Qin Yining hadn’t thought Anari would be someone who acted before thinking—and certainly not someone who pulled a knife just because of a perceived slight. Thankfully, her own reflexes weren’t too shabby, so she quickly took a step back and dodged the tip of the blade.
Yet nimble as Qin Yining was, she didn't have any fighting skills.
The enraged khan had her heart set on making the princess consort pay—even if she couldn't kill the girl right here and then, she wanted to carve a few bloody lines into that hateful face and turn her into a hideous creature.
Anari swung her blade at Qin Yining with everything she had, every slash aimed for the face.
Qin Yining dodged agilely, but was only just barely able to keep up. She’d been in a weakened state for so long that her strength and stamina were no match for someone of Anari’s strong stature. It wasn’t long before sweat poured down her face, causing her to trip over herself and fall to a sitting position.
Anari’s eyes shone. An opportunity had presented itself! She plunged the dagger at Qin Yining. Meanwhile, Siqin had finally had his fill of the commotion. He stepped forward to grip the khan’s wrist.
“Alright, please calm yourself, my khan.” His gentle voice seemed to have the power to dissipate her homicidal tendencies as Anari settled down a notch.
“Why are you stopping me?! Let me cut up her face! We'll see how she plans on seducing men once I’m through with her!”
Siqin took the dagger from Anari with a smile and took her hand instead. “Silly girl, have you forgotten how I plan to use this woman? Do you know of the feud between the Qins and the Faithful Prince of the First Rank?”
Anari considered this for a moment, then nodded. “Her father came up with a plot to kill the prince’s father.”
“Correct. Her father killed the father of the Faithful Prince of the First Rank, yet His Highness was willing to marry a woman who has his father’s blood on her hands. Why do you think that is?”
Anari gradually understood. “You mean to say, for her looks?”
Siqin nodded and smiled. “Suffice it to say that Pang Zhixi fancies her because of her face. If you ruin it, you destroy the only quality that redeems her in his eyes. What if he refuses to pay the ransom then?”
Though his line of logic was correct, Anari still felt discontent. However, the thought of all the potential gold and silver they could get from Qin Yining’s ransom lifted her spirits somewhat.
“Very well.” Her anger dissipated slightly and she smiled apologetically. “Forgive me. I let my emotions get the better of me and disregarded my consort’s plans as a result.”
“Think nothing of it. I know you do this because you care for me.” Siqin tugged at her hand, swinging it to and fro.
Flattered and appeased, Anari’s face flushed. She chattered and laughed with Siqin like a young maiden, then happily headed off to attend a roasted lamb bonfire party. It was almost like the one waving a knife to kill just moments before was a different person entirely.
Qin Yining dabbed at her forehead with her sleeve as she thought about what a brainless lunatic Anari was!
Watching Siqin console Anari as if she were a child, it was clear the khan’s anger was just a joke in Siqin’s eyes. With how simple it was for him to sooth her with his words, Qin Yining came to another definitive conclusion.
There was definitely something wrong with this Siqin!
The khan consort smiled. “You see now, do you not?”
“See what? How the consort coddles his khan?”
Siqin's features were tinged with satisfaction as he drew near Qin Yining once again, murmuring, “In Tatar, the one the khan listens to the most is me. I have complete confidence that I can convince her to do anything I ask her to.” He raised a hand to caress Qin Yining’s cheek. “If you submit yourself to me, I will persuade the khan to release you immediately. How about it?
“You lose nothing from this transaction. You’re already married. Even if something happens between us, no one will know if I say nothing. Even if your man pays the ransom to get you back, your virtue will still be untarnished if neither of us tell him, and you will remain exclusively his......”
Qin Yining whacked Siqin hard across the face. She breathed heavily, her chest heaving as she seethed in rage. “Who do you think you are?! You think someone like yourself is on the same level as my husband? What an insult to his name! And you call yourself a man? Despicable!
“Let me tell you, I am a virtuous woman who will not serve a second husband! I will never submit to you! Kill me or slice me to ribbons—do what you will! But if you mean for me to live without dignity as your mistress, forget it, I will not!”
Her slap left Siqin with a split lip. Blood slowly trickled from his mouth and his cheeks stung terribly with immediate swelling.
His ears rang from her strike—he didn't anticipate a woman who looked as gentle as calm waters would be so savage when angered. The nerve of her, slapping someone like him!
“Do you really want to die?!” Siqin spat the blood pooling in his mouth.
Qin Yining smirked frostily. “As I said before, I do not fear death. If you kill me, then you’d only be granting my wish!”
Siqin pursed his lips and glared at her. People who feared and wanted nothing were the most difficult to deal with. They had no inhibitions, rendering any threats against them useless. If there was nothing he could use against her, he had no way of intimidating her. As for compelling her with an incentive, nothing came to mind.
Scaring her with the threat of death was also useless, as she seemed not to care about the prospect of being killed. The only thing that seemed to concern her was whether she was a burden to Pang Zhixi or not.
She was a beauty who followed her heart, yet that heart didn't belong to him. The thought of that was rather depressing. However, Qin Yining likely cared very much whether Pang Zhixi would come rescue her or not, no?
From the reactions Siqin had elicited from Qin Yining thus far, he deduced that such a woman who’d devoted her heart and soul to her man naturally wished for her feelings to be returned in kind. If Pang Zhixi didn't come for her or went through the motions of it, that would break her heart then, wouldn’t it?
Though Qin Yining didn't say so, Siqin had his way of knowing how she felt. Women were creatures of emotion—Anari was this way, so the same could be said for Qin Yining.
He poked at the corner of his mouth with the tip of his tongue, filling his mouth with the taste of blood. He spat in disgust before turning to make his leave.
Qin Yining coldly watched him exit out the door, then relaxed her clenched fists and fell back to sit on her cot. At least she had managed to emerge victorious this round. She rubbed her slightly swollen neck. Her face was the pallor of exhaustion, both physical and mental.
Lying down once more, she pulled the blanket over herself. She was stuck on Tartar soil with a brainless lunatic and a scumbag who loved to play pretend. They could barge in at any second, so Qin Yining thought it best to rest up while she could to restore energy needed to deal with urgent situations at the drop of a hat.
She slept vigilantly. Even if she only got a light sleep, it was better than wandering aimlessly through the desert.
The next morning, the servant girl who’d helped her wash and get changed the day before came back. As she helped the princess consort get dressed, she wore a smile on her face as she chattered at her in the Tatar tongue.
The servant girl also seemed troubled. Her eyes lit up when inspiration struck. She tugged at Qin Yining’s hand and pointed outside the tent.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
I am not dead!! I've just spent the last couple of days getting through a glut of work, both translations and admin-wise. Paperwork sucks, amirite. :( Tomorrow will be a catch-up day!