Pang Xiao looked severely at those gathered. “What, will there really be further developments?”
“Ahem.” Xu Weizhi rose with a smile and flashed a comforting grin at Pang Xiao. “You needn’t worry, Your Highness. Your father-in-law Patriarch Qin is an immensely intelligent character. Miss Qin is also a female Zhuge Liang with unparalleled wits. No matter what accidents befall the Qins, Minister Qin and Miss Qin will handle it all perfectly. As for our manor, with Your Highness holding down the fort, any problem will be readily resolved.”
“That’s right, that’s right.” The strategists nodded in unison.
Pang Xiao relaxed every so slightly with the consolatory words. His tense shoulders loosened as well.
“You make sense.” The prince nodded seriously.
The various strategists found the situation hilarious. That the ordinarily highly intelligent and sharply scheming prince would have such a childish side to him! He looked just like a young man who was completely innocent in the ways of the world.
Their thoughts took a quick turn. The prince had never been in a relationship before, so he really was a fresh-faced boy when it came to love.
Everyone present had once experienced the follies of youth. They knew what it was like to harbor feelings for a girl. Setting aside how everyone’s first love had ended, they could all empathize with that sort of expectant yet nervous mood, and also being deathly afraid of failure.
How nice it is to be young!
Xie Yue rose and smiled genially. “Your Highness, in my view, you really don’t need to worry. You mentioned Old Master Gu a little while ago, and were concerned that Miss Qin couldn’t handle the situation as Minister Qin was still grounded in the palace. But see, your preparations didn’t even have time to be set in motion before Miss Qin handled it all by herself.”
“That’s right, Miss Qin is simply the brightest lady we have ever seen in our lives,” chorused the crowd.
Pang Xiao nodded solemnly. “You all speak correctly.”
Judging from his reaction, enlightenment in the form of a new way to please the prince suddenly struck the crowd.
Those who dearly wished to get closer to Pang Xiao and become a core strategist waxed eloquent on compliments of Qin Yining. They’d all met her before and knew of her smarts and methods. Their flattering remarks were logical and reasonable.
Their master listened carefully and felt quite pleased with what he heard, as if he was soaking in a hot spring. He nodded multiple times, the tense expression on his face smoothing itself out.
Xie Yue and Xu Weizhi looked at each other, keeping a tight expression on their face with unspoken accord.
If they didn’t do that, they’d probably bray with laughter.
The prince had always presented a sagacious image in their minds—to the point of almost being surreal. Seeing him be so down-to-earth now was such a hilarious sight.
“There are several things we need to keep an eye on now. Firstly, being prepared for the possibility of someone causing trouble before the wedding. Secondly, being prepared that someone will cause trouble during the wedding. Thirdly, the list of betrothal gifts have been sent. We need to pick an auspicious day to actually deliver them and decide on which presenters are the most appropriate. Fourthly, on the day of fetching the bride, how do we go through this custom in an innovative way? Fifthly, and most important.”
Pang Xiao paused for a breath. The crowd’s faces tightened with seriousness.
“The most important thing is, this prince’s future father-in-law is endowed with extraordinary talent. His wealth of knowledge can fit more than five cartloads of books. He naturally has no lack of equally smart people beside him. It’s a given that on the day of the marriage, Qin relatives will block the door with pranks and ask all sorts of tricky questions. What do we do then?”
The crowd: ……
Your Highness, you’re not afraid of two armies facing off against each other in the field or fighting until you’re bathed in blood. Are you really afraid of a few questions at the door?
The strategists felt that they didn’t have a good enough understanding of their lord.
“Ahem.” Xie Yue cleared his throat and forcefully held back laughter. “Your Highness, for now, you don’t need to worry about people causing trouble before the wedding. The matter with the Lus is drawing a certain amount of attention. Another is that your wedding is imperially decreed. The edict occupies the place of honor in the hall of ancestors. Who dares cause any trouble? Those brainless enough to kick up a fuss are more than likely two-bit clowns. They’re nothing to be afraid of, so just be at ease, Your Highness.”
Pang Xiao nodded slowly.
“You don’t need to worry about people causing trouble at the wedding either. I feel that with the emperor’s ties of brotherhood with Your Highness, he’ll make all suitable arrangements for a wedding that he himself bestowed. Perhaps the emperor might even be in attendance with the empress! With His Majesty present, we naturally won’t need to worry.”
“And even if the emperor doesn’t come, you still have the Elite Tigers, Your Highness. The Elite Tigers belong to our manor, so a command token isn’t needed to deploy them.”
“Precisely,” continued Xie Yue. “Your Highness can even contact Prince Consort Ji. As he now commands the Valiant Tigers, he too has around a hundred troops at his manor. We can borrow them to maintain the peace.”
Xu Weizhi and Xie Yue didn’t blatantly point out their meaning, but Pang Xiao already understood what they meant.
Though Ji Zeyu was now the commander of the Valiant Tigers, Pang Xiao himself still boasted high prestige amongst the troops. The men at Ji Zeyu’s manor were selected from the Valiant Tigers, so borrowing them was the same as deploying his own men.
“Alright.” Pang Xiao nodded again and continued with satisfaction, “Setting aside everything else, our own men have the best martial arts skills.”
You’re not going to a brawl! What do you need martial arts for??
Our prince really has lost his mind from joy with the impending marriage.
An amused Xie Yue picked up the conversation. “The most important thing is for you to select some sharp-looking men. Just think about it, Your Highness, how impressive will it be to see a group of young men in military uniform, marching out in neat lines and standing with great dignity?”
“You’re right, you’re right.” Pang Xiao bobbed his head. “Then it’s settled. I’ll go discuss with Ji Lan. As for the betrothal gifts…”
Xu Weizhi answered this time. “The grand-madame and grand-lord have already decided on the gifts. Due to considerations of overstepping custom, we’ve prepared 208 litters of gifts. They’re all fine selections. You don’t need to make a showing when they’re delivered, Your Highness. The grand-lord will arrange proper bearers to deliver them.”
“That is most excellent.” Pang Xiao suddenly felt it insufficient after his nod. “Add two more litters of gold to that. Choose little gold fish for them and put them all nice and orderly like. 210 litters makes for a nice, round number.”
The crowd reeled, stunned.
Two litters of little gold fish?? At one tael of gold per fish, how much gold would that be!?
They could already imagine how blinding the sight would be, beneath the sun.
“Your Highness, ah, your gold is too eye-catching. What if people talk about it? Besides, the emperor happens to lack money.”
Pang Xiao waved a hand, nonplussed. “He can come rob me if he wants them. This is the only marriage that this prince will ever have in my life. They’re giving me such a fine girl that they’ve raised for so many years. My darling will suffer if my betrothal gifts are too meager. Besides, my steady mountain of a father-in-law is no ordinary official. He’s an existence who can rewrite the heavens with a flip of his hand. Two more litters of little gold fish isn’t that much at all.”
Xie Yue didn’t have a response to that, but his master’s words seemed true upon further thought.
Who didn’t have a bit of silver at home? The national treasury and imperial coffers were likely the poorest in the nation. That was an unavoidable fact.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Haha oh dear, Pang Xiao is too cute like this!