Chapter 573.2: Moving (II)

“Mother, you shouldn’t speak like this in the future,” the second elder master counseled gravely. “Those of us who hold a position at court depend on royal favor. The imperial heart is hard to fathom and we cannot control our rises and falls in fortune. No one is at fault in this matter. If we must blame someone, then blame the fact that this occurrence was decreed in our fates.

“Niece Yi is a filial child and big brother sees things with an open heart. He is truly filial to you, so speak no more of this. It will sadden others to hear of it and we would be hurt as well.”

“Mother, don’t be bothered with the likes of our generation.” The second madame added with a smile. “The lord speaks too bluntly, but he means well. You are most considerate of your children and the most generous. As the saying goes, ‘a prime minister's mind is broad enough for poling a boat’ and ‘the master should sometimes turn a blind eye and a dear ear’.

“You are the most elder in the family, mother, and we need you to be in charge of us all. Otherwise, we’ll sorely lack for a pillar of strength.”

The second elder master and madame alternated between projecting a sympathetic attitude and an aggressive one, fully defusing the old dowager’s temper. She was also immensely comforted by her daughter-in-law’s words and nodded approvingly. 

“Alright then, the family will temporarily move over to the prince’s manor. We’ll move right back out if anything happens, and we’ll have someone watch over our residence. That ensures we have a place to live if we need to move back in a hurry.”

The second madame nodded while inwardly rolling her eyes. Niece Yi owns this residence since bandits made off with everything the family owned when we traveled here, what residence do ‘we’ own? The old dowager eats, lives, and breathes from niece Yi but knows no gratitude.

As Yining’s aunt, the second madame’s teeth ached from the sourness of it all.

The second elder master went out to discuss the matter of moving with Qin Huaiyuan, Pang Xiao, and the others. Actual execution of their plans was easy once they decided upon a course of action.

Servants abounded in Pang Xiao’s household and his personal guard and Elite Tigers displayed dominating prowess both on the battlefield and moving house. Since the prince’s manor was amply stocked with bedding and daily necessities, the Qins only needed to take their clothing and personal belongings. Everything was put in order very shortly.

They readied a dozen carriages and left behind some servants to guard the residence. The rest took their personal servants with them and set out for the prince’s manor. Snowplum Yard was staffed with people at all time; all Pang Xiao needed to do upon his return was give orders to his head overseer.

The old dowager, second and third branches of the family settled into Snowplum Yard. Pang Xiao sent his overseer with more servants to help make themselves at home. Qin Yining arranged for her parents to reside in Snowtrace Garden, where she’d stayed previously.

That was a quiet and refined residence, located in an important part of the complex despite not possessing a door leading straight to the outside. Close to the outer study and separate from the inner residence, it was ideal for drawing clear boundaries—important due to the fact that Qin Yining had a single mother-in-law.

The eighth miss was naturally sent with the old dowager, while the household had to accept Qin Huining since she was a foster child. Highly afraid of the girl causing any trouble, Née Sun volunteered to keep Qin Huining under her nose.

“Daughter Hui can stay with me. You can go pay your respects to the old dowager every day.”

Bedazzled by the vast residence and opulent elegance of the prince’s manor, Qin Huining’s jealousy frothed and churned. Feeling highly aggrieved that née Sun was on guard against her like she was a thief, Qin Huining nonetheless nodded docilely when she thought of how she wanted to repair her relationship with Qin Huaiyuan and née Sun.

Née Sun had a maid lead Qin Huining to her room to rest.

Lamps flared to life when the skies grew dark and lit up the indoors like it was day. Qin Huaiyuan spoke to his daughter when he noticed how tired she seemed, “You two must be tired after the events of the day, go get some rest. The rest can wait until tomorrow.” He turned to Pang Xiao. “I’ve already sent people to escort the in-laws home. I’m sure they’ll arrive in a day or two.”

Pang Xiao smiled. “Indeed, thank you, father-in-law. You’ve braved the emperor’s surveillance to take care of my mother and grandparents when I was away. You must have expended a lot of effort. The two of us shall drink to our heart’s content when we have a moment!”

Née Sun was very surprised by their conversation as she had no idea this had taken place. Pang Xiao left Snowtrace Garden with Qin Yining.

It was now completely dark and a maid lit the way ahead with a lantern. Pang Xiao decided to carry his wife in his arms when he saw how Qin Yining’s waist ached and slowly she walked.

Caught off guard by the weightless feeling, she cried out softly and grabbed for his neck. “What are you doing? Put me down.”

“You’re tired, be a good girl and rest for a bit. I’ll have them prepare some congee and a few dishes. You can rest after you’ve had them.”

Qin Yining chuckled when she heard this and rested her head against Pang Xiao’s shoulders, feeling his strong arms wrap her in a strong grip and easily return to their residence. She was tired and didn’t want to talk. Immensely grateful to Pang Xiao for how he’d handled everything today, she rubbed her cheek against his shoulder.

Pang Xiao’s heart melted and he bent his head to kiss her forehead, saying gently, “My heart.” 

He stopped before long. “My dear, take a look.”

Qin Yining was already drifting off to sleep and blearily opened her eyes. “What is it?”

He tilted his forehead and she followed his gaze. The warm illumination of the lanterns cast light upon a brand new signboard over the doors. Familiar characters flew across it, saying Pineheart Garden.

Qin Yining’s eyes reddened and she smiled through a watery gaze, “It’s your calligraphy.”

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etvolare's Thoughts

Pineheart = Pine and heart. A pining of the heart.

Hey everyone, so so so sorry for the radio silence. I've been traveling through the US for my best friend's wedding (been at the airport six times in the last four weeks, logging an accumulated 40 hours of flight time) and managed to get COVID last month as well. It's been... interesting times. I'm due to fly back to Taiwan next week, so everything will finally calm down then.