Qin Yining smiled bashfully. “I just wanted to save time so I could laze around.”
After being handed a dressing-down from her son, Née Yao insisted on ignoring everything household-related in Pang Xiao’s residence for one night. She hadn’t sent Missus Zhao to pry either, which was why she was lost when it came to née Ma’s remarks.
Née Yao wanted to hang onto her airs of superiority, but curiosity got the better of her as she saw how marvelously her mother and Qin Yining were getting on.
“How did daughter Yi arrange things?” She felt slightly discomfited as soon as that came out of her mouth, and stammered, “I, I could possibly learn a thing or two.”
Reading the sheepishness on née Yao’s face, Qin Yining responded with a smile, wanting to spare her mother-in-law embarrassment.
“I simply slotted the household affairs into different categories and assigned the servants to various duties. I created set hours that servants are to report back in. If there are no emergencies, servants will pick up their verification tokens about halfway into the hour of the sheep. Exceptions are made during emergencies.”
Née Yao immediately recognized the cleverness of her daughter-in-law’s plan and launched into impromptu praise.
“What a wonderful idea! That’s the perfect transition for the hours before and after. Errands taken care of in the morning and those to be handled in the afternoon can be assigned properly. Disruptions from constant updates can be spared. Brilliant idea!”
As soon as the acclamation was given, née Yao remembered that she was in a battle with her daughter-in-law. Discomfiture flashed across her face.
Qin Yining, on the other hand, answered bashfully with congenial shyness. “That was overpraise, mom. This daughter-in-law’s simply used to being lazy.”
Née Yao couldn’t help but beam at Qin Yining’s glowing and sincere smile.
Née Ma watched the pair’s interaction with gratification. “Dafu told us that you have business to supervise. Be careful that you don’t tire yourself out.”
“Yes, there’s that. I actually just collect profit without doing anything. Grand Steward Zhong has been with me since my days in Great Yan, and he’s loyal and smart. He sets everything into motion as soon as I ask. I don’t even have to lift a finger.”
“Wonderful, that’s wonderful! You’re fortunate to have someone loyal by your side to help you, but it’s also a sign of your own abilities that he gives his allegiance to you. I always thought you were able and talented. It definitely looks like I’m right. Dafu’s extremely lucky to have you as his wife.”
Née Ma folded Qin Yining into her bosom and patted the girl’s back affectionately with her aged, large hand.
Despite having her own birth grandmother, Qin Yining had never experienced love of such sincerity from the Qin old dowager. Nor had she been so dearly loved.
Née Ma gave off the fragrance unique to elders: a dry, warm, and sunny scent mixed in with the sweetness of her lotion. Qin Yining couldn’t resist nestling into the matriarch’s bosom, basking in that warmth.
“Grandmother’s praising me too much. I might grow too arrogant in the future.”
“No, you won’t. You’re a great child. You’re not that type”
Née Ma patted Qin Yining’s back, her fondness for the girl blossoming. She had no granddaughters, and Qin Yining was younger than her grandson by eight years! The matriarch had never known the joy of having a sweet granddaughter chortling by her side. The gain of such a docile, smart, and beautiful granddaughter-in-law absolutely delighted her.
Seeing her mother cuddling Qin Yining just so, an ache in née Yao’s heart reminded her that such warmth in her mother’s arms had never been hers during her own childhood.
Awareness of such feelings rattled her, yet some indeed were an honest, emotional outpouring that she had no control over. These feelings were tantamount to the fear she’d experienced when her precious son welcomed his bride.
“Mom.” Pang Xiao strode in at this very minute, wearing a brand-new navy blue brocade overcoat. Née Yao was the first person he saw from his approach through the door. He bowed with a smile.
Née Yao breathed a sigh of relief seeing her son act his normal, friendly self around her. There was no standoffishness after yesterday’s encounter. She smiled. “There you are, Dafu.”
“Aye. I was getting some meager gifts ready for today’s visit to the in-laws. I’ll remember to address them as my relatives from now on.” He bowed to Yao Chenggu and née Ma with a smile.
Yao Chenggu summoned his grandson to his side and inquired softly about the gifts. He gave his approval as Pang Xiao made his report, but advised after giving the report some thought, “Make sure to prepare a few grab bags as well and stuff them with gold and silver bits. That’ll help keep up appearances should you run into any juniors or peers.”
Pang Xiao naturally had them at the ready, but had neglected to mention it. At Yao Chenggu’s reminder, he nodded deferentially. “Ah, those are definitely a must. I’ll remember to get them ready.”
It was a picture of familial harmony at the manor, as if discord had never happened.
Delighted with the scene, née Ma prodded Pang Xiao. “Be on your way if you’re all ready. The lord uncles should be here soon.”
The uncles and elder brothers of the bride’s clan were supposed to pick up the newlyweds on the third day after the wedding.
Qin Yining smiled. “They should be here soon.”
No sooner had she finished her remark than an announcement sounded outside the inner residence. “The lord uncles have arrived!”
“Go on now. Be careful on the road. Send our regards to our in-laws.” Née Ma lightly patted the backs of Qin Yining’s hands.
Qin Yining nodded with a smile and a curtsey. She followed Pang Xiao to depart from Pinecrane Hall.
Standing by the prince’s manor were Qin Yu and Qin Han, deep in a discussion about whether to enter and offer their greetings to the Pang grand-madame. The newlywed couple emerged from the front doors as the two brothers talked.
“Greetings to my brothers-in-law.” Rather than being a haughty prince consort, Pang Xiao took the initiative and stepped forward to greet his new in-laws.
Given Pang Xiao’s high-ranking position and authority, plus his notoriety as a god of war, Qin Yu and Qin Han were slightly wary of him. They were also worried that he’d married Qin Yining to avenge his father’s death.
Seeing his radiant smile and their cousin’s obvious peace and joy, the two brothers felt the weight of concern lift off of their hearts. Their attitude shifted much more to the amicable and natural side.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Honestly, I think I can sympathize with nee Yao. Her position in the household is changing and she has to adjust to a new center of power. Our Qin Yining is no doormat either. It's reasonable for nee Yao to throw a tantrum or two, I think. Growing pains?