IBTBTED Chapter 88
It’s Better to be the Empress Dowager
Chapter 88 Slap in the Face
Tang Shishi nodded lightly, and said indifferently, “I know. Let them wait in the side room. I’ll come over in a while.”
Tang Shishi returned to the main room to moisten her throat, sat down to take a break for a while, then walked towards the side room without hesitation. Tang Shishi had to raise the baby during this period, regardless of what happened in the mansion. However, to show loyalty, these people often ran over to Tang Shishi to say something flattery and then told Tang Shishi of the arrangement during this period, pretending to ask Tang Shishi for instructions.
If Tang Shishi did not like it, she could change it as she pleased. Anyway, Tang Shishi did not take care of the trouble in the real implementation. Tang Shishi was very much like those ancestors who live in dignity but refuse to delegate power. Although she did not have to work, everything must be approved by her.
Lu Yufei followed Tang Shishi to the side room. She stood behind Tang Shishi and listened to those crafty old women who were good at flattering Tang Shishi. If Tang Shishi did not understand or was dissatisfied, she directly interrupted the old woman and asked the other party to explain again.
The old woman in charge did not have any displeasure and continued to say kindly for fear of upsetting Tang Shishi. After Lu Yufei listened for a while, she was envious and jealous again in her heart.
She also took charge of the mansion briefly, but annoyed Jing Wang some time ago and was completely dismissed. When Lu Yufei was in charge of the mansion, these old women were not like this. They had served in the mansion for more than ten years, every single one was intricate, old, and cunning. If Lu Yufei moved one, it would involve a series. She had to be careful in everything she wanted to do for fear of offending these people or stumbling by them secretly.
Lu Yufei used to comfort herself that the housekeeper’s work needed emotional intelligence. They needed her because it was difficult to be considerate and this kind of thing only Lu Yufei could do as she was intelligent and talented. If she behaved a little worse, then she could not do it.
Who would believe it was not that honest people could not be housekeepers, but because Lu Yufei’s identity did not deserve to be honest? Just by looking at Tang Shishi sitting here, she did not bother to socialize with these old women at all. If she was unhappy, she threw it directly into the other person’s face. Did not those crafty old women apologize humbly and quickly change it?
Lu Yufei sighed deeply.
Tang Shishi was agitated when she heard these old women talking on and on. She did not know who these names represented at all. How could she be not confused when she heard the woman talk about who was assigned to what position? Tang Shishi was impatient and waved her hand directly, “That’s good. You don’t have to say the specific details. Bring me the kitchen, procurement, and warehouse… Anyway, all the places where you need to keep accounts, no need too long ago, just this year and send all the account books to me at the same time.”
The old woman in charge was stunned for a moment, a few of them exchanged their sights quickly, and said with a flattering smile, “Wangfei, you don’t know that there are a lot of turnovers in such a big mansion. The account book is not a booklet but is divided into several books. Nowadays, Wangfei can’t consume energy, so I am afraid Wangfei can’t finish reading with so many books.”
Tang Shishi’s face was cold and said coldly, “If I can’t finish it in a day, I’ll read it in several days. If I can’t finish it in a month, then I will leave it for next year. As Wangfei, it’s my business to see what I want to see. Do you even want to control this?”
These old women in charge were frightened, and bowed their heads together, “We don’t dare.”
Nowadays, Tang Shishi was a highly respected noble, so how dared these old women said that Tang Shishi was not good? The old woman with the most seniority gave a look at the people secretly and smiled apologetically, “Wangfei, what they meant is that they also care about Wangfei and trespassed carelessly. Wangfei is magnanimous and does not haggle with them. I’ll send the account books to Wangfei at once.”
After the old woman finished speaking, she made meaningful glances constantly. Those people who were questioned just now bowed with a dry smile and begged for mercy, “Wangfei, please forgive us. We know our mistakes.”
Tang Shishi closed her eyes, and said dully, “Will do, just get up. If there’s nothing else, just retreat.”
“Yes, we obey.”
The old women retired one after another. Tongxiu stopped at the doorway and waited for everyone to go out before entering the room to greet Tang Shishi, “Pay respect to Wangfei. Wangfei, the gatekeeper has sent many invitations. Wangfei, please have a look.”
Since it was an invitation from the outside, Tang Shishi became interested and said, “Bring it over.”
Tongxiu complied and handed over the invitation. Tang Shishi opened the top one first and saw Old Madam Zheng written on it. Tang Shishi recalled for a while and vaguely remembered that this was the older madam. In the beginning, when Zhao Chengjun chose Shizifei, he asked Old Madam Zheng to be the matchmaker.
She had connections with Lu Yufei and seemed to have a good relationship with Madam Xi. Tang Shishi did not even think about it, and she threw the invitation away.
Lu Yufei and Tongxiu were surprised to see Tang Shishi’s action. Tongxiu beat around the bush to remind her, “Wangfei, this is Old Madam Zheng, who has always been respected by Wangye. Old Madam Zheng was the matchmaker to marry Shizifei in those days.”
“I know.” Tang Shishi looked at Tongxiu calmly, “What does this have to do with me not wanting to go?”
Tongxiu was dumb and speechless for a moment. Yes, Tang Shishi was not a wife who had just entered the door and dared not offend anyone, nor was she a humble Wangfei who desperately needed a firm footing. She had the support of Empress Dowager behind her and the protection of the child in her belly. In fact, she did not need to look at anyone’s face.
What about Old Madam Zheng’s high prestige? No matter how high her prestige was, could she be higher than Empress Dowager Yao?
Tang Shishi looked at one after another. The Lu family’s invitation was thrown away. The Li family’s house was too far away and threw it away. The Xi family did not have to think about it and threw it far away.
Tang Shishi’s invitations were thrown away one by one, she was picky without concealing it. There was also a stack at the back. Tang Shishi was too lazy to see it. She closed the lid directly and pushed it to Tongxiu, “I don’t want to read it. Just throw it away.”
Tongxiu’s brows jumped quickly, and finally chose to be silent, and quietly removed the box. Tongxiu squatted down to pick up the scattered invitation, the one which fell by Lu Yufei’s feet. When Tongxiu was about to take it, she saw Lu Yufei squatting down to pick up the invitation one step in advance and handed it to Tongxiu.
Tongxiu raised her eyes to see Lu Yufei, nodded, and retreated again. At this time, the old woman in charge sent the account books and the maids were so busy preparing pillows and changing to nourishing decoction because they were afraid that Tang Shishi would be tired from looking at the account books.
Amidst the chaos, Tang Shishi sat in the center of the crowd, looking down at the account books calmly, without any discomfort. It seemed that she was born to be surrounded by everyone and enjoyed everyone running back and forth for her.
Lu Yufei lowered her eyes and sighed again in her heart. Lu Yufei had sighed more times than in the previous year since Tang Shishi conferred as Wangfei. Lu Yufei had never cared about it before, and it was only after being compared with Tang Shishi that Lu Yufei realized how humble her situation was and how helpless her life was.
A woman’s life would be reflected on her face. When Tang Shishi first came to Jing Wang’s mansion, although she was delicate, she was not so unscrupulous. She also knew how to look at people’s cues and flattered people. A year later, the once cautious Tang Shishi disappeared. Now she dared to throw away the Zheng family’s invitation, openly scolded the old maids who had worked for years, and boldly asked to see the account books.
Lu Yufei not only felt that Tang Shishi was not virtuous and unfilial but also envied that she could do whatever she wanted. Only those who were favored had the confidence to be extravagant.
And without having to think about it, the person who gave Tang Shishi confidence, naturally, was Jing Wang.
When Zhao Chengjun came back in the evening, he unexpectedly found that the Yan’an courtyard was quiet. After he entered the main room, he inadvertently looked for Tang Shishi. The maid quietly reminded him, “Wangye, Wangfei is in the east side room.”
Zhao Chengjun walked to the easternmost part and found that she was leaning on the soft pillow, looking at the account book attentively. Zhao Chengjun stood by the doorway watching for a while and then coughed softly.
Tang Shishi came to her sense and found Zhao Chengjun was back. She hurriedly stood up and said, “Wangye, when did you come back? Why didn’t anyone inform me…”
“I didn’t let them inform you.” Zhao Chengjun stopped Tang Shishi’s words and walked to her side. Naturally, he lowered his eyes, “What are you looking at?”
“Account book.” Tang Shishi did not hide it. This was the account book of the mansion. Since she dared to beat those old maids, she was not afraid that Zhao Chengjun knew about it. Sure enough, Zhao Chengjun did not mind. He took a quick look and said, “If you like, just take a look. But remember to behave, must not tire yourself and the child.”
“I know.” Tang Shishi closed the account book, and today’s account review came to an end for the time being. She followed Zhao Chengjun, walked out of the side room, and asked, “Did Wangye eat the evening meal?”
“Then, just in time.” Tang Shishi smiled, “The kitchen delivered the food just now. I’ll let them set the meal now.”
Zhao Chengjun frowned when he heard this, “I said before that you don’t have to wait for me. Just eat on time.”
“I don’t want to.” Tang Shishi struck a righteous pose and raised her chin slightly, “Wangye said yourself to not let me wrong myself that everyone and everything else can give in to me. If no one is with me, I tend to have a bad appetite. Then I have to trouble Wangye to wronged yourself and put up with me.”
Zhao Chengjun chuckled and lightly tapped the center of her eyebrows, “Glib-tongued.”
Tang Shishi was not afraid of him. Instead, she stopped his finger and pushed it away with disgust, “Don’t touch my forehead. I finally pasted the flower decals today. You be careful and don’t distort it for me.”
Zhao Chengjun was used to being contradicted, and he did not mind this little outrage at all. He held Tang Shishi’s hand, took her shoulders into his arms, and led her to the dining hall, “Let’s go. You’ve been hungry for a long time, and the child can’t stand it anymore.”
“Wangye only cares about the child?”
“… and you.”
It was late autumn. The sky got dark very soon after dinner. After taking a bath, Tang Shishi sent all the maids out and combed their hair in the room. Zhao Chengjun was reading in the east room, and the bedroom was extremely quiet.
Tang Shishi’s eyes could not help but fall on the mahogany chest, which contained her clothes and the heavenly book. In the past, Tang Shishi had checked the plot every day, but since she moved to Yan’an courtyard and lived with Zhao Chengjun, Tang Shishi rarely had the opportunity to read.
The people that came and went during the daytime were all maids, and there was Zhao Chengjun in the evening. Since the last time she read it, Tang Shishi had never found a chance to flip over the plot. She hesitated for a while but still felt that she could not be careless. Zhao Chengjun was a secretive and cautious person. If she played tricks in front of him, she must be the one who failed.
Tang Shishi withdrew her gaze and continued to comb her hair. After a while, Zhao Chengjun put down his book and came back. He was surprised to see Tang Shishi still sitting in front of the dressing mirror, “Why are you still combing your hair?”
Only then did Tang Shishi realize that she was absent-minded and did not even notice what she was doing. Tang Shishi pretended nothing wrong and put down the comb, “I comb it casually. Recently, my hair grew very slowly. It will grow faster if I comb more.”
Zhao Chengjun stared at Tang Shishi quietly. She had a guilty conscience. If she was not guilty, why did she have to explain?
Zhao Chengjun calmly retracted his gaze and said, “It’s getting late. It’s time to go to bed.”
Tang Shishi reluctantly gave an “en” and walked to the bed. Then she skillfully climbed into bed. When she was arranging the quilt, she saw two brocade quilts on the bed and was slightly stunned.
The quilt sunk slightly. Zhao Chengjun sat on the edge of the bed and asked, “What are you thinking?”
Tang Shishi pursed her lips. After hesitating for a long time, she still said, “Wangye, Feng Momo already left.”
Zhao Chengjun waited for a while, but he did not hear anything. He was surprised and said, “Yes. What do you want to ask?”
Tang Shishi had always avoided talking about it before. It seemed that as long as she did not touch on it, this problem would not exist. Now that Feng momo was gone, Tang Shishi could no longer endure it.
With the mentality of getting it over, she risked herself and asked, “Wangye, what they said before is not completely unreasonable. Regarding the matter of taking concubines… What arrangement do you have?”
Zhao Chengjun’s eyes moved slightly and revealed a clear look. It turned out that she was worried about this. Zhao Chengjun’s expression remained unchanged, and he said lightly, “I have already arranged that day. I will not consider taking a concubine and not be allowed to mention it in the future.”
Tang Shishi could not help frowning as if she heard something incomprehensible. Zhao Chengjun calmly asked, “Otherwise, what do you think?”
After Zhao Chengjun finished talking, he speciously mentioned before Tang Shishi replied, “There are no outsiders here. You can just say what you want.”
When Tang Shishi was about to speak, she was stopped by Zhao Chengjun. She paused for a long time, seemed to be considering the language, and finally gave up completely. She said honestly, “Wangye, it must be a lie to say how happy I am that you are taking a concubine. But why don’t you accept it?”
When Zhao Chengjun heard her last sentence, he secretly felt relieved. Zhao Chengjun would have a headache if she threw out a sentence like a virtuous woman would not be jealous following the “Three Obedience and Four Virtues”. Fortunately, Tang Shishi did not say that nonsense.
He was relieved. As for the later problem, it was completely unimportant. Zhao Chengjun tied up Tang Shishi’s hair and lifted it all to the other side. Then he straightened her pillow and said, “Why do I have to take a concubine? My life is just getting better. It’s enough for me to deal with you alone. Why should I trouble myself again?”
This was actually Zhao Chengjun’s truth, but Tang Shishi did not believe it. In other words, she did not believe that men could resist the temptation of lust and live the life of ascetics. Tang Shishi resisted the embarrassment, quickly gestured to her belly, and whispered, “But I’m obviously pregnant and it’s inconvenient to do anything. Doesn’t Wangye mind?”
Zhao Chengjun could not help laughing. He touched the top of Tang Shishi’s head and rubbed her hair that had just been combed into a mess. He said, “The reason why people are human is that they can control themselves. If they can’t control this thing, how is it different from animals?”
“But everyone else…” Tang Shishi could not continue on, her voice getting lower and lower, “I’ll be a few more months in pregnancy.”
During this time, Tang Shishi been sleeping with Zhao Chengjun together, and sometimes she did not sleep well at night. How could she not know this kind of thing?
In fact, Zhao Chengjun also suffered a lot during this period, but who knew that his hit rate was so high that he hit the bullseye the first time? Zhao Chengjun could only suppress his emotions, and still in the tone of being unwavering with pure heart without desire, “Indeed, a wife cannot have intimacy during pregnancy. However, if small desires can’t be controlled, how can we restrain big desires such as wine, women, wealth, and pride? Animals still know to stay close to their pregnant mate. Those who go outside to mess around while their wife is pregnant, in my opinion, are worse than a beast.”
Tang Shishi laughed and was completely relieved. It was useless for women to be strict about such things. To put it bluntly, it still depended on men.
As long as he wanted, it was no use for the wife to follow all day. If he did not want to, it did not matter if the garden was full of beauty.
Zhao Chengjun was certainly not a good person, but he was a person who kept his promises. Since he said that, he really would not. At this point, Tang Shishi completely trusted Zhao Chengjun.
Zhao Chengjun looked at her shining eyes and felt quite helpless. He still comforted her, touched her hair, and said, “Don’t worry. I’ll never break my promise to you.”
Tang Shishi was about to say something when she suddenly looked startled and her whole body became stiff. Zhao Chengjun was frightened and asked promptly, “What’s the matter?”
Tang Shishi seemed to be caught in a huge surprise. She widened her eyes and looked at Zhao Chengjun in disbelief, “He kicked me.”
Zhao Chengjun was stunned for a while before he realized who “he” was, “You mean the child?”
“Yes.” Tang Shishi took Zhao Chengjun’s hand in surprise and placed his palm on his stomach, “Right here.”
Zhao Chengjun’s expression became serious as if facing a big enemy. The two held their breath and waited for a while, but nothing happened.
Tang Shishi was awkward and disappointed, and quickly said, “I don’t know why he doesn’t move anymore… but just now, he really kicked me!”
Zhao Chengjun covered Tang Shishi’s hand and said, “I believe you. You don’t have to worry. Maybe he’s tired, wait for tomorrow…”
Before Zhao Chengjun finished speaking, a certain part of Tang Shishi’s stomach bulged slightly. This time both Zhao Chengjun and Tang Shishi felt it. Tang Shishi was pleasantly surprised and could not help but raise her voice, “He just kicked again!”
“I felt it.” Zhao Chengjun looked at Tang Shishi’s lower abdomen with a magical look. Zhao Chengjun knew for the first time that the child could move before he was born.
In fact, Zhao Chengjun could not be blamed for being ignorant. He was the youngest son of Imperial Concubine Guo Gonglie. He had no younger brother and no wives and concubines around him after he left the imperial palace. How would he know what the child was like when he was young? This was the first time that Zhao Chengjun directly felt his heir. It turned out that he really had a child, a child who was connected to him by blood.
Tang Shishi suddenly became a precious good in Zhao Chengjun’s eyes. He placed Tang Shishi properly, and then he had been studying Tang Shishi’s belly. It was a pity that the child did not give a face and after moving twice, he ignored his father again. Zhao Chengjun was full of enthusiasm and studied for a long time. In the end, Tang Shishi was annoyed by the fiddling, and said with a smile, “Wangye clearly said that you don’t like children, and now it seems that it is not at all.”
Zhao Chengjun was speechless. After a while, he sighed with great helplessness.
People must never promise too early when they were young. Otherwise, it would be a slap in the face.