Chapter 223: Another Big Present
The duchess smiled at Qin Yining. “Granddaughter Yi, we owe a great deal to you this time. If it hadn’t been for your timely notification, we never would’ve have caught this old fool.”
“Don’t say that, grandmother.” Qin Yining smiled diffidently. “I was useless before and couldn’t help you. When such a good chance to get revenge presented itself, how could I possibly pass it up?”
Moved, the duchess nodded and sighed. “I was wrong to force you to be alliance head that day.”
“Not at all. I understand what you were thinking. You didn’t really hurt me either. It’s all water under the bridge, we don’t need to mention it again.”
Though the girl said this, the duchess still felt that she’d failed as a grandmother when she recalled what she’d done and how Qin Yining had herself a hostage at a crucial moment to help the duchess escape.
Qin Yining’s fifth cousin-in-law and senior aunt were already kicking and punching the grand preceptor. Her second aunt had sunk vengeful teeth into the man, refusing to let go even when she started choking on a mouthful of blood.
Revenge was finally at hand for the innocent Sun males!
Though Grand Preceptor Cao was in pain, he couldn’t move as his acupoints had been sealed. He could only yell gutturally and suffer the abuse.
The duchess rose, immediately followed by the four men by her side. The latter glared hatefully at the grand preceptor. “Alliance Head, what should we do to this ass of a fool?”
Smiling faintly, the duchess stepped firmly on the grand preceptor’s face and ground her foot in. She looked at Qin Yining. “Granddaughter Yi, what do you think I should do?”
The Qin fourth miss looked at the man on the ground. “Grandmother, it was due to his and the trampress’ words that the emperor had the idea of moving against my senior cousin. That further led to the disaster that descended on the Suns. He’s our greatest enemy! It’s naturally up to you what should be done now that he’s been caught. I support whatever you decide.”
With her quick mind, Qin Yining knew that her maternal grandmother wanted to probe what the current Qin attitude was. She didn’t want the others to misunderstand her father, nor did she want his quiet efforts in the shadows to really fade into the background.
“Who knows how much effort all of us have put in for this day? Justice is finally served and we have our vengeance! My father says that we can continue on peacefully only when we have our revenge. This applies for both the Qins and the Suns. Thankfully the heavens are just and villains receive their share of karma in the end!”
Grand Preceptor Cao glared viciously at Qin Yining when he heard this. The violent light in his eyes would’ve materialized as a dagger and gotten a few stabs in if it could’ve.
She wasn’t afraid in the least. She actually smiled, as if comforting the old man. “Don’t worry, gramps, your family is all dead and your line ended. You won’t be lonely in the underworld.”
Desolate agony crossed the grand preceptor’s face and blood trickled from the corners of his mouth.
Qin Yining stooped in front of the old man. “Didn’t you flee through a secret passageway when you heard that the Prince of Ning had entered the city? Hadn’t the thought of your entire family being doomed to death already occurred to you then? Tsk tsk, you’re a true man alright! Job well done! It seems that those who accomplish great things do indeed have to be ruthless!
“Honestly, if you’d shared a quick word with your family and encouraged everyone to escape together, a few of you really might’ve made it out in the chaos. At the very least, your family line wouldn’t have ended.”
The girl picked up a handful of dirt and showered it onto the grand preceptor’s eyes, ones that bulging out at her with anger. He instantly closed them in pain.
“But what a pity that you were too selfish to. And so, the Caos have been completely uprooted. Don’t worry, you won’t have an easier death than Cao Yurou. It’s only fitting that you share your daughter’s end, no? Oh right, I have one more thing to tell you.” She leaned down, her smiling tones piercing through the man’s eardrums.
“Do you know what your greatest mistake was?
“You probably don’t know that the rare book and coral the prince gave you is actually ours.”
Grand Preceptor Cao’s eyes widened at this. Ignoring the pain of sand and dirt in them, he glared at the girl through a film of tears, the wounded roars of a wild animal ripping from his throat.
Qin Yining laughed gaily. “Oh please, someone with brains like yours should never try to outwit my father! Do you think you had us against the wall with the missing silver from the Ministry of Revenue? I thought so too at first, but when I couldn’t find father’s beloved Yan Zhenqing book in his study, then thought of how much you like calligraphy, I suddenly understood why the prince had gone to bow submissively to you. I knew this day would come. Cao Bingzhong, you’ll die a well deserved death!”
“Huff! Huff!” The grand preceptor couldn’t speak through his sealed acupoints. The only thing he could do was scream gutturally from his throat.
He finally understood, he understood everything now! He’d been overly confident and thus underestimated Wise Pan An. He’d forgotten that this title wasn’t just for show!
It was too late, everything was too late!
Though the others didn’t know what had happened, they could tell from the Qin fourth miss’ words that Grand Preceptor Cao’s current predicament were a result of a Qin Huaiyuan scheme. Thus, no one bore any lingering suspicions against the marquis. They only felt gratitude instead!
“Get him, get him!”
The womenfolk could resist no longer and surged forward, kicking and punching the petrified grand preceptor on the ground. Some tore harshly at his flesh with their teeth, refusing to let go even sprayed with fresh blood.
Qin Yining’s senior aunt opted for grabbing the grand preceptor’s hair and smashing his face repeatedly into the ground. “You filthy bastard, burn in hell, burn in hell!! Give me back my husband! Give me back my Ming’er! Give me back my relatives-in-law!”
Née Sun had gotten a piece of wood from somewhere; it was used for bolting doors shut. She smashed it murderously onto Cao Bingzhong’s legs and body. Even now she couldn’t forget the day her family’s manor had been raided, the farewell her father and brothers had bid to the rest of them.
The destruction of her family had been the start of all her bad luck. Her father and brothers dying had bereft her of support and was the source of countless nightmares that terrified her awake in tears.
She’d once thought that she would have no place to vent her bitter hate, but one had presented itself today!
The women encircled the grand preceptor as they vented their emotions, blows still raining down even when their victim was dead. Judging from their momentum, they wanted to pound the old man into meat paste.
The duchess remained on the sidelines all this while, a slight smile gracing her face while her hands formed tight fists within her sleeves. She didn’t feel anything even when her nails drew blood after piercing through her skin.
As she watched a pool of blood slowly spread over the ground, the tight knot of rage and hate in her slowly loosened, giving way to a loss of purpose.
“Granddaughter Yi, you probably don’t know that the pursuit of revenge was the only thing that kept us alive during this time.” The duchess turned and walked towards the back, holding the girl’s hand. The four men were hot on their heels. Mu Jinghu quickly took a place next to Qin Yining.
“Now that we’ve served justice with our own hands, I suddenly feel empty. The driving force behind clenched teeth that kept us going during this time has stilled, but what’s to be our purpose in our remaining days?”
“Why, find a quiet place and live happily with my aunts and cousins-in-law, of course. Live out your lives peacefully and occasionally think of grandfather, my uncles, and cousins. See the world that they didn’t have a chance to see. That would still be a fulfilling life.”
The duchess stopped and grasped Qin Yining’s hands firmly. “You’re right. Our revenge has been exacted and I shouldn’t continue to nurse this grudge. Those who are gone have passed on. It’s fruitless to keep holding onto what can’t be changed. What we can do now is live on.”
“That’s right.” Qin Yining smiled faintly.
The duchess smiled into the girl’s clear eyes. “Then, darling Yi, how about I give you Azure Justice?”
Qin Yining blanked.
The four men behind the duchess also froze. She looked back at them with a smile. “I originally formed the alliance because one, the title of the Duke of Ding could recruit many like-minded people. Second, I had my own goal of using the power of many for revenge. Many of those in the organization wish to topple tyranny.”
“Alliance Head…” The leader of the four was a tall, buff man just over thirty. “We understand your intentions, but Miss Qin is still the daughter of the Marquis of Anping! Her father is an official and we’re rebels…”
“My granddaughter is smart and resourceful. She has the brains to lead everyone onto the right path. Our original intent was to bring peace and prosperity to the people. Everyone knows what kind of person the marquis is, and our goals don’t actually conflict with the Qin operandi modus.”
Celebrating three years of translation! Check out how to trigger a bonus chapter here!