IBTBTED Chapter 66
It’s Better to be the Empress Dowager
Chapter 66 Expedition
As expected, by the time Lu Yufei returned to the mansion, Zhao Chengjun had already left.
Lu Yufei expressed her guilt repeatedly in front of Lui Ji, “I was negligent. Wangye went on the expedition today, but I didn’t come back in time for such a big matter. I as the Shizifei truly negligent.”
Liu Ji was all smiles, “I don’t blame Shizifei. Wangye’s expedition is confidential and didn’t tell outsiders. It’s enough for Shizifei to be so thoughtful. When Wangye comes back, he won’t blame Shizi and Shizifei.”
Lu Yufei followed with a sigh. Then she changed her manner of speaking and said casually, “Liu Gonggong, there is another strange thing to report to you today. I didn’t know where Miss Tang has gone. I had people look around Wangjiang Pavilion three times but still couldn’t find her. The people who accompanied her said that Miss Tang had gone out by herself, but no one knew where she had gone. I was so anxious, but seeing that it was getting late and I was afraid that I could not catch up with Wangye, I had to reluctantly leave first. Liu Gonggong, what do you think we should do?”
Liu Ji was not surprised, and said casually, “There’s no harm, Miss Tang has already returned. She caught the wind on her way back, and the imperial physician had prescribed typhoid medicine for her. Now she is asleep.”
Lu Yufei deliberately spoke slowly, her intention was not to scare Liu Ji. As it turned out that Liu Ji was fine, instead Lu Yufei was shocked, “What? Tang Shishi has already returned?”
Lu Yufei realized that her tone was wrong, and hurriedly sought to make up for it, “Of course, this is a good thing. However, the carriages from the mansion were all parked, and no one left early. How did Miss Tang come back?”
Liu Ji folded both his hands and smiled at Lu Yufei kindly, “It’s good that people are safe. There’s no need to entangle the details. Shizifei, don’t you think so?”
Liu Ji was a well-known tiger with a smiling face. Lu Yufei felt awkward and nodded stiffly, “What Gonggong said is true. I presumed Miss Tang is in the Jianjia courtyard and I’ll go see her.”
“Shizifei.” Liu Ji smiled unhurriedly, “Miss Tang is already asleep.”
“Look at my memory, I almost forgot.” Lu Yufei reluctantly smiled, and said, “I was rude. I’ll visit Miss Tang tomorrow.”
“What, Tang Shishi is in the mansion?” Feng Qian heard the shocking news when she returned to her room before she could even sit down. Feng Qian could not believe it, and could not help muttering, “She’s actually in the mansion? How could it be possible? How could she come back since Wangjiang Pavilion is so far from the city?”
Feng Qian did not know what to think of and stood up abruptly, “This won’t do. I’m going to have a look.”
“Miss.” The maid stopped Feng Qian with an embarrassed face, “Miss Tang is already asleep. Liu Gonggong sent someone to mention that Miss Tang is ill and it’s not convenient to see guests during this period so that outsiders will not disturb Miss Tang’s recovery.”
Feng Qian’s complexion changed, and finally, she sat back down slowly, “Yes ah, Sister Tang is recovering from illness. My sister is sick, and I feel sorry for her. I will visit my sister myself tomorrow.”
Tang Shishi had a good sleep. It was still early when she woke up the next day. She dressed and got out of bed without disturbing the maids.
Tang Shishi’s health recovered a lot, but her complexion was still pale. When she was wearing clothes, she saw the bruises on her body, and her teeth were itching with hatred, “Beasts! Sure enough, men are not good things. They don’t know how to control themselves in bed. When they get out of bed, they pretend to be a gentleman, ah!”
Dujuan vaguely heard something inside and came in with water, “Miss, who are you scolding? So angry early in the morning.”
“It’s nothing.” Tang Shishi casually said while putting on a high-necked coat and buttoning the buttons to the highest point, firmly covering all traces on her body. After doing all this, Tang Shishi asked, “Has anyone come here yesterday?”
“No.” After Dujuan finished speaking, she looked at Tang Shishi carefully, “Miss, yesterday you…”
Tang Shishi came back yesterday in disheveled clothes. Although she did not let any maid serve her during bathing time, Dujuan had been serving for so long and knew some traces were hard to conceal. Dujuan was frightened. She gave birth to a bold guess, but she was not certain. She was so scared yesterday that she did not dare to close her eyes overnight.
Speaking of yesterday, Tang Shishi’s expression became cold, and said, “I was drenched in the rain yesterday, so I changed my clothes halfway through. After all, it’s not a good thing for me to go back to the mansion without permission. Don’t tell anyone about yesterday.”
Dujuan was shocked and responded quickly. Dujuan tried several times either explicitly or implicitly, but Tang Shishi refused to say. Dujuan did not dare to ask more, so she could only swallow her suspicions.
Not long after Tang Shishi had her meal, guests came to her door. Lu Yufei came to the door with Feng Qian, Ji Xinxian, and others. When Tang Shishi saw them, she suddenly laughed, “I don’t know Shizifei is coming else I’d come out to welcome you. Oh! Sister Feng is here too?”
When Feng Qian saw Tang Shishi, her eyes flashed with surprise in an instant, and then greeted Tang Shishi with a timid expression, “Sister Tang, that’s good that you’re fine. We looked for you for a long time yesterday and didn’t find you. I was almost scared to death.”
Tang Shishi looked deeply at Feng Qian with a pair of water-cut eyes, and said softly, “Thanks to my sister’s good fortune, I can’t die. Sister doesn’t have to worry. I have a clear distinction between kindness and resentment. If there’s hatred, I will certainly revenge. My sister’s kindness to me will surely be remembered in my heart, day and night.”
Feng Qian avoided the sight of Tang Shishi. She lowered her eyes and still smiled lightly, “I truly admire my sister’s high fighting temperament very much.”
Lu Yufei looked around, she always felt that these two people were talking in riddles, but she could not tell. Lu Yufei coughed slightly, and after she attracted the attention of both of them, she smiled, “In any case, it’s good that you’re fine. It’s great that it was just a false alarm. I heard that Miss Tang was drenched in the rain yesterday and accidentally caught a cold, I wonder if the condition is serious?”
Tang Shishi was slightly startled. This was great, ah! Even her illness was weaved. Zhao Chengjun guarded against her like this. He did not allow her to see anyone, mostly for the fear that she would reveal what happened yesterday, which would affect Jing Wang’s legendary reputation.
Tang Shishi was angry, but she said calmly on the surface, “It’s nothing, it’s just a minor illness. It made me feel bad that this trivial matter has disturbed Shizifei and sisters.”
Lu Yufei said, “What are you talking about? Your body has always been weak, and your illness has been repeated again and again. After a few days, I will go to the temple to ask for a safe and sound talisman for you so that the Bodhisattva can bless you to recover as soon as possible.”
Tang Shishi did not say anything, and looked down while smiling, “Thank you, Shizifei.”
“You just take care of your illness and don’t need to worry about the outside affairs. You make the greatest contribution to the mansion by recuperating well.” After Lu Yufei finished speaking, she inadvertently glanced at Tang Shishi’s collar, “It’s already the fifth month and it’s muggy today. Why is Miss Tang still wearing a high collar?”
Tang Shishi gently pressed the top button, and said, “I’ve been in poor health recently and always feel cold in the room. So, I let the maid take out the high collar. My health is weak, which makes Shizifei laugh.”
As soon as Lu Yufei finished talking about letting Tang Shishi recuperate from an illness, Tang Shishi immediately replied that she was weak. Lu Yufei had nothing to say, and smiled, “You are right. I almost forgot that you are still a sick person. In that case, I won’t delay your recovery.”
When Lu Yufei stood up, the others got up with her. Lu Yufei humbly helped Tang Shishi and said, “You don’t have to send us off. We’re going now.”
Tang Shishi motioned to the door and watched Lu Yufei go away. Ji Xinxian snorted triumphantly when she passed by Tang Shishi.
Ji Xinxian was energetic and radiant, but Tang Shishi was sick. The positions of the two seemed to be reversed. How could Ji Xinxian be unhappy? Tang Shishi did not bother to pay attention to this fool. After Ji Xinxian passed by, Feng Qian slowly caught up and said goodbye to Tang Shishi softly, “Sister Tang, recuperate well.”
“Sister Feng too.” Tang Shishi looked at Feng Qian with a smile, and enunciated every word, “Sister must take care of herself during this time, and don’t be careless to have an accident. My sister is so kind-hearted that I am afraid that Yama will not accept you.”
“Sister, thanks for caring. Sister Tang should take care of yourself first.” After Feng Qian finished speaking, she did not maintain the image of a weak sister and walked out of the Jianjia courtyard with a cold face. Tang Shishi stood behind and watched her go away coldly.
This time it was Tang Shishi’s negligence. In fact, Tang Shishi had been guarding against Feng Qian, but she did not expect that she still get caught. This kind of vicious person, must not get too close, should just beat her to death immediately.
Feng Qian, just wait.
After standing at the gate for a while, Tang Shishi felt that many people looked at her as if they were not looking at her and seemed to guard against her going out. Tang Shishi snorted coldly and slammed the gate closed.
Tang Shishi was extremely angry. It was obvious that she was taken advantage of, and now she was still monitored by others. What was Zhao Chengjun planning to do? Tang Shishi was in a bad mood, and no one dared to step forward when the maids saw this. The Jianjia courtyard was quiet for a while.
Tang Shishi was now “recovering illness by decree” and staying behind closed doors. The other people in the mansion did not know what news they had received, no one came to look for her. The days were unknowingly longer in silence. In the blink of an eye, it has entered the sixth month.
During the past month and a half, Tang Shishi had a very leisurely life. Similarly, the rumors of her falling out of favor have been completely confirmed. The days were long in the sixth month, and the heat at night had not dissipated for a long time. Dujuan brought dinner and set up the tableware quickly, “Miss, it’s time to eat. I know that you have a bad appetite these days. So, I especially took a light fish soup today. Miss, come and have a taste.”
Tang Shishi sat at the table slowly. She looked at the dishes on the table and said strangely, “The dishes are still the same. With the kitchen’s interest in sailing with the wind, I expected that the treatment of Jianjia courtyard would not be much better.”
In fact, Dujuan was also very puzzled about this. The people in the kitchen used to hold the high and step on the low. Some days ago, the kitchen dared to deduct Tang Shishi’s things just before Tang Shishi showed signs of falling out of favor and openly contradicted Dujuan. This month, Tang Shishi was grounded even more severely. Dujuan thought she had to suffer a lot of anger. Unexpectedly, the kitchen was well behaved and did not treat Tang Shishi badly. Sometimes, the steward was very polite when Dujuan went to get food.
What was going on?
Tang Shishi sighed casually, did not take it to heart, and soon forgot about it. She had a bad appetite recently. She felt nauseated when she looked at the generous amount of meat and fish dishes. When she saw that the fish soup was stewed until milky white, it looked light and refreshing, so she scooped up the soup first.
When the fish soup was brought to her mouth, Tang Shishi did not know what was going on and suddenly felt nauseated. Tang Shishi threw the bowl and spoon onto the table and leaned down to retch continually.
Dujuan was startled, hurriedly helped Tang Shishi, and asked, “Miss, what’s wrong with you?”
Tang Shishi vomited until she could not utter a word. Dujuan patted her back as she gave her water, it was not easy to take good care of Tang Shishi. After Tang Shishi straightened up, she quickly took a mouthful of tea and placed a hand over her eyebrows with an uncomfortable expression.
Dujuan looked at the table full of dishes, and then looked at Tang Shishi’s pale face, her expression changed unknowingly, “Miss, could it be that the dishes were poison?”
The thinking of both master and servant was the same which did not follow the usual path. Tang Shishi was unhappy and scolded, “This is in the mansion. Are Liu Ji and Tongxiu dead? Who dares to poison? Even if it’s really poison, it should be given to Zhao Chengjun. Why do they give it to me for?”
Dujuan thought for a while and found it reasonable. But Tang Shishi said so bluntly, was it too…
Although Dujuan was angry, she dared not respond at all. Tang Shishi held her forehead for a while. When nausea finally subsided, then only she had the energy to think about other things.
Tang Shishi’s rationality slowly returned, and carefully thought through the events of this period. Fish soup, loss of appetite, nausea… Tang Shishi’s expression suddenly changed, and she hurriedly asked, “Dujuan, when was the last time I had my menstruation?”
Dujuan was stunned for a moment and then reacted. She thought for a long time and sounded panicked when she spoke again, “It’s the end of the fourth month. I remembered clearly that you had menstruation before you went outside to see the dragon boat.”
Tang Shishi’s face was deathly pale, and she had a bad feeling.
Her menstruation was delayed for more than half a month, either she had a serious health problem, or she was pregnant.
However, she clearly drank the child avoiding soup. As a dignified mansion, the child avoiding soup should not be fake, right?
Dujuan was also panicking, “Miss was caught in the rain and sick some time ago. It may be that the qi and blood in the body are weak, so your menstruation is late. Miss, let’s wait for a while. If it didn’t come after some time, we’ll think of a solution.”
Tang Shishi nodded with a straight face, “For today’s plan, it can only be this way.”
Dujuan quickly cleaned up the fish soup. When she came back, she saw Tang Shishi sitting by the window in a daze. The twilight outside the window reflected on her, she looked like a delicate porcelain person, beautiful and helpless. Dujuan felt sorry for her, and could not help saying, “Miss, do you want to talk to Liu Gonggong about this matter?”
“No!” Tang Shishi suddenly became excited. She turned her face, and her eyes were bright and tough, “You are not allowed to talk nonsense about groundless things to anyone. Today’s matter can only rot in your stomach. If I know you reveal it to others, you don’t have to serve me anymore, just find another place.”
Dujuan was frightened, and hurriedly knelt down, “Miss, I dare not. I’m loyal to you and have no second thoughts.”
Tang Shishi held her forehead weakly. After a while, she waved to Dujuan dispiritedly, and said, “I don’t doubt you. You can leave. I want to be alone.”
Dujuan got up and put the food away softly and quietly. Tang Shishi seemed to have no appetite right now, but she could not neglect it now. Whether she was ill or pregnant, she could not fall behind in her diet. Dujuan warmed the dishes in the small kitchen and when Tang Shishi was hungry after a while, she could eat them immediately.
Tang Shishi waited for half a month in anxiety. No matter how she prayed during this half month, the menstruation had not come. Seeing that it entered the seventh month, Tang Shishi completely gave up, and said to Dujuan, “Go invite a doctor.”