Being able to speak of past affairs lightened the load of guilt on Pang Xiao’s heart. He asked apprehensively, “My darling, can you forgive me?”
Qin Yining burst into chuckles. “It wasn’t your fault, why would I blame you? I highly agree with what you said. A family shouldn’t be dragged into the sins of an individual. The crimes of the last generation shouldn’t be inherited by the next. You weren’t the one who arranged for me to be smuggled away from my family. You really don’t have to give yourself a hard time over this.”
“But I just can’t rest easy.” Pang Xiao folded her into his arms and gave a long sigh.
Qin Yining breathed in his refreshing, masculine scent and felt that life was truly marvelous.
“This is probably karma. It was because of Northern Ji and Great Yan's enmity that my father came up with his plot, which is why our families formed this feud, which then led to Sir Zheng’s actions. How would you have noticed me if they hadn’t smuggled me out of the Qins? Then we wouldn't have met at Liang and nothing afterwards would've happened.”
Come to think of it, her heart would be missing a piece if the two of them were actually strangers. The possibility bred an inexplicable sense of loneliness.
Pang Xiao felt the same too. If it hadn’t been for Zheng Pei’s extreme actions, if it hadn’t been for Pang Xiao growing up by his maternal grandparents’ side and forming an extremely different value system, he wouldn't have felt guilt toward the Qin daughter. Neither would he have paid any attention to her.
If Qin Yining had grown up in the lap of luxury by Qin Huaiyuan’s side, she would just be a typical noble daughter and truly the daughter of his enemy then.
Both of them sighed with emotion and hugged the other tighter.
Pang Xiao dropped a kiss on her forehead. “The moon is so beautiful tonight.”
Baffled, the girl looked around. It was pitch-black inside and the windows were shut. What moon was there to see?
Her straightforward actions had her emotions writ all over her face. The prince almost burst out laughing. Instead, the violent heaving of his chest imparted quite a sense of resignation to Qin Yining.
The two looked at each other and grinned foolishly.
After a while of silliness, Pang Xiao whispered, “I have something to ask you.”
“What is it?” chortled Qin Yining.
“What did the Commandery Princess of Yan visit you for?”
Resignation struck Qin Yining again.
“How do you know she came? If you have people by my side reporting to you, shouldn’t you know why she came? Why are you asking me?”
Her tone was calm and an amused smile hung on her face. However, the lamps weren’t lit inside the room and Pang Xiao couldn’t see her expression. He thought she’d been angered.
“My men are keeping an eye on the commandery prince’s manor and saw his princess consort leave. As for you, I would only arrange for people to protect you. How would I ever keep you under surveillance? You’re not a criminal, so why would I restrict your freedom?”
His nervous demeanor teased Qin Yining into giggling.
Finally understanding, the prince squeezed with amusement and mock anger. “Alright, stop giggling, tell me what she came for.”
“Well, she came to puff herself up and pretend to be something she’s not.” Qin Yining summarized Li Yanyan’s visit. “This is why I say it’s tiring being a woman. She doesn’t like the situation at all, but has to pretend to be generous for the sake of a virtuous and wifely reputation. She can’t say what’s on her mind nor can she vent her feelings. She has to put on that act in front of outsiders and go home to cry by herself.”
Hearing her wax eloquent, Pang Xiao hastily reassured, “I’m not that kind of man. I won’t make things difficult for you.”
The girl glared at him. “Don’t say that so early. You’ve got ten beauties at home.”
“It’s not like I went looking for them.”
“Uh huh. They were an imperial gift—your legitimate concubines. They can carry on the family name for you.” Qin Yining’s tone was a bit urgent now as she’d realized the inappropriateness of her words.
It was very normal for men to have a wife and multiple concubines. Even someone like her father had once taken several concubines so as to father more children.
When men with power and influence made it to a certain position, their peers and subordinates would come knocking with beauties, even if the man himself wasn’t actively on the hunt. It wasn't the thing to turn down such an offering, so the man in question would have to accept with thanks.
Setting aside the gifted women, the men could take the maids who served in their study and bedroom anytime they wanted. If a maid could become a bedwarmer, her status would be slightly higher than a regular servant. When she bore children, she too would become a concubine, albeit a lower-status one. But still, that would make her a mistress in the household.
Qin Yining understood the realities of life. It was also a rite of passage for every woman to hide her sorrow when seeing her husband sleep with his concubines and bedwarmers, or go drinking with his buddies accompanied by female escorts.
But upon thinking that one day Pang Xiao would also share this tenderness with someone else, she still felt despondent and lost.
“Miss!” The door creaked open and Xianyun quickly strode in.
Qin Yining came back to herself and pushed Pang Xiao aside.
“Milord is coming this way!” whispered Xianyun. “He’s going to be at the door soon!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Aw, such a very real and very sad concern for QYN.
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