Chapter 432.1: Arrangements

Pang Xiao felt like he would blissfully drown in this expanse of tenderness. A smart, capable wife who always looked out for him would be by his side through the hardships of life.

Circling his darling’s slender waist, Pang Xiao planted a kiss on her forehead. Light as butterfly wings, he kissed her eyelids and cheeks.  

Qin Yining’s face flamed with embarrassment. She snapped her eyes shut, tickling Pang Xiao’s cheeks with her long eyelashes, tantalizing him until his breathing grew heavy. 

The prince gave up restraining himself and swept up his wife in one fell swoop. 

Qin Yining squealed with surprise and looked around in alarm, only to discover that numerous servants by their side just a moment ago had made themselves scarce. They’d even thoughtfully shut the door before their retreat. 

“Stop! It’s broad daylight! This wouldn’t do!” Qin Yining shoved at her husband, trying to ward off his advances. 

Chuckling softly, Pang Xiao gently laid his wife down on the carmine bedspread of the formal bed. He casually slipped out the centerpiece holding her locks together, sending her hair tumbling down in disarray. It fanned out on a pillow embroidered with a pair of mandarin ducks frolicking in the water, along with a few small, delicate hairpins and clasps.

Blessed with fair, smooth skin, the latter unique to ladies living south of the Yangtze River, she reclined on the bed with a bit of panicked surprise. Eyes that glimmered like pools looked up at him; she looked quite like a small animal being bullied. 

Pang Xiao found himself deeply enamored with every side of his wife, be it domineering or bashful, mischievous or kittenish. He snuggled against her, using one hand to prop against the pillow and the other to caress her cheek.   

“No. Let’s, let’s wait until evening.” 

“No. I want to take a good look at you. You have no idea how beautiful you are.” 

Pang Xiao’s eyes blazed with passion. He was like a child who’d just received a gift, and carefully untied the ribbons around the box with great care. Calloused from years of wielding swords, his hands were surprisingly gentle at this very moment.  

“My darling, give me a child. I want a child of our own.” 

Qin Yining’s cheeks pinked with embarrassment, all strength draining from her body. She was a top-quality zither, humming imaginative melodies of pleasure under Pang Xiao’s masterful, eager-to-learn hands.    

Evening lanterns were lit by the time Qin Yining woke. She huddled in the bedcovers as she rose, summoning the maids in a small voice. 

Bingtang and Jiyun smiled knowingly as they spotted the faint bluish-purple bruises on her body. 

As flustered as she felt, she had to let them be or they might blurt out other comments that would further mortify her. 

“Where is the prince?”

“His Highness is with a guest in the outer study. He said to have you head to the study as soon as you woke.”

At this request, Qin Yining’s eyebrows raised in question. “He didn’t say who the visitor was?” 

The maids shook their heads in unison. 

Qin Yining smiled. “Do my hair for me. I’ll go take a look. I’m planning on taking you two on this trip. Also, I want to have Jingzhe and the rest of his crew as well. Pass on the message for me, will you? You should also make arrangements for the journey.” 

“We will.” The two maids grinned. “They’ll be thrilled to go on a trip with Your Highness.” 

“Oh you two!” Qin Yining chuckled at their comments. “Let me be clear though. This journey is bound to be a perilous one. We’re headed to the south for the relief mission, and there’s no saying what we might encounter. The worst case is that the plague might be upon us. You all need to be mentally prepared.” 

“We know! When have disasters not found their way to Your Highness?” joked Bingtang. “You haven’t stopped being a magnet for trouble since I came to you! But I also know that with your wit, we can counter anything, come what may. I’m fearless!”     

Jiyun assented with a smile. “His Highness will protect you. We’ll be just fine as long as we’re with you.” 

“You little imp!” Without any heat whatsoever, Qin Yining reached out and pinched Jiyun’s cheek. 

Jiyun was willowy and sylphlike with eye-catching features. Bingtang, on the other hand, was petite and delicate, a charmer in her own right. Qin Yining couldn’t help but think of their marriage prospects as well. 

“The two of you are of age too. I’ll start looking for qualified husbands after all of this is over. If you already have someone special, just tell me. I don’t want to blindly set you up with people we don’t know well and who aren’t reliable.” 

Rattled with embarrassment, Bingtang stomped her feet. 

“The princess consort’s the worst, she only knows to make fun of us!” At that, the maid whirled around and stalked off.  

“I’m not like Bingtang. I don’t have anyone that I remotely like.” Jiyun’s face was beet-red. “If Your Highness doesn’t find me a bother, please allow me to stay and serve you. I’ve no interest in rushing into marriage just because of how old I am. Please oblige me as I stay by your side and take my time in picking a qualified candidate.” 

The princess consort nodded in understanding. “I won’t rush any of you. Just take all the time you need.”  

How fortunate it was to meet the one at a perfect age! Many weren’t able to find that special someone all their lives, or were unable to tie the knot if they did so.

Thinking of her immense good fortune, Qin Yining felt eternally grateful she and Pang Xiao were in love and faithfully there for each other. She had arrived by his side at her most beautiful age and was able to give him the best of her, imprinting all of that into his memory.   

“Are Bingtang and Huzi close?” Qin Yining switched gears. 

Jiyun chuckled lightly. “Nothing escapes your notice, Your Highness. I think Huzi’s feelings toward Bingtang are genuine. It’s just that Bingtang refuses to budge and give him a promise. She spends all day on her herbs and medicinal balm studies, and she whiles away her spare time with Xiaozhou. She spends far more time with Xiaozhou than with Huzi.” 

Qin Yining was amused by Jiyun’s remarks. 

“She’s been through a lot and she’s got a good head on those shoulders. I’m sure she’s got a good grasp of things.”

“Mm.” Jiyun nodded in agreement.

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etvolare's Thoughts

Poor Huzi lol!

And sponsors, I am happy to report there is finally one complete advance chapter ready for you. T_T