“Aiya, move, move! Why aren’t you going yet?” Qin Yining shot up like a startled bunny, pushing Pang Xiao with both hands. “If father sees you in my house, I won’t be able to explain myself no matter what I say!”
The prince almost fell off the heated platform from her almighty shove. Where did she get all that strength from? He put his boots on with resignation and caressed Qin Yining’s face before leaving.
The fourth miss hurriedly scrambled back onto the heated platform and flung the thin blanket over herself. She closed her eyes after seeing Pang Xiao’s figure vanish behind the door, then sat up like she’d just woken up when she heard her father’s footsteps.
Xianyun had already relit the lamp with an embroidered covering.
“Father, what brings you here?” smiled Qin Yining.
“Jiyun said that you’d gone to bed. Why are you sleeping so early? Are you sick?” Qin Huaiyuan took a seat on the round chair that Xianyun and Jiyun brought over and accepted a cup of tea from Bingtang.
“How would I get sick so easily?” chuckled his daughter. “But the climate in the Great Zhou capital is different from ours. It really is too cold. I don’t even want to move from this platform, so huddled in the blankets and fell asleep when reading.”
“It’s not good to read at night, it strains the eyes.” Qin Huaiyuan waved a hand after taking a sip of tea.
Xianyun, Jiyun, and Bingtang dismissed themselves with curtsies.
Qin Yining sat up. “Do you have something to discuss with me, father?”
“Mm,” answered her father. “Did the commandery princess visit to try to convince you to be the commandery prince’s concubine?”
“Nothing can be kept from father, alright! That’s exactly what happened. She employed both emotional and rational arguments and spoke with great sincerity. But I think father knows my heart very well. I would never agree to it.”
“Of course I do.” Qin Huaiyuan smiled. “I’ve already said that I won’t disapprove of you and the Faithful Prince of the First Rank. I’ve only come to confirm things with you. I’ll know what to do at court if you’ve made up your mind not to have anything to do with the commandery prince.”
With her father being a principal second rank minister, he was already tapped to join the Grand Secretariat in the future. He was such an awfully important person, yet still cared about his daughter’s feelings in whatever he did. This really touched Qin Yining.
“Don’t tie your own hands and feet because of my selfishness, father. You should put yourself first.”
Qin Huaiyuan chuckled. “Silly girl, you still don’t understand. What is your father an official for? Not only for the sake of my career, but more for the sake of the family. If I have my loved ones make sacrifices for unimportant things, that would be putting the cart before the horse!”
Qin Yining’s respect for her father depended further. Her father was very sharp, yes, but there were plenty of intelligent people in the world—some even smarter than him. After all, who amongst those who’d flourished at court for so many years wasn’t a wily, crafty sort?
He was more renowned than all of them precisely because of his charisma. There existed a bottom line in his heart that he never crossed, and he was never unduly affected by various influences in a situation.
He hadn’t forgotten his own ideals when following the trash emperor of Great Yan, and he remained unruffled whether following Yuchi Yan or Li Qitian. Everything was under cool control.
Qin Yining truly admired her father from the depths of her heart. He seemed to have the ability to resolve all difficult problems in the world. Even the greatest of matters didn’t shake him. He always had a firm handle on everything and chose the correct path for the family to take.
“Father, I understand what you mean.” The girl smiled. “I hope I can be someone like you in the future.”
Qin Huaiyuan snorted with laughter. “And what’s so good about someone like me?”
“Of course there’s plenty good about father! Why else do so many respect and admire you?”
Qin Huaiyuan grinned broadly. “Oh, stop giving me highfalutin compliments like that. I hear your grandmother is angry again, this time because of the manor?”
“That’s right,” sighed his daughter. “Who would’ve thought that the Marchioness of Valiant Faith is so outrageously arrogant as to sprout that kind of threat? I wonder what she would think if she learned that I bought the residence a long time ago, and anything having to do with father is just a formality?”
The man put down his teacup with a smile. “So tell me, how are you planning on resolving this issue?”
A response came after a moment’s thought. “The answer is actually very simple. Isn’t she saying that she’s going to buy our manor and make sure that others don’t sell or rent to us so that we’ll be homeless? I don’t know if other people will listen to her, but purely on the basis of us owning this residence means that there’s no way she’ll be able to buy it.
“I’ll let her do her thing and keep making a fuss for now. In fact, it’d be best if everyone and everything knew about it. The more of a racket she makes, means the more who will know about this, which means the harder she’ll fall and be jeered at when she isn’t able to buy the manor—no matter how much gold she offers.” The fourth miss smirked coldly.
Fury and humiliation rose whenever she recalled how blatantly hungry Madame Lu had looked at Pang Xiao, and how the madame had thought Qin Yining was one of her kind, the type to dally with strange males.
“Doing this will indeed slap the madame down a peg or two,” commented Qin Huaiyuan softly. “But daughter Yi, don’t forget that the Lus stand behind her. What does an aristocratic family more than hundreds of years old care about the most? They no longer want for fame or wealth. What they care most about is the family’s dignity.
“You’ll be able to make the madame a victim of her own evil deeds, and in a way that completely humiliates her in the capital. But that also means the Lus will lose an enormous amount of face. It’s not a wise choice for us to be at odds with the Lus so soon after arriving in Great Zhou.”
Her father’s words made Qin Yining sink into deep contemplation.
That was true. As ludicrously inept as Madame Lu was, she was just part of one of many family branches. Even a dog kept by such an illustrious family was more noble than any other family’s dog, much less the daughter of a side branch!
She hadn’t come in contact with anyone else from that clan yet. While the madame was a highly self-assured, conceited, self-absorbed, and wanton woman, that didn’t mean everyone from that clan was the same.
But she also couldn’t be certain that every remaining Lu was an upright, objective, and impartial individual either.
“Father is very right.” Qin Yining lowered her eyes. “I didn’t think things through properly.”
“No need for apologies,” smiled Qin Huaiyuan. “It’s impossible not to be mad when running into someone like this. Even I wanted to go demand an explanation when I heard about the banquet, much less you who experienced it!
“I think that the Lus actually wanted to be friends, given that they threw a banquet and invited you to it. The madame was likely permitted to come because she married a good husband and was a noble lady, compared to you being a noble daughter.”
“Father’s right. Apparently General Mi, the Marquis of Valiant Faith, boasted of accomplishments on par with Prince Consort Ji and Pang Zhixi.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Wise words, daddy Qin! It's the first time we've seen one of QYN's plans being vetoed. It's nice that she can't do everything!