Chapter Thirty-Eight (Part 1)
The crown prince and Yan Shi Ting’s wedding day was fated to be an auspicious day for some guests.
At the Yan Manor, the bride woke up early, wore her wedding dress and makeup.
‘Mother, have you noticed father has been strange the last three days?’ Yan Shi Ting asked. ‘He acts distant when I talk to him.’
‘Perhaps he’s busy with work,’ Princess Kang Hua lied.
‘Yes, you’re right,’ Yan Shi Ting said.
At Pei Jin’s manor, Yan Shi Ning prepared the wedding gifts.
Pei Jin hugged Yan Shi Ning. ‘Wife, you need to be careful.’
Yan Shi Ning kissed Pei Jin’s lips. ‘If I’m uncertain about the outcome then I won’t act.’
Pei Jin nodded his head. ‘I think seventh brother’s people are prepared too. Let them expose Yan Shi Ting’s deceit so we can watch an amusing performance. If seventh brother acts out a plan, he won’t be merciful.’
Night and day, Pei Jin cautioned Yan Shi Ning enough to make her laugh helplessly. ‘Pei Jin, when did you become a woman?’
Pei Jin rubbed his face on Yan Shi Ning’s neck. ‘I’m scared my little lion will be scared if she sees fresh blood.’
Yan Shi Ning felt Pei Jin’s lips on her neck and pushed him away. ‘Pei Jin, I know. Umm… don’t take off my dress… it took me a long time to wear it… umm…’
Pei Jin pouted his lips. He didn’t get to eat Yan Shi Ning but she got to hit him. ‘Wife, you don’t even let me touch you.’
Yan Shi Ning wanted to vomit blood. ‘If you want someone to touch then you can marry a second wife.’
Pei Jin rubbed his chin and nodded his head. ‘That’s a good sugges-‘
Yan Shi Ning kicked Pei Jin’s leg. ‘Pei Jin, do you dare?’
Pei Jin laughed. He knew it was nearly time for the wedding so he adjusted Yan Shi Ning’s dress. ‘Wife, be careful inside the palace and at the Yan Manor. I’m worried Princess Kang Hua found out about the plan.’
Yan Shi Ning nodded her head.
‘Remember today we need to perform well inside the palace,’ Pei Jin said.
Yan Shi Ning pinched Pei Jin’s ear. ‘I know.’
Pei Jin escorted Yan Shi Ning to the horse carriage. Afterward he instructed Xiao Hui and Xiao Zai. ‘Protect my wife and be weary of the princess.’
‘Yes ninth prince,’ Xiao Hui and Xiao Zai promised.
Unfortunately Pei Jin was the groom’s brother and needed to wait at the palace for the bride while Yan Shi Ning was the bride’s sister and needed to go to the Yan Manor and escort the bride to the palace.
The moment Yan Shi Ning arrived at the Yan Manor, she saw Yan Jing was welcoming guests. Her heart laughed coldly at the fake smile on Yan Jing’s face.
Yan Shi Ning remembered a few days ago after she gave the letter to Yan Jing she returned home and asked Pei Jin to send Xiao Zai to eavesdrop at the Yan Manor.
Pei Jin confided in Yan Shi Ning that Xiao Zai had a special talent for eavesdropping. She didn’t believe Pei Jin until Xiao Zai returned to the manor and reported Yan Jing and Princess Kang Hua’s conversation without omitting anything. Also, Xiao Zai had a special talent of mimicking other people’s voices. She was impressed after hearing Xiao Zai mimicked Yan Jing and Princess Kang Hua’s voices.
Yan Jing spotted Yan Shi Ning, he smiled gratefully at her and escorted her to the bride’s courtyard.
Yan Shi Ning kindly reminded Yan Jing to ‘remember to rest’ then she walked toward the bride’s chamber.
On the way to Yan Shi Ting’s chamber, Yan Shi Ning saw Princess Kang Hua in the courtyard and she smiled politely.
Princess Kang Hua straightened her back and looked wearily at Yan Shi Ning. She didn’t understand why Yan Shi Ning used to lower her head and didn’t dare to look at her but suddenly Yan Shi Ning dared to look at her on Yan Shi Ting’s wedding day. It was Yan Shi Ning’s eyes that looked like a hunter staring at a prey that made her wearier. The longer Yan Shi Ning looked at her the more she thought about the young beggars, the two letters, Yan Jing and who was the mysterious person behind everything.
Princess Kang Hua remembered what old nurse maid reported to her.
‘Who did master meet that day?’ Princess Kang Hua asked. ‘Why did he remember his suspicions about Yan Shi Ting’s identity?’
‘Someone saw ninth prince’s wife visited master that day,’ old nurse maid said.
Suddenly Princess Kang Hua felt breathless in front of Yan Shi Ning. She raised her chin and quickly walked past Yan Shi Ning.
Yan Shi Ning smiled while she watched Princess Kang Hua poorly hide fear.
End of Chapter Thirty-Eight (Part 1)
In the evening Pei Jin wrote letters to his elders in Southern Jiang.
While Pei Jin was writing the letters, he remembered Yan Shi Ning eating fish soup and smiling coldly at Su Yue.
After Pei Jin sealed the letters, he rushed from the calligraphy room to their chamber. Yan Shi Ning was sitting hunched back on the bed but the moment she saw him, she sat upright.
Suddenly Pei Jin flew to the bed and hugged Yan Shi Ning.
‘Ah!’ Yan Shi Ning cried out.
Pei Jin began to take off Yan Shi Ning’s outer robe. ‘What are you thinking about?’
Yan Shi Ning looked suspiciously at Pei Jin and she struggled to keep her clothes on. ‘Big brother, last night didn’t you say you wouldn’t force me if I wasn’t willing?’
Pei Jin quickly took off Yan Shi Ning’s outer and inner robes. He had wanted to take off her undergarments too, but worried he couldn’t control his desire.
Yan Shi Ning sat in the corner of the bed, covered her chest and Pei Jin laughed.
‘Wife, you don’t need to be weary,’ Pei Jin said. ‘I was worried you would feel hot sleeping with your clothes on so I helped you take them off. If you don’t want me to take off your clothes then in the future don’t wear clothes to bed.’
Pei Jin took off his clothes and laid on the bed next to Yan Shi Ning.
Yan Shi Ning watched Pei Jin lying on the bed for a while. Since his arms and legs didn’t wander, she uncovered her chest and laid on the bed far away from him.
Pei Jin rolled over and pulled Yan Shi Ning into his chest.
A while later a frustrated Pei Jin let go of Yan Shi Ning. Why did his little brother react when he was only hugging her? He needed a diversion to distract his little brother.
‘Wife, why were you staring at Su Yue during the afternoon meal?’ Pei Jin asked.
‘What?’ Yan Shi Ning asked. ‘Ninth prince, you’re not going to let me even look at her? You must deeply love her.’
Pei Jin pinched Yan Shi Ning’s cheek. ‘Why does the chamber smell sour?’
Yan Shi Ning sniffed and coughed. ‘Ninth prince didn’t bathe so the chamber smells sour.’
‘Are you being honest?’ Pei Jin asked. ‘Your husband is clean, if you don’t believe then you can smell me.’
Pei Jin pulled Yan Shi Ning closer for her face to touch his chest.
Yan Shi Ning pushed Pei Jin’s chest and pulled her face away from his chest. It gave him a clear view of her snow white neck. His whole body stiffened and his heart burned intensely.
Pei Jin lowered his head and bit Yan Shi Ning’s neck. Initially he wanted to kiss her neck gently but the moment his lips touched her soft skin, he couldn’t control himself.
Yan Shi Ning’s neck ached and felt tingly. A strange feeling stirred in her heart. But the strange feeling was replaced by panic after Pei Jin’s hands slid beneath her undergarments.
Yan Shi Ning’s attempt to stop Pei Jin’s hands wandering was pointless. He was too familiar with the sensitive spots on her body. His hands rubbed her two hard peaks.
Yan Shi Ning felt Pei Jin’s hot hands rubbed the most sensitive spots on her body and immediately her face felt like it was lit on fire.
Pei Jin berated himself for losing his usual self-control each time he touched Yan Shi Ning, but he didn’t want to be forced to let her go.
Pei Jin’s hands slowly rubbed Yan Shi Ning’s body like it was a fragile treasure. His lips lingered on her neck for a while. Then his lips moved to her earlobe, her cheek and finally to her lips. But he didn’t dare to taste her lips for too long, his little brother hardened like metal. He decided he wouldn’t prolong his suffering and promised his little brother he would let her go after one more kiss. Suddenly he heard an agonizing moan escape from her lips. His head moved slightly back and he saw her face flushed red and her swollen lips pursed.
Pei Jin smiled. ‘Wife, what are you dreaming about?’
Yan Shi Ning looked at Pei Jin’s satisfied smile, it made her both shy and angry. She bit his hand and rolled over but her face felt hotter. A moment ago she thought her body was going to explode.
Pei Jin didn’t dare touch Yan Shi Ning again. He stared at a corner of the bed and suffered in silence for a long time.
The night air cooled, Pei Jin pulled the blanket over Yan Shi Ning’s body. She felt like an animal offering, turned to face him and her glare warned him, ‘if big brother dare to come close to me, I’ll bite you to death.’
Pei Jin laughed. ‘Wife, don’t worry. I truly won’t touch you. But rubbing your chest is a good deed. Your chest is too small, it needs to be rubbed to grow bigger.’
Yan Shi Ning was angry enough to be speechless for a while.
‘Big brother, rub your chest to grow bigger first!’ Yan Shi Ning said.
Yan Shi Ning rolled over so Pei Jin couldn’t rub her chest.
‘Wife, are you thinking about how to deal with Su Yue?’ Pei Jin asked.
‘Big brother, wouldn’t it break your heart?’ Yan Shi Ning asked.
‘What break heart?’ Pei Jin said. ‘As long as you’re happy.’
Yan Shi Ning turned her head to face Pei Jin and thought he looked sincere.
‘I haven’t thought of a way yet,’ Yan Shi Ning said.
Pei Jin smiled. ‘If you need my help, you can open your mouth.’
Pei Jin closed his eyes and feigned sleep. But Yan Shi Ning stayed awake and thought about a memory from years ago.
Yan Shi Ning remembered the day she was bullied and on her way home she bumped into Pei Jin. Usually if she saw him she would immediately flee. So she pretended she didn’t see him and walked past him, but he stopped her.
‘Little lion, were you bullied?’ Pei Jin asked.
‘Has no relation to you,’ Yan Shi Ning said.
‘Do you want me to help you take revenge?’ Pei Jin asked.
Yan Shi Ning looked at Pei Jin’s tall body and told him about the boy who bullied her.
Pei Jin woke Yan Shi Ning up early the next day, he helped her build a trap and they waited for the boy who bullied her to walk home from school.
The boy stepped on the trap and released a bag of dirt and rotted food attached on a branch. Stinky cabbage leaves, weed, sand and pebbles fell on top of the boy’s head.
Yan Shi Ning couldn’t stop herself smiling while remembering the past. At that time she didn’t think the little ninth prince who loved to tease her for his amusement would help her take revenge in that way. She thought he would roll his sleeves and give the boy a beating.
Suddenly Yan Shi Ning remembered what happened after Pei Jin helped her take revenge and cursed the thief. He forced her to pay him for his help. She remembered her head spun and protested why he didn’t mention payment before helping her.
‘How much do you want?’ Yan Shi Ning asked.
Pei Jin smiled and raised three fingers. ‘Three copper coins are enough.’
Yan Shi Ning stroked her precious pouch and her heart broke. Her life savings were inside the pouch, two copper coins.
‘You don’t have enough?’ Pei Jin asked. ‘It’s alright. Then you can repay me by writing in my book the words I’ll recite to you from teacher’s lessons.’
Yan Shi Ning was force to write words in Pei Jin’s book for several days. The heavens knew at that time she hated calligraphy the most.
Yan Shi Ning struggled to repay Pei Jin. She was happy after she completed writing all the words he recited and thought she could escape the little demon to play. But the little demon was also a mouthy boy.
‘Teacher, in the future can Shi Ning stay here to read and write with me?’ Pei Jin asked. ‘I think little sister is naturally intelligent.’
Yan Shi Ning cried silent tears after Pei Jin’s teacher nodded in agreement with the little demon’s fake sincere smile.
For a whole year after Pei Jin’s teacher was fooled, Yan Shi Ning was woken up early in the morning by the little demon’s voice outside her chamber.
‘Aunty Dung, is Shi Ning awake?’ Pei Jin asked. ‘She needs to wake up early to read.’
The pitiful little Yan Shi Ning was dragged out of bed early each morning by her mother and given to Pei Jin. While she read and write with Pei Jin, she would glare resentfully at the black stomach mouthy boy.
Yan Shi Ning sighed inwardly, her past was too pitiful and full of suffering. She wanted to cry but she turned her head around, looked at the Pei Jin who was sleeping peacefully and became angry at him for bullying her in the past.
Yan Shi Ning put aside her resentment and thought about how she should deal with Su Yue.
Pei Jin secretly watched Yan Shi Ning while she was in deep thought. Watching her made him think about the past.
Pei Jin remembered how he fooled Yan Shi Ning into learning how to read and write. She would always check her pouch each day so of course he knew she only had two copper coins. It was her fault for fighting with a boy bigger than her and losing. Teaching her how to read and write was a good deed. Her beautiful calligraphy was the result of his effort in the past. He did bully her, but other people weren’t allowed to bully her.
The following morning Pei Jin woke up and saw Yan Shi Ning sat beside him and stared at him with eyes too shiny.
‘Wife, what are you looking at?’ Pei Jin asked.
‘I finally found a way, but I need big brother’s help,’ Yan Shi Ning said.
Pei Jin laughed on the inside, Yan Shi Ning must have stayed awake all night thinking.
End of Chapter Ten