IBTBTED Chapter 64
It’s Better to be the Empress Dowager
Chapter 64 Prostitute
This gust of wind came hurriedly and quickly. Tang Shishi was holding her skirt and ran out quickly as fast as possible. The corners of her long skirt were blown away by the wind, like a butterfly in a rain shower, which could be knocked over by the wind at any time.
Tang Shishi did not care whether she would be seen by Feng Qian or be suspected. She did not even care what she would do next. She came in the carriage of the mansion and now, Lu Yufei was still watching the dragon boats upstairs. She was a lonely weak woman, how could she return to the city by herself?
Tang Shishi stumbled to the parking location and panted for air while supporting herself on a tree. The road ahead was the public road. However, she could not just walk out like this, or look for the mansion’s carriage. For one thing, Tang Shishi could not explain it, and second, there was a Granny Wu’s person among the coachmen.
How should Tang Shishi justify herself if she bumped into someone by chance? When Tang Shishi was in a dilemma, she saw a carriage coming from the gravel road. Through the swaying curtain, she could vaguely see a young woman in dark green clothes.
Green clothes and went home in the middle… Tang Shishi suddenly remembered who she was and had a flash of inspiration. This was the young lady she saw who was splashed with water in Wangjiang Pavilion!
Tang Shishi immediately ran out and waved to the carriage, “Miss, please stop. I have something to say.”
The coachman frantically shouted at his horse when he saw a person rushed out on the road. The carriage jolted hard. The young lady in green clothes was already in a bad mood and then was bumped into the carriage, she was annoyed when she lifted the curtain, “What’s the matter?”
“Miss, someone is blocking the road up ahead.”
The young lady in green clothes was surprised and looked ahead. Tang Shishi took out her waist token and said, “I’m from the Jing Wang mansion. I’m sorry to bother you. But I have something important to go back to the city. Can I join your carriage?”
The young lady in green clothes was completely stunned when she heard the three words “Jing Wang Mansion”. Her maid seemed to be inexperienced. She panicked and asked anxiously, “Miss, what should we do?”
Tang Shishi knew that none of these three, master and servants had any idea. She had to be tough enough to get them to agree to help her. Tang Shishi put away her waist token and continued, “The dragon boat race has not yet started and you’re already going home. I assumed you have suffered some grievances at the banquet. I am not talented but fortunately, I can speak in front of Wangye. It will be a great help if you take me back to the city. I am very grateful and willing to repay you in the future.”
When the young lady in green clothes saw Tang Shishi’s extraordinary manner and beautiful appearance, she had already believed her eight points. When she heard that she was Jing Wang’s people, without any hesitation, the young lady in green clothes quickly pushed aside the curtain and said, “I see. Gugu, please come in.”
The young lady in green clothes mistook Tang Shishi for the housekeeper’s gugu. Tang Shishi also did not correct her. She bent her knees and greeted them, and then quickly got on the carriage by lifting her skirt, “Miss, thank you. I don’t know how to address you?”
“My family name is Qiao, called Si. Gugu can call me Miss Qiao Si.”
The family name was Qiao? Tang Shishi had no impression of any official with the family name Qiao. It seemed her expectation was true. This young lady’s family background was indeed very ordinary, that was why she was humiliated by a group of official’s young ladies in front of everyone. Tang Shishi just smiled, did not ask much, and said, “It turns out that you’re Miss Qiao Si, nice to meet. My family name is Tang. Miss can call me Shishi.”
“I dare not.” Miss Qiao Si quickly waved her hand, somewhat timidly shrunk to the side, and said, “Tang Gugu, you are in a hurry to return to the city. Is there anything important?”
“I can’t say it’s important, but there’s one urgent matter.” Tang Shishi looked at the sky outside the carriage, her eyebrows could not hide her anxiety, “Miss Qiao Si, can the carriage go a bit faster? I’m in a hurry.”
Looking from a distance just now, Miss Qiao Si felt that Tang Shishi was remarkably beautiful. Now that she was in the same carriage with her, Miss Qiao Si could clearly see Tang Shishi’s eyebrows, eyelashes, neck, and wrists and she was almost dumbfounded. After being urged by Tang Shishi, Miss Qiao Si was as if woken up from a dream and hurriedly urged the coachman, “Uncle Ma, hurry up and don’t delay Gugu’s matter.”
The Qiao family’s carriage was totally incomparable to the mansion’s carriage. The space in the carriage was already narrow and now, their knees collided with each other when three people crowded together as they travel. Miss Qiao Si and her maid huddled on the side, carefully avoiding Tang Shishi. Their expressions were like looking at a manifestation of an immortal.
Miss Qiao Si was in a trance along the way. Good gracious! Was this the Jing Wang mansion? Just a housekeeper gugu had such a celestial appearance, then what would Jing Wang look like?
Miss Qiao Si originally envied those officials’ young ladies, but now she suddenly felt that the young ladies from the Xu family, Zhao family, and even the Lu family were nothing but that. Compared with the one in front of her, those young ladies who boast of being beautiful were just conceited, like a firefly.
This was the real beauty that could compete with the sun and the moon. The others were just rotten wood.
Tang Shishi noticed that Miss Qiao Si was secretly looking at her. Tang Shishi was used to being noticed. Since there was no evil intention in those eyes, Tang Shishi let her be. The coachman got the order and drove the horse as fast as possible all the way and Xiping city was getting closer and closer. It was unknown whether Tang Shishi was too anxious or not, she felt that she was getting hotter and hotter, and was a little restless.
Tang Shishi touched her cheeks, and her face was already red hot. Tang Shishi wondered if she ran too fast today, sweated, and blew by the wind, so she got a cold?
Seeing Tang Shishi’s movements, Miss Qiao Si asked politely, “Tang Gugu, what’s the matter with you? Are you feeling uncomfortable?”
Tang Shishi shook her head and said, “Nothing. I’m just too anxious.”
The coachman outside heard what they said and said, “Gugu, the city gate is right ahead, but looking at the weather, I’m afraid it’s going to rain.”
As soon as the coachman finished speaking, there was a rumbling in the sky, and rain started to fall. The raindrops became heavier and heavier, and soon it began to rain like cats and dogs.
“Such a heavy rain.” The coachman avoided the road ahead and complained, “Looking at the thickness of the clouds, I’m afraid it’s probably going to rain for a while. Fortunately, Sister Si came out early, otherwise, you would be trapped in the Wangjiang Pavilion.”
Miss Qiao Si did not like others to mention what happened earlier. However, looking at the rain outside, she felt that Uncle Ma was right. Uncle Ma drove the horse towards the Jing Wang mansion and joked, “This old man has been rolling on the street all his life and has never touched the door of the official mansion. I didn’t expect to come across the official mansion this time and see the Jing Wang mansion directly. Oh, this is incredible.”
Miss Qiao Si was embarrassed and scolded Uncle Ma angrily, “Uncle Ma, don’t talk about it anymore! Gugu is here.”
It could be seen that the master and servants of this family had very strong sentiments, but Tang Shishi’s mind was getting increasingly confused, and there was no time to think about the things around her. The heavy rain raised a layer of white fog on the street, like the milky way pouring down. Uncle Ma stopped the carriage at the foot of the mansion wall and asked, “Tang Gugu, I don’t understand the prince’s mansion arrangement. So, I don’t know where you’ll get off. Gugu, where do you want to stop?”
Tang Shishi was unable to recognize the road. She did not know where her brute force came from. She suddenly jumped out of the carriage and rushed into the rain without hesitation, “Here is good. Thank you very much. I will send you a gift of thanks in the future.”
The three master and servants in the back were startled. Miss Qiao Si hurriedly shouted, “Gugu, it’s raining outside. Why did you run out directly? Gugu, wait a minute. I’ll buy an umbrella from across the street.”
“No need.” As they spoke, Tang Shishi had already run far away. Her slender body was fluttering in the rain, like a petal falling into the ocean, and could not be seen in an instant. The rain was pouring on Tang Shishi’s face causing her impulse to recede, and her reasoning and thinking returned to her body. Tang Shishi thought she was crazy. She was doing something she could not understand.
Obviously, she was selfish, loved leisure and hated work, greedy for vanity, and did not have any praiseworthy virtues. She despised women who were desperate for love, and yet she was keen to obtain benefits from men. She had always felt that this was the only way for women to survive in this world where men were superior to women and patriarchy was above all else.
Used him, confused him, manipulated him, but never loved them. Having sleepless nights, being suspicious and jealous, and even sacrificing oneself for a man was really stupid beyond redemption.
But now, she was doing what she despised the most. Tang Shishi was knocking on the gatekeeper and despite everyone’s shocking expression, she flew towards the study room all the way under the heavy downpour. She knew that he must be there if she could catch up to him.
Tang Shishi braved the rain to push open the courtyard gate of the outer study room. She was completely drenched, and the rain dripped down her hair. Tang Shishi looked at the deserted courtyard and her heart sank.
She came late. He had already left.
Tang Shishi stood at the gateway and did not move for a long time. The wind blew through the hall. Tang Shishi only felt cold. She held the corridor pillar beside her and felt dizzy at the moment. Tang Shishi leaned her forehead against the pillar. In a daze, she vaguely heard a door open.
Tang Shishi turned around and saw that the study room door was pushed open. A man stood behind the mighty rain with an umbrella, “Why are you here?”
Tang Shishi stared at him blankly. She felt that she had been under by the rain too much, and the rain seemed to have entered her brain. She actually saw Zhao Chengjun.
This was amazing. The illusion passed through the rain, stopped in front of Tang Shishi, and reached out his hand to Tang Shishi’s forehead. Her forehead was covered with warm and dry heat. Tang Shishi could even feel the calluses in the other person’s palm. Tang Shishi suddenly trembled and realized that this was not an illusion.
This was really Zhao Chengjun.
Tang Shishi was startled, instinctively retreated, and almost fell down the steps. Zhao Chengjun pulled her arm, and because of this action, the umbrella tilted to the side, and both of them were covered in rain. Zhao Chengjun pulled her back, steadied her, and sighed helplessly, “It doesn’t matter if you can’t distinguish between good and bad, can’t you even take care of yourself?”
Tang Shishi stared at Zhao Chengjun and blinked gently. A drop of water could not bear its burden and fell from her eyelashes. Tang Shishi finally regained her sense, and said in a low hoarse voice, “You haven’t left?”
Zhao Chengjun raised his eyebrows in surprise. He looked at her clothes and somewhat understood what was going on. Zhao Chengjun took off his robe and covered her body, “Not yet. Come in first then talk. You can’t withstand the rain. You can’t stand outside like this.”
Zhao Chengjun took the umbrella. After he took two steps, he did not see Tang Shishi move, so he turned back to pull her along. Both of them walked back to the main room through the downpour. After entering the door, Zhao Chengjun stood with his umbrella by the door. Regardless of the rain on his body, he said to Tang Shishi, “Change your clothes first. I’ll have someone send the ginger tea over.”
Tang Shishi held the completely unfit robe with both hands, and water was still dripping from her hair. She did not move at all, and still looked at Zhao Chengjun persistently, “Why didn’t you leave? Since you haven’t left, why is there no one in the courtyard…”
It could be seen that she would not let matters rest without asking the reason why today. Zhao Chengjun took a piece of dry cloth from the shelf and put it on Tang Shishi’s head. He said, “It’s raining today, so it’s not suitable for marching and the expedition was naturally postponed. As for the people outside, I told them to withdraw.”
Zhao Chengjun wiped off the water from Tang Shishi’s hair a little by little. His voice was neither too fast nor too slow, like a lurking cheetah, approaching his prey gracefully and slowly, “What about you? What are you doing back here when you’re not watching the dragon boat at Wangjiang Pavilion?”
Tang Shishi’s confused mind finally woke up. She lowered her eyelashes, which cast a cluster of light gray shadows on her skin. She was silent for a long time and whispered, “Nothing.”
After speaking, she let go of Zhao Chengjun’s clothes and turned around to go out. Zhao Chengjun lowered his eyes, looked at her deeply, and also let her go. Unexpectedly, after Tang Shishi took two steps, her body suddenly leaned to one side, and then she fell to the ground softly.
She fell unexpectedly. Zhao Chengjun was shocked and quickly stepped forward to catch her. He only touched her forehead just now, and when he hugged her whole body now, only then did Zhao Chengjun discover that Tang Shishi was abnormally hot.
Zhao Chengjun’s complexion suddenly sank, and he asked sharply, “What’s wrong with you?”
Tang Shishi was also surprised. She wanted to push Zhao Chengjun’s hand away but found that she had no energy at all. Her body resembled a feather falling into the fire, floating and hot as if she was going to fall at any time.
This was not right. Even if Tang Shishi had no experience, she knew that her current state was definitely not a reaction after being caught in the rain. She was weak all over, short of breath, and she suddenly thought of something.
“Feng Qian… that cup of tea…” Tang Shishi murmured in a quick feeble voice, “It’s her. She put something in that cup of tea!”
Feng Qian stood under the eaves with her hands held together, looking blankly at the boundless downpour.
“Where is she?”
Behind her, there was a man of short stature with a wretched demeanor and scars on his face, “I also don’t know. I followed her according to your instructions, but she disappeared in a blink of an eye after she left the Wangjiang Pavilion. During this period, I searched everywhere, all the corners inside and out, even turning over the bushes, and she was nowhere to be seen.”
When the man finished speaking, he could not help muttering, “Miss Feng, I’ve done everything according to your request. You wouldn’t deceive me, right?”
“Useless!” Feng Qian was furious. Although she had always been weak, even though her expression was delicate, unexpectedly she would have such a big change in her expression. Feng Qian’s chest heaved violently, and she cursed, “You are a useless person who can’t do anything right. You can even lose a woman who has been drugged and you still dare to blame me instead?”
The man was embarrassed after being scolded. He rubbed his face and said, “What should I do then? It’s raining now, and it’s getting harder to find her.”
Feng Qian took a deep breath. After her breath calmed down, the weak and intelligent Miss Feng also returned. Feng Qian thought for a while and said with certainty, “She was drugged and can’t run away. Wangjiang Pavilion is so crowded today. If she’s not outside, then she must be in some man’s private room. Take advantage of the rain now, you go quickly and leave Xiping city with the money immediately. Don’t come back so soon. Afterward, I and you will be like complete strangers. Of course, you’d better not show up in front of me again.”
The man was reluctant. He had spent a lot of effort just to touch a beautiful woman and taste what Wangye’s woman was like. Now he did not get anything and was told to leave his hometown to hide. The man was very unhappy.
He looked at Feng Qian’s slim waist which was barely concealed, showing a greedy look. Feng Qian noticed his gaze and avoided it disgustingly, “You have the guts, you want to die? I am a noblewoman from the Jing Wang mansion and a trusted aide of Empress Dowager. Don’t look at me with your disgusting eyes. Believe it or not, I just need to shout, and you’ll have a tragic end today. Get out of here!”
Feng Qian suddenly became violent. The man was scared and scrambled outward, “I got it. It’s truly bad luck to have such a short-lived fate that is so fierce… “
Feng Qian was very angry and coughed repeatedly. She covered her handkerchief so hard that she was having a hard time stopping coughing. She slowly put her hand down and saw a few drops of blood coagulating on her handkerchief.
Feng Qian’s pupils shrank, and her fingers trembled. She held the handkerchief tightly and because she exerted too much force, her knuckles showed an abnormal blue-green color.
“Tang Shishi…” Feng Qian said one word at a time. Her weak voice contained infinite ruthlessness, “A jade maiden who has touched the drug will go crazy like a lustful prostitute. I don’t believe you can endure it. I’d like to see who can save you this time.”