IBTBTED Chapter 100
It’s Better to be the Empress Dowager
Chapter 100 Fake Pregnancy
Yingtao knelt on the ground as the water droplets kept dripping from the end of the hair and forming a shallow puddle on the ground. She was completely drenched, and her face was wet, where one could not tell whether it was rain or tears.
Regardless of her embarrassed appearance, Yingtao kowtowed to Tang Shishi, “Wangfei, please save Lizhi. I grew up with her and knew how stupid and timid she was. She will never deliberately make things look mysterious and deceive Wangye and Shizi!”
Tang Shishi frowned slowly, listening to the meaning of Yingtao, most probably Lizhi’s pregnancy had changed. Tang Shishi motioned to Dujuan and asked her to take a piece of dry cotton cloth for Yingtao, and said, “Don’t get excited, wipe off the water on your body first. What happened?”
Yingtao passively took the cotton cloth and wiped her face in a daze. The water droplets on the eyes were wiped dry, and Yingtao’s heart slowly calmed down.
She knew that it was right to come to Wangfei. In the huge mansion, only Wangfei was able to take care of Lizhi’s matter. Lizhi was able to be saved!
Yingtao clenched the cotton cloth in her hand, walked two steps on her knees, and said bitterly, “Wangfei, the imperial physician finds out that Lizhi’s pregnancy was fake. But I request Wangfei to investigate clearly as Lizhi, she has no courage to deceive Shizi! When the imperial physician first diagnosed the pulse, she was really diagnosed with a happy pulse. She was such a silly person. When the imperial physician said she was pregnant, she believed it right away and waited foolishly these days. Unexpectedly, she realized something was wrong when her menstruation came a few days ago… She came to me to make a decision. I persuaded her to confess to Shizifei, but she was discovered by Shizi before she had time to speak.”
The more Tang Shishi heard, the tighter she frowned. Lizhi had such a big pregnancy battle some time ago. After making trouble for such a long time, it turned out to be a fake pregnancy? Lizhi and Yingtao were good sisters. Tang Shishi did not fully believe what Yingtao said. Tang Shishi thought about it and decided to ask a few more people to be on the safe side.
Tang Shishi asked, “How did Shizi find out that it was a fake pregnancy? Who else knows about this apart from you?”
“I also don’t know, but I dare to vouch with my life that I never told anyone.” Yingtao was anxious and looked at Tang Shishi with a pleading face. “Wangfei, please be merciful and save Lizhi. I don’t know who provoked Shizi and he thought Lizhi was deliberately pretending to be pregnant to seek the position of Cefei. Shizi was furious and said he wanted to beat Lizhi to death.”
“Seek the position of Cefei…” Tang Shishi slowly repeated these words, and suddenly a flash of enlightenment came to her and her eyes widened, “Not good!”
Tang Shishi made people keep an eye on Zhao Zigao properly and hurriedly walked to the Yinian courtyard with her maids. At first, Tang Shishi also suspected that these two maids were doing a trick and deliberately pretended to be pregnant. After being discovered, they came to deceive Tang Shishi and wanted to use Tang Shishi’s hand to escape. But after Yingtao mentioned Cefei, Tang Shishi suddenly remembered that the two concubines who were diagnosed with pregnancy were both Lu Yufei’s dowry maids. What if by any chance that this round was not aimed at Lizhi and other maids, but at Lu Yufei?
The rain was still pouring when Tang Shishi rushed to the Yinian courtyard, and the corner of her skirt had been wet. She was startled by the scene as soon as she stepped into the gate of the Yinian courtyard, “Shizifei?”
Lu Yufei knelt in the rain, and Zhang Momo also knelt behind her, anxiously holding an umbrella for her. However, the umbrella could only cover the upper body, and Lu Yufei’s knees have been completely wet.
Zhang Momo was so worried until out of her wits. She heard a voice behind her and saw Tang Shishi when she turned around. She was simply overjoyed, “Wangfei! Wangfei, please make the decision for Shizifei!”
Tang Shishi frowned and slowly approached from the corridor. She stopped in front of the cloister and asked across half a cobblestone path, “What’s going on here? Why is Shizifei kneeling here?”
“Wangfei, Shizi was instigated by those little bitches and misunderstood Shizifei, thinking that Shizifei was plotting the position of Cefei. Wangfei, please investigate clearly. Shizifei is already the legitimate wife. Why does she have to scheme the position of Cefei? Shizifei did not know why Lizhi and Shiliu fake their pregnancy.”
Tang Shishi quietly raised her eyebrows. Oh, not only did Lizhi fake pregnancy, but Shiliu’s pregnancy was also fake. Lu Yufei’s fall was truly cruel, such a ruthless trick, probably the hand behind the scenes was an acquaintance.
Tang Shishi thought of Zhou Shunhua right away. However, now was not the time to say this, and Tang Shishi also did not express anything. She said to Lu Yufei indifferently, “It’s very cold on rainy days. How can womenfolk endure kneeling like this? Get up, Shizifei.”
Lu Yufei’s face was pale, and her voice was hoarse, “However, Shizi is angry. Shizi told me to reflect outside.”
“Shizi is so impressive.” Tang Shishi glanced down at Lu Yufei, gathered the cloak on her body, and said, “No matter how useless this Wangfei is, I am still his mother in the end. I can still manage to do this. Get up.”
“Thank you, Wangfei!” Zhang Momo responded in a haste and quickly helped Lu Yufei to get up. With Tang Shishi’s words, even if Zhao Zixun asked for accountability in the end, they could push it to Tang Shishi.
As for how Tang Shishi going to explain, Zhang Momo did not care.
Lu Yufei staggered to get on her feet and a maid tied a cloak for her. Her face was as pale as paper. Tang asked, “Where is Shizi?”
“Shizi is interrogating Lizhi and Shiliu in the backyard.” Zhang Momo wiped the rain off her face and took the initiative to lead the way, “It’s raining heavily today. Shizi doesn’t know that Wangfei is coming. Wangfei, please follow me.”
The Yinian courtyard was like a smaller version of the mansion with a straight central axis and complete front, middle and rear structures. Lu Yufei lived in the front main room, and the back cover room, sides hall, and lateral courtyard were used to accommodate Zhao Zixun’s concubines. Tang Shishi went to the backyard of the Yinian courtyard. As soon as she entered the lateral courtyard, she heard a crisp sound of a shattered teacup, “Now, what else do you two have to say?”
In the room, a woman’s mournful begging for mercy sounded, “Shizi, please spare me. I really don’t know anything. I didn’t pretend to be pregnant on purpose. Obviously, the imperial physician didn’t say like this a month ago.”
There was only one woman’s voice. It sounded that the other person had been scared silly. When Zhao Zixun heard the plea, he did not have a tender heart for the women, but became even more furious, “So, could it be that the imperial physician who wronged you?”
The woman was sobbing and said she did not dare. The imperial physician stepped forward and cupped his hands, “Shizi, please investigate clearly. I’ve been practicing medicine for many years with strong medical ethics and have clear conscience in my heart. Concubine Shiliu and I have no grievances and no grudges and only met for the first time today. How could I frame concubine Shiliu? The two concubines, Shiliu and Lizhi, are indeed not pregnant. If Shizi doesn’t believe me, you can change to someone else for another diagnosis.”
Zhao Zixun said, “Imperial Physician don’t need to say anymore, I naturally trust you. It’s these two despicable maids who are bold enough. Someone pulled them out and beat them to death.”
Suddenly, there was a cry in the room, and Shiliu shouted out injustice. The other woman seemed to have finally reacted, crying and begging, “Shizi, all mistakes are my wrong. For the sake of I have been serving Shizi, please don’t take your anger out on other people. Shizifei is innocent.”
However, Zhao Zixun was very sick of this and how could he still think about the sentiments of physical intimacy at that time? He did not even look at the two maids on the ground and said coldly, “Drag them out and beat them to death.”
The old women inside agreed and dragged the two maids out. The two maids were struggling while wailing with grief, but the old women did not hesitate to drag them rudely to the doorway, “Two cheap hooves, know your place. How can you shout injustice when you deceive Shizi? Today, I’ll let you experience the rules of the mansion… Ah, Wangfei?”
Tang Shishi stood under the cloister with her hands together, quietly watching the farce inside, “What rules? How come I don’t know?”
When the people inside heard the sound, they rushed out. Zhao Zixun walked out the door with a calm face and saw that Tang Shishi was really standing outside. He frowned tightly, “Wangfei, why are you here?”
A group of women followed Zhao Zixun out and saw Tang Shishi, each with their own expression. They suppressed their real thoughts and graciously saluted to Tang Shishi, “Pay respect to Wangfei.”
“Your crying sounds here already reached to Yan’an courtyard, and Shizi still asked me why I came over?” Tang Shishi was wearing a cloak and went up the steps and Dujuan was holding an umbrella for Tang Shishi at the side. After Tang Shishi walked into the eaves, Dujuan turned around to tilt the umbrella surface and leaned the umbrella against the corridor column.
Another maid handed over the handkerchief. Tang Shishi took the handkerchief, wiped the water on her hands, and asked calmly, “Shizifei knelt in the rain to reflect, and the two maids will also be beaten to death. Shouldn’t Shizi explain to me what is going on here?”
Zhao Zixun pursed his lips and was really unwilling to let Tang Shishi interfere with these. He had a cold expression and hidden resistance in his tone, “This is my family affair, so I dare not bother Wangfei.”
Tang Shishi chuckled. She handed over the handkerchief to the maid and held her hands in front of her which were fair and cold like an exquisite jade, “Is there are other things in the mansion that I, Wangfei can’t manage?”
Tang Shishi used to call herself “I”, but now she used “I, Wangfei “. The atmosphere inside and outside the room was stagnant. Both the master and the servant bowed their heads and stared at the ground motionless.
In the backyard, only the sound of rain could be heard for a while.
Zhao Zixun was silent for a moment, and arched his hands to salute, “Wangfei naturally has no taboos. These filthy things may pollute Wangfei’s ears. Please ask Wangfei to be magnanimous enough to forgive my shortcomings.”
“It doesn’t matter.” Tang Shishi glanced at the corner of her eye, pointed to a person randomly, and said, “Just you, tell the truth from the beginning of what happened just now.”
The little maid panicked suddenly after being pointed out and stuttered, “Wangfei, the people from the laundry room collected clothes today and accidentally found blood on concubine Lizhi’s skirt. The laundry maid thought the concubine had a miscarriage, so she hurried to report it to Shizi. Unexpectedly, after questioning, found out that it was not miscarriage blood, but menstrual blood. Shizi was furious and immediately called the imperial physician to come over to diagnose Lizhi’s pulse. When waiting for the imperial physician to arrive, concubine Shiliu’s expression was not right. Shizi saw through that concubine Shiliu was lying, too, and was very furious. Shizifei pleaded for the two concubines. In a fit of rage, Shizi sent Shizifei to kneel outside… Later, after the imperial physician arrived, Shizi let the imperial physician diagnose the pulse of the two concubines. Unexpectedly, neither of the concubines were pregnant…”
At first impression, the maid’s explanations sounded very reasonable as menstruation would never happen during pregnancy. The traces of Lizhi’s menstruation were seen and being exposed, which was reasonable and fair. However, the problem also lay here. If Lizhi was really faking her pregnancy, why should she send the blood-stained clothes to the laundry room? She was not without common sense. And how did a coarse maid who wash clothes would come into contact with Shizi?
Of course, the most critical point was that Lizhi and Shiliu lied about their pregnancy. What was their purpose? Pregnancy could not be fake. If ten months later could not give birth to a child, was not still death waiting for them? Even in the harem, the most favored concubine dared not do this kind of swapping the real with a fake. Where would these two maids without any background had the courage?
Therefore, Tang Shishi was more inclined to believe that Lizhi and Shiliu really thought they were pregnant and reported happily. As the result, they fell into the trap of others. Tang Shishi did not understand pharmacology, but there were a large number of capable people in the wealthy family courtyard. It was not impossible to have a certain drug that could show symptoms of pregnancy after taking them and even could change the pulse.
It was easy to be misdiagnosed in the first three months of pregnancy. It was not difficult to understand that the imperial physician was eager to infer those similar pulses as happy pulses. The people behind the scenes meticulously designed the complete set, luring Lizhi and Shiliu step by step. Now, the spearhead was even more directed at Lu Yufei.
After all, Tang Shishi just said that whoever was pregnant could be Cefei, and Lu Yufei’s two dowry maids had falsely claimed to be pregnant one after another. No one would believe that there was no instruction from Lu Yufei here.
Tang Shishi roughly sorted out and understood in her heart. She glanced at Zhou Shunhua lightly and saw Zhou Shunhua had lowered her head, looking sad and innocent. Tang Shishi sneered in her heart, and said faintly, “I promised to make a pregnant person be Cefei. I wanted to please, but I didn’t expect it to be like this. Lizhi and Shiliu falsely report that they are pregnant, but they are only two helpless maids. Why do they want to do this kind of thing? I can understand the grief and anger of Shizi, but after all, there are two lives. In my opinion, there is no harm in taking time to investigate this matter thoroughly before punishing them again.”
When Zhang Momo heard these words, she quickly echoed, “What Wangfei said is true! Shizi, Shizifei is most looking forward to having an heir. You don’t know how much medicine she drank and how much pain she suffered trying to conceive a child during this period! Shizifei has a gentle and kind temperament. How could she resort to deception? There must be someone who is playing tricks. Shizi, please investigate clearly.”
“Gentle and kind?” Zhao Zixun looked at Lu Yufei coldly and sneered at her, “I don’t think so.”
There was an uproar from everyone. By looking at Zhao Zixun’s attitude, Zhao Zixun obviously did not believe that Lu Yufei was innocent. Lu Yufei’s face was already very pale. So, when she heard Zhao Zixun’s words, she lost all the blood on her lips and suddenly raised her head, “Shizi, do you doubt me?”
Zhao Zixun did not say anything, but without a statement was already the biggest statement. Lu Yufei’s strength seemed to be drained all over, half of her body soften, and almost fell down, “We have been husband and wife for two years, and you don’t believe me?”
The old maid quickly helped Lu Yufei. Standing beside Zhao Zixun, Zhou Shunhua seemed to sigh and advised, “Shizifei, I know you hate to part with your dowry maids, but you can’t blame Shizi. Could it be that Shizi did something wrong by exposing the fraud after being deceived?”
It was better for Zhou Shunhua not to speak because once she opened her mouth, Lu Yufei seemed to be more irritated, fuming with anger, and said, “We don’t need you a concubine to meddle in our husband and wife’s affairs.”
Zhao Zixun had already calmed down but after hearing Lu Yufei’s words, his face became gloomy again, “Bold! Shunhua was being considerate of you. Even if you are not grateful, how can you still insult her in return? You simply don’t know what’s good or bad. You are a disgrace to be a wife.”
Lu Yufei’s tears fell down, “I don’t deserve it. Then you can divorce me and make her your legitimate wife!”
After Lu Yufei finished speaking, she pushed Zhang Momo away abruptly, turned around, and ran out. However, it was raining outside, and water was accumulated on the steps. Lu Yufei’s body was already not feeling good. At this moment, she was so excited that she did not see clearly the path under her feet. She accidentally slipped on a step and fell heavily down the steps.
The womenfolk suddenly shrieked. Zhang Momo screamed and rushed down the steps. After the maids’ shocking moment, Dujuan surrounded Tang Shishi at once. Tang Shishi said with a cold face angrily, “Absurd!”
Tang Shishi walked quickly to the outside of the door as she spoke. Then she looked down the steps and gasped in shock.
There were bloodstains on the steps mixed with the rain, splattering on the ground. Zhang Momo hugged Lu Yufei, her hands were covered with blood, and wailed, “Someone, quickly call the imperial physician!”