IBTBTED Chapter 15
It’s Better to be the Empress Dowager
Chapter 15 Expose
The wind passed over the lake and brought rain into the lake pavilion, which was quite cool. Tang Shishi pulled her sleeves silently, without changing her expression, and said, “Yes. Many people came to see Wangye today, and Wangye can’t spare any time, so he let me bring a few words to Shizi.”
Zhao Zixun’s expression was evidently tense, “What did father say?”
Tang Shishi’s eyes swept the people behind Zhao Zixun, Zhou Shunhua and Ren Yujun were also nervous. However, Tang Shishi happily refused to say it. She glanced at Zhou Shunhua several times, revealing a look of embarrassment, “This… Jing Wang said to talk to Shizi privately. I’m afraid it’s not appropriate when others are around.”
Zhao Zixun looked to the side and said, “You two can go back. You don’t have to serve me today.”
Zhou Shunhua and Ren Yujun both stared at Tang Shishi and showed resentment towards her.
Tang Shishi was really deep scheming. Zhou Shunhua was suspicious that Tang Shishi did it on purpose. Tang Shishi deliberately sent them away, and then wanted to be alone with Shizi. However, Zhou Shunhua had no proof and could not say it. Tang Shishi was here on behalf of Jing Wang to pass a message. Did Zhou Shunhua dare to question Jing Wang?
She dared not. Even if Zhao Zixun also felt wrong, he did not dare to openly disobey Jing Wang’s order. Zhou Shunhua and Ren Yujun were reluctant to leave. When they passed Tang Shishi, Ren Yujun could not hold back and glared at Tang Shishi.
Tang Shishi felt it. She turned her face slightly and gave Ren Yujun a threatening smile, beautiful and alluring.
Zhao Chengjun stood in a high place, tapped his finger on the railing, and asked the people behind him, “There are so many confidential documents in the study, but she didn’t even look at them. She ran here to push out Zhao Zixun’s maids. You say, what exactly does she want to do?”
This… Liu Ji was in a dilemma. Even if he knew it, he did not dare to say it.
Liu Ji said with a smile, “Miss Tang has a big heart and it’s out of the ordinary. This old slave doesn’t know.”
Zhao Chengjun laughed when he heard it and said without hesitation, “It’s not necessary she has a big heart, but it’s true that there is a snake in her heart. Come on, let’s go down and have a look. “
Tang Shishi saw that Zhou Shunhua and Ren Yujun were reluctant but still had to leave according to her commands. Tang Shishi was very satisfied, raised her chin slightly, waited for the defeated to leave, and made room for her and Zhao Zixun.
Tang Shishi was a very proactive person. Since she was a vicious female supporting character, she has no opportunities to be alone with the male lead in the book. It did not matter. Since she had no opportunities, she would create opportunities.
She came all the way here as fast as she could, and Tang Shishi believed that the plot had not yet begun. The same place and the same affair. As long as she drove the female lead and the female partner away, would not the female lead’s role belong to her?
The more Tang Shishi thought about it, the more she felt that she was smarter. She was simply born to be Empress Dowager. She wanted Zhou Shunhua and Ren Yujun to go away quickly, but the footsteps behind her stopped shortly after. Tang Shishi was impatient, turned around, and urged, “Don’t hurry, you don’t even listen to what Wangye said?”
Just as Tang Shishi finished speaking, her pupils slowly dilated, “Wangye?”
Numerous escorts blocked the passage to the center of the lake securely. Liu Ji graciously held an umbrella for the person in front and another eunuch held an umbrella for Liu Ji from behind him. Obviously, there were so many people, and the surface of the lake was serene, yet only could hear the rain pitter-patter sound on the surface of the lake.
Zhao Chengjun stood in front of the crowd, looking ahead with his calmed and composed demeanor. Zhao Chengjun smiled slightly when he heard Tang Shishi’s words, “Oh, my words?”
After that, Zhao Zixun bowed in respect and greeted Zhao Chengjun, “Father.”
Tang Shishi repeatedly scolds Zhao Zixun, a rascal, in her heart. Tang Shishi’s back was facing the walkway and could not see the movement behind, but Zhao Zixun stood opposite her and definitely saw Jing Wang. He clearly knew that Jing Wang was coming, but he did not remind her and let Tang Shishi continue her foolish act.
Tang Shishi was having cold sweat in her heart, but she still wanted to show that she was not surprised and that everything was under control. Then she greeted Zhao Chengjun calmly, “Wangye.”
As Zhao Chengjun walked into the lake pavilion, his attendants swarmed in from behind him, and quickly and orderly removed the cups and rearranged the seats. Liu Ji wanted to remove the wine stove, but Zhao Chengjun raised his hand, “No need, let it stay.”
Liu Ji quickly glanced at Zhao Zixun and bowed to agree. Zhao Chengjun sat on the seat that Zhao Zixun sat on earlier, picked up the wine cup, turned around, and slowly raised his eyes to look at the few people around him.
Tang Shishi immediately stepped aside and said, “Wangye, this is the wine of Shizi and his servant girls. This little girl has just arrived, and she doesn’t know anything.”
Zhao Zixun could not believe it and glanced at Tang Shishi with a grim expression. This woman turned her back easily and completely without the bottom line. She just deliberately drove Zhou Shunhua away. Now as soon as Jing Wang arrived, she immediately cleared her boundaries and threw the scapegoat in front of Zhao Zixun.
Zhao Zixun’s complexion was not good. Zhao Chengjun smiled, put down his wine cup, and said, “Zhao Zixun is not a child, drinking is not a big deal and there’s no need to avoid it. Only Hedong has the best Sangluo wine. Next time, I’ll ask the Puzhou magistrate to send it.”
Zhao Zixun was greatly relieved, and his expression relaxed. He cupped his hand, “Thank you, Father.”
Zhao Zixun was relaxed, but Tang Shishi could not smile even a little bit. It was hard to guess Jing Wang’s mind. Just now, she thought that Jing Wang was going to punish them, therefore, she was trying to save herself first. Unexpectedly, Jing Wang strictly controlled his son’s studies but did not control his drinking habit.
If Jing Wang had said earlier that he would not punish them, why would Tang Shishi jump out? That’s great… she offended the male lead again.
Zhao Chengjun glanced lightly and immediately saw that even though Tang Shishi lowered her head, her eyes were rolling over. Obviously, she was trying to scheme again. She had reached this extent and yet was unwilling to live peacefully. Zhao Chengjun did not know whether to say she was persistent or to say she was foolish.
After Zhao Zixun loosened up, he dared to ask other things, “Father, I heard that you were very busy today?”
Zhao Chengjun remained silent, “Why do you ask?”
“Tang Shishi said that you were occupied and can’t get away. So father entrusted her to send a message to this son. I don’t know what father wants to tell this son?”
Tang Shishi realized that something was amiss when she heard the previous sentence. However, she simply could not stop him in front of Jing Wang. She watched helplessly as Zhao Zixun poked through her lies. When Zhao Chengjun looked over, Tang Shishi’s knees softened, and nearly knelt down on the spot.
Done. Her life was over.
Zhao Chengjun laughed angrily. Unexpected, really unexpected! He still underestimated Tang Shishi. He thought that Tang Shishi was playing simple tricks. He could not believe that she even dared to fake his words.
Zhao Chengjun was speechless and at the same time scrutinized Tang Shishi. Under Jing Wang’s scrutinizing gaze, Tang Shishi lowered her head even more until she wished to bury herself in the ground. Zhao Zixun noticed that the vibe was not right, so he looked at Jing Wang and then thoughtfully at Tang Shishi.
Before Tang Shishi could kneel down to beg forgiveness, Zhao Chengjun spoke. His tone was light, as if there was such a thing, and said, “You didn’t write the discourse of polities properly the day before yesterday. That type of governing method is not explained in that way.”
“Why?” Zhao Zixun seemed very surprised and excited, “It was a proud work of this son. The teacher also said it was written well, neatly done, and magnificent, and strategies of advances or retreats were appropriate…”
“It has nothing to do with phrasing, it was the structure.” Zhao Chengjun’s tone was not loud, but each word carried weight, and he immediately intercepted Zhao Zixun, “It was a necessity for the superior to manage people, even more so, be able to tolerate them. Throughout the article, you wrote about how to manage and how to use power play to make the two officials engaged in conflicts, but you have neglected the most fundamental affair.”
Zhao Chengjun stood up, he was taller than Zhao Zixun, his figure also pertain to an adult with broad shoulders, tall and lean. When he stood in front of Zhao Zixun, his overbearing imposing manner totally crushed Zhao Zixun.
Zhao Chengjun stopped in front of Zhao Zixun, looked at him condescendingly, and slowly said, “The Emperor’s power play was more powerful not because he knew the art of politics but rather because the user was an Emperor. The power play was not wrong, if and only if the power play neglected the fundamentals and concentrated on the cherry at the top, then the superior would lose the magnanimity.”
After Zhao Chengjun finished speaking, he ignored Zhao Zixun and strode out of the pavilion. Liu Ji quickly held an umbrella for Zhao Chengjun, Tang Shishi secretly looked at Zhao Zixun, and followed Zhao Chengjun numbly.
Tang Shishi did not know how Zhao Chengjun and Zhao Zixun got along in private. However, based on her past observations, Zhao Chengjun was really a very strict father. Instead of taking time and explaining to him, he was more like cultivating him.
The way Zhao Chengjun looked at Zhao Zixun was not at all like looking at his son, but rather at a successor. No wonder Zhao Zixun was afraid of him. Tang Shishi was listening and did not dare to breathe. To make matters worse, when ordinary fathers teach their sons, no matter how discouraging the son was, they still understood that he was his own child, and the father would not really abandon him. But it was not like this in the Jing Wang mansion.
Tang Shishi was sad for Zhao Zixun, with such an adoptive father, not sure whether it was good or bad. However, Tang Shishi quickly lost the mood to pity others. Zhao Chengjun walked back to his study room without saying anything, lifted his clothes, and sat behind the table.
Tang Shishi directly knelt down without saying a word and she was about to cry, “Wangye, please listen to my explanation.”
She had an expression of crying, but her eyes were turning so fast that she almost blurted out her sophistry. Zhao Chengjun was calm and composed, “Go ahead.”
“Um… I, I actually care for Shizi.” Tang Shishi quickly organized her speech, “You were so busy every day, while Shizi was enjoying the scenic view and having a romantic relationship. It was raining today, and he didn’t think of how many people would be displaced by the heavy rain, instead, he took two maidservants to drink warm wine. What’s the point? This little girl cannot stand by idly and watch, and used Wangye’s name to remind Shizi.”
As Zhao Chengjun listened and slowly showed a smile. It was hard for her to weave such a story and yet still make it look good. Zhao Chengjun poured himself a cup of tea and said, “It’s really a waste of your cook-up talent by sending you to the Jing Wang mansion. You should remain in the imperial prison as another member of Eagle Claw for the imperial guards.”
Tang Shishi reluctantly smiled, “Wangye is joking. I’m just a weak woman. I don’t dare to compare myself with those imperial guards.”
Zhao Chengjun put down his tea, the tea leaves inside were swirling up and down slowly, “Why?”
Tang Shishi did not dare to answer freely and asked carefully, “What does Wangye mean?”
Zhao Chengjun originally wanted to ask Tang Shishi why she paid special attention to Zhao Zixun. However, when he was about to say it, Zhao Chengjun felt that such remarks were beneath his status. So he changed his question, “Why are you so hostile to the two maidservants around Zhao Zixun, who seemed to be called Zhou Shunhua and Ren Yujun?”
Tang Shishi covered her mouth in surprise and was shocked, “Wangye, how do you know their names?”
Zhao Chengjun’s eyebrows jumped. This was the first time that someone did not take his words seriously since he had grown up and asked him instead. Zhao Chengjun smiled, “Are you instigating me? His Majesty Sejong was the last one who taught me to do things.”
“I dare not.” Tang Shishi immediately lowered her head, put the back of her hand on her forehead, saluted, and said, “This little girl has gone overbroad. Wangye, please forgive me. Wangye misunderstood, this little girl was not hostile to Zhou Shunhua. It’s just that men and women are different since they are five years old. They tangled up with Shizi all day long, I’m afraid it’s not good for Shizi when he goes to school.”
Tang Shishi said it so seriously and wanted to observe Zhao Chengjun’s expression but did not dare to look up. Zhao Chengjun was sitting on the main seat, slowly turning the teacup in his hand, and refused to express his opinion.
How could Zhao Chengjun fail to see that Tang Shishi was lying? Zhao Chengjun grew up in the Imperial Court, and perhaps Zhao Chengjun was more familiar than Tang Shishi with these tricks of open strife and veiled struggle, the dramas of vying for a favor.
His birth mother, Imperial Concubine Gonglie, was the victor of the palace struggle but also the victim of the power struggle. It really was not worth mentioning if Tang Shishi put these methods in front of former Imperial Concubine Gonglie.
Zhao Chengjun was somewhat surprised and could not see that Tang Shishi was actually a woman who was crazy about love. Her former husband-to-be was a modest and handsome young man with a strong scholarly spirit. In a sense, Zhao Zixun was also like this.
This type of man was probably the type that Tang Shishi liked. Zhao Chengjun, as a father, should not be in control of his son’s love affairs. However, anyone would do it except Tang Shishi.
“Tang Shishi.” Zhao Chengjun said suddenly, “I’ve already selected Zhao Zixun’s legitimate wife, and the Shizifei* will not be any of you.”
(*Shizifei – legitimate wife of Shizi, Shizi’s Imperial Concubine)