Qin Yining blinked innocently. “Why does father think I did something?”
“Do you think your thoughts and actions can escape my eyes? Just look at you—you look like the mouse who’s gotten into the cookie jar.” Amused by his own description, Qin Huaiyuan chuckled and tousled his daughter’s head lovingly. “Now out with it!”
Qin Yining grinned merrily. “It’s honestly not that complicated, and it’s all thanks to Old Master Gu giving me the perfect opportunity. I wouldn’t have been able to save you all otherwise.”
She described the process of how the old official had come to her to negotiate, how she’d turned him down, created the fake treasure map, then used the old official to elicit Li Qitian’s attentions, and finally diverted trouble by besieging the base of the besiegers.
Qin Huaiyuan fell silent after listening to the proceedings, observing a moment of silence for the wizened Old Master Gu. Would the old man, who’d always fancied himself quite sharp and crafty, explode with anger after he realized how he’d been tricked?
“Father?” Qin Yining felt a bit uneasy at seeing her father remain silent.
The Qin patriarch came back to himself with a smile. “Everything’s fine. Now that Lu Heng’s secretly gone off to search for the treasure, we can have some peace as well. We can fully concentrate on preparing for your wedding.”
Rubbing her nose a bit awkwardly, Qin Yining lowered her head. “What’s there to prepare for?”
“You don’t need to worry about any of that, just focus on embroidering your pillowcase. I hear from your mother that progress has been slow?”
The Qin fourth miss blushed with embarrassment. “Don’t make fun of me, father. I can manage rough patches and stitches well enough, but fine needlework or artistic character tracings… although mother’s had the mamas teach me many times and I understand the theory of the craft work, I just don’t have the patience for it. I feel like it’s a waste of time.”
“Oh, you, hahaha!” Qin Huaiyuan broke into hearty peals of laughter and clapped his daughter’s shoulder. “You’re right, fine needlework and artist tracings are just busywork. If one has the time to do all that, they might as well read a few more books. I obtained a new book of travel notes recently, take it back with you. Have the maids finish your embroidery instead.”
Qin Yining put her palms together, as if she’d been pardoned from a grave task. “My thanks, father! You’ve saved me. If mother asks, I’ll say that you wanted me to read.”
“Haha, alright. If your mother asks, you can say it was on my orders!” Qin Huaiyuan laughed loudly again.
“Milord, you spoil our daughter like this.”
Just as father and daughter metaphorically shook hands in collusion, née Sun’s tones of mock anger travelled from outside the door.
Qin Huaiyuan rubbed his nose with an index finger and stopped laughing.
The Qin fourth miss rose to welcome the madame. “Mother, what brings you here?”
“And thank goodness I came. I wouldn’t have known you two were plotting to slack off behind me!” Née Sun looked merrily at her husband.
She couldn’t find it within herself to be angry at all. It was so rare that her husband could laugh so heartily. Seeing father and daughter interact so harmoniously, her daughter being the source of the family’s laughter, and the two discuss how to duck out of pillow embroidery was a balm to her heart.
“Madame, come sit.” Qin Huaiyuan pointed at the seat across from him.
Qin Yining helped née Sun sit down.
The Qin senior madame tapped the girl’s forehead. “Now, you shouldn’t always listen to your father. Your father is a man, what does he know about all this? Which girl in this world doesn’t do her own embroidery? Some of the noble girls even make their own bridal gown. You’re the daughter of a minister, after all. If you don’t do even this bit of embroidery, you’ll be looked down on by others.”
“This is where you're wrong, mother. If they see my embroidery, that’s when they’ll look down on me.”
Née Sun’s words were stoppered by her daughter’s response. She couldn’t help but silently agree with her daughter.
Qin Yining’s embroidery wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t all that great either.
What kind of place was the prince’s manor? One in which any needlework or decoration was exquisite without parallel. When it came down to comparison, any embroidery found lacking would appear even coarser.
“Alright then.” Née Sun sighed. “I’ll find you a seamstress to do it for you. We’ll produce only the most delicate of work.”
Qin Yining happily hugged the madame. “Thank you, mother!”
Qin Huaiyuan happily took advantage of the warm atmosphere to shove a few newly obtained books at Qin Yining, earning an eye roll from his wife for his efforts. Father and daughter cackled like a fox successfully breaking into the hen house.
As a contented atmosphere wrapped itself around the Qins, Pang Xiao held court in the outer residence study of the Faithful Prince of the First Rank with an expression of solemn killing intent.
The prince’s strategists, including leaders Xie Yue and Xu Weizhi, were all gathered in the study. All of them wore solemn expressions. Having been summoned early in the morning, there was certainly something significant brewing that their master couldn’t resolve.
Everyone’s hearts hung in the balance. They all looked to Pang Xiao sitting in the head seat.
“I have summoned everyone here today to discuss an urgent matter.”
“Please speak your mind, Your Highness.”
“I wish to discuss the wedding on the eleventh of the next month. Certain developments have just happened to the Qins. There should be no further developments, correct?”
Your Highness, you summoned us with top priority at first light, not for the country’s matters, not for the treasure, but for the wedding—something carved in stone!
Everyone deflated, taut nerves relaxing in an instant. Amused mirth rippled through the crowd, but they had to keep their laughter to themselves.
Their normally impressive and awe-inspiring prince was simply too solemn at the moment.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Aw, father and daughter are simply too cute. And LOL at Pang Xiao!