Ten years later Pei Khan ruled the Dian Kingdom.
Pei Khan sat on the throne and looked sadly at Pei Jin who was kneeling in front of him.
‘Your majesty, let me deal with the rebellion in Southern Jiang,’ Pei Jin said.
Pei Khan’s eyes stung, he didn’t want Pei Jin and Pei Jin’s family to leave the imperial city. He understood Pei Jin trusted him to rule on his own and that two tigers couldn’t stay on one mountain.
‘Yes,’ Pei Khan said reluctantly.
Later Pei Khan and the court officials farewell Pei Jin and Pei Jin’s family. Some court officials were sad to see Pei Jin leave and some were happy to get rid of the biggest threat to Pei Khan’s rule.
Inside the horse carriage Pei Xiao Niao woke up from his nap. He rubbed his eyes and he was happy to see his imperial uncle.
‘Imperial uncle, I waited a long time to see you,’ Pei Xiao Niao said. ‘Why aren’t you coming inside carriage?’
Pei Khan rubbed his precious nephew’s head. ‘I can’t go with you now. Xiao Niao, you go first. I’ll visit you soon.’
‘Why can’t we go together?’ Pei Xiao Niao asked.
‘Because I need to stay back to be the emperor,’ Pei Khan said.
‘Then why don’t imperial uncle not be the emperor anymore and come with me?’ Pei Xiao Niao asked.
The court officials’ faces paled.
‘That’s a good suggestion,’ Pei Khan said.
The court officials’ faces whitened.
‘But these uncles won’t agree,’ Pei Khan said.
Pei Xiao Niao looked hatefully at the court officials.
‘Imperial uncle, is it amusing being the emperor?’ Pei Xiao Niao asked.
‘Not amusing at all,’ Pei Khan said.
‘Imperial uncle, let’s share our sufferings and blessings,’ Pei Xiao Niao said sternly. ‘I’ll play in Southern Jiang for a while. Then I’ll come back to the imperial city to be the emperor and imperial uncle can go to Southern Jiang to play.’
Pei Khan’s eyes brightened. ‘Um, it’s a promise!’
The court officials wanted to vomit blood. They got rid of Pei Jin but they couldn’t stop Pei Jin’s son from returning and being the emperor.
Pei Xiao Niao waved his small hands until he couldn’t see his imperial uncle anymore and he couldn’t stop crying.
‘Mother, I can’t see imperial uncle anymore,’ Pei Xiao Niao said sadly.
Pei Wen Rui knocked her older brother’s head. ‘First brother, don’t you know how to be embarrassed? You’re too old to cry.’
Pei Xiao Niao cried louder because his little sister bullied him again.
‘Second sister, you shouldn’t bully first brother,’ Pei Wen Hui said. ‘First brother, you shouldn’t wipe your snot on second sister’s dress.’
Pei Wen Hui looked down at his older brother.
Pei Xiao Niao looked out the window and missed his imperial uncle more because his little sister and little brother joined forces to bully him. His father loved Xiao Rui and his mother loved Xiao Hui. Only his imperial uncle loved him. He cried more pitifully as the horse carriage travelled further away from the imperial city.
Pei Jin looked at his three lively children and he smiled.
‘Shi Ning, should we conceive another child?’ Pei Jin asked.
‘No!’ Yan Shi Ning said.
Yan Shi Ning thought her youngest son was good and obedient. Her oldest son and daughter were fire and water, they gave her a headache. But Pei Khan was the most behaved and helpful when Pei Khan was her children’s ages. She worried about leaving Pei Khan on his own in the imperial city.
‘Pei Jin, do you think Pei Khan can cope on his own in the imperial city?’ Yan Shi Ning asked.
‘Shi Ning, you should believe in Pei Khan’s capabilities,’ Pei Jin said.
Yan Shi Ning nodded her head. Pei Khan was the most suited to be the emperor even more suitable than Pei Jin. Pei Khan was fair, merciful, decisive and calm under pressure.
Pei Jin believed Pei Khan would be a good emperor. The last ten years were tiring for him and he was happy he finally could live a peaceful life with his family away from the palace.
‘Pei Jin, have you ever regretted giving up the throne?’ Yan Shi Ning asked.
‘Shi Ning, have you ever resented me for not giving you the opportunity for the world to admire you?’ Pei Jin asked.
‘What do you think?’ Yan Shi Ning asked.
‘Wife, it appears you don’t like being admired and you hate palace protocols,’ Pei Jin said. ‘So your husband is willing to give up the world to make you happy. Besides, your husband never cared about power and money.’
‘Husband, will you die if don’t pretend to be a gentle and kind person?’ Yan Shi Ning asked.
Pei Jin smiled and kissed Yan Shi Ning.
Pei Xiao Niao turned his head away from the window and saw his parents were kissing each other again. He shook his head. ‘Father, mother, do you know how old you both are? Father, mother, don’t you both know how to control yourselves?’
Pei Wen Rui knocked her older brother’s head. ‘First brother, move your head out of the way.’
Pei Xiao Niao rubbed his sore head and cried. ‘Second sister, you hit me again.’
Pei Wen Hui ignored his noisy older brother and older sister. He silently chewed on melon seeds.
In the palace Pei Khan stood above the tallest tower where no one could see him cry while he watched the horse carriage slowly disappear.
End of Chapter Eighty-One