When the fourth miss met up with Steward Zhong, she immediately had him send a secret letter via messenger pigeon to the old Great Yan capital. It was to be delivered to someone trustworthy.
As for the contents of the letter, she drew close to the man and whispered a few words.
Steward Zhong listened in wide-eyed astonishment. “Miss, people might want to kill for you for this! Do you know that the Great Zhou people are…”
The girl raised her hand slightly, preventing the steward from speaking further. She smiled reassuringly at him. “Don’t worry, I know what I’m doing. Just do as I say and send out the messenger pigeon. The faster the better.”
Still slightly doubtful, the steward set his concerns aside when he saw how confident Qin Yining was. He nodded solemnly. “Don’t worry, I’ll have it handled as soon as possible.”
“Then I thank you for your troubles. A life is at stake here, so please exercise caution.”
Not wanting to hold the steward up, Qin Yining alighted from the carriage as soon as she gave her instructions. Steward Zhong immediately had his groom whip the horses into a fast trot and left the Qins in a hurry.
The Qin fourth returned to her room with her maids. Before she reached her door however, she saw Cao Yuqing standing in front of it with her hands behind her back, a frown on her face. The guard captain didn’t seem to come with inclinations of friendship.
Having known that this visit would arrive, Qin Yining smiled faintly. “Hello. Would you like to come in for a cup of tea?”
“Alright.” Cao Yuqing rather admired the girl’s composure. Add to that a face that was the spitting image of a young Qin Huaiyuan, the two combined swept away much of her original gloomy air.
The two entered the house and took a seat on embroidered cushions placed on stools. Bingtang and the others dismissed themselves after bringing in tea and snacks.
A straightforward person, Cao Yuqing cut straight to the chase. “Why did you have all of the Silver Masks memorize that ridiculous thing? It’s completely made up!”
“I know it’s all made up.” Qin Yining smiled. “It’s just something I created to save the lives of Jingzhe and the others. Madame Cao, you know everything at stake here, right? I hear that the emperor’s sent out another team of men to Great Yan to search for the treasure that the emperor emeritus left behind.”
Cao Yuqing frowned. “Yes, that is indeed the case. The treasure’s no trifling sum. Great Zhou’s national vaults are empty and they have need of money. Of course the emperor will care about this, but what’s that have to do with the Silver Masks?”
“You should know what will happen if the emperor gets anxious over the lack of results, right?”
Cao Yuqing fell into deep contemplation.
That was right. If he couldn’t find the treasure, then Li Qitian would naturally question those who were closest to the former Great Yan emperor.
Now residing in the capital, Yuchi Yan was fully in the emperor’s grasp. Perhaps everything about him had already been fully investigated. Of course, any attempts to locate the treasure through him would end up fruitless.
The existence of the Silver Masks was no secret, and Qin Huaiyuan had never concealed the fact that he’d taken the hidden guards under his wing.
If Li Qitian grew impatient, he would definitely come knocking.
She’d personally trained and operated the Silver Masks. Her feelings for her people ran deep. If at all possible, she didn’t want at all for them to lose their lives for what the trash emperor had done!
“But will you be able to save Jingzhe this way?”
“Don’t worry.” Qin Yining smiled confidently. “Not only will I be able to save him, I’m going to get rid of this latent threat for the Silver Masks. How many of them are in the capital now?”
“Sixteen, including Jingzhe. The rest are carrying out missions outside. But this batch is the last one I trained. There won’t be any replacements if there are any more casualties.”
The fourth miss nodded with a smile. “In the vastness of heaven and earth, there is nothing more important than life. Yes it’s not an aboveboard plan, but isn’t it a good one if it helps them live?”
Cao Yuqing lowered her long lashes with emotion. “Are you absolutely confident in this?”
“I’m ninety percent confident it’ll work, ignoring some uncontrollable factors,” estimated the girl conservatively.
The guard captain thought for a while longer and grinned. “Alright then, I understand. Don’t worry, us Silver Masks have been trained in withstanding interrogation. We don’t reveal anything about our masters when we’re captured. This little story isn’t hard at all. I’ll pass on my orders shortly.”
Qin Yining nodded with a smile. “Thank you for your troubles.”
“Not at all. If this really does save their lives, then I’m the one who should thank you.” Cao Yuqing patted Qin Yining’s shoulder and quickly strode out.
Suspense hanging in the air, the Qin fourth miss sent out men everyday to gather the latest updates about Jingzhe.
After six days, Li Qitian received an urgent missive from the capital of the former Great Yan.
After reading it, he slapped the dragon-themed desk and shot to his feet in the study. “To find something by accident after searching hundreds of miles for it! Li Guanwen, hurry to the Qins and get Qin Meng and his daughter’s guards into the palace! Oh right, née Cao as well, the one who used to be Qin Meng’s concubine. Have her enter the palace too! Hurry, go now!”
“Yes yes yes, this servant will go now.” Li Guanwen tripped in the midst of the emperor’s urgency and almost sprawled over the floor. He stumbled out of the study while his master looked again at the urgent letter, delighted surprise brimming in his eyes.
Things couldn’t be clearer in the letter. There were rumors in the old Yan capital that since they were the former emperor’s most confidential weapon, the Silver Masks might know where the treasure was!
And those Silver Masks were at the Qins!
It looks like Qin Huaiyuan really is Our lucky star!
Li Qitian gleefully paced where he was, going over how he would question the guards in a moment and how he should treat them.
Qin Yining was teaching Lian Xiaozhou embroidery when a serving girl ran in frantically. “Miss, miss, someone’s come from the palace and want to take our guards away!”
The fourth miss almost jabbed a hole in her own finger. She rushed to the feet and strode outside.
Since it was afternoon, her father happened to be at home too. He was chatting with Li Guanwen in the front yard.
Though the eunuch was in a great rush, he maintained a high degree of courtesy. “Don’t worry, Minister Qin. The emperor only wants to ask a few questions of your and Miss Qin’s guards.”
Full of questions, Qin Huaiyuan nodded without a flicker of expression. “Since His Majesty would like to question them, of course it shall be done. Servants!”
The Qin patriarch had the guards summoned.
“Oh right, His Majesty also said that he wants to see Madame Cao.”
The minister’s heart spasmed. He knew what the emperor wanted, but smiled gently nonetheless, sending servants to fetch the madame. In the end, fifteen people total entered the palace.Previous Chapter Next Chapter