IBTBTED Chapter 53
It’s Better to be the Empress Dowager
Chapter 53 Obsessed
With such heavy snow, going out was not just casual talk. While changing clothes for Tang Shishi, Dujuan could not help complaining, “Miss, going up the mountain to save people is not an easy job. With Wangye around, Shizi and Shizifei will be fine. If you are really worried, you can recite the Buddhist scriptures in the mansion. Why bother to look outside?”
Tang Shishi was noncommittal and said, “Stop talking. I have my own decision. When I’m not here these two days, you keep an eye on the door and don’t let the little fox run around.”
Dujuan was reluctant in every possible way, but in the end, she had no choice but to comply. Tang Shishi wore a thick cloak and went out. As soon as she opened the curtain, she was swallowed by the wind.
Tang Shishi was almost blown away by the wind and hesitated a while. Now that everything had settled, the plot that the male and female leads should happen had happened, and Zhou Shunhua should be in the limelight also happened. Now, she could not help with the past but had to suffer her own crimes. Tang Shishi was shaken for a moment, but she gritted her teeth and continued to move forward in the end.
Opportunities were only reserved for those who were prepared. She had missed too much. There was nothing to remedy now, she could only go directly to Zhou Shunhua’s post-closing ceremony.
Tang Shishi had already given up so much to enter the Imperial Palace, certainly, she did not come to serve others.
Dujuan was afraid that Tang Shishi would be cold on the road, wrapped her up like a ball, and she could not even run smoothly. Tang Shishi hurried to the second gate, and Liu Ji was already waiting outside the gate with someone. Liu Ji swept through Tang Shishi’s chubby dress, and said, “Miss Tang, traveling on a snowy day is different from ordinary going out. You’ll suffer a lot on the road. Not to mention no one knows what’s going on in the mountain. If you’re unlucky, you may have to get out of the carriage and walk on your own. Miss Tang, have you really thought about it?”
“I’ve thought about it.” Tang Shishi nodded and said, “Gonggong, thank you for reminding me. I understood.”
Liu Ji persuaded her out of friendship but would not say again. Upon seeing this, he no longer dissuaded her, and rather simply explained the situation in the carriage to Tang Shishi, “The charcoal basin and handwarmer on the carriage are ready, but Wangye wants to travel light and can’t pack a lot of charcoal. You can save some on the way. There are preserved fruits and snacks in the drawer and there’s no way to make a fire along the road. If you can’t make it to the mountain villa in Nanshan today, you can only eat cold food.”
Tang Shishi responded one by one and thanked Liu Ji, “Gonggong, thank you for your thoughtfulness. I have caused a lot of trouble for Gonggong. I’m really sorry. When I get back, I’ll personally come to thank you.”
“No worries.” Liu Ji said with a smile, “It’s all for Wangye. What’s the trouble? On the journey, I hope you will remind Wangye not to let him personally take risks.”
Tang Shishi concurred. She knew that Zhao Chengjun was in a hurry and did not talk to Liu Ji again. It was challenging for her to climb up the carriage with her thick clothing. Sure enough, the inside of the carriage was as Liu Ji explained, small but complete in every detail. It was not easy for Liu Ji to prepare to this extent in such a short time.
After Tang Shishi sat down, the carriage started to move. The carriage drove out of the side gate, stopped slightly, and then continued on the road.
When the wheels of the carriage rolled across the snow, it made creaking sounds, in addition to the orderly and steady sound of horses’ hooves.
Tang Shishi’s carriage was placed at the back section of the convoy. She quietly opened the curtain and saw that there were many cavalries following behind. They were not too far away and happened to be surrounding the carriage in every direction. These people had cold appearances, strong and powerful, riding on the horses like invincible gods. The people along the road were captured by their aura. The common people dare to gossip in a low voice only when they were far away.
“Which noble family is going on a journey?”
“Who else can there be? Naturally, it’s His Highness, Jing Wang. Even if you look at the entire land, there’s not many, let alone in Xiping province, only he can deploy so many elite soldiers.”
“It snowed so heavily yesterday, and the road is difficult to travel today. Why did Jing Wang go out?”
“I don’t know. Maybe there’s something urgent.”
“Why tag along a carriage in an emergency?”
This really baffled people. The speaker paused for a moment, and tentatively said, “Perhaps, something is wrong with Shizifei’s family?”
“A gossiper said that Shizifei and the Xi family went to worship the Buddha a few days ago. It was a big convoy when they left the city. It snowed all day yesterday and there was no time to go back. Now, how can this be Shizifei?”
This sentence confused everyone. Everyone surmised that no one could convince anyone, “Should it be Wangfei? Jing Wang was leading the convoy in front. Who else can take on this position besides Wangfei.”
“Nonsense, how can there be a Wangfei in the Jing Wang mansion?”
Tang Shishi was bumping around in the carriage. In the beginning, the road was fairly smooth from Xiping province onwards but after leaving the city area, the road was obviously difficult to move on.
It snowed heavily all day and night yesterday. The snow in the countryside was not cleared and it was four or five inches thick. When the horses stepped on the snow, half of their legs were covered in snow in an instant. It was a challenge for the carriage to move and it wobbled awkwardly on the thick snow.
Fortunately, the people brought by Zhao Chengjun were all experts in the military. When they met a stretch of road that could not go through, they quickly took out tools to clear the road. Tang Shishi often sat in the carriage for a while before the carriage moved again.
The whole journey had many stops. Originally, a half a day’s journey still had not arrived in six hours. However, fortunately, they have already entered the area of Nanshan, and Jing Wang’s mountain villa could be seen after crossing this section of the mountain.
However, of all places, this section of the mountain road was particularly hard to get through. Tang Shishi sat in the carriage and waited for a long time. Finally, the coachman knocked on the carriage’s door and said to Tang Shishi, “Miss Tang, this section of the road is dangerous, and the carriage always slips. Wangye told you to get off of the carriage and go on foot.”
Tang Shishi naturally did not object. She was squeamish and afraid of hardship, but she was not confused about the severity. Everyone was clearing the mountain road now, and Tang Shishi could not help, so she could only do her best not to cause trouble to anyone.
Tang Shishi leaned on the shaft and got off the carriage cautiously. The wind was very strong outside, and the howling wind drifted the snow on the ground as if another snowfall.
Tang Shishi fastened her hood and trudged in the snow. Now the whole convoy was basically unable to move forward. After walking for a while, the front stopped completely.
Tang Shishi raised her head strenuously to try her best to look forward, “What’s the matter?”
The coachman who drove the carriage also came down. He led the horse and stood in the snow, “This section of the mountain road is dangerous. Maybe something fell from the mountain and blocked the road.”
Tang Shishi sighed that the snow was already heavy, and the mountain was still precarious which was too challenging. Zhao Chengjun led people to clear the road in front, and the convoy stopped moving. Tang Shishi stood in the snow and waited. After a while, the cold air got through her boots and into her body, and her handwarmer was getting colder. Tang Shishi’s body began to shiver, she tightened her cloak and shrank herself into a ball.
Zhao Chengjun was concerned about Tang Shishi. After arranging the dredging of the mountain road, he came to the back to see her. Zhao Chengjun saw Tang Shishi shrink herself down when he got closer and looked like a red ball in the snow from a distance.
When Zhao Chengjun got closer, he asked, “What’s wrong with you?”
Tang Shishi buried her face on her knees and covered herself firmly with a cloak. She vaguely heard a voice above her head, and raised her head with difficulty, “Huh?”
She looked chubby, but her small face was pure and fair. Her clothes were bloated due to the thickness, which made her face only as big as a palm. Zhao Chengjun looked inexplicably softhearted. He leaned over, and helped Tang Shishi to stand up, “You can’t squat like this in the snow. If you are cold, you should go back to the carriage and wait. I will let someone call you when the road clears up.”
Tang Shishi stood up with Zhao Chengjun’s strength, shook her head, and said, “I’m alright.”
Zhao Chengjun reached out his hand to test the temperature on her face, and his eyes sunk slightly, “Is this alright? You are so squeamish, careful not to get typhoid fever after being blown by the wind. Go back quickly, and don’t try to be brave.”
“A tree was blown down by the wind and fell right on the mountain road.” Zhao Chengjun said. Although his words were few, his tone was strong, “It’s not a big deal, the tree has been dug halfway, and soon will be able to pass through. You can go back and warm up with peace of mind. Don’t worry.”
When Zhao Chengjun said these words, his eyes were bright and his tone was firm as if the big things were not worth mentioning in front of him, making people unconsciously want to rely on him. Tang Shishi slowly relaxed and said, “Good, you also have to be careful.”
Zhao Chengjun signaled her to get in the carriage immediately. At this moment, someone called him from the front. Zhao Chengjun pulled the cloak for Tang Shishi and said, “You stay by yourself first. I’ll see you later.”
Tang Shishi nodded slightly with half of her face hidden under her hood. Zhao Chengjun fastened her winter hat and walked quickly towards the crowd. Tang Shishi turned around after watching for a while and was about to get in the carriage. She suddenly noticed that the coachman was staring in the direction Zhao Chengjun was leaving, not knowing what he was looking at.
Tang Shishi was baffled and called him, “Coachman?”
The coachman suddenly recovered, and lowered his eyes, “Miss Tang.”
Tang Shishi asked curiously, “What are you looking at?”
“Nothing. I’m worried about the road ahead, so I didn’t pay attention to it.”
Tang Shishi responded and said, “If you are worried, go ahead and help. I’m not doing anything here, just one person is enough.”
The coachman did not refuse and complied. The coachman walked forward with his head down. When he passed by, Tang Shishi inadvertently lowered her head and saw a familiar sachet on him.
Tang Shishi paused for a moment, unconsciously feeling strange. She seemed to have seen this sachet before, but she could not remember where she saw it?
Tang Shishi frowned and thought hard. Suddenly, her brain recalled and thought of a person.
Granny Wu! The last time Granny Wu gave her the pill for suicide, she took it out from the same kind of sachet. Why did the coachman have the same kind of sachet as Granny Wu?
Tang Shishi realized almost immediately that the coachman was not an ordinary person. He was the spy planted by Empress Dowager. Tang Shishi turned around and saw the coachman walking toward Zhao Chengjun step by step. Zhao Chengjun was standing by the roadside talking to his subordinates, not far away from the cliff. The blizzard covered everything, and no one noticed that a coachman was approaching Zhao Chengjun.
Tang Shishi’s heart suddenly raised to her throat. What did the coachman want to do? Did he intend to harm Zhao Chengjun? At that moment, Tang Shishi’s brain was buzzing. She instinctively wanted to shout be careful, but when her voice was about to come out, she forbade it again.
She could not shout. If she shouted, she, the Tang family, and her mother would all have to die.
Tang Shishi looked down at her feet. She did not know how she reacted. She quickly stepped on the shaft and then purposely fell off the carriage. This fall was genuine. Tang Shishi rolled on the snow several times before stopping. Her head hurt when knocked to the ground.
The best acting skill was without acting skill. Tang Shishi fell very hard and did not fake her cry out in pain. Everyone was shocked by the cry. When Zhao Chengjun was talking to his subordinates, he suddenly heard a woman’s shriek and turned back immediately.
His face suddenly turned cold when he saw Tang Shishi rolled down from the carriage. He left the crowd and walked quickly towards Tang Shishi.
The subordinates also stopped talking one after another and quickly followed. Zhao Chengjun and many elite soldiers left the mountain road and quickly surrounded the carriage, even others looked in this direction. The coachman’s action was interrupted, knowing that it was impossible to find another loophole, he could only put away his actions unwillingly.
Tang Shishi burst into tears. What was she thinking when she fell on the cold snow? What was she doing?
Zhao Chengjun was the Emperor’s uncle, a feudal prince with a heavy military in his hand, the biggest worry of Empress Dowager Yao, and the goal of Tang Shi’s trip. Empress Dowager Yao wanted to kill Zhao Chengjun, and Zhao Chengjun also wanted to kill Empress Dowager Yao. Tang Shishi could not and was unable to control how these big people of the imperial family fought.
She just wanted to live her life well. To put it bluntly, no matter how bad Zhao Chengjun was, he was also a prince. He lived a life of luxury and had great power. She did not know how many hidden trump cards there were behind his back, but Tang Shishi was just a little beauty. She could not even save her own life. Why did she dare to save Zhao Chengjun?
Whether Zhao Chengjun was alive or dead, what did it matter to her? He would die sooner or later.
Tang Shishi was so confused that she did not know where she was. As the world turned around, she felt that she was picked up by a person. That person’s embrace was cold and powerful and kept asking her, “Tang Shishi, how are you? Where are you injured?”
Tang Shishi stared at Zhao Chengjun’s face in a daze and did not move for a long time. Zhao Chengjun was frightened by her reaction. He ignored the etiquette and quickly opened her cloak, held Tang Shishi’s arm, and checked her injuries one by one.
He feared bone injury since no blood could be seen on the outside. Zhao Chengjun’s palm was wide and was able to completely encircle her arm through her clothes. Zhao Chengjun checked along her two arms and heaved a sigh of relief.
Fortunately, there was no fracture or dislocation. Zhao Chengjun was going to check Tang Shishi’s leg next. Tang Shishi finally regained her sense and quickly stopped Zhao Chengjun’s hand.
“Wangye, what are you doing?”
“Don’t make trouble.” Zhao Chengjun usually talked to her with a smile or a joke in his eyes, but this time he had a calm face and spoke imposingly and callously. Tang Shishi just found out that Zhao Chengjun had toned it down even when he scolded her fiercely before.
This was what he really looked like when he got serious about something.
Tang Shishi was frightened and shrank back. The tears in her eyes became more and more uncontrollable. Zhao Chengjun was so angry and helpless to see that she was crying, “What are you crying for?”
“I fell down, and you’re still angry at me.”
“No.” Zhao Chengjun sighed helplessly, “I’m just checking the bones for you. You may not know the dangers of broken bones. Once the bones are misplaced, you can’t move and have to be picked up immediately, or else there will be endless disasters.”
“I’m fine.” Tang Shishi felt that she had taken back control of her body. She struggled to free her arm and said, “I’m fine. I can stand up.”
Zhao Chengjun held her shoulder and said calmly, “Don’t fool around.”
“I’m not fooling around.” Tang Shishi glanced back quickly. The guards stood far away and lowered their eyes tactfully. However, this did not mean that they could not hear. Tang Shishi lowered her voice and said softly to Zhao Chengjun, “Improper for men and women to touch each other. I think you’re just fooling around. Let me get up.”