Behind Qin Yuru, Di Yan tilted his head to look Qi Rongzhi up and down.
There was the shadow of a smile on his amicable face.
He was a step too late and happened to catch Qin Yuru pull Qi Rongzhis hand away impolitely.
Qi Rongzhi looked so upset that the rim of her eyes was red.
Her demeanor was somewhat timid.
It really reminded him of his older female cousin.
He couldnt help himself and stepped forward to greet them.
When Qin Yuru turned his head and saw Di Yan, he said unhappily, “Cousin Brother!”
“Crown Prince!” Qi Rongzhi was rejoicing inside, but she looked more upset than ever.
She turned sideways to perform a curtsy before deliberately dabbing at the corner of her eyes as if she was wiping her tears.
She forced a smile on her face.
To Di Yan, it looked like she was feigning her happiness.
Qin Wanru curtsied as well before saying, “Cousin Brother!”
She then moved aside and observed the three people present with her.
Di Yan looked sympathetic, Qi Rongzhi looked evasive and wronged, while Qin Yuru could barely hide his anger.
She blinked twice, allowing her long lashes to sweep her cheeks, with a faint smirk.
She continued standing there, observing the proper etiquette, and acted as if she didnt notice the conflict brimming between the three of them!
She had just arrived in the capital; she had a lot to attend to.
She had no time to put on a show with Madam Di, much less allow Madam Di to torment her by making her a carer.
Di Yan reluctantly looked away from Qi Rongzhi to turn around and ask Qin Yuru, “Whats wrong, Cousin Yuru”
He couldnt help marveling at the beautiful women in Jiangzhou.
Not only was his cousin a beauty, but so was Magistrate Qis daughter.
Both had their merits and were as lovely as orchids in the spring and chrysanthemum in the autumn.
Qin Wanru was beautiful, but she was still too young.
It was hard to consider her a young lady who had come of age at first glance.
Thus, she wasnt as attractive as Qi Rongzhi!
“Miss Qi insisted on coming here to serve Mother at her sickbed! What a joke!” Qin Yuru said impatiently.
She had noticed how reluctant Di Yan looked when he had to look away from Qi Rongzhi, and it made her feel deeply resentful.
“Why would you want to serve Mother at her sickbed, Miss Qi” Di Yan, finally getting a legitimate excuse to speak to Qi Rongzhi, turned to question the latter.
“It was Madam Di and General Qin who took care of me on behalf of my parents when I first came to the capital.
My parents had repeatedly reminded me of our familial ties and told me to treat them as my own family.
I must be as filial to them as I would my parents.
Now that Madam Di has fallen ill, I must care for her myself, or Ill feel ill at ease!”
Qi Rongzhi replied in a soft voice.
Di Yan nodded.
The admiration in his eyes became even more evident.
What a good-natured woman, he thought.
Even though she came from a small town in Jiangzhou, she wasnt lacking in etiquette by any means.
In fact, her manners were even better than most young ladies from well-off families.
“Since thats the case…” Di Yan said.
Since she was here, she could just enter.
It wasnt a bad thing to have another carer.
Qin Wanru was so young anyway; what did she know about taking care of the sick Qi Rongzhi would be far more dependable.
“Cousin Brother, you must get Mothers permission for this!” Qin Yuru said, hastily trying to stop him when she saw that he intended to agree.
Di Yan was unhappy with Qin Yurus interruption but didnt take it to heart.
Indeed, Madam Shi must be the first one to make the decision.
“Lets enter together for now.
Its quite cold here under the air vent.
Cousin Sisters, how can you withstand the cold when youre all so thin and weak”
Though Qin Yuru was the host, Di Yan went ahead and led them into the house.
It was indeed cold standing in the corridor.
He would have trembled if he stayed a minute longer.
The sky was overcast with clouds today.
Even though it didnt rain, the atmosphere was gloomy and cold.
The sky was overcast with clouds today.
Even though it didnt rain, the weather was gloomy and cold.
Once Di Yan had spoken, he spun around and entered Madam Dis outer room.
Seeing him enter, a helpless Qin Yuru invited Qin Wanru and Qi Rongzhi to come along.
It had been her Mothers idea to have Qin Wanru shiver in the frigid wind.
The group followed the servant past a screen and entered the interior of the house, where Madam Di was taking her medicine.
A young maid was kneeling by the bed, carefully feeding Madam Di the bowl of medicine in her hand.
Madam Dis head was bound with several stripes of plain white cloth.
She looked wan and sallow as she reclined partially on a thick cushion.
The house was permeated with the pungent smell of medicine.
Just a quick sniff was enough to tip Qin Wanru off that Madam Di was just putting on a show.
The medicine that she was taking was just ordinary medicine to treat injuries and with low dosage at that.
It was just the smell that was pungent.
It seemed as if she deliberately ordered the medicine soup to smell worse.
This much was obvious to Qin Wanru.
Under the fog of such intense-smelling medicine, Qin Wanru could smell a strange but indistinct odor.
Her eyelashes came to a standstill before brushing against her cheeks twice.
Her gaze finally fell on the young maid who was kneeling on one leg by the bed.
Such a young maid, she thought.
The maid was more or less her height.
There were so many maids in the house and yet the older female servant didnt step up to take over the feeding.
It was obvious that the young maid was straining herself to feed Madam Di.
Her expression was so tense that even her knee was trembling.
She looked like she was about to collapse!
So, it was all planned!
After everyone performed their curtsies, Qin Yuru stepped forward to take the bowl of medicine out of the young maids hand with the thought of feeding Madam Di herself.
Nanny Zhou tugged on her arm to stop her.
“Oh my, First Miss.
Your height isnt suitable for this.
The kneeling will just discomfort you, and you wont even be able to reach Madams mouth.
Youre a bit too tall for this!”
“But… Im trying to care for Mother.
Shouldnt I personally feed her the medicine” Qin Yuru replied hesitantly, as if she was sincere about helping Madam Shi take her medicine.
Qin Wanru lowered her head and pretended she didnt see Qin Yurus gaze.
She blanked out, looking dumb and foolish.
Right now, she was the only one who could replace such a petite maid.
It seemed that this was the “caring for the sick” plan that Madam Di and Qin Yuru had prepared for her!
“First Miss, youre too tall for this.” Nanny Zhou shook her head with a helpless expression.
“Youd be perfect if youre a little shorter.
Your hand will be able to reach Madams mouth then!”
“Its unfortunate I cant stretch my hand.
Itd have been for the best if I can drink the medicine myself, but sadly, I must ask all of you to attend to me! Looks like I must trouble you all seeing as this little maid wont be able to take this much longer!” Madam Di said with a wry smile.
Without makeup, she looked especially old and tired.
Qin Wanru knew it wasnt just because of her injuries.
These days, Madam Dis life couldnt be compared to when she was in Jiangzhou.
When one encountered obstacles at every corner, that was when one appeared the oldest.
After hearing her words, nearly everyone turned to look at Qin Wanru.
She was the only one that fitted the bill, after all.
Who must step up if not her
Madam Di seemed hell-bent on making Qin Wanru serve her on her sickbed.
Kneeling was just the first step.
What was next Would Madam Di overturn the bowl of medicine and spill it all over her face
Qin Wanru sneered deep inside.
When she looked up, her watery eyes were tainted with coldness.
Her gaze fell on Madam Di and a smile crept onto her face.
“Madam, allow me to do this seeing as Big Sister isnt suitable.
We cant very well ask the Crown Prince to feed you the medicine.
Though Ive heard that sons from noble families in the capital are well-trained in horse stance; even if they must kneel, they can kneel for a long time!”
That said, she took several steps forward and reached out to grab the bowl of medicine.
Di Yan felt awkward.
His horse stance wasnt that good for he had little perseverance in learning and practicing.
Hed be happy enough if he could pull off some resemblance to the real thing.
How could he crouch and feed Madam Di
When Qi Rongzhi noticed Di Yans expression, an idea came to her and she tugged on Qin Wanrus arm.
“Let me do it, Second Miss!”
In her opinion, she would be dispelling Di Yans embarrassment if she stepped forward now.
Naturally, he would like her even more.
In the first place, she had come here for Di Yan.
How could she let go of such a great opportunity to show off her merits
“Thats… inappropriate, is it” Qin Wanru looked at Qi Rongzhi with a hesitant look before glancing at Di Yan.
“How is it inappropriate I came here with sincere thoughts of attending to Madam Di on her sickbed.
How can I turn up my nose at something like this Even if Im a bit taller, I can kneel a little lower.
Im confident I can do this well without enough sincerity!”
Qi Rongzhi took two steps forward as she spoke and snatched the bowl of medicine out of the young maids hand.
She was about to kneel.
“Quick! Stop Miss Qi!” Madam Di hastily said after recovering her senses.
It was truly inappropriate to have Qi Rongzhi kneel and serve her.
Qis Mansion had been harping on previous matters; it wouldnt do for her to give them something new to talk about.
She didnt want to appear even weaker in front of those from Qis Mansion.
Nanny Zhou was a faster responder.
She hastily reached out her hand to stop Qi Rongzhi while crying, “No, you mustnt!”
“Miss Qi, let me do it! Big Sister, hurry up and get me that bowl of medicine.” Qin Wanrus large eyes blinked.
She stepped forward, acting as if she wanted to grab the bowl that Nanny Zhou and Qi Rongzhi were holding.
After hearing what Qin Wanru said, Qin Yuru had no choice but to step forward and attempt to grab the bowl as well.
Thus, the four of them collided.
It wasnt certain who knocked into who or whose hand slipped.
The bowl of seemingly steaming hot medicine spilled all over Madam Di just like that.
Since she was lying on the bed, Madam Di naturally couldnt evade in time.
Seeing that the bowl was about to spill all over her, she panicked and blocked the bowl with her hand.
Following cries of “Ouch!” and “Clang!” and “Argh!”…
Sounds of all kinds mixed to form an orchestra of chaos.
The medicine spilled on Madam Di.
Fortunately, most of the concoction fell on the bed, with only a small part of it hitting her hand.
Even so, the scalding medicine caused her to cry out in pain.
She had maliciously ordered the servants to boil the medicine at a higher temperature than usual with the plan of splashing it all over Qin Wanru.
Who knew she would be the victim instead
It felt as if every inch of her body was connected to this part of her skin.
The pain pierced her heart!
The empty bowl rolled off the bed and crashed onto the floor.
It broke into several pieces, with some being sharp shards.
Qi Rongzhi bore the brunt of the crash and a shard sliced her wrist.
She yelped in pain and fell on the floor.
Nanny Zhou fell on the bedside and had a shard cut her foot.
Qin Wanru, who was leaning behind Qi Rongzhi, pressed her hand with the other hand with great force.
The other piece of shard lay next to her foot.
It seemed that she was also injured.
Qin Yuru was late.
She was the last to join the scuffle.
Right at the moment of the crash, a maid pulled her backward so that she was able to regain firm footing.
However, she was also dumbfounded at the spectacle before her!