Chapter 160: Lovesick
As the carriage sped down the road, Qin Yining felt an increasing sense of wrongness when she looked at their route.
“Isn’t this the way to Cloudsoar Inn? Why isn’t the prince at the Hall of Welcome?”
“Indeed,” Huzi responded easily. “There’s too many people at the Hall of Welcome for a diagnosis. Besides, old dog Lian is there too.”
Irritation welled up when Qin Yining thought of the lecherous Lian Shengjie. Pang Xiao was very thoughtful.
The carriage stopped at the back door of the inn before long. Qin Yining alighted to see that two tall and strong men were waiting for her. They bowed respectfully upon seeing the Qin fourth miss, who responded with a slight smile and nod. She felt that they looked slightly familiar. Perhaps I saw them at Ning Park that day.
The two were flattered by the attention and raised cupped hands in return, standing aside to let her in.
Bingtang followed close behind Qin Yining. “I wonder if Grand Steward Zhong is here today.”
“No worries. The accounts have been received, so it doesn’t matter if we don’t see him today either.”
The maid nodded. Huzi took advantage of the lull to sidle up and chuckle lowly. “Hey potato, you seem to have grown taller!”
The girl raked him with a vicious eye roll. “Not like you! You have heights but no brains. You haven’t learned anything from your prince but a glib tongue, oily speech, and shamelessness!”
Huzi blinked and shouted angrily, “Don’t drag His Highness into this! You can say I’m shameless, but how is the prince shameless?!”
“He’s pretending to be sick. What’s that if not shameless?” Bingtang had a never-ending supply of glares for the guard.
The argument was both amusing and provoking. Qin Yining looked back to see Bingtang puffy-cheeked, leveling a thorough glare at the guard. Huzi was also huffing and widening his eyes back, but the laughter in his look couldn’t be concealed.
The two associates showing them the way stopped and pushed open the door to the Prosperity Pavilion. “Please go in, Miss Qin.”
“Many thanks.” Qin Yining walked in first as Huzi and Bingtang were preoccupied in a furious staring contest. The maid ended it with a harrumph and stomped on Huzi’s foot with all her might, quickly following her mistress in.
Huzi looked at the small footprint on his shoe and burst out laughing. The two men also snickered when they saw how foolishly Huzi was chuckling.
When Qin Yining rounded the room divider to set foot into the inner room, she saw Pang Xiao in a snow-white undershirt with a pale-purple robe flung over his shoulders. He was leaning on the large cushion on the luohan bed next to the window, reading. Upon closer inspection, his complexion was indeed a bit off. His lips were pale and his hair in slight disarray.
“Are you feeling unwell, Your Highness?” Qin Yining didn’t go through any courtesies and took a seat on a bowed stool by the eight-sided table.
Pang Xiao put down his book and propped up his temples with a hand, tilting his head to look at his visitor. “A little bit, which is why I requested Miss Bingtang to come. Why didn’t you bring Riceball?”
The Qin fourth miss indicated for Bingtang to take a look at the patient. “It’s not convenient to bring Riceball since you’re sick. We’re here to take a look at your illness.”
“Oh.” Pang Xiao was slightly downcast, but swiftly brightened up. “That’s alright, even if Riceball didn’t come, it’s also good to see you.”
What the heck! Am I less than a rabbit?!
These thoughts seemed wrong as soon as they popped into Qin Yining’s mind. Was she competing with a rabbit? She lifted her eyes and barged into Pang Xiao’s smiling look, drawing an irritated glare in return. “You seem in very good spirits. It doesn’t look like the poison’s made a return at all.”
A cough visited Pang Xiao with perfect timing, its genuineness unknown. “I do feel a bit off.” His voice had a deep magnetism to it.
Bingtang had placed a wrist pillow, finished taking Pang Xiao’s pulse, and made a careful observation by now. She stood up and sighed.
“This illness isn’t a result of poison, but it’s also very dangerous. Your Highness, you must keep a carefree mind. I may not know how to cure your sickness, but you might be someone much more highly skilled in the future who can. This isn’t an illness without a cure, so don’t be too dismayed.”
Pang Xiao looked calmly at Bingtang while Huzi erupted in great panic. “What?! His Highness is really sick? What is it? How do we cure it? I’ll go find any herb or ingredient you need!”
“His Highness’ love sickness has already entered a terminal stage. My medical skills are insufficient and I don’t know how to cure it.” Bingtang responded solemnly.
Huzi froze, stunned. Qin Yining glared at Bingtang, thoroughly embarrassed. Pang Xiao laughed heartily.
“Good girl, your skills are supreme alright! A perfect diagnosis! But I don’t need to go looking for any famous doctor, you’ve already brought me the cure.” He looked tenderly at Qin Yining. “I feel as fit as anything when I look upon your miss.”
Qin Yining burned with anger and embarrassment. She grabbed a random teacup on the table and flung it at the prince. “You’re crazy and full of nonsense!”
Pang Xiao easily caught the weak throw and grinned. “How am I crazy? I’m just drunk.”
His expression changed when he saw the gauze on her hand. “What happened to your hand?” He hadn’t noticed earlier because her hand had been hidden within her sleeves.
Bingtang took out a silver needle and motioned for Pang Xiao to sit up straight. “The miss gave Qin Huining a good beating, but a gold hairpin scratched her hand twice. There are also some scrapes and bruises on her knuckles, but nothing serious. She’ll just be in a little bit of pain for a while.”
The needle was already quivering in Pang Xiao’s flesh, but the prince didn’t mind at all. Since he was confined to the luohan bed for now, he could only stretch out a hand to Qin Yining. He commanded sternly, “Come here, let me take a look.”
“It’s just some superficial wounds.” Qin Yining didn’t move an inch.
Pang Xiao knitted his brows together so tightly that he could squeeze a lemon with the folds. Impatient anger flared in his phoenix-shaped eyes as a murderous aura suffused his face. His voice rose involuntarily, and its resonance drilled straight through to listener hearts. “Come over here!”
Qin Yining flinched at the shout. She looked at him, then immediately averted her eyes elsewhere as if she hadn’t heard, still refusing to move. Meanwhile, Huzi was so nervous that his hairs stood on end. No one dared show even a hint of defiance when his prince grew angry. No one could withstand that murderous aura, seemingly emitted from a savage beast that wanted to devour someone whole. And here Miss Qin was, pretending not to hear him?
Bingtang was also frozen with apprehension. She turned her head slowly to look at her mistress.
Pang Xiao rose with a glowering look and grabbed Qin Yining’s injured hand, ignoring that he had needles stuck in his shoulder. He mightily kept his anger in check.
“Why didn’t you listen to me and made me come over myself? You must listen when it’s for your own good in the future!”
“And why should I! Who are you to me?” Qin Yining tried to yank her hand back a few times but failed. Her heart was still trembling from that shout, and traces of feeling wronged showed in her expression.
Most of Pang Xiao’s anger dissipated when he saw the misty layer rise in her eyes. He deftly undid the gauze on her hand and saw that there were indeed two scratches on the palm of her hand. Although they’d stopped bleeding because medicine had been applied, the wounds were still a bit red and throbbing. Her knuckles had swollen bruises as well. His heart ached and he brought her hand up to blow on it.
“Qin Huining bullied you?” His tone was so cold that it seemed that he would instantly reap the foster girl’s life if Qin Yining so much as inclined her head.
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