Chapter 261: Only You
Qin Yining prepared herself mentally and pushed the door open with a clenched jaw. She hadn’t even made it inside the room before a large hand grabbed her into a tight embrace.
The door creaked shut behind her before the room spun. Her back was up against the cold wall as a burning presence dominated her front. She didn’t have time to speak before her lips were caught in an urgent kiss.
There was the faint scent of bitter herbs in Pang Xiao’s mouth, but even more present was a fire that threatened to consume her whole. Qin Yining felt like she’d been set on fire as she sank bonelessly into the embrace. If it hadn’t been for the prince’s arms holding her up, she would’ve melted to the ground.
The room was pitch black, the lights having been extinguished long ago. Only the sound of heavy breathing in between kisses could be heard. Pang Xiao had one hand around the back of her head to prevent her from shrinking back, while the other caressed her slender waist.
The two only parted when they felt they almost couldn’t breath anymore.
Qin Yining had her arms around the prince’s neck, panting as she looked at the handsome face so close to her. She murmured, “Pang Zhixi.”
It was the first time she’d voiced his secondary name in such tones.
Twin flames erupted in the prince’s eyes. He answered with a low rumble next to her ear.
Qin Yining buried her face in his neck, whispering, “How nice would it be if you didn’t have to go back.”
Something squeezed Pang Xiao’s heart tightly, dispelling the romantic atmosphere from seconds ago. He only felt protective and guilty towards her. He hugged her tightly and dropped a pious kiss onto her forehead.
“It’ll all get better. There will be a day when we can grow old together.”
Qin Yining nodded, but was still downcast when she thought of Qin Huaiyuan and née Sun, Weichi Yan and Li Yanyan. However, she was an exceedingly rational person and would never easily speak of her desires.
Yet, Pang Xiao was highly attuned to the dip in her mood. He thought for a moment. “Are you worried about your father?”
Qin Yining nodded, going with the flow.
“The battlefield is indeed dangerous when things are a mess. When I go back, I’ll send four Elite Tigers to protect father-in-law. Don’t worry, nothing will happen to him in any situation that I can control.”
Qin Yining nodded docilely.
Pang Xiao squinted thoughtfully when he noted that she was still depressed. She was fine before née Sun came, but she’s like this after talking with her mother.
The prince was an exceedingly sharp person and had a deep understanding of the people important to him. When he thought of Qin Huaiyuan being away in the military camp and how there was a very beautiful woman by his side, he guessed some of what was going on.
He probed again. “If you marry me, I promise not to take concubines, not to bed the servants, and not to attend drinking events with females dancing attendance. I’ll have only you. How does that sound?”
Startled by his sudden promise, Qin Yining tilted her head up at him with surprise. “You… are so weird. Why are you suddenly talking about that?”
I guessed right. The silly girl was sad about matters between Qin Huaiyuan and née Sun. He pinched her pale cheeks with amusement. “So you wouldn’t like that?”
Qin Yining glared at him with a red face, but couldn’t hide the happiness in her limpid eyes. She countered insincerely, “You say that, but it’s quite normal for men to have multiple wives and concubines. Some never even make it home. It’s quite a common sight for this to happen when it comes to socializing or even joining in on the fun.”
Pang Xiao grinned. “So you’re already thinking about our future, eh?”
Qin Yining realized what she’d said and walked off with a flaming face.
Pang Xiao ran after her with a chuckle. “I’m very happy that you’re thinking this way. You’ve suffered so much for me, I’d be less than human if I didn’t treat you well! Besides, you’re my one and only. I couldn’t ever fall in love with another.”
He followed the girl and took a seat on the bed.
“You sure have a pretty way with words.”
“But I mean them,” Pang Xiao responded seriously. “A man’s word can’t be taken back once it’s given.”
His seriousness made Qin Yining feel slightly awkward. She took out a pillow and thin blanket from the drawers. “Hurry and rest. You sleep in here, I’ll sleep outside.”
Pang Xiao grinned to see her change the topic with a red face. He didn’t continue to protest his explanations, but placed the pillow on the bed. “It doesn’t matter if you believe me or not right now, and you don’t have to remember what I’ve said either. Just watch what I do in the future.”
He pressed the girl onto the bed. “You sleep here and I’ll sleep on the footrest. We can keep talking that way.”
“You’re still feverish. How could I let you sleep on the footrest?”
“Do you think life is soft and easy in the army? I’ve slept in huts and stables, so a footrest is actually a luxury.” Pang Xiao placed the blanket on the footrest with a chuckle and the pillow on one end. He laid down stiffly and sighed with comfort. “Lying down feels the best after a long day.”
Qin Yining sat at the edge of the bed, looking down at the man lying stiffly with his legs curled beneath him. Pain squeezed her heart when she saw that he didn’t dare shift at all.
“Why don’t you come onto the bed?”
Pang Xiao’s eyes widened at this and he slowly sat up to look at her.
The girl kept a straight face though her cheeks burned. “Don’t think too much. The bed is so big that two of us and a table between us will fit. You can sleep on the outside — it’ll be easier for you to hide if anyone comes. Even though it’s summer right now, there’s still a draft on the floor. You’re injured and feverish. Do you want to sleep on the ground and get worse?”
Pang Xiao smiled. “Then I hear and obey.”
That earned him a glare as Qin Yining took off her shoes and moved her pillow and blankets further in, placing a small table in between the two of them.
Pang Xiao plopped his pillow on the outermost part of the bed and placed his blankets near the foot as well. He carefully rearranged the curtains and veils of the formal bed and put the two pairs of shoes next to each other. Sweetness welled up in his heart when he looked down to see her exquisite, soft-soled embroidered shoes placed next to his black boots.
He blew out the lamps and laid down slowly. The delicate fragrance that emanated off the blankets was unique to Qin Yining. There even seemed to be the jasmine scent of her hair on the pillow. Pang Xiao turned slowly and buried his face in the blanket for a deep breath. An involuntary grin crossed his face.
“They all say that girls are made of water, but my darling is made of flowers. Just lying next to you fills my nose with perfume.”
Qin Yining was lying on her side with her back to him. Though there was a small table between the two of them, his voice seemed to echo right by her ears. She screwed her eyes shut, not entirely sure how to respond.
Not that the prince was waiting for a response from her either. “I must remember today well. It’s our first time sleeping together.”
Okay, seriously? That’s too much.
A large hand landed on her head and Pang Xiao light scratched her head, sending numbing tingles throughout her entire body. He lightly twisted her earlobes lovingly before whispering, “Sweet dreams, my dear.”
Qin Yining’s eyes fluttered shut. Though her heart was pounding, she was also incredibly buoyant.
She’d thought that sleep would be impossible tonight, but she had a night of unprecedented, peaceful rest. Even the nightmares that had plagued her for a long time didn’t disturb her.
When she woke up, the place next to her was empty.
The realization jolted her to full alertness.
Has he left already?
She sat up and called for her servants.
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