Chapter 572: Moving (I)

The second elder master quickly recovered from his daze and rapidly shook his head.

“What are you saying, big brother? We’re one family here. I’ve never properly thanked you for all the times when I basked in your glory, there’s no reason or need at all for you to apologize to me!

“Be it raging thunderbolts or the gentle spring rain, all are the favor of our liege. Whatever can we subjects do when His Majesty desires for something to be? You aren’t allowed to speak like this anymore, big brother, or you’d be setting yourself apart from your younger brothers.”

“That’s right, senior uncle,” Qin Yu piped up. “We only need to concern ourselves with obeying the imperial decrees that His Majesty sets for us. Our family endured so much in Great Yan that it’s already an enormous blessing to be safe and sound and gathered in one place. It’s not a bad thing to be ordinary people or avoid being embroiled in the politics of court.”

“I feel the same way too,” Qin Han added. “What could be better than our family peacefully living out our days together? After experiencing everything that we’ve gone through, I feel that all honors and status are but fleeting clouds.

“The greatest fortune available to man is to see our loved ones alive and living together. As for all other wealth and prestige, well, they blaze gloriously when we are noble and powerful, but are consumed in a hot flash when someone else wishes to take them from us. We came to terms with it long ago and set aside such pursuits.”

The Qins had suffered such disasters in Great Yan and lost so much of the family. Anyone with any empathy would remember the grief for the rest of their days. Though there weren’t many who’d set all secular desires aside like Qin Han, they shared his feelings when he mentioned what the family had once endured.

Caught in the grip of emotion, Qin Huaiyuan’s nose twinged and he nodded.

“When it comes down to it, it’s my unsuitable behavior at court that elicited His Majesty’s disfavor.”

The old dowager stopped crying when she heard this and tugged at her son’s sleeve. 

“Meng’er, explain yourself. Why has His Majesty suddenly stripped you of office? What unsuitable thing have you done? You’re no spring chicken and you were prominently employed—you were tapped to enter the inner council! Why have you suddenly fallen out of favor?

“Can it be…” She looked suspiciously at Qin Yining. “Why have you been deposed as soon as granddaughter Yi returned? Does it have something to do with her?”

Neither his brothers nor nephews had blamed Qin Huaiyuan, yet not only was the old dowager not gratified by her children pulling together in times of trouble, she was the first to jump out and point fingers!

Pang Xiao was highly displeased by this, especially as the old dowager was attempting to cast all the blame on Qin Yining. But before he could speak, née Sun had already risen to her feet to take her daughter’s hand.

“These words hardly make sense. My daughter is but a woman and received rewards from the emperor himself. All of the honors borne by the rest of the family’s women don’t add up to what Yining possess. How can the affairs of men be her fault?

“As you're used to being the head of the household, Old Dowager, you should focus on how best to perpetuate an atmosphere of harmony among the Qins. What will others think when you mouth only these kinds of words?”

The old dowager flew into a rage and shoved all thought of anyone else out of her mind. She leveled a finger at née Sun’s nose and wagged it with incredible fury. “Shut up, you shameless harlot! It’s all because of the idiot you are that we’re in these straits!

“How talented is my Meng’er?? He is the Wise Pan An! Showered with accolades wherever he walks, the emperor treasured him so greatly when we first arrived in Great Zhou! This is all your fault, it’s all because of you! If it wasn’t for a fool like you, how would my Meng’er be robbed of his career?!”

Satisfied by her spontaneous bout of cursing, the old dowager beat her chest and burst into loud sobs. She covertly observed the crowd’s expression through her tears and cried with increased suffering when she saw that Qin Huaiyuan didn't show the slightest inclination of stepping forward to comfort her.

"I finally raised my son to adulthood, but his career and future are no more! There’s no reason for me to live anymore, no reason!”

Her loud wailing gave Qin Yining a headache and her brows knit together in a tight frown. As an outsider, it wasn’t appropriate for Pang Xiao to lecture the mother of the father-in-law that he beheld with great respect. Besides, Qin Huaiyuan was indeed the woeful victim of the prince’s affairs in this matter.

Li Qitian was sure to vent his wrath on all related parties after the failure of the day’s schemes. That Qin Huaiyuan and his faction hadn’t censured the prince during the court session was cause enough for resentment. As for Ji Zeyu… who knew how the emperor would seek vengeance from him?

Unconcealed worry crept onto his handsome face when Pang Xiao’s thoughts traveled here. Meanwhile, the second madame and second elder master were busy consoling the old dowager.

Née Sun tugged on her daughter’s hand. “It's too noisy here to be a good environment for you. Let us go.”

It further added to Qin Yining’s stress, but she relaxed slightly when she saw that her father remained coolly composed, as if not caring about anything taking place in front of him. She followed her mother out of the main hall and toward the doors. The old dowager’s wails were so piercing that they still shook the rafters even when the two were outside.

“She was never grateful or content when our family was prosperous,” née Sun grumbled. Your second and third uncle haven't said anything, even though they’re heavily impacted by your father's being deposed, yet she's the one who starts carrying on. Is this how one acts as a mother?!”

Qin Yining wrapped her hands around née Sun’s arm in comfort. “Let’s just keep this to ourselves, mother. If we talk about this in front of father, he’ll be saddened.”

Née Sun nodded and sighed. “Don’t dwell on these irritating things, my dear. You live for two now, so just focus on your health. Look at how skinny you’ve gotten on this trip! Your complexion isn’t looking that good either.”

This was already a Qin Yining who’d received abundant nourishment on the way back to Great Zhou. How badly would née Sun have cried if she’d seen her daughter in the desert?

When the old dowager’s sobs weakened, Pang Xiao was the first to lift the door curtains and leave. He was followed by Qin Huaiyuan, the second and third elder master, Qin Han, and Qin Yu. The second madame, second wife, eighth miss, and Qin Huining remained inside to comfort and console the old dowager.

“Since we’ve come under imperial suspicion, it’ll be nigh impossible for us to change this perception,” Qin Huaiyuan said. “As opposed to living our lives hobbled in everything we do, we might as well adopt a carefree attitude and be who we want to be.”

The second elder master nodded. It only took a bit of careful thought to identify the funny business at court today. The emperor was undoubtedly ready to burst after failing to eradicate Pang Xiao and having to graciously reward Qin Yining at the same time. He would naturally find an excuse to vent his fury, which was why they, as Pang Xiao’s in-laws, had come under the knife.

We should be thankful that Li Qitian is at least a relatively clear headed person. If they’d been under the rule of the dog emperor of Great Yan, an imperial decree to raze the family to the ground would’ve arrived instead. At least they’d evaded that kind of disaster.

“What plans do you have in mind now, big brother?” asked the second elder master.

“I’ve been tired in body and mind for a very long time now,” Qin Huaiyuan sighed. “I have only one daughter and hope to play with my grandchildren in the future. I don’t care about anything else. Today, the emperor places me in the same camp as His Highness, so his suspicions won’t change no matter what I do. In that case, I might as well live with a bit more nonchalance.”

He turned to Pang Xiao with a smile. “Zhixi, what do you think about your mother-in-law and I moving to your manor?”

Pang Xiao lit up at the suggestion and nodded rapidly. “That’d be wonderful! Father-in-law, there’s nothing I’d want more! The manor is large and it’s always more fun for the family to be together. My darling would be happy too and that would be good for her health. There could be nothing better!”

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