It’s Better to be the Empress Dowager
Chapter 73 Disposal
Madam Xi was completely stunned. Zhao Chengjun said that Wangfei was not Xi Yunchu, and still would not let them enter the gate of the Jing Wang mansion again?
Just when Madam Xi was about to be driven out of the side room, she could not accept the outcome and shouted from the door after turning back laboriously, “Wangye, how can you say this? Sister Chu has been waiting for so many years, from budding beauty to adulthood. The youth of my daughter is so precious that she refuses to agree on marriage to wait for Wangye. Wangye acquiesced when Sister Chu was waiting, but now that Sister Chu is older, Wangye said it was a misunderstanding. Wangye, if you do this, are you worthy of Sister Chu and the Xi family?”
“Mother, stop talking!” Xi Yunchu yelled louder, covering her face while sobbing with tears. The people around her could not bear to look at her, the young and bright woman who was now drenched in tears. However, Zhao Chengjun’s face did not fluctuate, and said casually, “I already said earlier that I have no intention of getting married. It’s you that insisted on waiting. The second young lady is not too old and there’s still time to discuss marriage. I wish Madam Xi and the second young lady to be able to find a good son-in-law as soon as possible.”
Xi Yunchu was already sixteen this year. At this age, she was not considered very old, but it was a little late for a young lady who has not discussed marriage. Young ladies of the same age either have arranged betrothal at a young age or they began to take a good look at the potential husband’s family as soon as thirteen or fourteen. At the latest fifteen, they would pre-engage with their potential husband’s family one after another. Now Xi Yunchu was sixteen years old and even in a hurry, where could she find a husband with the same family background with good character?
It was also Madam Xi who was arrogant. She did not know where she got her confidence that she felt Jing Wang liked Xi Yunchu, and he would remarry when Xi Yunchu grew up. Therefore, Madam Xi rejected all the madams who inquired about the marriage and focused on Zhao Chengjun wholeheartedly. Who would have thought that she would suddenly hear something like this today?
Madam Xi was both anxious and angry. In the moment of anger, she blurted out without thinking, “Since Wangye said that you have no intention of marrying a wife, then are you doing these things today just to dispel our thoughts? Wangye belittles our Xi family too much. If you tell the truth before, then we will not cling to Wangye and will certainly find someone else.”
Lu Yufei’s face changed slightly, and she kept winking at Madam Xi. Zhao Chengjun frowned when he heard that. Madam Xi was too presumptuous. How could she say these things? Who did she think she is to dare to question Jing Wang?
Not to mention that Zhao Chengjun and Xi Yunchu did not have any written or oral agreement. Even if the marriage contract was signed and Zhao Chengjun wanted to cancel the contract, it would only be a matter of one sentence. Punishments and rewards were all monarchs’ favor. How could there be any reasoning with the imperial members?
The courtyard was stagnant for a moment, and everyone looked at Zhao Chengjun carefully. In fact, Zhao Chengjun was not angry. His mind was too occupied with worries about Tang Shishi. Why should he be angry with irrelevant people?
Just in time to take advantage of today’s incident to make things clear, not only to dispel the idea of the Xi family but also to tell the rest of the mansion. Zhao Chengjun said, “I have been an official of the Imperial Court and common people so far and I dare not say that I stand upright, but at least I dare to say that I have a clear conscience of my heart. Every word I said comes from my heart. I said earlier that I have no intention of marrying a wife is not an excuse, but that I really did not want to get married. Now that I’m determined to accept a Wangfei which was not a change of mind, but a desire to marry someone. My wife will only be her, and if it weren’t for her, I still will not marry for life.”
When Zhao Chengjun finished speaking, both Madam Xi and Xi Yunchu were stunned. Xi Yunchu could not hold back, and asked, “Wangye, her you spoke of is Tang Shishi?”
Zhao Chengjun looked at Xi Yunchu like a fool, “Obviously.”
Tears still hung on Xi Yunchu’s face. After all, she was still a young lady and being told that her affections were not reciprocated in front of her face, even a heartless person could not stand it, not to mention that Xi Yunchu was still very petty. Xi Yunchu bit her lip and asked sadly, “At that time in the mountain villa in Nanshan, was it her also when Wangye said wanted to marry a wife?”
Zhao Chengjun did not shy away from it, and nodded lightly, “From the beginning to end, there is only one person.”
Zhao Chengjun’s words seemed like a huge mountain, which suddenly crushed all of Xi Yunchu’s hope and pride. It turned out that it was all her own imagination when she took back the clues to study over and over again and secretly rejoiced in the coincidences. Zhao Chengjun’s mind was very clear. He was very straightforward to the one he liked and also very straightforward to the one he rejected. These agonizing sweet and sour episodes and her long-lasting secret love were her own one-person show after all.
Xi Yunchu could not endure it anymore and ran out the gate crying while covering her face. Madam Xi called out several times anxiously. Looking at Zhao Chengjun, she threw off her handkerchief angrily and quickly chased after Xi Yunchu.
After the outsiders were all sent away, Zhao Chengjun did not say a word, but his imposing manner gradually became heavier. He said calmly and coldly, “Close the gate.”
Zhao Zixun and Lu Yufei knew that after the outsiders were sent away, Zhao Chengjun would want to deal with his own people now. The servants closed the gate silently and stood under the corridor solemnly, not daring to take a breath. Zhao Zixun and Lu Yufei both felt difficult to breathe. In the end, it was Zhao Zixun how spoke first, he took the initiative to step forward and pleaded guilty, “I’m wrong. Father, please punish me.”
Zhao Chengjun asked lightly, “What did you do wrong?”
Lu Yufei was so scared that her heart was about to stop abruptly. Jing Wang only said that there was something wrong but did not say what was wrong. This was simply torturing. Zhao Zixun lowered his eyes and said respectfully, “I was wrong in believing a one-sided story, disrespects my superior, and almost murdered the imperial’s heir.”
Zhao Chengjun seemed to smile once and asked, “What else?”
“I shouldn’t help the tyrant and lead the Xi family’s mother and daughter into the mansion to persecute my own family’s heir.”
Zhao Chengjun did not speak yet, but Zhao Zixun knew that he was still not right. Zhao Zixun lowered his head, could not help frowning and wondering, what did he miss?
Lu Yufei could not endure this kind of silent torture that she said boldly, “Wangye, it has nothing to do with Shizi. It’s me that made the stupid mistake and called Madam Xi into the mansion. If you want to punish, then you just punish this daughter-in-law is enough. Don’t take your anger out on Shizi.”
What a loving couple. Zhao Chengjun lightly sneered and said slowly, “I have never made things difficult for any women and servants and all the responsibilities without exceptions are placed on the master. Shizifei is naïve to understand the nature of people, and yet she still knows how to protect you. And you, as Shizi of the Jing Wang mansion still don’t understand the relationship.”
Zhao Zixun frowned his eyebrows tightly while he thought he caught something vaguely but still could not comprehend it fully. Zhao Chengjun stood up from the seat and said, “Your biggest mistake is that you wronged her while I was away from the mansion. I’m not willing to scold her or punish her. How dare you do this?”
The needle drop in the courtyard could be heard. Zhao Zixun seemed to understand, but at the same time, he did not seem to understand at all. Which man did not value bloodline, especially Zhao Chengjun who did not have any biological children? Zhao Zixun rightly believed that Zhao Chengjun was angry because the unborn child in Tang Shishi’s abdomen was almost injured. After all, if the child was a boy, he would be the eldest son of Zhao Chengjun.
Zhao Chengjun established Tang Shishi as his Wangfei was probably out of the consideration of the child. Although Tang Shishi had a low status and could not bear to be a Wangfei, she was pregnant after all. If by any chance she gave birth to a son, then she would have made a great contribution. It was not impossible to confer her as Wangfei based on this contribution. Zhao Zixun always thought along this line, but now, he was not so sure.
According to Zhao Chengjun’s words, his focus was not the unborn child but the pregnant person. How was this possible? She was nothing more than just a woman.
Zhao Zixun’s thoughts were in a mess, and he could not grasp Zhao Chengjun’s true intentions for a while. Zhao Chengjun stood under the corridor with his hands behind his back, and asked, “Have you brought the person?”
Liu Ji had been standing in the corner blending in with the surrounding. When he heard the words, he immediately responded and brought Imperial Physician Song forward, “Wangye, I have brought Imperial Physician Song here.”
Imperial Physician Song was tied up and brutally pushed to the ground to kneel by the eunuchs. Imperial Physician Song was in fear and panic and hurriedly pleaded for mercy, “Wangye, I was accused wrongly. I was deceived by the traitor and didn’t know anything. That’s why I have misdiagnosed. Wangye, please consider that I have served the mansion for many years and spread me this time!”
Zhao Chengjun ignored his reasoning entirely and asked directly, “Who is the person who instructed you to lie about the month?”
Imperial Physician Song choked up. His mouth opened and closed several times, and at last, he bowed his head and said softly, “It was Miss Feng Qian. She secretly came to find me, hinted that Miss Tang was having an unclear relationship with an outside male, and her reputation is damaged. She also said that this child is not Wangye’s. I didn’t hear clearly when I checked the pulse with my preconceived notions…”
Everyone realized that Feng Qian was not just hinted, perhaps she also gave a lot of gold and silver valuables to Imperial Physician Song. This was a common occurrence in the inner harem courtyards. Women vie for favors, bribing eunuchs, stewards, and imperial physicians from time to time to help themselves to testify and bring down their enemies.
This was the same for Feng Qian and Tang Shishi.
“Very well.” Zhao Chengjun nodded lightly and said very calmly, “Take Feng Qian and Imperial Physician Song outside and beat them to death.”
Everyone was shocked. Liu Ji’s eyelids twitched and responded by lowering his eyes. The eunuchs stepped forward and dragged Imperial Physician Song outside. Imperial Physician Song struggled desperately and shouted, “Wangye, I was accused wrongly! Even if I’m guilty, I just diagnosed the wrong pulse and said the wrong thing. Why do I have died? I know I’m wrong and hope Wangye will show mercy!”
Zhao Zixun could not help but plead, “Father, Imperial Physician Song took bribes and made the wrong diagnosis. He is indeed abhorrent, but he is not guilty to death. Feng Qian who planned all this was the culprit, and it was enough to beat her to death. It was not easy to train an imperial physician in the imperial hospital. Imperial Physician Song studied hard for many years and served in the mansion for a long time. Even if there is no contribution, there is still his hard work. Father, please forgive Imperial Physician Song once considering his hard work over the years.”
Zhao Chengjun smiled lightly and said, “It doesn’t matter to beat Feng Qian to death but it’s a pity to beat an imperial physician to death? When he said the diagnosis, didn’t he know that he would harm people to death? Death is not a pity for those physicians who have no medical ethics. Drag him out and beat him to death.”
As soon as Liu Ji heard what Zhao Chengjun said, he knew that he has lost his patience. Liu Ji did not dare to delay, he immediately signaled the little eunuchs to be quicker and not to waste time. When Imperial Physician Song heard that he was really going to be beaten to death, he was so frightened that he could not help but cry out injustice. Zhao Chengjun took a quick look at the main room and said coldly, “Gagged his mouth. Drag him farther away, and don’t disturb the Jianjia Courtyard.”
Liu Ji responded, skillfully gagged Imperial Physician Song’s mouth, and quickly dragged the man away. The courtyard suddenly became silent, the contrast was too distinct which made people shudder.
Lu Yufei could not help but rub the goosebumps on her arm. There was really no sound at all which made it even more terrifying. Lu Yufei always suspected that there was a smell of blood in the air.
Zhao Chengjun stood on the top step with cold eyes looking down condescendingly, unknown to who he was talking to, “She is Wangfei. She is equal to me both on the inside and outside. Those who dare to help the tyrants and fuel the flames will have the same fate of those outsides.”
Everyone responded obediently, dared not say another word. After dealing with the traitors in the mansion, Zhao Chengjun looked down again.
Lu Yufei tensed up from head to toes. She knew it was her turn next.
“Shizifei doesn’t understand the nature of people. During this time, you don’t need to be a housekeeper and it’s a good time to reflect on yourself. You can’t even handle your own affairs, how are you going to manage others.”
Lu Yufei felt a heavy thump in her heart, not only her housekeeping rights were stripped, but also there was no time limit. She was the mistress who managed the household affairs. Jing Wang gave it to her and later took it away which was tantamount to saying in front of everyone that she was incompetent and did not have the qualification to be the mistress.
Lu Yufei was originally not favored by her husband, and the housekeeping authority was her only backing. Now, even the housekeeping authority was gone. How would Lu Yufei face her natal family? How would she face her childhood friends who curry favor and flattered her in the past?
However, Lu Yufei did not dare to say what was on her mind. She suppressed her tears and saluted Zhao Chengjun to apologize, “Thank you father for your kindness. I will always remember.”
Zhao Chengjun’s gaze fell on Zhao Zixun shortly after that. Zhao Zixun felt the heavy gaze from above and bowed his head respectfully. Zhao Zixun knew that he could not avoid being punished. Lu Yufei was already punished so seriously. As Lu Yufei’s husband and the master during this period, his punishment would only be even more severe.
Others also understood Zhao Chengjun’s style of work. Everyone inside and outside held their breath, and their nerves were tense. When Zhao Chengjun was about to speak, there was a faint noise coming from inside the main room and it seemed that Tang Shishi was awake. Zhao Chengjun stopped talking immediately and walked quickly to the main room.
Tang Shishi held her head and got up slowly. She only remembered that there was a very annoying old woman who was going to harm her. Tang Shishi tried her best to avoid her and then fainted afterward. However, Tang Shishi could not remember why she fainted and what happened after she fainted.
She clutched her forehead and looked outside. There were still broken porcelain pieces scattered on the ground outside which showed that the conflict has indeed occurred. Tang Shishi was suddenly frightened and immediately caressed her lower abdomen.
Why was she in bed? Was her child still there?
While Tang Shishi was frightened, sounds of footsteps came from a distance. Tang Shishi raised her head and was startled to see the person she hated approaching her.
Zhao Chengjun sighed deeply when he saw her panic and defensive eyes. He sat on the edge of the bed and gently put down Tang Shishi’s hand, “I’m back. The child is fine, and you are fine too. You don’t have to be afraid.”
When Tang Shishi saw Zhao Chengjun, her heart was sour and bitter. She remembered that Zhao Chengjun came back suddenly just now. She cried and fainted because she was too excited to see Zhao Chengjun.
Tang Shishi angrily shook off Zhao Chengjun’s hand and said angrily, “What is it got to do with you about how I am? Who says this child has something to do with you?”
Liu Ji and others heard this when they came in one after another. They said “oops” in their hearts and silently turned around, intending to withdraw quietly. However, Zhao Chengjun had heard them. He did not look angry, rather he took Tang Shishi’s hand and said, “All right, it’s up to you. Come in and check her pulse and the baby.”
The latter sentence was for the servants and the imperial physicians. All the remaining imperial physicians in the mansion were called and they had learned on the way that Imperial Physician Song was beaten to death by Jing Wang because he had deliberately misdiagnosed for taking bribery. The fellow official for many years was gone in the blink of an eye. The imperial physicians sighed for a moment and stepped forward while holding their breath even more and carefully checked Tang Shishi’s pulse.
Imperial Physician Song was beaten to death because he offended this person. The imperial physicians knew the current affairs best. How could they do not know what to say and who to curry favor with?
The imperial physicians checked the pulse one by one and then retreated behind the screen to discuss quietly for a long time. Finally, the oldest imperial physician with the most experienced and the best medical knowledge stepped forward to report while choosing his words carefully, “Wangye, Miss Tang’s physique is cold. In addition, she has been depressed and worried too much during this period. This baby has already shown signs of miscarriage. I am afraid it will be very dangerous.”
Tang Shishi was pulling her hand at first because she did not want to be held by Zhao Chengjun. However, after hearing the imperial physician’s words, her struggling strength became weaker unconsciously, “What? Are you saying that the child can’t be kept?”
Zhao Chengjun was still very calm. He gently held Tang Shishi’s hand and said in a very steady tone, “Save this baby at all costs.”
The imperial physicians discussed among themselves for a while, and it was still the oldest imperial physician who came forward with a reply, “It’s possible to save the baby, but you need to be very careful. The medicine must not be broken and should be accompanied with acupuncture if necessary.”
Before Zhao Chengjun could speak, Tang Shishi affirmed, “Sure, no matter what. I can do anything as long as I can keep the child.”
Zhao Chengjun glanced at Tang Shishi quietly and said to the imperial physicians “You can go on to prescribe the medicines. Use the best in everything for the adult and the child, and don’t have to worry about other things.”
The imperial physicians responded and withdrew one after another. After the imperial physicians left, Liu Ji was very perceptive and took the attendants to the next door to listen to the imperial physicians prescribing medicines and gave space to Zhao Chengjun and Tang Shishi that were inside.
The room quieted down very fast, and only Tang Shishi and Zhao Chengjun were left in the room. Tang Shishi turned her face with an indifferent expression and did not want to talk at all.
Zhao Chengjun sighed faintly, and swept her loose hair from her temple, “I’m sorry. It’s my thoughtlessness that has made you suffer these days.”