Qin Yining paused when her thoughts traveled here and turned around with a smile.
“Mother-in-law treats me as an outsider with these words. Though my family is temporarily staying here, they’re not occupying the two residences for no good reason. They’d planned on moving to a new manor as the old one was a bit crowded, but it’s difficult to immediately find a suitable place when every inch of land is so deeply precious and crowded in the capital.
“They also wanted to provide for me in a disguised manner, which is why they offered to rent the Snowpear Courtyard and Snowtrace Garden.
“It’s as easy as closing the door to the rear alley if our families wish to live apart, and our lodgings and meal times will naturally remain independent. My family retains many estates and manors in the capital of the old Yan Dynasty, as well as hot springs and parks in the mountains.
“They’re a bit too far though, and we are not in times of peace. It would be inconvenient to travel from the capital, or else my grandmother would rather return to the south.”
Everyone was well aware of the change in situation when they heard Qin Yining call née Yao “mother-in-law” instead of “mom”. She’d plainly grasped every detail about their earlier arguments—no one here was a fool.
Née Yao’s expression grew even more unpleasant and she curved her lips upward. “Now those words truly place yourself as an outsider. It’s no matter to lend those residences to your family, what is this talk of rent?”
“I understand mother-in-law’s meaning,” Qin Yining smiled. “But there should be a clear reckoning of accounts even between blood brothers, not to mention that that's not the case here. Don't worry, mother-in-law, my parents will only support us with more, rather than less. As for the child… I know your thoughts. But whether it's a son or a daughter, it’s still my child.”
Us Qins can still afford to raise a child even without you Pangs. If worst comes to worst, we’ll just raise it ourselves. We’re not afraid of you!
Pang Xiao’s heart was already aching for his beloved and he was deeply worried that she would damage her health with anger. He was also rather furious as well when he looked at his mother. Thus, he supported Qin Yining’s arms with his own and patted her soothingly.
The princess consort moved her gaze from the beet red née Yao and smiled at Yao Chenggu. “Grand-Lord, the smoke from your pipe makes it difficult to draw breath. I'm afraid it might harm your first grandchild. Could you put it out? And when I make my greetings at Pinecrane Hall in the future, please smoke in a room next door. It would be bad for the child otherwise.”
Yao Chenggu’s expression was every bit as dark as his daughter’s; his lips and beard vibrated before he tapped his pipe against his shoe and ground the flaming pieces into the dirt.
“A girl from a respectable family is more delicate then a girl from a random village, alright!” he sneered.
“Indeed that is.” Qin Yining drew herself up in a prim and proper fashion, her bearing telling Yao Chenggu that she was a noble daughter to be given due consideration. Don’t bully me like you’d bully someone who doesn’t know better! Do you really think I’ll just cry and bear it?
Both née Yao and Yao Chenggu were quite put out by the exchange and inwardly cursed Qin Yining for having no manners.
Née Ma bore even fewer suspicions about Qin Yining’s child upon seeing her granddaughter-in-law’s ferocious attitude. Wouldn’t the lass keep her head down and quietly accept any manner of treatment if she felt guilty?
“Lass, don’t bother with those two bumpkins. What rent? We don’t need it! Your father and uncle sacrificed their careers for Dafu, and what is this talk of charging rent for family to live together? Would anyone with a heart do that?? Come come, grandma will escort you back and see what else you might need.”
Née Ma slapped away Pang Xiao’s hand on Qin Yining’s shoulder and sniffed, “All you’re good for is standing off to the side and watching your wife be bullied! Stand up straight if you’re a man and show some fire when someone treats your lady poorly!”
Pang Xiao felt himself quite innocent from his grandmother’s lecture. “Does grandmother mean for me to bully my mom and grandpa?”
His doleful question teased née Ma into giggles. “That’s right! You bully back whoever bullies your wife and bully them into the ground!” She turned around to level Yao Chenggu with a fierce glare. “Has the old man turned into an old fool? We need to find a doctor to take a look at you and see if you’ve gotten water in your brains.”
She took Qin Yining’s hand and walked in the direction of Pineheart Garden.
Pang Xiao’s dejection abated and he followed merrily behind née Ma. “I could do all that and more if it were outsiders, but I can only turn a blind eye if it’s family.”
Yao Chenggu and née Ma remained awkwardly where they were, seething at the sight of née Ma and Pang Xiao flanking Qin Yining into the distance. They didn’t want to incite more distaste, so they returned to Pinecrane Hall.
Newly delivered home, Salt and Pepper bounded up the father and daughter with their tails wagging. Frustrated as he was, Yao Chenggu kicked Salt away.
The small Pekingese dog whimpered from the kick and cautiously wagged its tail once. Pepper nuzzled him in comfort and the two ran off together.
Yao Chenggu started smoking again once they were inside. Née Yao sat at the edge of the heated platform and pursed her lips, tightly gripping a table. She clenched it so hard that she almost snapped two of her exquisite nails.
“Dad, what do you think about this? Is whatever’s growing inside née Qin’s belly really from our family?”
Yao Chenggu took a pull on his pipe and slowly exhaled a cloud of smoke. He answered calmly, “I actually suspect her less after all that. She wouldn’t be so hard-headed about things if the father was someone else, and do you not know anything about Dafu? You’re his mother, so you should know that him protecting his wife so fiercely means that he’s certain it’s his child.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter