IBTBTED Chapter 20
It’s Better to be the Empress Dowager
Chapter 20 Paddock
“I heard that the paddock* is a thousand miles away, with mountains and rivers, lush vegetation, and Tianshan mountains not far away. There are even wolves at night!”
(*Paddock – a venue for hunting exclusively for the emperor and nobles)
The beauties covered their mouths, and several of them were scared and screamed. A timid beauty panicked, “There are wolves. It’s too scary. I’m not going.”
“Look at you.” Ji Xinxian sneered and made no secret of her disdain. “Wangye and Zhongshun Wang are going hunting. Do you think this is still the capital? Are they going out for an outing at Shangsi Festival? Galloping horses and wielding swords are for the real men.”
The woman who was being ridiculed bowed her head, “There are wolves and bears. It’s too dangerous.”
This woman came from a family full of literati. Her father and brother recited poems to each other and went boating in Qinhuai which was very common. She had never seen swords before, no wonder she was scared. Other beauties were not as timid as her, but they were also curious and afraid of the paddock at the same time.
Jinling was near the Qinhuai River and Emperor was still young. So, the people in the capital have long been used to the gentle breeze of the water town. There were only a few people riding horses in the capital, let alone going hunting. However, Xiping was quite different from Jinling. It was located in the border area and wars were going on all year round. It was folk custom that local people be extremely agile and brave. Even a child of seven or eight years old could use one or two kinds of saber techniques.
When Tang Shishi heard about hunting. She was curious and asked, “Are all the prey alive?”
“Of course.” Ji Xinxian heard the most news and tried to show off at the moment, “Of course, you must hunt living animals. What’s the fun of dead targets? I heard that there are not only deer in the paddock, but also roe deer, lynx, wild boar, and even leopard. Men will hunt on horseback, and whoever shoots the most prey will be the first.”
Tang Shishi was fascinated. She lived in the Tang family courtyard since she was born and normally did not go out of her gates. Her only chance of leaving the house was when she went to other people’s houses for banquets. She had never seen snow-capped mountains and grasslands, and never knew what it was like to gallop on the grasslands.
The other women were from official families, and their upbringing was only stricter than Tang Shishi. Even though these women did not say it, they all were extremely looking toward it. The hunting would last for a month, which meant, everyone, would have to live on the grassland for a month. There were no Three Observations and Four Virtues, no rules and regulations, and freedom of movement. They could wear whatever they wanted to wear, and they could go whatever they wanted to go.
It was no wonder that the relationship between the female lead and the male lead in the autumn hunting was advancing by leaps and bounds. Tang Shishi was re-thinking carefully and felt that the grassland has unlimited possibilities. On the contrary, if she wanted to approach Shizi in the mansion, she could either fall into the water or climb into his bed. If she did not succeed, she would die for a good cause. However, if it were on the grasslands, there could be more variety.
Foot sprain, horseback riding, hunting, food delivery… which Tang Shishi was not capable of at all.
Tang Shishi had already sketched out several chances of encounters in her mind. She even thought about what to wear and what to say at the time. Tang Shishi’s plan was quickly enriched, and the other women were still chattering with excitement. While they were talking, Tongxiu came over, stopped not far away, and coughed softly.
When the beauties heard the voice, they turned and saw Tongxiu, and stood up one after another, “Tongxiu Gugu.”
“Little Mistress, this season’s clothing materials have been delivered and each one of you will get two sets of clothes. If you don’t want the clothes, you can just take the fabric. Here are the fabric booklets. Little Mistress can choose the one you like.”
“The new clothes are coming?” All the women were happy when they heard that they could make a new set of clothes. They rushed to the front and grabbed the cloth booklets to look at them, for fear that they would lag behind others. Tang Shishi was not in hurry to look at the booklets. She was at the end and walked slowly to Tongxiu’s side and saluted, “Thank you very much, Tongxiu Gugu.”
Seeing that it was Tang Shishi, Tongxiu avoided Tang Shishi’s blessing and returned half a salute, “It’s my duty. I dare not take credit for it.”
“Tongxiu Gugu is in charge of such a big mansion. She has to prepare for both autumn hunting and worry about our little girls’ seasonal clothes. It must be really exhausting. I wonder if Gugu has enough helpers? If the autumn hunting can’t be arranged, I’m willing to share Gugu’s worries.”
Tongxiu gave a clear smile and lowered her eyes, “Miss Tang, thank you for your kindness, but you don’t have to. It’s a blessing for this maidservant to serve Wangye. Besides, I’m not going with him to the autumn hunting, so there is nothing to be said about exhaustion.”
Tang Shishi was surprised, “Are you not going?”
“Naturally.” Tongxiu half-lowered her head and said with a serious look, “Wangye and Zhongshun Wang’s autumn hunting is a major event. This is not just any ordinary hunting, but also represents the prestige of the Imperial Court. Women can neither ride a horse nor go for a hunt, and they often get sick on the road. Wangye always hates trouble, so he rarely takes women to go hunting.”
Tang Shishi was dumbfounded. She had arranged so many plans, but she never thought about whether or not she could attend. Tang Shishi made a detailed inquiry immediately, “Could it be that Wangye will not bring any woman at all? Apart from hunting, there are also basic needs and necessities. There should always be someone around to serve him?”
“This servant doesn’t know.” Tongxiu closed her eyes and muttered, “Wangye’s close attendant has always been arranged by Liu Gonggong, and this servant dares not go beyond.”
Tongxiu refused to say, and Tang Shishi could only stop questioning. Her mood was swinging up and down, and she was extremely puzzled for a while.
It was the first time Tang Shishi had seen such a strange person. When others went out to play, how they wished to bring the whole mansion along with them. Whereas Jing Wang did not even want to bring a single person. He had no wife now, and he had made great contributions.
Then why could Zhou Shunhua go? Tang Shishi had just finished self-questioning about it and had the answer by herself. It was because Zhou Shunhua was the female lead, she was the maid of Shizi, and she naturally would be taken by Shizi to follow along to the paddock.
Ji Xinxian and others were still happily picking cloth to prepare clothes for their autumn hunting trip. They did not know they could not go at all. Tang Shishi looked at others and said nothing, and she walked away quietly.
Tang Shishi had always firmly believed that one could achieve anything with effort. She had no reason that she could not do something when others were able to.
Tang Shishi walked to the study room. The study room was quiet at the moment. Anji Timur had sent someone to the Jing Wang mansion. Anji Timur was the chief of the Hami guard, and he was also conferred Zhongshun Wang by the Imperial Court. The people from Anji Timur came over to arrange the paddock itinerary with Jing Wang. In the past few days, Jing Wang went out early and returned late, most of the time he was not in the mansion, and Tang Shishi did not have to stay in the study all the time.
Tang Shishi returned to the study room, asked a maid, and went to Liu Ji’s location. When Tang Shishi arrived, Liu Ji was in the middle of lecturing the servants. Tang Shishi felt that it was not the right time to disturb his lecture, so she waited at the doorway.
Liu Ji was respectful in front of Jing Wang, but in the eyes of the rest of the Jing Wang mansion, he was the out-and-out house steward. Liu Ji dangled his voice to teach those servants, and the people below were all silent and conscientious.
“Keep your eyes open wide each and every one of you. I’ll talk about the unpleasant things first. If anyone dares to make careless mistakes at this moment… ah… come and see me by yourself.”
Liu Ji took a sip of tea and raised his eyebrows, “Still haven’t hurried up and gone to do your duties?”
The crowd of servants dispersed. When everyone was gone, Tang Shishi knocked on the door and said with a smile to Liu Ji, “Liu Gonggong.”
“Oh! Miss Tang.” Liu Ji put down his teacup while smiling, then he bowed and saluted Tang Shishi. No matter when, Liu Ji always beaming with smiles, the radian of his eyes and the curvature of his mouth were always just right, and at this moment, he was feigning panic, “This old servant is rude, and didn’t know that Miss Tang was here. Miss Tang is a rare visitor. I don’t know what brought Miss to this old servant, anything?”
Tang Shishi said with a smile, “Liu Gonggong, you are too polite. I dare not come here casually to delay your time. When I just came in just now, I saw that there was no one in the study, and Wangye didn’t seem to be in the mansion. Wangye has been away from the mansion for several days. I heard that he is preparing for the autumn hunting?”
Liu Ji smiled, and said slowly, “I am a eunuch, how can I understand the outside affairs? There are many things to prepare for the autumn hunting, and also only Wangye can handle the communication with Zhongshun Wang, no one else can do it.”
“Oh.” Tang Shishi replied, “Wangye is good at both literature and military affairs, and this little girl really admires him. Since Wangye is so busy, you must properly pick a few more servants to serve him and take good care of his basic necessities. In particular, the weather has recently turned cooler, and the grassland is windy, and we must not let Wangye catch a cold.”
Liu Ji nodded seriously, “Yes, that’s the reason. It’s a pity that this old slave is too old, and my legs are not able to keep up and can’t accompany Wangye to the paddock. The servants are too crafty, and I don’t trust them. Alas, I blame my bad legs. I’m truly worried about him.”
Those who served in the court always have had problems with their legs and feet after a long time. This was the same for Feng Momo too. Since Liu Ji was a eunuch, his pain would only get worse. Tang Shishi’s thoughts took a turn, “Then, have you chosen any attendant to serve Wangye by his side?”
“It can be considered done, but they’re all men in the military. No matter what, these people are good at martial arts and alertness, but they are too careless in serving others.”
Tang Shishi suddenly stood up, and saluted Liu Ji, “This little girl is not talented but willing to share Liu Gonggong’s worries.”
Liu Ji sat on the chair firmly, motionless, but said eagerly, “Miss Tang, please get up. This old servant can’t accept your salute.”
“What are you saying, Liu Gonggong? You are the elder. You have given me a lot of support, and this little girl should repay you.” Tang Shishi maintained her bowed posture, and turned her face slightly, “Wangye is busy with official duties. Since we can’t share his worries and difficulties, we can only serve his basic necessities well. At least Wangye won’t be distracted from the daily trivial matters of life after he has dealt with the nation’s major affairs. Liu Gonggong by right is the most appropriate choice of person, but it’s a pity that your legs are inconvenient. In this case, you might as well find a familiar person who knows Wangye’s taboo and can start as soon as possible. Liu Gonggong, what do you think?”
“What Miss Tang said was…” Liu Ji fiddled with the teacup once, and pushed it aside, “There is no meticulous person around Wangye. My apprentices are worthless, and no one can compare with Miss Tang in terms of cleverness and thoughtfulness. Even though it’s just fighting and killing in the paddock, the conditions are not as good as in the mansion. I’m afraid Miss Tang will not get used to it…”
“I can adapt to it!” Tang Shishi stopped Liu Ji at once. She cleared her throat and saluted deeply, “This little girl is willing to do my best for Wangye. Liu Gonggong, please give a good word or two for me.”
Liu Ji smiled lightly, he stood up, and humbly helped Tang Shishi stand up, “Miss Tang, what are you doing? You are the little mistress. There is no reason to salute this old servant. Since Miss Tang does not dislike hardship, then let this old servant give it a try. The final outcome will depend on Wangye’s decision.”
“Yes.” Tang Shishi smiled and saluted Liu Ji neatly, “Thank you, Liu Gonggong. I will remember Liu Gonggong’s kindness in supporting this little girl for the rest of my life.”
When Liu Ji heard that, he was beaming with a smile, and waved his hand, “Miss Tang is kind-hearted. If you have this thought, then this old servant is satisfied.”
Tang Shishi looked grateful. She lowered her eyes, and there was no fluctuation in her expression. Anyway, since she did not need to pay money, she just talked casually. There were more people that she needed to repay for their kindness, and she did not care about adding one more.
Although Tang Shishi did not know why Liu Ji wanted to help her, it was obvious that no one would make a loss-making business, especially a eunuch. Liu Ji obviously had another plan, but it did not matter, because Tang Shishi was also using him.
Everyone got what they wanted. As for what happened in the future, it depended on one’s means.
Tang Shishi returned to the Jianjia courtyard, and Dujuan poured hot tea for Tang Shishi while muttering, “I heard that Wangye and Shizi are going to the paddock for autumn hunting a few days ago. Miss, do you know this?”
Tang Shishi hummed casually. She picked up her teacup but did not rush to drink, “Is Shizi going too? Shizi was punished a few days ago. Didn’t they say he was seriously injured?”
“Yes ah.” Dujuan sighed, “But this time, Zhongshun Wang will bring his son and the princess. So Shizi, can’t help but have to attend to the façade of Jing Wang’s mansion. So Shizi has to endure his injury and accompany Wangye.”
“Injured and still going?” Tang Shishi frowned, “It’s absurd. He is injured. How can he go hunting?”
“It should be good.” Dujuan said, “Since Wangye agreed to let him go, that means that Shizi’s injury is not that serious, otherwise Wangye will not agree. Besides, Shizi will bring the imperial physician and a maid along, and there should not be any problems with the imperial physician’s meticulous care.”
“The paddock is not the same as the mansion. Everything in the mansion is ready-made. Of course, Shizi will be fine if he walks on the flat ground. But the paddock is not, and he must move for real.” Tang Shishi sighed deeply, and felt immensely tired of both father and son, “Shizi has a wound on his back, how can he ride a horse or shoot an arrow? If by any chance he runs into a mishap, Shizi will not be able to hide.”
Dujuan pulled her hair and hesitated, “It shouldn’t be that serious, right? With Wangye with him, nothing should happen to Shizi.”
Dujuan had an unreasonable trust in Jing Wang, not only Dujuan, but everyone in Jing Wang’s mansion also thought the same. Both in awe and convinced.
Tang Shishi did not know where their confidence came from. However, Jing Wang’s warning from that day was still fresh in her mind, so Tang Shishi dared not speak ill of Jing Wang and could only endure it for now. Seeing this, Dujuan asked cautiously, “Miss, why do you care so much about Shizi?”
“Of course, it is for the good of this mansion.” Tang Shishi said awe-inspiringly, “The Jing Wang mansion only has Shizi, the only seedling. If Shizi has any unexpected accident, what will happen to Jing Wang’s mansion? What about the common people in the fiefdom?”
Most importantly, if Zhao Zixun was dead, what should Tang Shishi do with her Empress Dowager’s dream?
No matter who died, Zhao Zixun could not die. No, Jing Wang could not die either. If Jing Wang died early, how could Zhao Zixun become the crown prince?
Dujuan failed to understand why, so she just nodded blankly, “Miss is right. There will be a maid to serve Shizi and he should be fine.”
When Tang Shishi heard this, she had an indescribable inkling. Tang Shishi asked, “Who will Shizi take to serve him?”
Dujuan looked around, got closer, and quietly said to Tang Shishi, “It’s Miss Zhou from Liuyun courtyard.”
Tang Shishi raised her eyebrows and asked, “Is Ren Yujun going?”
“No. Can’t bring too many people to autumn hunting. Shizi only took one maid.”
Tang Shishi smiled without saying a word. She had a hunch that when they returned from the paddock, Zhou Shunhua and Ren Yujun’s plastic sisterhood would break. It would be really exciting that time.
Dujuan sighed and said with envy, “The paddock is at the foot of the Qilian Mountains. It is said that it is a thousand miles away! I have not been to a place that far, unfortunately, there is no princess in the mansion. Alas, I don’t know who would be so lucky to be chosen by Wangye to accompany him.”
Tang Shishi did not speak. After a moment, she bowed her head and laughed, “Who is it? Just wait and see.”
In the ninth month, the sky was clear, and the weather was fine, the team prepared early and was ready to go.
Zhao Chengjun hated cumbersomeness and no one in the team could not ride horses since they would be hunting most of the time. However, Zhao Zixun had an injury on his back this time, Zhao Chengjun rarely regressed and allowed Zhao Zixun to take someone to serve him. Sure enough, Zhao Zixun took a woman with him.
Zhao Chengjun thought that this was the limit to his endurance. He did not expect that, in a blink of an eye, he saw Tang Shishi at the door.
Tang Shishi stood in front of the second gate with her baggage, waiting for the carriage to pull over. Zhao Chengjun had changed into his sturdy clothes for traveling and strode forward from inside the mansion. When he passed the doorway, he stopped and looked at Tang Shishi coldly, “Why are you here?”
Tang Shishi saluted and said docilely, “This little girl has been ordered to come to serve Wangye.”
Zhao Chengjun turned his head and stared at Liu Ji with an unambiguous look calmly. Liu Ji quickly gave a flattering smile, “Wangye, this old servant can’t ride a horse, and can’t follow you. Plus, you don’t have anyone to serve you, and that’s no good. She’s obedient and moves quickly. Wangye, you see…”
Tang Shishi felt something was wrong. Did not Liu Ji say that he convinced Jing Wang? Looking at the current situation, it looked like Liu Ji did not say anything?
Tang Shishi also panicked, and hurriedly said, “Wangye, the news that I’m going to accompany you spread three days ago, and everyone in the mansion now knows about it. If you drive me back now, what face will I use to meet people in the future? At any rate, I am the first beauty appointed by Empress Dowager and had a good journey to the mansion. You don’t care about your face, but I can’t. If you leave me here before you set off, then I will have no face to walk back, and I can only die.”
Zhao Chengjun laughed extremely lightly, and did not seem to believe it, “Can only die? Do you even care about other things beyond your life?”
“Nothing else.” Tang Shishi said truthfully, “But not my face.”
Zhao Chengjun just glanced at her lightly, unmoved, and strode out to the door. Tang Shishi’s eyes widened, and ran down the steps with her skirt, “Wangye, I’ve been good-looking since I was a child. I’ve always been a great beauty, ah. You can’t break my face in such a place…”
“Enough.” Zhao Chengjun could not take it and said coldly, “Get into the carriage.”
Tang Shishi was stunned and thought she had misheard, “…Huh?”
Liu Ji slowly walked behind Tang Shishi, and saluted, “Miss Tang, Wangye doesn’t like others to dally with time. Get in the carriage.”
Tang Shishi finally reacted, “Okay. Thank you Lui Gonggong for reminding me.”
“It’s this old servant’s duty.” Liu Ji looked at Tang Shishi with thoughtful eyes, “The sword on the paddock has no eyes. I hope Miss Tang will remind Wangye not to get hurt.”
“It’s my duty. Gonggong, please go back.” Tang Shishi gestured to Liu Ji and then stepped on a bench to get into the carriage. She opened the curtain and raised her eyebrows unexpectedly.
When Zhou Shunhua saw that it was her, her expression seemed to be displeased. But, in the end, she continued to endure it, and nodded to Tang Shishi lukewarmly, “Miss Tang.”
Tang Shishi was surprised and immediately laughed. She picked up her skirt and got into the carriage. Tang Shishi sat opposite Zhou Shunhua and straightened out the wrinkles on her skirt, “It turns out to be Sister Zhou, what’s a coincidence. It looks like Sister Zhou and I will have to face each other all the way.”
Zhou Shunhua pressed her lips tightly and pulled the corners of her mouth roughly, “Yes. Miss Tang, please take care of me on the way.”
Tang Shishi slowly raised the corners of her mouth, “Of course.”
Neither Tang Shishi nor Zhou Shunhua had any interest in talking. Two of them seemed to have a tacit understanding that either they closed their eyes to rest their mind or silently memorized a book by heart, and they were not going to talk to each other the whole journey.
Because of the womenfolk, the travel speed of the journey slowed down greatly, and the original three-day journey was dragged to seven days. On the evening of the seventh day, at last, they arrived at the paddock when the sunset filled the whole sky.
As soon as the carriage stopped, Tang Shishi jumped out of the carriage in haste. She felt suffocated for the past seven days. As soon as she found an opportunity, Tang Shishi got out of the carriage to breathe without delay.
Fortunately, they arrived at the paddock. Tang Shishi stood on the ground and looked out to the endless grassland, red clouds were accumulated on the horizon, and the twilight could be seen on the horizon. Several colors collided and merged together making it look very majestic and enchanting.
The scenery was far-reaching, the depression from the journey was swept away, and even the mood opened up. The guards were busy moving things from the carriage and busy setting up the camp. Zhao Zixun patrolled all the way and slowly came over to this area. While he was riding a horse from a distance, he saw a woman standing on the grass, shading her eyes with her hand, and looking far away.
It was windy in the evening, her dress was rustled by the wind, and the vast grassland seemed to become her background.
She was looking at the scenery, but she did not know that she was also the scenery in the eyes of others. Many people were coming and going and could not help but look at her secretly.
When the officers and soldiers that were moving things on both sides saw Zhao Zixun, they immediately clasped their fists and saluted, “Shizi.”
Zhao Zixun returned to his senses by the sudden voice. His eyes returned to focus and nodded faintly to the people on both sides. Then he got off the horse and walked forward quickly.
Zhou Shunhua was standing by the carriage when she suddenly saw Zhao Zixun’s figure. Zhou Shunhua was overjoyed and ran to Zhao Zixun while holding her skirt, “Shizi.”
Zhao Zixun was walking in the direction of Tang Shishi, and when he suddenly heard Zhou Shunhua’s voice, he stopped abruptly. He turned his head and saw Zhou Shunhua running towards him happily, “Shizi, are you here to pick me up?”
Actually not… Even Zhao Zixun just remembered that Zhou Shunhua was here. Zhao Zixun gave a gentle smile, “Naturally. There are so many people on the road and it’s inconvenient for me to talk to you. Now I can finally pick you up. You’ve worked hard all the way. Have a good rest tonight.”
Zhou Shunhua was moved and happy and she nodded with a smile. Zhou Shunhua thought they were going to leave and waited anxiously, but Zhao Zixun did not move for a long time. He was looking ahead and did not know what he was thinking.
Zhou Shunhua followed Zhao Zixun’s gaze and found that Tang Shishi had gotten his attention. Zhou Shunhua smiled slightly. She was inexplicably panicked, could not help but aggravate her voice, and rudely reminded him, “Shizi, we should go.”
Zhao Zixun was slightly startled, retracted his gaze, and glanced at Zhou Shunhua somewhat unhappy. Zhou Shunhua pretended to be calm and said with a smile, “Shizi, it’s getting late. You still have to greet Wangye later.”
“My father went to Anji Timur’s camp, and he won’t be back so soon.” After Zhao Zixun finished, he finally yielded to his inner thoughts and engaged a little soldier. He said with a cold expression, “There are many people here and so many eyes. It’s not a place for womenfolk to hang around. Call her back and let her stay in her tent.”
The little soldier was a little embarrassed, “Shizi, before leaving, Liu Gonggong specially ordered that Miss Tang is here to serve Wangye. Now the main tent has not been set up…”
Zhao Zixun was slightly absent-minded again. Yes, how did he forget that Tang Shishi came here to serve his father? Naturally, she should live in the main tent. How could she have her own tent? Zhao Zixun quickly concealed his distraction, “Then let her go to the main tent and wait. Don’t let her walk around. Since she is my father’s maid, she should always attach importance to my father. If my father comes back and she cannot be seen. What’s going to happen?”
“Yes.” The little soldier clasped his fists and hurried over to remind Tang Shishi. Soon, Tang Shishi put down her hands, glanced at Zhao Zixun from a distance, and was taken away helplessly.
Zhou Shunhua had been paying attention to Zhao Zixun’s expression. She glanced at the back of Tang Shishi, and called Zhao Zixun softly, “Shizi.”
When Zhao Zixun looked back at her, Zhou Shunhua said with a smile, “Shizi, there are too many people here. I’m not very comfortable.”
Zhao Zixun immediately withdrew his attention, and murmured slightly, “Why didn’t you tell me your discomfort earlier? Let’s go back to rest.”
Tang Shishi was enjoying the breezy air but was forced to leave. The main tent where Jing Wang was going to stay was the biggest and the most important. It took them a long time to set it up. Since Tang Shishi was named a maid, she was going to do the work of the maid. She did not have a separate tent, instead, she was given a supplementary tent next to the main tent of Jing Wang as her quarter for the next few days.
The guards came in and out, and set out the tables and chairs, carpets, incense burners, and other furnishings in the main tent, while Tang Shishi’s quarter was much simpler, a low sleeping couch and a small table, that was all.
Simple also had its own advantages of being simple, Tang Shishi could go back to the tent to rest early. She lifted the door of the tent open and listened for a long time. After confirming that no one was paying attention to her, she sat down on the bed quietly and took out the book from her bag.
During the journey on the road, Tang Shishi and Zhou Shunhua stayed together all day long and she did not dare to take out the book to read. Now Tang Shishi finally had the time to check on how much the plot had been updated.
There were only a few details about the journey and the real story took place after arriving at the paddock. The plot of autumn hunting was very important. Zhou Shunhua had an outstanding performance in this hunting period and began her legendary romance journey. Also, the autumn hunt played an important role in their growing affection phase.
It was here that Zhou Shunhua and Zhao Zixun expressed their feelings for each other, finally pierced through the barrier, and entered the passionate love period from the initial ambiguous period. For example, on the first day of arrival, Zhou Shunhua was unwell, Zhao Zixun escorted Zhou Shunhua back to the camp, and regardless of dissuasion, he insisted on letting her sleep on his bed. After that, Zhao Zixun called the imperial physician to check her pulse and prescribe medicine for her. Later, he personally helped Zhou Shunhua to drink the medicine and she was overwhelmed by his unexpected favor, and soon fell asleep. When Zhou Shunhua woke up again, she found that it was dark. At this moment, she was still lying on Zhao Zixun’s bed, a man and a woman together in the same room in the middle of the night.
Tang Shishi anxiously turned the page and found that the next page was blank. She cursed secretly that it stopped all of the sudden, truly irritating.
At this time, a loud sound of saluting came from outside and Jing Wang was back! Tang Shishi was startled, so she quickly hid the book back in her bag and stuffed it straight into the innermost side of the bed. Tang Shishi was worried and put several pieces of clothing on top of it fearing that others would find her bag.
The voice outside was getting closer and closer. Tang Shishi hid it in a hurry, did not have time to sort out her dress, and ran outside. While Zhao Chengjun was talking to his subordinates, suddenly a person ran out from behind him, he was on alert and his guards immediately put their hands on the handle of their swords. Zhao Chengjun turned back with a composed expression and found that it was Tang Shishi.
Tang Shishi was scared by those people who managed to pull out their swords so swiftly in the main tent. She froze for a moment and bent her knees to salute Zhao Chengjun, “Wangye, this little girl was sleeping just now and failed to meet Wangye in time. Please forgive me.”
Zhao Chengjun swept past Tang Shishi calmly and with her current appearance, she did not seem to have just woken up. Zhao Chengjun said nothing, he waved his hand, and the guards put their swords back. Zhao Chengjun lowered his head and briefed a few more words to the guards, and then signaled his subordinates to retreat, “Must patrol thoroughly tonight, and must not slack off. We will talk about the rest tomorrow.”
The guards clasped their fists and withdrew in an orderly manner without looking around. After everyone left, Zhao Chengjun sat down behind the table and asked, “What are you doing here?”
“This little girl was waiting for Wangye to come back and didn’t realize that I have fallen asleep.” Tang Shishi looked out and murmured, “It’s so dark.”
Zhao Chengjun was very helpless and was stuck here with her. He picked up the teapot and poured the tea. When Tang Shishi saw it, she came forward quickly and took the teapot from his hand, “This little girl has neglected her duty. How can I let Jing Wang pour tea by himself?”
After Tang Shishi finished speaking, her fingers touched the teacup and became more ashamed, “The tea is cold. Wangye, please forgive me. I will go to exchange hot tea.
“No need.” Zhao Chengjun was too lazy to toss again, he took the cold tea, took a sip, and waved at Tang Shishi, “There’s nothing for you to do here. You can leave.”
“How can this work?” Tang Shishi did not want to overrule it, “I’m here to serve you. Wangye hasn’t gone to bed yet. So I, as the maid, stepped back first. What manners is this? Wangye, do you want to wash up?”
Zhao Chengjun patiently said, “No need.”
However, Tang Shishi stood up in excitement, and said with a high spirit, “Wangye, wait a minute. I’m going to get hot water.”
Zhao Chengjun pressed his fingers to the center of his eyebrows and felt a rare headache. Her brain was not smart, and she could not understand people’s words. Why did he want to keep this woman?
Fortunately, the hot water for the main tent was always available. Tang Shishi quickly brought back a basin of hot water. Zhao Chengjun watched with his own eyes as she put the water on a case, rolled up her sleeves, soaked the handkerchief, and then wrung it out.
Zhao Chengjun ran out of patience and asked, “What are you going to do?”
“Serve Wangye to wash his face.”
Zhao Chengjun pressed the center of his eyebrows again. He sighed softly, and increased his voice suddenly, “I have hands and feet, and I never need people to serve me. If you are really free, go and put up my sword on the bracket.”
Tang Shishi heard that Zhao Chengjun was a serious person and never made a joke. Tang Shishi did not dare to challenge his words, so she had to put down the handkerchief and put his sword away obediently. Zhao Chengjun picked up the handkerchief, wiped his fingers carefully, and suddenly heard a thump.
Tang Shishi did not expect the sword to be so heavy, and the whole person fell to the ground with the sword together. Tang Shishi struggled to hold the sword and noticed that Zhao Chengjun turned around and squeezed out an embarrassed smile, “Wangye, please forgive me. It was just an accident. I will put your sword away.”
Zhao Chengjun threw the handkerchief back into the basin without saying a word and quickly walked towards Tang Shishi. Tang Shishi was trying hard to carry the sword, but suddenly a shadow cast above her. Before she had time to react, she saw a lean arm cross over her and pick up the sword with one hand that she could not lift up with any effort.
Tang Shishi half-kneeled on the ground, froze for a long time and quickly stood up. She followed Zhao Chengjun like a tail and watched Zhao Chengjun put his sword on the three-legged bracket. Tang Shishi was embarrassed and flattered, “Wangye is really powerful, and this little girl greatly admires you.”
Zhao Chengjun had no patience. He pointed in a direction and said coldly, “Go back to sleep.”
Tang Shishi withdrew dejectedly. After she left, Zhao Chengjun breathed a sigh of relief towards the candlelight in the room.
At last, she left.