Pei Khan held the hairpin.
Pei Khan listened to his mother’s advice before she died.
‘Xiao Khan, after I die you need to find ninth brother and ninth sister,’ Consort Mu said. ‘If they accept this hairpin then you need to be good and listen to them. If they don’t accept it… you need to be careful in the palace. You can’t trust anyone. You have to use a silver needle to test all your food and drinks before you eat and drink… Xiao Khan, I can’t take care of you anymore.’
Pei Khan was scared if he blinked he would have no one left. His mother was gone and if Pei Jin and Yan Shi Ning didn’t accept his mother’s hairpin then he would lose everything.
Pei Jin and Yan Shi Ning’s hearts were teared, Consort La used her life to protect Pei Khan and find a good place for Pei Khan before she died.
Consort La gambled everything on Pei Jin’s brotherly love toward Pei Khan and Yan Shi Ning’s maternal traits. She believed they wouldn’t refuse a mother’s last request.
Yan Shi Ning wiped her tears. ‘Thirteenth brother, this is a beautiful hairpin. Hurry and put it on my head.’
Pei Khan’s eyes shone and he listened to Yan Shi Ning.
Pei Khan rubbed Yan Shi Ning’s big stomach. ‘Little brother.’
‘Thirteenth brother, this is your nephew,’ Yan Shi Ning said.
Pei Khan looked at Pei Jin for help.
‘Thirteenth brother, are you saying the child is a boy?’ Pei Jin asked.
Pei Khan nodded his head.
‘Thirteenth brother, how do you know the child is a boy?’ Yan Shi Ning asked.
Pei Khan pouted his lips. He hated girls like Pei Wen Cai.
Pei Jin led Yan Shi Ning and Pei Khan to the emperor’s chamber.
Consort Mu, Pei Zhang and Chu Thi were waiting for their arrival. Yan Shi Ning saw the way they looked at her big stomach with bad intentions and she held onto her big stomach.
The emperor’s hair had greyed. Although he didn’t love Consort La, she still faithfully followed him for years. He looked at Yan Shi Ning’s big stomach and he thought Consort La died too young.
‘Seventh son, next time bring your second wife with you to visit me,’ the emperor said.
The emperor only wanted to see all his daughter-in-laws at the same time. But Chu Thi misunderstood the emperor planned to elevate the scum’s position. Chu Thi regretted Dian Thi’s body hadn’t recovered fast enough otherwise Consort Mu’s plan would have worked that day. Chu Thi fisted her hands, she couldn’t wait for the emperor’s birthday banquet to see Dian Thi die a gruesome death.
‘Imperial father, I want to make a request,’ Pei Jin said.
‘What is it?’ the emperor asked.
‘Imperial father, thirteenth brother is grieving,’ Pei Jin said. ‘I want to bring thirteenth brother to my manor for a few days to console him.’
Consort Mu and Pei Zhang didn’t approve. They were worried Pei Jin wanted the world to see how much brotherly love Pei Jin had toward his brothers. Also, they didn’t want Pei Jin and Pei Khan’s bond to grow deeper.
‘Ninth brother is right,’ Pei Zhang said. ‘But perhaps it’s better if I bring thirteenth brother to my manor. He’ll have Wen Cai to play with. Wen Cai misses thirteenth brother and there are many delicious food too.’
Pei Khan shook his head. In the past Pei Wen Cai tricked him with delicious food and hit him too often. He wasn’t fooled by Pei Zhang’s words.
‘Thirteenth son, you don’t want to go with your seventh brother?’ the emperor asked.
Pei Khan nodded his head.
‘Why?’ the emperor asked.
‘Hit!’ Pei Khan said.
The emperor remembered how Pei Wen Cai hit Pei Khan and he understood. He was displeased to have such a bad granddaughter. ‘Thirteenth son, do you want to go with your ninth brother?’
Pei Khan heard his father’s strange tone so he waited a while before he nodded his head reluctantly.
The emperor was satisfied Pei Khan didn’t agree immediately otherwise it meant Pei Khan was cooperating with Pei Jin. ‘Ninth son, take your thirteenth brother to your manor for a few days.’
The emperor agreed because he knew Pei Jin would take care of Pei Khan but most importantly he could use Pei Khan to spy on Pei Jin.
Yan Shi Ning was overjoyed the emperor consented to let Pei Khan stay with her and Pei Jin. While Consort Mu and Pei Zhang weren’t pleased.
That evening Yan Shi Ning prepared a chamber for Pei Khan and stayed with him until he fell asleep.
Yan Shi Ning returned to her chamber and laid next to Pei Jin on the bed.
‘Pei Jin, are you upset with me for accepting Consort La’s request before discussing it with you?’ Yan Shi Ning asked. ‘But I didn’t want us to leave Pei Khan in the palace.’
‘Shi Ning, Pei Khan staying with us too soon will be a little more dangerous for us and Pei Khan,’ Pei Jin said. ‘But don’t worry, I’ll find a way to protect all of us. Besides, you made your decision in front of me.’
Yan Shi Ning was relieved Pei Jin wasn’t upset with her decision.
‘I want you and our child to be safe,’ Pei Jin said. ‘I want Pei Khan to be safe too. In the future all of us need to be more cautious.’
Pei Jin’s intuition warned him that he couldn’t hide his real strengths for much longer.
Although Pei Jin and the emperor agreed Pei Khan could stay for a few days with Pei Jin, their unspoken agreement implied Pei Khan could stay with Pei Jin for a long period.
Several days past, Pei Khan adapted well to life at Pei Jin’s manor. The guards, maids and servants looked after Pei Khan well and played with him. It eased a little of Pei Khan’s pain of losing his mother.
Pei Zhang was frustrated Pei Jin surrounded Pei Jin’s manor with more guards and made it harder for Pei Zhang to spy on Pei Jin.
Pei Zhang also discovered Pei Jin’s guards looked ordinary but the guards were strong enough to kill intruders without a trace and they fiercely protected everyone in Pei Jin’s manor. Because one of Pei Zhang’s guards hid at a shop nearby Pei Jin’s manor and at night the guard was attacked by a silent sword. If the guard didn’t play dead and crawled back to Pei Zhang’s manor to show the deep chest wound from one strike then Pei Zhang wouldn’t have known how strong Pei Jin’s guards were.
Pei Zhang wondered how Pei Jin could afford to raise strong guards. Pei Zhang slitted his eyes, he was anticipating their father’s birthday banquet in three days… it would be a memorable amusing day.
End of Chapter Sixty-Seven