Hearing the words ‘the earth dragon turned over’, Pang Xiao and Qin Yining’s expressions turned solemn.
Thirty-some years ago, a large earthquake occurred in Northern Ji, leaving 500,000 citizens homeless across two provinces. In the humidity of summer and unfortunate rainfall, corpses buried in the rubble rotted their way to deadly virus mutations. Unable to clear out all of the debris in time, the situation ended with a wide-scale epidemic.
That loss gravely impacted Northern Ji, and it wasn’t resolved until a long while later. The national treasury, empty enough to begin with, depleted even further.
“Any reports back on the situation after the earthquake?” Pang Xiao demanded anxiously.
Huzi shook his head. “There aren’t any precise numbers yet, but up to three cities to the north of the old capital were affected. Aftershocks have continued for two days straight.”
“Three cities? Does that include the city of Liang?” Qin Yining frowned. She’d grown up in Liang, and she quite missed it sometimes.
The guard nodded. “It should be. But Liang is far away from the old Yan Dynasty capital, so it should be fine.”
The couple exchanged a look, both reading worry in the other’s eyes.
The chaos of war had just subsided, but now such a devastating natural disaster struck! Though Great Zhou appeared outwardly glorious, the nation’s coffers ran on fumes and the emperor’s private purse was all but spent. What could they bring out for disaster relief? What troops could they send to help?
Though Li Qitian might take advantage of this incident to lay out a trap, what Pang Xiao cared about the most was the safety of the people.
“Great Yan really has had its share of tragedies and trials,” sighed Huzi. “Just when we thought everything would start getting better, an earthquake’s gone and struck.”
Qin Yining sighed as well. “Whether human or natural disaster, it’s always the people who suffer.”
Pang Xiao frowned worriedly, brainstorming furiously on how to handle this.
The married couple didn’t want to bring this negative mood to their elders, so all was as usual when they swung by Pinecrane Hall.
Née Ma popped out as soon as Qin Yining crossed the threshold. She took ahold of her granddaughter-in-law’s hand and closely scanned the girl up and down before letting out a sigh of relief.
“They said that Dafu carried you back in his arms. I was scared out of my wits when I heard that! Then Huzi came to say that you’re alright, but he didn't have any details when we asked him. Thank goodness you’re alright. What happened in the palace? Why did you faint out of nowhere?”
Qin Yining discovered that her husband looked a bit uncomfortable when she snuck a look at him. I’ll keep Li Helan’s matter to myself then.
“It’s nothing major, just that I’m a little short on blood. I was nervous when talking to the empress dowager—that’s why I fainted. The imperial physician’s already taken a look at me and said that all’s fine. I just need to rest and recover for a while.”
Née Yao and Yao Chenggu were both highly doubting of this answer. They’d been closely watching Qin Yining. Hearing this response after seeing her sneak a look at their son, they were quite certain that she wasn’t telling the truth.
Yao Chenggu: Perhaps the situation outside doesn’t look good and the girl doesn’t want us elders to worry and fret with them.
Née Yao: She looks a bit guilty, this is rather suspicious.
Née Ma clasped the girl’s hand tightly. “Look at how clammy your hands are. It’s not a small thing to be short on blood. You’re still young, what happens when you get older? But thankfully we discovered it early and can start treating it now. You’ll be fine after a while of care.”
“Yes, thank you so much, grandmother.” Qin Yining looked gratefully at née Ma and swung her hand.
She’d missed out greatly on elderly love in her youth. Nothing needed to be said about the old dowager. Even with née Zheng, the Duchess of Ding, some personal gain had been mixed into their relationship. When Qin Yining had first returned home and her mother disliked her, the fourth miss’ maternal grandmother had tried to instill some sense in her mother. However, this wasn’t solely because the elderly woman liked her. It was also to help consolidate her mother’s position in the Qin household.
One of the few to be unconditionally kind to her was née Ma. Qin Yining could very clearly sense hostility, enmity, as well as goodwill. The elderly woman had felt like an old friend even back when Qin Yining’s marriage to Pang Xiao was still up in the air.
“Silly child, we’re all one family. What’re you thanking me for? It’s me who has to thank you. You have to suffer with our Dafu at such a young age.” Née Ma tugged Qin Yining over to the heated platform next to the window. “Tell the servants whatever you’d like to eat. Have them make it all. You come tell me if Dafu isn't good to you or bullies you. I’ll beat him for you!”
Amused by his grandmother’s show of favor, Pang Xiao threw a mock-tantrum by née Ma’s side. “My position in this family is becoming ever lower. Even grandmother likes only my darling now.”
“Off with you, you wild brat! Your skin is so thick and coarse that you wouldn’t even feel a pinprick! My lass is soft and tender, of course I like her more.” Née Ma merrily shoved aside her grandson’s face.
Qin Yining burst into giggles, and even the smoking Yao Chenggu grinned broadly. Only née Yao remained smiling thinly.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Don't forget, giveaway ongoing for everyone! And please stay safe during the coronavirus outbreak. Wear face masks and wash hands!