His hot breath and light pecks on her lips tickled Qin Yining to no end. She turned away with a giggle. “Stop it.”
“Stop what?” Pang Xiao rested his head on her soft shoulder and gazed upon her profile. “I am so happy and so content. I hear that the emperor was extremely delighted when the empress became pregnant. But now I think that he wasn’t nearly as overjoyed as me, because my beloved is so much better than his.”
Qin Yining flushed bright red and rolled her eyes at him. Did men compete with each other in this field too?
“Don’t let it get to your head, this should stay between us. I’m not planning on telling my family because my father and mother live with Qin Huining now. Though Qin Huining seems to have quieted down, I don’t trust her character. My mother is also the sort to say whatever is on her mind when she is in a good mood. If Qin Huining brings word of this to the old dowager and the others, it will soon become public knowledge.
“The situation at court is tense and the emperor is alleviated by the empress’ pregnancy. If they hear that I am pregnant with two children, that might anger them to the point of death! It would be the worst possible outcome if this brings down trouble on our heads.
“You should tell only grandma about this, no one else. They’ll find out when the children are born at the end of the year.”
Qin Yining gently pinched Pang Xiao’s well-defined nose. Her fingertips carried the faint scent of jasmine, enticing the prince to nibble at her fingers.
“I know, this matter should not travel far.” Pang Xiao’s heart grew heavy when he thought of how Yao Chenggu and née Yao had treated Qin Yining these two months. His carefree mood was sweat away.
He sighed and wrapped her in a hug, gently patting her back. “How difficult these days have been for you. I know my grandpa and mom have wronged you. I also see that you avoid them whenever possible. If they make trouble for you when I’m not around, have grandma take care of the issue for you.”
“I’m no easy target,” Qin Yining chuckled. “Besides, I have more than grandma in my corner. Father is home too.”
Pang Xiao sighed again. If his wife went to her family, the seemingly calm surface of the waters would be stirred up again. But he didn’t tell her to just endure the treatment on account of this. She was the one suffering, was he to prevent her from seeing comfort from her family on top of that?
Qin Yining leaned against Pang Xiao’s shoulder and pulled his long arm into her hands, caressing the calluses on his palm.
“I’m just teasing you, I need to consider how the two families might get along now that we all live under one roof. Don’t worry, I don’t want disquiet to disturb our home either. You also know how my father is, he’s used to dealing with matters like these.”
“I know, it’s just that I feel you suffer too much. My mom…”
“Your Highnesses.” Bingtang walked in nervously and looked meaningfully at Qin Yining. “The old madame is here.”
Qin Yining blinked with astonishment. Née Ma had grounded née Yao, ensuring two months of peace and quiet. Was her punishment over?
Pang Xiao patted her hand and got up. “Stay seated, I’ll bring mom in.”
Qin Yining nodded and hesitated before waving to Bingtang and Jiyun. They came over to help her up and put on her indoor embroidered slippers.
“Didn’t His Highness tell you not to get up?” Jiyun whispered.
“If she doesn’t, that’s when the old madame will truly blame her,” Bingtang responded. “It’s better for us to put in the effort so she doesn’t have the chance to pick at us.”
Qin Yining snorted with laughter. “Both of you are saying exactly what I thought. That was exactly the conversation I had with myself just now.”
Jiyun and Bingtang chuckled as well.
When Pang Xiao saw his mother slowly approach the residence, he walked up in welcome and bowed. “You’re here, mom.”
He was perfectly circumspect. But to née Yao, it was a sign of how her son was no longer close to her. Who knew what people had said about her during these two months! Her dignity was no more a long time ago. Though she twitched with fury, she couldn’t vent it on her own mother. Therefore, her daughter-in-law would bear the brunt of it!
Née Yao nodded noncommittally. “Where is your wife? I haven’t seen her in two months and miss her quite a bit.”
Qin Yining had reached the covered hallway with help from Bingtang and Jiyun. She stepped forward when she heard the question and dipped in a curtsey, “Old Madame.”
Née Yao’s temper flared to hear the honorific, but her smile grew ever more genuine and warm. She walked up to take Qin Yining’s hands and spoke to her stomach. “Aiyo, you’re five months along, aren’t you?”
“In response to the old madame, yes I am,” Qin Yining responded with a smile.
Née Yao looked her over, seeing how the girl’s skin was smooth and flawless, her complexion even better than before. Her beauty was completely unaffected by her pregnancy.
“Let’s go inside the house.” Née Yao took her daughter-in-law’s hand with a smile.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Hey guys, I'm sure you've noticed a lack of updates lately. I'm terribly sorry to say that I'm juggling three novels at the moment, trying to finish my main novel and get the next one up to speed. I need to take a brief break until I can finish one of them and should likely resume updates around June. Mega apologies and thank you for your patience.