It’s Better to be the Empress Dowager
Chapter 94 Dispose of the mother
The aids and advisors saluted deeply, almost touching their heads to the ground. The sun shone through the windowpane and shone a prismatic beam in the air. The golden beast in the corner of the room quietly produced smoke and extended out in the warm sun.
There was a strange stalemate in the study room. The other subordinates also have the same meaning as Advisor Lu. They did not care who Zhao Chengjun favored or whether the woman sitting in Wangfei’s position with a family named Xi, Li or Tang, but in any case, it could not be Empress Dowager Yao’s person.
Tang Shishi was a beauty sent by Empress Dowager Yao and has a deep relationship with the imperial court. It was said that she acted arrogantly by relying on her beauty. This was practically a beauty trap that hit the face of Jing Wang’s mansion and even if she was not killed, she should be left in the cold. Otherwise, how could the hearts of many people in Jing fiefdom be at peace?
Taking a step back, even if it was due to the face of the Empress Dowager Yao that Zhao Chengjun had to establish Tang Shishi as his Wangfei and even he could not kill Tang Shishi before the situation was clear, he could not allow Tang Shishi to raise the heir of the Jing Wang’s mansion by herself. In the eyes of the aids and advisors, Ma Er and others, the little gongzi who was born last night was surnamed Zhao and was a person of Jing Wang’s mansion, who would help Wangye and Shizi to win the world in the future, but Tang Shishi was not.
Of course, the son must stay, but the woman has to be killed.
They came today to force Zhao Chengjun to declare his position, either kill Tang Shishi or limit Tang Shishi’s range of movements. Anyway, he has to come up with a solution.
Sitting behind the writing desk, Zhao Chengjun felt the silent urging of everyone. If it had been in the past, he would not have done anything clearly contrary to the will of the people. As long as it was not a matter of principle, it would not hurt to take a step back. This time, however, Zhao Chengjun did not want to.
This was the woman he forced to stay by his side by offering stars and moon and coaxing through all kinds of hardships. For what reason they could snatch her away with just one sentence? After Tang Shishi became pregnant, he rushed back all the way from Suzhou. In the months when her morning sickness was the most severe, he accompanied her to get through the reactions and suffered with her. Now, the rounded chin Tang Shishi gave birth to a child who weighed eight catties last night, all of which were fed by Zhao Chengjun spoon by spoon.
He devoted more effort to Tang Shishi than anything in his life. He promised to accompany Tang Shishi all the time and would be driven by her to vent her anger all his life. Now only a year later, how could he give up?
The attitude of the officials was very obvious, and Zhao Chengjun’s determination was also very firm. Tang Shishi certainly be his wife and the mother of all his children. As a mother, it was natural for her to raise her children.
Zhao Chengjun could directly confess that she was his beloved woman and they could not have any idea to even think about beating her. But these matters were not that simple. It was easy for him to protect Tang Shishi, but it was the most difficult to keep the people’s heart of the prince’s mansion and let everyone still follow and be loyal to him without complaints.
After all, Tang Shishi has the label of Empress Dowager Yao. If Zhao Chengjun could not handle this matter well, then he could not handle the matter of raising troops to attack the capital in the future.
As for the stalling tactics by telling lies to calm down the officials for the time being was not within the scope of Zhao Chengjun’s consideration. On the one hand, this violated Zhao Chengjun’s principle that he must be truthful in everything. On the other hand, those in power were not afraid of making mistakes in the decision but were afraid of indecision. If he did not declare his position now and dragged till later, then he would only make the people’s hearts, his wife and child, not one of them could be kept at all.
Zhao Chengjun went through the next scene in his mind. After making sure that it was foolproof, he opened his mouth to say, “I understand all of your concerns, but no one can stand without credibility. I have already told the imperial court and everyone that Tang Shishi is the Wangfei. How can I go back on my words and break my own promise? Since she became Wangfei, I have never heard of her breaching internal or external security. Now that she has given birth to a son without any big mistake, then why should she be deposed? Moreover, the reason why I stand here is to protect the territory, defend the home and country, so that the common people can sleep peacefully. Although she is an imperial court lady, she is also a person of the Yan Dynasty and a daughter of her parents. You have followed me through life and death, cursing Tatars for killing unarmed and defenseless commoners, and now, you want to kill a woman who has done nothing wrong and has no power to fight back, just because she is acquainted with Empress Dowager Yao?”
Everyone was silent. After an unendurable silence, Advisor Lu said, “Wangfei is indeed infallible. However, an ignorant person is not guilty of a crime but treasuring a jade ring becomes a crime. She was sent by the Empress Dowager, and her beauty is the greatest sin. I hope Wangye will give up your love for the sake of the overall situation.”
Zhao Chengjun replied, “Regardless of whether I am such a person who does not distinguish between public and private interest, even if to say that I am really confused, then it was me that was wrong. What does it have to do with her?”
“Wangye!” Everyone sighed and bowed down together, “Hope that Wangye will focus on the overall situation.”
Zhao Chengjun endured his anger and said, “Well, you say to focus on the overall situation, then I will talk about the overall situation with you. My parents and elder brothers are all dead, and the first two betrothed died as well. I already have a reputation on the streets of jinxing my wife and relatives, and if there is any accident happen to Wangfei, wouldn’t it be impossible for me to take off the name of the lone star?”
The ministers were silent immediately. The common people were ignorant and believe in the spirits the most. A person who jinxed his mother and wife was obviously not suitable for being an emperor.
Everyone could only take a step back. Another aide proposed a compromise and said, “Wangye is kindhearted, and it’s not impossible to keep Wangfei’s life. However, the little gongzi is the future of the mansion, and he must not be raised by Empress Dowager Yao’s person. Wangye, please move the little childe away from the inner courtyard and prohibit Wangfei from seeing the little gongzi again.”
Zhao Chengjun flapped his sleeves and said calmly, “Since I came to the fief, I have been educating the common people about loyalty, filial piety and friendship, and the difference between the legitimate wife and a concubine. If I bypass my legitimate wife and give my son from the legitimate wife to other women, will it not be considered by the common people that I favor the concubine and neglect the wife? In the long run, how can I win the trust of the people and advocate loyalty and filial piety?”
Ma Er did not understand these literary words, but he at least knew that Zhao Chengjun did not agree to leave his son and dispose of the mother, and even did not agree to take the little gongzi away. Ma Er was anxious and blurted out, “Neither this will do nor that will do. Then, what should we do?”
Zhao Chengjun said, “She is both Wangfei and my child’s biological mother, and it’s natural for her to raise the child. She is sincere and filial and is not a crafty person. She should be allowed to raise her child to adulthood.”
When Zhao Zixun heard this, he lowered his eyes and said, “Father, she is the beauty trap sent by the imperial court.”
“I know.” Zhao Chengjun increased his tone slightly, “But she is even more so Jing Wangfei, my wife, and my child’s mother.”
All right, how could everyone not hear the meaning behind his words? In other words, Zhao Chengjun was partial towards Wangfei. Based on Zhao Chengjun’s words, he would always let Tang Shishi be the Wangfei, and he was that kind of person who was justified and has real power in his hand.
They far underestimated the degree of favor of this Wangfei. At first, everyone thought that Zhao Chengjun was so good to the Tang Shishi because of the child in her abdomen. Now that the child was born safely, Tang should also be put to death. In the end, Zhao Chengjun was extremely partial to Wangfei, and even more meticulous than to his child.
They had already spoken their shares, and it was enough for Jing Wang to take advantage of the situation. Without Jing Wang’s consent, could they still barge into the mansion and make things difficult for Wangfei?
How dare they! No man could tolerate outsiders treating his wife and children like this, not even a dead brother. It was said that brothers were like arms and legs while women were like clothes, but since ancient times, no man could live without clothes.
Since ancient times, those who could not get along with Majesty’s favorite concubine would not have a good ending. Advisor Lu quickly turned around and mediated, “Wangfei is well aware of the righteousness. With Wangye’s guidance, she must be able to distinguish right from wrong, abandon evil and do the good. Wangye is indeed our backbone. Since Wangye trusts Wangfei, then we naturally trust Wangfei.”
Zhao Chengjun felt relieved and said firmly, “This is natural.”
Since the most resourceful Advisor Lu has already expressed his stance, the others have nothing to say and salute one after another to apologize for the disrespectful remarks made to Wangfei just now. The atmosphere in the study was very delicate that everyone quickly asked to be excused. Before they went out, Zhao Chengjun’s voice came from behind unexpectedly, “Today’s words, after leaving this door, I’ll regard as I never heard it before. From now on, she is the legitimate Wangfei of Jing Wang’s mansion. If anyone wants to harm her, I will deal with it according to the law without any exceptions.”
The people looked at each other and knew that Zhao Chengjun looked calm and easygoing while discussing the right and wrong on this matter, actually, he was truly angry with their action of hounding Tang Shishi to death. This time, the law did not blame people. Next time, they would not have such good luck.
Several people lowered their eyes one after another and agreed.
Tang Shishi slept for a long time, and she even felt that she had never slept so long since she was born. Tang Shishi moved her fingers. When the maids heard the movement, they surrounded her one after another, “Wangfei, are you awake?”
Tang Shishi strenuously opened her eyes and tried for a long time before she could finally see a figure clearly. She glanced around and asked, “What time is it?”
“It’s wushi (7 pm – 9 pm).”
“Wushi,” Tang Shishi murmured, “I actually slept for so long.”
It was dark when she gave birth, but she did not expect it to be dark when she woke up. Tang Shishi suddenly thought of something and quickly asked, “Where’s my child?”
“Wangfei, don’t worry. The little junwang is here.” Outside the curtain, Dujuan’s voice was coming from a distance. She was carrying a baby wrapped in red in her arms, followed by two round and honest madams, who were the child’s wet nurse. Tang Shishi’s eyes lit up when she saw the baby, “Give him to me quickly.”
Dujuan put the baby on the bed leaning against Tang Shishi. Many maids gathered around and looked at the child with Tang Shishi, “Wangfei, little Junwang’s nose is very straight and upturn, like Wangfei.”
“And his lips are so red. The lip color is brighter than that of a girl. When the little Junwang grows up, I don’t know how many young ladies will fight for his favor.”
The maids laughed out loud together. Tang Shishi was also amused while looking at her child with love.
The child’s appearance was not good-looking now. His skin was blotched with red and white, his face was full of creases, and his hair was twisted. But in the eyes of Tang Shishi, this was the most adorable face in the world.
The maids were all very lively talking while looking at the child, and suddenly an invisible coldness engulfed everyone present. The maids knew right away that Jing Wang was coming.
The maids stood up straight, saluted with their eyes down, “Wangye.”
Tang Shishi moved and wanted to salute but was stopped by Zhao Chengjun quickly, “What are you doing? Lie down with ease. You must take good care of yourself during confinement and be careful not to leave the cause of the illness in the future.”
Tang Shishi gave an “En” and slowly lay back on the pillow with the support of Zhao Chengjun’s hand. Zhao Chengjun sat on the bedside and reached out to feel her forehead, “You finally woke up. Is there any discomfort?”
Tang Shishi shook her head. Zhao Chengjun saw that see she was so weak to even support herself and cherish her even more. His voice became softer and softer and said, “I asked the kitchen to prepare shredded chicken porridge for you. Do you want to eat now?”
That being said, Tang Shishi was really hungry as giving birth required tremendous physical work. She could not lift up a bit of strength now. Zhao Chengjun turned around and ordered his servants, “Go and bring the food. Wet nurse, take the child away.”
Tang Shishi immediately barred the way when she heard it, “Why? I only looked a few times. Why want to take him away?”
“No one wants to take him away.” Zhao Chengjun said softly to Tang Shishi, “You eat first, and then take him back when you’re finished.”
After hearing Zhao Chengjun say that, Tang Shishi was relieved. The wet nurse took the baby and left, and Dujuan brought the porridge. She was about to test the temperature but was stopped by Zhao Chengjun. Zhao Chengjun took the bowl from Dujuan and gestured with his hands to the maids, “You all can withdraw.”
Upon seeing this, Dujuan retreated tactfully, “Yes.”
The maids retreated one after the other. Zhao Chengjun did not shy away from outsiders. He tested the temperature on the wall of the bowl, scooped a spoon, and steadily fed it to Tang Shishi, “Open your mouth.”
Tang Shishi opened her mouth and then frowned, “It tastes so light.”
“You just finished giving birth. You can’t eat anything heavy in oil and salt.” Zhao Chengjun said warmly, “Be good, finish eating the rest.”
Dujuan stayed behind to close the door and after the last maid exited the inner room, the maid said enviously, “Wangye is so kind to Wangfei. He doesn’t dislike the inauspiciousness of the delivery room. He also feeds Wangfei himself. If it were someone else’s family, who would take care of the daughter-in-law after she has given birth?”
Dujuan glared at them hard, and said, “Be quiet and quickly get out.”
The maids bowed their heads and walked away quickly. Dujuan looked through the gauze curtain and looked inside again. The gauze curtain was hazy. A man sat by the bed and patiently fed his wife who had just given birth. Dujuan was relieved, closed the door, and left quietly.
The main room of Yan’an courtyard was wide and deep, and Zhao Chengjun and Tang Shishi in the inner room did not hear any movement at the doorway. After Zhao Chengjun fed Tang Shishi, he put the bowl on the table next to him and said, “I drafted a few words for him, and I can’t decide which one is better. You’ll have a look later.”
It was about the child’s name. Of course, Tang Shishi responded readily. She thought of something, but hesitated slightly for a moment and asked, “Wangye, where will the child live in the future?”
“Naturally, he lives with us.” Zhao Chengjun’s expression was calm and mentioned casually, “Don’t worry. He has two wet nurses, four momos, and several older maids around him. Liu Ji will send someone to watch him, so he won’t tire you out.”
Tang Shishi was obviously relieved. Of course, she was not afraid of being tired. She was afraid that the child would be sent away.
It was unexpected happiness that the child was going to stay with her.
This incident came too quickly and easily which made Tang Shishi think it was fake. She bit her lip, hesitated several times, and stuttered, “Wangye… other people, haven’t they said anything?”
Zhao Chengjun was still calm and said, “No. He is my son, and there was not enough time for the rest of the people in the mansion to be happy, so why would they slight him? You don’t have to worry, everyone likes him very much, and they are also very grateful to you. You have been working hard during this time. It’s all your contribution to giving birth to such a healthy child. Next, you have to take care of your body and recover your body early, so that you can take care of your child better and let the people inside and outside of the mansion be at ease.”
Tang Shishi was undoubtedly relieved. She had always worried that the people in the outer courtyard of Jing Wang’s mansion did not like her. Unexpectedly, it was she who used despicable ideas to speculate the minds of decent people. The outer courtyard did not think like that but had kindness towards both mother and son. Tang Shishi’s eyes suddenly glowed, and she smiled brightly, “All right.”
She must recover as soon as possible, continue to perform the duties of Jing Wangfei, and never disappoint anyone.