It’s Better to be the Empress Dowager
Chapter 40 Catch Adultery
Tang Shishi was caught in a dilemma. Zhou Shunhua already entered, should she follow or not?
If she went in, it would inadvertently alert the enemy, and if she left, it would be too easy for Zhou Shunhua. Tang Shishi carefully weighed this matter and tried to figure out the logic of it.
In the bustling New Year’s Eve, everyone was celebrating the festive season, but a woman secretly left her seat and got into the troupe’s pavilion. What did this mean?
If in the Tang family, no doubt it must be a matter of green hat. However, as the female lead, Zhou Shunhua has a deep relationship with Zhao Zixun, and Zhao Zixun himself was a dignified and handsome man. According to reason, Zhou Shunhua would not have an affair with an actor, ah.
Tang Shishi thought for a while, then suddenly made up her mind. When unable to make a choice, then did not have to make a choice. Regardless of whether she was cheating on him, Tang Shishi would ask someone to clean it out, was not it solved?
Tang Shishi patted her forehead and thought her idea was simply wonderful. She glanced at the Yichun pavilion again and made sure that Zhou Shunhua had really entered. She immediately turned around to find the wrongdoer… Ah no, Tang Shishi was a witness in discovering the historical dark side of the prince’s mansion with Zhou Shunhua.
Tang Shishi was afraid that Zhou Shunhua would beat her in time, so she sneaked out when Zhou Shunhua left the gate. She did not dare to go far, as she had to find someone nearby. After turning half a circle, she suddenly heard someone beating a drum and playing a string instrument by the water. Tang Shishi was startled slightly and suddenly remembered that there was a dance performance in the playlist that Lu Yufei had drawn up, which seemed to be the Dunhuang’s drum dance.
Tang Shishi suddenly became excited, simply Heaven-sent ah! She was worried about who to ask for help and happened to bump into the dancer rehearsing their dance. On one hand, the dancers were all women, and they would not implicate Tang Shishi’s reputation. On the other hand, there were many mixed eyes among the dancers. If she really found something, the news will not be able to cover up.
Perfect! Tang Shishi cleared her throat, pretended to walk there by accident, and asked in confusion, “Who is here?”
The dancers who were practicing dancing in the pavilion were startled and stopped altogether, “… Miss Tang?”
Tang Shishi walked through the bushes to the front of the pavilion. She saw the dancers and smiled, “It turns out to be you. I just said, how come I vaguely hear someone playing music here. Are you practicing dancing here?”
The dancers were of low status and have been trembling ever since they entered the mansion. Especially they knew that this was a very favored Miss Tang in the mansion. They heard that Jing Wang was very fond of her. How could the dancers dare to offend Tang Shishi?
They grouped together, the leader of the dancer stepped forward and saluted to Tang Shishi in fear, “Miss Tang, it will be time for us to perform the dance in a while. We were afraid of making a fool of ourselves in front of Wangye, so we gather together and wanted to practice a few more times. Sorry to disturb Miss Tang.”
“No… I heard the music and came here specifically.” Tang Shishi glanced over the trembling dancers and asked, “You wear so little, why don’t you practice in the theater, instead of outside?”
The leader of the dancer was embarrassed, “There are seniors in the theater. We have a lot of people, and we need a bigger place, so we have to practice by the water.”
Tang Shishi knew that scholars, farmers, artisans, and merchants have their own ways of doing things, and all walks of life have their own rules. Liyuan attached great importance to the honor and seniority of the teachers. These dancers were of low status and did not dare to compete with their predecessors and dared not go to other warmer places to disturb the people in the mansion. So they had to endure the cold and practice dancing by the pool.
Tang Shishi sighed, they were all poor people. Tang Shishi did not continue to ask, “You have worked hard, do a good job later. Maybe Shizifei will be happy and will give you more rewards.”
The dancers found that the big celebrity of the mansion did not yell at them, instead spoke very kindly. They looked at each other and were very moved. The leading dancer wiped the tears from the corner of her eyes, and saluted deeply to Tang Shishi, “Thank you, Miss Tang. I would like to borrow Miss Tang’s good words.”
Tang Shishi smiled without saying a word. She was not actually comforting them. If the next thing Tang Shishi wanted to do would be truly successful, Shizifei would be more than satisfied and would be very grateful to Tang Shishi and this group of dancers for the next ten years. Tang Shishi walked in a circle and asked suddenly, “Oh, by the way, have you seen a red fox?”
“Fox?” The dancers looked at each other puzzledly and shook their heads one after another, “No. Why did Miss Tang ask for the fox?”
Tang Shishi looked worried, “I raised a little fox, which was given to me by Wangye. Just carelessly, it ran away. I clearly saw it coming in this direction. I don’t know where it disappeared to.”
When the dancers heard this, they hurriedly said, “What can we do?”
Someone suggested, “Perhaps it’s hidden in the bushes? This kind of animal is afraid of fire. Why don’t the housekeeper send someone to light a torch and find it?”
Tang Shishi did not dare to call someone over. She said quickly, “No need. Tonight is New Year’s Eve, Wangye and Shizi are watching the performances. How can I disturb the masters? Please help me to find it. If you can find it, I will be very grateful to you.”
After Tang Shishi spoke, the dancers looked at each other and could only help Tang Shishi find the fox. Tang Shishi deliberately led them to the entrance of the courtyard. When approaching the entrance, Tang Shishi suddenly clapped her hands and said, “I almost forgot that the Little Li was so spoiled by me and was extremely afraid of the cold. Maybe it saw the warmth inside and rushed to the room. Come with me quickly, this is a fox rewarded by Wangye, and must not lose it.”
The dancers followed Tang Shishi, and watched Tang Shishi rush into the courtyard with excitement, pushing the door one by one to look inside. They looked at each other helplessly, feeling that something was wrong.
Tang Shishi searched from room to room. Anyway, with her reputation in Jing Wang’s mansion, the people inside did not dare to do anything to her. Tang Shishi pushed several doors open but found nothing. Tang Shishi was secretly anxious. This was certainly not good, and she could not afford to delay her time. If she went on like this, maybe Zhou Shunhua would run away quietly when she heard her movement.
Tang Shishi was in a hurry when suddenly she stepped on something on her foot. She lifted her skirt and looked down to find a string of flower pearls.
Flower pearls? Tang Shishi always felt that this string of flower pearls was familiar-looking, she stared at it several times and suddenly realized it.
She remembered, was not this exactly the flower pearls Zhou Shunhua put on her head today?
Tang Shishi was overjoyed, the flower pearls fell on the ground, showing that Zhou Shunhua was nearby. She fixed her eyes at the room at the corner. The place was secluded, and the doorway was covered by trees. If anyone comes in and out from there, it would be hard to see from the outside. Tang Shishi made up her mind and immediately shouted to the back, “Come on quickly, I found it.”
As she said, she quickly ran to the door and slammed the door open.
Unexpectedly, the room was quiet with a bamboo screen across the room, blocking the space inside. From the perspective of Tang Shishi, only a few silhouettes could be vaguely seen.
The people inside seemed surprised to see that it was her. A woman stood up abruptly, and the hairpin pearls collided making a crisp sound. Tang Shishi wondered, did Zhou Shunhua wear such a gorgeous hair accessory on her head? Before she could finish her thoughts, a smiling voice rang out, “The fish you wanted to catch is her?”
Tang Shishi was stunned. After several breaths, she suddenly responded, “Wangye?”
A tall figure stood up behind the bamboo screen. Because of the light, his shadow on the screen was particularly long. When he moved, the people behind also followed him.
He walked out of the screen unhurriedly, wearing an ember coiled dragon robe, a jade belt on his waist, and black leather boots on his feet with a heroic appearance and a smile yet not a smile type of expression.
It was Zhao Chengjun.
Lu Yufei hurriedly followed Zhao Chengjun out, and her expression was astonished and unexpected. She wanted to say but then hesitated, “Father, I don’t know…”
Tang Shishi was surprised for a moment and immediately reacted. Now that it has reached this stage, Tang Shishi would not have imagined she has fallen into a trap.
The trap was designed by Lu Yufei for Zhou Shunhua.
Lu Yufei did not know what information she had found out, so she deliberately gave Zhou Shunhua a false signal to attract her to meet someone here. And Lu Yufei called Jing Wang and Shizi to wait here.
The flower pearls at the corner were indeed Zhou Shunhua’s, but Zhou Shunhua did not leave it intentionally. She accidentally dropped it while escaping when she noticed something was wrong. Unexpectedly, flower pearls were found by Tang Shishi and then found this place by accident.
Tang Shishi suddenly remembered the remaining half of Lu Yufei’s words. This was Lu Yufei’s plan to lead the snake out of the cave, but it was Tang Shishi who opened the door…
Tang Shishi has never reacted so fast. She immediately turned her body sideways and let the people inside see the dancers behind her. At the same time, she looked surprised, “Wangye, Shizi, Shizifei, why are you here?”
The dancers did not know what was going on all the way, so they followed Tang Shishi to a secluded place, not knowing what happened, and suddenly saw Wangye and Shizi walking out from inside. The dancers were frightened and shrank by the pillars in the corridors shivering.
The people inside naturally saw the huge number of dancers behind Tang Shishi. Lu Yufei’s face was gloomy, and she vaguely felt that things were beyond her control. Zhao Zixun frowned, becoming more confused, “Tang Shishi, what are you doing?”
Tang Shishi turned her mind quickly, “I’m looking for something here. Isn’t Wangye and Shizi in the front watching the performances? Why did you come to the Yichun pavilion?”
Zhao Chengjun scanned the dancers in the corridor, then looked at Tang Shishi, and asked with a smile, “What are you looking for here?”
“Looking… Looking…” Tang Shishi was tongue-tied, she did not dare to say to find the little fox. The little fox was raised in the Jianjia courtyard, and Dujuan and the others were looking after it all day long, and it would never get out. Zhao Chengjun was holding a folding fan and slowly tapped his fingers on it while appreciating Tang Shishi’s quick eyes and desperate thinking. He wanted to see what reason Tang Shishi could come up with.
Tang Shishi suddenly widened her eyes and said, “I’m here to find a venue!”
“Oh?” Zhao Chengjun did not rush and said, “What venue are you looking for?”
“The venue to practice dancing.” Tang Shishi talked about the dancers behind her earnestly, “Wangye, you see that their lips are blue due to cold. The old people in Liyuan are very oppressive. They are newcomers. That’s why they are being bullied. Even when they rehearse dancing in winter, they have to go outside. It’s so cold outside, and they don’t dare to wear thick clothes because of their precision.”
Zhao Chengjun laughed. He nodded and said, “Well, it’s pretty decent. You can continue to weave.”
“It’s true!” Tang Shishi immediately pulled a dancer, held her hand, and showed it to Zhao Chengjun, “Wangye, you see, this is frostbite. Wangye may not know what frostbite is. After exposed cold for a long time, it will cause red patches rash.”
Zhao Chengjun glanced down, “I know. Let go of your hand, it’s indecent.”
Tang Shishi said “Oh” and let go of the dancer’s hand obediently. As soon as the dancing girl was free, she hid among the sisters and almost stopped breathing due to fright.
Tang Shishi secretly breathed a sigh of relief and knew she had passed the test. Tang Shishi quickly swept past Lu Yufei who was behind him and raised her eyes to Zhao Chengjun, “Wangye, what I said is true. Do you believe it now?”
“The story about the dancing girls is true.” Zhao Chengjun’s tone was light, and before Tang Shishi could feel relief, he changed his tone abruptly, “But why do you want to help them find a venue? It’s freezing. Why did you come here from the banquet hall, and happen to meet the dancers who were rehearsing?”
Zhao Chengjun calmly looked at Tang Shishi, and slowly said, “Explain.”
Tang Shishi fumbled. She noticed that many people were looking at her, Zhao Zixun, Lu Yufei, and the servants of the mansion all looked suspiciously at her. Tang Shishi gritted her teeth and went all out, “Because I have a dance to dedicate to Wangye, and I don’t want people to know it. I quietly came to the Yichun pavilion to look for backup dancers, and I happened to meet them.
The dancers all looked surprised. From the moment they entered the Yichun pavilion, they could not understand what Tang Shishi was talking about. Tang Shishi was obviously looking for the fox, but when she met Wangye mysteriously, she mysteriously told them that she was looking for a rehearsal venue for them. Now, she even wanted to dedicate a dance by herself.
All the people from the mansion were surprised. Even Zhao Chengjun opened his eyes revealing an unexpected look. Well, this person did not want to admit her mistake even now. Therefore, Zhao Chengjun would also accompany her to the end. He wanted to see what nonsense Tang Shishi could spout.
Zhao Chengjun nodded “Very good”. He turned around and asked Lu Yufei, “When will their dance come on stage?”
Lu Yufei’s expression was complicated. She quickly glanced at Tang Shishi and said, “Two-quarters of haishi (9 am – 11 pm) and still a quarter of an hour.”
“You have a quarter of an hour left.” Zhao Chengjun used his folded fan to knock on Tang Shishi’s forehead and said slowly, “Practice well. I’m waiting for you to present your dance.”
Tang Shishi’s forehead was being knocked without her looking up. She did not stand still, took a step back, and with proper etiquette, lowered her eyes and said submissively, “This little girl obeys the orders.”
Zhao Chengjun glanced at Tang Shishi, did not say a word, and strode away from inside the room. Tang Shishi bowed and said in a clear voice, “Sending Wangye off respectfully.”
The people serving in the room followed Jing Wang and left. Zhao Zixun, Lu Yufei, Liu Ji, and others passed by Tang Shishi one by one. Each of them glanced at Tang Shishi vaguely, but none of them spoke.
After everyone left, Tang Shishi sighed, and the place where Zhao Chengjun knocked earlier was still in pain. She has never seen this group of dancers’ dance formation. Dedicate a dance, dedicate what dance ah?