Chapter 87: Meeting Once Again (II)
The light in Priestess Liu’s eyes grew even brighter. Whenever a favor was needed, there was money to be had. She’d always felt that one should have a hobby. Life would be so boring without a hobby. Some liked to eat, others liked to be pretty, while some liked money. She loved money.
“Please speak of anything you need, Miss Qin.”
Qin Yining took out two two-thousand tael notes from her sleeves and handed them over to the priestess with both grin. She continued when she saw that the priestess’ eyes had curled into slivers from a wide beam. “You know of what’s happened to my maternal relations, so I’d like to commission forty nine days of soothing rites. Here are thousand tael notes. I hope the priestess will take special care in them.”
“I see.” Priestess Liu blinked understandingly at Qin Yining and counted the bills in hand. “Miss Qin has the best bearing and is most generous. Don’t worry, I will try my best in this matter. You can be at ease with the Sun females residing here.”
“Then I leave this in the priestess’ hands.” Qin Yining retreated back behind the duchess when she saw that her goal had been met. She could understand grandmother’s desire to reduce contact. But she just couldn’t be at ease if she didn’t use some money to ease the way for her family that was currently drowning in sorrow. The duchess understood the effort that Qin Yining was going to and was deeply touched. She patted Qin Yining’s hand with great emotion. Née Sun was surprised that Qin Yining had so much money, but she was happy because her daughter was filial and thinking for née Sun’s family.
Just as Priestess Liu was merrily counting her money, a low, resonant voice spoke up measuredly. “Is this young miss the daughter of Grand Preceptor Qin?”
He’s finally talking to her! Huzi looked excitedly at his master.
Both the duchess and née Sun were a bit surprised. They hadn’t thought that an outside male would address them of his own accord. If he really was someone who abided by the code of manners, he would’ve removed himself from the situation when he saw them speaking. He would’ve never just sat off to the side and blatantly listened in. But since they were in Priestess Liu’s house and she’d asked him to stay, they couldn’t very well forbid the young man to talk. Qin Yining looked over and rested her eyes only briefly on Pang Xiao’s face before curtseying.
“That would be me. This gentleman has a deep shared destiny with Priestess Liu. It’s the second time we’ve met, yet I still don’t know your honored surname, or where you might hail from.”
“My surname is Yao and quite ordinary. I come from the north and am here on business.” Pang Xiao stood up to return a dashing bow and responded with the surname of his maternal relations.
“So it’s Sir Yao.” Qin Yining looked down and didn’t say anymore. Pang Xiao also sat down as well, his heart pounding a bit from his first real discourse with Qin Yining.
Songlan came in at this time and curtsied with a smile. She then walked over to Qin Yining and spoke a few words in a low tone. Not a change flickered over the Qin fourth miss’ expression. She nodded to indicate her understanding and dismissed Songlan after murmuring a few words next to the maid’s ears. The duchess and née Sun didn’t think much of this.
The priestess started chit-chatting with the duchess again, covering some mundane, everyday topics. Although Qin Yining stood next to them, her attention was plainly elsewhere. Her eyes kept subconsciously flitting to the windows and door. Pang Xiao remained quiet, but his attention was on the girl. He guessed that something was about to happen given her movements. An interested smile curled his lips. He knew that Qin Yining was a smart girl and was greatly looking forward to finding out what she was up to.
“It’s getting late, so we…” The duchess began with a smile when she felt the hour was getting late.
However, Qin Yining placed her hand on her grandmother’s shoulder to stop her. “I get along so very well with the priestess. I’d love to stay and chat a bit longer. I don’t think the priestess minds, do you?”
Priestess Liu blinked, not sure how she got along so very well with this noble girl. But since the Qin fourth miss had just given her fourth thousand taels and the Duchess of Ding was to take up residence in the nunnery, there would surely be much more money in the future. With this future revenue, whatever the noble girl said, went.
“Of course not. To be honest, this humble nun feels that I get along very well with Miss Qin as well.”
“Indeed. I find the priestess even more amiable after seeing her. It’s plain to see that we share destiny.” Qin Yining looked around with her charming eyes and laughed. “Has the priestess lived here long? I’ve only just returned to the capital and so don’t understand many things.”
The duchess could feel the faint pressure that Qin Yining was exerting. Although she didn’t understand why her granddaughter had cut her off, she played along. “I remember that the priestess arrived here about five years ago?”
Priestess Liu nodded merrily. “Indeed. I share a deep destiny with the capital. However, my knowledge is shallow and there’s much I can do to improve myself. Sadly, I haven’t had much of an opportunity to do things for others, so I really do feel ashamed.”
“You’re too humble, priestess,” Qin Yining quickly responded. “Your predictions are on par with the ‘Soothsayer’.”
During her time in the world, Qin Yining had heard of a wandering monk in Great Zhou who made unerringly accurate predictions. His title was ‘Soothsayer’. The soothsayer specialized in reading the heavens and predicting what would happen in the mortal world. He’d even read the destinies of the yet-to-ascend emperor of Great Zhou and his two notable generals a few years ago.
History spoke of the Great Zhou emperor Li Qitian, Marquis of Northern Stability Ji Zeyu, and Faithful Prince Pang Xiao swearing brotherhood to each other. They were the rock solid triangle of rebellion against Northern Ji tyranny. According to the soothsayer, one of them represented the ‘Field Marshal’ star, also known as ‘Seven Kills’, and another the ‘Army’ star, also known as ‘Star of Destruction’. The last was said to be blessed with ‘unparalleled fortune’. Li Qitian had taken the throne, so he naturally possessed ‘unparalleled fortune’, while rumors abounded that Pang Xiao and Ji Zeyu were the reincarnations of the ‘Field Marshal’ and ‘Army’ stars. Qin Yining comparing Priestess Liu to the soothsayer was high praise indeed.
Priestess Liu plastered an honored smile on her face, but she started grumbling uncertainly inside. Huzi could barely keep a straight face as he snuck glances at her. Pang Xiao lifted his eyes and calmly sized up Qin Yining. Is this on purpose or not? Does she say this because she knows Priestess Liu’s true identity?
The priestess laughed. “Gods above! This humble nun doesn’t dare accept Miss Qin’s luxurious compliments. I only have a little bit of smarts but have no ability to help people avoid or dispel disaster. What use is there in just being able to talk about something and not do anything about it?”
“You’re too humble, priestess. Foreknowledge is still much better than being completely unprepared.” Qin Yining started chatting about Taoism next and then moved onto where the priestess had lived before the nunnery, and what the local customs were.
Another two hours passed, and the duchess and née Sun were a bit tired. They’d been in the house for four hours now, and their waists were sore. The duchess made to take her leave again, but Qin Yining pressed her down with a smile again before she could even open her mouth. “We have a rare moment of free time today, so why not chat a while longer?”
Everyone sensed how she was acting out of character this time. Née Sun couldn’t hold herself in and hectored with a frown, “What are you trying to do, daughter Yi? Don’t forget that we have things to do at home today!”