IBTBTED Chapter 71
It’s Better to be the Empress Dowager
Chapter 71 Return
Zhao Zixun’s questioning tone was too obvious, Lu Yufei was shocked when she was asked like that, and grieved spontaneously, “Shizi, are you blaming me? Tang Shishi and Wangye’s relationship are unclear. We, as the younger generation, it’s already hard for us to interfere in their affairs. I don’t want Shizi and Wangye to have a rift, so I shamelessly invited Madam Xi. When Madam Xi comes forward, even if Wangye is unhappy when he comes back, he will not be angry with Shizi. I do all this for the sake of Shizi!”
Lu Yufei shed tears as she thought of her suffering during this period. Zhao Zixun did not expect that when he just asked a question, Lu Yufei would actually cry. Zhao Zixun felt even more disgusting in his heart. He suppressed his impatience and said, “I know you mean well, but I don’t like others to make their own decisions. I have already told you before to have less interaction with the Xi family. Now you’ve called Madam Xi again. How can the Xi family not misunderstand? What’s more, no matter what happened to Tang Shishi, this is the internal affairs of the mansion. You called Madam Xi this time, should you inform Madam Xi if anything happens in the mansion next time? In the long run, what prestige does the prince’s mansion have?”
Lu Yufei lowered her head to wipe her tears. She was emotionally upset just now and felt that she had been wronged a great deal. Now, after hearing Zhao Zixun’s reprimand, she was surprised that Zhao Zixun was right. She called Madam Xi this time for the sake of making things easy. In the future, would not Madam Xi have more reasons to point fingers at the prince’s mansion? Lu Yufei just realized that she was only showing weakness to the Xi family by doing this. Xi Yunchu had not even entered the mansion yet already like this. What would happen after Xi Yunchu became Wangfei?
This head could not be turned on. Lu Yufei finally reacted and said in a hurry, “It was me who thought wrongly. However, I sent the invitation to the Xi family at noon and invited Madam Xi to come to the mansion tomorrow. It’s been all afternoon, and the invitation must have been delivered over. What should I do?”
Seeing that Lu Yufei understood, Zhao Zixun eased his tone and said, “Early tomorrow morning, you should send someone to send a message to Madam Xi without delay. Apologize properly to Madam Xi so that Madam Xi doesn’t have to leave home, then this matter will be turned over. They don’t dare to be too arrogant if the Xi family wants to be favored by the prince’s mansion.”
Lu Yufei quickly nodded and said with a look of admiration, “Shizi, thank you. Shizi is really resourceful and thoughtful. I have been taught.”
No man could resist a woman’s flattery, even a woman whom he did not like. Zhao Zixun looked a little better. He thought to himself that he might have been too harsh on Lu Yufei just now. What insights could a woman have when they stayed in the mansion all day? He took the authority of decision-making of major events into his own hands. As for trivial matters, he left it to them to toss around.
Zhao Zixun said, “It’s good that you understand. In the future, except for managing the household, don’t intervene in anything else. You can go back.”
“Yes.” Lu Yufei bowed and flattered, “I will certainly send a letter to Madam Xi early tomorrow morning. Shizi can rest assured.”
Early the next morning, Lu Yufei deliberately woke up early and went to write a letter to Madam Xi as soon as she got her hair done. After all, Xi Yunchu wanted to marry into the mansion and become the Wangfei, and Lu Yufei did not dare to offend the Xi family too much. She deleted and subtracted, and after considering it for a long time, she finally finalized the draft.
Lu Yufei breathed a sigh of relief, took a piece of exquisite letterhead, and copied the letter neatly. After she finished writing, Lu Yufei was relieved. As soon as she stuffed the letter into the envelope, she heard the maids rushing in to inform her, “Shizifei, Madam Xi and Second Miss Xi are here.”
“What?” Lu Yufei was shocked and suddenly stood up, the chair made an ear-piercing screeching sound on the ground, “Are they here already?”
“Yes ah. Madam Xi said that Shizifei asked her for help. She did not dare to be careless and hurried over as soon as the curfew was opened. Shizifei, Madam Xi has entered the second gate and coming to the Yinian courtyard now.”
Lu Yufei cursed secretly, and the letter in her hand was like a hot potato, neither could be thrown nor kept away. She shuffled the letter under the clutter, and hurried out to greet her, “Where is Madam Xi? Take me there quickly.”
Lu Yufei did not walk for long before she met the Xi family’s mother and daughter outside the Yinian courtyard. Madam Xi looked high-spirited. When she saw Lu Yufei, she greeted her for the first time on her own initiative, “Good morning Shizifei! I am anxious today. So, I came here first thing in the morning. I did not disturb Shizi and Shizifei, right?”
Lu Yufei refused to tell others that Zhao Zixun did not share a room with her, so she made an effort to smile more and said, “No. Shizi wants to study and practice martial arts. So, he always gets up early and won’t disturb him.”
“That’s good.” Madam Xi breathed a sigh of relief, and said excitedly, “I’m afraid of disturbing the young couple. That’s good. Shizi can busy himself while we can deal with the rear courtyard matters freely. When Shizi comes back, everything will be cleaned up and will not disturb Shizi. Shizifei, where is she?”
Lu Yufei was speechless. She promised Zhao Zixun yesterday that she would not mess things up today. Lu Yufei tried to persuade Madam Xi, “In fact, it’s not a big deal. Since this is my first experience, I wrote to Madam while I panicked. When I thought about it later, there was nothing difficult about it. It was enough by myself.”
“Shizifei, what are you talking about?” Madam Xi interrupted Lu Yufei, raising her eyebrows while saying, “You are the new daughter-in-law who just entered the mansion with a tender face. How can you manage those old foxes in the rear court well? Besides, she is after all the maid next to Jing Wang who is one level higher than you in terms of position and reason. Even if it’s reasonable for you to intervene, it becomes unreasonable. Shizifei, don’t worry. I don’t dare to say anything about my other abilities, but I can deal with those concubines in the rear courtyard. Jing Wang called me an “elder” in any case. If I don’t come forward for his private affairs, who else can come forward?”
When Xi Yunchu saw this, she held Madam Xi’s arm and responded, “Shizi, after receiving your letter yesterday, my mother worried about it all day. She temporarily entrusted the internal affairs of the house to my second aunt and even took leave from greeting my grandmother. Isn’t my mother tossing so much just to help you? You can just accept my mother’s good intentions and don’t refuse it.”
Lu Yufei was having a hard time now since both Xi Yunchu and Madam Xi said this. She really could not say such things as “I’m all right here, you can go back” these types of words. Finally, Lu Yufei could only sigh as if admitting her fate, and said dejectedly, “Thank you, Madam. Thank you, Sister Chu. You go sit inside first. I’ll send a message to Shizi, and I’ll come right away.”
Lu Yufei truthfully relayed the situation here to Zhao Zixun, especially emphasizing that the Xi family’s mother and daughter came too early, rather than Lu Yufei’s inaction. After passing the message, Lu Yufei went into the room while suppressing her nervousness and accompanied the Xi family’s mother and daughter.
Madam Xi was sitting in the Yinian courtyard impatiently as she was wholeheartedly thinking of solving the obstacles, Tang Shishi, and smoothing out the hindrance before her daughter’s marriage. Madam Xi repeatedly mentioned going to see Tang Shishi, but it was interrupted by Lu Yufei several times. It was not easy to wait for Zhao Zixun’s arrival.
The young maid opened the curtain for Zhao Zixun. Zhao Zixun nodded lightly when he saw the people inside, “Madam Xi.”
Lu Yufei and Xi Yunchu both stood up to greet Zhao Zixun. Madam Xi was very enthusiastic when she saw Zhao Zixun and said, “Shizi, why are you here? You young couple have a very good relationship. I’ve only been here for a while and Shizi is back. Why, are you still afraid that I will eat Shizifei?”
After Madam Xi finished speaking, she laughed out loud, but neither Zhao Zixun nor Lu Yufei could laugh with her. Zhao Zixun glanced at Lu Yufei indifferently and Lu Yufei lowered her head in a hurry. Zhao Zixun held back his anger and said to Madam Xi, “Shizifei is not considerate and has disturbed Madam Xi. I am here to make amends for her. Today’s matter is the internal affairs of our mansion, and I really don’t dare to bother Madam.”
“What is this.” Madam Xi did not understand Zhao Zixun’s illocutionary meaning or what so ever. She waved her hand and said in a big way, “You and Shizifei are like my own family younger generation. There’s even not enough time for me to love both of you dearly. How can this be troublesome? If it wasn’t for Sister Wan who left early, I should be your grandmother now. We don’t need to be courteous when asking a family member for help. I still have some credibility in front of Jing Wang. I believe I still have this ability to handle one or two maids for him.”
Madam Xi insisted on pretending that she did not understand, and Zhao Zixun also could not explain it clearly. Although Xi Yunwan’s story was pure nonsense, Zhao Chengjun and Xi Yunwan were betrothed after all. Madam Xi was indeed in the same generation as their grandmother in terms of seniority. Zhao Zixun sighed slightly and compromised, “If that’s the case, thank you, Madam Xi.”
Madam Xi showed a smiling expression and stood up, “It’s not a problem since we’re family. Shizi, let’s go now before it’s too late.”
Tang Shishi sat in a daze in the Jianjia courtyard. She slept late and woke up early every day these days. Today, she even opened her eyes before dawn. Tang Shishi basically did not sleep last night and could not sleep anymore after waking up. She might as well get up to change her clothes and then sit in front of the window in a daze.
Today was the tenth day. Tang Shishi closed her eyes dejectedly, feeling a great irony. She made so many preparations on her own and made up her mind several times, but she was not willing to do it. Unexpectedly, she fell into the hands of others in the end.
If she had known this, she might as well drink the abortion medicine herself.
Tang Shishi was in a daze while others in the Jianjia courtyard were also restless. Dujuan repeatedly prayed to Buddha in her heart. She wanted to tell the truth several times, but she was afraid of doing something wrong with her good intentions. She could only place her hope on Liu Ji in the end. Wangye had great abilities, so he must have left a way out with Liu Gonggong.
When Dujuan was in a state of panic, the lock outside the courtyard was suddenly moved. The chain made a loud clattering sound. Dujuan and Tang Shishi including the recuperating little fox, all awakened all at once.
The courtyard gate slowly opened. This time, there were not as many people as last time, but the scene was not inferior in any aspect. Zhao Zixun stood in the middle, followed by Lu Yufei at his side, and there were even Madam Xi and Xi Yunchu.
Tang Shishi looked at the scene stupidly. She thought it was probably retribution. She did not do good deeds and was greedy for vanity. She was proud for half her life, but in the end, she had to abort her baby in front of Zhao Chengjun’s legitimate wife.
How ironic was this?
There was a fluttering smile on Tang Shishi’s mouth with an almost transparent complexion. The way she smiled was even more like porcelain as if she would shatter with a soft touch. When Zhao Zixun walked into the courtyard and saw Tang Shishi’s expression, he could not help thinking about her appearance when she first came to the fiefdom. At that time, she was so bright and ostentatious, how could she be as pale as she was now?
Zhao Zixun felt an unexplainable tenderness in his heart. He let people close the gate to block all the exploring gazes, curiosity, and watching the excitement from outside the door, just to preserve the last dignity for Tang Shishi. After finishing all this, Zhao Zixun asked, “Tang Shishi, ten days have arrived. Have you thought about it?”
Tang Shishi lowered her eyes and smiled, then she said softly, “Shizi even brought all the people here. Is it still important whether I have thought it through? Shizi doesn’t need to ask anymore. I still have some integrity. I don’t want to say who this person is. No matter how you ask, there will be no outcome.”
“Shizi, what are you talking nonsense with her?” Madam Xi had long seen Tang Shishi not pleasing to her eyes. Now she saw that Tang Shishi was fragile and pale with an even more pitiful appearance, her inner fear grew like thorns. This woman must not stay. This child was best not Jing Wang’s and take this advantage to stop Jing Wang’s thoughts. If it was Jing Wang’s… then even more the baby could not stay.
Not only she could not stay, but also avoid future troubles forever. So, it was best to take advantage of this time to completely destroy Tang Shishi’s fertility in the second half of her life.
Xi Yunchu had been hiding behind Madam Xi from the beginning and shunned her eyes towards the ground. Normally on this kind of occasion, Xi Yunchu as an unmarried young lady should not be present. However, Xi Yunchu was really angry with Tang Shishi that she could not be reconciled until she saw Tang Shishi drink the abortion medicine with her own eyes.
Madam Xi knew her daughter’s knot. Since she could not persuade her, she let her little daughter follow along. Madam Xi tucked her hands in her sleeves, looked at Tang Shishi condescendingly, and asked, “As a woman, you should be chaste and preserve chastity. I once heard from Shizifei said that at the Dragon Boat Festival, your whereabouts in the Wangjiang Pavilion were unknown, and you returned to the city later mysteriously. Did you hook up with a man in that place? And also take advantage of Jing Wang’s departure, and steward slacking his duties during this time to secretly have a relation with your lover again?”
Tang Shishi did not want to pay attention to Madam Xi. Even if she did something wrong and was ruined by thousands of people, she would never admit her mistake in front of the Xi family. Tang Shishi turned her face and looked forward calmly, her face was as cold and white as jade.
“Look at you, you shouldn’t be like this.” Madam Xi pretended to sigh and said, “An unmarried woman should be submerged in the pond when she is pregnant. Since you are given from Imperial Court, we’ll leave you some kindness and just kill the unborn child. He Ping, go massage her unborn child.”
A dark and strong old woman behind Madam Xi responded and stepped out, “Yes, Madam.”
Tang Shishi watched the dark and strong, small pagoda-like woman approaching, and her eyes fell on her lower abdomen without evasiveness. Tang Shishi was so frightened by this look, she could not help standing up and stepping back step by step, “What are you doing?”
“Miss, the old slave is the most experienced and has delivered babies. You are a clean person. The old body must let the dirty stuff flow clean and will not affect the young lady’s body. Don’t worry, your month is not too long, and you will not suffer too much.”
Tang Shishi understood that this old woman wanted to abort her child alive. Zhao Zixun also frowned and asked, “Didn’t you agree on a way to find a faster way? Why don’t you use medication?”
“Shizi, you are a man. You don’t understand the dirty secret of the backyard.” Madam Xi said, “Not all abortion medicines are effective, some life is tough. Even after three bowls of medicines, the unborn child also will not flow out, instead will give birth to a dementia child. What kind of person is Wangye? How can there be such a stain that tarnishes the imperial bloodline? You might as well let the old woman drain her as her unborn child has not yet formed. Both adults and children can suffer less.”
Zhao Zixun did not understand these things, he frowned tightly not knowing whether it was true or false. Even though Zhao Zixun did not understand, Tang Shishi did. How much suffering would it be to be crushed by someone alive? Madam Xi wanted to hurt Tang Shishi’s body so that she could never get pregnant in the future.
Tang Shishi protected her lower abdomen closely and screamed to keep the old woman away. She had thought about the abortion and even decocted the medicine. However, when she really reached the final step, Tang Shishi knew that she did not want to have an abortion. She did not want to lose her child at all.
She did not name him, did not make clothes for him, and did not even know whether he was a son or a daughter. He came into this world by accident, but since he was conceived in Tang Shishi’s belly, it was predestined to be hers. How could she watch him be hurt to death helplessly?
Tang Shishi protected her lower abdomen and kept throwing things at the old woman, without knowing what it was. The old woman was hit several times by Tang Shishi. She could not endure it and scolded her, “Miss, if you cooperate now, this old slave can still make things easy for you. If you don’t know what’s good from bad, it won’t be so easy when you lose your baby.”
Tang Shishi had already burst into tears unknowingly. All the maids of the Jianjia courtyard were controlled outside and Tang Shishi was facing a room of full demons and ghosts all by herself. Her tears fell endlessly and kept throwing things to the ground, “Go away, don’t touch me!”
Zhao Zixun really could not bear it, and said to Madam Xi once again, “Madam, do you have to use this method? Let’s change to another.”
“It won’t do.” Madam Xi said, “She is a fox spirit who pretends to be pitiful to win men’s sympathy. Shizi can’t stand it now. What should we do if she still refuses to drink the medicine later?”
“But…” before Zhao Zixun could finish his words, the gate outside was slammed open with a bang. Everyone in the room was shocked. Zhao Zixun frowned while turning his head and his complexion was very bad.
The people guarding outside were his trusted aides. Who had the nerve to even ignore his people?
Dujuan and other maids were controlled outside with their mouths covered. When she saw who was the person that came in, Dujuan suddenly became excited. She broke free from the restraints with an unknown burst of brute force, “Wangye, you’re finally back!”