It’s Better to be the Empress Dowager
Chapter 109 Son-in-law
Tang Mingzhe fainted and the Tang family was shocked, some were pinching him and some were calling a physician for him. Zhao Chengjun did not expect this outcome. He frowned and asked Tang Shishi in a faint voice, “Why is this happening? Didn’t you tell your father beforehand?”
Tang Shishi gave an “En”, completely refusing to admit her mistake, and calmly pushed everything to Zhao Chengjun, “It’s all your fault. Whoever hears that his home is surrounded by the imperial guards and the other party also asks whether if this the Tang family, will not scare them to death. How do you take care of others? Are you trying to look for someone or are you trying to scare people?”
Zhao Chengjun frowned as he felt it was not like this, but he could not figure out what went wrong. Fortunately, Tang Mingzhe only lost his breath for a while and woke up before Zhao Chengjun brought the imperial physician over. Tang Mingzhe woke up slowly. Among the crowd, he saw Zhao Chengjun standing next to his eldest daughter and talking in a faint voice. Tang Mingzhe suddenly became clear-headed. He mercilessly pushed aside concubine Su and looked at Tang Shishi with a smile, “Shishi ah, you’ve been away from home for six years. It has been hard on me thinking about you. Come over quickly and let me see if you’ve lost weight.”
Tang Shishi rolled her eyes in front of Zhao Chengjun.
Tang Mingzhe stretched out his hand to Tang Shishi and wanted Tang Shishi to help him up, but Tang Shishi stood at the same place without moving and could not understand Tang Mingzhe’s meaning. Tang Mingzhe has no choice but to stand up and still smiled at Tang Shishi, “Shishi, this is…”
After speaking, Tang Mingzhe looked at Zhao Chengjun eagerly. Of course, he knew who this was, and with Tang Shishi’s courage, she did not dare to invite someone to impersonate Wangye. Even if Tang Shishi has the courage, imperial guards’ attitude just now could not be faked.
Tang Shishi felt disgusted looking at Tang Mingzhe’s meaningful eyes, but in front of everyone, she endured it and introduced, “This is my husband, Jing Wang Zhao Chengjun.”
Zhao Chengjun nodded lightly to everyone in the Tang family, “Please forgive me for offending everyone just now.”
The Tang family all gasped together, Tang Yanyan could not believe it and concubine Su could not even say a word. Lin Wanxi looked at Tang Shishi and then at the heroic man next to her, frowning in surprise, “Shishi, didn’t you say you married an ordinary man?”
And also, he was still an old man with no official position, no money, and no properties. In the end, she brought a Wangye?
Zhao Chengjun slightly raised his eyebrows and glanced down at Tang Shishi, “Ordinary?”
Tang Shishi said with a smile, “Yes ah, who says that descendants of noble people are not ordinary people. Although he is a Wangye, he is no different from ordinary men.” Tang Shishi was afraid that Zhao Chengjun would delve into this problem, so she quickly changed the topic and introduced him to the rest of the Tang family, “Wangye already knew this is my father Tang Mingzhe from just now. This is my mother Lin, this is my second younger sister Tang Yanyan, my eldest younger brother Tang Wenrui, and this is my second brother-in-law, Qi Jingsheng.”
Qi Jingsheng… When Zhao Chengjun heard this name, the light in his eyes changed slightly. All of the Tang family members who were pointed out by Tang Shishi showed restraint and nervousness in their appearance, but Qi Jingsheng looked at Zhao Chengjun calmly even with some hostility.
Zhao Chengjun knew in his heart that this was the former betrothed of Tang Shishi and her childhood sweetheart for many years. If it had not been for the Flower and Bird envoy’s interference, Qi Jingsheng would have been her husband now. Last night, Zhao Chengjun also thought about trying his best to avoid letting Tang Shishi and Qi Jingsheng meet again, but unexpectedly she bumped into him today.
Zhao Chengjun was in a complicated mood for a while and it seemed that this was destined.
Zhao Chengjun and Qi Jingsheng looked at each other, and their atmosphere was extremely subtle. However, Tang Mingzhe did not care about this subtlety. After Tang Shishi introduced the people in the room, he hurriedly opened his mouth to draw Zhao Chengjun’s attention, “I didn’t know that Wangye would come here, excuse me for not going out to meet you. I’m indeed disrespectful and please forgive me.”
When Zhao Chengjun heard what Tang Mingzhe said, he gave Qi Jingsheng a final look and turned around and replied Tang Mingzhe with a smile, “I dare not. You are Shishi’s father, so I should visit you personally. However, today’s incident happened all out of a sudden and I don’t know where Shishi was. I happened to meet the people from Zhen Fu North Division at the palace gate, so I asked them for help to look for Shishi. Unexpectedly, I disturbed my father-in-law and mother-in-law.”
Tang Mingzhe smiled happily without the disgust on his face earlier. Tang Shishi, this dead girl deliberately hung him to play. Just now, she said that her husband had no official position, never had an imperial examination, and his father and brothers were not prominent. He really thought Tang Shishi married a mediocre poor old man. Who would have imagined she actually married a Wangye!
No wonder! As he said, how could Tang Shishi marry outside when she was drafted in the selection by the court? It turned out that she did not become an imperial concubine but was bestowed to the vassal monarch.
This was better than following Emperor. Who did not know that today’s world was the Yao family’s world, and the harem was the Yao family’s harem? If Tang Shishi became an imperial concubine, under the pressure of Empress Dowager Yao and Empress Yao, when would she be able to get ahead? On the contrary, if she had a good relationship with Wangye, the benefits were much better.
Tang Mingzhe happily thought that as long as he could claim kinship with the prince’s mansion, even as a concubine would do. To his surprise, Tang Shishi became a Wangfei! This was simply a great honor. As a merchant, Tang Mingzhe has the most sensitive sense of smell. The more he looked at Zhao Chengjun, the more he was overjoyed. He wanted to drink and chat with Zhao Chengjun at once and confide in him with sincerity.
Tang Mingzhe smiled and asked cordially, “Have Shishi and son-in-law ate yet? It just so happens that the meal is about to be set at home, so let’s eat first before you go.”
When the father-in-law spoke, Zhao Chengjun naturally had no reason to refuse it. He agreed while smiling, “Great. Thank you, father-in-law.”
Tang Mingzhe immediately gave an order loudly, urging the maid to set the meal. After he finished giving the order, he stretched out his hand to Zhao Chengjun and motioned him to move into the dining hall.
Zhao Chengjun took a step back and gave way, “Please father-in-law first.”
Tang Mingzhe was a tyrant in Linqing but since he came to Jinling, he has been careful everywhere and tried his best to curry favor to pull connections. How could he be treated so politely? And this was still Wangye of the dynasty. Tang Mingzhe was full of pride in his heart and said with a laugh, “Wangye, don’t have to be polite. Please come in quickly.”
With Zhao Chengjun around, who else in the Tang family dared to take the lead? They all waited at the back tremblingly with fear. Zhao Chengjun did not go first but turned around and reached out his hand to Tang Shishi to signal Tang Shishi to advance first.
Tang Shishi was different from Tang Mingzhe. Since Zhao Chengjun yielded to her, she responded with reasonability and stepped forward while pulling along Lin Wanxi, “Mom, let’s go.”
Lin Wanxi has not reacted yet but was dragged away by Tang Shishi. Tang Mingzhe watched helplessly as Tang Shishi walked past him and Zhao Chengjun with her head up and his smile froze slowly. Tang Shishi, this dead girl, what was she doing? Did not she see Wangye was still waiting?
Tang Mingzhe quickly looked at Zhao Chengjun. He was surprised to find that Zhao Chengjun did not have any unusual appearance as if he was used to it and calmly followed Tang Shishi. Tang Mingzhe even saw a trace of caution in Zhao Chengjun’s actions. The corners of Tang Mingzhe’s mouth twitched, immediately regained his smile, and followed after him.
There was a magical scene in the room. Tang Shishi took Lin Wanxi to take the lead, followed by Zhao Chengjun and then Tang Mingzhe. Finally, there was a vast contingent of womenfolks. Tang Yanyan deliberately stayed to the end, lowered her voice, and asked Su eagerly, “Mother, is this true? Did she really marry Wangye?”
Concubine Su also did not want to accept as truth. However, all the signs pointed to what she did not want to see. Concubine Su held her daughter’s hand and said softly, “Don’t worry, let’s take a look first. Why does she have such good luck? Maybe she thinks it was embarrassing to marry an old man and deliberately find someone to deceive your father. I’ll ask for a few more questions at the dining table and will surely find out her details.”
Tang Yanyan calmed down a little and nodded vigorously, “Great, it all up on my mother.”
Both mother and daughter, concubine Su and Tang Yanyan comforted each other for a while and then walked into the dining hall while holding hands.
At this moment, the maids in the dining room were nervous and could not even put down the chopsticks. Although the Tang family has been merchants for generations and also a first-class family in Linqing, they have never even entered the gate of county government. Where could they have a chance to come in contact with the level of a prince like Wangye? Although Zhao Chengjun looked very polite, this was Wangye after all!
After walking to the dining table, Tang Mingzhe resolutely asked Zhao Chengjun to take the main seat and Zhao Chengjun had no choice but to refuse it over and over again. Were you kidding me? Logically, he was a guest, and Tang Mingzhe was the master. Emotionally, he was the younger generation, and Tang Mingzhe was his father-in-law. How could he sit on top of his father-in-law?
Tang Mingzhe sat on the main seat with some air. He was about to talk to Zhao Chengjun when he found that Zhao Chengjun turned around to help Tang Shishi with his own hands. Tang Mingzhe was a little surprised to see this. In his belief, men were the Heaven in the family. Regardless of wives or concubines, they should carefully flatter men and live in their husband’s favor. Merchants were like this, and those wealthy families’ courtyards would only have more rules, but why was it more like Jing Wang submitting to Tang Shishi here?
Tang Mingzhe paid attention to Zhao Chengjun’s every move wholeheartedly. His second daughter who was usually treated as a guest by him has become a completely transparent person at this moment. Tang Shishi walked to the dining table but did not sit down and said, “How can we sit down when the elders are not seated?”
Everyone was stunned, what did Tang Shishi want to do? Concubine Su walked to the mistress seat in a familiar way, but Tang Shishi unhurriedly knocked down the wine cup with a bang.
Everyone looked at Tang Shishi, but Tang Shishi’s face remained unchanged and said lightly, “Sorry, my hands are slippery.”
Tang Shishi’s attitude was very obvious and concubine Su suddenly stiffened in place, very awkward. At this time, the maid of the prince’s mansion saw her meaningful glances and helped Lin Wanxi to sit at the second seat, “Madam, please sit down quickly.”
Normally, the main seat was the seat of the person with the highest status and the seat next to the main seat was the mistress place. Lin Wanxi was completely confused when she was put in the second seat. She had not attended a banquet for a long time and even if she attended, she mostly stayed in the corner and had not appeared as a mistress for a long time. This seat which symbolized the mistress seat has always been occupied by concubine Su. In the first few years, Lin Wanxi would still be sad and angry but later, she was not able to even get angry.
Because Lin Wanxi has seen too much until she was used to it.
Concubine Su was already standing next to the chair, and now watching Lin Wanxi passed in front of her and sitting in her usual position, concubine Su’s face turned blue. Concubine Su was embarrassed thoroughly, but still smiled to compromise, “I almost forgot, this is the seat of Eldest Madam.”
After concubine Su paved the way out for herself, she went to the other side of the table. When she was about to sit down, Tang Shishi said unhurriedly, “As a concubine, is she qualified to sit on the table?”
The atmosphere was quiet again. This time concubine Su’s expression could no longer be maintained. She glared at Tang Shishi with anger. When she looked at Tang Mingzhe, she immediately became pitiful, “Master!”
Tang Shishi completely ignored it, she pressed down her skirt and sat down slowly. She knocked over the wine cup just now, and Tang Shishi leisurely stretched out her hand and play with the wine cup.
Finally, Zhao Chengjun took away the wine glass in her hand and said, “You can’t drink alcohol. Take away Wangfei’s wine cup.”
Zhao Chengjun was afraid of Tang Mingzhe’s misunderstanding, so he deliberately turned around and said, “It’s not that I don’t give honor to my father-in-law, rather she can’t drink alcohol lately. If my father-in-law wants to drink, I’ll drink for her.”
Tang Shishi raised her eyebrows and looked at Zhao Chengjun with a faint smile. The meaning in his eyes was very clear. In the Tang family, Zhao Chengjun was drinking for Tang Shishi?
Zhao Chengjun recalled that not only did Tang Shishi say that she has her ancestral drinking ability but also her generation had weakened a lot, and she felt a lot of pressure. But in any case, Tang Shishi could not drink alcohol.
Tang Mingzhe was a merchant and knew when to take the hint the best. When he saw this, he knew that Jing Wang did not like to drink alcohol, and said right away, “This set of wine cups is just for display. Our family usually doesn’t drink, and my children will get drunk when they drink. Someone, take the wine cups away.”
Would get drunk when they drink… Zhao Chengjun did not expose Tang Mingzhe’s words and nodded, “Well, thank you, father-in-law.”
When Tang Mingzhe and others were talking, concubine Su was left alone on the side. After removing the wine cups, Tang Mingzhe chatted with Zhao Chengjun wholeheartedly without paying attention to concubine Su. Concubine Su has never suffered such embarrassment since she came to power for more than ten years. Tang Yanyan defended her mother and said angrily, “Father, my mother…”
Tang Yanyan was interrupted by Tang Mingzhe before she finished. Tang Mingzhe was quite angry and scolded, “A girl who doesn’t know the etiquette. How can you interrupt when your big sister talks? Your mother is sitting on the table.”
Concubine Su’s face suddenly turned pale as if she had been beaten with a stick. Tang Shishi smiled and said, “Since everyone is here, let’s serve the food.”
Overall, she completely regarded concubine Su as a servant.
Concubine Su was so shameful that she could not withstand anymore, so she hurriedly looked for a chance to leave the dining hall. She even said to Tang Yanyan just now that she would try asked Tang Shishi for more details at the dining table. As a result, concubine Su did not even have a chance to sit at the table.
After the table was arranged, Tang Mingzhe looked for an opportunity and asked, “Wangye, when did you come to the capital? Why didn’t you inform the Tang family? If I knew you were coming, I will go outside the city gate to welcome you in person.”
Zhao Chengjun became slightly stern and said, “This matter is a long story to tell. I return to the capital on the imperial order of Empress Dowager. For safety on the road, I have been showing people with a false identity. We arrived in the capital yesterday. I went to report to the Six Ministries and the Imperial Clan’s mansion today and couldn’t get away. I planned to accompany Wangfei back to her parents’ home with Wangfei after I finished, but I didn’t expect Wangfei to be one step faster than me.”
Zhao Chengjun faintly glanced at Tang Shishi while saying that, and Tang Shishi pretended not to see as if concentrating on eating the dishes in front of her. Tang Mingzhe replied and said clearly, “No wonder that Shishi refused to say Wangye’s name after she came back. It turned out to be for concealment.”
Hearing this, Zhao Chengjun frowned and looked at Tang Shishi slowly. Tang Shishi knew she was wrong and looked everywhere but Zhao Chengjun.
Zhao Chengjun smiled gently while looking at Tang Shishi and asked slowly, “Oh? What did she say?”
Tang Mingzhe did not think much and said frankly, “Shishi said before that Wangye had no official position, never taken the imperial examination, relatives were away, and family had no permanent property at home. Hey, this girl, likes to make jokes just like when she was younger.”
Zhao Chengjun was angry at the same time found it laughable, “So that’s what she said about me.”
No wonder when the Tang family saw him as if they were facing a big enemy. Tang Mingzhe was so excited that he fainted just now. It turned out that the faults were all on Tang Shishi.
If he lost his life one day, it must be due to excessive anger with Tang Shishi.
Zhao Chengjun controlled his emotions, turned around, and smiled at Tang Mingzhe, “What Wangfei said is reasonable. I have presided over military affairs in the Northwest for many years and have never been given an official position. When I was young, I tried to do the questions for the central examination and the palace examination and asked the chief examiner of the Ministry of Rites to correct me alone but did not occupy the number of participants. My father and brother have passed away and I never see other uncles and cousins again except at my father’s funeral ceremony. As for the family has no permanent property… Wangfei has the right to be worried. After I go back later, I will buy it immediately.”
Tang Shishi blinked innocently and said in a low voice, “That’s right, it’s the same as what I said.”
Tang Shishi’s voice declined, and someone suddenly pinched her hand under the table. Tang Shishi raised her head up painfully and saw Zhao Chengjun looking at her quietly with a gaze full of danger ‘Go back to settle accounts with you’.
Tang Shishi hummed softly and pinched him back with force. How dare he have the nerve to pinch her?
Tang Shishi’s actions were not small. Seeing that everyone was already looking in this direction, Zhao Chengjun was a little helpless. He held Tang Shishi’s hand and forcibly stopped her provocative action. Tang Mingzhe has asked for a long-time and everything revolved around Zhao Chengjun. Lin Wanxi, who had been quiet and without any sense of existence, suddenly said, “When did Wangye and Shishi get married?”
Zhao Chengjun knew that Lin Wanxi’s weight was completely different from Tang Mingzhe. He solemnly stood up and said, “Ninth month of last year. I’m sorry, for some reason, I couldn’t invite father-in-law and mother-in-law to come over and failed to notify mother-in-law.”
She got married in the ninth month of last year. Lin Wanxi was stunned and asked again, “Second young lady said that she saw Wangye’s eldest son yesterday. Dare to ask, what is Wangye’s age this year and when did the original Wangfei die?”
A father who was full of interests, and a mother who loves her daughter wholeheartedly, they really care about completely different things. Zhao Chengjun sighed slightly and said with a dignified and solemn appearance, “I am twenty-six years old this year, seven years older than her. Before her, I had two betrothed wives, but they all died before marriage. She was the original legitimate wife. My mother-in-law can rest assured that Shishi will not be wronged in the prince’s mansion.”
Lin Wanxi could not help frowning, “But the second young lady clearly said that Wangye’s eldest son is as old as Shishi…”
“He’s my adopted son.” Zhao Chengjun explained solemnly, “To tell you the truth that I didn’t plan to get married at one time, so I adopted an heir early. I didn’t expect to meet her later…”
Tang Shishi said quietly, “Why does it sound like you regret it?”
Tang Mingzhe promptly glared at Tang Shishi, and even Lin Wanxi looked at Tang Shishi in surprise. Zhao Chengjun did not think she was being disobedient and said with a smile, “I have nothing to regret. It’s my blessing to meet you.”
With a smile in her eyes, Tang Shishi glanced at Zhao Chengjun and hummed softly.
Tang Yanyan who was sitting across from the table was completely shocked. Good gracious! Tang Shishi was even more pretentious than before. What was the most annoying part was that Jing Wang still let her be pretentious as she pleased? He was Wangye, a high-ranking and powerful person, and even said in front of outsiders that it was his blessing to meet Tang Shishi?
Tang Yanyan was unwilling to concede. She looked at Tang Shishi’s husband and then at Qi Jingsheng beside her, she became incredibly angry. Once Qi Jingsheng was a perfect dream young man in her eyes and now, he suddenly became mediocre.
With a gloomy mind, Tang Yanyan provoked, “Wangye already has an heir? That’s good. My sister doesn’t have to worry about getting pregnant. My sister is in a hurry for everything for fear of falling behind others.”
Tang Shishi said indifferently, “I’m really not in a hurry to get pregnant, because I already have a child.”
Tang Yanyan’s expression was awkward and asked tentatively, “My sister has already given birth to a child. I don’t know if it is a nephew or a niece…”
Tang Yanyan was completely speechless with her mouth opened. Married, already have a child and a boy. She felt that the winner of life attacked in all directions without blind spots.