“How is this forlorn one all-seeing and all-knowing? I’m just at loose ends all day, so I have the spare time to think about the future of you young ones. At my age, all I wish for is that all of you can live happily ever after in bliss.
“You’re already twenty-six and it’s been three years since that one left your side. Don’t you understand that you can’t keep putting things off like this?” The empress dowager smiled.
The two girls present apart from Qin Yining were already flushing brightly with embarrassment. They couldn’t resist the urge to lift their eyes and take a peek at Lu Heng.
The Lu second master was indeed a blue-blooded, handsome, and refined man. Though they would be marrying a widower, Lu Heng had no children, so his status as a widower wouldn’t give rise to any awkwardness. Any son they birthed would be a firm official son.
Add to that the behemoth that was the Lu clan…
House Lu’s history spanned a longer timeframe than that of Northern Ji and Great Zhou’s put together. Its wealth rivaled that of a nation’s and it was involved in all manner of industry. The slightest movement it made sent ripples through a country’ economy, and many officials at court were part of the Lu faction.
And Lu Heng was the second official son of such a mighty aristocratic clan.
Marrying him would be more impressive than any prince or even the emperor!
What girl wouldn’t have daydreams? The two girls blushed after merely sneaking a peek at him. Surprisingly, so did Lu Heng.
The empress dowager smiled. “It looks like you have someone you like, my dear boy.”
“In response to Your Imperial Majesty, I…”
A servant piped in before Lu Heng could finish his response. “Announcing the Faithful Prince of the First Rank!”
The smile on the empress dowager’s face widened even further. “Hurry and have him come in!”
The doors opened to admit Pang Xiao in an ivory-white brocade robe with a satin belt of jade pieces around his waist. He strode in with dashingly great strides, a small crown of pure gold sitting in his hair.
His thoughts moved rapidly when he saw a room full of ladies having already taken their seats, and that née Sun and Qin Yining numbered amongst them. Without any of it flickering through his expression, he performed the grand gesture of greeting to the empress dowager.
“This subject greets Your Imperial Majesty!”
The older woman snorted and rebuked with mock anger, “You imp! It’s not easy inviting you here for a meal. You’re always busy or out on official business. Who knows when you ever get a spot of free time? Don’t you know to think of this forlorn one?”
Qin Yining took another glance at the empress dowager when she heard the tone.
It looked like the imperial majesty was closer to Pang Xiao than Lu Heng. She only inquired politely after the Lu second master, but could joke and admonish with Pang Xiao like her own nephew.
Pang Xiao smiled, warm tenderness tinging the look in his eyes. The curve of his lips revealed a row of clean, neat teeth. It felt as though a gentle spring breeze had washed over those looking at him.
“Your Imperial Majesty, how would I not miss you? Didn’t I have people send you a meal box just a while ago?”
The empress dowager pulled Pang Xiao over, having him sit on the other side of her. “You did put some thought into it. Your chefs make good soup.”
“As long as Your Majesty likes it,” the prince responded with a smile.
He happened to be able to look straight at Qin Yining from where he was sitting. However, disdain and aloofness colored his eyes when they swept over her.
The empress dowager coolly took in the interaction and smiled gently, turning to have Lu Heng sit and continue the topic from earlier.
“My dear boy, you really should remarry. Your clan is enormous and your industries even more so. You’re so busy running the family businesses, it won’t do to lack a caring touch by your side! In my view, only a noble daughter is a good match for your talents. What do you think?”
Lu Heng smiled faintly, openly looking at Qin Yining. He could see her charming profile from his angle, fully taking in her pert nose, rosebud lips, long and luscious eyelashes.
Even setting aside her intelligence, a lifetime of just gazing upon her beauty would be insufficient.
The empress dowager’s smile deepened further when she saw the gaze. “It so happens that I am partaking in a meal with a few madames and misses today. Since we are so fortunate as to cross paths and are hardly strangers, just speak of anyone you might like. I will make the decision on your behalf.”
Lu Heng was rather taken aback. The empress dowager was an exceedingly cautious person. This wasn’t her usual style at all.
At the same time, his heart trembled, and his eyes subconsciously flitted back to Qin Yining’s beauty, again and again.
Such a straightforward reaction gave rise to various thoughts in those present. Née Sun gripped her daughter’s hand worriedly, discovering that it was covered in sweat.
Qin Yining was truy afraid this time.
If the empress dowager set a decree and bestowed the Qin fourth miss to Lu Heng, she really wouldn’t have any grounds with which to refuse.
The consequences were unthinkable for anyone who dared decline the empress dowager’s order.
But she had already tied herself to Pang Xiao and wouldn’t be able to accept anyone else—neither did she want to!
Pang Xiao was a hero, not a mundane or mediocre man. Once a hero such as him took up residence in a heart, it was impossible for the girl to love anyone else in her lifetime.
Qin Yining kept her head lowered, hiding the emotions in her eyes with her long lashes.
Across the table from her, Pang Xiao’s heart went out to her and he burned with fury. He frowned slightly, narrowing his eyes at Lu Heng.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Man... I really don't want to dislike Lu Heng because of DCF... but I'm really starting to.. @@