Qin Yining started assessing her surroundings. The room was very big and its four walls were made of yellow mud and wood. The furnishings inside were very simple, with most of the goods inside either of pottery or carved wood.
She was lying down on a large heated brick bed with fine cotton bedding. The designs on the cloth were extremely delicate, seeming to be mysterious yet auspicious symbols. However, none of the commonly seen pictures of flowers, birds, or symbols for fortune could be found.
Where was she? Had Lu Heng brought her out of the desert to save her life? But the deserted part of the desert was ever-changing and didn't have easily identifiable landmarks; it was impossible to retrace the route that they’d taken.
Moreover, the style of the building and designs of household items didn’t seem to resemble those of either Great Zhou or Tartar. Qin Yining twitched her fingers, feeling that she’d recovered some of her strength. Her head didn’t feel as muddled as before, and even the pain in her throat and her cracked lips were in a much better condition.
Exceedingly curious and grateful that her condition had improved, curiosity flooded into the princess consort. She’d thought that she would lose her life, but had unexpectedly lived on. Just as she was about to take a closer look at her surroundings, the wooden door suddenly creaked open.
When she looked toward the sound, a tall man dressed in long red robes came into view. He seemed to be about forty years old with naturally wavy hair done up in a tidy bun on top of his head. His features were deep-set with a distinctive, high nose bridge. His robes were made of fine cotton, decorated with the same complicated foreign design that matched those on both the bedding and household items.
As he slowly approached, his black eyes focused on Qin Yining, the gaze in them unwavering and adoring, as if they were staring at some priceless treasure. “You've awoken!”
Qin Yining was shocked. This person spoke the language of Great Zhou! The accent was even of its southern region, close to Great Yan. Was she already back in Great Zhou?
When she only looked at him silently without replying, that man smiled. “Have you not yet fully recovered yet?” He didn’t wait for her reply, clapping thrice instead.
Two maidservants in long robes of greyish-green and neatly upswept hair walked inside the room. They curtsied toward that man. “Your Grace.”
“Mm, go serve the goddess.”
“Yes, Your Grace.” The two maids walked slowly toward Qin Yining.
The princess consort was completely muddled. This one was a prince?
She couldn't recall any current prince of Great Zhou that was of his age and looked like this, not to mention in Great Yan. However, for the former Northern Ji, apart from the crown prince who would inherit the throne, his brothers were conferred the title of ‘His Highness the Imperial Prince’, while their children would be titled ‘His Grace the Commandery Prince’ and each given a fiefdom.
Could this uncle be a commandery prince of Northern Ji? Even stranger was that he called her ‘Goddess’! What were these people thinking? How was she a goddess?
While Qin Yining was preoccupied with her thoughts, the two maids came up to her and greeted her with a curtsey.
“Goddess, we maids will help you bathe. The kitchens have prepared a meal for you, and you can eat after you have dressed.”
She almost blurted out the question of why they called her a goddess, but managed to resist the temptation to immediately question them.
Qin Yining felt sticky all over anyway, so she should first bathe before she could eat. As the two maids helped her stand and head toward the side room, the so-called prince also followed behind them.
Noting her follower, Qin Yining wrinkled her brows and looked backwards. The prince seemed to be intimidated by her stare and slowed down his steps. However, the expression in his eyes as he looked at her remained fervent.
She greatly disliked that overly-passionate gaze. He looked just like someone who hadn’t eaten for a while and was suddenly presented with a feast of seafood and meat. To this person, she was a sacrifice ready for the slaughter.
However, given the need for clarity about the situation, Qin Yining didn’t dare to say anything to anger him either. She needed to continue observing the situation before deciding on her next steps. She also needed to find out where the other Minou tribesmen were. Thus, she didn’t say anything and let the maids help her into the side room.
The side room was similarly spacious with high ceilings. The furnishings were all crude but were marked with a simple elegance. Decorated by unique patterns or totems, they imparted an exotic feel to the room.
The maids led Qin Yining behind the screens and helped her up three wooden steps. The platform held a wooden bathing tub partially sunken into the platform. Mist arose from the hot water within and a wooden dipper floated on the surface; two towels as well hung from the side of the tub.
Qin Yining said, “You may leave now.”
“Goddess, your body is still frail. Please allow us to serve you while you bathe.” As they spoke, the two maids bent down in a deep, formal kowtow.
Although Qin Yining had once been wealthy, she wasn’t the type who was comfortable receiving such great courtesy from other people. She reevaluated her current condition: she felt much better, but didn’t have the strength to bathe alone. Moreover, she still wanted to ask about the situation here. Thus, she nodded in agreement.
The two maids were extremely pleased. They quickly made another deep bow, then carefully helped Qin Yining take off her clothes and step into the bathing tub.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Qin Yining lives a charmed life doesn't she lol. First she was a holy girl, now she's a goddess!