The expressions on Yao Chenggu and his daughter weren’t as pleasant—there was none of née Ma’s pure happiness to be found.
Qin Yining had been taken by the Tatars for so long and she looked the way she did. Great Yan’s impression of the Tatars was a ferocious and savage people who essentially ate raw flesh and drank blood. Would their men not be moved at seeing such an exquisite and beautiful woman?
It would be one thing if she came back cleanly without a child. They wouldn’t doubt the child’s bloodline if she became pregnant later on. One of their greatest fears was that Pang Xiao was entranced by her beauty and didn’t even know that he was raising another’s child!
Frustration and resignation rose in Yao Chenggu’s heart as he watched a blithe née Ma walk hand-in-hand with Qin Yining. This old woman is simply too uncaring about the matters of the world! What if her grandson’s been cuckolded??
In his melancholy, Yao Chenggu reached for his brass pipe and fished for tobacco stored in a small silk pouch hanging off of the pipe.
Née Ma’s expression sank when she turned back at the sound. She hectored, “You bumbling old man! Dafu’s wife is with child and you want to smoke?? Put that away!”
If it’d been before, Yao Chenggu would’ve ceased his motions out of a desire to not fight with née Ma. But now as he considered the possibility that his grandson possibly didn’t even know that he’d been cuckolded, that perhaps his timeline was incorrect, or perhaps the girl was pregnant with some savage whelp, he lowered his head morosely. Firmly stuffing his pipe with tobacco, he pretended he hadn’t heard née Ma’s words.
Née Ma was already nursing a ball of anger. Ever since she’d beaten née Yao with a shoe on account of all the heartless words she’d said, the way Yao Chenggu had allowed that they would keep née Qin like it was some kind of imperial favor, and that he supported Dafu taking concubines, she’d felt that this father and daughter duo thoroughly went against expectation.
Who would’ve thought that instead of being delighted by news of Qin Yining’s pregnancy, Yao Chenggu and née Yao would reveal those expression instead??
Née Ma’s annoyance burned all the more hotly for it, but she kept it down when she looked at her granddaughter-in-law. It wouldn’t do to worsen her mood if the rest of the family fought. Instead, she pulled Pang Xiao over, “As people, we must live with one hand on our conscience. Yining’s parents spent so much blood, sweat, and tears to raise her to the fine young lass she is today. They gave her to us without a word and upon joining our family, she has to take care of you, be a filial daughter-in-law, oversee the household, and raise your children.
“You must be just as good to her and her family as she is to you! They gave you their daughter, so you must repay them in their twilight years as well! Do you hear me? Your children will learn from what you do and if you don’t do things properly now, your children will do the same to you when you’re old!”
She freed a hand to pinch Pang Xiao’s muscular arm.
He’d heard more than his fair share of nagging when he grew up and felt the familiar cadence very comforting. Pang Xiao smiled, “Grandma, I know. Father-in-law and Yining’s second uncle have lost their positions because of certain events, and I’m worried their family might be in danger because of me.
“Therefore, I took the initiative to ready Snowpear Courtyard and Snowtrace Garden so I could invite them in. It will be easier for us to protect them when they’re part of the family.”
“That’s wonderful!” née Ma smiled. “Has their old dowager come as well?”
“Yes. The old dowager is very kind to Yining and she is also very filial. They’re delighted by Yining’s pregnancy and now our joy can be doubled with everyone living close to each other.”
Née Ma bobbed her head happily, not doubting anything her grandson said. “I’ll go visit my old sister in a while. I’ve long hoped for someone to talk to in this complex, we’re normally so quiet. It’s so much more like a home when there’s more people around!”
Née Yao and Yao Chenggu, however, furrowed their brows further.
Yao Chenggu took a deep pull on his pipe and turned over the same thoughts again and again. Isn’t this inviting the wolf into the chicken coop? The emperor obviously doesn’t like the Qins since he’s stripped them of their titles. Have we brought trouble through our doors in welcoming them at this time?
Née Yao’s thoughts turned to more practical affairs. How will expenses be handled when we all live together? It’s not going to be my son in charge of everything, is it?!
“When did this happen?” Née Yao blurted out. “Oh, you child. Look at you still running around haphazardly at your age. Why didn’t you discuss this with us first? What if your brash actions have resulted in inadequate hospitality for the in-laws?”
Though Qin Yining hadn’t turned back to observe everyone’s expressions since she was walking side-by-side with née Ma and Pang Xiao at the front, she could clearly discern all of the blows exchanged.
Née Yao suspected her purity and that her child wasn’t Pang Xiao’s. This was maddening enough, but she didn’t want any discord with Pang Xiao’s family. They all lived under the same roof and the days ahead were long. If they had a falling out, things would be awkward in the future and Pang Xiao would have a difficult time being caught in the middle.
He was already beset with enemies at court, she didn’t want him to come home to chaos and animosity.
However, née Yao didn’t seem to think much of her self restraint. Perhaps she even took it as a sign of guilt?Previous Chapter Next Chapter