In a luxurious manor decorated with gold and jewels, tables were being flipped and porcelain vases crashed to the ground. Parchments were thrown onto the ground, as ink spilled like blood.
"M-Master, please!" The servant dressed in brown begged on his two knees, with his palms touching the ground. He was folded over, with his forehead touching the hard floor.
"What do you mean they are dead?!" Marquis Qin roared. His furious voice traveled down the hallways, waking up everyone.
"T-the ship miraculously showed up at the harbor, b-but everyone on board had been drugged." The servant shivered at the horrific memory. The Qin guards were notified that a ship with the Marquis's sigil carved to the side of the boat was sighted near the harbor.
A few servants were sent out to fetch the cargo, but when they got there, they were greeted with a sight that turned their faces pale. There were men lying on the deck with blood staining their teeth and lips, dripping down their chins. It seemed the crew had consumed a slow-acting poison.
"USELESS DOGS!" Marquis Qin screamed. He smashed his hand into the nearest thing he could find. The serpent stamp flew to the ground, its head shattering on impact.
"A-and…" The servant gulped. He squeezed his eyes shut, knowing this would be his last words.
"They were the last crew under your employment, Master. T-the ship was empty, there wasn't any cargo in it."
Marquis Qin saw red. He rushed forward and grabbed the servant by his collars, his eyes shaking with fury. He breathed out like a fire-breathing dragon. There was a wild look on his face as if he was going to snap someone's neck.
"What. Did. You. Just. Say?"
The servant trembled in his boots. There was nothing intimidating about his Master, except his raised voice and snarls. His Master had a beer belly, but his body was healthy, like any aristocrat could be. The servant still remembered the first time he saw his elegant and wealthy master, living in privilege like that of a blue-blooded aristocrat.
Who would've thought this Marquis was just a peasant in disguise? His blood was filthy like dirt, for he came from humble beginnings.
"T-the crew failed to bring back the daggers shaped like a full moon."
Marquis Qin had reached beyond the point of sheer fury. Everything inside of him snapped. He let out a furious roar and tossed the servant onto the ground. Shortly after, he rushed to his bookshelf, like a child throwing a tantrum. In the blink of an eye, he had pulled the bookshelf to the ground, as expensive books tumbled onto the wooden floor.
Only a single book laid open.
And when he saw the book, he nearly ripped it into two.
"The Art of War."
Indeed, this was war. With the damn Crown Princess!
"That rat-faced whore!" Marquis Qin screeched, with flushed cheeks and popped veins.
Marquis Qin ruined everything in sight. Every painting hung on the wall was torn down, every curtain was ripped into two, every decoration was a shattered mess on the ground. He trampled about, kicking and screaming in disbelief.
His precious ship…his precious servants. All of his men were dead, his ship was empty. His men had failed him. His ship was an empty vessel. There was nothing he could sell this time, all because he had wasted every single effort to acquire the Crown Princess's damned daggers.
"That bitch!" Marquis Qin roared. He raised a leg and kicked the chair over, watching as it loudly crashed onto the ground.
From the corner of his eyes, he saw something moved. His servant was attempting to crawl out of the room.
"You!" Marquis Qin snarled. He stormed up to the servant and kicked him to the ground.
"You useless thing!" Marquis Qin roughly stomped on the servant with each word he uttered. He continued kicking the servant to a pulp, until his large body was heaving for air and his breathing became labored.
The innocent servant laid sprawled on the ground, unmoving and dead. His face was disfigured with bruises and blood. Even his own mother would not recognize his mangled state.
Marquis Qin's anger did not go away. The sight of the servant pissed him even more.
All of his ship crew, dead. All of his ships were useless if there was no one to sail it. And the Marquis did not have time to train new sailors or hire trustable ones that would not flee with his ship.
Marquis Qin's entire body trembled with fury. The Crown Princess was bankrupting him with this request of hers. All of his hard work, all of his acquired wealth, it was beginning to diminish before his very own eyes.
How did she know the foreign Kingdom would be so unwelcoming towards visitors? How did she know his men would return dead or poisoned? Was this intentional? Or was it just a coincidence?
"Death by disembowelment…" he growled under his breath.
Marquis Qin clenched his fingers into a fist. It was not like the Marquis had ever wronged her. Their first encounter was in the Palace, where he had treated her with grace and respect. He had been kind to her, been grateful for her audience, and even wasted his own money to give her a gift.
There was no way she would harbor this much hatred for him. If that was the case, then why was she so cruel? Death by self disembowelment…where did she learn to be this cruel?
Who taught her to be such a bitch?
"Impossible!" Marquis Qin furrowed out. How could he have been bested by a stupid little girl? How could he have allowed himself to be played like a damn instrument?
She was just a girl. She was just a woman who opened her legs to the right person and gained power from it.
That useless tool for breeding had actually hurt his business like this. "That whore," he hissed.
Marquis Qin glowered at the lifeless servant at his feet. He rammed his shoe into the servant's stomach and sent the rag-doll flying towards a bookshelf.
No wonder Lady Ge Beining bought that aphrodisiac. It must've been used to ruin that vermin of a Crown Princess. His lips curled into a snarl. He should've mixed poison into the aphrodisiac, killing two birds with one stone.
"All of my hard work…gone just like that!" Marquis Qin roared. He picked up a shard from the ground and angrily threw it at the servant. Again and again, he picked up things to toss at the lifeless body. He did everything to quell his rage, but nothing worked.
Marquis Qin glanced at the servant one last time before storming out of his bedroom. It was the middle of the night, but he needed to vent his rage on an unsuspecting concubine. And he knew exactly which one. There was a concubine he had taken from Wuyi.
She would suffer for being born in the same country as the Princess.
"How dare she do this to me," Marquis Qin snarled under his breath. "How dare I let a wench like her affect my business and resources like this."
Marquis Qin decided that tonight, that concubine would be his toy. He was going to do everything to her that he wished to do the Crown Princess. It did not matter anyway. The concubine didn't have a single family in Hanjian. Even if she was tossed into the river, no one would bat an eye.
And he desperately wished the Crown Princess would suffer to that extent.
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