IBTBTED Chapter 17

It’s Better to be the Empress Dowager

Chapter 17          Marriage Contract

It was not appropriate to call her mother-in-law. After all, Jing Wang and the eldest young lady of the Xi family were not married. However, looking at Jing Wang’s attitude, he was very polite to this Madam Xi.

Zhao Chengjun had already finished speaking during the period of Tang Shishi’s wishful thinking. Old Madam Zheng smiled heartily, “Wangye entrusted this old woman to do these things because you think highly of this old body. Wangye can rest assured that this old woman will put all effort into helping Shizi to look for a satisfactory Shizifei for Jing Wang mansion.”

“Thank you very much, Old Madam Zheng.” Zhao Chengjun said in a faint voice, “I don’t want to conceal from you. I already have a candidate in my mind, the eldest young lady of the Lu family is very good.”

“Does Wangye mean Lu Yufei?” Old Madam Zheng thought for a moment and nodded, “Yes, that girl is very clever and quick-witted, and exceedingly eager to be first. She has a more heroic spirit than any ordinary woman. She can hold it up if she’s going to be Shizifei.”

“Marriage is an important matter, not trivial at all. Thank you for your help today, madam. After the banquet starts, I must trouble the old madam to find a quiet place to talk to Madam Lu on behalf of me and my intentions. If Madam Lu agrees, I will personally visit their mansion to propose marriage on behalf of Zhao Zixun in the next few days.”

Old Madam Zheng understood and smiled, “This old woman understands. Wangye is benevolent.”

Tang Shishi also understood. She guessed right, Lu Yufei was as expected the Shizifei. She raised her eyebrows and glanced at Zhou Shunhua from the corner of her eye.

Zhou Shunhua lowered her head and seemed to be in a bad mood. It was true, the young man whom she had a favorable impression of was going to marry a legitimate wife. Under normal circumstances, no one in the world could smile and give a blessing to the other person. In particular, these two people already had mutual feelings, and Zhao Zixun also had a favorable impression of Zhou Shunhua.

A gifted scholar and a beautiful lady liked each other mutually, but the mandarin ducks were separated by an evil force. Zhao Chengjun was exactly this evil force. Tang Shishi relying on Zhao Chengjun not seeing her, quietly glared at him.

This person normally did not do personnel affairs but had arranged for Zhao Zixun to marry a Shizifei. How much trouble did this man cause Tang Shishi? He deserved not to have a wife.

At first, Zhao Chengjun was listening to Old Madam Zheng, and Tang Shishi thought she concealed it quite well, but in fact, Zhao Chengjun was aware of her glare. Zhao Chengjun slowly rubbed the rim of the teacup, then suddenly put the teacup on the table, “The tea is cold.”

Tongxiu was surprised and immediately stepped forward, “It’s this servant’s negligence. Wangye please forgive my mistake, and this servant will replace it with a new tea.”

“No need.” Zhao Chengjun did not move his eyes, and casually pointed to the outside room, “Let her go.”

Everyone inside and outside was quiet. Tang Shishi looked around and asked tentatively, “Me?”

Zhao Chengjun said coldly, “Otherwise?”

Tang Shishi’s daydreaming was shattered instantly. She quickly put away her resentment and replaced it with a well-behaved expression, “Yes.”

Tang Shishi bowed her head facing the inner room, held up the teapot, smiled and saluted Jing Wang again, and quickly escaped outside. Old Madam Zheng was still holding a water cup in her hand. She looked at Tang Shishi’s back, turned her head, and looked at Zhao Chengjun in astonishment.

Zhao Chengjun’s expression remained unchanged, and said lightly, “She is stupid and reckless. If I don’t care about her one day, she’ll surely cause some trouble. I hope Old Madam will forgive me.”

Old Madam Zheng chuckled correspondingly, but some other thoughts flashed through her eyes. Originally Madam Xi was drinking tea, but she had no more mood to drink it after she heard Jing Wang’s words.

Madam Xi knew about these women, they were sent by Imperial Palace to “serve” Jing Wang. Madam Xi did not pay attention to these people because based on her understanding of Jing Wang, he would not touch the people sent by Empress Dowager Yao.

But now, Madam Xi was not sure. Today, he deliberately asked a woman to change the tea and also voiced such a long remark. What kind of person was Zhao Chengjun and why would he care about a little maid?

Was that not caring?

Tang Shishi changed the pot of “hot tea” and walked back slowly. As soon as she walked in, the atmosphere of the reception hall was completely different. Tang Shishi walked inside, and sure enough, a lovely guest had come in.

Xi Yunchu stood beside her mother, lowered her head bashfully, and smiled when she heard Old Madam Zheng saying that she has changed from a child into a woman. Madam Xi held Xi Yunchu’s hand and rebuked, “Old Madam, don’t praise her. Don’t look at her being gentle and quiet now, you don’t know how much she troubled me in private. I ah… I wish I could get rid of her so that I can be peaceful for a few days.”

Old Madam Zheng said with a smile, “You just talk only, you don’t mean what you say. If Chu’er really left, you couldn’t stop thinking about her. Chu’er is already 15 years old this year, and many suitors are waiting to marry her. Once Chu’er’s marriage is decided by next year, I’ll see how you cry.”

Madam Xi laughed, Xi Yunchu pursed her lips, and pleaded softly, “Old Madam, don’t make fun of me.”

“How can I make fun of you?” said Old Madam Zheng, “It is only natural for a man to marry a woman and a woman to marry a man. In particular, Chu’er has such an excellent appearance, and you are a first-class woman. I don’t know who will be blessed to marry you in the end.”

Xi Yunchu said that she did not agree, but her eyes quietly looked at Zhao Chengjun. Tang Shishi said “Oh” in her heart, no wonder Xi Yunchu did not show her any good demeanor just now. It turned out that it was all because of Zhao Chengjun?

She tutted in her heart. She still poured tea to Zhao Chengjun respectfully, “Wangye, your hot tea.”

Tang Shishi put emphasized on word “hot”. Zhao Chengjun’s expression did not show any joy or anger. He said nothing when he saw her and silently took the teacup.

Madam Xi looked at Zhao Chengjun, and then at her daughter unconsciously, “In a blink of an eye, the children have grown up, and Shizi has reached the age to discuss marriage. However, the wedding is not a trivial matter after all. Now Wangye has Old Madam Zheng to help on behalf to look for a daughter-in-law, however, later in the future, how about those responsibilities of preparing six ceremonies, arranging banquets, entertaining guests, and many other matters? It won’t be easy at all since there’s no Wangfei in the mansion to manage these affairs.”

When Wangfei was mentioned, everyone in the room fell silent. Old Madam Zheng quietly glanced at Jing Wang’s face, sat by, and watched. Zhao Chengjun was stroking the pattern on the teacup. After a short time, he said, “The wedding will be managed by Tongxiu. She has served in the Imperial Palace for a long time and has a good understanding of marriage and funeral etiquettes. I will have to trouble Old Madam to pass on the message to Madam Lu that I will arrange the wedding properly, so she can rest assured.”

Although Zhao Chengjun was conveying his message to Madam Lu, in reality, it was for Madam Xi to listen. Madam Xi’s complexion became stiff, but she refused to give up, and continued, “Tongxiu Gugu came from the palace and there is no doubt about her ability. Eventually, it’s inconvenient for such a big mansion without a respectable mistress. Regardless of other things, a Wangfei needed to be present for entertaining guests and matters regarding offering sacrifices. Your Highness Jing Wang, I know you are a man of great affection. Wan’er and Miss Li have had accidents one after another, and you can’t get over them. It’s just that a person has to move forward after all, and you should have a warm and caring person by your side.”

After Madam Xi finished speaking, a needle dropped in the room could be heard. Old Madam Zheng lowered her head to drink tea and Tongxiu lowered her eyes to look at the floor. Tang Shishi noticed something was not right, and quietly retreated behind Zhao Chengjun, even her breathing was lightened.

Madam Xi finally realized that she had overstepped, but what she had said could not be taken back. She supported herself on the table firmly and looked at Zhao Chengjun calmly. Xi Yunchu hid behind her mother. Although she lowered her head, she looked at Zhao Chengjun from the corner of her eyes and was full of expectation.

In such intense silence, Zhao Chengjun spoke slowly, “I don’t intend to get married, so there’s no need for a Wangfei. It will be the same once Shizifei enters the door in the future, and she’ll manage the offerings in the mansion.”

Xi Yunchu’s cheeks suddenly lost their color. Madam Xi became a little anxious, and said quickly, “How can this be the same?”

However, Zhao Chengjun had already lost his patience. He stood up and the rest of the womenfolk followed suit. Naturally, Madam Xi had to swallow back the remaining words that she could not speak. Zhao Chengjun nodded to Old Madam Zheng and Madam Xi, “You two continue to talk. There is something else I have to do, and I’ll leave first.”

Madam Xi could only smile, “Jing Wang, I’ll send you off.”

The inside and outside servants saluted and everyone else bowed as Zhao Chengjun strode away in large strides. After Zhao Chengjun left, Xi Yunchu slowly stood up and her complexion was completely pale.

Old Madam Zheng pretended not to see and smiled and talked about the flowers of the mansion with others. Tongxiu stepped forward to withdraw the tea. Inevitably Tang Shishi helped out too since she stood the nearest. The cup of tea that she poured for Jing Wang personally which in the end he did not drink was withdrawn by her.

When Tang Shishi was walking away with the teacup, she vaguely felt that someone behind was glaring at her. Tang Shishi pretended to be ignorant and went out with the tray unhurriedly. Later, Madam Xi used her sleeve to cover up, and quietly pinched Xi Yunchu’s hand.

Xi Yunchu was in pain and reluctantly retracted her gaze. Madam Xi gave a warning stare at Xi Yunchu when other people were not paying attention to them.

After Jing Wang left, there was no need for the group of beauties to be present. Tang Shishi used the excuse of withdrawing the tea to leave the hall and had no plan of going back. After a while, several beauties inside also came out one after another.

Feng Qian found Tang Shishi, held Tang Shishi’s arm affectionately, and asked, “Sister Tang, why did you leave by yourself again?”

Tang Shishi quietly rolled her eyes and replied with a smile, “Miss Xi doesn’t seem to like me. I’m afraid I’ll get in the way of Miss Xi. So I stay away.”

“Sister, what are you talking about? You are smart and beautiful. How can there be people in this world who don’t like you?” Feng Qian said and casually asked, “Sister, Jing Wang just said he didn’t intend to get married. Is this true?”

“Who knows.” Tang Shishi responded lightly. She did not know, and she did not care. Nevertheless, from the perspective of her self-interest, Tang Shishi really did not want another Wangfei in the mansion.

Otherwise, it would be a lot of trouble for them every day.

If that person were Xi Yunchu… Oh, that would be even more interesting.

Feng Qian obviously also thought of Xi Yunchu. She secretly observed Tang Shishi’s expression and asked, “Sister Tang, do you think Madam Xi intended to renew the marriage contract? Wangye’s first betrothed wife was Miss Xi. Unfortunately, her sister was very unlucky and died of illness before she enters the door. However, the second young lady looks like someone with good luck.”

Tang Shishi looked at Feng Qian slyly, and suddenly asked, “You seem to be paying close attention to Jing Wang?”

“No way.” Feng Qian rebuked Tang Shishi angrily, and said in a low voice, “I obviously care about Sister Tang. My sister is now serving well in front of Wangye. Although other beauties are making trouble every day, fortunately, they are not bad-hearted. I am used to being a person without prospects, so this kind of day is very good for me, I don’t want it to change. If a new Wangfei comes, who knows what it will be like in the future.”

Tang Shishi smiled lightly, “Don’t worry, with sister’s appearance, even if a new Wangfei comes in, she won’t treat you badly. Sister Feng doesn’t have to worry about this.”

“But…” Feng Qian bit her lip and said in a low voice, “Wangye said clearly that he has no intention of getting married.”

Tang Shishi snorted and made no secret of her disdain, “All men who have lost their wives in the world say that but which man do you think would delay their second marriage? If you really believed what a man says, then you’re a fool.”

Especially a man like Jing Wang, who was young and vigorous, and held great power.

Feng Qian gave a cry and was unable to see Tang Shishi’s inner thoughts. Tang Shishi and Feng Qian did not want to meet other people, so they took a secluded road. They never thought that they would bump into Zhou Shunhua and Ren Yujun.

The four of them suddenly bumped into each other, and they were all startled. Zhou Shunhua was the first to react, and said with a smile, “It turns out to be Miss Tang and Miss Feng. Recently, you two are getting closer.”

Tang Shishi did not take it lightly and retorted back, “Not as deep as Sister Zhou and Sister Ren’s sworn sisterhood relationship.”

Ren Yujun looked at Tang Shishi with an unpleasant expression. She frowned and asked, “Why are you here?”

“It’s too noisy outside. So we came to hide in the garden.” Then Tang Shishi snorted, “Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bored enough to follow you.”

Zhou Shunhua’s expression was not good. She was about to stop Tang Shishi and Ren Yujun from quarreling. Suddenly, a woman’s voice came from the outside road, “Yunchu, are you telling the truth?”

“Of course.” Xi Yunchu’s voice sounded like someone owed her money, “Congratulations, Miss Lu, you’ve got your wish and become Shizifei. In the future, I hope Shizifei will help me to settle down.”

Several women shouted with excitement, one woman was very surprised and asked excitedly, “Is this true? My sister is really going to become Shizifei?”

“Jing Wang has spoken, could it be fake?” Xi Yunchu’s voice sounded impatient, and her tone was not good, but the other women did not care at all. Everyone was surprised and envious and surrounded Lu Yufei and kept flattering her. Lu Yufei said happily, “Still, things have not even begun to take shape yet, so don’t talk nonsense.”

Several girls walked away while talking and laughing. There were dense bushes on both sides of the main road. They were busy talking, therefore they did not see anyone behind the bushes.

Ren Yujun wanted to remind them, but when she heard the word Shizifei, her voice suddenly died. The four of them kept silent, none of them spoke, and they listened to all the conversation outside in silence.

After Lu Yufei, Xi Yunchu and others walked away, none of the four took the lead to speak first. Finally, Tang Shishi said, “Shizi is about to marry a legitimate wife. It’s a great joy. I should congratulate Shizi.”

Ren Yujun was originally in a daze and when she heard Tang Shishi’s words, she was immediately on alert and put her guard up, “We can take care of Shizi’s affairs, so Miss Tang doesn’t have to worry about it.”

Tang Shishi chuckled, slowly approached and looked into Ren Yujun’s eyes, and said in a slow voice, “I insist on going. Can you control me?”

There was a sudden splash from outside when they were talking here, and then the girls panicked, “Someone please come, Miss Lu fell into the water!”

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6 thoughts on “IBTBTED Chapter 17”

  1. chinesefanreader

    Hahahahaha if a male touches her to save her … though I figured this’d be a trick Xi girl plays to get Wangye😏

    Thanks for the chapter

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