Pei Jin stood outside Pei Lam’s room.
Pei Jin’s back was sweaty. He heard Pei Lam yelled hysterically and Pei Lam’s mumbles to himself. Pei Jin didn’t know why Pei Lam became like that. Was it because Pei Lam was too intelligent and punctured a brain nerve?
Pei Jin couldn’t answer Pei Lam, who was crueller? Was it true Yan Shi Ting would suffer less if she died? But after everything Pei Lam had done, Pei Lam lost to himself.
Pei Jin left Su Ci’s shop. On the way home a messenger delivered a message to Pei Jin from Su Ci, Pei Lam killed himself. Pei Jin felt remorseful he had indirectly caused Pei Lam to shed fresh blood.
While Pei Jin was away from home, a maid rushed into Yan Shi Ning’s chamber.
‘Mistress, a few women from Huang Guo’s manor are here to see you,’ the maid said.
Yan Shi Ning was eating pecans when the maid delivered bad news. She didn’t know what Huang Guo was scheming, but she changed into a loose dress to protect hers and Pei Jin’s child.
Yan Shi Ning asked the maid to escort the women into her chamber.
The maid led the women into Yan Shi Ning’s chamber and poured tea.
‘Shi Ning, I heard you’ve been ill,’ second aunt said. ‘I wanted to visit you earlier but I heard you were bedridden. Two days ago, I heard you’ve recovered so I came to visit you today.’
Although Yan Shi Ning had stayed home for many months, she didn’t forget how insincere Huang Guo’s daughter-in-laws were.
‘Aunts, forgive me for making everyone worried,’ Yan Shi Ning said.
‘Second sister, I remembered you brought a bracelet for Shi Ting,’ third aunt said.
‘Third sister, thank you for reminding me,’ second aunt said. She pulled out a pink jade bracelet and gave it to Yan Shi Ning. ‘Shi Ning this is for you. I think the colour suits you.’
Yan Shi Ning couldn’t refuse and wore the bracelet. She admitted it was a beautiful bracelet with a sweet scent.
‘Second sister, it’s a beautiful bracelet,’ third aunt praised. ‘Second sister, you’re too frugal. Last time I wanted to wear it but you didn’t let me… but why does it have a sweet scent… isn’t this a che fragrance?’
Yan Shi Ning’s face paled and she took off the bracelet, che fragrances were used to abort children.
‘Third sister, is it a che fragrance?’ second aunt asked. ‘I didn’t know. I only thought it was a sweet scent… Shi Ning, forgive my ignorance…’
Yan Shi Ning was scared to death but she spoke calmly. ‘Second aunt, it isn’t your fault. You didn’t know.’
Yan Shi Ning assessed the women who hid their intentions well.
The women praised Yan Shi Ning’s dress and she couldn’t avoid them purposely touching her waist. Although her stomach was only slightly round, it was still rounder than before she was pregnant.
‘Shi Ning, I noticed you’ve been eating a lot of soft food,’ second aunt said. ‘Shi Ning, are you pregnant? If you’re pregnant you should share the good news with your aunts.’
‘Of course,’ Yan Shi Ning said.
Yan Shi Ning was certain the women visited her to see if she was pregnant but she didn’t know why.
Yan Shi Ning asked the maid to escort the women to their horse carriage and she waited for Pei Jin’s return.
A while later Pei Jin returned to the manor and found Yan Shi Ning in deep thought in their chamber.
‘Wife, are you worried about something or are you missing your husband?’ Pei Jin asked.
‘Earlier Huang Guo’s daughter-in-laws came to visit me,’ Yan Shi Ning said.
‘Why did they come?’ Pei Jin asked.
Pei Jin sat on the bed and pulled Yan Shi Ning onto his lap. There were maids cleaning in their chamber so she protested but he hugged her and didn’t let her go.
Luckily the maids kept their eyes on the floor and quickly left the chamber.
‘Pei Jin, don’t forget you’re gentle ninth prince,’ Yan Shi Ning said. ‘Why are you more of a scoundrel by the day?’
Pei Jin rubbed his face on Yan Shi Ning’s neck and spoke in a sad tone. ‘Shi Ning, Pei Lam died.’
Yan Shi Ning sat still on Pei Jin’s lap.
‘Pei Lam broke a teapot and slit his throat,’ Pei Jin said. ‘When someone discovered what happened it was too late. Pei Lam lost too much blood and his last words were… it’s clean red blood, finally I’ve escaped…’ Pei Jin said.
In front of others Pei Jin acted like he was happy Pei Lam died. He could only show how guilty and sad he felt in front of Yan Shi Ning.
Yan Shi Ning understood Pei Jin’s feelings. She knew Pei Jin didn’t kill Pei Lam but in Pei Jin’s heart he blamed himself for Pei Lam’s death.
Yan Shi Ning turned around and wrapped her arms around Pei Jin’s neck. He kissed her forehead and kissed her lips for a while.
‘Wife, do you want to do it in the middle of the day with your husband?’ Pei Jin asked.
‘Do you want to die?’ Yan Shi Ning asked.
‘Wife, it appears you’ve learned bad habits from Xiao Hui,’ Pei Jin said. ‘I think I have to change your personal guards. You only know how to follow their bad habits. Soon you’ll learn to eavesdrop well like Xiao Zai.’
‘Pei Jin, don’t change my personal guards,’ Yan Shi Ning said. ‘Xiao Hui and Xiao Zai are amusing guards.’
‘Alright,’ Pei Jin said. ‘Shi Ning, you didn’t tell me why Huang Guo’s daughter-in-laws came to visit you.’
‘I think they came to see if I’m pregnant,’ Yan Shi Ning said. ‘Perhaps I’ve given away the secret about our child.’
Pei Jin listened to Yan Shi Ning recount about the bracelet and how the women behaved strangely.
‘What does Huang Guo want?’ Pei Jin asked. ‘The empress is dead. He should be satisfied Consort Chen’s death is avenged.’
‘Will it be troublesome if he knows I’m pregnant?’ Yan Shi Ning asked.
‘I’m worried our peaceful days are over,’ Pei Jin said.
‘What should we do?’ Yan Shi Ning asked.
‘We’ll silently follow them and deal with them at the right opportunity,’ Pei Jin said.
In the palace Wang Fu Mu announced the emperor’s arrival in the imperial court.
The court officials who supported Pei Zhang were surprised to see why Huang Guo was at the palace.
The emperor sat on his throne, his head and heart was plagued with the deaths of the empress and his tenth son.
‘Your majesty, I have something important to report,’ Official Zai Ci said.
‘What is it?’ the emperor asked.
Wang Fu Mu gave the emperor the petition Official Zai Ci prepared.
‘Your majesty, I and many other court officials recommend seventh prince to become the crown prince,’ Official Zai Ci said.
The emperor hid his displeasure. He couldn’t bring his tenth son back to life but he was dissatisfied with his seventh son’s black heart.
‘Huang Guo, what do you think?’ the emperor asked.
‘Your majesty, I disagree,’ Huang Guo said.
Everyone was silent and thought Huang Guo was daring to openly oppose Pei Zhang.
‘Your majesty, I believe ninth prince is more suitable to be the crown prince,’ Huang Guo said.
End of Chapter Fifty-Eight