When a little girl roughly eight years of age looked up at him with large, blinking eyes and called him ‘Brother Beauty’, his heart had just utterly melted. The girl was just too cute.
And now, an adult Pang Xiao had utterly melted as well.
This nickname of ‘Brother Beauty’ sank into his very bones. He was usually infused with inexhaustible strength, but now he didn’t even have the energy to raise his arm. A tingly, numbing feeling occupied all of his senses.
“The Pangs did you an enormous wrong that year.” Such was his statement after a lengthy pause.
Qin Yining’s mind was a jumbled mess, but her tears seemed to have their own will. They refused to listen to her and streamed down endlessly.
She was no weakling and rarely cried. But for some reason, an unexplainable sense of aggrieved suffering welled up when she heard that it’d been Pang Xiao’s father’s old troops who’d smuggled her out of the manor.
Perhaps she wouldn’t have minded if anyone else had done so, except for Pang Xiao. Did she have higher standards for him because she’d entrusted so much of her heart to him?
She didn’t hate him, just felt wronged.
After prolonged silence without a response, Pang Xiao reached out to her face when he heard faint sounds of sobbing. He panicked when his hand came back wet.
“Don’t cry, my darling, don’t cry. It’s all my fault, my fault.” Stricken, the prince came forward and gathered the girl in his arms. “I’m sorry, so sorry. If I’d known learned of everything earlier, if I’d made more time to go see you, then you wouldn’t have suffered so much.”
Qin Yining shook her head and spoke haltingly through her tears. “It’s not your fault. If you hadn’t given me those ten taels of silver, I wouldn’t have been able to help my foster mother with her illness. I might’ve sold myself into slavery. You helped me a lot. I had enough money to take care of my foster mother and see to her final affairs.”
Blades scraped agonizingly across Pang Xiao’s heart when he heard that she’d almost had to sell herself for money. He tightened his grasp and swayed with her. “I would’ve deserved a thousand deaths if I’d made you fall into such circumstances.
“What you don’t know is that this has always weighed on my heart. Before I came into your life, it was my father’s people who put you through all that suffering! I felt very guilty.
“But my position in the army wasn’t stable in the early years. I didn’t have my own power or network. I had to look to others for everything I wanted to do. I’ve built up my strength only over the past two years and finally have been able to flex my muscles.”
“So you used the war against Great Yan to visit the Yan capital?” Qin Yining suddenly remembered how they’d met at the Celestial Nunnery. She sat upright. “Is Priestess Liu one of yours?”
“Not really. We’ve just long been in contact with each other. Priestess Liu is highly intelligent and crafty. I’m also good friends with Blockhead, so I would tell her a few things.”
Qin Yining wiped her eyes dry as her mind raced, connecting all the dots. Priestess Liu was uncle-master to Mu Jinghu, while Pang Xiao’s words just now could prove that the priestess was the Soothsayer.
She wasn’t surprised by the conclusion, just mildly embarrassed that she’d once paid a huge sum to the priestess to have the latter pretend to be the Soothsayer.
“I started receiving reports ever since the Qins found you. The war was at a crucial moment then and father-in-law drew a lot of attention because he occupied a lofty position. I snuck in to see you on the day you returned. They set you up in a house near the manor walls and purposefully gave you the cold shoulder by making you wait a long time. I was up on the roof watching you when you sat on the stone stool next to the bamboo forest.”
Qin Yining was really and truly shocked now. To think there were so many other details after their initial meeting in her childhood!
Some awkwardness crept into Pang Xiao’s voice at this point and he admitted rather bashfully, “I placed the hairpin I stole from you under my pillow. I take it out and look at it every day.”
Eyes widened, Qin Yining recalled the pervert who’d descended from the skies that day. He’d stolen her hairpin and caressed her cheek. That matter had continuously bothered her—to think Pang Xiao would do something like that!
She blushed bright red upon hearing that he’d put it under his pillow and looked at it everyday. So that meant she’d already caught his eye before they’d met at the nunnery. He was even pining via her hairpin!
“So, you, you… already at that time…”
“Yes, I already liked you then. Even though I didn’t really understand what liking someone meant, everything I did instinctively was proof that my heart was already yours.”
Taking her hands into his own, Pang Xiao ran his rough fingers over her silky smooth skin. He reverently dropped a kiss into her palm.
"My darling, I’m so very happy that you like me too now, and that you care for me.”
Such straightforward conversation made Qin Yining both shy and happy. She didn’t know how to react and just grinned foolishly at the vague outline of his features in the dark.
Sensing her joyous mood, Pang Xiao rained down kisses on her fingertips and the backs of her hands.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Oh mah GAWSH I caaaan't! These two are so cute! BEST ROMANCE IN A WEB NOVEL, AYE??