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Qin Wanru stood outside the room instead of entering it. To the maids who came up to her, she waved as an indication not to greet her, but to keep quiet.
"What happened last night? Why was Yuru still out and about at that hour, and worse, to meet Qi Tianyu? How is she to save her reputation as a decent young lady?" the angry voice of Old Grandma could be heard from within the room.
Following that, there was the sound of something being broken into pieces, which Qin Wanru suspected that Old Grandma must have smashed her teapot out of rage!
"Mother, Yuru went out yesterday to purchase those Chinese medicines I needed. She wore the curtained hat because she was afraid people might recognize her. She didn't expect to b.u.mp into Qi Tianyu on her way and he demanded her for an explanation, which was why Yuru followed Qi Tianyu to the restaurant. Yuru didn't set up her meeting with Qi Tianyu!"
Inside Old Grandma's room, Mrs. Qin was kneeling and pleading.
"Purchase Chinese medicines? Why would you need those medicines at that hour? And why do you let a young girl run this errand for you?" Old Grandma said with anger and disappointment.
"Initially, the general was supposed to help me settle the issue of the medicines. They were meant for us to bring to the capital city. When I checked our supply the other day, I realized that the quality was not the best. I decided that I should go to the shop these two days to get the top quality supplies to be brought to the capital tomorrow. There was not to be any delay, but I was not feeling well and couldn't get up from the bed. Yuru couldn't bear for me to make the trip, so she secretly went out in the night, thinking that no one would notice. Who would have expected Qi Tianyu to still be guarding outside our gates?"
Mrs. Qin was weeping to the point of choking on her tears, as she said, "General, you also know about this, don't you? I told you yesterday, but you didn't take it to heart. I had no other choice but to send Yuru out to do it!"
Mrs. Qin turned to look at Qin Huaiyong.
Qin Huaiyong's face was ashen. His wife indeed mentioned this to him before, telling him that these medicines were to be gifted to some important people they would be meeting in the capital. Qin Huaiyong was waiting for the opportunity to be posted back to the capital and going around to present these gifts was necessary for helping him achieve his goal. He did not take it to heart because he had been too busy recently.
"It is true, Huai?"
"Yes, Mother. It is indeed true," replied Qin Huaiyong, frowning. The rumors which had been going around was getting worse, but they had been positive about them dying down over time. However, the rumors had turned for the worst because of last night's incident.
"Although it was an urgent matter, there was no need for Yuru do go out personally. If you had told me, I would have sent someone to collect the medicines!" said Old Grandma, who was not ready to forgive Mrs. Qin just because she sounded reasonable and even had her husband to testify for her.
"There's already chaos in the house, coupled with the fact that Old Grandma was getting old. Even in an emergency situation, I, as a daughter-in-law wouldn't dare to trouble Mother!" said Mrs. Qin pitifully.
"I didn't think this was a big deal and Yuru rea.s.sured me that everything would be alright. Who would have expected Qi Tianyu to be at our gates..."
"Alright, let's stop talking about this. From now on, don't let Yuru out of the house. You should restrict her whereabouts!" said Old Grandma, whose patience was wearing thin. Nothing much could be done for now except to keep Yuru's movements restricted. Her reputation in Jiangzhou was totally ruined.
"Yes, Mother, I will do that and not allow Yuru to step out of the house lest Qi Tianyu brings harm upon her!" Mrs. Qin wiped at her tears as she tried to push all responsibilities away, making it look as if Qin Yuru had been framed.
"Alright, alright, you may go!" said Old Grandma impatiently.
At this juncture when the conversations in the room almost come to an end, Qin Wanru indicated for the maid to go into Old Grandma's room to inform her of her arrival.
"Old Grandma, Second Miss is here!" reported the clever maid who went into the room after she got the hint from Qin Wanru.
"Alright, you may go!" Old Grandma hurried Qin Huaiyong and his wife along with a wave of her hand when she heard Qin Wanru was here.
"We will take our leave, Mother!" said Qin Huaiyong, nodding. He got up to leave as a maid helped Mrs. Qin up from her kneeling position.
"Please let Second Miss in!" instructed the Old Grandma.
Upon hearing the Old Grandma's instruction, the maid quickly led Qin Wanru into the room, but she b.u.mped into Mrs. Qin, who was on her way out. Mrs. Qin walked up to her quickly and held on to her hand, with tears in her eyes and gave Qin Wanru a pained look.
"Wanru... I must have misunderstood. I thought you wished to marry Qi Tianyu, otherwise would not have asked you to be engaged to him even if your sister was unwilling."
Qin Wanru had the urge to shake off her hand but restrained herself. She snorted in her heart as she thought that Mrs. Qin was indeed quick-witted to want to cover up this entire misunderstanding.
"Mother, how did you even conceive this misunderstanding in the first place?" asked Qin Wanru as she blinked and tried to sound innocent, staring at Mrs. Qin.
"I... I took the words of Mammy Fang as the truth, and thought you had the intention... who would have thought that she was spouting nonsense. She almost broke our mother-daughter relationship," said Mrs. Qin, looking concerned, as she pushed all the blame to Mammy Fang, who was already dead, so she could not verify her words.
"But I'm your own daughter! How could you believe the words of a maid? Moreover, shouldn't you consult me over such an important matter?" said Qin Wanru, who also put on a pitiful expression. She looked from Mrs. Qin to Qin Huaiyong and started tearing up. Qin Huaiyong who saw the little girl with teary eyes began feeling sorry, guilty and pained.
"As a mother, why were you unable to make some sacrifices for your own daughter?" Qin Huaiyong could no longer hold back his rebuke.
He had always doted on this little daughter. Although she was not her real daughter, he had always treated her as one of his own. He felt he had done her injustice.
"It really because of the nonsensical words of that old maid. Wanru, I'm sure you won't blame me for this?" said Mrs. Qin, looking all regretful and heartbroken. If Qin Wanru had not found out the truth about their relationship, she would still be thinking that Mrs. Qin was her real mother. In her previous life, it was precisely this look on Mrs. Qin's face that slowly led Wanru to her destruction.
Although Mrs. Qin was rather sharp in telling a person's mind, today she was going to see it all wrong.
"I won't hate you for this, Mother. I understand you have to take care of elder sister and me, and your health wasn't too good, so you just can't overexert yourself. It's only understandable that you can't be taking care of every little detail, and it's forgivable if some trouble befalls elder sister and me!" said Qin Wanru, looking sincere.
She looked so sincere when she said these words. In fact, this was her true sentiment in her previous life.
Every time something bad befell Qin Wanru, Mrs. Qin would give her an apologetic, heartbroken look. Qin Wanru used to think that Mrs. Qin was her biological mother and would always forgive her in the end.
At this moment when Mrs. Qin saw that Qin Wanru was once again taken in by her words, she was rather proud of herself, so she smiled and said, "I'm glad you don't hate me. Both your elder sister and you are like my own flesh and blood. I don't wish any one of you to be hurt. It's all Qi Tianyu's fault. Let's not raise this issue ever again, but treat each other in the way we used to!"
She lifted her handkerchief to wipe the tear from the corner of eyes, trying to look like a loving mother.
Looking at the hypocritical Mrs. Qin, Qin Wanru snorted in her heart. The loving mother her mother was trying to portray herself to be, had eventually pushed her to her death in her previous life. However, Qin Wanru was no longer that ignorant little girl anymore. She was keen to see how this loving mother would continue to pretend to be loving. Qin Wanru was going to expose the real her under her mask so she would stop bringing harm upon her without any sense of guilt.
"Don't worry about me, Mother. Elder Sister is the one who needs more care now!" Qin Wanru retracted her hand and bowed respectfully at Qin Huaiyong and said as she was getting up, "Father, do you think Mother had overworked herself? Elder Sister and I had been adding too much burden to her. How about you arrange for her to have more human resources for help?"
Things happened because she could not handle these worries.
Qin Yuru stirred up the commotion yesterday because she could not handle these worries.
The rumors which were going around outside were humiliating. Even Qin Huaiyong, who was an insensitive man, was beginning to feel the embarra.s.sment and was starting to feel uncomfortable leaving the house.
Qin Huaiyong's face fell.
Mrs. Qin immediately felt uncomfortable when she heard Qin Wanru's suggestion.
"If you're too busy, you can ask Aunt Xu to share your burden. Not only are you not managing the household well, but you also didn't raise your daughters right!" Qin Huaiyong said to his wife coldly, looking severe.
At this moment, Mrs. Qin suddenly thought that it could be a mistake to keep Qin Wanru by her side.
Aunt Xu used to be Qin Huaiyong's personal maid, but after Mrs. Qin married into the family, she was elevated to a higher position of a concubine. However, she maintained a low profile because she eventually did not give birth to any children for Qin Huaiyong.
"I..." Mrs. Qin had intended to showcase herself as a loving mother when she b.u.mped into Qin Wanru at the door, but now she had been made into an incompetent mother who did not raise her daughters well nor manage the household well. There was no way she could defend herself since a series of unfortunate events happened one after another, and for this reason, she felt frustrated and wronged. At the same time, she could sense that this little girl was no longer the obedient daughter she used to have.
Suddenly, everyone heard Old Grandma snorted in her room and this interrupted what Mrs. Qin was about to say.
"Let's go now, didn't you say you were going get the physician to have a look at Yuru?" said Qin Huaiyong, walking out in strides.
Mrs. Qin had no choice but to follow behind her husband, but before she left, she threw Qin Wanru a vicious look as a plan started forming in her mind. She would not allow this little girl to manipulate her, she would rope in help from Qi Tianyu, now that Yuru had given him an explanation which he seemed to accept.
He could be said to be this little girl's archenemy. She would be squashed under his feet.
Qin Wanru first greeted her grandmother respectfully when she finally entered her grandmother's room. She could see that Old Grandma was looking very unhappy, but tired at the same time. She walked up to her, stood behind her to give her a shoulder ma.s.sage. As a young girl, the fact was that she did not have the strength to give an effective ma.s.sage, but a smile broke out on Old Grandma's face when she saw how hard Qin Wanru was trying.
Old Grandma reached out to hold Qin Wanru's hand and led her to sit down beside her.
"That's enough, you may stop ma.s.saging my shoulders, I'm not tired!" said Old Grandma with a smile.
"I can see you're tired, grandma, let me ma.s.sage you a little bit more! Autumn has arrived and the weather would be turning colder by the day. By giving your aching shoulders a ma.s.sage, you will feel better!" insisted Qin Wanru, who had a determined look in her eyes. She stood up again, intending to continue with ma.s.saging her grandmother's shoulders.
"Old Grandma, Second Miss is indeed such a filial granddaughter. She knew that your shoulders can't take the cold and insisted on giving them a ma.s.sage," Mammy Duan added. Mammy Duan was Old Grandma's most competent maid who had served her for many years and would naturally know Old Grandma's thoughts the best.
Mammy Duan's words comforted Old Grandma and elevated her mood. "Nowadays, only this little girl would remember this, as for the others in this house..." Old Grandma commented with a hint of sadness.
At this point, sadness filled her face.
"What about the others in the house? Aunt Shui is always concerned about it. Have you forgotten about her, Grandma?" said Qin Wanru, pursing her lips as she felt that Shui Ruolan had been treated unfairly and wanted to speak up for her.
The main reason for her visit today was in fact because of Shui Ruolan.