Chapter 579.2: Mental State

Pang Xiao narrowed his eyes, but responded with a smile. “She is well. Her mother and grandmother have moved into my residence and Auntie Cao has found two competent mamas for her. Although her body is heavier than before, all is very well.”

Lu Heng looked down, concealing the yearning and jealousy that he couldn’t hide. How wonderful would it be if Qin Yining was his woman and pregnant with his child?

“Congratulations, you’ll be a father in another five months.”

“My thanks,” Pang Xiao smiled faintly. “As their uncle, you’ll have to show your generosity with a large red envelope!”

Lu Heng’s heart skipped a beat; he immediately grasped the connotations of the prince’s words. What a sharp and shrewd individual! He’d purposefully made Lu Heng out to be the child’s uncle, which meant he was siblings with Qin Yining. This was a veiled reminder to not harbor any ulterior motives toward Qin Yining.

Lu Heng smiled back in return. “But of course.”

They spoke a bit longer before taking their leave. A smile slowly slid off Lu Heng’s face as he watched Pang Xiao’s departing figure.

When the prince returned home, he stopped by the outer study first and bade the servants to bring hot water so he could wash up. After changing into a fresh set of robes, he returned to Pinehart Garden.

As it was early summer, Qin Yining was dressed in a warm overdress of pale honey with a buttoned jacket over the top. She held her gently rounded stomach with one hand while née Ma pulled her along the other. Several maids followed behind them as they strolled around the covered hallways circling Pineheart Garden.

“…just listen to your grandma,” née Ma delivered a litany of reminders and warnings. “Your mother does indeed truly care for you, but it’s not right to have you refrain from movement. You see how the wives of those noble and well-to-do families have such difficulties birthing children? They lose strength halfway, and why?

“Because they spend their days in sheltered comfort without taking a single step. They won’t go anywhere without a litter! The women in the countryside have a much easier time—they’re still doing house chores when they’re eight months pregnant! Just take it from grandma, it will do you good to walk a little everyday.”

Qin Yining nodded with a smile and brushed away hair that’d drifted across her face with the fragrant breeze from the trees.

“Grandma’s words make sense.” Pang Xiao walked up to them with a grin and took his darling’s other arm. “I’ll teach you a few martial methods too. You can go through the motions when you have time and strengthen your body as well!”

“That’s right, once you learn them, you can beat some sense into Dafu when he doesn’t listen to you!”

Qin Yining burst into chuckles, a levity shared by Bingtang, Lian Xiaozhou, Jiyun, and Xianyun behind them.

“Have you been by to see the Lu second master? How is his family?” she asked.

“He is fine physically, just much thinner than before. He seems to have much on his mind and is considering many matters.”

“His family is fraught with thorny problems,” Qin Yining nodded.

Pang Xiao grew a little jealous to see his wife’s slightly furrowed brow and worried expression. “You seem to care about him a lot.”

“I am indeed a bit worried,” she smiled back at him. “Ours is a friendship forged through life and death, after all. I also can’t help but think that his grandfather’s death has something to do with his return to the capital. If it wasn’t for him seizing the patriarch position and halting the supply chain, we’d have fewer bargaining chips at that morning court session. We owe him a favor, no matter if he did it for us or we just happened to benefit from his actions.”

Pang Xiao felt an inexplicable surge of discontent when he thought of Lu Heng’s handsome and genteel features, and how deeply besotted he was with Qin Yining. But his beloved was open and aboveboard in her conduct, so he couldn’t very well express his unhappiness. All the prince could do was lower his head without a word.

Off to the side, née Ma could guess who they were talking about, but wasn’t at liberty to join the conversation since she didn’t know much about it. She maintained her hold on Qin Yining’s hand and observed how her grandson was very quiet. Seeing that the atmosphere had grown awkward, she changed the subject.

“Ah yes, is your exceedingly beautiful auntie about to head out again?”

“Yes indeed,” Qin Yining nodded with a smile. Cao Yuqing had returned home two months ago, but née Sun disliked the sight of her. Feeling a bit awkward at home and with Jingzhe, Xiaoxue, and the others recuperating in the countryside, Cao Yuqing declared that she was going to seek them out. Perhaps Qin Huaiyuan had arranged other tasks for them.

“What a dashing and pretty girl,” née Ma nodded.

“Indeed, and she’s highly skilled! She’s a very loyal wandering heroine.”

“Is that so?! How come I never realized it before??” Née Ma beamed with excitement. “Have her spar with me when she’s back. I have nothing to do these days and even my bones have gotten lazy. The people around Dafu have no sincerity at all when they spar with me.”

The prince’s men only fed moves for née Ma to fight off, no one dared really try anything against her.

Qin Yining couldn’t conceal her smile. “If grandma wants to, I’ll ask Auntie Cao when she comes back.”

Pang Xiao’s conflicted heart was alleviated as the two chatted. Huzi rushed to the residence’s door, bowed at Qin Yining, and saluted, “Your Highness.”

Pang Xiao knew that his bodyguard had something to say, so he stepped out of Pineheart Garden.

“What is it?”

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