Chapter 563.2: Morning Court (1)

The second and third elder master, as well as the second madame all stood awkwardly off to the side, feeling even more uncomfortable when they saw Qin Huaiyuan’s expression grow increasingly unsightly.  

The third elder master quickly spoke up, “Big brother, please don’t take it to heart. Mother’s getting on in the years, her mind’s a bit muddled these days.” 

When the old dowager heard this, she immediately threw a cushion at him. “You little bastard raised by a filthy concubine! When did it ever fall upon you to pass judgment on me?! Get out!!” 

It wasn’t wrong to call the third elder master a concubine-raised son. However, during the years of the Yan Dynasty, apart from some household expenses covered by Qin Huaiyuan and the second elder master’s monthly stipend, the large majority of the family’s expenses all came out of the third branch. The third elder master and deceased third madame had both contributed very much to the family over the years. 

Now that the old dowager conveniently forgot everything his branch of the family had done and cursed people at the drop of a hat, the third elder master finally reached the end of his patience. 

“You say that elder sister-in-law hasn’t taught her daughter well, but I wonder what kind of person could teach an official mother as heartless and ungrateful as you!” He stood up with a cold snort. “You never remember what others do for you and turn them out on the street the second something goes against your wishes. How are you fitting to be a family’s old dowager?!”

“Outrageous, such insolence! Someone throw this evil fiend out!” 

“No one needs to do that, I don’t want to waste another second looking at you either! Since you’ve never considered me as your son, neither shall I further waste my time treating you as my mother!” The third elder master whirled around in a huff and stalked off, pausing at the door.

“Elder brothers, you also witnessed what happened. Rather than me being unreasonable, it’s the old dowager being too vicious. Although you are her sons related by blood, you should be careful not to let the old dowager instigate disharmony. If us brothers turn against each other, the entire family will fall apart.” 

Clutching her chest, the old dowager went into a coughing fit and jabbed an accusatory finger at the third elder master. Only after his departure via a furious brandish of the door curtain did she stop and spit furiously at the ground. 

Apart from Qin-mama, only Qin Huaiyuan, the second elder master and his wife remained. 

“Mother is wise and knows how to judge the situation, so I won’t say too much. I’m sure mother has thought of all these matters. Your son will be taking his leave.” Qin Huaiyuan stood up and bowed before leaving. 

The old dowager didn’t spare a glance for Qin Huaiyuan from start to finish. But when the corner of her eye caught him leaving without looking back even once, the flames of anger burned even more fiercely in her heart. 

The son she had once doted on the most now no longer cared for her; this was all because of his wife and child! She’d wasted all these years on him!

Sadness suddenly overwhelmed the old dowager and she pulled the second elder master aside for a good cry. 

“I must have been born under an ominous star! I’ve never had a single good day after marrying into the Qins. Back then, your father…” 

There was no other choice available to the second elder master but to listen silently. As resigned as he was, the old dowager was his blood mother. He could neither hit her nor curse her, just endure her antics.

On the other hand, these age-old complaints and tired phrases had long grated on the second madame’s ears. She felt disinclined to pay attention to the increasingly unreasonable old dowager and quietly took her leave. 

When she exited through the door curtain, she saw Qin Huaiyuan standing in the corridor with his hands behind his back. Pausing, she walked over with a sigh.

“Brother-in-law, please don’t be sad. Mother’s getting on in the years and her mind really isn’t as sharp as before. Sometimes, she becomes delirious and says things she doesn’t mean.” 

Qin Huaiyuan exchanged greetings with his sister-in-law, keeping three steps of distance between them. 

“Sister-in-law is right. As her children, whatever mother says, we can only listen.” 

The second madame grasped the meaning behind Qin Huaiyuan’s words. Since the old dowager didn’t make the decisions in the family anymore, what did it matter what she thought? She was able to assume great airs only behind closed doors at home.

“Has my niece already arrived at the imperial manor with His Highness?” she asked worriedly.

“Indeed,” Qin Huaiyuan smiled at the second madame. “His Majesty is gracious and benevolent. Our family will be able to reunite soon.” 

During their idle chatter earlier, Qin Huaiyuan had constantly brought up the emperor’s magnanimity. Alarm bells rang loud and clear in the second madame’s heart; she knew to nod and play along. “Quite so, His Majesty has always treated His Highness dearly.” 

By now, the entire senior generation of the Qin clan understood the situation. As relatives by marriage, they were all under close imperial surveillance and every move reported to the emperor. 

If even they at home were like this, what was there to say about Pang Xiao’s group that had just returned to the capital?  

Who knew what kind of inescapable net had been draped over the imperial manor? Qin Yining and Pang Xiao were most likely under strict surveillance without any freedom to speak of. 

Just being monitored wasn’t much cause for concern, but most important was that they had no clue what the emperor would do next. Thus, it was imperative that the family carried on just like any other day, spending their days in a hubbub of noise and activity. 

However, Qin Huaiyuan didn’t sleep well that night. He didn’t dare share the news with the in-laws at this critical juncture. He could only hope they were smart enough to refrain from emerging out in the open at this time. If they couldn’t resist the urge, they might very well be captured as hostages for the emperor to threaten Pang Xiao with. 

Qin Huaiyuan and the second elder master rose early the next morning and headed for the palace to attend morning court. Their sedan chair had just reached the palace gates when a group of imperial guards suddenly blocked their way.

“Milords, please wait a moment. The Faithful Prince and Princess Consort of the First Rank are arriving. Our lines will move again shortly.” 

Qin Huaiyuan had been resting in the sedan chair with his eyes closed when he heard the news. Eyes snapping open, he raised the window curtain to look outside. 

He could just barely make out Pang Xiao’s entourage slowly rolling to a halt not too far away in the dense crowd. 

The prince deftly jumped off his horse before walking back to the luxuriously decorated carriage behind him, personally lifting the heavy embroidered curtains and carefully supporting a splendidly dressed Qin Yining off the carriage. 

Although his daughter had lost a lot of weight and her face was pale, at least she was safe and sound. Qin Huaiyuan’s tense heart could finally settle as he heaved a surreptitious sigh of relief.

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etvolare's Thoughts

Alright, I'm ready for things. It's about to go down.