Chapter 288: Ji Zeyu
Judging from this, Qin Huaiyuan understood with a chuckle that his daughter must’ve glimpsed Lian Shengjie back in the army camp. “He didn’t ask for anything ridiculous this time. But since the emperor is the one surrendering, his position is naturally lower than Great Zhou’s. There’s nothing we can do apart from listening to all of their demands.”
“But with father’s wisdom, you won’t let the emperor come off too worse for the wear.” Qin Yining smiled.
“That’s right.” An answering smile blossomed on Qin Huaiyuan’s lips. “I heard your analysis just now. Perhaps I really will have more opportunities to showcase my talents with our trip to Great Zhou.”
“With father’s talents and sharp wits, none of that will be hard.”
“You have quite some confidence in me.”
“Naturally,” Qin Yining pronounced firmly. “Father will accomplish tremendous feats in Great Zhou.”
Née Sun looked at the father-daughter duo chatting. Though she was unable to join in their conversation, she felt a heretofore unexperienced sense of satisfaction. In this moment, she felt quite content with life. There was no need to begrudge or envy Cao Yuqing.
So what if Cao Yuqing was young and beautiful? Née Sun was the mother of Qin Huaiyuan’s daughter, and she alone his wife. As stunning as Cao Yuqing was, she was only a concubine.
During this period of time, née Sun had felt a tremendous boulder crushing her heart whenever she thought of Cao Yuqing standing guard by Qin Huaiyuan’s side. She’d found it hard to breathe, but all that was unravelled now that their family was together again.
Over the next two days, many of the aristocratic houses in the city busied themselves with intense preparations for the upcoming journey.
For the Qins, it was naturally the second and third elder master leading Qin Yu and Qin Han in taking care of things. Meanwhile, Qin Yining went to see Steward Zhang in private.
“…don’t worry, miss. I’ve already handled most of the things you’ve set out for me. I took careful stock of the land that we secretly bought. When added to the fertile fields and paddy fields that we have in the capital and the outskirts, we own more than sixty percent of the nearby farmland. Add to that the paddy fields and terrace fields we have elsewhere — that makes you the greatest landowner in Great Yan.”
Qin Yining nodded. “None of it is under my name, correct?”
“Don’t worry, the people I used were all trustworthy. None of it will be traced back to you.”
“That’s good. Before we leave, let’s assign the refugees in Ning Park to the various farms we own. Now that the war is over, this is all part of Great Zhou territory. They’ll be able to rebuild their homes one day if they earn their own living.”
“Understood,” Steward Zhong agreed with great admiration. “They owe you their lives, and now you’re giving them jobs to relieve the stress of an unknown future. They’ll only feel more gratitude to you for this.”
Qin Yining shook her head with a smile. “I didn’t do all this for people to be grateful to me. That’s just an added bonus. As for you, have you really decided to go to Great Zhou?”
“Naturally. Great Yan has fallen, and the Institute of Luminous Charm is now history. We don’t need to hire convicts for labor anymore. Besides, they’ll probably all be pardoned soon. Our taverns and inns will be just ordinary businesses in the future. I feel that when it comes to commerce, greater opportunities naturally lie within the more prosperous cities.”
The fourth miss couldn’t help chucking when she saw the steward’s dashing confidence. “To be honest, I feel more at ease with you along as well. You don’t need to rush to set off with me. There’s going to be several batches of people moving to Great Zhou’s capital. Why don’t you stay here for now and make the relevant arrangements at your leisure? It’s not too late to head for the capital only after everything is taken care of. I’ll be on firm footing then as well. We’ll be able to pick up right where we left off.”
“Everything will be as you say, miss.” The steward nodded rapidly.
The two discussed the details for a while longer, departing only after they’d brainstormed responses to all problems and emergencies that they felt could possibly crop up.
Pang Xiao had also left with a few guards, and it was the new Minister of Personnel and Rites, Lian Shengjie, who oversaw the ceremony of surrender.
After a simple service, Weichi Yan offered up his declaration of submission. Accepted by a pompous Lian Shengjie, the minister in turn delivered the Great Zhou emperor’s decree of title conferment.
“… the heretofore Yan emperor Weichi Yan will be known as the Commandery Prince of Yan, his wife née Li to be titled the Commandery Princess Consort of Yan. They are bestowed a commandery residence in the capital…”
A string of rewards and presents were rattled off, but those were all verbal promises. Giving the rushed journey as the reason, Lian Shengjie had felt it improper to cart valuables across the entirety of Great Zhou territory to Great Yan. Therefore, all gifts were to be honored when the commandery prince made it to the Great Zhou capital.
Weichi Yan accepted the imperial decree with utter humiliation. He’d been transformed from the ruler of a nation to a mere commandery prince. His rank and grade was even less than Pang Xiao’s!
Yet such was the wheel of fortune. Things were now set in stone. There was nothing else Weichi Yan could do other than agree to whatever Great Zhou wanted to do to him.
After the ceremony was over, Lian Shenjie delivered another verbal decree that those who were to move to the Zhou capital would leave in ten days. All families were to ready finish their preparations.
Having taken only a dozen Elite Tigers and Huzi with him, Pang Xiao had made quick time and already traversed half of Great Zhou, arriving on the outskirts of the capital’s southern gate.
Huzi led Pang Xiao’s horse with a chuckle. “We’re finally back. Traveling at double speed day and night has just about scattered my bones all over the ground.”
An Elite Tiger next to him laughed. “You need to train more. See, His Highness hasn’t complained at all. Only your complaints were heard on the journey.”
“Like you guys are made of metal!” Huzi retorted with a grin and suddenly looked in the direction of the southern gate. “Your Highness, I think I see the Marquis of Northern Stability!”
Pang Xiao looked in the direction of Huzi’s finger to see a tall and muscular young man sitting primly on a large chestnut. He was dressed in snow-white fox fur and met Pang Xiao’s gaze expressionlessly.
The young man was even more beautiful than a woman. His slender brows rose energetically, limpid eyes held an innate sense of flirtation, and possessed a high nose bridge with thin lips. He seemed to have walked straight out from a painting.
If comparing the exquisiteness of features, even Pang Xiao would come up slightly short. If compared with Qin Yining, the girl would just barely manage a draw.
However, this beautiful man, who could charm and entrance with every gesture and smile, had a frosty and solemn personality. He was eccentric, and smiles were rarely found on his uncommonly handsome face.
He was a cold person of few words, and even more ruthless in decisive slaughter. There wasn’t much communication between him and Pang Xiao ordinarily, but this was a person who the prince had been willing to swear brotherhood with.
Pang Xiao remained where he was, his eyebrows lifting slightly in a smile. “What brings you back to the capital as well?”
Ji Zeyu steered his horse over and looked down loftily, responding without a flicker of change in his expression, “Reporting in on official orders. Did you take your revenge?”
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