Seeing that she’d shut her eyes and stopped speaking, and that no other expression crossed her exquisite and mesmerising visage, the maids’ movements became even more careful. The one before them exuded a noble air that was not to be desecrated.
After the bath, the maids presented Qin Yining with a bright red long robe of finely woven cotton that was embroidered with the complicated totems of the Xiyue tribe and made in the style typical of those worn by the women here.
A narrow skirt was tucked in at the waist and its ends brushed the floor, while wide sleeves afforded freedom of movement. On Qin Yining, it emphasised how her slim waist was no larger than a handspan, and the curves of her body rose and fell like a mountain range.
Her long hair was conscientiously patted dry, then half of it was coiled up and secured with a pure silver, tasselled hairpin. The remaining half was left to hang down along her back, lending her an air of otherworldliness.
In Great Yan and Great Zhou, a half-updo like this was reserved for unmarried young ladies. Qin Yining surmised that they also had a similar practice here, but since this prince wanted to take her as his primary consort, she understood why they would do this. However, since the situation was not yet clear, Qin Yining didn’t intend to correct them either. They could do just as they pleased for now.
When they left the side room and returned to the main hall, the Xiyue prince was still in the room. He stared rapturously at Qin Yining walking in his direction, her skirts swaying in an elegant arc as she was supported by the two maids. Her flawless visage further knocked every thought out of his mind.
The Xiyue prince stood up with his face flushed red, inexplicably moved, “Goddess…” He didn’t know what to say after that and could only stare dumbly at Qin Yining.
Qin Yining was quite disgusted by his expression, but had no choice but to accept it since she was residing under his roof. The safety of the Minuo was not yet secure and she wasn’t in a position to erupt in a fit of temper either. “Your Grace, I wonder where are my people? I would like to see them.”
“Ah! That’s easy enough! However, Goddess, you are not yet fully recovered and should not leave the palace. Why not I have someone bring them into the palace? It’s just that your people are numerous and it would be difficult for all of them to come here. Why not choose a few of them to see you instead?”
Qin Yining raised her brows and answered lightly, “That’s fine as well. I would like to see my elder brother Lu Heng and my three guards Arhan, Harabhara, and Caganbhara. My maids Surala and Oolan need to be brought forth as well.”
The Xiyue prince noted them down with a nod and was about to instruct someone to call for these people, but suddenly paused. He turned to smile merrily at her. “This prince will naturally agree to the goddess’ requests, but I haven’t yet asked the goddess for her exalted name.”
Qin Yining said lightly, “My surname is Pang.”
The prince stepped forward eagerly, “And what about your name?”
Qin Yining raised an eyebrow. “Your Grace can just call me Miss Pang.”
The prince grew a little irate at the pushback. Perhaps it’d been too many years since someone had dared refuse him, and perhaps he was much easier to enrage than most people Qin Yining had met outside. In any case, his emotions were also much more transparent.
“This prince wishes to know your name!”
“The prince is a well-mannered and well-cultured individual,” replied Qin Yining, “and should know that the names of women should only be known by her family and her husband’s family, no?”
The prince’s expression darkened, then brightened up again as he seemed to think of something a moment later. “Alright, alright, don’t tell this prince then. This prince can tell you mine instead. My name is Zhou Meng, courtesy name Lushui. In any case, when we become family in the future, this prince will still know Miss Pang’s name.”
Qin Yining compressed her lips and her eyes flashed, but she kept her composure. He could say what he wished, words were cheap anyway. She hadn’t gotten a clear picture of the situation yet and couldn’t act blindly, so had to put up with it for now. “Can you bring in the people I wanted to see?”
“Of course, but not young master Lu.” Zhou Meng replied.
Qin Yining frowned. “He is my elder brother. I must see him.”
“Your surname is Pang while his is Lu. How can you be siblings?” Zhou Meng asked sarcastically.
Qin Yining rolled her eyes and looked at him as if he were an idiot. “Does Your Grace not have cousins?”
Zhou Meng stared blankly for a moment. He really had forgotten about that detail in front of her beauty. No wonder that Lu guy was so adamant about obstructing him from marrying her, he was doing it for his cousin!
However, that was even worse, the relationship between cousins had always been an ambiguous one!
Zhou Meng grew even unhappier. When he thought about how the other women in his harem usually behaved, he decided to change tactics and smiled warmly. “Alright gorgeous, don’t be angry. This prince will bring the others to meet you and then get you some of the most beautiful jewels and freshest fruits, alright?”
Qin Yining’s brows knitted tightly together when she heard that and scoffed, “Your Grace, please maintain your dignity. Your Grace looks like one who is well versed in the rites and ceremonies. You should know that according to the customs, parents decide their children’s marriages and matchmakers must act as the go-between.
“Your Grace claims to desire me for your consort, but for some reason cannot accept my family. I don’t think I can accept such an attitude either.” As she finished speaking, she turned around, showing Zhou Meng her back.
However, this elegant and graceful back was sufficient to tickle Zhou Meng’s heartstrings. He wished dearly that he could press her against the couch and have his way with her right now.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Fantastic, it's been a while since we've had an enemy to slaughter! Pitchforks OUT everyone.