“Of course I know things won’t be over that easily. It’s all because someone is just so fascinating.” Qin Yining hugged her shoulders and looked at Pang Xiao with resignation. “I was just sitting at home and didn’t offend anyone when disaster fell out of the sky and into my lap. I gained two enemies plotting after me for no reason at all, and their statuses aren’t low either!”
Pang Xiao scraped her nose with a finger, smiling at her teasing. “I’ll pretend that you’re jealous.”
“I am jealous,” responded the girl seriously.
The prince’s heart shook when he met her limpid eyes. She meant her words!
“I thought you…”
“Thought me what? That I don’t get jealous?” Qin Yining was quite very surprised. Someone as smart as Pang Xiao would think she didn’t have an envious bone in her body? “Am I really that generous in your eyes?”
Pang Xiao shook his head and enfolded her into his embrace, rubbing the top of her head with his chin. He sighed. “It’s my oversight. You’re always so dependable and mature, and smart and sharp that I defaulted to thinking you never mind anything you run into. But I forgot that you’re a girl too. That’s my fault.”
He really was a dunce! No matter how strong his darling was, she was just a sixteen-year-old girl at the end of the day. How could he have been so absentminded as to neglect her feelings? He’d taken her maturity and patience for granted!
What difference was there then, between him and those who only cared about using Qin Yining?
Sensing her man’s low spirits, the Qin fourth miss raised her head with a smile and kissed his chin. “What fault? I may be a girl, but I’m not weaker than anyone else. Look at you, a man and fretting over so much. You’re not half as open-minded as me!”
Pang Xiao didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. “Me, not open-minded? I just care about you.”
The warm huffs of air by her ear caused Qin Yining to quickly shift her body away. She shoved his shoulder. “Let’s chat just for a little while. I don’t want others to think random, wild thoughts.”
“I know.” Pang Xiao smiled. “I’ll sneak in to see you in the future. But you’ve gotten some experts by your side, so it won’t be easy to soundlessly jump through your window now. Won’t your guards think wild thoughts if they found out?”
A hot blush from the joking, Qin Yining snorted softly. “My father gave them to me to guard against you.”
“Is father-in-law still thinking about what happened last time?” The prince quipped.
The Qin fourth miss glared ferociously at him, annoyed whenever she thought of how Pang Xiao purposefully let her father see his shadow. She shoved his shoulder. “Go on, go on. Go back and tend to your wound.”
The prince stopped teasing his girl and pulled her soft, tender hands over for a kiss before jumping down the carriage.
Xianyun approached to curtsey when she saw her former master emerge.
“Serve your mistress well.”
“Understood. This servant will devote all of my energies to this miss.”
Pang Xiao nodded, spun on his heel, and strode off quickly in the opposite direction of the Pang Manor.
Qin Yining’s unadorned hand lifted the curtains, not giving the order to set off until the prince’s figure disappeared into the distance.
A heavy weight lifted from her heart, entertained by a good show, and most importantly, having had a conversation with Pang Xiao, Qin Yining was in exceedingly good spirits. She spent the rest of the trip home breaking out into involuntary smiles.
Xianyun knew that her mistress had a thin face and so didn’t say anything. But she too grinned all the way back to the Qin Manor.
Things were hopping in the capital these days. Gossip first flew fast and furious about Madame Lu purposefully giving Minister Qin’s daughter a hard time, but only reaping a public scolding from her own brother for her troubles. Then the dance between Prince Consort Ji, the Faithful Prince of the First Rank, and the Princess of Anyang became everyone’s favorite cup of tea at every meal.
By the time news of the fight between the two war gods broke out, the hubbub rose to a peak. Everyone knew about the affair.
There wasn’t much to be had in the way of entertainment and people shunned the outdoors during the harsh winters. Now that the days were turning warm again, more foot traffic in the streets meant the exchange of more news.
Seeing public opinion develop in the direction that Li Qitian wanted it to, Qin Yining knew that Pang Xiao must be giving the tides of thought a push behind the scenes.
The more time they spent together, the more Qin fourth miss realized that Pang Xiao was actually a conscientious man with devilish methods. At the very least, he wasn’t as crude and brash as he appeared on the surface.
Seeing her beloved willing to use brain over brawn put her at ease.
The fight between two war gods fully eclipsed the matter of Madame Lu. When no further action was forthcoming, it seemed to Qin Yining that previous matters were over and done with.
Thus, Lu Dehan coming to her in a panic on this day was quite a surprise.
“Benefactor, people from the Marquis of Valiant Faith Manor came to me today and said they want to buy your manor for a high price. They’ll kill me if I refuse!”
This took Qin Yining gravely back. “The marchioness sent men to you?”
“Yes.” Lu Dehan nodded. “I’m an old man and not afraid of death, but I’m afraid of doing something wrong and bringing my benefactor down with me. Didn’t some people say a while ago that the woman in the marquis’s manor is making trouble for you? No wonder she’s doing all this now.”
Qin Yining furrowed her brow in deep thought. The manor they were living in now was in the process of being handed over to the Qins. Having put Lu Dehan’s name on the deed, she’d given instructions for him to transfer the deed to Qin Huaiyuan’s name without a need for silver to be exchanged.
Who would’ve thought that Madame Lu would still be obsessed about this matter after failing so many times?
“Benefactor, what should we do now?”
“Don’t be afraid, she won’t do anything to you.”
“I’m not afraid even if she really does do something. But are we just going to drag things out like this with her? She wants to buy the manor, but I won’t sell it to her. She might not kill me, but she won’t let us have an easy time of things. Why don’t we sell the manor to her at a high price? We’ll be able to buy a better one with the silver then. She can eat that loss!”
Qin Yining shook her head with amusement when she heard this. Lu Dehan had a very straightforward mind, alright.
Wouldn’t Madame Lu just do the same thing again if they tried to buy another manor?
The Lus are an aristocratic family hundreds of years old with very deep foundations. Maybe the money is just a small number to her. It’ll be more than easy for her to repeat the same actions again.
Besides, she’d be conceding defeat in a way if she lowered her head now and took the money from the marchioness.
That had never been Qin Yining’s style. She’d rather be enemies with the Lus than do anything to lose face for the Qins. If the clan’s womenfolk weren’t aboveboard in the inner residence, her father would be ridiculed in his position at court!
“Miss.” Qiulu curtsied in front of the door at this time. “Miss, we have a calling card from the Lus. The front of the house says that since all three elder masters aren’t at home, there’s no one who can make the decisions. Senior madame had us hand the card to you.”
“Let me take a look.”
Qiulu handed over the gold-edged card to Qin Yining, the contents of which surprised the fourth miss.
The invitation was from Lu Heng, inviting Qin Huaiyuan out for a chat.
Qin Yining closed her eyes in brief thought and suddenly smiled. She had a way of managing Madame Lu now!Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Oh oh? Dis gon' be good!