Qin Yining wasn't about to passively suffer Anari's attacks—she caught the whip mid-swing. Despite the burning pain of the whip's barbed hooks digging into her hand, she stared unflinchingly back and held on tightly.
Qin Yining's grip was like a vice. Infuriated, Anari yanked her whip back several times, but to no avail. Their struggle over the whip brought the two even closer.
"Let go!" The khan hissed, teeth gnashing.
"Khan, as a woman, it’s normal to invest parts of yourself and feel jealous of others in the name of love. This I understand.” Qin Yining's beautiful eyes bore into Anari. “However, the khan is no ordinary woman. What's more, you are Tatar's master. Now that you occupy the throne, your nation must come first above all else. You can no longer spend all of your time indulging in the matters of your heart.
"I can tell you this: there is something very wrong with your consort. He has no interest in me, yet he continues to set me up to be misunderstood by you. His popularity among the common populace of Tatar also prevails over your own. As for what his intentions are, do you really need me to break them down for you sentence by sentence?"
Anari's pupils contracted violently, her voice shaking as she shot back, "Vile slander!"
"I’m not speaking nonsense and the khan knows this all too clearly. My words strike you in the heart precisely because you feel the same!" Qin Yining voiced the bald truth, but it wasn't out of mercy for Anari, who was the enemy of Great Zhou.
Truthfully, she pitied this tyrannical, emotionally-paranoid woman. Anari was too simple-minded and no match for Siqin. Through the duration of Qin Yining’s stay in Tatar, she’d seen through the khan consort’s motives. After putting two and two together about the history he and Anari shared, she genuinely felt sorry for the khan. Alas, Anari was blinded by love, her heart filled with jealousy. Siqin's moves behind her back escaped her completely.
Should Anari heed Qin Yining's warnings and raise her guard against Siqin, that would render Pang Xiao's enemy as less of a threat. The Great Zhou couple stood to lose nothing from such a turn of events, and it might even help this woman. So there was nothing bad in it for Qin Yining.
But if Anari insisted on going down this wrong path and continued to grant Siqin this much power, then there was nothing she could say.
Anari's lips trembled as she fixed her glare on Qin Yining, her eyes so widened that it looked as if her skin would rip apart. "Don't even think about driving a wedge between me and my consort! You think you can make him yours and replace me like this? Dream on! Tatar belongs to me, and so does my consort! Who the fuck do you think you are?!"
As soon as she finished, Anari tossed her whip away and grabbed Qin Yining by the throat.
Caught off guard, Qin Yining ignored the whip and scrabbled to make Anari loosen her grip. The whip had pierced the tender skin of her palm earlier—her right hand left a large patch of warm, slippery blood on Anari's arm.
Startled by the sudden sensation of Qin Yining's touch, Anari's hold on the other woman's neck faltered. The princess consort saw her opportunity to strike—she kicked Anari away in one hurried motion!
Taking a blow to her stomach, the khan gasped in pain and stumbled back a few steps before falling on her behind. Meanwhile, Qin Yining coughed uncontrollably, the blood from her hand dying her collar and sleeves crimson—even the front of her jacket and skirts were speckled in blood.
Anari burst into wrathful rage, shrieking before rushing at Qin Yining once more to grab her neck again. The princess consort hastily reached out a hand to stop her.
At this very moment, the gently closed door to Qin Yining's quarters was pushed aside. Siqin entered in long strides, only to see the women in mid-scuffle. The sight of the two with bloodied hands and clothes left him astounded.
"Khan! Calm yourself!" Siqin quickly strode forward and swept Anari up in a hug from behind.
Anari swiped her arm out to scratch Qin Yining’s face, completely mad. "Bitch! You bitch!"
Qin Yining blinked a few times, the sarcastic smile she directed at Siqin's performative actions not even reaching her eyes. This cunning man continued to wear a mask of utter devotion. How could someone like him be compared with the likes of Pang Xiao and Li Zeyu? What an insult to their names!
"I beseech Consort Siqin to take good care of the khan." Qin Yining tapped a bloody finger against her temple. "She seems to be not quite right up here," she continued dryly. "Perhaps you should have your best doctor take a look at her."
"You! How dare you continue to provoke me! Siqin, kill her for me!" Anari thundered as she shoved Siqin.
Her shrill shrieks stabbed into Qin Yining's eardrums, the look of insanity contorting her features sending chills down one’s spine. Was someone with an easily-triggered temper like Anari really suited to be the khan? Didn’t that mean she would be led by the nose for the rest of her life?
Qin Yining made sense out of everything that had just transpired; she even suspected Siqin was employing certain nefarious methods to make Anari act this way. Normal people weren’t nearly as volatile as she was.
Siqin drew Anari into his arms and inspected her hands. Seeing that she was unharmed, he heaved a sigh of relief. Instead of meeting Qin Yining's look, he murmured, "Khan, you must remember your noble status. If your subordinates see you like this, rumors will spread like wildfire. What will become of your reputation then?
Already enraged, Anari's fury blazed even hotter at his words. She growled, "If you want me to feel better, then kill her this instant!"
"Khan, didn’t I tell you last time? We can’t kill this woman yet."
"You continue to stand up for her?"
"Khan, I am doing no such thing. Calm down."
Anari lost control of her temper, screeching, "You've fallen for her after all! Everything you said to me before was complete lies!"
Qin Yining didn't understand what they were saying, but there wasn't much else they could have been arguing about, so she had an inkling of what was going on.
In the end, Anari was so riled up that she stormed out, taking the troop of guards at the door with her as she left.
Only then did Siqin look at Qin Yining. Seeing the blood dripping from her hand, he turned back to address the old mamas tasked with watching over her. "Call for a doctor."
The granny servants were there on Anari's orders, but having seen the spat between the consort and the khan, they followed his commands without question and immediately went to locate a doctor.
Siqin spoke no further. Arms crossed, he stared as the doctor cleaned Qin Yining's bloodied hands and dressed her injuries, leaving only after her wounds were bound. He didn’t speak a single word to Qin Yining, not even sparing her a glance. She could tell Siqin didn't care if she lived or died in the slightest. However, it seemed Anari had immediately caught wind of her husband calling a doctor for the foreign princess, for her doors were locked once again.
Sitting by the fire, Qin Yining wrapped a blanket around her and fell into deep thought. If this continued, her life would be very much endangered. Siqin was intentionally provoking Anari to send her to her demise!
Things were exactly as she thought.
After midnight, Qin Yining had just fallen asleep when her doors were suddenly pushed open. A swarm of guards seized her, muffling her with a tattered rag and binding her with ropes before carrying her out without breaking a sweat.
Standing outside her quarters was none other than Anari, She gave a dry laugh, then commanded, "Take the slut away!"Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Oho, that's something to be considered. Is Siqin drugging Anari? That'd explain so much.