Father and daughter were both equally clear about the situation after their analysis.
Li Qitian had given secret orders to his sister for her to poke Madame Lu, so as to create the current circumstance. In this way, the emperor could also observe which side was stronger.
“Once the Qins feud with the Lus, it rewrites everything at court. Most importantly, if we exhibit battle strength stunning enough to suppress an aristocratic family, His Majesty benefits even if he doesn’t give us aid in our time of need.”
Qin Yining’s eyes sparkled at this point of her review, admiration increasing for that lofty liege on high. “If we really form a vendetta with the Lu clan, we’ll definitely need a substantial patron. The emperor would be first choice without a doubt. That way, he’ll reach his goal again. His Majesty truly does possess wit and resourcefulness in equal measure. He really is worthy of regard!”
Qin Huaiyuan looked at his daughter with deep approval. “I knew that you’d be able to dissect everything cleanly as soon as I told you a few details. I knew you’d pick the best course of action as well.”
The girl blushed prettily from the compliments and waved them off.
“Therefore father, our most ideal course of action is to not offend the Lu clan and punish Madame Lu?”
“That’s right. We can’t let a woman ride on top of us. We’ll be belittled by everyone else if this persists. But we need to have enough restraint so we don’t offend the Lus. I believe that the matter will exacerbate in the next few days. But don’t worry, I have my ways of taking care of it.”
Her expression grew dark when Qin Yining heard this. “Father, things are such a mess at court and we aren’t on firm footing yet. What’s to come will surely be much more complicated than this. Will we be able to handle it all?”
The minister smiled to see his daughter in a rare moment of girlish worry. “Silly girl, fish can’t survive in pristine waters. The messier things are, the better.”
He rose and flicked away the wrinkles on his sleeves and hems. “I’ll go back and assign some loyal and dependable Silver Masks to you for personal security. Née Cao’s men are all talented in different ways and quite discrete. They’ll be as unfailingly loyal as they were to the former emperor as long as they’re paid appropriately.”
The Qin patriarch chuckled. “As for where their pay comes from, I won't be bothering myself with that at all. My daughter is a great landlord now and much richer than her old father who draws a salary.”
Qin Yining giggled. "Father is such an amazing person, such a little bit of silver doesn’t matter to you at all!”
Qin Huaiyuan waved a hand and resumed seriousness. “On the contrary. You bought the manor and I am but a clean and honest official. My salary is very limited. Ai! Paying the Silver Masks these days have all but emptied me out. Shifting that off to you is just perfect.”
“Father, you’re too tricky!”
Qin Huaiyuan laughed along with his daughter. But when the corner of his eye swept across the door to the washroom, the tall and large shadow on the ground was quite the surprise. A comprehending smile stretched across his face moments later.
He took the lamp with an embroidered cover and put in on the square table near the washroom. When the bright light drew closer to it, the shadow on the ground diffused away.
Her back to the washroom, Qin Yining hadn’t caught a hint of the shadow there at all. She’d been under the assumption that Pang Xiao had left through the window.
“Father, what are you moving the lamp for?” asked the girl curiously.
Qin Huaiyuan grinned and stood next to the square table where the newly relocated lamp was. Now his back was also to the washroom, just two steps away from where Pang Xiao was hiding behind the door frame.
“Silly girl, take a look. The light and shadows in the room change when the lamp is put here, right?”
Qin Yining looked around and nodded blankly. “Yes, they do.”
“We can see from this that light and shadow go hand-in-hand. There’s no need to panic when darkness descends as a source of light is surely nearby. The situation at court changes from minute-to-minute, just like this lamp. A careless shift and obstruction by these tables and chairs completely changes the shadows into something else.”
Qin Huaiyuan smiled at his daughter and walked out. “It’s getting late, you should rest. I’ll be leaving now.”
Everything the duo had analyzed today had been very clear-cut and definite. But this last part was a bit of a mystery.
What light? What shadows?
The door creaked open, followed by her father’s instructions to the maids to stand the night watch well and not slack off.
Qin Yining shook her head in befuddlement and turned back, throwing a look at the lamp. Curious, she shifted it back to its original position and moved to her father’s original position.
Who would’ve thought that she’d see a large and tall shadow in front of the washroom door as soon as she turned her head back!
Qin Yining’s cheeks ignited with explosive fury. She charged into the washroom and flung open the door curtain, seeing Pang Xiao leaning on the wall in deep thought. Throwing a fist-pound, she hissed, “What are you doing? Didn’t you leave already?! My father discovered you!”
The prince responded with bewilderment, “What?”
Qin Yining pointed at the rear window ajar not too far from them. The moon was very bright tonight, its rays generously pouring in through the open window and drawing out the prince’s long, bulky shadow on the ground.
Pang Xiao smacked his forehead. “Oh no! What a mistake, such a mistake! I pushed open the window just now and readied to leave, but thought of how intelligent father-in-law is. He must’ve sought you out with important things to say, so I decided to stay and listen for a bit. “Father-in-law’s words have helped me grasp the light of clarity, but to think that he would see my shadow! He is really too amazing!”
Aiming a sidelong glare at him, Qin Yining viciously pinched the prince.
“Keep pretending, why don’t you! Do you think I don't know what kind of person you are?? If you really are that much of a fool to not know that the bright moon will leave shadows on the ground, you would’ve been swallowed whole by others a long time ago! You did this on purpose!
“It’s because the Commandery Princess Consort of Yan visited, isn’t it? Pang Zhixi, can you not be so small-minded?! There’s nothing going on between me and the commandery prince! I didn’t even care to be his empress back in the day, much less him being a commandery prince now!
“How can you be so petty and use this kind of method to tell my father that we’re close!? What, what do you want my father to think?? What kind of situation do you want to see me end up in??”
She almost burst out into furious tears, thinking of how her father had very likely seen the shadow on the ground when they were conversing delightfully just now. He probably thought that he’d bumped into a late night rendezvous between her and Pang Zhixi! This is so humiliating!
Seeing his darling’s eyes redden, Pang Xiao quickly hugged the girl to comfort her. “It’s my fault, all my fault, alright? Don’t cry! Father-in-law is so smart that he surely knows we haven’t done anything. His last words were pointers for me and also proof that he doesn’t think anything else has happened.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Omg PX... you too childish *facepalm*