It’s Better to be the Empress Dowager
Chapter 61 Compromise
Tang Shishi’s forehead was cold. When Zhao Chengjun put his hand on her forehead, it seemed that his skin was even colder than her skin, and Tang Shishi shivered secretly.
In a moment of desperation, Tang Shishi almost bit her tongue, “Wangye, why are you here? Where is Dujuan? Why don’t they know how to notify?”
Dujuan and others stood behind, with a bitter expression on their faces, and could not say anything. Tang Shishi also knew that this kind of matter could not blame on Dujuan. They were just the maids who served others and their lives were in the hands of Zhao Chengjun. So how could they dare to confront Zhao Chengjun?
Tang Shishi was grateful again that she had destroyed the evidence. She quickly recovered her expression and pretended to be calm, and then lead Zhao Chengjun inside, “Wangye, please come in. I was resting in the room just now. I was not aware of Wangye’s arrival. I’m negligent, please forgive me.”
Zhao Chengjun just smiled, seemingly not suspicious of Tang Shishi’s rhetoric. After he entered the room, he glanced randomly and said, “I heard that Ji Xinxian invited you and Ren Yujun to a small banquet today. Are you unhappy with them? Why did you come back early?”
Zhao Chengjun’s voice was calm and sounded extremely gentle, but every word seemed to carry a ton of pressure. If she were careless, she would be crushed to powder. Tang Shishi smiled and said, “I don’t think it’s interesting, so I left early.”
Zhao Chengjun looked deeply at Tang Shishi, then turned around and walked towards the next room. Tang Shishi was startled for a moment and followed at once.
Zhao Chengjun looked at the things on the duobao pavilion casually and said slowly, “I heard the maid who delivered wine to Zhao Zixun said that you were dizzy on the way and can’t standstill. Such an important thing, the people who serve you didn’t even know?”
Dujuan and others were frightened. They all knelt down, and their faces even turned pale, “Wangye…”
Zhao Chengjun just raised his finger, Dujuan did not dare to continue to explain. Tang Shishi was a little panicked, she forced herself to calm down, and said, “Wangye, dizziness only appears occasionally. It’s not a big deal. I didn’t let them invite an imperial physician. If you want to blame, please blame on me.”
“You got it right. Am I that reluctant to punish you?” Zhao Chengjun paced slowly in the room. He seemed to see something at the corner of his eyes and walked towards the nook. “Sure enough, you’re the jewel from young, indeed confident.”
When Tang Shishi saw his movements, her hands and feet were cold, and her color faded. She finally knew what Zhao Chengjun was looking at in the duobao pavilion just now. He was looking for the evidence hidden by Tang Shishi.
Zhao Chengjun walked to the brass beast head incense burner in the nook, lifted the engraved burner lid, and picked up the ashes with the incense stick. He smiled lightly when he saw the ashes with distinct colors inside.
Tang Shishi was like falling into the ice cellar, her mind buzzed, and the whole person could not respond. Dujuan was afraid that Zhao Chengjun would really punish Tang Shishi, so she hurriedly took two steps on her knees and kowtowed, “Wangye, the young lady has been recuperating recently. I don’t know what is right or wrong. I did not serve with my best and had misled the young lady. Wangye, please examine clearly and don’t punish young lady. All the mistakes were my fault.”
Zhao Chengjun threw the incense stick back to its original position and said faintly, “Oh? Deceiving the superior and subordinate, knowing but not reporting, these two crimes alone are enough to die.”
Tang Shishi was shocked and looked up at Zhao Chengjun disbelievingly, “Wangye!”
Dujuan’s face turned white instantly. When Tang Shishi saw Zhao Chengjun’s expression, she was like being struck by lightning, and her mind instantly became clear-headed.
She knew that Zhao Chengjun was not joking, and what he said was true. Tang Shishi was panic-stricken, immediately lifted her skirt and knelt down, “Wangye, one must bear the consequences of one action. I did something wrong, you should punish… “
“Enough.” Zhao Chengjun’s voice was not loud, but he stopped the two in an instant. Zhao Chengjun was expressionless, “Let her say it.”
Dujuan pursed her mouth. She looked at Tang Shishi, her eyes were unable to hide her anxiety. Tang Shishi suddenly felt that this scene was awfully familiar. Zhao Chengjun was like this when Zhao Zixun wanted to save Zhou Shunhua in front of many guests.
He did not say a word to Zhao Zixun, he just said cane Zhou Shunhua to death. In the end, Zhao Zixun had to bow his head, no matter how hard his bones were, and conscientiously follow the path expected by Zhao Chengjun.
Now, this person has been replaced by her. Of course, she could die without admitting it, but in that case, Dujuan and the other maids who served her could not escape death. In the future, even if there were new maids, who would dare to have a heart-to-heart with Tang Shishi?
Tang Shishi knelt on the ground. For a moment, she did not know what was going on, as if she had lost all her body senses. Zhao Chengjun looked at Tang Shishi calmly and said, “No hurry, take your time. You all go outside and kneel.”
The latter sentence was for Dujuan and others. Dujuan bit her lips anxiously and wanted to say something, but she was dragged away with her mouth covered by other maids.
The door closed softly. When the wooden door closed, it made a click sound. Tang Shishi seemed to be awakened by that sound. Suddenly, her nose was sour, and tears welled up in her eyes.
When Zhao Chengjun saw her tears, he was so angry that he laughed, “Outstanding, even know how to use tears as a weapon? I might as well tell you that no matter what you do this time it’s useless.”
Tang Shishi’s tears trickled down her cheeks just like broken beads, but she could not help it. Tang Shishi choked with sobs and said, “People die for money and birds die for food. I only want to live a little better life. Is it wrong?”
Actually, she could self-righteously ask herself if she was wrong. Zhao Chengjun was so angry that he laughed and nodded, “Well, you are really fantastic. What I told you before, you did not take it seriously at all. Where do you put me and where do you put yourself when you acted in this way? What are you dissatisfied with that can make you belittle yourself like this?”
“Do you think I am willing?” Tang Shishi’s grievance burst out like a collapsed dam, and her tears became increasingly uncontrollable, “If one can be the mistress of the house, which woman in the world would be willing to be a concubine? I am different from Zhou Shunhua and Lu Yufei. I never have a way back.”
“As I said before, you don’t need to do anything. Just recuperate with ease is already good…”
Before Zhao Chengjun could finish, he was interrupted by Tang Shishi, “I can really live a smooth and stable life now, but how about after Wangfei enters the mansion? I am the only woman who has ever held a position in the outside study room, and, I was sent from the Imperial Palace. How can Wangfei possibly let me go? Wangye, you are from an imperial descendant and Wangfei regards you as the sky. Naturally, you don’t understand the struggle of lower-class women. On the contrary, you think they do not have enough backbone. I actually wanted to despise it and want to be a noble person with a backbone, but do I deserve it?”
Zhao Chengjun had repeatedly interrupted others’ long speeches because of impatience. Now, it was his turn to be interrupted. Zhao Chengjun endured it. When he heard what Tang Shishi said later, he frowned with surprise and was shocked, “What are you talking about? What Wangfei?”
“It has been spread all over Xiping city that Wangye wants to marry the second young lady of the Xi family as Wangfei.” Tang Shishi said with a wry smile and asked, “Wangye, I know it’s bad to say your beloved like this. But Wangye, to be honest, do you think second young lady Xi can tolerate me?”
Zhao Chengjun was silent for a long time. He was used to making plans first and acting later. It was extremely dangerous to be seen by others before the major event was completed. Therefore, Zhao Chengjun was used to burying everything in his heart without saying it or clarifying it. Zhao Chengjun naturally knew that Madam Xi and Xi Yunchu misunderstood him, but this kind of thing was not something that he could explain clearly and make people understand. The Xi family did not say they wanted to marry their daughter to him and Zhao Chengjun would not take the initiative to clarify the matter. Moreover, he also needed time to protect the person he really liked.
Zhao Chengjun could only let it be. In fact, he felt that anyone who understood him a little bit knew that this rumor was beyond absurd. He said time and again in front of Madam Xi and Xi Yunchu that he had no intention of marrying. Could he even contradict himself and slap himself in the face?
Everyone on the street was just listening to the rumors and following what others had said. He did not expect that even Tang Shishi would believe it and even seemed unwavering. Zhao Chengjun was angry at the same time he felt funny. He flicked his fingers on Tang Shishi hard and hated that iron could not become steel*, “Look at your brain. I presumed you have never used it.”
(hated that iron could not become steel* – set high demand on someone in the hope that the person will improve)
Zhao Chengjun was truly angry and did not restrain his strength. Tang Shishi was in great pain. She covered her forehead with tears rolling down her face, and then streams of tears flowed uncontrollably.
“I haven’t done anything yet. What are you crying for?” Zhao Chengjun scolded angrily. When he saw that Tang Shishi could not stop crying, he could no longer endure it and said, “Get up. Wipe away your tears.”
Tang Shishi stood up, obviously felt wronged, and also dared not disobey Zhao Chengjun’s words. She could only wipe her eyes while crying. Zhao Chengjun was so annoyed that he looked away and asked coldly, “Where did the drug come from?”
Zhao Chengjun knew it very well since this was his mansion. With Tang Shishi’s ability, it was impossible for her to come in contact with this kind of thing.
Tang Shishi’s heart trembled. She was so scared that she cried even more. Zhao Chengjun looked at her coldly and pressured her indirectly, “Still don’t want to tell?”
Tang Shishi knelt down and kept shaking her head, without saying a word but silently shedding tears. Her eyes were round and charming. When she was tearing, the tears were sparkling. Zhao Chengjun looked down at her and found that she was indeed extremely beautiful with this kind of appearance, half tilted down her face and cried silently.
He clearly knew that this beautiful snake would most likely pretend to be pitiful to buy innocent, but he still could not bear to disentangle every time he saw it.
Tang Shishi lowered her head to the perfect angle. She knew that she was the most beautiful from this angle. Her mother once said that when she looked down like this, even a woman could not help but want to agree to all of Tang Shishi’s requests, let alone a man? Therefore, Lin Wanxi was very worried about Qi Jingsheng’s future. She felt that Qi Jingsheng was honest and sincere. He has been immersed in books all year round, and even his temperament has become simple. Once he encountered a beautiful woman like Tang Shishi, who relied on beauty to commit crimes, was not it impossible to resist and be squeezed to death?
Tang Shishi was dismissive at the beginning, and she has never spoken for men. Who made men in the world love beautiful people? Since they like it, then meeting a beautiful woman and being driven by a woman’s manipulation, was not it what they deserve? If they did not have the abilities, then do not covet beauty.
The two had tacitly agreed that Tang Shishi had given Zhao Zixun the drug. Tang Shishi was not afraid of being punished, but she dared not expose Granny Wu. Once these people were implicated, her family would be finished.
Tang Shishi could not say it, but she also could not offend Jing Wang. So she had to use her own unique weapon to force Jing Wang to be softhearted with her. This trick used to be successful in every endeavor, but this time, Tang Shishi cried for a long time and did not get any response. Tang Shishi gradually became panicked. She knew that Zhao Chengjun had been looking at her all along with those heavy and unpredictable eyes. Tang Shishi even doubted whether her beauty weapon had failed. Could it be that the beauty trick only worked for stupid men?
Just as when Tang Shishi was feeling restless, Zhao Chengjun moved. He seemed to sigh and said softly, “You don’t trust me. You’re not willing to trust me either.”
Tang Shishi said that Zhao Chengjun’s words were really unreasonable. He was the prince and held the power of military and political affairs. Of course, he hoped everyone around him would be honest with him. However, the problem was apart from being honest, Tang Shishi wanted to survive.
She wanted to survive in the hands of the future Jing Wangfei in the Jing Wang mansion, and even more so in the hands of Empress Dowager. There were too many things she has to worry about, she could not stand any risks. Moreover, it was not just her life that she was carrying.
Tang Shishi lowered her eyes and did not speak. Zhao Chengjun was not surprised. He could even guess what Tang Shishi was thinking now.
Zhao Chengjun came here in anger. At this moment, what should be said already said and also what should be warned already warned. Somehow, he did not feel any happiness. Love was really a very unreasonable thing. It allowed him to contemplate more using both soft and hard means. On the contrary, when she did not like it, she just did not like it.
Tang Shishi liked her former husband-to-be. Even if the two were separated, she would empathize with Zhao Zixun, who was similar in age and temperament. Obviously, she had been surpassed so many times, but she was still desperate for him.
If it were not driven by love, Tang Shishi could not fail to see through such a clear situation. Since she was vain and competitive, she should have seen it early that following Zhao Chengjun was far more rewarding than following Zhao Zixun.
But she did not. Apart from love, Zhao Chengjun could not think of any other explanation.
Zhao Chengjun could force her to give up Zhao Zixun, and even now he could let Tang Shishi have no other choice. However, what was the use to get her body but not her heart.
Zhao Chengjun finally sighed a long sigh. Forget it, she was not meant to be his. It would be fruitless to force her to stay. It was better to take a step back and at least leave both sides with dignity.
Zhao Chengjun said, “Get up. Don’t cry anymore. No matter who the Wangfei is in the future, I won’t let her offend you. Although I’m not going to promise you anything, I still dare to say these things. You can rest assured. Don’t have any more ideas and just stay in the room to recuperate properly. Don’t go out until you figure out where the drug comes from.”
Tang Shishi’s eyelashes were filled with tears. She knew that she had passed this round, and Zhao Chengjun finally compromised. But this time, she did not feel any sense of ease.
Although Zhao Chengjun was cruel and merciless, he was a man of great promise. He said that he would not let Xi Yunchu hurt her, then he could really do it.
Tang Shishi did not know what she was thinking and asked, “Wangye, when will you and Wangfei get married?”
“It’s hard to say.” Zhao Chengjun lifted his clothes and walked outside the door. Tang Shishi did not know whether or not it was her hallucination that she vaguely heard Zhao Chengjun say, “There’ll be no more Wangfei.”
The voice was so soft that Tang Shishi almost thought what she heard was an illusion. She was slightly startled. Just as she was about to ask Zhao Chengjun why there would be no more Wangfei, he opened the door and went out without any reluctance.
Tang Shishi stood where she was. The light outside the door shone on her face, making her eyes black and white, like crystal jade. Outside the room, the spring scenery was vivid with all the colors of springs, and the wind was mixed with the fragrance of pollen. Zhao Chengjun strode away with his back to this spring scenery.
Tang Shishi was suddenly in a trance and even had an urge to chase after him. Tang family, Empress Dowager Yao, male and female leads, the plot, and all the schemes were not important anymore.
She just took a step and stopped quietly. Tang Shishi lowered her head in self-mockery. What was she thinking, was she crazy? That was Jing Wang.