IBTBTED Chapter 58
It’s Better to be the Empress Dowager
Chapter 58 Emotional Health
Tang Shishi sat on the arhat couch in a daze with her wet hair pressed against her clothes and soon wet her shoulders and back. But Tang Shishi did not notice it.
Since Tang Shishi learned about the plot, she had been unwilling to be reconciled with the ending of her death. She had been fighting hard for the plot and the female lead’s highlight. But in fact, she did not grab anything, instead, she pushed the male lead farther and farther away. Now, she even missed her original plot.
Tang Shishi was so flustered that her fingers began to shake. Tang Shishi kept comforting herself constantly that it did not matter. This was just the first exceedingly small derailment and would not affect the overall situation. The plot would be restored soon.
But there was another voice in Tang Shishi’s heart. The voice echoed in her ear without any reason.
It would not.
This book was called “Biography of Shunhua,” and what really mattered was the plot of Zhou Shunhua. As long as the feelings between Zhou Shunhua and Zhao Zixun did not go haywire, which beauty Lu Yufei supported, in the end, would not affect the overall direction.
Zhou Shunhua was gone, but Zhao Zixun still treated Lu Yufei indifferently. So, Lu Yufei urgently needed someone to compete for favor for her. In the plot, Lu Yufei chose Tang Shishi because Tang Shishi was beautiful enough. No man could stand such beauty in the backyard. As long as Zhao Zixun favored Tang Shishi, he received Lu Yufei’s goodwill. After a long time, Zhao Zixun could no longer be indifferent to Lu Yufei.
Originally Tang Shishi was the best candidate, but now Lu Yufei did not know what she was afraid of. Instead of choosing Tang Shishi, she requested Jing Wang for Ji Xinxian. In a sense, Ji Xinxian was of the same type as Tang Shishi, beautiful, flamboyant, and brainless. Although she was far less gorgeous than Tang Shishi and with poor results in enticing men, other than that, the difference was not big.
Tang Shishi sat on the couch for a long time without moving, her fingers were getting colder and colder. She wanted to replace the female lead, but unexpectedly, she was replaced by Ji Xinxian earlier.
Tang Shishi supported her forehead, her whole body seemed to be drawn out of strength and seemed to lose all her energy.
The next day, Dujuan cheerfully called Tang Shishi to get up, but she waited outside for a long time, and there was no movement behind the bed curtain. Dujuan felt strange and walked to the bedside softly and asked, “Miss, it’s time to get up. Otherwise, you’ll be late to go to the study room.”
Previously Tang Shishi was most afraid of being late but this time, even after Dujuan called several times, Tang Shishi did not move at all. Dujuan was worried and lifted the bed curtain at once, “Miss?”
Behind the bed curtain, Tang Shishi was lying down with her back facing her. Her black hair was loose with her eyes closed and half of her face was buried in the quilt. She looked beautiful and fragile. Dujuan lowered her voice and asked gently, “Miss, what’s the matter with you?”
Tang Shishi buried her face in the quilt without opening her eyes and said, “I’m not feeling well. Go to the study room and ask for leave. I won’t go today.”
Dujuan was scared, hurriedly sat down at the bedside, and asked urgently, “Miss, where are you uncomfortable? Was it the wind last night? I’ll call the imperial physician immediately.”
Dujuan stood up and was about to run out in a hurry, but Tang Shishi called out softly, “Don’t bother. You all go out and leave me alone.”
Dujuan was about to speak but said nothing. She felt that there was something wrong with Tang Shishi today by looking at her pale face. Thus, Dujuan dared not say any more for fear of upsetting her. Dujuan placed the hot water on the tables next to the bed, lowered the curtains, and withdrew quietly.
Dujuan walked outside, winked at the maids, and signaled to them all to come out. All the maids came out without knowing why, and asked, “Sister Dujuan, what’s the matter?”
“Miss is in a bad mood today.” Dujuan sighed and said, “Tumi, your legs are fast, go to the study room quickly to tell Liu Gonggong that Miss is not coming today.”
Tang Shishi had been lying on the bed for a long time. She was not sleepy anymore, even if she closed her eyes, she could not fall asleep. Despite all this, she also did not want to move.
Tang Shishi was stuck in a soft brocade quilt as if lying in the clouds, light as a feather without putting much effort. Tang Shishi closed her eyes and kept thinking about what she had done in recent years.
She was high-spirited, unwilling to be resigned, and would always strive to advance bravely enthusiastically. No matter how many setbacks she encountered, she would change her direction and be optimistic again. In the past, Tang Shishi made many mistakes repeatedly and also made several near-fatal mistakes. However, Tang Shishi had been comforting herself that it did not matter as the plot has not unfolded yet. She could definitely change her fate when she seized the key moment.
However, last night was a big blow to her because the plot belonging to her had unfolded. However, due to the early events of Tang Shishi’s wrong choices, the causal effects of one after another event made her completely derailed from the plot.
She lost the opportunity to be established as a concubine. Similarly, she also lost a series of opportunities such as being favored and fighting in the Imperial Palace in the future. Although she had a bad ending in the original book, after all, she climbed into the imperial concubine position, and also had the dignity of being the most greatly favored. Now, she did not even have an opportunity to become an imperial concubine.
Her ambition, her desire, and her dream of getting ahead of others, all came to naught.
Tang Shishi buried her face in the pillow and tears spilled over the sides of her eyes. She had not cried for a long time. She did not cry even though she was plotted to enter the imperial palace, Tang Yanyan robbed her marriage, and was trapped and bullied by the imperial palace people.
This cry was like unlocking the gate, and the tears spilled out of control. Tang Shishi was crying so hard that she could not control herself. All of the sudden, a sound of footsteps came from outside, and then the door was pushed open.
Even though no one announced at the doorway, Tang Shishi was able to recognize his footsteps at once.
Tang Shishi was stunned, even the tears stopped. How could he come here? At this time, he should be in a meeting with the local officials.
However, the sound of footsteps had stopped outside the bed curtain. He stopped, and did not open the curtain hastily, “What’s the matter with you?”
Tang Shishi’s face was still wet with tears. She blinked her eyes and could not control her tears for some reason, “Wangye?”
Zhao Chengjun sighed faintly. He really could not do anything with her and could only sit by the bedside, ignoring etiquette, and reached out to lift the curtain, “It’s me. Why are you crying?”
Tang Shishi’s tears hung on her face and did not know how to deal with this situation. Why was Zhao Chengjun here? This was her boudoir… No, she was not dressed yet!
Tang Shishi only wore her inner clothes, which was very inappropriate to see anyone, plus Zhao Chengjun was still a man. Half of Tang Shishi’s body was stiff, and she gripped the quilt tightly like a piece of log, “Wangye, I did not know your arrival. My clothes are disheveled and it’s impolite…”
“No worries.” Zhao Chengjun thought to himself that since he has already shown up here, what etiquette was there to speak of? By now, the boundaries that should be crossed or should not be crossed had already been crossed, and she still wanted to stress about etiquette.
Zhao Chengjun looked at her tensed shoulders and knew that she was nervous. So he raised his eyes to rest on Tang Shishi’s pitch-black hair only without looking at other parts of her body. Previously, he had not noticed her hair before, only now did he realize her hair was extremely long, black, and shiny. Her hair looked beautiful when it was cascading down the bed.
Zhao Chengjun was afraid of frightening her, and lowered his voice, “Don’t worry, Liu Ji is guarding outside. Others don’t know that I’ve been here which won’t affect your reputation.”
Tang Shishi suddenly buried her face in the pillow. Zhao Chengjun sighed slightly and asked, “What’s the matter? Who bullied you?”
Tang Shishi shook her head with her face buried in the pillow and said in a muffled voice, “Nothing. I’m just in a bad mood.”
“Even if you are in a bad mood, you still have to eat.” Zhao Chengjun knew she was in a bad mood and did not expose her. He said, “Get up to eat something first. If you have something to say, say it slowly and should not make life difficult for yourself.”
Tang Shishi was still buried in her pillow motionlessly. Zhao Chengjun patted her head softly and said, “I’ll wait for you outside.”
After he finished speaking, the edge of the bed decompressed, the sound of footsteps gradually faded away, and even the bedroom door was closed.
Tang Shishi waited for a while, slowly getting up from the bed. She was incomprehensible while looking in the direction of the door.
Why? Tang Shishi had self-knowledge. She was only an insignificant person in the study room. If she did not make a sound, perhaps no one would find her missing all morning. She just took a day off, so why would Zhao Chengjun come after her personally?
From the perspective of a man to a woman, when a man was gentle and thoughtful and spoke softly, it must be for intimacy. But just now, when Zhao Chengjun sat at the bedside, his eyes did not look randomly, or his body did not do anything wrong. Instead of taking advantage of Tang Shishi’s bad mood, he calmed her down, took the initiative to withdraw, and even closed the door for her.
She believed she had no talent and no virtue. Her assets on her body were not attractive enough for Zhao Chengjun to see. The only beauty she had seemed to be nothing in Zhao Chengjun’s eyes.
Why did he have to do this?
Tang Shishi changed her clothes gently and walked outside slowly. Outside the bedroom, breakfast had been arranged. When Zhao Chengjun saw her, he seemed to linger on her face for a moment, and then said calmly, “Your maid said you like to eat these. Come and try if it suits your appetite.”
Tang Shishi sat down at the table and looked at the table full of dishes, a little lost. These were indeed what she liked to eat, but it was much more than her regular portion. Tang Shishi picked up the bowl, took a piece of apricot flower cake, and chewed slowly.
Zhao Chengjun sat opposite and waited for her but did not have any intention to move his chopsticks. Zhao Chengjun had already eaten breakfast. He was extremely demanding of himself, apart from three meals a day, he would not easily eat the rest of the time.
After eating a piece, Tang Shishi was a little embarrassed and asked, “Wangye, you still have official duties waiting outside, isn’t it? Sorry to waste your time.”
“If you know it’s a waste of time, take care of yourself as soon as possible.” Zhao Chengjun said, “Since you feel tired, you don’t have to go to the study room. Have a good rest for a while. You don’t have to worry about things outside. Just rest with ease.”
Tang Shishi hung her head and asked, “Why?”
Why was he treating her with such exception?
“Your maid said that you are not doing well. I have to come to take a look at you.” Zhao Chengjun looked at her and sighed lightly, “How come you cry like this?”
Tang Shishi realized that there were tears stains on her face and quickly turned her body to block her face. Zhao Chengjun looked at her inexplicably choked up with emotion like this. She used to keep her face up high, calculating others with confidence and making trouble. But now, with her hair hung down her shoulders, her face was plain and white, her shoulders were slender and weak, and she looked very fragile.
Zhao Chengjun’s heart lit up an indescribable fire. He did not do anything to Tang Shishi. Who dared to make Tang Shishi depressed like this? Zhao Chengjun’s tone towards Tang Shishi became softer and softer. He asked, “What happened?”
Tang Shishi was silent for a while, and shook her head, “It has nothing to do with others. It’s my own problem. Wangye, you are right. I have great ambition with little talents, and I aim too high. My ability is not worthy of my ambition, and I can’t do anything well. I am neither smart nor skilled and yet unwilling to settle down to hone my skills earnestly. I don’t have a likable personality. I always rob others of everything, but I can’t do it well when I get it. After living for so long, no one likes me at all except my mother.”
Tang Shishi could not help crying while saying, “I can’t do anything. How can I help my mother get ahead? I really failed.”
Tang Shishi did not want people to see her ugly appearance when crying. So, she used both hands to cover her face firmly. Zhao Chengjun looked at her for a moment, took her wrist, and slowly lowered her hands covering her face.
Tang Shishi did not want to let go, but Zhao Chengjun’s strength was quite determined. He did not use too much strength, but his grip on her wrist had no room for rejection.
“Will not.” Zhao Chengjun looked at Tang Shishi’s tearful face and said, “You don’t have to be like others, and you don’t have to be perfect all the time. This is you. You don’t have to cater to others. You look good now. Don’t cry, everything has me.”
Zhao Chengjun was not a soft-hearted person. He was used to seeing tears in the Imperial Court. The crying methods of those women were full of tricks, and Zhao Chengjun was able to remain unaffected long ago. If people like Lu Yufei or Zhou Shunhua cried in front of him, Zhao Chengjun would only feel hypocritical and bored. If it were Madam Xu who cried, he would feel that she was stupid enough to deserve it.
However, when this person was replaced by Tang Shishi, Zhao Chengjun could not stand to get it over all at once. Zhao Chengjun did not want to reveal his trump card to Tang Shishi. Women were most proud of themselves for being favored, and Tang Shishi was one of them. Once Tang Shishi knew about his bottom line, she would learn that Zhao Chengjun was being very passive in his pursuit.
Now, however, Zhao Chengjun simply did not care about the concealment at all. Tang Shishi was usually such a noisy type of person, but now she had collapsed, covering her face. She said she could not do anything well and Zhao Chengjun’s heart was crushed instantly.
Forget it, Zhao Chengjun sighed and let her be this time.
Zhao Chengjun stood up, wiped away the tears from the corners of Tang Shishi’s eyes, and said in a faint voice, “Don’t worry, your mother’s affairs will be settled. You can rest with ease, and I’ll come to see you again in a few days.”
Tang Shishi stared at Zhao Chengjun dazed with tears in her eyes. Zhao Chengjun wiped away her tears, gently stroked her hair, and then quickly walked out of the room.
Outside the room, the courtyard was filled with maids that served within the courtyard. Zhao Chengjun closed the door and turned around, his complexion suddenly became gloomy.
The gentle patience towards Tang Shishi just now disappeared in an instant, with practically nothing left. Zhao Chengjun suppressed the trials and hardships in his eyebrows, and asked, “Who did she see yesterday?”
The maids were too scared to even breathe. Finally, Dujuan stepped forward with courage but trembling with fear, “Miss went to Liuyun courtyard yesterday and talked with beauty Ji for a while. When she came out, she met Miss Feng Qian. But Miss was fine when she had dinner last night. I don’t know why she became like this after one night of sleep.”
Ji Xinxian? Zhao Chengjun narrowed his eyes slightly and almost set off a vast area of thunder around him.
Was not Zhao Zixun’s newly accepted concubine? Was her strangeness related to Zhao Zixun again?
After Zhao Chengjun left, Tang Shishi sat in the inner room and did not move for a long time. Zhao Chengjun was not a person with a good temperament. In the past, he used to be unpredictable and moody and always did not have a good countenance when facing her. However, when Tang Shishi was having an emotional breakdown, he was as tolerant and calm as an elder and soothed all Tang Shishi’s inferiority and anxiety calmly.
After all, he was Jing Wang. He had experienced dynasty changes and imperial court turmoils. At the age of fourteen, he established the prince’s mansion on his own and went to battle to kill the enemy. Regardless of intelligence, emotional intelligence, or experience, he was much higher than Tang Shishi.
With such a person by her side, who could resist not admiring him?
Tang Shishi sat in a daze. The breakfast in front of her was cold, and she had no appetite. Tang Shishi smiled bitterly. She ridiculed Zhou Shunhua a few days ago but did not expect that the hesitant person became her so soon.
Once people had feelings, they would hesitate. Tang Shishi closed her eyes firmly, suppressing the throbbing in her heart. There would be no weakness without feelings, and she could not become like Zhou Shunhua.
Tang Shishi repeated it several times in her heart. After she calmed down once more, she opened her eyes and said loudly, “Dujuan, change clothes. I’m going to the garden to relax.”
Tang Shishi wanted to go out to relax. Naturally, the maids had nothing to do with it. Dujuan in a hurried and confused manner changed Tang Shishi’s clothes and tidied up her hair. When Tang Shishi walked to the garden, she sent the maids far away under the pretext of enjoying the flowers alone.
Behind the flower bushes, an honest and unsophisticated old woman was trimming the branches and leaves. The woman moved slowly along the flowers with scissors in her hand, and she just so happened to move to a blind spot behind the rockery.
Tang Shishi stood by the corridor as if looking at the flowers, but her lips moved slightly, “Granny Wu, I need one kind of medicine.”