Still caught in the grip of shock, Qin Yining had yet to come back to her senses.
Xianyun, Jiyun, Bingtang, and Qiulu were flushed red with happy excitement. The four looked at each other before dropping curtsies. “Congratulations to the miss for obtaining your heart’s desire!”
Lian Xiaozhou also nodded joyfully. “Congratulations, big sister!”
In a daze, the fourth miss responded, “All of you, do rise. Xianyun and Bingtang, your hands are more dexterous. Help me embroider a pillowcase. My own work isn’t up to snuff at all.”
Having said that, she sat down in another daze, sending the maids into fits of giggles.
Thinking back to everything she and Pang Xiao had weathered, from their initial mutual probing to growing feelings for each other, then staking everything on a solemn pledge of love. They’d endured so much to reach this point, to receiving this imperial edict.
She’d returned home for two years, and what she’d experienced since her return was more abundant than in her earlier fourteen years of life.
Though each step had been fraught with tension and danger, leaving her weary in both body and soul, all the pain and trouble she’d gone through felt more than worth it to have a group who genuinely cared for her, and this marriage decree.
The marriage decree also made its way to the manor of the Faithful Prince of the First Rank.
When Pang Xiao, Yao Chenggu, née Ma, and née Yao received the imperial edict, they started laughing wordlessly.
Née Ma slapped her thigh. “Go go go, prepare the betrothal gifts! Dafu, bring out all of the best treasures that you’d been saving up. And silver! We mustn’t be stingy when it comes to welcoming a new member of the household. Lass Yi hasn’t had an easy life with you—she suffered so much before thanks to you, so you have to give her a proper expression of your feelings!”
The Pang matriarch punched Pang Xiao in the shoulder as she spoke. “You little bastard! You were born with great fortune! You gain such an incredible father-in-law in the form of Minister Qin, and now you have such a wonderful wife! The Pang ancestors have bestowed us with unparalleled fortune!”
Pang Xiao grimaced; his grandmother’s punch had landed squarely on a nerve. “Grandmother, you have so much strength in your hands!”
“How would I be able to discipline you otherwise? Yubing, go get busy. As the mother-in-law, you need to take the initiative and reach out to the in-laws often. Don’t think you’re something just because your son is a prince. Your son is a troublemaker, lass Yi is unlucky marrying him!”
“Who talks about their own grandson like that?” Née Yao retorted without any temper at all.
Yao Chenggu nodded. “Your mother speaks truly, go do as she says.”
“Understood, dad.” Née Yao walked out to see to the affairs.
Meanwhile, Pang Xiao summoned Xie Yue and Xu Weizhi. He declared solemnly, “The eleventh day of the next month is a day of great joy for this prince. The household will be busy during this period of time, so the two of you must help the dowager madame and old madame in making plans. As for the ceremonies, we shall do everything allowed as long as it doesn’t eclipse the emperor wedding the empress, understood?”
Xie Yue and Xu Weizhi nodded hastily.
They were strategists, so it felt like a misuse of good talent on minor purposes, given that their liege had tasked them with planning out a wedding.
But the two also knew of the deep feelings between the newlyweds, and they knew of Qin Yining’s character. Add to that the wedding being an imperially bestowed one, they felt that it was also a show of tremendous trust that the prince was willing to entrust the wedding to them.
With that in mind, the two retreated to the study to carefully study the itinerary, treating the wedding as they would any important affair.
The prince had given them their marching orders. As long as they didn’t exceed the pomp that had been trotted out for the empress, anything was on the table. The utmost of opulence would be on display so that the Qins could feel the fullest of Pang sincerity.
Pang Xiao sent off Xie Yue and Xu Weizhi with a grave expression, then ran to the sparring grounds with a coldly serious look. Peeling off his clothes and wearing only a pair of black, silk pants, he sparred with the wooden dummies.
Finding no outlet to vent his extreme excited agitation and brimming with energy, he ran through his martial methods for the rest of the afternoon, breaking three wooden dummies in the process.
Huzi snickered endlessly to see his master thus; it also greatly startled Ji Zeyu, who’d quietly come to visit.
“You’re here, Ah Lan.” Dripping with sweat, a layer of goosebumps popped up on Pang Xiao’s skin due to the lower temperatures at night. He didn’t mind it in the slightest, just took the handkerchief offered by Huzi to wipe off his face before putting on his downy-white shirt.
Ji Zeyu’s eyes flitted over the various scars on the prince’s body before he nodded and hoisted the jug of ale in his hand.
“Share a drink?”
“Precisely my thoughts.” Pang Xiao had his men prepare some food and showed the prince consort to his room.
Ji Zeyu could tell from his friend’s slightly frowning countenance that Pang Xiao hadn’t quite had his fill of venting his emotions, despite an afternoon of physical workout. He couldn’t help but offer words of comfort, “You can only obey His Majesty’s marriage edict. Even though there’s the previous issue of your father, you have to keep it inside from now on. I can tell that you like née Qin, so try to lay down your hatred and just live well in the future.”
Pang Xiao was rather taken aback that Ji Zeyu would try to console him in this way. He smiled. “I know.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter