IBTBTED Chapter 49
It’s Better to be the Empress Dowager
Chapter 49 Mother-in-Law
Lu Yufei and Zhao Zixun left the study room together, and only halfway through did Zhao Zixun leave separately.
Lu Yufei restrained her emotions all the way. When she returned to the Yinian courtyard, she could not endure it anymore and threw the handwarmer to the ground with force.
Charcoals were still burning in the handwarmer, it fell to the ground with a loud bang, and the fire sparks splashed everywhere. The dowry maid was taken aback and hurriedly persuaded, “Shizifei, please calm down. Your body is precious. It’s not worth being angry.”
The dowry maid was trying to make Lu Yufei happy, while the other maids squatted on the ground quietly picking up charcoal fragments. Everyone was silent for fear that they would run into Lu Yufei’s bad mood. Lu Yufei was angry for a while, and finally, cool off, and asked, “Where has Shizi gone to?”
“Shizi is in the small study room.” The older maid said with good words, “Now that the first month is not over, Shizi takes the initiative to go to the study room to study. He is really a gentleman, smart, and eager to learn. Shizifei has married such a noble and motivated husband. I don’t know how many outside people envy you. Shizifei must take care of your health and live well with Shizi. Don’t let other people see you as a joke.”
Lu Yufei’s anger finally subsided when she heard that Zhao Zixun was in the small study room. But Lu Yufei suddenly thought of something and was stunned, “Who else is in the study room?”
The maid paused and felt awkward. Lu Yufei became angrier and rebuked, “Say!”
The maid sighed and lowered her voice, “Beauty Zhou is also there. Shizi bestowed her a special favor to allow beauty Zhou to go in and out of the small study room freely, and her every expenditure will be as same as his. Early this morning, beauty Zhou went to the study room.”
Although she had expected it a long time ago, Lu Yufei still trembled with anger when she heard it with her own ears. She slammed the table hard and scolded angrily, “This bitch!”
The dowry maid gently comforted Lu Yufei and persuaded her in a low voice, “Shizifei, which man does not accept concubines, let alone Shizi who is still a descendant of the monarch. Sooner or later, you will have to take this step. Shizifei should be more open and don’t hold a grudge against Shizi because of this. The most taboo for women is jealousy. Concubines are just concubines. The more you don’t have to be like this.”
“How can I not understand this principle? If I’m jealous, I won’t let him accept concubines on the first day of marriage.” Lu Yufei’s chest heaved as she breathes and tears spilled out from the corners of her eyes, “I’m just so angry until I’m unbearable. I’m the legitimate wife. Even if he likes those charm foxes, he treats them better than me. But look at him, I don’t have any jewelry, and yet he rewarded Zhou Shunhua first. There is obviously a difference between inside and outside, and a woman can’t set foot in the outer courtyard, but he allows Zhou Shunhua to enter and leave his study room at will. If things go on like this, this is to favor the concubine and destroy the wife!”
The older maid sighed. Shizifei was a legitimate daughter when she was in her natal family. She was used to fighting for the top and suppressed the concubines everywhere. Now when she came to the Jing Wang mansion, Shizifei’s mindset could not be adjusted without guidance.
The older maid continued to persuade, “Shizifei, this time is different from the past. This is the Jing Wang mansion, not the Lu family. Shizi is of imperial blood. Only others follow him in everything. How can he follow others? You need to be more patient. When you give birth to a son, your position will be stable. Don’t forget, you have Jing Wang behind you. You are the daughter-in-law chosen by Wangye himself. As long as Wangye is here, no matter how those women in the rear courtyard are jumping around, they won’t be able to make any splashes.”
Lu Yufei’s mood slowly calmed down after hearing Jing Wang. Yes ah, she also has Jing Wang as her backer. To put it bluntly, this was Jing Wang’s mansion. When she gave birth to a legitimate grandson of Jing Wang, she would take the opportunity to talk to Jing Wang. Presumably, Jing Wang would dispose of those beauties without needing her to act.
Jing Wang was the real master of this mansion. Zhao Zixun’s favor had no power to fight back under the absolute power of Jing Wang.
Lu Yufei was in a better mood. Looking at today’s situation, Jing Wang still favored her, and her biggest trump card was still indestructible. Lu Yufei’s mindset was calm, and finally, she was able to think about other things, “What is going on with the Xu family? Last night, Shizi came to question me, and I was dumbfounded by his question.”
The older maid replied, “I found out today that Uncle Chen has been detained in the gambling house these days, but on the evening of the fourteenth, someone suddenly knocked on the door of the Chen family in the dark and gave them a large sum of money, which is exactly the amount owed by the gambling house. The Chen family was very grateful and happy, but the other party refused to say their identity. They only said that she was a person next to Shizi and asked them to redeem his uncle as soon as possible, and no need to worry about the rest.”
Lu Yufei asked, “Then what?”
“Then Chen Tai came back. They thought it was Shizi who came forward, and they were so happy that Madam Xu almost fainted with joy after hearing it.”
Lu Yufei’s complexion was gloomy. Although she was arrogant, she was not a fool. She had already felt the hidden crisis up ahead. Lu Yufei calmly asked, “Who gave the money?”
Looking at Zhao Zixun’s expression last night, he looked like he had just learned about Madam Xu and Chen Tai’s affair. Obviously, he did not send the money. Then, who saved Chen Tai?
The older maid leaned to Lu Yufei’s ear and said in a low voice, “I heard the gatekeeper say that the people around Zhou Shunhua had gone out on the evening of the fourteenth. Moreover, at the Lantern Festival yesterday, Zhou Shunhua left early.”
Lu Yufei slapped the table hard and said angrily, “Bitch!”
By now, how could Lu Yufei not understand that she was being calculated? Madam Xu visited on New Year’s Day. Although Lu Yufei did not like Madam Xu, she was not stupid enough to provoke the relationship between a birth mother and son. She originally planned to tell Zhao Zixun about the gambling house as soon as possible, but Zhao Zixun did not come to her room that night, and then later, there were continuous interruptions. Also, Lu Yufei wanted to prepare for the Lantern Festival banquet. Gradually, she forgot about this thing.
Yesterday, Zhao Zixun confronted Lu Yufei with anger, and Lu Yufei was surprised that there was still such a thing. In fact, Lu Yufei just forgot, but Zhao Zixun did not believe it. He felt that Lu Yufei was deliberately neglecting Madam Xu’s affair. Lu Yufei had no choice but to suffer in silence, and the two started quarreling.
Now, Lu Yufei finally understood that it was not accidental that she was interrupted some time ago. It was deliberately arranged by Zhou Shunhua. Zhou Shunhua secretly blocked Lu Yufei. When the Chen family was very anxious, she asked her own people to redeem Chen Tai, and cleverly borrowed the name of Zhao Zixun. On the fifteenth day, when all the dust settled, Zhou Shunhua accidentally revealed it to Zhao Zixun. Zhao Zixun only needs a little investigation to find out what happened. When he knew that Zhou Shunhua had quietly solved the affair and left no name at all, he would surely increase his favor.
Lu Yufei was annoyed to death, but who let her carelessness be caught in someone else’s trick? Lu Yufei could only admit defeat. The older maid persuaded, “Shizifei, don’t worry. Shizi is only angry for a while. How can young couples have no quarrels? Time can testify everything. After a long time, Shizi will understand what kind of person you are.”
Lu Yufei shook her head, she felt it would be difficult. Zhao Zixun may have room for leeway here, but the real trouble was Madam Xu.
Madam Xu was originally dissatisfied with Lu Yufei. Now after being compared with Zhou Shunhua, Lu Yufei did not know how much Madam Xu hated her.
Madam Xu was the hurdle that their husband and wife could not get through. Lu Yufei really could not greet that vulgar lady with a smile, and now that Zhou Shunhua had won a favorable impression, it was too late for Lu Yufei to do anything.
When Lu Yufei heard voices outside, she straightened up and asked, “What’s wrong outside?”
The maid went out to ask and came back to report, “Shizifei, it’s Zhang Momo who is teaching a little maid.”
“Oh?” Lu Yufei was baffled, “Why is Momo so angry?”
“Zhang Momo just came back from the warehouse. She seemed to be neglected. That’s why she is angry.”
Lu Yufei was silent when she heard it. She squeezed her handkerchief and stared at the incense burner nearby for a long time. The maid was afraid and asked quietly, “Shizifei, what’s the matter with you?”
Lu Yufei faintly said, “Before, at home, I was accustomed to seeing people worshipping the high and stepping the low. At that time, I took pity on those concubines. I didn’t expect it to be my turn now.”
“Shizifei!” The maid was surprised and called out quickly, “What are you talking about?”
Lu Yufei was silent. The people in the warehouse dared to neglect her only after a while. If she waited any longer, Zhou Shunhua would be favored and would even have an heir. Then, what should Lu Yufei do?
She could not sit still, she must take initiative.
Lu Yufei waved to the maid and said, “I want to be alone. You can leave.”
The dowry maid wanted to say something, but in the end, she did not dare to say too much, so she retired according to her wishes. Lu Yufei sat in the inner room alone, stared at the slowly rising green smoke, and figured things out slowly.
If Zhou Shunhua could compete for a favor by courting her mother-in-law, could Lu Yufei not? Only evil could defeat evil. Since Zhou Shunhua used the mother-in-law, Lu Yufei also needed to find a mother-in-law.
A genuine legitimate mother-in-law.
Lu Yufei made up her mind quickly and decided to invite Xi Yunchu. The water in the Jing Wang mansion was too deep, and Lu Yufei needed someone to help her. It just so happened that Xi Yunchu also wanted to marry Jing Wang from the beginning.
This was simply Heaven’s will.
Shizifei fell out of favor. At first, these signs were not obvious. The frequency of Shizi passing by Shizifei’s room was getting lesser and the time he spent with her was getting shorter each time. Until the fifteenth day, Zhao Zixun did not go at all, and Lu Yufei was completely flustered.
At first, she thought that she and Zhao Zixun was just squabbling and that it would be fine after two days. Lu Yufei did not expect this time would be so serious.
There was a difference between wives and concubines such as the first and fifteenth days of the month were always the days of the legitimate wife. According to the etiquette, no matter how many concubines there were in the rear courtyard, he must stay in the legitimate wife’s room on the first and fifteenth day of the month. Even for the sake of mere formalities, the Emperor has to go to the Empress’s palace on these two days.
If he did not even give her this honor, it would be tearing and slapping her face openly.
Lu Yufei did not sleep all night. It was not easy to endure until the tenth day of greeting. Lu Yufei arrived at Yan’an courtyard early and wanted to take the opportunity to complain to Jing Wang. As soon as Lu Yufei entered the door, she was stunned when she saw the people in the room.
Tang Shishi was also there.
Tang Shishi was a person who had no opportunities but still wanted to create opportunities. She found out that the meeting between her and Zhao Zixun was getting very little recently, and Zhao Zixun seemed to be deliberately avoiding her. Since Tang Shishi brought Jing Wang to the crime scene last time, Zhao Zixun’s favorable impression of Tang Shishi had dropped to zero once again.
Tang Shishi learned from the bitter experience and felt that she could not be disheartened. She still had to continue to work hard. Since Zhao Zixun was hiding from her, she would take the initiative to appear in front of Zhao Zixun.
He dared to hide from Tang Shishi, but he would not dare to hide from Jing Wang, right?
So, Tang Shishi waited by the Yan’an courtyard’s door early in the morning on the day of greetings. This was not the first time she had done such a thing and Tang Shishi was familiar with this. She stood calmly at the door with her head held high without any embarrassment.
As long as she was not embarrassed, others would be embarrassed by her action. Sure enough, Zhao Chengjun could not bear it anymore, and let her in with a cold face.
Before Lu Yufei came in, Zhao Chengjun was holding back his anger to settle accounts with Tang Shishi, “Do you know what you’re doing?”
Tang Shishi said with self-confidence, “This little girl is greeting Wangye. This is my filial piety…”
Filial piety? Zhao Chengjun squinted his eyes and Tang Shishi raised her face boldly as if she was sure that Zhao Chengjun would not do anything to her. Zhao Chengjun became angrier. At this moment, Liu Ji brought a plate of tribute orange. Zhao Chengjun conveniently picked one up and threw it directly at Tang Shishi’s head.
Tang Shishi was taken aback and quickly dodged two steps backward to catch the orange. Tang Shishi let out a sigh of relief and looked at Zhao Chengjun in surprise and grievance, “Wangye, I am a charming little girl. How can you treat me with such a heavy hand?”
Oops… Liu Ji stood on the side with the fruit plate. He was not able to decide whether to step forward or to retreat. It was quite redundant. Zhao Chengjun’s complexion darkened when he heard this, his eyes swept around, and everyone inside and outside lowered their heads as if they could not see or hear anything. Zhao Chengjun was a little embarrassed, lowered his voice slightly, and berated, “Be careful with your words and deeds. Haven’t you remember the last lesson?”
At first, Tang Shishi’s words did not seem to mean anything. When brothers, sisters, or friends said such words, they would appear to have a good relationship. However, Zhao Chengjun was an adult man.
This kind of scene and this kind of speaking manner would let a person’s imagination run wild. Even Zhao Chengjun himself suddenly thought of that aspect.
Zhao Chengjun meant to berate Tang Shishi, but after he said those words… Liu Ji “whoops” in his heart.
Last lesson? What was the lesson, ah? How come no one knew about it?
After Zhao Chengjun finished, he found out that something was wrong, which made it easier for others to misunderstand him. Seeing that the atmosphere was stiff, Tang Shishi thought that her words just now were too arrogant. She immediately ran to Zhao Chengjun’s side with a smile and peeled the oranges while compromising, “I remember. Wangye, thank you for your guidance. I can’t repay you. This is a gift as thank you. “
Zhao Chengjun glanced at her coldly and said, “This is my thing.”
Zhao Chengjun thought who wanted her hypocrisy of showing affection and used his things to thank him. It was too insincere. However, at a casual glance, something caught his eyes.
Tang Shishi’s fingers were slender and fair, and even her nails were shiny. She held the orange with her fingers and was peeling the skin. The sweet scent of the juice splashed on her hand and slowly slides down her fingers.
It seemed to be extra delicious.
Zhao Chengjun had forgotten what he wanted to say for a while. His Adam’s apple moved, and his eyes turned dark. Liu Ji stood aside with a large plate of tribute oranges and was finally convinced that it was time for him to leave.
Liu Ji was a man who served in the inner courtyard of the Imperial Palace. He entered and exited quietly. He put the orange on the side of the table, signaled with his eyes, lead the crowd out of the room, and guarded the door.
Lu Yufei startled many people when she came through the door, and Tang Shishi in the room was also interrupted. As soon as Tang Shishi looked back, she met Lu Yufei’s gaze.
Tang Shishi had not reacted yet, but Lu Yufei’s expression was especially alarmed. Lu Yufei seemed to be caught off guard. She looked around the room quickly and was in a dilemma, “Wangye, please forgive me. Daughter-in-law… is it not the right time to come?”