Chapter Sixteen (Part 2 of 2)
Huang Guo was a healthy seventy-year-old man.
Huang Guo’s white hair was brushed smoothly. His white hair combined with his dark blue clothes made him look intimidating.
Yan Shi Ning thought the rumor about Huang Guo’s strong aura was true.
Pei Jin felt Yan Shi Ning’s back tensed and he discreetly stroked her hand.
Huang Guo’s guests were seated around two banquet tables. Huang Guo’s sons, daughter-in-laws and grandchildren were all gathered in the imperial city.
Huang Guo had three sons and one daughter who were scholars and a beautiful phoenix. His daughter was Consort Chen, his three sons were magistrates and married women from prominent families. It was a pity Consort Chen died while pregnant and ruined Huang Guo’s chance of having a grandson become emperor.
After Huang Guo resigned from the imperial court there was an assassination attempt on his life. Two off his guards were killed by poisoned arrows. Afterward for a period, his manor was isolated and he was recovering from an illness.
After the banquet Yan Shi Ning was forced to listen to a group of women gossip. In the past she met them at banquets in the palace, but never talked to them and didn’t expect to be related to them through marriage. It was hard for her to tolerate their endless gossip. But she answered their questions in a friendly manner and smiled politely.
Yan Shi Ning praised third aunt’s white soft skin and for raising young intelligent children who would grow up to be successful adults. Then she turned to the ordinary second aunt and struggled for a while to think of a praise. ‘I heard second aunt is also from a Yan household. Five hundred years ago we would have been in the same tribe.’
While Yan Shi Ning was being a courteous guest she glanced often at the locked door of a nearby chamber.
Pei Jin was detained in the locked chamber for a long time. Incense sticks were burning inside the quiet chamber. He sat opposite Huang Guo who looked at him with complex eyes. He lowered his head, blew on a cup of tea but didn’t sip the tea. Neither of them wanted to open their mouths first.
Pei Jin wasn’t impatient. He believed little lion was coping against the group of women. After a long silence, Huang Guo conceded.
‘Don’t you want to change your position?’ Huang Guo asked.
Pei Jin smiled and knocked on the wooden chair he sat on. ‘This is a good position.’
‘Did you wanted to deal with Su Yue long ago?’ Huang Guo asked.
‘Su Yue is uncle Fan’s niece,’ Pei Jin said. ‘Uncle Fan is good to me. I thought in the future she would become my second wife, but she…’ He feigned anger and regret. ‘But she is still uncle Fan’s niece. In the past uncle Fan once saved me… besides, nothing bad happened so I forgave the offence.’
Huang Guo’s face darkened. Last night Su Yue was chased back to his manor and she explained what happened in Pei Jin’s manor. He understood that Pei Jin saw through his careful scheme and realised he underestimated the unfavored prince. But he knew Pei Jin wouldn’t retaliate because Gentleman Fan had once saved Pei Jin’s life.
‘It was indeed a good scheme,’ Huang Guo praised grudgingly.
Pei Jin didn’t deny Huang Guo’s words and he quietly drank tea. Some things were better kept inside the heart. If they were voiced, it’d lose its beauty.
‘Except, don’t you want to avenge your mother Consort Chen?’ Huang Guo asked triumphantly.
Pei Jin felt like his heart jumped out of his chest. He didn’t know why Huang Guo suddenly asked about Consort Chen. He didn’t expose Huang Guo’s scheme to conceal his own scheme and the blame was poured over a maid with a cruel conscience.
Huang Guo pulled out a note from his sleeve and passed it to Pei Jin. ‘This afternoon, I discovered this in front of the calligraphy room.’
Pei Jin opened the folded note and his body trembled with anger, ‘the empress killed Consort Chen.’
Pei Jin immediately thought of the impatient MF Bei Dou.
Pei Jin suppressed his anger and feigned shock. ‘This… this…’
‘Long ago I thought Xiao Chen’s death was suspicious,’ Huang Guo said. ‘I couldn’t find evidence to confirm my suspicions, but I didn’t expect this! Your mother was good to you, you need to avenge her!’
Pei Jin fisted his hands. He thought one failed scheme birth a new scheme, and Huang Guo found a way to force him to deal with the empress.
‘I’ll investigate this thoroughly,’ Pei Jin said.
Huang Guo assessed Pei Jin’s expression as though he wanted to see through Pei Jin’s bones. ’Don’t become an ungrateful and unfilial person!’
Pei Jin felt like he swallowed fleas, stood and left the chamber.
After Pei Jin left, Huang Guo’s third son Fan Min Xian stepped out from behind a screen.
‘Father, can we use Pei Jin?’ Fan Min Xian asked.
Huang Guo shook his head.
‘Do we need to…’ Fan Min Xian said in a dangerous tone.
‘No, he knows our scheme but didn’t expose us to warn us not to do anything reckless,’ Huang Guo said. ‘Also, that there’s no hope for us to use him. He truly doesn’t want to become emperor.’
‘What should we do now?’ Fan Min Xian asked,
‘We can only silently follow his activities,’ Huang Guo said.
End of Chapter Sixteen (Part 2 of 2)