IBTBTED Chapter 51

It’s Better to be the Empress Dowager

Chapter 51          Complete

Lu Yufei looked around, with a heart to please Zhao Chengjun, “If Miss Tang wants to go to the Buddha…”

Zhao Chengjun did not even think about it, he just cut her off, “She won’t be going.”

Tang Shishi opened her mouth to speak, but when she heard Zhao Chengjun’s words, she could only swallow back the consent she was about to say. Tang Shishi found out that Zhao Chengjun was really able to hold grudges. She just mentioned “filial piety”, and Zhao Chengjun was unhappy and even threatened her.

He did not seem to like Tang Shishi saying things like filial piety to him. But the problem was when Zhao Zixun and Lu Yufei said it, why she did not see him get angry, ah?

It was very unreasonable. Tang Shishi could not understand why, but she still understood the reason why people have to bow their heads under the eaves. Tang Shishi immediately put on a docile smiling face and said, “As long as Wangye likes, let alone eating vegetarian meals or copying scriptures, I can do anything.”

Zhao Chengjun glanced at her, he did not say to spare her or did not continue to say she would fast. As long as he did not say it, that meant she did not have to do it. Tang Shishi immediately assured herself.

Lu Yufei stood on the ground and felt the subtle sense of redundancy again. From the moment she walked in, Lu Yufei often felt that she was not in the same world as the other two people. She paid respect to Jing Wang properly but Jing Wang was concerned about whether Tang Shishi’s fingers had been wiped clean. She complained tearfully that she had been treated coldly by Zhao Zixun, but Jing Wang did not care much. Instead, he often looked at the door until Tang Shishi came back. Now, she and Zhao Zixun were about to go to Guangji Temple to worship Buddha in the severe cold, instead of asking who he could entrust his son and daughter-in-law, Jing Wang joked with Tang Shishi.

If she had not seen it with her own eyes, Lu Yufei would never believe that this person turned out to be the famous and resolute His Highness Jing Wang.

Zhao Zixun probably has not seen Zhao Chengjun talk about other topics before. Obviously, Zhao Chengjun hated interruptions and wasting time. Zhao Zixun stopped for a while and after Zhao Chengjun turned his attention back, he continued, “I have one more matter that I want my father to agree on.”

“What’s the matter?”

“The road to Guangji Temple is not far from the mountain villa in Nanshan village. Zhou Shunhua has always wanted to see the countryside scenery. I plan to take this opportunity to put her in Nanshan village.”

There was a moment of silence in the room. It was winter now, who would go to the countryside to see the scenery at this time? Only a few people presently grew up from the inside, and they all understood the clichés of the slang. Being sent to the village, no matter how romantic or decent the reason, was an exile in disguise.

Lu Yufei filed a complaint on the front foot, and Zhao Zixun sent his beloved woman to the village on the back foot. Not sure whether to lament Zhao Zixun’s cruelty or to lament Zhao Chengjun’s great prestige.

“Good.” Zhao Chengjun just nodded lightly and said indifferently, “This is your affair, you can decide it yourself. If there’s nothing else, you all can leave.”

Zhao Zixun and Lu Yufei responded together. Tang Shishi, along with everyone in the Yan’an courtyard, saluted Zhao Zixun and his wife, “Respectfully sendoff Shizi. Respectfully sendoff Shizifei.”

The sound of Yan’an courtyard was orderly and arrogant. Lu Yufei was wrapped in it and shivered for no reason.

She suddenly began to wonder whether her cleverness today was counterproductive. She wanted to win Zhao Chengjun’s pity, and then used Zhao Chengjun’s hand to deal with Zhou Shunhua. Now everything just as she wished, even better than Lu Yufei’s initial idea. However, Lu Yufei felt chills all over.

The pair of father and son were more terrifying than she thought. Lu Yufei suddenly felt like she was displaying her little skill before an expert. Was everything she did today transparent in the eyes of Jing Wang?

The news that Shizi and Shizifei were going to Guangji Temple to pray for Jing Wang’s blessing spread immediately. Soon, even people outside the mansion learned that Shizifei invited the Xi family to go with them, and Jing Wang assigned his eldest gugu to serve them.

The speculation about Jing Wang and the young lady of the Xi family around mansions in Xiping once rose like the rising wind.

Everyone was enthusiastically preparing for Shizi and Shizifei’s journey and Shizi’s beloved beauty Zhou was about to be sent to the village. The maids fervently discussed the gossip between Jing Wang and the second young lady of the Xi family. The Jing Wang mansion was very lively these days, but these have nothing to do with Tang Shishi.

Because she was copying Buddhist scriptures. Thankfully, Zhao Chengjun still has a conscience and did not let her be a vegetarian at the same time.

Today, the nineteen of the second month, Zhao Zixun and Lu Yufei went on a journey and also took Zhou Shunhua away. Tang Shishi bid farewell at the second gate, and then she walked slowly towards the study room with the handwarmer in hand.

When the whole family of Shizi was gone, the whole mansion seemed to be empty. Zhao Chengjun who enjoyed quietness was happy, there would not be any quarrel with Shizi now. The mansion was exceptionally quiet. Tang Shishi stayed in the study room, almost giving birth to an illusion that only she and Jing Wang were left behind.

Probably because she knew that Zhao Zixun was gone, Tang Shishi did not have to worry about missing the plot and was particularly at ease. She copied the Buddhist scriptures in the study room. After a while, she felt it was really boring, and her mind slowly became active.

Tang Shishi got really excited. She listened attentively for a while and made sure that Zhao Chengjun was alone in the room now. She immediately closed the Buddhist scriptures, quietly opened the pavilion door, and walked quietly to Zhao Chengjun’s study room outside.

Although Shishi Tang deliberately softened her footsteps, her untrained movement fell into Zhao Chengjun’s ears, which were almost unobstructed. Zhao Chengjun put down his writing brush, and before Tang Shishi knocked on the door, he said, “Come in.”

Tang Shishi put her hand in front of the partition door was stumped. How did Zhao Chengjun know she was coming even before she knocked?

Tang Shishi could not figure it out and quickly left it behind. She pushed open the study room partition door, smiled, and saluted Zhao Chengjun, “Greetings Wangye.”

“No one comes to the Buddha Hall without a reason. Tell me, what’s the matter?”

“Wangye, your words are too hurtful.” Tang Shishi’s eyes did not blink and said, “In fact, I was just concerned about Wangye and came to greet you.”

Sure… still did not want to say. Zhao Chengjun did not rush and said, “You rarely have this kind of intention, but pays respect is useless, only by copying the scriptures can see your sincerity. I can’t let you down since you are so sincere. In that case, today you will do the Great Compassionate scripture…”

Tang Shishi was scared witless by just listening, and immediately interrupted, “Wangye!”

Zhao Chengjun looked at her with cold eyes. Tang Shishi dared not challenge Zhao Chengjun’s patience anymore. She immediately smiled pleasantly and came forward to pour tea for Zhao Chengjun, “Wangye, apart from paying respects to you, I also have one more thing to ask. A few days ago, Wangye once gave guidance to Shizi’s schoolwork when Shizi and Shizifei paid respect to Wangye. I admire Wangye’s talent and knowledge. If I can learn one-tenth of Wangye’s knowledge, I will be completely satisfied. I don’t know which book Wangye has said?”

Tang Shishi actually took the initiative to ask for a book. Zhao Chengjun, to be honest, was a little surprised. He has a good memory and only needed to think about it for a while, “Memoirs of famous officials of all dynasties.”

Tang Shishi frowned, shook her head, and said, “No, the other one.”

The other one? Zhao Chengjun raised his eyebrows slightly. Did he mention another book to Zhao Zixun? He looked at Tang Shishi’s expression, and suddenly remembered, “Could it be you mean the Great Learning of Yanyi?

“Yes, it’s this one.” Tang Shishi did not know the full name, but she remembered the word “Yanyi”. Tang Shishi was in high spirits and asked, “Wangye, do you have this book here?”

Zhao Chengjun looked at Tang Shishi’s expression carefully and unexpectedly discovered that she really wanted to read the Great Learning of Yanyi. Zhao Chengjun originally thought that Tang Shishi just wanted to read the book Zhao Zixun was reading to get close to Zhao Zixun.

Unexpectedly, she mentioned another book. Zhao Chengjun despised those pedantic dogmatic writings and crossed out the book from Zhao Zixun’s book list and replaced it with memoirs of famous officials. Why did Tang Shishi need him to bring it over when she did not even need to look at Zhao Zixun?

Zhao Chengjun was not in a hurry and said, “The book naturally exists. But you have to be clear, why do you want it?”

“There’s no reason.” Tang Shishi did not care, “Anyway, it’s all about copy books, might as well copy the one I like.”

The one I like… Zhao Chengjun suddenly reacted that this was her husband-to-be. Not right, the book was read by her former husband-to-be.

Different identities between monarchs and officials led to different standpoints in thinking about problems. Zhao Chengjun was a prince. He scoffed at the Song Dynasty’s Confucianism, especially the eight-part writings. When Zhao Chengjun selected books for his adopted son, he skipped those books that taught people foolish loyalty, and filial piety and replaced them with real speculative ones.

However, for ordinary scholars, those eight-part dogmas were their must-remember classic books in Confucianism. It would be wrong if they were to be viewed as deviant.

Zhao Chengjun and Zhao Zixun did not need to read the Great Learning, but her former husband-to-be has to know it by heart.

Zhao Chengjun could not tell what he was feeling. It had been so long, and yet she was still thinking about him. Was she could not let go of this person?

Zhao Chengjun did not know why he became unhappy all of sudden, and even hardened his questioning tone, “This is the book that scholars read when preparing for the imperial examination. Why do you want to look at it?”

Why did she want to look at it? Tang Shishi lowered her eyes slightly. Yes ah, she was no longer the eldest daughter of the Tang Family, and there was no need to please Qi Family and Qi Jingsheng anymore. She still wanted to look at these, what was she doing?

Tang Shishi closed her eyes and her eyelashes trembled slightly. After a while, she whispered, “Not because of him. Nothing more than to complete my own self.”

In fact, Tang Shishi did not miss Qi Jingsheng, and could not even say that she liked him. A handsome, gentle, and motivated young man, who would not have a favorable impression? However, apart from this, there seemed to be none.

It was not so much that she was reluctant to part with Qi Jingsheng, it was more that she was reluctant to part with who she was in those days. At that time, she obviously worked so hard and was very determined.

Qi Jingsheng read the Four Books fluently and could recite it backward. In fact, Tang Shishi could also do it. However, Qi Jingsheng was praised by everyone, but Tang Shishi’s efforts were worthless.

She wanted to be complete like she used to be, not for anyone this time, just for herself. She wanted to prove that she could also read scholars’ books.

Tang Shishi wanted to comfort herself. However, when the answer fell into Zhao Chengjun’s ears, it completely changed the meaning. Even the expression on Tang Shishi’s face that looked like nostalgia with passion became extremely dazzling.

She actually missed that man so much. Since they had already become strangers, she still missed the other person’s each and every move.

Since they could not be together in reality, she could complete them in fantasy.

Zhao Chengjun did not want to listen anymore. With a calm face, he said in a cold voice, “Liu Ji will send to the pavilion later. If there is nothing else, you can leave.”

Tang Shishi was surprised for a moment. After regaining her sense, she quickly said, “Thank you, Wangye.”

Tang Shishi knew that Zhao Chengjun did not like to be disturbed by others, especially did not like being disturbed by her. Tang Shishi knew herself very well and left immediately after she got the promise.

The door of the study was closed with a click. Zhao Chengjun was looking down at the imperial report and did not flip over for a long time.

She smiled and flattered him for a book. Once she got it, she left without nostalgia and did not even want to stay for a moment.

Zhao Chengjun was angry for no reason, and even more baffling that he did not even know what he was angry about.

After Shishi Tang returned to the pavilion, Liu Ji sent the new book shortly after she sat down.

The cover exactly stated, “Great Learning of Yanyi”.

It turned out that it was these words. Tang Shishi immediately opened the title page and copied them as she read them. However, the preparation of the teaching materials for the imperial examination was not at all simple. Tang Shishi stumbled upon reading, and she did not know the interpretation completely, so she just copied it randomly.

Only after copying one page, the fresh enthusiasm in Tang Shishi has passed. She did this purely for the beliefs in her youth. However, some things after waiting for a long time, when she really got it, then and only then did she realize it was nothing more than this.

This was what Tang Shishi thinking now. She soon has very little interest and copied books purely intending to pass the time. Anyway, no matter what she did, she has to spend a whole day in the study room.

In the evening, Tang Shishi went out, and when she returned, she saw Zhao Chengjun standing in the pavilion, holding a few sheets of paper in his hand.

Zhao Chengjun glanced over the paper and said, “There are a lot of wrong words. Do you know what this means?”

Tang Shishi shook her head, “I don’t know.”

“You don’t understand the meaning. No wonder you copied it wrongly.” Zhao Chengjun sighed helplessly. He said casually, as if accidentally, “Life is alive, energy is limited. Don’t do useless work.”

Tang Shishi always felt that this sentence has other meanings, but it was reasonable at this moment as if she was just being passionate. Tang Shishi thought about it and quickly let it passed, “What Wangye said is that with my basic skills, is enough to read historical romance but is far from enough to read this kind of serious learning.”

“How can this be regarded as serious learning?” Zhao Chengjun dismissed it, and took the publicized written examination, “Come here, you have several places that are wrong.”

Zhao Chengjun circled her mistakes one by one. Tang Shishi looked at the scene before her and could not recover for a long time.

Zhao Chengjun actually changed her work himself? Was it because Zhao Chengjun was too idle, or was it because Tang Shishi has a hallucination?

Zhao Chengjun ticked off a few places and found that Tang Shishi was still not moving, and he glanced at her with a slightly cold demeanor, “Still not coming?”

Tang Shishi awakened like in a dream, and hurriedly walked to Zhao Chengjun’s side, humbly asking for advice. Zhao Chengjun first pointed out the mistake of Tang Shishi, then explained to her the meaning of this sentence and told her where she was wrong. The interpretation of words should always be placed in the background. To explain this point, she has to explain the context. Gradually, Zhao Chengjun recounted this chapter to Tang Shishi from the beginning. In some places, when it was not well written in the book, Zhao Chengjun would simply strike out the sentence and write his own interpretation for Tang Shishi.

Tang Shishi was truly flattered. If someone let Shizi know about this, would not he be jealous with anger? However, as far as things were concerned, Zhao Chengjun’s explanation from a different point of view of the original dry Confucianism books was indeed much more interesting, and even the awkward allusions were vivid.

Liu Ji went to the study room to deliver tea. It was strange that Jing Wang was not in there, but his writing brush and ink were still on the writing desk, which did not look as if Jing Wang had gone out.

Liu Ji thought for a moment and walked quietly to the pavilion at the back, where Tang Shishi copied books. Liu Ji did not approach urgently rather he stretched out his neck and looked through the narrow slit of the door. From his angle, he could only see that Tang Shishi was leaning on the side of the writing desk, writing with her head down. He did not know what she was writing and was hit by a writing brush on the back of her hand.

“I just said it, don’t you remember?”

“You haven’t said before…” She did not even finish her words yet, her hand was struck again by the writing brush. Liu Ji paused for a while, did not rush in to deliver tea, and left quietly.

Liu Ji came from the inner Imperial Court. Although his status was from a humble background, he studied in the Imperial Palace for several years. He could not say how much ink he has in his belly, but he still understood the basic knowledge.

Was not the thing that Wangye just mentioned was precisely Yanyi? Then, what a coincidence! Wangye obviously despised these model books the most and even spoke bluntly that only pedantic types of talented people read pedantic books.

A few days ago, his guidance to Shizi was still vivid in Lui Ji’s ears. Only a few days later, how could Wangye not only read pedantic books but also explained word by word to others?

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6 Comments

  1. Wangye oh Wangye, you have fallen fully lol….please let them get married soon.
    Thank you for the chapter Translator-nim, I’m enjoying this a lot.

  2. Shishi wants to keep learning for herself now, realizing that she can’t go back to her old self of working hard to please a husband she’s never gonna get🥺 Even in Wangye thinks that work is irrelevant she wants to decide fir herself 🤩 And Wangye is oh so jelly, of Shizi and her ex fiancé 😁

    Thanks for the chapter

    1. I think rather than studying those books because she wanted to please Qi Jingsheng she studied those books because deep down she wanted the opportunities that Qi Jingsheng got because he was a boy. Actually more than that, she wanted the opportunities *she* would’ve gotten if she weren’t “just a girl.”

      We don’t know much about the Qi family, but Qi Jingsheng’s studying abilities were enough to make him a local celebrity. Meanwhile, the Tang family is the richest merchant family in the country, Tang Shishi is the eldest legitimate child, and we learned in this chapter that her aptitude for studying was probably pretty similar to Qi Jingsheng’s. Can you imagine the time, and money, and effort that would’ve gone into nurturing her talents if they were valued the way a son’s would be? The amount of status she and her mom would have both inside and outside their house? No one would even mention Qi Jingsheng if it wasn’t to compare him to her.

  3. That’s it, Wangye lost to the beautiful and nouveau feeling of love. I’m making Tang Shishi my role model 😌

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