Chapter 81: Enthusiasm to Help
When Qin Yining and Bingtang stepped into the Garden of Loving Piety, Qin-mama was waiting anxiously beneath the hallway roof. She quickly walked forward to meet them and spoke in a low voice, “The old dowager is keeping the senior madame company. The senior madame is still in a faint and the old dowager is extremely anxious. She’s gotten even more so with your absence.”
The old servant’s meaning were clear. “I was afraid that the doctor wouldn’t get here in time because of the distance,” Qin Yining explained as she wiped off some sweat from her brow. She turned to Bingtang to urge the girl on. “Go take a look at my mother.”
Bingtang nodded once, and broke into a trot. Qin-mama was touched by Qin Yining’s great worry. It would seem that in times of crisis, one’s own daughter is always the most useful. It didn’t seem like Miss Huining was greatly upset at recent events at Ding Manor. The old servant had also carefully asked around just now and learned that it’d been the sixth miss who’d delivered the message to the ancestral hall. The sixth miss was well known to have a long-standing friendship with Miss Huining, so the message’s true intent and mastermind were no mysteries to solve.
Qin-mama sighed. “Don’t worry, miss. The senior madame is likely just overly saddened. We have to experience all sorts of good and bad in life. Life is only complete after weathering trials and disasters, no? Don’t be sad, just comfort Senior Madame well.”
“Qin-mama speaks truly.” Qin Yining nodded and continued with a wry smile. “To be honest, I really am panicking. Although I haven’t returned home for long, my maternal relatives were the second closest group of people I had other than our own family. Now that such a situation has occurred, I don’t feel good about it either. But as a girl, there’s not much else I can do.” The two had reached the top of the stairs. “All I can think of is to comfort mother well so that she won’t be sad for long, and being a filial granddaughter to the old dowager. That’s all.”
“Indeed, miss.” The old servant nodded at the young girl’s words. She knew that Qin Yining was mature beyond her years and was in no danger of acting rashly. The old dowager had been worried that the fourth miss would do something extreme for her maternal relations. It seemed that had been a superfluous worry.
By this time, Bingtang had taken a look at née Sun, and met Qin Yining at the door with a report. “Senior Madame seems to have fainted due to extreme sorrow. We can try just having her rest well and take some calming medicine when she wakes.”
The old dowager finally heaved a sigh when she heard that there was nothing seriously wrong with her daughter-in-law. She can’t blame me for anything even though she’s fainted in front of my doors. She rearranged her face into a dark expression, “Forget it. Let her rest after taking some medicine. We can talk about the rest later.”
The old dowager didn’t want to end up saddled with the reputation of an evil mother-in-law either, but née Sun had been too offensive earlier. She had even called her an old hag! And now she couldn’t even take née Sun to task?! Well, she couldn’t very well throw a fainted daughter-in-law into the ancestral hall as punishment, could she? Not to mention that everyone knew disaster had just befallen née Sun’s family. She sure knows when to faint! She doesn’t faint earlier or later, but right at this moment! The old dowager glared at the unconscious née Sun before stalking out with a cold expression. She didn’t speak a word to Qin Yining.
Qin-mama followed her mistress out and quietly conveyed Qin Yining’s words from earlier. The old dowager’s dark expression lightened slightly after hearing this. “At least she’s mature.”
Back inside the house, Qin Yining dismissed all unnecessary personnel and left only Bingtang guarding the door. When she saw that the coast was clear, she whispered softly next to née Sun’s ear, “Mother.”
Née Sun’s eyes shot open, glancing around quickly to make certain that no outsiders were present. She sat up and pulled urgently on Qin Yining’s hand. “Daughter Yi, did you make all the preparations?”
“Yes. I thought of a way to get word out. Don’t worry, mother. I just need you to pretend to be in a faint for now, or I’m afraid the old dowager will immediately punish you.”
Née Sun’s eyes started to spill tears once again at that, but she didn’t dare cry too loudly for fear of bringing the old dowager back to her doorstep. She covered her mouth, muffling her low, heartbreaking sobs. “Your maternal grandfather’s family died such a horrible death! Now look at how your paternal grandmother is acting. She wants me to cut off all relations with my own family! Your grandfather’s body isn’t even cold yet, but she wants to divorce me already. How could I have such a hard life to marry into such a family…”
Née Sun’s depression grew with every word. Qin Yining could only pull on her hand to comfort in a low tone, “Mother, no matter how the old dowager acts, at least father is a good one. The truth is, I gave secret orders to hire out the female side of the family and arrange for grandfather and the others to receive a proper burial. Father knows about all this, and he even tacitly authorized me to take care of it all.”
“Is that true?” Tears still streaked née Sun’s face as she looked hopefully at Qin Yining.
She nodded. “It’s just that father is in a delicate position because of his identity. He can’t do anything himself, so he can only authorize me to do it. Mother, you should be understanding of his difficulties.”
“Naturally, I am.” Née Sun felt a bit better after hearing that, and nodded firmly.
“So you must be strong and live well with father. Grandfather and the others will be gratified if they see you living a good life. If even you aren’t getting along well, how will you have the energy to take care of grandmother and the others? The people I’ve sent have already taken grandmother and the others to my business. Now that grandfather and the men are no longer here, we should try to help the womenfolk more because we have the ability to, no?”
Née Sun nodded once again, the first bit of resolution entering her eyes. Qin Yining relaxed minutely when she saw that familiar stubborn glimmer. “The harder the difficulty we run into, the stronger we need to become. The dead have passed on, so it’s up to the living to shoulder greater responsibility.”
Née Sun was immensely touched by these words, and tears filled her eyes again. The girl smiled. “Don’t be sad, mother. Take advantage of this respite and take a nap. I’ll keep you company here.”
Née Sun looked at Qin Yining’s beautiful and gentle eyes as she gently helped her mother lie back down. She was secretly touched by the tenderness, but this positive emotion turned to grave disappointment when she considered how Qin Huining hadn’t even come look at her. Née Sun unknowingly fell asleep as sorrow, gratification, disappointment, anxiety, and fury chased each other round and round in her heart. Meanwhile, Qin Yining took a seat on the rug just by the bed and leaned forward, resting her head in her arms. She badly needed a nap.
The house grew quiet as the bustle faded. The candlelight flickered, throwing shadows onto the gridded windows. A soft sigh echoed outside the rear window, and a figure leaped up onto the roof. It paused for a second before bounding forward, silently navigating the rooftops to land soundlessly outside the Qin Manor.
Hidden behind a large tree, Huzi glanced around before greeting his master. “You’re back, master. Everything had been arranged, but our people were a step too slow. The bodies had already been retrieved in what seems like several stages. I’m about to investigate to see who did it.”
Pang Xiao took the greatcloak that Huzi handed him and swirled it around him before responding quietly, “No need. She did it.”
Huzi made a sound of surprise. “You mean the Qin fourth miss?”
A tinge of humor rose in Pang Xiao’s eyes, and his normally sharp eyes softened for just a moment. “She’s clever, knowing to do it in different waves.”
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