Jingzhe could sense Qin Yining’s nervousness and worry. His heart was full enough to burst.
Though he and his compatriots put their lives on the line in their course of work, back in Great Yan, the emperor never considered their safety when he sent them out. He only cared if they would complete the mission or not.
It wasn’t until meeting Qin Yining did they learn that there were masters in this world who cared if they made it back alive. Here she was, volunteering to enter the palace to keep him safe!
Being used to their roles as hidden guards and spies, they would still occasionally keep an eye on the matters of court even after transitioning to guards. They knew what difficult straits Qin Huaiyuan was in at present.
But the fourth miss had taken a stand to protect them! Was he, Jingzhe, not going to admit to his guilt and let his mistress take the fall instead? Her reputation would be even more unsalvageable then!
When his thoughts travelled here, they affirmed his resolve. Lofty heroism swept through his heart. Even if he were to be executed, he wouldn’t regret defending his mistress today!
All that passed through his mind in the span of a breath.
Qin Yining grew ever more agitated when she saw her guard remain silent.
“Grand Supervisor Li,” she continued resolutely. “The rights and wrongs of what happened today are convoluted and everyone has their own conclusions. Jingzhe is one of my hired hands—what wrong has he committed in protecting me in an emergency? He didn’t hurt anyone, just killed a horse. If His Majesty wishes to summon those involved in this matter, then I should be the one to enter and give an accounting.”
Though the girl’s words put him in a slightly sticky situation. Li Guanwen quite admired the Qin fourth miss’ sense of justice. He inwardly envied Jingzhe to have a mistress so willing to protect her people.
It wasn’t just the eunuch; the same sentiments were shared by others serving Qin Yining. Even the noble sons quieted down.
Li Guanwen cleared his throat. “My apologies, Miss Qin. Such are His Majesty’s wishes and this servant cannot go against them.” He turned and gave orders for Jingzhe to come with them, bid farewell to Sir Zheng, and left with Minister Cheng.
Qin Yining sent them off to the door before returning with a furrowed brow.
Sir Zheng could finally be at ease after seeing that matters had been temporarily resolved. “Miss Qin, things are mostly over with here. You are free to go.”
The noble scions raised a fuss before the girl had a chance to respond. “Why can she leave first? We’re the victims here, if anyone’s leaving first, that’s us!”
With the departure of the troops that Minister Cheng had brought with him, safety was restored to the Warden’s Office of the Five Wards. The emperor had become involved himself, so Sir Zheng knew that he could only continue walking the path he’d set a foot on before. All would be fine as long as he firmly stood on the emperor’s side.
Given Qin Huaiyuan’s status as the mainstay of the emperor’s faction, the warden naturally had to protect Qin Yining. Not to mention, she was also a girl.
And so, the warden’s face darkened. “The matters today are very clear indeed. You all committed the crime of charging your horses on city streets. There are countless eyewitnesses. Are you still trying to deny it even now? Miss Qin remained within her carriage from beginning to end. If her servants committed a crime, then Grand Supervisor Li just left with the culprit. But you instigators won’t be getting off cleanly either, or are you trying to deny all that even happened in the first place?”
The warden’s sudden hardened attitude sent the noble sons in a slight panic.
Qin Yining took a look at Sir Zheng, naturally understanding why his attitude was suddenly so clear. She smiled. “Many thanks to Sir Zheng. Except, I can’t be at ease at all now that my man’s been taken into the palace. I feel that no matter what, your yamen will be the first to receive any updates. Therefore, please permit me in waiting here with my people.”
Sir Zheng didn’t think her request out of bounds. The Qin fourth miss shone with sincerity and she was wholeheartedly focused on protecting her people. Whether her manners or motivation, all were worthy of respect.
Thus, the request wasn’t denied. “I only fear that the surroundings here are too crude and basic. You might feel uncomfortable, Miss Qin.”
“Not at all. You’re too polite, Sir Zheng.”
The two exchanged a few more pleasantries before Qin Yining took her original seat again.
The noble sons looked at each other. Let’s see how your Qin family dies when Minister Cheng has his audience with the emperor!
Armed with that confidence, the group chit chatted with complete ease of mind and even requested tea and snacks.
Their utter lack of self awareness irked Sir Zheng, but due to their identities, didn’t want to offend them. He could only give orders for tea and snacks to be prepared.
The wait stretched into the afternoon. Nothing was forthcoming from the palace, but the fathers of the noble sons paid personal visits. They dragged Sir Zheng out for a round of pleading, hoping they could take their sons home.
Long irritated by the rambunctious boys, Sir Zheng granted the favors at no cost to himself. He only requested that they not leave the capital, and had to present themselves whenever summoned.
His actions won him rounds of gratitude and thanks.
A show unfolded before Qin Yining’s eyes. Each official conversed smilingly with Sir Zheng and instantly morphed into another expression after entering the office. Those with more reserved characters darkly commanded their sons to leave. Others with fiery tempers gave their sons a good thrashing before hauling them off, cursing loudly all the while.
Some treated Qin Yining extremely distantly with a good helping of disdain, whereas others engaged in several pleasantries.Previous Chapter Next Chapter