Née Sun's expression remained as obstinate as ever, her words sounding as if she was squeezing them out of the gaps between her teeth.
"I've truly had enough! Old Dowager is the matriarch of the house who should be maintaining peace between her sons and daughters! Why is it always you who is instigating trouble?! What bone do you have to pick with daughter Yi that you must harm her so?!
"First, you encourage the eighth lass in fantasies of worming her way into my son-in-law's heart. Did you consider how the sisterly bond between the eighth lass and daughter Yi might be affected if she fails in becoming a concubine? Did you even think about how the two of them and their families are supposed to get along with one another if it did work out?
"You are displeased? You are displeased? You think your son is not filial enough? Let me tell you something. Never mind the others—as Yining’s birth parents, we feel ashamed of ourselves living in this house, for daughter Yi bought it with her own money!
"The family lost all of your possessions on the way here! Had daughter Yi not purchased this manor beforehand with her own private savings out of concern that her parents and uncles would lose face and quietly transferred ownership of this place to us, our entire family would still be renting!
"You do nothing to add to the family’s industries while eating out of daughter Yi's hand and living in her house. Our daughter does not seek your gratitude, her only wish being to fulfill her filial duties. And you?
“She has been kidnapped, we don’t know whether she’s alive or dead, yet you stab her in the back like this! The way I see it, you don’t even care about whether your granddaughter lives or dies! You are her grandmother! Where is your humanity?!"
"This, this ludicrous insolence!" The old dowager furiously pounded the edge of her mattress. "Meng'er, if you are the one I raised, you will divorce her! Divorce her!"
"Divorce me? By all means, please do! I've seen through you all! When my father and brother were still alive and the Duke of Ding at its prime, who was the one who came grovelling to us to arrange a marriage? I certainly wasn’t the one who was in a hurry to marry into the Qins!
"After I carried daughter Yi in my womb for ten months and gave birth, why did she go missing? Who will compensate us for the suffering caused by fourteen years of separation?
"You look down on me because I cannot bear you a grandson. You look down on me because my family has fallen out of power. When my family was persecuted, you were shameless enough to allow the trampress’ sister to marry into the family!
"When the entire family was left tightening their belts because of a natural disaster, my daughter did the hard labor of hunting and chores—despite starving herself! She saved all her provisions for you, but not only did you not feel for her, but you licked your chops and ate her pet rabbit! The little runt was only the size of a palm, yet you had no trouble swallowing it down! Have you no shame?!
"You enjoy domestic bliss, but instead of treasuring what you have, you elect to incite discord among your children’s marital affairs! Do you think me to be a mute just because I do not say anything? A divorce would be wonderful! My mother's business in the south has flourished for a long while, so it isn't like I have no home to return to! In fact, I would rather like to tell others how a grandmother like you treats her sons and daughters!" Finished with her rant, née Sun spat harshly and turned to leave.
Qin Huaiyuan's brows had already scrunched into tight furrows. He pulled née Sun back. "Don’t go. It’s dangerous outside, what with the war beginning......"
"Let go of me!" Née Sun shook Qin Huaiyuan's hand away in one swift motion, tears streaking down her face. "Qin Meng, I have been with you for so much of my life already. Through all the grievances, pent-up frustration, and danger, I have stayed by your side and endured them all with you.
“I have tolerated all that I should and should not have, yet your mother looks down on me for not bearing you a son. I have also welcomed one woman after another for you. Though it makes me jealous, I still care about the years we have been together as husband and wife. Since when have I ever forbidden you from taking concubines?
"Your mother is indeed doing what mothers do and looking out for her own children and grandchildren, but I am a mother as well! I only have Yining, and I was a fool for not treating her well before. Now that she’s gone missing, my heart feels as if someone has ripped it out of my chest and roasts it over an open fire!
“And now your mother seeks to sabotage my daughter's marriage for the sake of another granddaughter! Am I to just accept that someone is trying to bully my daughter? If you’re a real man, then divorce me this instant! Since you can’t leave the capital, then I’ll go! I’ll go to Tatar and find my daughter!" By then, née Sun was crying so hard that her voice shook too much to continue on.
Qin Huaiyuan's eyes were also rimmed in red. Paying no mind to née Sun's fierce struggles, he slowly raised his arms to draw her into an embrace.
"Alright, alright, I am the one who did not do enough. We aren’t young anymore and your health isn’t worth sacrificing for all this crying. We still need to live to see our daughter have sons and daughters of her own, do we not?"
Née Sun wouldn't have minded it if no one comforted her, but as she clutched at Qin Huaiyuan's lapels and leaned against his chest, taking in the faint fragrance of ink, she finally broke out wailing, pounding his chest hard as she did so.
"This is all your fault! Why must you be an official?! You bend over backwards for the Qin family, but why is my daughter to be sacrificed?! My daughter isn’t even seventeen. She’s still so young!"
Née Sun bawled her heart out and sobbed, venting all of the worries, grievances, and resentment she had kept bottled up for so long. Qin Huaiyuan rested his chin against the top of her head and allowed her tears to soak his collar as his eyes turned even redder.
Watching the couple so, the second madame also grew choked up and wiped tears away with a handkerchief. She recalled the disaster that had taken family and servants away from her, unable to suppress the wave of grief that washed over her.
The old dowager stared at them, dumbstruck. In all the years since née Sun had married into the family, she had never acted in such an obscene manner. How dare she hog Qin Huaiyuan’s chest and cry like this?!
Her firstborn hadn't consoled her when she was crying just now!
The old dowager pursed her lips and began whimpering again. "Such sinfulness," she prattled on, "unfilial child, unfilial child......"
The second elder master rubbed at his temples. Seeing that his older brother was ignoring their old mother, he braced himself and sat along the edge of the bed, handing the old dowager a handkerchief.
"Mother, don't be sad. You are the matriarch of our family and have crossed more bridges than all the roads we have traversed. You think of your children more than anyone."Previous Chapter Next Chapter
You go née Sun!! Blast the crap out of this greedy, grasping old woman!
Aaaand we're back! The events of the past week kinda derailed my schedule majorly after the family wedding... apologies!