IBTBTED Chapter 19
It’s Better to be the Empress Dowager
Chapter 19 Autumn Hunting
Madam Lu was determined by Zhao Chengjun’s confirmation. All in all, the Lu family got married to the Jing Wang mansion, not to Zhao Zixun. Marriage was meant to tie two families together. As long as Zhao Chengjun recognized Lu Yufei’s position in the mansion, no matter how many concubines Zhao Zixun asked for or which concubine he favored later, there would be no threat to Lu Yufei’s position.
That was good enough. Madam Lu was a standard official’s wife. In her eyes, whichever man did not sleep around with other women, as long as her position as the legitimate wife was stable, then she just turned a blind eye to other things. Anyway, the concubine’s room was just a plaything, even if they gave birth to a child, in the end, they would have to call Lu Yufei a mother.
Therefore, did it matter which maid Shizi has his heart for? Madam Lu immediately smiled, “Thank you, Jing Wang. Jing Wang is very observant and has a clear distinction between public and private affairs. So, I am naturally trustworthy.”
Lu Yufei had been dumbfounded since Shizi saved the other. At the moment, under the reminder of her mother, she slowly responded and saluted Jing Wang, “Thank you, Jing Wang.”
Zhao Chengjun was fed up with this farce. He did not want to watch it anymore. He said indifferently, “Madam Lu has been delayed for a long time today. Later, I will send someone to make amends. Tongxiu, send Madam Lu and Miss Lu out of the mansion.”
Tongxiu answered, “Yes.”
Madam Lu was about to say something, and Zhao Chengjun had already expected it, “As for the third lady of the Lu family, she is ill and it’s inconvenient to move, so she should stay in the mansion to recuperate. Once the third young lady’s condition improves, I will send her back to the Lu mansion immediately. Madam Lu can rest assured.”
Madam Lu was relieved, “Thank you, Jing Wang. I’ll take my leave now.”
Madam Lu knew that Jing Wang was in a bad mood right now, and she did not want to be vapid anymore, and soon took Lu Yufei away. After the Lu family left, only the people from the Jing Wang mansion were left in the room, and everyone inside and outside was obviously tense.
The oncoming events cast their shadows before them. Everyone knew that Jing Wang was very mad, and everyone was waiting for the moment for the guillotine to fall. However, Zhao Chengjun’s face was calm. He picked up the teacup and slowly skimmed the tea’s foam on the surface of the tea with the lid.
The lid of the teacup scuffed the edge of the cup and made a slight scraping sound, which fell to everyone’s ears, it was more terrifying than the sound of sharpening a knife. Tang Shishi felt that he might as well go ballistic, this was more frightening than serving Empress Dowager Yao.
Zhao Chengjun suddenly closed the lid of the teacup and made a soft “clink” sound. Zhao Zixun could not stand it any longer. He knelt heavily on the ground, “This son is guilty. Father, please punish.”
“Oh?” Zhao Chengjun put down the teacup and looked at Zhao Zixun calmly, “What is your crime?”
Zhao Zixun lowered his head, “This son should not save others, should not disobey father, and should not leave holding another woman in front of the future Shizifei.”
It was over. Tang Shishi sighed silently in her heart. Based on her understanding of Jing Wang these days, she knew that Zhao Zixun had made a big blunder.
Zhao Chengjun looked at Zhao Zixun quietly and suddenly snickered, “Good ah. If I don’t let you save people does this mean I’m evil?”
Liu Ji, this old man who has been serving for many years, knew that this was bad and said in a hurry, “Wangye, please calm down. Shizi is young and ignorant…”
Zhao Chengjun did not speak but just stared at Liu Ji. He suddenly fell into silence and did not dare to interrupt again. The words Zhao Zixun spoke were on the spur of the moment when he was angry. Now that his rationality surpassed his emotions, Zhao Zixun finally realized what he did wrong.
Was he crazy to dare taunt his father?
Zhao Zixun quickly remedied, “Father, please calm down your anger. This son made a slip of tongue. Father has shown profound kindness to this son and is very grateful and did not dare to blame the father. This son is unfilial and cannot be more wrong. Father, please punish.”
“It’s a good thing to save people. How could it be wrong?” Zhao Chengjun said lightly, “You are not wrong, but the wrong one is this so-called woman. Someone come, take her down and flog her to death.”
This time Tang Shishi was really frightened. Zhao Chengjun actually wanted to kill Zhou Shunhua? They were sent by Empress Dowager, was he crazy?
The nine beauties including Tang Shishi knelt down quickly. Ren Yujun was so frightened that she hurriedly said, “Wangye, please calm down. We were sent by Empress Dowager to serve Wangye. If we did something wrong, we should be beaten and scolded. However, for the sake of Sister Zhou’s first offense, please forgive her this time. After all, Sister Zhou is the legitimate daughter of the Duke Cai mansion, she was pampered by her family since she was a child. If the news goes back to Jinling, how sad Duke Cai could be.”
Ren Yujun first used Empress Dowager Yao and later used Duke Cai Mansion, but Zhao Chengjun was none whatsoever moved. He tapped his fingers on the armrests and laughed, “It’s not false that Duke and nobility are of the same breadth and branches. Why, do you want to accompany her?”
Ren Yujun was so terrified that she could not speak for a while. Tang Shishi hummed inwardly and silently began to think about whether she would be able to take the female lead role scene if she died.
Zhao Zixun walked two steps on his knees, and kowtowed one after another to Zhao Chengjun, “Father, please calm down your anger, and all the mistakes were made by this son. It’s all because of the indecision of this son, and it has nothing to do with the woman. Zhou Shunhua’s punishment should be borne by this son.”
Zhao Zixun knew very well that Zhao Chengjun did not really want to kill Zhou Shunhua, it was Zhao Zixun that he wanted to discipline. If Zhao Zixun kept silent, then Zhou Shunhua would really be dead.
Zhao Zixun had a bitter smile on his heart. Jing Wang was truly a dictatorial man. He did not allow anyone to disobey him. Zhao Zixun seemed to have his own freedom, but in fact, everything had to follow the trajectory expected by Jing Wang. Zhao Zixun tried to resist the Shizifei chosen by Jing Wang. As soon as he showed signs of rebellion, Jing Wang put the price in front of him.
Either be obedient or Zhou Shunhua died.
Zhao Zixun cowered, admitted his mistake obediently, and acquiesced to the marriage arranged by Jing Wang. After Zhao Zixun said these words, Zhao Chengjun did not continue to embarrass Zhou Shunhua, “She is your woman and if you are willing to take it on her behalf, then I will fulfill you. She should have been flogged to death for her grave mistake but since you are my son, I can’t flog you to death. Then the flogging will be reduced to sixty and will be executed immediately. Liu Ji, take him down.”
Liu Ji knew that Zhao Chengjun’s decision would never waver, and he did not dare to persuade him again. He saluted without delay and motioned to Shizi to follow him. Just as Liu Ji and Zhao Zixun reached the door, Zhao Chengjun’s voice rang from behind unhurriedly, “My patience is limited. You’d better not play tricks. If any of the flog is not solid enough, I will do it myself.”
This time, Liu Ji did not dare to take any chances, turned around, and said respectfully, “Yes.”
The beauties relied on their good looks. So, when they looked at Zhao Chengjun, they always felt that he was a man first, then followed by Jing Wang of the Northwest.
After Liu Ji and Shizi left, the remaining were all womenfolk in the room and were trembling with fear. Above all were those beauties, they knew Jing Wang’s fame was far-reaching because of his magnificent military achievements. They also knew Jing Wang was a ruthless person, even Empress Dowager was exceptionally afraid of Jing Wang. But knowing that, everyone felt that they were special without personally experiencing it.
But today’s show thoroughly shattered the beauties’ sense of superiority. They realized very clearly that Jing Wang did not care about them at all, and beauty was useless in front of him. Now they were alive, just because Jing Wang was too lazy to pay attention to them. Once they cross that line, like Zhou Shunhua, they would be granted death immediately.
Even the most pretentious Ji Xinxian among the beauties was quiet. Zhao Chengjun sat on the main seat, silently watching them. The beauties were frightened, and many of them had already begun to tremble. Zhao Chengjun finally moved and said slowly, “I don’t like noise, especially trouble. If anyone tried to be smart, not only your family, even Empress Dowager Yao can’t protect you if she stands in front of me, do you understand?”
Lu Yuji was calculating, but was Zhou Shunhua not? Zhao Chengjun could tolerate their little trouble before, but if they dared to challenge his authority, then he could not be blamed for his ruthlessness.
All the beauties trembled with fright and answered, “Yes.”
Zhao Chengjun did not bother to pay attention to these women, without looking at them, and said casually, “Go out.”
The beauties were too busy to leave. Tang Shishi originally left with the crowd. When she left the room, she was thinking for some time before she slipped back in and quietly stuck herself to the door.
Tang Shishi tried to minimize her sense of existence. When she moved quietly, Zhao Chengjun raised his eyes, and his expression was calm and grim, “Why, you think you look the best and I’m reluctant to kill you?”
“No.” Tang Shishi squeezed by the door, ready to cry without tears, “Wangye, didn’t you say to let me serve by your side and don’t run around.”
Zhao Chengjun looked at her for a long time and asked, “When did I say this?”
Tang Shishi was all confused by his question, “The time when you said to let me serve you in the study room, and I can’t leave before you.”
Zhao Chengjun looked at Tang Shishi. He knew Tang Shishi did not dare to lie. She really understood that. Zhao Chengjun did not move. Tang Shishi could only be watched by him in fear. After a while, she could not help it anymore, and whispered, “Wangye?”
Zhao Chengjun stood up and strode out. As he walked past the doorway, he said quickly, “Go back and copy the book.”
How could being foolish become like this?
Late at night, Liu Ji pick up a bright lantern and placed it on Zhao Chengjun’s table with his hands lightly, “Wangye, it’s late at night. You should have a rest.”
“Yes. It seems that Miss Tang was very scared today. She stubbornly held her sleepiness and finished copying a whole volume of books before she dared to leave.”
Zhao Chengjun laughed extremely softly. He put down his brush and glanced at Liu Ji indifferently, “You said those things to her?”
The cold sweat behind Liu Ji suddenly seeped out. He smiled cautiously, “It’s this old servant who acts on my own, and I hope Wangye will forgive me. This old servant only saw that there was no woman with Wangye for many years, it’s not easy for one to come by and wanted to test her. If Wangye is not happy, this old servant will send her away.”
Liu Ji secretly glanced at Zhao Chengjun’s expression while talking. Liu Ji had a strong ability to figure out the minds of others. Since Zhao Chengjun did not reject it that means she could continue to stay. Liu Ji quietly breathed a sigh of relief and knew that he had taken the right step.
Although the risk was dangerous, he did it for the benefit of Jing Wang.
Liu Ji took the time during the trial and continued boldly, “Wangye, there were so many careless omissions in the garden today, not only because of the dereliction of duty of the servants but also because there is no mistress in this mansion. Although Madam Xi overstepped, she was right in saying that there should be a Wangfei in the palace. No matter how capable Shizifei will be, she still is one generation younger after all. You can’t stay unmarried all the time.”
Zhao Chengjun still did not even think about it, “My life is very good now. Why do I have to put someone by my side for no reason but only to cause trouble? I have many things to arrange, and there is no time to spend with them.”
This… Liu Ji knew that Jing Wang had been a very hard-headed man since he was a child, and Liu Ji did not dare to persuade him anymore, but only hoped that he would figure it out. Liu Ji changed the subject and said in a low voice, “Wangye, since you are for the good of Shizi, why do you say so blatantly today? Shizi could not get up after receiving the punishment and was eventually carried back. According to Old Servant Yi, even though Shizi didn’t say anything, he still has grievances towards you in his heart.”
Speaking of Zhao Zixun, Zhao Chengjun rarely showed a headache. Zhao Chengjun pinched his eyebrows, “Since he entered this mansion, I have never neglected his upbringing, but he still has a long way to go. If I’m not strict with him now, in the future, how can he hold up the Jing Wang mansion and fight with those old foxes in the court?”
When it came to Shizi, it was hard for Liu Ji to say anything more. Liu Ji was an outsider. It was obvious that he really wanted to say that his adopted son was different from his own son.
No matter how strict or ruthless the biological son was being treated, it was not a problem, but it may not be for the adopted son. The bondage of blood ties could not be smoothed out by the grace of nurturing.
But Liu Ji could not say these words, as he was just a servant, and he would die once such words were spoken out. Liu Ji remained silent and hoped that Zhao Chengjun would soon marry a Wangfei, even a concubine would do. In any case, he would give birth to a true heir as soon as possible.
Zhao Chengjun would understand the difference when he had his own son.
Liu Ji naturally thought of Tang Shishi. At present, she was the closest woman to Jing Wang and Liu Ji still had to find a way to create opportunities for Tang Shishi. As for her meticulous work of being a spy, it really did not matter. As long as Jing Wang could see through things and Tang Shishi’s task was completed, and when the time comes, then that person would be killed.
The study room was brightly lit, and the rest of the mansion was completely dark. This little light fell on the huge Jing Wang Mansion, and it became more and more silent and depressed.
Since Jing Wang reorganized the mansion, everyone had been law-abiding for some time. Zhao Zixun quietly recuperated, while Zhou Shunhua stayed indoors to recuperate and even Tang Shishi was exceptionally well-behaved and copied books diligently.
Summer was gradually coming to an end, and after a few consecutive showers of rain, the weather suddenly turned cooler. At this time, a piece of news spread quickly in the Jing Wang mansion that Anji Timur invited Jing Wang to go hunting. Jing Wang had already agreed and would go to the hunting ground for autumn hunting in the next few days.
Tang Shishi opened the book and looked at the long autumn hunting plot, knowing that her last chance to come back had come.