The prince immediately shifted over to the source of the voice. “Are you tired?” he asked in tones of utmost love and tenderness.
When Lanchi ever so cautiously lifted her eyes, she happened to meet the gaze of the woman on the padded platform. She thought she was dreaming for a split second because the woman was simply too unbelievably beautiful. She didn't seem real, but more like a figure of jade delicately carved by the gods themselves. Flawless and perfect, every single detail about her was exquisite.
No wonder! Compared to the princess consort, the Grand Princess of Anyang wasn’t worth writing home about. It was no wonder that the prince would instantly change from hard-tempered steel to soft glue around her fingers.
“You may rise,” said Qin Yining when she saw that the maid still maintained her curtsey even though she was trembling like a leaf. “I’m a bit tired, please prepare some hot water for me.”
“Understood.” Lanchi curtsied gratefully before retreating. Something as minor as preparing hot water was a task usually left to the junior servants. Her Highness was just giving her a way out.
Qin Yining smiled as she watched the maid leave and pinched the back of Pang Xiao’s hand. “You’re playing the villain so as to make me the hero!”
“I would never.” Pang Xiao rubbed his nose with a smile, “I just exerted some pressure on them with a few words. What if someone’s thoughts strayed otherwise and they somehow hurt you, it would all be too late then. So I’m following the saying of nipping trouble in the bud and taking preventive measures in advance.”
“You always find a logical explanation for your actions.” Qin Yining shook her head with a chuckle and leaned into him. “But don’t levy too much pressure on people who aren’t relevant. Life is hard for those eking out a living in the lower class.
“We’ll be on our guard when we must, but we shouldn’t purposefully be at odds with others. We especially shouldn’t engage in arbitrary slaughter. We have a child now and should accumulate good karma for them.”
Pang Xiao’s heart turned gentle as he looked into Qin Yining’s soft eyes. He leaned forward, landing a soft kiss on her lashes. “We'll do whatever you say. I’ll also do a lot of good deeds to collect good karma for you and our child.”
Truth be told, he was very tense at the moment. He wouldn't have cared about any of this if his darling hadn't said anything. He'd never believed in the metaphysical and felt that humans would prevail over the heavens.
But he truly had a weakness now and a family that he cared about. Pang Xiao suddenly found himself concerned with all of the lives he'd taken directly on the battlefield or been indirectly responsible for. He wasn’t afraid of facing retribution, but was indeed afraid of dragging in Qin Yining and their child.
This was why somebody like him shouldn’t have a weakness or ties to others. It would impede him and create hesitation at critical junctures. However, Pang Xiao was still very grateful for everything he possessed now.
Upon the arrival of hot water, Qin Yining and Pang Xiao washed up with the servants waiting on them hand and foot.
Before long, Sun Yan returned with the two doctors most experienced in pregnancies in the imperial hospital.
“Your Highness, the imperial physicians have arrived. ”
Pang Xiao nodded, but didn’t follow Sun Yan out. He opted for waiting at the side while the two physicians made their inspection.
The two imperial physicians took her pulse and examined her with the greatest of care. Once they made their rounds, they described Qin Yining’s current condition to Pang Xiao. Their explanations were the same as the other doctors who’d previously inspected Qin Yining, putting his mind at ease.
It looks like Li Qitian wouldn’t be causing trouble through the imperial physicians.
But that also further emphasized how thorough Li Qitian’s preparations were this time. He no longer cared about petty tricks and was just waiting to close in for the kill.
If it’d been anyone else facing the emperor in court tomorrow, they might be anxious with fear and too nervous to rest. After all, the odds of successfully defying imperial power were close to none. Brave heroes and scholars abounded in history, ones who upheld justice and helped found the nation, but their final reward was an inglorious end at the hands of imperial power.
Pang Xiao, however, wasn’t afraid in the slightest. Rather, excitement exuded from his very pores.
He was the sort to charge straight into difficulties; retreating without putting up a fight wasn't his style. His sworn brother had employed roundabout methods and tactics for many years, and he wanted to see just what Li Qitian had in mind this time to finally put him to death.
While Pang Xiao and Qin Yining rested in the manor, news of their return had already somehow spread around the capital.
“The Faithful Prince of the First Rank committed treason, but the emperor still arranges for him to stay at an imperial manor. Ah, the emperor truly loves his subjects. What a pity that the subject is unworthy of this favor and chose to betray the country instead. He really deserves to die!”
“Isn’t that right! His Majesty really is benevolent toward the prince. The prince is apparently so arrogant that he even defies imperial decrees!”
When Qin Huaiyuan, second and third elder master returned home in a carriage, the streets buzzed with talk of the manor that’d been prepared for Pang Xiao’s return.
The second elder master was scared witless and whispered lowly, “Big brother, they…”
Qin Huaiyuan waved a gentle hand, hinting for his brother not to say anymore. The second elder master promptly shut his mouth.
They were Qin Yining’s maternal family, undoubtedly under imperial surveillance all this time. Wouldn't they bring trouble down on the entire family if they carelessly said something that infuriated the emperor?
The carriage slowly made its way back to the Qin Manor and the group alighted from the vehicle, returning home as normal.Previous Chapter Next Chapter