Qin Yining looked into the old official’s aged eyes; there was a sharp light hidden in them. She dimpled.
“I haven’t much of any thoughts. I’m just an unmarried girl. I work on my embroidery everyday and wait for my wedding. Why would I possibly pay attention to these affairs outside? These great matters are men’s matters. They have nothing to do with a little girl like me.”
Gu Shixiong choked on his next words.
Scanning Qin Yining’s uncommonly pure and kind face, he looked at the girl seriously for the first time ever.
She had a charming face blessed by the heavens, and intelligence bestowed by the gods, which was evidence of their bias. Speaking with her gave him the feeling of a tête-à-tête with wily foxes steeped in decades of court politics. But this was just an unmarried girl of sixteen years!
No wonder she was the daughter of Wise Pan An. Like father, like daughter!
Stroking his beard again, the old official chuckled.
“Miss Qin doesn’t need to mince words like this. This old man knows that you’re a smart child, and I knew of your intelligence back in Great Yan. I come with great sincerity today, and naturally hope that Miss Qin shows the same genuine heart in return.”
Not waiting for a response, he pressed on.
“The emperor did indeed find an empty hiding place, but the rumors outside aren’t all true. There are some details unknown by outsiders. There was no fortune in the hiding place, just a letter.”
“Yes, a letter. One that this old man wrote to the emperor emeritus.” The look in Gu Shixiong’s eyes was deep. He paused. “I was charged by the emperor emeritus to build an underground palace for purposes of transporting and hiding the treasure. He wanted to flee and start anew a long time ago. That’s why he passed the dragon throne onto the Commandery Prince of Yan.
“However, in my heart of my hearts, I vehemently disapproved of the former emperor’s doings. Therefore, I transported the treasure to a secret location, and left only a letter in the place that the emperor emeritus knew of. I told him that he had no right to and wasn’t worthy of this great sum. This fortune was for the new emperor to invigorate Great Yan with.
“Alas, this old man was still too naive. Great Yan destructed after the new emperor took his throne, and the true treasure became a secret that this old man couldn’t speak of in time.”
Qin Yining silently listened to the end of this story before smiling. “I understand Old Master Gu’s words, but why might you be imparting them to me?”
“Miss Qin, this old man is here to make a deal with you.”
“Yes. The commandery prince has been invited into the palace and even now his condition remains uncertain. I can tell you the true location of the treasure, as long as you do not give this fortune to Li Qitian and save the prince and his family. As long as you can do this, the treasure will be yours, and yours alone.”
The old man carefully took stock of the girl’s expression as he spoke, trying to glean some clues from her expression.
However, her reaction was much too steady. Such a large sum of riches didn’t even quirk her eyebrow.
“This little girl understand Old Master Gu’s sentiments, but a weak girl like me only needs a husband. As for the treasure or whatever, I have no interest in that, and want even less to be embroiled in the complicated struggles of court. Please understand where I come from, Old Master Gu.”
The girl’s words caused Gu Shixiong’s expression to change drastically.
Money and silks have moved hearts since the days of eld. He’d been highly confident before arriving that there wouldn’t be anyone in the world immune to the siren call of wealth.
His tone grew agitated. “Don’t be so quick to refuse this old man, Miss Qin. According to my knowledge, you’re soon to be wed to the Faithful Prince of the First Rank. The prince’s accomplishments are so tremendous that they threaten to eclipse his master. Li Qitian has always been on his guar against the prince, and a future of great turmoil is inevitable. If there really comes a day when the prince’s value is completely consumed and he is to be discarded, won’t it be helpful for you to have this treasure available to you?”
The old senior was already speaking quite conservatively. The treasure was such an enormous sum that the Great Zhou emperor was trying everything beneath the sun to find it!
Anyone who possessed it would have a lifetime of inexhaustible riches and perhaps even be able to pass it down to their descendants.
Qin Yining was a woman, one that was to wed Pang Xiao, someone who very possibly would meet with danger. Gu Shixiong had brainstormed all possible reactions before he came, but it’d never crossed his mind that the girl wouldn’t be swayed at all in the face of this colossal fortune.
Having spent so many years at court, the old official’s observation skills were highly perfected. He could absolutely tell that Qin Yining’s unwavering heart wasn’t a pretense at all, that she meant her words!
Who in this world didn’t love money??
“Miss Qin, you and I are both of Great Yan. Since this old man has come knocking today, I come with a genuine heart. I won’t mouth anything false in front of you.
“I will never hand this treasure over to Great Zhou.
“The previous emperor was decrepit and incompetent. I saw it all clearly and know that he wasn’t worthy of this treasure.
“This old man can’t help the Commandery Prince of Yan with much, much less than give the treasure to him. The prince isn’t particularly attuned to politics at all. Perhaps he’s destined for a life of mediocrity.
“But no matter what, I can’t bear to see anything happen to him on my watch.
“I know of your talents, Miss Qin. Please save the prince. The treasure will be yours out of gratitude. There are no downsides for you, no?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
!!!! Da heck!!