The tall, chestnut horse at the head of the group dashed forward with uncommon speed. The young man on it had obviously planned all of this out in advance; he was putting all of his strength into his actions.
However, Jingzhi possessed exceptional martial arts and had perfected his internal force. What was the momentum of a charging horse to him? When he slammed down his palm, the horse whinnied shrilly and fell to the ground, bloody foam bubbling at its mouth.
Its rider was a young man clad in blue brocade robes. His exuberant laughter at sending his horse into a gallop instantly cut off. Mind blanking for a second, he didn’t even have the time to react before his steed brought him and his head smacking down onto the ground.
A loud hum filled the youth’s ears, and he knew nothing more at all.
Seeing their leader so easily brought down with a single palm strike and not even having the time to cry out, the noble scions behind him yanked their horses to a stop. Peering anxiously at the person on the ground, they couldn’t even tell if their peer was alive or not.
Jingzhi remained poised at the head of the triangle, glowering at the group with a black expression. “Who might you be to send your horses careening through the streets, threatening my miss’ life!”
“And what the hell are you?! A worthless servant who dares raise a hand against young master Cheng?!” Another youth hopped down from his horse and charged the carriage. “You’re just an outsider little slut who should know her place and stay at home when discarded! What are you doing out and about, spreading your slutty airs everywhere? Don’t you…”
Jingzhe’s eyes narrowed and he raised his hand, delivering a vicious smack across the face at this insolent noble son. “Watch your filthy mouth!”
“Aiyo!!” The youth spun around twice and stumbled to a sitting position on the ground, seeing stars.
This band was used to throwing their weight around in the capital. They’d just accidentally spooked the Qin carriage horse a few days ago, but that mewling coward of a surrendered official had relentlessly pursued them for that fault!
The one fainted on the ground was Cheng Yue, the only son of newly promoted minister of the Bureau of Military Personnel—Minister Cheng Meng. Cheng Yue was the actual culprit behind the Qin carriage accident. However, after a round of activities from the Bureau of Military Personnel, the group ended up just fine, while the son of the vice minister of the Bureau of Personnel and Rights had been hauled up as the scapegoat.
This band of noble sons were all about brotherhood and loyalty. Qin Huaiyuan’s pettiness and causing one of their own to be exiled, his life utterly ruined, was absolutely unforgivable!
A recipient of great imperial favor, their fathers had instructed them to stay away from the Qin minister. So, they may not be able to afford offending Qin Huaiyuan, but he had a daughter that the Faithful Prince of the First Rank had gotten bored of!
Thus, they’d set a watch outside the yard door of the Qins’ little manor, waiting to nab themselves the Qin fourth miss. Now that the opportunity had arrived today, they weren’t going to let it pass on by!
Wasn’t Qin Huaiyuan a miserly sort and afraid of charging horses crashing into carriages? They were going to do just that to his precious daughter!
But despite Qin Yining being just a girl, the minister had been willing to hire such domineering guards for a used, unclean girl! What was wrong with Qin Huaiyuan’s brain??
“How, how dare you hit me! Do you know who I am?!”
“It doesn’t matter who you are. It only matters that you want to hurt my miss.” Jingzhe’s frigid expression petrified all those who would upset the carriage.
The disturbance had drawn quite a crowd by now.
Some of the noble sons felt that the situation was taking a turn for the worse and wanted to leave, but didn’t dare just leave an unconscious Cheng Yue here.
Others closer to the Cheng young master dismounted to check on their friend’s condition, cursing and hurling insults at the carriage as they did so.
There were also some in the group who’d just come along for the show. They were now worried that Qin Yining’s guards would act in self-defense. Things would be dire and unsalvageable if casualties developed. Therefore, some of the smarter ones ordered their pageboys to either make a report to the yamen, or bring word of the happenings back home.
Qin Yining sat primly in the carriage, her arms around Lian Xiaozhou and preventing Bingtang and Jiyun from lifting the curtains for an almighty fight with those outside.
Her rose quartz ring tapped lightly against the surface of a small table as she intoned, “This has probably long been in the making. None of them have simple backgrounds. Tell Jingzhe to not hurt anymore people.”
“Understood.” Xiaoman replied equally lowly and then gnashed his teeth. “This is all because we’re in Great Zhou now and have no other options open to us. With us brothers’ temper, we take lives with each move we make! We’ll see who dares be so insolent to the miss then!”
Previously under the command of emperors, there was always someone to pick up the pieces even after they punched a hole in the sky. Naturally, all bets were off when it came to their operations, and no consideration given to the consequences.
Due to this habit, to them, mercy was to just avoiding killing someone.
If it’d been any ordinary guards, first reaction would’ve been to lead away a horse charging straight at them—not just outright smack the horse to death. Would an ordinary person have that kind of skill? And how many of them would have that courage?
Outside the carriage, the noble scions had gotten well and truly into the swing of insults.
“Miss Qin, hey girl, I hear that your beauty is worth cities. You’re not pure and chaste anymore, so come on out for us brothers to have a look!”
“Haha, exactly! We’re all powerful and influential.  Any of us is able to keep a concubine. Miss Qin, we’ll forgive you if you become one of our concubines!”
“These people are so damnably foul!” Bingtang ground her teeth in fury.
Jiyun’s hand was already on the soft sword wrapped around her waist. If it wasn’t for the miss wanting them to keep their cool, she would’ve long since charged out and filled each of those scoundrels with a hundred holes!
The four guards outside the carriage were also chomping at the bit to tear the scum into pieces. But they hadn’t received any orders, so could only remain put and silently suffer through the abuse.
The disturbance drew an ever-increasing crowd. Some pointed and gestured at the carriage, whereas others sniffed at the noble children’s uncouth behavior in stopping the carriage.
All sorts of discussion flew in the air as the crowd tightened its radius, surrounding the two parties in the middle. Those who’d heard of Qin Huaiyuan also added the minister’s name in their conversation.
Qin Yining remained calm throughout it all, holding Lian Xiaozhou’s hand and teaching the little girl her characters. It was as if there was nothing outside at all, just the barking of dogs.
New movement rustled outside at this time; the crowd parted swiftly to the sides. Sir Zheng of the eastern Warden’s Office of the Five Wards barged in with his men, separating the two posturing parties.
However, when the warden took a look at the carriage and then at the dead horse on the ground, as well as the unconscious Cheng Yue, he felt his head swell to twice its size.
1. The raws here say ‘people with uncommon identities. I took a bit of liberty to match the tone of this name-calling.
Whatchu gonna do now warden~