
“Good. That’s good.” Qin Yining heaved a sigh of relief. “What did you tell the Duke of An? Didn’t he have someone follow you?”
“The prince took him down as soon as I reached the Great Zhou camp. I forced a poison pill down his throat and only I have the antidote. He didn’t expect the prince to suddenly attack him, and naturally obeyed all of my orders afterwards.”
Qin Yining nodded. “Thank goodness you’re familiar with poison, or we wouldn’t even have been able to protect ourselves this time.”
“That’s right.” Bingtang had a deep appreciation of her skills as well. If it wasn’t for her knowledge of poison, things wouldn’t have gone so smoothly at all.
Since Pang Xiao wanted Qin Yining to not worry and just wait, she relaxed completely. With the prince’s stratagems and grasp of the bigger picture, it shouldn’t be difficult for him to handle things.
“Sleep a little if you’re tired.” Qin Yining murmured by her maid’s ear.
Bingtang was indeed worn out and laid down on the inner side of the bed slats. “Let’s take turns resting. I’ll wake up and relieve you later.”
“No worries, I rested well enough last night. Go to sleep.”
Bingtang nodded and quickly fell fast asleep.
And so Qin Yining and Bingtang took turns resting peacefully in the tent. The poisoned guard came by once, enthusiastically bringing the girls some food. Though it was just military rations of mixed-grain flat cake and enormously salty pickled vegetables, it was still an offering that couldn’t be found the outside world.
The girls had enough of rest after splitting a flat cake between the two of them. They chatted softly as they sat on the bed, actually having an easier time of things than when they were at Ning Park.
A noisy clamor suddenly disturbed the outside of the tent in the afternoon.
Qin Yining and Bingtang looked at each other and sat up. They seemed to hear three shouts of “long live the emperor” when they cocked their ears.
Qin Yining’s heart skipped a beat. Weichi Yan is here? Is it a good thing or bad that he’s here now?
She had just scooted to a standing position when the tent flap lifted up, admitting ashen-faced soldiers and the Duke of An showing in Weichi Yan, who was clad in imperial robes.
The sight put the Qin fourth miss at ease.
Since they were going about things so openly, Weichi Yan would never allow himself to be tarred with the reputation of hurting noble scions. Her safety was assured. I wonder what Pang Zhixi’s done to make Weichi Yan pay a visit himself?
“Greetings to Your Majesty.” Qin Yining and Bingtang both knelt.
Weichi Yan strode in with expansive strides, halting near the door with his hands behind his back to look down at the kneeling girls. He didn’t immediately give them leave to rise.
This struck Qin Yining oddly. With Weichi Yan’s usual personality, he would’ve allowed her to rise first. Or has something else happened?
The emperor clenched his teeth and spat out, “All irrelevant personnel is dismissed. No one is allowed within ten yards of the tent.”
“Understood.” The duke brought his guards, soldiers, and even Bingtang out of the tent, standing far away.
Weichi Yan compressed his lips, chuckling darkly after a moment. “What amazing skill you have, such wonderful charm. Should We find you guilty of treason and conspiring with the enemy, hmm?”
Qin Yining lifted her head abruptly, stumbling right into Weichi Yan’s furious, fathomless eyes. His fists popped from the force of clenching. “Answer me!”
“This subject has never betrayed the country and so does not know how to respond to Your Majesty.” Qin Yining lowered her head without being arrogant or overly humble.
A laugh rasped out of Weichi Yan. “How hilarious. We had wanted to go along with the plan and get rid of murderer Pang before surrendering. That would be worthy enough revenge for Great Yan. But that brute actually has the temerity to threaten Us!”
The emperor furiously yanked out a letter from his sleeve and flung it full-force onto Qin Yining’s face.
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