“Can’t?” Pang Xiao chuckled disdainfully. “You are just the family members of surrendered officials and defeated soldiers. Even the head of your household would have to bow and scrape to this prince, much less you lot! Do you think this is still Yan territory? Only death awaits those who say no to this prince!”
Xie Yue trembled from head to toe. “How dare you bully us this way!?” He took a trembling, protective stance in front of Qin Yining.
Huzi led the Elite Tigers forward and plucked Xie Yue away to the side, to be trussed up like a chicken. He then stuffed Qin Yining and Lian Xiaozhou back in the carriage they’d just come in.
The Qin fourth miss remembered to put on a show of struggling before going back in. Granted, the girls’ resistance was quite futile given how strong and ferocious the Elite Tigers were.
Everyone outside of the guest inns could only watch as the Faithful Prince of the First Rank rode off with the Qin fourth miss.
The Great Zhou officials didn’t understand the relationship between Pang Xiao and Qin Yining. They were too far away from Great Yan, and their positions were far too low to read secret reports.
But the Great Yan citizens did.
This prince had once pursued the miss in an extremely high profile manner—sticking up for her in public, gifting her manors, and doing everything he could to make her happy. But now that their country had fallen, his attitude had changed completely to that of a bandit’s.
Fear and horror exploded in their hearts, threatening to drown them completely. If someone with such a strong backer like Miss Qin was being treated this way in their new home, what laid in store for the rest of them?
Qin Yining had her arm around a terrified Lian Xiaozhou and was patting her head comfortingly. “Don’t be afraid, the big brother just now isn’t a bad guy. Big sister did all of this on purpose.”
Though the little girl couldn’t speak very well, she was sharp as a whip. She looked at the older girl with bafflement. “Big sister, knows, uncle?”
It hadn’t crossed her mind for a while, but come to think of it, Pang Xiao’s nominal age was 24 now, wasn’t it?
Lian Xiaozhou was nine, but she’d grown up in the mountains and so was very different from a typical nine year old. Her mental age was probably still six or seven, which was why she called the prince ‘uncle’.
I wonder what Pang Xiao will think of this, heh!
Laughter snuck out of Qin Yining when she considered her beloved’s possible reactions.
Possibly infected by the easy mood, Lian Xiaozhou also relaxed. Though she didn’t know why big sister was laughing, it didn’t preclude her from chuckling along.
The Elite Tiger outside escorting the carriage found the situation incredibly bizarre. Had this Miss Qin been scared out of her wits? How could she still laugh when she’d been carted off like this?
He hadn’t gone to Great Yan with Pang Xiao, so naturally had no idea what had happened there. All he speculated was that the prince liked the beauty, or had taken his enemy’s daughter in order to seek revenge for his father.
He wasn’t the only one to think so; perhaps everyone who didn’t fully understand the situation thought so.
This was also precisely the effect that Pang Xiao and Qin Yining wanted.
When the carriage returned to the manor, Pang Xiao had the side door opened so that the occupants didn’t need to disembark.
The manor of this imperial prince was quite magnificent and grand. Winged engravings on building facades were covered by pristine snow. In contrast to the delicate exquisiteness of Great Yan architecture, solemn augustness and stately roughness filled every corner. Though it wasn’t the same as the gentle sophistication of Great Yan’s manors, there was another dimension to beauty to it all.
Qin Yining peeked out of the carriage windows as they travelled to the guest rooms, awed by the striking size of the manor just from this short glimpse.
Such an enormous complex couldn’t possibly have been built in one or two years. This must’ve been the home of one of the Northern Ji imperial princes. Had Li Qitian just awarded it to Pang Xiao when Great Zhou was founded?
The carriage slowed down in the midst of Qin Yining’s wild speculations, and she didn’t have time to react before someone burst through the door curtain and enveloped her in a familiar bear-hug.
This gave Lian Xiaozhou another fright, and she quickly pushed at the baddie who dared to bully her big sister. “Bad man, go away, bad man!”
Pang Xiao was oblivious to it all as he dropped a shower of kisses on Qin Yining’s ear lobes and nape of her neck.
When Lian Xiaozhou saw that the bad guy wasn’t letting go, and that her efforts weren’t changing anything, she anxiously charged forward to bite Pang Xiao’s arm.
The attack didn’t hurt at all since it was dulled by winter clothing. Xiaozhou clung doggedly to the prince’s arm and continued flailing her fists.
Pang Xiao finally let go when he almost suffered a blow to the nose. He demanded impatiently, “Where did you get this wild girl? Is her zodiac the dog? Why does she even bite people?”
Qin Yining pushed Pang Xiao aside and pulled Lian Xiaozhou over for some comforting pats. She pinched little cheeks reddened from anger. “Don't be angry, he’s teasing us.”
The little girl pointed furiously at Pang Xiao. “Bad, uncle! Bad man! Big sister, we, go!”
Even if Xiaozhou wasn’t good at speech, her words still set Pang Xiao off. Glowering, he snatched the little girl and threw her out the carriage at Huzi.
The guard scrambled to catch an unrepentant Xiaozhou, who was still jabbing an accusatory finger. “Bad man! Bad uncle!”
Completely fed up, Pang Xiao’s expression was very dark. “She calls you big sister, but I’m a bad uncle!”
“Bad uncle!” Xiaozhou’s legs kicked frantically as her hands were pinned by Huzi.
Well, he really was eight years older than Qin Yining. A thick blanket of depression draped over Pang Xiao.
Having watched the show for a while, Qin Yining finally burst out laughing at the scene of one person standing off to the side with a black expression, and another still thrashing about with, “Bad uncle!”
Her laughter stunned the guards and servants who hadn’t seen her before.
The crisply cheerful sound dispelled Pang Xiao’s irritation, and he chuckled in return as well. The atmosphere became a lot lighter.
Qin Yining looked around and let down the window curtain. She wasn’t sure if there were eyes and ears from any other factions amongst those present.
Pang Xiao waved a hand. “All of you are dismissed. Clean up Snowtrace Garden for Miss Qin to stay at. Those who have no business here are dismissed.”
“Understood.” The group took their leave and departed, leaving only Pang Xiao, Huzi, Xie Yue, and Lian Xiaozhou outside the carriage.
The little girl seemed to have tired herself out from all the yelling and had settled on glaring ferociously.
‘Uncle Pang’ had recovered from the blow to his age and lifted the door curtain to help Qin Yining down.
The Qin fourth miss made introductions when she was certain that no one else was around. “This is Lian Xiaozhou. I almost froze to death in the mountains this time. She saved me.”
Pang Xiao’s expression finally warmed when he heard that the little girl had saved his beloved. Putting aside the fact that he’d been aged a generation, he turned to Qin Yining. “I’ll have someone help her settle in. Come meet my mother and maternal grandparents.”
Qin Yining blushed nervously.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
I'm getting ready to spend next week in Japan, and will strive my hardest to get chapters done on the plane. Otherwise, I might go on a short vacation for a little while. *cupped fist salute*
This scene is so darned hilarious, PX being mad over his age and XZ just kicking up a ruckus everywhere!