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Chapter 155: A Rampaging Qin Yining (I)
She'd only spent a night away from home and hadn't had time to pay her respects to née Sun. What had happened now?
Out in the yard, Jin-mama and Caiju were flanking née Sun in support. The madame's face was covered with tears, but she was pointing at Qin Huining.
"…you rotten conscience and heartless whelp! What do you gain from framing me?"
Qin Huining had tumbled to the ground with loud sobs, but her voice raised in protestation was even clearer than before.
"Why be this way, madame! The voodoo doll wasn't found in my house! I had the best of intentions when I came to deliver snacks, but the madame… How can I cover up something like this! It was the old dowager's birth date on the doll! Now that the old dowager has fainted from anger and her condition is yet unknown, you only know to yell at me! If the madame really is filial, why aren't you worried about defending yourself instead of looking in on the old dowager…"
Qin Huaiyuan circled past the decorative wall at the entrance and cut off Qin Huining with a frown. "What voodoo doll?"
"My lord!" The crowd in the yard greeted unanimously.
Qin Yining walked slowly to née Sun, supporting a madame almost beside herself with distress. She whispered, "What's wrong, mother? Speak slowly, don't be in a rush. Father will stick up for you."
Née Sun was both furious and frantic, and still weak from newly recovering from a cold. When Qin Yining and Qin Huaiyuan had yet to return, she could just barely manage to hold on with her willpower. But now that she saw her daughter, her habitual dependance and trust welled up, and tears trickled down sadly from reddened eyes.
Qin Yining quickly fetched a handkerchief and directed a question at Jin-mama. "What happened?"
"Miss Huining came by with hard rice porridge that she'd cooked herself and small plates this morning." The old servant finally felt a bit more on solid footing now that the fourth miss and lord were back. "The madame thought kindly of their old relations.h.i.+p and allowed her to enter with her maid. Everything was fine until Miss Huining's maid suddenly found a voodoo doll beneath the luohan bed cus.h.i.+on. The maid was helping Caiju organize the covers and cus.h.i.+ons. Needles were stabbed into the doll, which had been labelled with the old dowager's birth date. Miss Huining cried loudly and came to tell the old dowager of this."
Jin-mama's look at Qin Huining was filled with hate.
"This servant told the madame a long time ago that this is an ungrateful backstabber! But the madame dwelled on their many years as mother and daughter and still let her in. She didn't express any concern when the madame was to be executed. She didn't come either when the madame was sick. She came by with breakfast for no reason today, and this happened! She's obviously trying to frame the madame!"
Qin Huining was kneeling in front of Qin Huaiyuan now and sobbed out, "Please look into this, father! What reason would I have to hurt mother? Even if I'm not her blood and flesh, I'm still a daughter of the main branch of the family! Even if mother is biased towards sister Yi, I've never gone short for clothes or food. I have no reason to harm the madame! Does father think that I'd be that dumb as well? Having my people do this moments after visiting? Isn't this dumping s.h.i.+t all over myself? Please believe me, father. I'm not that stupid!"
The foster girl's teary eyes were filled with wounded innocence. Her fingers were curled piteously around Qin Huaiyuan's hem. She was crying, but trying to force herself into calmness at the same time. It was truly a sympathy-evoking sight.
Qin Huaiyuan whisked the edge of his robes away with a frown and quickly walked up the stairs. "How is the old dowager? Have you called for a doctor?"
"We just did," Jixiang responded. "The fourth miss' Bingtang has already come by as well. She said that it's a matter of great anger at an elderly age, that it wasn't serious."
The diagnosis set Qin Huaiyuan at ease and he quickly went inside to see his mother. Qin Yining helped née Sun inside as well.
"Don't fret mother, just leave everything to me."
Née Sun nodded. Only fury was left after sorrow had drained away.
"I'm such a complete fool! She took née Cao for her foster mother as soon as the concubine entered the manor and doesn't see me as her mother at all. But here I was, thinking that we were mother and daughter for fourteen years. That no matter how unfilial she is, we still have some love for each other. To think she would hurt me in this way!"
Her words were deeply vexed and pained. The second and third madames were off to the side. They were also mothers, and chills travelled down their backs when they considered the possibility of a child they'd raised using voodooism to hurt them. Their looks at Qin Huining filled with despise.
The old dowager awoke slowly when Bingtang finished her acupuncture treatment. The maid packed her things and stood behind her mistress when she saw that Qin Yining was here.
The Qin matriarch stared blankly at the people around the bed for a while, then burst out in hurt tears when she saw that her son was present.
"You finally know to visit your mother! Your wife is trying to kill me! You may have no time for me normally because of court, but you've come back at the perfect timing today, huh!"
"Don't be angry, mother." Qin Huaiyuan took the teacup that Qin-mama offered and helped his mother sit up, feeding her warm water with the other hand. He continued gently, "It's my oversight. There have been many things to take care of outside these days. The Great Zhou envoy is still here and there are some things to wrap up after the successful peace talks. I have indeed been so busy these days that I've barely had time to sit down. I wasn't purposefully not coming to greet you, mother. Please understand."
Qin Huaiyuan was the old dowager's most beloved son, and she understood very well after listening to his explanation and thinking of his awkward straits at court. Her anger subsided slightly, but it exploded again when she looked past his shoulder and saw that Qin Yining was helping née Sun to a round chair. "Meng'er, I know you're filial. But if you're truly my son, then you'll divorce née Sun today, that vile woman!"
Qin Huaiyuan started frowning anger. "Don't be angry, mother."
"Don't be angry? How can I not be?! Née Sun hates me and made a voodoo doll to condemn me! If it wasn't for granddaughter Hui discovering it, I would've died one day without knowing anything! Your wife is a hen that can't lay eggs, lacking in virtue and filial piety, and possessing a venomous heart! If you see me as your mother, then divorce her immediately! There is only room for one in this family!"
The old dowager's face was ruddy from her yelling and continual smacks against the bed frame. The jade embedded gold rings on her fingers connected loudly with the wooden frame, each blow a shuddering hit onto the heart.
Née Sun started crying wordlessly when she heard the old dowager voice such heartless words. Her hands and feet were numb as she sat on the round chair and the scene dimmed before her eyes. She leaned weakly on Qin Yining, beside herself with sobs.
When had she, Sun Haihan, fallen to such lows that the mother-in-law who'd once fawned over her would force her to the edge? Her family was no more and of no further use to the old dowager, but did that erase the help that her father and brothers had once given Qin Huaiyuan when he asked for her hand in marriage? Even performers 1 and prost.i.tutes wouldn't be as cruel and unkind as the old dowager!
And to think that Qin Huining had once been the old dowager's most favored granddaughter. Indeed, it rather looked like Qin Huining had learned a great deal about looking out for herself and pursuing self gain!
Née Sun felt even more like a failure. She hadn't taught her daughter well and couldn't win over the hearts of others. Her expression grew more and more twisted, and her fingers started spasming as well. This alarming development immediately had Qin Yining turning to Bingtang, "Take a look at my mother!"
Bingtang quickly held née Sun's hands and started pressing down on acupuncture points. "The madame is beset with anger and is suffering from heart palpitations!"
The good mood that'd wrapped itself around Qin Yining had utterly vanished by now. No one would simply stand aside when they saw their mother being bullied thus. She knew that her father would have a way to convince the old dowager, but that would only result in a temporary respite, which was still an equally frustrating situation!
Qin Yining gnashed her teeth as she looked at Qin Huining and pounced at the foster girl, taking everyone by surprise. She flung a solid punch at Qin Huining's eye.
"Ah!!" Qin Huining shrieked with pain.
Before anyone could react, Qin Yining had already grabbed the foster girl by the collar and had thrown her onto the ground, kicking and punching without thought of her image. There was only one thought in Qin Yining's mind at the moment.
I need to kill this ungrateful piece of s.h.i.+t!
What thirty six stratagems, what hiding a knife in one's smile, use what brains?! There was nothing more satisfying than directly taking the life of someone as shameless as Qin Huining!
This wasn't a good occupation back in the day. ↩