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Chapter 220: A Message
Qin Yining gave some instructions in a low voice.
Jiyun picked up a rock and threw it randomly, crying out, "These are Great Zhou a.s.sa.s.sins! Get them!"
The crowd's anger flared and hands grabbed rocks, wood, rotten vegetables, and any other items that could be thrown.
Qin Yining, her father, uncles, and cousins backed away with their men, silently appreciating the a.s.sa.s.sins slowly clobbered to death by all manner of projectiles.
"The emperor can't blame us now," remarked the fourth miss.
"d.a.m.n straight he can't!" Qin Han couldn't bear to remain on the sidelines any longer and charged forward, rolling up his sleeves to imitate the civilians. He grabbed a wooden club and flailed around wildly. Qin Yu also rushed forward with reddened eyes.
Qin Huaiyuan on the other hand, had a tightly furrowed brow, his mind obviously with the Prince of Ning.
"Father's worried about things at the palace?" Qin Yining spoke portentously, "If I were father, I would be taken out of commission because of overwhelming emotions, then have men secretly hunt down the Caos."
Qin Huaiyuan, the second and third elder master whipped their heads around to look at the girl.
"The Prince of Ning is cleaning house and taking care of the trampress." Qin Yining chuckled darkly. "Isn't it quite understandable that the Cao Manor would be razed by a mob of furious citizens at the same time?"
Qin Huaiyuan nodded and suddenly collapsed on the second elder master with his eyes closed. "Alright, I fainted. Hurry and take me home."
His two brothers looked at each other. A beat later, distressed wails sounded and a large furor was raised to take the Marquis of Anping back to his residence.
Meanwhile, Mu Jinghu remained slack jawed with shock. I think I just saw a female fox… Those two belong together alright!
With the enormous mess in the city, those who didn't fear trouble came out to watch a good show; even more shut themselves up tight to avoid being dragged in, gathering their family together and nervously praying against more chaos developing.
With Mu Jinghu and Jiyun protecting her, Qin Yining turned a cold eye to the a.s.sa.s.sins being beaten to death by the crowd. When they fell to the ground, covered in blood, merciless feet further stomped the life out of them.
Qin Yu and Qin Han put everything they had into their blows. Endless strength surged in their limbs when they thought of their dead family, refusing to stop even when their robes were drenched with sweat. They itched to pound all of the a.s.sa.s.sins into meat paste.
There was nothing further to be worried about here. "Our business here is concluded," Qin Yining said. "Come, we should make a trip to Steward Zhong's."
"Understood." Jiyun had no questions and helped her mistress into the carriage. While she took a seat inside, Mu Jinghu perched on the shaft. He craned his neck around curiously when the groom drove through the streets. Something like the royal family cleaning house wasn't an occurrence that everyone had the fortune to witness in their lifetimes.
The groom picked a secluded, more circuitous route to the Zhong's. The steward was quite surprised to see Qin Yining arrive in person.
"Miss, didn't you head up the mountain today?" He welcomed Qin Yining in and bade tea be served. "You don't look too well, are you feeling better?"
"I'm fine, I just need some rest. Some things happened today, but thankfully they've all been taken care of. Have you seen the madness in the city?"
Steward Zhong seemed to still be caught up with fright. "I'll say! I thought something was going to go down when the prince charged in. I had all of our stores close up shop for the day. I just arrived home myself."
The steward personally served tea when it was delivered, dismissing the servants and forbidding departure from the residence. Qin Yining accepted the tea with thanks, sipping some to wet her throat.
Her brief overview of what'd happened on Mt. Jadecloud today stunned the grand steward. He murmured, "You caught all of the a.s.sa.s.sins, miss?"
"We got them all. When we entered the city just now, the citizens angrily surrounded the captives when they understood it was Great Zhou a.s.sa.s.sins. I'm afraid the a.s.sa.s.sins have probably been beaten to death. My father is under orders not to kill them, but he couldn't do much against the infuriated crowds. Plus, anxiety and anger attacked him when he heard that the Prince of Ning had surrounded the palace. My second and third uncle took my father home after he fainted, which is why I have time to come visit you."
Though this was how she presented things, how would someone as sharp as the grand steward not understand the connotations within? If something really had happened to Qin Huaiyuan, how would Qin Yining be in the mood to visit and chat?
Affability wreathed the steward's expression as he internally threw a thumbs up for the Qin father and daughter schemes. He rolled a big, fat, hairy eyeball at the heartless emperor but mouthed words that smacked of righteousness.
"No wonder the marquis fainted from his worries. Even regular citizens such as me were scared out of our wits when the prince charged in with his men! The prince has always acted according to his own whims. If the emperor… ai! What to do about all of this!" He shook his head with worry.
Qin Yining dimpled. Steward Zhong is such a wonderful person.
"It's not our place to worry about what happens with the emperor. Though I wish I could help him, I don't have the ability to. I can only pray that his fortunes and benefaction run deep." Qin Yining clasped her hands together and made a gesture of wors.h.i.+p towards the skies.
Steward Zhong imitated her with a smile.
The scene of pious loyalty was ruined when the two looked at each other and burst out in laughter.
This was the one of the best days that Qin Yining had had recently. She whispered to the grand steward after a bit of thought, "There's one more thing we need to take care of. With the Prince of Ning cleaning house, the Caos won't get off lightly either. They might try to flee. My maternal grandmother and relatives surely aren't in the city these days and may not know what's going on. Try to get word to them if possible." She lowered her voice even more. "Tell them that a chance has been created at last, and that they should grasp it tightly."
The steward had long since known that the alliance head of Azure Justice was the d.u.c.h.ess of Ding. But it was a rebel organization at the heart of things. It would put Qin Yining at a grave disadvantage if this became public knowledge; she might even be killed for it. Thus, he'd never dared speak about it.
It had indeed been the d.u.c.h.ess' arrangement for the alliance to come to the Qins' aid when they were attacked by Zhou a.s.sa.s.sins. Because of what had happened, the d.u.c.h.ess was still loitering around the outskirts of the capital. The steward also knew where they were.
"Alright, this brooks no delay. I'll deliver the message personally." He had an urge to rub his hands. It felt like the times were changing.
"Be careful. The prince's operation isn't a small matter. It's too chaotic inside the city now, make sure you have your house locked up tight. There might be some who waiting to take advantage of the mess to get rich quick. We have to stay on our guard in times like these."
The fourth miss' words drew the steward back down to earth. He nodded rapidly, "Thank you for the reminder, miss. I forgot about my own family in my excitement. I'll take care of this shortly."
"Wonderful. Tell my maternal grandmother to keep on eye on the various exits the Caos may have in the area. A family like theirs will certainly have some secret pa.s.sageways in case they ever need them. They'll come out in unsuspecting locations, but the exits won't be too far away from the capital. But with how smart my grandmother is, I'm sure she'll think about this without me reminding her. Additionally, please tell her to leave quickly after she takes revenge. Don't relax her guard just because she's achieved a long-term goal."
"Don't worry miss, I'll bring all these words to them."
Qin Yining gave a few more instructions before feeling a.s.sured that she'd covered everything. After leaving the Zhongs, Mu Jinghu asked, "Are we going to watch the show?"
"Watch the show?" Qin Yining smiled. "My ident.i.ty is a bit too special. I'd love to, but I have to avoid situations like these."
Mu Jinghu frowned with great regret. "What a pity, royal conflict like this is a rare sight, one that I haven't seen before!"
His childish words teased a smile out of the fourth miss. It was very difficult to imagine that someone like Pang Xiao would have a friend as pure and somewhat simple as the gentleman.
Because he had to keep watch over Qin Yining, that ruled out Mu Jinghu having a grand time on the streets. He escorted her back to the manor.
In the palace, the empress' trembling body was curled up in the emperor's arms, her tears having soaked through the shoulder of his robes.
"Your Majesty, I'll stay, you go! The Prince of Ning obviously wants your throne. I'll stay behind to handle him. You should think of a plan and hide!"
"What kind of words are these? How could I leave you behind?" The emperor cuddled the empress, pressing their cheeks to each other.
Sounds of fighting outside the hall grew ever louder. The prince's rough voice roared out, "Royal brother, hand over that s.l.u.t! I must give an accounting to the people. I won't lay a single finger on you!"