Flowers should be seen in half bloom, wine should be drunk moderately – this is the most enjoyable stage. Flowers in full bloom, and men dead drunk become unpleasant scenes (Hong Zicheng).
Pei Jin braced Yan Shi Ning’s shoulders outside the room.
Fu Qing’s other guests were curious about the identities of the handsome Pei Jin and the drunk Yan Shi Ning. But it was an unspoken agreement that each of Fu Qing’s guests would be blind to other guests’ behaviour to protect their own identities.
In that moment Yan Shi Ning’s head spun, her legs were wobbly and she felt pain between her thighs. She didn’t remember everything that happened but she didn’t doubt it was the MF Pei Jin’s fault. She was about to curse him but her eyes saw someone familiar in front of them and her mouth gaped open.
Pei Jin’s eyes followed Yan Shi Ning’s gaze. There was nothing unusual to see a young handsome beauty in front of them. It was the familiar young man next to the beauty that was a surprise – the crown prince.
Pei Lam was shocked to see Pei Jin in a place unsuitable for a gentleman. But he felt like he was possessed by a demon, he was curious to see what kind of man Pei Jin desired. He looked at the drunk man Pei Jin was supporting and his heart jumped… it was Yan Shi Ning.
Pei Jin was startled to see the crown prince was smiling inappropriately at Yan Shi Ning then he pulled her into his chest and shielded her from the crown prince’s view. Inwardly he sighed, she lost her gentle lady image in front of the crown prince.
‘Is ninth sister drunk?’ Pei Lam asked.
Pei Jin nodded his head.
‘I have a horse carriage waiting outside,’ Pei Lam offered.
‘Xiao Tu is waiting outside for my wife and me,’ Pei Jin declined.
A silence followed after Pei Jin and Pei Lam’s polite exchange.
‘Crown prince, you’re a beauty,’ Yan Shi Ning said in her drunk state.
Pei Jin thought Yan Shi Ning became more daring by the day while her gentle lady image was gradually thinning. She even dared to tease the crown prince. He felt it was an injustice that she praised other men’s looks but didn’t praise his looks.
Pei Jin pinched Yan Shi Ning’s waist to warn her to stop speaking nonsense.
‘MF, why do you love pinching me?’ Yan Shi Ning asked and pinched Pei Jin’s hand.
Pei Jin choked helplessly. He was helping Yan Shi Ning protect her lady image but she was ungrateful.
Pei Lam looked enviously at Pei Jin and Yan Shi Ning’s loving exchange.
‘Ninth brother and ninth sister’s loving bond makes other people envious,’ Pei Lam said.
‘My wife is drunk,’ Pei Jin said. ‘Tenth brother forgive her drunken behaviour. I’ll take her home first.’
Pei Lam nodded his head and he watched Pei Jin carry Yan Shi Ning downstairs.
‘Master, do you want to continue playing?’ a young man asked.
Pei Lam shook his head. ‘I’m not in the mood to play anymore.’
The young man knew the crown prince had a good personality but the crown prince was a difficult master to serve. The crown prince was someone if given a new toy, they would play with it for a few times and throw it away. The past few days the crown prince was unhappy so he suggested the crown prince should visit Fu Qing for a new experience. The crown prince agreed but he didn’t expect the crown prince wouldn’t be in the mood to play the moment the crown prince arrived at Fu Qing.
Pei Lam didn’t know what he was thinking. He could only say to others that he didn’t like something but he couldn’t voice what he truly wanted. Since he was a young boy, everything good was set in front of him, but his elders always made his life decisions for him.
Pei Lam wanted to be free of his cage and experience the outside world. But the furthest his cage extended was to a place like Fu Qing. It made him felt like he was living a hopeless life.
Day and night, Pei Lam felt like that sense of hopelessness was burning him. Each day Yan Shi Ting would ask a palace maid to deliver a love letter to him. He read the first few love letters then later he asked one of his servants to read them and write a reply in his stead.
That night in the palace Pei Lam laid in his bed and thought about Yan Shi Ning. He remembered her liveliness and the red bite marks on her neck, immediately his little brother hardened. His hand rubbed his little brother until semen was released.
Away from the palace the drunk Yan Shi Ning was sinking in a bath tub. Pei Jin pulled her body above the water, took off his clothes and bathed together with her so she wouldn’t drown.
Inside the bath tub Yan Shi Ning sat on his lap while his hands rubbed her soft breasts.
In Yan Shi Ning’s drunk state she could still feel Pei Jin’s hardness was rubbing against her bottom and his hands were rubbing her breasts. She leaned her face close to his face and bit his lips.
Pei Jin pinched Yan Shi Ning’s bottom. ‘Wife, why did you bite me?’
‘Pei Jin… umm… ah… you MF, you’re always bullying me… umm…’ Yan Shi Ning murmured while her body trembled.
Pei Jin carried Yan Shi Ning’s wet limp body to the bed. He dried her body first then he dried his body. Afterward he laid next to her and stroked her back. ‘Wife, inside your heart am I only someone who bullies you?’
Yan Shi Ning didn’t answer. But the night air cooled and her body searched for the warmest spot on the bed. After the warmest spot was found, she moaned and slept peacefully.
Pei Jin didn’t dare move. Yan Shi Ning’s head was laying on his chest, her arms wrapped tightly around his waist and she draped a leg over his thighs. If he moved then he wouldn’t want to stop moving.
Pei Jin pinched Yan Shi Ning’s nose and scratched her waist. She scrunched her face but refused to wake up.
‘Shi Ning,’ Pei Jin said.
Yan Shi Ning opened her eyes, saw Pei Jin and closed her eyes again.
‘Shi Ning,’ Pei Jin said.
‘Huh?’ Yan Shi Ning murmured.
Pei Jin rubbed the childish Yan Shi Ning’s head and whispered in her ear. ‘Shi Ning, the MF Pei Jin who bullies you, do you love him?’
Pei Jin knew Yan Shi Ning was an honest drunk and he anticipated her answer.
‘I don’t love him,’ Yan Shi Ning said and rolled over.
Pei Jin hit Yan Shi Ning’s bottom. ‘Heartless little demon. I treat you well but you don’t hesitate to say you don’t love me.’
Yan Shi Ning rubbed her sore bottom in her sleep. ‘MF, you dare hit me again.’
‘Then is Pei Jin a handsome man?’ Pei Jin asked.
Yan Shi Ning didn’t open her mouth.
‘Shi Ning?’ Pei Jin asked.
Yan Shi Ning snored.
Pei Jin hugged Yan Shi Ning. But he felt like he was hugging a delicious meat and he couldn’t sleep.
If Pei Jin moved a little lower then he could eat Yan Shi Ning. His heart wavered between eating and soothing her body pain.
A while later Pei Jin got out of bed and picked up the herbal remedy he bought for Yan Shi Ning. He remembered he roughly ate her at Fu Qing and thought she would feel pain between her thighs in the morning.
Pei Jin returned to the bed, spread Yan Shi Ning’s legs and rubbed the herbal remedy inside her. He heard her moan and knew the herbal remedy was soothing her body but it also erected his desire.
End of Chapter Twenty-Eight
Chapter Two (Part 2 of 2)
Early the following morning, Yan Shin Ning was brushing her hair when her chamber door opened.
Immediately a strong sweet perfume filled her chamber. She didn’t need to turn around to know it was her little sister Yan Shi Ting.
Yan Shi Ting was sixteen years old, two years younger than her. Put aside her bias, she thought her little sister was a rare beauty.
Yan Shi Ting’s skin was white and delicately fragile, tiny waist, long slender legs and looked beautiful wearing any dress. Also, Yan Shi Ting was someone who knew how to wear makeup which enhanced Yan Shi Ting’s naturally beautiful face.
The first time she met Yan Shi Ting, she thought Yan Shi Ting was the epitome of beauty in the kingdom and she had predicted Yan Shi Ting’s fate correctly.
Yan Shi Ning predicted Yan Shi Ting’s beauty couldn’t be appreciated intimately by the emperor who was at an advanced age but Yan Shi Ting’s beauty was reserved for the crown prince.
The crown prince marrying the prime minister’s golden daughter secured the crown prince’s future and their marriage benefited both their families. The only obstacle in their marriage was the golden daughter’s older sister, herself. She smiled grudgingly while the golden daughter walked toward her.
‘Big sister can you dress quicker?’ Yan Shi Ting asked impatiently. ‘I waited for big sister for half a day!’
Yan Shi Ning turned her head around and saw Yan Shi Ting frowning, chin raised and wore an expensive and elegant dress.
‘Little sister, it’s been hard on you,’ Yan Shi Ning said.
Yan Shi Ting pouted and looked condescending at Yan Shi Ning. The heavens knew how much she wished her big sister didn’t exist to delay her becoming the crown prince’s consort.
Yan Shi Ting wore a bright red silk dress. She didn’t hesitate to pick up the hideous and cheap blue cotton dress.
‘Big sister are you wearing this ugly to death dress?’ Yan Shi Ting asked. ‘Aren’t you scared you’ll be embarrassed?’ She grabbed the dress her maid held and passed it to Yan Shi Ning. ‘Big sister, wear this, it’s new. I haven’t worn it before.’
Yan Shi Ning accepted the dress and forced a smile. ‘Thank you little sister.’
Yan Shi Ting sneered and left Yan Shi Ning’s chamber. If Yan Shi Ting didn’t want at least one man to be attracted to her at the banquet then Yan Shi Ting would never give such an expensive and beautiful dress to her.
Yan Shi Ning attended many banquets in the palace, the banquets were always the same. The elders would congregate in the palace banquet hall and the younger generation would use it as an opportunity to be entertained by musicians and dancers while exchanging secret loving glances with the person of their heart.
After the banquet ended the elders disappeared and the younger generation entertained themselves in the palace gardens. The younger generation would meet up in pairs in remote areas of the palace gardens to be intimate, it was a common pastime.
Yan Shi Ning was sheltered by the roof of the pavilion from the glaring sunlight. She sat waving her fan and smiled slyly. The heavens knew that her favorite time during palace visits was when the ‘gentle’ young men and ladies amused her with their unsubtle affectionate displays.
‘Big sister, don’t sit here in that state!’ Yan Shi Ting scolded scornfully. ‘If you see a man that you’re attracted to then quickly go to him. I hate big sister’s feigned innocence the most!’
Yan Shi Ning’s head suddenly ached and she sighed, her haughty little sister always love to scold others.
Yan Shi Ting was about to lecture Yan Shi Ning more when she saw someone familiar walked past them.
‘Big sister, don’t forget the purpose of you being here today,’ Yan Shi Ting warned and hurriedly followed the familiar person.
Yan Shi Ning smiled slyly, another young pair was going to meet somewhere remote in the palace gardens.
Yan Shi Ning wasn’t foolish enough to believe that her peach blossom tree that had been dead for eighteen years would suddenly bloom. All she needed to do was see the way the people in the palace gardens looked down on her existence to know the truth.
Everyone who attended the banquet at the palace knew of her situation, which was why they didn’t waste their time with her.
To maintain her elegant and docile image she wouldn’t approach a man first.
After her little sister left the pavilion, she pulled out a wine gourd and slowly drank comfortably and happily. Suddenly she saw a familiar man within a close distance and her happy smile disappeared.
‘MF!’ she cursed softly. ‘Mouthy boy!’
She hurriedly stood and escaped the pavilion. The further she was away from mouthy boy the better otherwise three years of wood collection would be burned within a shichen hour.
‘But mouthy boy was supposed to be in Southern Jiang, why did he suddenly return?’ she mumbled softly.
Pei Jin saw a familiar figure fled and hesitated for a bit before following suit.
Yan Shi Ning strode past the path of willow trees while looking out in all directions for signs of anyone. Even in her paranoid state she couldn’t neglect her gentle and docile image.
She stopped in front a fake rock mountain and realised she didn’t know how long she walked for. She thought no one could see her in such a secluded area and sat down to think about why mouthy boy returned to the imperial city. While she was thinking she heard moans and groans from behind the fake rock mountain.
‘Ah… ah… can you be gentler?’ a young lady asked in a familiar voice.
‘I missed you to death,’ a young man said in a familiar voice.
‘You… ah… don’t stain this dress,’ the young lady said.
She tilted her head, peered through a hole in the fake rock mountain and her face turned red. A young man’s hand propped against the mountain and his other hand held onto the young lady’s waist. When the young lady turned around to kiss the man, she was shocked. The young lady was her little sister, Yan Shi Ting and the young man was the crown prince.
She took a deep breath and smiled slyly. She understood why her little sister was always confident the crown prince was within control of her little sister’s hand.
She hurriedly left, her eyes were looking at the clear sky and waved her fan.
‘It’ll be a shame to spoil such a beautiful life by accidently eavesdropping,’ she mumbled softly.
She didn’t look where she was walking and bumped into someone. She raised her head and saw a familiar face smiling smugly. She had wanted to open her mouth, but Pei Jin quickly covered her mouth and dragged her to another part of the palace gardens.
‘Big brother, let go of me!’ Yan Shi Ning said.
Pei Jin looked at Yan Shi Ning’s angry face and smiled. ‘In the past I said the young mistress of the Yan household couldn’t possibly be a gentle and docile young lady. In my memories, she is a little lion with sharp teeth and claws. Wait, she isn’t a little lion anymore, she’s now an old lion.’
Yan Shi Ning looked at Pei Jin’s mocking face and suppressed her desire to attack him.
‘But I didn’t expect you to secretly enjoy eavesdropping and spying on a couple’s intimate moment,’ Pei Jin teased and laughed as long as a summer’s breeze.
The faraway look in Yan Shi Ning’s eyes remembered that year Pei Jin used her as his amusement. She suppressed her anger and feigned a smile. ‘Ninth prince is right.’
Pei Jin was the emperor’s ninth son. He was twenty-four years old and was well known for his gentleness and kindness, which was why people called him ninth gentle prince.
But Yan Shi Ning knew clearly ‘gentleness and kindness’ didn’t have any relation to mouthy boy. They were only used as his mask. Underneath the mask he was a scoundrel and undisputedly the best liar in the kingdom.
After the crown prince and Yan Shi Ting ended their secret meeting, the crown prince left the fake rock mountain first to avoid suspicions. The crown prince saw one of his brothers and a young lady nearby and his heart panicked.
‘Little brother, why are you here?’ Pei Jin asked.
Yan Shi Ning saw how quickly Pei Jin wore his mask and internally cursed the expert liar.
The crown prince thought his older brother and the young lady didn’t discover what happened and sighed softly. ‘Uh, I came here from the palace’s Rui Qing. Why are big brother here with a young lady?’
‘I want to go to Rui Qing,’ Pei Jin lied and glanced at Yan Shi Ning. ‘Coincidently I bumped into Lady Yan who also wants to go to Rui Qing. We’ve been talking on our way to Rui Qing. Lady Yan is indeed beautiful and witty.’
Yan Shi Ning felt like her intestines were pulled out of her body but she smiled. ‘Ninth prince is the one who is handsome and wittier than an ordinary person.’
Inwardly she cursed Pei Jing, ‘heavens, will he die without his deceitful mask?’
End of Chapter Two (Part 2 of 2)