Chapter Seventeen (Part 1)
Pei Jin and Yan Shi Ning left Huang Guo’s manor in the horse carriage.
Yan Shi Ning noticed Pei Jin looked a little deflated. ‘Big brother, what did you talk to him about?’
Pei Jin stretched his back. ‘About imperial court duties.’
Yan Shi Ning didn’t force Pei Jin to tell her the truth. Besides, she could guess there was nothing else for them to talk about apart from Su Yue and stealing the throne.
The night sky was dark like ink when they returned to Pei Jin’s manor.
Yan Shi Ning was tired from a tensed day. A maid prepared a warm bath for her and she immediately walked to the chamber.
Pei Jin walked in the direction of Bei Dou’s chamber.
Bei Dou was about to take off his clothes to sleep but he heard someone barged into his chamber. He turned around and his outer robe was grabbed by Pei Jin’s hand.
‘You delivered the note!’ Pei Jin said coldly.
Bei Dou heard Huang Guo’s messenger requested Pei Jin and Yan Shi Ning to attend a banquet and he knew he couldn’t deny the truth and anticipated Pei Jin’s temper.
Bei Dou pushed Pei Jin’s hand away from his outer robe and straightened his outer robe. ‘What’s the point of asking if you know?’
Pei Jin saw Bei Dou’s calm state even after behaving reckless, it made him angry enough to laugh. He sat on a chair and silently looked at Bei Dou.
‘It’s your fault for being slow,’ Bei Dou said. ‘I could only borrow someone else’s hand.’
Out of Huang Guo’s children, Huang Guo loved Consort Chen most. If Huang Guo knew the empress killed Consort Chen, it was certain Huang Guo would avenge Consort Chen’s death.’
‘You’re a good schemer,’ Pei Jin praised. ‘It’s a pity you need to walk a wide circle. When you want to borrow a dagger to kill a person, someone else would also want to borrow a dagger to kill a person. Bei Dou, you gave Huang Guo an opportunity to force me to cooperate with him to deal with the empress.’
Bei Dou suppressed a little guilt. ‘That’s good. You should cooperate with Huang Guo to deal with the empress.’
Pei Jin rubbed his temples. ‘In the past when you wanted me to cooperate with Huang Guo you didn’t know about Huang Guo’s scheme. But now you know about the Diao Jing Ji, you still want me to cooperate with them… also, you should know my personality. I hate other people forcing me to do something. I’ll avenge Consort Chen’s death, but I’ll not allow anyone cause trouble for me!’
Bei Dou took a deep breath. ‘It doesn’t matter if Huang Guo uses you. Can’t you use him? Don’t you care that he sees you as a puppet? With your brilliant strategic mind even if Huang Guo is intelligent, he wouldn’t know who’ll scare him to death.’
‘You want me to risk being exposed by association?’ Pei Jin asked.
‘Why not?’ Bei Dou asked.
‘I hate taking any risks,’ Pei Jin said.
‘Honestly?’ Bei Dou asked. ‘If you hate taking any risks then in the past why did you save me?’
The atmosphere in the chamber became tensed.
That year Bei Dou’s family property were taken and his family members were killed. Pei Jin saved him from a fire and hid his identity. He wanted to oppose the imperial court to avenge his family.
‘You say you don’t care about being emperor,’ Bei Dou said. ‘But why did you save a convicted criminal like me? Pei Jin, you’re too cautious, you wouldn’t save me because I saved your life. You saved me because of the gold and silver taels that my Sheng household hid. If you have them in your hands then you can steal the throne.’
Bei Dou kept those thoughts in his heart for a long time. He truly wanted Pei Jin to answer his questions directly.
‘Even if you saved me because of Sheng’s riches I’m willing to give them to you with my own hands,’ Bei Dou said. ‘As long as you help me deal with the empress’ people.’
The chamber was eerily silent. Bei Dou couldn’t see through Pei Jin’s thoughts.
Suddenly the sounds of raindrops pitter-pattered on the roof.
A gust of wind blew rain into the chamber and onto Pei Jin’s face. He gently wiped it off his face, stood and closed the window.
‘What if I say that I truly saved you because you saved me?’ Pei Jin asked.
Bei Dou wasted his energy to decipher if Pei Jin was sincere. Pei Jin was one of the rare people he knew who was an expert at concealing their true thoughts.
‘Also, everyone in the Sheng household died,’ Pei Jin said. ‘Don’t forget, you’re Bei Dou.’
Bei Dou stood still in the same spot for a long time. Pei Jin’s tone and expression were gentle, but he didn’t know why it made him feel pressured to concede.
‘I have something else I want to tell you,’ Bei Dou said and coughed.
‘What is it?’ Pei Jin asked.
‘I examined the Fu Gui in the incense sticks more carefully,’ Bei Dou said. ‘I discovered the Fu Gui in your wife’s body doesn’t need half a month to be released. Seven days is enough.’
Pei Jin slitted his eyes, grabbed Bei Dou’s collar and punched Bei Dou’s chest. ‘You purposely lied to me!’
Bei Dou rubbed his sore chest. ‘Indeed your wife is someone special to you.’
Pei Jin smiled sincerely. ‘Of course.’
‘It explains why you schemed against Lady Yewu that year,’ Bei Dou said. ‘Honestly, I want to know how she died.’
‘Wait until you die,’ Pei Jin said. ‘You can meet her in hell and ask her how she died.’
Pei Jin pushed the door and left the chamber.
End of Chapter Seventeen (Part 1)
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