IBTBTED Chapter 35
It’s Better to be the Empress Dowager
Chapter 35 Bridal Chamber
Although today was a happy day, the sky was covered with gray clouds, the west wind was howling, and it looked like it was going to snow. Zhao Chengjun did not like the noisy banquet, so he got up and left to get some fresh air outside.
This small garden connected the inner courtyard and the outer courtyard, with a long corridor running through both sides in the middle. Zhao Chengjun was standing on the promenade, looking at the sky.
With dead branches and remnants of snow everywhere, the winter scenery was always so gloomy and bleak. Standing behind Zhao Chengjun, Liu Ji cautiously persuaded, “Wangye, the wind is strong outside. Please take care of your body.”
Zhao Chengjun was injured in the paddock in the ninth month. According to Zhao Chengjun’s words, it was just a superficial wound. It was a good thing, but Liu Ji did not dare to be careless. One hundred days after his injury, Zhao Chengjun was still out in the rain for such a long time. He could not be careless.
Zhao Chengjun turned a deaf ear to his advice. He leaned on the wooden fence with one hand, and the dry west wind blowing Zhao Chengjun’s sleeves made flapping sounds. Facing the west wind, Zhao Chengjun said to Liu Ji, “The spring breeze does not stop Yumen Pass. The winter in the Northwest is indeed much fiercer than in Jinling. The wind is wind, and the snow is snow. It doesn’t drag through mud and water.”
“Wangye, Jinling is located in a water town. Wu people speak soft and beautiful. Naturally is different from Xiping province.”
Zhao Chengjun looked at him for a long time and suddenly asked, “Liu Ji, do you prefer winter here or Jinling?”
This… Liu Ji was silent. This was not something that could be compared randomly, and Zhao Chengjun’s comparison was not only to the four seasons. Zhao Chengjun did not plan to wait for Liu Ji’s answer, and he just said it himself.
Zhao Chengjun looked at the withered trees in the courtyard in silence. The west wind whirled the dead branches and made a whining sound, like a child crying. In the middle of the silence, a woman’s voice came from behind.
“Your Highness Jing Wang?”
Zhao Chengjun turned around. The woman was overjoyed when she saw him and promptly ran closer while holding her skirt, “Your Highness, it turned out to be you. What are you looking at?”
Zhao Chengjun looked at Xi Yunchu with no expression on his face. He thought that he had made it clear last time.
But this was Xi Yunwan’s younger sister, after all, Zhao Chengjun gave Xi Yunchu a bit of face for Xi Yunwan’s sake. Zhao Chengjun ignored her question, “Why are you here?”
Xi Yunchu did not care about Zhao Chengjun’s indifference. She said excitedly, “There is a bridal chamber over there. I never liked noise. I didn’t want to go to the back and listen to them, so I came out and walked by myself. I saw this garden with unique scenery, so I came in to enjoy it. Unexpectedly, I happened to meet Your Highness.”
Enjoy the scenery? Zhao Chengjun asked unhurriedly, “Everything is depressing here, and there are only withered branches and leaves. What is so unique about this scenery?”
“Your Highness, you can’t say like that.” Xi Yunchu said, “Yishan’s poem Hurts the spring and mourns the autumn*, but I only like one sentence, leaving withered lotus to listen to the sound of rain. Although there is no withered lotus here, it also has a special flavor to see the remaining branches and leaves. People all over the world sing for spring and peony. In my opinion, the only way to eliminate the residual of snow in winter is the beauty of the world.”
(Hurts the spring and mourns the autumn* – sad emotions caused by changes in the seasons and scenery)
“Oh?” Zhao Chengjun was noncommittal, but asked, “So you prefer winter?”
“If you can stand loneliness, you can see what others can’t see.” Xi Yunchu said, “If the world flocks to spring, I would rather stay in a long winter.”
Zhao Chengjun did not speak, still standing in front of the fence with his hands behind his back, looking at the withered trees. It was the first time that Xi Yunchu stood so close to Zhao Chengjun. She was excited and anxious and could not help but ask in a low voice, “Wangye, how is your injury?”
Liu Ji had been standing with his hands behind his back from earlier, like a furnishing with no ears and no mouth. When he heard this, his eyes finally moved, and he gave Xi Yunchu a meaningful look.
It was not a secret that Zhao Chengjun was injured in the paddock, but after he returned, Zhao Chengjun did not publicize it, and those who followed to autumn hunting would not talk too much. Therefore, in the mansion and within Xiping, there were not many people who knew that Zhao Chengjun was injured.
Xi Yunchu talked casually about his injuries. Even the people in the mansion did not know about it, but a young lady from the Xi family knew it like the back of her hand. It seemed that it was time to clean up some people from inside the mansion.
Liu Ji secretly peeked at Zhao Chengjun, and sure enough, Zhao Chengjun was already offended. Looking at the face of the Xi family, Zhao Chengjun reluctantly endured it and said to Xi Yunchu, “It’s the internal affairs of the mansion, don’t have to trouble Second Miss Xi. It’s getting late, you should go back.”
“Your Highness, I just want to care about you.” Xi Yunchu still did not move. She looked up and said stubbornly, “You have no one by your side to take care of you, but you can’t be so indifferent to your health. If my sister is alive, she certainly will not want to…”
Liu Ji was frightened, and quickly stopped her, “Second Miss Xi, speak carefully.”
Xi Yunchu was hushed. Seeing Zhao Chengjun’s expression, she knew that she had said something wrong. She bit her lip, and lowered her head unwillingly, “I’m sorry, Your Highness. I’ve overstepped.”
Zhao Chengjun held his hands behind his back and said lightly, “This is not something you should inquire about. Not to mention that your sister has passed away, even if she is still alive, there is no reason for you to tell me what to do.”
Xi Yunchu’s eyes suddenly burst into tears. Zhao Chengjun’s words were very rude, and he almost said not to meddle in his own affairs. Xi Yunchu endured her tears, “Your Highness, please forgive my sins. It’s my self-righteousness. I won’t bother Your Highness in the future.”
After Xi Yunchu finished speaking, covering her mouth, and ran away from the corridor quickly. Zhao Chengjun was still standing at the same place where the wind was blowing on his face, and he was completely unaffected by what he did.
Liu Ji was anxious, he carefully looked at Zhao Chengjun’s face, and tried to persuade Zhao Chengjun to calm down, “Wangye, little girl is not sensible, so don’t be angry.”
Before he finished speaking, a surprised voice suddenly came from not far away, “Second Miss Xi? Why are you here?”
Liu Ji turned around and found that Tang Shishi had come and bumped into Xi Yunchu at the entrance of the corridor. Far away, he could not hear what Xi Yunchu said, but by looking at Xi Yunchu’s expression, it would not be something good.
Tang Shishi retreated to the side and watched the surprised Xi Yunchu run away. She thoughtfully looked at Xi Yunchu’s back and then Zhao Chengjun in the corridor.
If Tang Shishi was not mistaken, there were tears in the corner of Xi Yunchu’s eyes, and Zhao Chengjun was still standing not far away. Tut… she did not dare to think about the implications of this.
Tang Shishi was standing at the entrance of the corridor, neither entering nor leaving. Zhao Chengjun said unhurriedly, “Since you are here, why don’t you dare to come in?”
Fine, Tang Shishi had died many times, and she did not care to offend Jing Wang once more. She lifted her skirt and walked up the steps, and her red cloak swept across the corridor. The entire dark corridor seemed to suddenly come to life.
“Greetings to Wangye. Congratulations Wangye to have a good daughter-in-law.”
Today was the day when Zhao Zixun and Lu Yufei got married, and it was not wrong to congratulate him. Zhao Chengjun snorted, “Why are you here?”
“I’m here to congratulate Wangye…”
“Oh.” Tang Shishi replied, and said truthfully, “There are too many people making trouble in the bridal chamber. I don’t think I can stand it anymore, so I come out first to get some fresh air.”
This was still a lie, but compared to just now, anyhow, there was so much truth in it. Zhao Chengjun said slowly, “I thought you would like this kind of lively occasion very much.”
Tang Shishi did not answer him. Killing and condemning the heart. He must have said this deliberately, right?
With a smile, Tang Shishi said, “This little laywoman is naturally not as good as Second Miss Xi. She is noble and refined.”
Liu Ji’s eyes have been busy all the time. He had to observe Zhao Chengjun’s complexion and anticipate Tang Shishi’s reaction. It could be said that he could not spare a moment. According to Liu Ji’s opinion, these words of Tang Shishi were a bit presumptuous and wanted to stop her several times, only to find that Jing Wang looked like he was not offended.
What exactly was going on? Liu Ji was deeply puzzled. After a long time of observation, suddenly he blessed his soul and felt that he had better shut up.
Zhao Chengjun satirized Tang Shishi for attending Zhao Zixun’s wedding, and Tang Shishi stabbed his back with Xi Yunchu. Tang Shishi was not good at anything else, but being eccentric was her specialty. Zhao Chengjun did not argue with her. He looked at the scene outside and suddenly asked, “Do you think this garden looks good?”
Tang Shishi then glanced out, and pulled her cloak closer, “It’s cloudy and withered leaves are everywhere. What’s so good about it?”
Liu Ji’s eyes widened, and he was about to stop her. The corner of his eye caught Zhao Chengjun’s complexion, and he held it back. Zhao Chengjun then asked, “How does this compare to Jinling?”
Tang Shishi sneered mercilessly, “Of course, Jinling is better.”
Listening to her tone, she sounded very odd, how could someone have such perspective in life?
Liu Ji’s glance flickered, ready to respond at any time. However, he was surprised to find that Zhao Chengjun actually smiled. Zhao Chengjun’s smile flashed away, but there was a real smile in his eyes, so bright that people did not dare look directly at him.
Zhao Chengjun turned around and nodded at Tang Shishi, “You dare to say… bully the weak and fear the strong, dislike the poor and love the rich.”
Tang Shishi covered her forehead and looked at Zhao Chengjun in wonder. Zhao Chengjun seemed to be in a good mood all of a sudden, and even the snow outside the corridor was pleasing to the eye. Zhao Chengjun finally remembered that this was his son’s wedding banquet, and asked a few words like giving to charity, “How do Shizi and Shizifei look? Do they get along well?”
“Ah… Wangye, you ask me?” Tang Shishi rolled her eyes in her heart and said respectfully, “Shizi is a talented man and Shizifei is a beautiful woman. It’s a match made in heaven. Shizifei almost fell down, and Shizi helped her up. Thanks to Wangye’s insight, a great marriage has been achieved.”
Tang Shishi deliberately said something ironic, but she did not expect after finish speaking, she was sour herself. Tang Shishi suddenly felt stunned. It turned out that whoever a man loved and whoever he married could really be separated.
How could Zhao Chengjun not understand that Tang Shishi was scolding him indirectly? Looking down at Tang Shishi, Zhao Chengjun noticed her disappointment and suddenly asked, “Have you recovered from your illness?”
Tang Shishi was depressed. When she heard Zhao Chengjun’s question, she was taken aback and suddenly became vigilant, “Wangye, why are you asking about this?”
Zhao Chengjun said leisurely, “Since you get better, you should go back to copying books. This mansion never feeds idlers. It’s alright to get sick, but not to be absent from work. You’ve been saving your portion these days. You can start early to make up for it.”
Tang Shishi was stunned for a long time, “Ah?”
Zhao Chengjun looked at the sky, “Start tomorrow. Don’t be late. I hate people that waste time.”
After Zhao Chengjun finished speaking, he turned and left. Liu Ji quickly glanced at Tang Shishi and said with a smile, “Miss is well. This old servant will leave first. See you tomorrow.”
Tang Shishi did not know whether to be sad or angry. She thought she was on vacation, but she was actually absent from work? She knew that this matter had been fixed and could not be changed. Tang Shishi could only grit her teeth, “Thank you, Wangye. By the way, Wangye, how is your injury?”
Zhao Chengjun stopped, and Liu Ji also stopped. Liu Ji silently lowered his head and held his breath. The same thing was asked by Xi Yunchu not long ago, and he did not even say a few words.
This time, Zhao Chengjun was not offended, but said lightly, “It’s fine. Don’t be nosy.”
“Who’s nosy?” Tang Shishi was not convinced. She stood in the corridor with a fiery red cloak, “No one is taking care of Wangye now, and Wangye is not taking your health seriously. Everything must have fate to calculate the follow-up. Don’t you think so?”
Zhao Chengjun glanced at Tang Shishi and said coldly, “It’s enough to just take care of yourself.”
After speaking, he strode away. Tang Shishi looked at Zhao Chengjun’s back and muttered in disbelief, “Is he angry?”
Liu Ji was pondering on what Tang Shishi said and quickly caught up with Zhao Chengjun. Is Wangye angry? He was not.
Liu Ji could not help but lament in his heart. A man ah… no matter how rational they are, everything would be utterly useless when they met someone they like.
Tang Shishi said exactly the same thing as Xi Yunchu, and Tang Shishi even went beyond the boundary a little bit. Zhao Chengjun gave Xi Yunchu a cold demeanor when she was just about to start. However, Zhao Chengjun tolerated Tang Shishi when she eccentrically scolded him indirectly.
Having a heart was really different from being heartless.