Yan Shi Ning recovered from giving birth in the palace.
The emperor sent his trusted eunuchs and palace maids to deliver nutritious food and drinks to nourish Yan Shi Ning while she was recovering and breastfeeding his first grandson.
A month past, Yan Shi Ning walked comfortably and her son was chubby and loved to cry.
‘Heavens!’ Yan Shi Ning cursed. ‘Why does the little MF love to cry? Wasn’t he napping?’
Yan Shi Ning’s son loved to cry in the morning, afternoon, evening and before napping. Sometimes he even cried to amuse himself. Other children would cry a little then sleep. But the little MF cries until someone carried him. Of course the MF Pei Jin would have a little MF son.
A month ago Yan Shi Ning was fearful each time her son cried because she was scared an intruder came to harm him. But after a month she found out her son loved to cry so she was used to his crying.
Yan Shi Ning didn’t want to spoil her son by carrying him every time he cried.
But Pei Khan’s heart couldn’t bear to hear his nephew cry.
The emperor forbid anyone disturbing Yan Shi Ning, Pei Khan and his grandson to protect them.
So Pei Khan loved to guard his nephew day and night and take care of his nephew.
Pei Khan ran to Yan Shi Ning’s bed. ‘Cry, cry.’
‘Thirteenth brother, ignore him,’ Yan Shi Ning said. ‘He only knows how to cry day and night.’
Pei Khan thought Yan Shi Ning was serious and pitied his nephew.
Pei Khan ran back to his nephew’s cot. He remembered how his mother used to coax him to sleep and gently rubbed his nephew’s soft head. ‘Nephew be good, don’t cry. Rub, rub.’
Pei Khan’s nephew stopped crying. ‘If nephew is good, I’ll let you eat sweets after you grow big. Now you don’t have any teeth to chew sweets.’
Perhaps Pei Khan’s warm hand, gentle words and promise to give his nephew sweets in the future helped his nephew sleep.
Suddenly Pei Khan felt someone entered the nursery, he turned around and quickly bowed to his father. ‘Imperial father.’
The emperor came to check if Yan Shi Ning was doing anything suspicious. After he was satisfied Yan Shi Ning was only learning to make nutritious herbal drinks with Xiao Tu, he asked Yan Shi Ning to escort him to see his grandson. But he didn’t expect his weak little thirteenth son knew how to speak fluently. It made him happy enough to fly into the sky.
Yan Shi Ning was overjoyed and knelt in front of Pei Khan. ‘Thirteenth brother, you know how to speak.’
Pei Khan nodded his head.
‘Thirteenth son, you don’t need to nod,’ the emperor said. ‘You can speak like earlier.’
‘Nephew stopped crying,’ Pei Khan said.
‘Thirteenth son, who taught you to speak?’ the emperor asked.
‘Ninth brother and ninth sister taught me,’ Pei Khan said.
The emperor’s heart softened a little toward Yan Shi Ning because she helped Pei Khan learn to speak.
‘Ninth daughter, is it comfortable living here?’ the emperor asked.
‘Imperial father, everything here is good, except…’ Yan Shi Ning said.
‘Except?’ the emperor asked.
The emperor understood Yan Shi Ning’s silence meant she missed Pei Jin.
Yan Shi Ning didn’t want to talk to the troublesome emperor. She overheard the eunuchs and palace maids gossip and found out the emperor sent Pei Jin to Xuan Qing to perform duties while she was held captive in the palace for more than a month.
Yan Shi Ning was also suspicious why the emperor visited her for the first time since she was held captive.
‘Tomorrow someone will escort you and your son home,’ the emperor said.
Yan Shi Ning thought perhaps Pei Jin completed all his duties.
‘Thirteenth son, it’s time you learn how to read,’ the emperor said.
Pei Khan was sad he wasn’t allowed to return home with Yan Shi Ning and his nephew.
Perhaps Pei Khan’s nephew knew he was feeling sad so his nephew cried loudly.
Yan Shi Ning couldn’t let her son cry while the emperor was standing next to the cot. She picked up her son and found out her son had soiled his pants.
Yan Shi Ning bowed to the emperor and carried her son to the bed. She cleaned his body and changed his clothes.
Yan Shi Ning turned around to ask Xiao Tu to pass a fan but she didn’t expect the emperor was standing nearby. She thought the emperor had left.
Yan Shi Ning assessed the emperor. He was looking at her son like he was curious and wanted to carry her son.
Yan Shi Ning smiled, she remembered a recent dream… she gave birth to a chubby child and the emperor wanted to carry her child but she carried her child far away from him.
In that moment she wanted to hide her son from the emperor. ‘Imperial father, who do you think he looks like?’
The emperor slowly accepted his grandson and carefully held his grandson. ‘His face looks like you but he has ninth son’s nose.’
‘Imperial father is right,’ Yan Shi Ning said. ‘He also has Pei Jin’s eyelashes and Pei Jin’s smile… hurry little treasure, smile with your imperial grandfather.’
Yan Shi Ning was coaxing her son to smile while gaging the emperor’s reaction. Indeed the emperor relaxed and softened after he heard imperial grandfather.
Yan Shi Ning’s heart cursed the emperor, ‘you’re only allowed to hold him this one time!’
‘Imperial father, give nephew a name,’ Pei Khan said.
The emperor had been busy with imperial court duties and didn’t have time to name his grandson.
‘Thirteenth son, what name do you think suits him?’ the emperor asked.
‘Thirteen brother, think of a meaningful name for your nephew,’ Yan Shi Ning prompted.
Pei Khan thought deeply but he was only a five-year-old boy. So he looked in four directions and saw a little bird was flying. His eyes brightened and pointed at the bird outside the window.
‘Fly?’ Yan Shi Ning asked. ‘Thirteenth brother, do you want your nephew to be like the little bird so he can be free to fly?’
Pei Khan reluctantly nodded his head.
‘Pei Wen Fly…’ the emperor called. ‘Thirteenth son struggled to think of fly. But it doesn’t sound majestic. Let’s change fly to Fei, Pei Wen Fei. It’s a peaceful name.’
Yan Shi Ning thanked the emperor but Pei Khan wasn’t satisfied with his nephew’s name. Earlier he didn’t want to say fly, he wanted to say bird. He thought Pei Wen Niao and Xiao Niao were pleasant to hear.
Short Side Story Five
Xiao Fei: Pleasant to hear, your little sister!
Pei Khan: Pei Xiao Niao.
Xiao Fei: Little bird, your little sister!
Pei Khan: Pei Xiao Niao.
Xiao Fei: If you say it one more time, I’ll hit you!
Pei Khan: Pei Xiao Niao.
Xiao Fei: Cries.
Pei Khan: Be good. Don’t cry, rub, rub head.
Xiao Fei: Rub your little sister!
End of Chapter Seventy-One
Chapter Thirty-Six (Part 2 of 2)
‘He’s my father,’ Yan Shi Ning said. ‘But his ambition is the reason why my mother was killed. I don’t need him to die. It’s enough that he loses his position in the imperial court.’
Pei Jin nodded his head. He couldn’t predict what his father would do to Yan Jing. But if his father wanted to execute Yan Jing then he would make a little plea to save Yan Jing’s life, because he and Yan Shi Ning knew in Yan Jing’s eyes being demoted was worse than dying.
‘Wife, why do you think Yan Jing suspects Yan Shi Ting isn’t his blood daughter?’ Pei Jin asked. ‘Why hasn’t he done anything to investigate the situation all these years? He’s not someone who would spare a person for deceiving him. I’ve sent someone to investigate Yan Shi Ting’s birth, but I haven’t received any evidence.’
‘Perhaps he’s either misunderstood or is certain Yan Shi Ting isn’t his daughter,’ Yan Shi Ning said. ‘It’s possible Princess Kang Hua convinced him that he has no evidence to confirm his suspicions. But you said that Princess Kang Hua panicked after she received copies of those two letters. So I think Yan Shi Ting isn’t my father’s blood daughter.’
‘Pei Jin, I want you to give me one of those letters,’ Yan Shi Ning said. ‘I want to show it my father. I want to see what his reaction is when he knows the daughter he loved since she was born isn’t his blood daughter.’
‘Yan-Shi-Ning!’ Pei Jin cried out. ‘Give back my loveable lively little lion!’
Yan Shi Ning smiled at Pei Jin. ‘Pei Jin, don’t worry. I’m still me, I won’t change.’
At the Yan Manor, Yan Jing thought that recently nothing had been smooth for him. He was ashamed of his youngest daughter’s behaviour before her wedding, it caused him to lose the emperor’s favor. Princess Kang Hua’s health was suddenly poor and Gentleman Su asked him to pay for the costs of Yan Shi Ting’s dresses and shoes.
Yan Jing did want to pay Gentleman Su, but the total cost shook his body and he asked Gentleman Su to receive the silver taels from Princess Kang Hua.
‘Prime Minister Yan, I did ask Princess Kang Hua,’ Gentleman Su said. ‘But she said she was unwell and asked me to come back another day. Honestly, I need the money to pay my merchants and dressmakers.’
Yan Jing tactfully asked Gentleman Su to come back another day then he looked for Princess Kang Hua in the Yan Manor. He didn’t know how many silver taels Princess Kang Hua possessed and he had never asked. But he knew she wasn’t a pauper so he couldn’t understand why she couldn’t pay Gentleman Su.
Yan Jing found Princess Kang Hua in her chamber and he asked her about the silver taels owed to Gentleman Su.
‘My silver taels has no relation to you,’ Princess Kang Hua said coldly.
Yan Jing thought Princess Kang Hua’s cold arrogance was too much. He suppressed his disdain and retreated toward the calligraphy room.
On the way to the calligraphy room Yan Jing was surprised to see his oldest daughter arrived at the Yan Manor to visit him.
‘Shi Ning?’ Yan Jing asked.
Yan Shi Ning smiled charmingly at Yan Jing. ‘Father, I came to give Shi Ting a pair of jade bracelets. It’ll look beautiful on her wrists.’
Yan Jing was proud of his oldest daughter who was gentle and considerate. ‘Shi Ning, you’re a good person.’
Yan Jing accepted the jade bracelets and he noticed Yan Shi Ning hesitated to ask him something. ‘Shi Ning, is something wrong?’
Yan Shi Ning bit her lower lip and spoke in a shaky voice. ‘Father… I… this… I didn’t intend to tell father about this. But forgive me father, I can’t hide this from you.’
Yan Jing had never seen Yan Shi Ning looked so sad and anxious like she did that she did that day. ‘Shi Ning, if anything bad happened you can tell me and I promise I’ll give you justice.’
Yan Shi Ning’s heart laughed coldly. She pulled out a letter and passed it to Yan Jing. ‘Father, last night someone delivered this to my husband’s manor. After I read it I was shocked and I wanted to ask father about this.’
Yan Jing read the letter and his body stiffened, it was clearly the letter he wrote to Dung Thi… it was his calligraphy and the same paper he used that year.
End of Chapter Thirty-Six (Part 2 of 2)