Chapter 422.2: Severe Punishment

Qin Yining held up her forehead, her face streaked with tears as she sobbed out, “What is Your Highness doing? How did this subject-wife offend you that you want to strangle me? My husband is an official faithfully dedicating his efforts to His Majesty. Even though I am the daughter of a surrendered official, my father is also the emperor’s right-hand man. Does the princess think my family is unneeded with how you’re acting? Were we wrong to throw ourselves on His Majesty’s mercy??”  

The empress dowager looked over her shoulder to glare viciously at Qin Yining.

The ill-will this woman harbored! Her little speech seemed to champion self justice, yet every word clearly provoked Li Helan into more drama. 

The empress dowager commanded in a low voice. “Why aren’t you helping the princess consort up? Are you all dead?!”

“Understood!!” The shout recovered the servants’ wits and they scrambled to support Qin Yining. 

The princess consort held up her head with her hands, her face pallid and her body limp against the arm of a palace servant. What a vulnerable, frail, and pliant woman!

The sight incited Li Helan’s fury to no end. Her arms were gripped tight by the mamas, so she sat on the floor and kicked Qin Yining’s legs with all her might instead.

“Go ahead and flaunt! Try boasting some more, why don’t you! You play the victim even though you’ve made out like a bandit! What does big brother Xiao see in a slut like you?! Drop dead already!”

“Quiet! Take the eldest princess away!” Angered and worried by Li Helan’s unseemly harangue, the empress dowager’s expression grew darker.  

What sort of daughter have I raised?!

How could she turn into such an unsightly mess over a man thanks to a few vicious words from an evil woman! This will no joking matter if other people hear of this

Her status as empress dowager might appear lofty, but she was only where she was today because of her son. Her days were numbered should she be stripped of Li Qitian’s favor. 

The palace servants moved to support Li Helan to her feet, while the empress dowager turned to help Qin Yining up. 

“Are you alright? Do get up. The floor is cold.” 

Qin Yining smiled sardonically to herself. So you want to trivialize what happened today?

Even though this incident was largely the result of her scheming, what had set off Li Helan so badly was her unwillingness to reconcile with the hard truth. She still coveted Pang Xiao and was jealous of Qin Yining because she was now the princess consort.   

The bitterness of Li Helan’s heart had borne fruit of poison, so therefore everything was toxic to her. The eldest princess had been her own undoing in falling into Qin Yining’s trap. There was no longer any need for the Qin fourth miss to be lenient or forgiving. 

However, the empress dowager obviously had no intention of setting her daughter straight even after such an outburst. She was intentionally taking Li Helan’s side! 

Does she really see me as easy pickings, to be plucked and squashed at will in the Palace of Serene Piety? 

Qin Yining looked at the empress dowager, her gaze unfocused. She smiled feebly. “I am fine, Your Majesty.”

That put the empress dowager slightly at ease. All things considering, the girl’s appropriately sensible and astute.  

No sooner had the empress dowager ordered the servants to help Qin Yining back to her feet than the young woman swayed to the side. Her eyes rolled back into her head, color drained from her face, and she toppled backward.  

This development stunned the empress dowager. 

She’d seen clearly that when Li Helan gave chase, Qin Yining hadn’t fallen onto the table or the stools. However, it also didn’t seem like she was feigning her faint! 

A chill of genuine horror ran down the empress dowager’s back. 

Should Qin Yining really be hurt, how would Li Helan deal with the repercussions if word got out? How would the empress dowager herself face the parties involved, especially her son? Her position was already nominal to begin with!

Setting Pang Xiao’s fury aside, it just so happened that Li Qitian was making heavy use of the prince and Qin Huaiyuan at the moment. How could their respective newlywed wife and daughter suffer at the hands of Li Helan right here in the Palace of Serene Piety!

“Hurry! Summon the imperial physicians!” Her daughter no longer the priority, the empress dowager fired off orders. “Carry the princess consort to the platform!” 

“Your Majesty,” a mama advised. “We aren’t sure what caused the princess consort to faint. We better not move her around. If she’s experiencing palpitations from shock, the move could easily cost her life.” 

The empress dowager came to her senses at the servant’s reminder. She nodded in agreement. “You’re right. This forlorn one was plagued by worry that I didn’t think of that! Help the princess consort lie down and let the imperial physicians have a look.”  

“Understood, Your Majesty.” 

The conversation between the empress dowager and the palace servants, and the sight of Qin Yining lying prostrate on the floor were just too much for Li Helan. Hands restrained, she started howling, bawling like a lost child.  

“I don’t care, royal mother! All you do is twist my arm! Why don’t you ever put yourself in my shoes? How many presents has this bitch given you? Have you forgotten that I’m your daughter??”

Before the empress dowager had a chance to retort, snippets of conversation wafted into the palace, followed by the shrill announcement of a eunuch. “His Majesty is arrived! Prince Consort Ji and the Faithful Prince of First Rank is arrived!” 

Li Helan’s howling ground to a stop. The empress dowager’s expression was livid. 

Pang Xiao and Ji Zeyu walked side by side, trailing Li Qitian to walk into the hall.  

The prince’s hands turned icy-cold at the sight of his wife lying on the floor. He asked in fear, “What happened? She was fine just a minute ago!” 

“Have the imperial physicians been summoned? What happened, royal mother?”

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etvolare's Thoughts

Yuck, all this scheming in the palace. @@