She put down the handkerchief and took his arm, her tone grave. “This is just something that occurred to me out of the blue. I have no evidence and what I say can’t be taken as the truth.”
Pang Xiao caressed her soft, tender hand.
“Out with it, there are no outsiders here. Besides, I’ve always felt that a woman’s sixth sense is uncannily accurate. You, my mother, and my grandmother are all like this. They sometimes have an inexplicable idea, like it’d be dangerous if I didn’t do a certain thing. Although there was no basis to their words at the time, events that unfolded later proved them to be right. So go ahead and speak your mind. It might give me some inspiration as well.”
Qin Yining nodded. “When Great Yan was gripped by war, the Soothsayer took the alias of Priestess Liu and hid in Great Yan to avoid pursuers. It appeared that she took up residence in the Celestial Nunnery, but in reality, she had ties with both the dog emperor and trampress, as well as frequent dealings with many influential figures at court. Although none of their relationships ran particularly deep, there are times when you only need an imperceptible influence to change something.
“When Great Yan fell into ruin, the Soothsayer went to Tatar. I saw her in the Tatar palace when I was there. At that time, her intent to stir chaos was even more evident and she even urged Anari Khan to kill me. Tatar later fell into internal unrest, and though I never saw her set any plans into motion with my own eyes, I still feel that she is one of the driving forces behind it all.
“The Soothsayer is famous because she foretold the fortunes of the three of you.” Qin Yining looked at Pang Xiao’s expression and added carefully, “I don’t know what she said, but after that, Li Qitian seemed to grow increasingly fearful of you. I’ve always had a feeling that the Soothsayer played a role in all these incidents, but I’m still not sure what her goal is.”
Hearing this, Pang Xiao fell into deep pondering.
He hadn’t given thought to any of this until Qin Yining mentioned it. But now that she brought it up, he reviewed all of the Soothsayer’s actions over the past few years and found that things were really as she’d said. The Soothsayer was involved in every incident that had occured.
“You’re right,” Pang Xiao said thoughtfully. “What exactly is her ulterior motive?”
Qin Yining pursed her lips, “When she was foretelling your fortune, she said something about the Emperor Star and three killer stars. Do you believe what she said?”
Startled, Pang Xiao broke into a wide grin. “No, I don’t actually believe this kind of talk.”
“Sir Mu once said the Soothsayer foretold, ‘In times of chaos, a fox spirit shall descend with indescribable disorder and snuff out the previous dynasty’s fortunes. Three ominous stars: the Greedy Wolf Star, Field Marshal, and Army will escort the Emperor Star to the apex and restore peace to the world’.
“The fox spirit throwing the world into chaos should refer to Great Yan’s trampress. The Greedy Wolf Star lies to the north. Looking at things again now, it should be referring to Utkin Khan. That leaves Field Marshal, Army, and the Emperor Stars as clearly referencing Ji Lan, Li Qitian, and you.
“After the Army Star, also known as Seven Kills, ascended to the throne, he was particularly wary of you because you’re the originally divined Emperor Star. He guards against you at every turn, while his hostility toward Prince Consort Ji is relatively lower.
“I’ve been wondering, are her divinations real or not? If they are real, what should’ve happened in the world? If they’re not and the Soothsayer says such things on purpose, what is she plotting?”
Qin Yining’s brows scrunched together as she pondered, deep in thought. Given the tense situation, Li Qitian had plainly finished with his preparations and was just waiting for them to return to the capital.
If the couple was the cowardly or less dependable sort, they would’ve made good their escape and lived out a peaceful life elsewhere. However, whether it was Pang Xiao or herself, neither of them could completely cast off all the responsibility on their shoulders and force their families to shoulder the consequences instead.
Therefore, no matter how daunting their prospects seemed, they still had to return to the capital. All of the unknown was making the situation even more complicated.
“My dear? Alright, let’s not think about this any more.” Pang Xiao called Qin Yining’s name several times, but received no response. He knew that she was fretting over everything she’d just shared with him.
He pulled her into his embrace, rocking her as he spoke. “All you need to do is put aside your worries and sleep beside me. I’ll handle everything. I have my ways to deal with His Majesty. Your health is fragile and after experiencing so many torments outside, aren’t you just tempting trouble if you keep thinking so much for no good reason?”
He dropped kisses on her forehead, lashes, and nose bridge before finally pecking softly at her lips. “There’s a dear, stop thinking about it. Just leave it all to me.”
Warmth obstructed Qin Yining’s lips from voicing further worries. The kiss was like a hot spring, gentle and relaxing, making her feel warm and cozy. She slowly melted in his chest, her body quickly turning hot as her heart raced.
Their days at Skywolf Pass were even more leisurely than their stay at Skyzone Pass. Tao Jun gathered his friends and the soldiers under his command to host a feast for the prince every day.
Pang Xiao tried bidding farewell several times and wanted to return to the capital, but Tao Jun kept protesting, “My brothers haven’t met enough with Your Highness.”
If not that, he’d say, “There’s still a brother of mine who’s arriving here the day after tomorrow. He’s always admired Your Highness and wished to see you with his own eyes. Your Highness must stay another two days and give him some face.”
How could Pang Xiao not see that Tao Jun was stalling for time?
Whenever there was a chance over the past couple of days, the general would either directly or indirectly urge the prince to not return to the capital. He constantly cautioned against various schemes or traps. Wouldn’t it be better to live a free and comfortable life with Her Highness? He could quietly return for his family at another opportunity.
With that, the prince’s entourage lingered at Skywolf Pass for more than twenty days.
Grass was about to start growing on Yi Binghu’s head! Over the past twenty days, he sent five secret letters to the capital, each one painstakingly describing how arrogant and unbridled Pang Xiao flaunted himself and clearly listing all of his offenses.
Just when Yi Binghu ordered the sixth letter to be sent out, a royal decree from the capital finally arrived.Previous Chapter Next Chapter