Exile Chapter 83
In the morning, the family sat there for breakfast. Su Qingbai fed a dumpling to Su Caicai’s mouth and said to Jiang Mao, “I want to visit my parents later.”
Jiang Mao had just finished eating. He put down his chopsticks and said, “I have to go to the court session later. I’m afraid I can’t accompany you.” As he said, he came over and pinched Su Caicai’s bulging cheeks.
After feeding Su Caicai, Su Qingbai took a few bites of his own. He said as he ate, “my parents haven’t seen Fanfan before. I’m going to take him with me.” Then he stroked Su Caicai’s head and said, “and Caicai.”
Having been pinched and stroked, Su Caicai raised his head a little inexplicably as he looked at his parents, while his mouth still chewing the dumplings that Su Qingbai fed him from time to time.
“Then after the court session, I’ll go find you. I might be a bit late.” Finished with that, Jiang Mao added after a thought, “I’ll take Caicai with me.”
With that, Jiang Mao took Su Qingbai into his arms. “I’d been bestowed a Wang title. It’s unjustified and undeserving of such title to stay in the capital city all the time. Now, Fifth Prince and Sixth Prince regards me as a thorn in their sides. It’s also awkward to stay here. We’d better go back to Cangzhou.” He sighed, “I’ve made a plan. After the new year, I’ll prepare arrangements to go back to Yue. In addition… Before leaving the capital, I want to confer the heir.”
As he said this, he raised his hand to play with the topknot on Su Caicai’s head and watched it turned to a swaying pigtail behind Su Caicai’s head. Jiang Mao said to Su Qingbai, “I’m going to take this opportunity to take Caicai to pay a formal visit to the emperor, so as not to allow others to gossip about Caicai not having etiquette in the future. In passing, I also want to inform every cabinet minister about Caicai’s status.”
Su Qingbai nodded. As if he thought of something, he suddenly looked up and said, “but I haven’t prepared clothes for Caicai yet.”
Jiang Mao smiled, “don’t worry, all the clothes of Caicai were ready before we returned to the capital, including the ceremonial robes.” As he said, he went out. “I’ll get it. You can change it for Caicai now.”
After watching Jiang Mao leave, Su Qingbai’s eyes shifted to Su Caicai. He looked at the messy topknot on his son’s head which caused by Jiang Mao’s fiddling and sighed before squatted down to help his son straightened it out.
Su Caicai obediently leaned on Su Qingbai.
“Caicai, if Dad hurts you, tell Dad.”
Su Caicai shook his head and said, “not hurt.”
Su Qingbai was a novice. In the past, Su Caicai didn’t have much hair when he was in that small mountain village. After it grew a little longer, it was Madam Su, who helped to take care of his hair. Later, when he came to the capital city, the maidservant did the work.
It took Su Qingbai a long time to finish it. After that, Su Qingbai took him down from the stool, and as soon Su Caicai on the ground, he dadada ran away. After a while, he came back with a comb in his hand.
Su Caicai tiptoed and handed the comb to Su Qingbai. Su Qingbai took it over between laughter and tears. After combing his son hair casually, he handed the comb to his son again. Again, Su Caicai dadada ran to give the comb to the maidservant.
In the palace, Jiang Mao was in an awkward situation. He was ostracized by many ministers headed by Fifth Prince and Sixth Prince in the capital, but on the other hand, no one dared to provoke him easily.
Jiang Mao brought Su Caicai with him, and drank a few small cups of wine, symbolically. Then he took Su Caicai away from the banquet to meet the old emperor.
Third prince was not here, and no one could stop him from seeing the old emperor.
Entering the palace where the old emperor was, Jiang Mao unexpectedly found Minister Li, Li Jing was also there.
“Minister Li.” After the surprise, Jiang Mao led Su Caicai to go forward and half bent towards Li Jing.
Li Jing returned the greeting, “I pay respect to Your Highness Yue Wang.”
“Minister Li, you come to see Imperial Father, too?” Jiang Mao said in smile while pulling Su Caicai, who was looking around in confusion, to walk over. Jiang Mao was very respectful towards this old minister, who was willing to lend a hand when Su family was down and out.
“Yes. Now all the ministers have gone to pay respect to Fifth Prince. Few people remember that there is still His Majesty here.” Li Jing lamented. Upon seeing Jiang Mao nodding, he smiled again and turned his eyes to Su Caicai, who was led by Jiang Mao.
“This is Wang’s eldest son. His name… is Jiang Chengjun. This Wang bring him today to pay New Year’s greetings to Imperial Father.” He said it after hesitating for a while. In order to facilitate Su Caicai’s coming heir conferring, Jiang Mao hesitated for a while and even hastily changed Su Caicai’s surname.
Being outside, Jiang Mao still gave Su Caicai quite the honor, so he didn’t call him by the nickname at all. Jiang Mao shook Su Caicai’s tightly grabbed small paw and said, “Chengjun, call grandpa Li.”
Su Caicai did not open his mouth, but still looked at the smiling old man in front of him.
――He didn’t know who Chengjun in his dad’s mouth was.
Jiang Mao still wanted to urge him, but Li Jing hurriedly stopped him: “the child is too young, don’t force him to call.” Li Jing sized up Su Caicai. The child looked about two years old, how could he haggle with such a small child?
Su Caicai’s looks was the same as Jiang Mao. He looked very pleasing to the eyes. Li Jing took a tangerine which was just brought by the palace eunuch and gave it to Su Caicai.
Su Caicai’s eyes twinkled and he reached out to take it. “Thank you grandpa~” Regardless of Su Lingchuan or Jiang Mao, they were all very concerned about Su Caicai’s courtesy issues.
Li Jing immediately laughed out loud and joked with him: “it seems that some kind words of Your Highness Yue Wang are not as useful as one fruit of this old minister.”
After they talked for a few words, they went to see the old emperor together.
There were many palace servants around the palace. One of them saw Li Jing and took the initiative to lead them to the palace. It seemed that Li Jing usually came here often.
The old emperor had been lying on the sickbed for several years. As soon as the bed curtain was lifted, one could see a thin skeleton wrapped in skin. Li Jing wiped his tears, not too shocked. The emperor was going to die. In recent years, the emperor had been controlled by Third Prince with drugs. It’s not easy for the emperor to survive until now.
Fortunately, they found out the trick of Third Prince as early as possible and sent someone to cure His Majesty in time.
During the time the two were talking, Su Caicai looked askance at the old man lying in front of him, feeling extremely strange. He stepped forward and leaned on the old emperor’s couch. After looking for a long time, he couldn’t help but stretch out his paw to pull the old emperor’s white beard.
A soon as Jiang Mao caught sight of it, he hurriedly picked up Su Caicai and scolded him lightly. They kowtowed a few times before Jiang Mao took him to leave. Li Jing followed closely behind and also left. No one noticed the old emperor’s mouth twitching slightly.