It’s Better to be the Empress Dowager
Chapter 110 Emotional Entanglement
Seeing the awkward silence, Tang Mingzhe quickly said with a smile, “A girl changes eighteen times before reaching womanhood. In a blink of an eye, my two daughters have married already. This is a good thing. Shishi has already given birth and has a child. Next, as long as Yanyan works harder to have a child with Jingsheng soon, then there will be no regret for being a father…”
Zhao Chengjun has been smiling leisurely all the time. When he heard the name, he held back his smile slightly.
Qi Jingsheng. Zhao Chengjun raised his head and happened to meet Qi Jingsheng’s eyes head-on. Zhao Chengjun has endured it for a long time. From the moment he entered the door today, Qi Jingsheng has been stealing glances at Tang Shishi, and his gazed filled with sadness and happiness, yearning and tenderness which was obvious that the old feelings were not over. He was so blatant even when Zhao Chengjun was present, then what was Qi Jingsheng like before Zhao Chengjun arrived?
This was simply unruly. Did he think that Zhao Chengjun was dead?
Zhao Chengjun was not only angry but also gratified that Tang Shishi focused on Tang Yanyan and concubine Su from the beginning to the end, and never looked in the direction of Qi Jingsheng. At least it looked like Tang Shishi has already put it down.
This gave Zhao Chengjun more or less a sense of fulfillment that he was the real husband of Tang Shishi. Regardless of Qi Jingsheng’s old love, Tang Shishi was also his person and gave birth to his son. Maybe it was time for Tang Shishi to have a second child.
Zhao Chengjun was in deep thought. After the meal, Tang Mingzhe tried his best to invite Zhao Chengjun and Tang Shishi to stay to watch the play. Tang Shishi sipped her tea and said indifferently, “I can’t stay away from the mansion for too long, so I won’t be able to listen to the play. I entered the palace in the morning and had a meal at the Tang family at noon. If I don’t go back, Gao’er must be crying.”
Hearing what Tang Shishi said, Tang Mingzhe paused and tried to ask, “Did Shishi come to the Tang family directly from the palace?”
Tang Shishi nodded and said nonchalantly, “Yes ah. It was a bit far, and the road was blocked. Father won’t dislike me for being late, right?”
Tang Mingzhe was choked up with anxiety. Tang Shishi said before that she had traveled far. At that time, they did not know the identity of Tang Shishi and mistakenly thought that Tang Shishi’s husband’s family was not good and lived in a remote place. Who would have thought that Tang Shishi’s husband’s family turned out to be so good that he lived far away?
Tang Mingzhe smiled awkwardly. When Lin Wanxi heard that Tang Shishi wanted to go back to see the child, she hurriedly said, “You actually left the child at home alone. Go back quickly. You don’t need to be here. By the way, how old is the child, and what’s his name?”
“His name is Zhao Zigao, and the name was chosen by Empress Dowager. He’s ten months old now.” Tang Shishi took Lin Wanxi’s hand and said, “Mom, we’ll leave first today. I’ll come to see you with Gao’er on another day.”
Lin Wanxi responded and told Tang Shishi, “It’s cold outside. Be careful the child might get cold. It doesn’t matter if you come back when the weather gets warmer.”
“We’ve come so far from northwest to Jinling. So, why can’t we travel on this short distance to the Tang family?” Tang Shishi said while covering the corners of her lips with a handkerchief and said unhurriedly, “Unfortunately, concubine mother Su is in charge of the Tang family. If I want to take my mother to the mansion to see the child, I even have to get the consent of others. Never mind, since my father trusts concubine mother Su, what can we talk about as the younger generation? Mother…”
Zhao Chengjun was helpless and amused when he heard these words. Tang Shishi’s temperament was really unreasonable and overly squeamish. Sure enough, Tang Mingzhe could not sit still after hearing it. He quickly glanced at Zhao Chengjun. Seeing that Zhao Chengjun did not mean to rebuke Tang Shishi, he took the conversation at once, “Shishi, you haven’t been home for a long time, so you don’t know the current arrangement at home. The housekeeper rights have been given to Lin for a long time, and Su is just helping your mother doing the housekeeping.”
Tang Shishi gave an “Oh” and said softly, “It’s like this, then I can rest assured. Concubine mother Su has to take care of my younger brother and help my mother all these years. I’m afraid she must be very tired. Dujuan, bestow concubine mother Su a red envelop as a reward. In the future, concubine mother Su doesn’t have to help my mother to share the burden and concubine mother Su can concentrate on taking care of my younger brother.”
Tang Yanyan’s face suddenly changed. What did Tang Shishi mean? Was she bestowing alms to servants? Concubine Su has presided over the Tang family for more than ten years. In the past, even Tang Shishi had to make a living under concubine Su’s hands. Now Tang Shishi was just married grandiosely. How dare she treat concubine Su like this?
Tang Yanyan was furious, but Tang Mingzhe did not blink his eyes at all and responded, “This is natural. Don’t worry, Wangye and Wangfei.”
When Zhao Chengjun saw that Tang Shishi finally had enough, then only he said, “That’s good, we’ll be leaving now.”
Tang Shishi got up with Zhao Chengjun, and everyone in the Tang family stood up to send them out. When Zhao Chengjun went outside to inspect the carriage, Lin Wanxi took advantage of the opportunity while waiting for the carriage at the second gate to ask Tang Shishi quietly, “Shishi, do you talk like this to Jing Wang?”
Tang Shishi was dumbfounded by the question, she thought about it carefully and did not feel that she had said anything presumptuous. This was outside, so Tang Shishi was worried about her face, and she was even more overboard when she was in the mansion.
Tang Shishi said, “It’s nothing, he doesn’t care about it.”
Tang Shishi said with confidence. Lin Wanxi was about to speak but then hesitated and said with concern, “Then you are also too much in doing as you please. How can you talk to your husband like this? You should be careful in the future. Men like women to be virtuous and generous, and the imperial family pays even more attention to this. When you criticized Su in front of Wangye today, he may think you are arrogant and jealous. Everything is fine here, so there’s no need for you to stick out for me. It’s most important for you to live your own life well.”
“I know.” Tang Shishi sighed in her heart. She held Lin Wanxi’s hand and said, “He is not that kind of hypocritical person, and I don’t need to pretend to be in front of him. Since I’ve become Wangfei, I can still say some fair words for you. Otherwise, what kind of Wangfei should I be? He treats me very well, and Gao’er is also very good. Mother, just enjoy it with peace of mind.”
Lin Wanxi felt a little relieved when she heard this. At this time, the carriage came. Tang Mingzhe went to Tang Shishi following after the carriage and smiled lovingly to Tang Shishi, “Shishi ah, you resemble father the most among these children. Although I didn’t say it, I like you the most in my heart. Father and mother miss you very much when you were not home all these years. In the future, you should come home often.”
Tang Shishi smiled coldly and did not bother to look at Tang Mingzhe. She directly turned around and said to Lin Wanxi, “Mother, I’m leaving. I’ll pick you up in a few days.”
“Oh, good.” Lin Wanxi looked at Tang Shishi with concern. “Come back when you’re done. I’m not in a hurry here.”
Tang Mingzhe glared at Lin Wanxi with dissatisfaction as she did not live up to his expectations, and then smiled at Tang Shishi, “Wangfei must come to Tang home more often. If you can’t take care of your child by yourself, let your mother and concubine Su go to the prince’s mansion to help you. You don’t need to be polite since we’re all one family.”
Tang Shishi turned a deaf ear. Zhao Chengjun came over and heard what Lin Wanxi and Tang Mingzhe said and responded, “Thank you, father-in-law and mother-in-law. We’ll leave first today and come back to honor the elders another day.”
Tang Mingzhe sighed when he saw this. His daughter pulled a long face all the way and on the contrary, his indescribable noble son-in-law’s etiquette was thoroughly polite and respectful. After greeting Tang Mingzhe and Lin Wanxi, Zhao Chengjun helped Tang Shishi to get on the carriage and then follow her to get on the carriage without the intention of riding a horse.
Tang Shishi’s eyes widened when she saw Zhao Chengjun coming up with her. Zhao Chengjun secretly hooked Tang Shishi’s waist and said goodbye to the two elders through the carriage window with a smile, “We are going now. Father-in-law and mother-in-law go back first.”
Tang Shishi knew that something was wrong when she looked at Zhao Chengjun’s appearance. She tried to ask her parents for help with her eyes. However, Tang Mingzhe looked at them with relief and even Lin Wanxi quietly wiped the corners of her eyes with a handkerchief, feeling that her daughter really married a good man. In this way, Zhao Chengjun left everyone’s sight with a solemn and decent smile. After the carriage drove out of the Tang family, Zhao Chengjun’s smile deepen and pressed Tang Shishi on the carriage seat with his hands.
Without maids in the carriage, Zhao Chengjun encircled both Tang Shishi’s hands, raised them above her, and asked leisurely, “Wangfei, what’s going on? Why don’t you explain to me?”
Tang Shishi tried to struggle, but both hands seemed to be trapped by an iron wall and completely unmovable. While struggling at her wrists, Tang Shishi rolled her eyes, “It’s nothing ah. I didn’t say anything wrong.”
Still did not want to admit it. Zhao Chengjun reached out to Tang Shishi’s waist. Tang Shishi was afraid of ticklish and dodged while laughing, “Don’t make trouble, there are still people out there. They didn’t ask me who you are. They only asked me if your official position is high or not and any of your father or brothers have any high official positions. I thought you have never been in an official position, so I can only reply truthfully.”
No matter what happened, Tang Shishi firmly believed that she was right. Zhao Chengjun was angry at her but also found it laughable. He lowered his upper body and stared at Tang Shishi closely. He asked, “Then how about the age? If I don’t come today, you’re going to tell your parents that you married an older man without an official position?”
“You are indeed older than me, it’s not that I wronged you.” Tang Shishi wriggled her waist and suddenly realized something. She raised her eyebrows and looked at Zhao Chengjun, “After talking for so long, you care about this sentence the most? You shouldn’t be jealous of Qi Jingsheng, are you?”
“No.” Zhao Chengjun denied flatly, “It’s not like I don’t have anything to do. How can I do such a boring thing? The past is over, and I don’t care about it anymore.”
Tang Shishi was happy and said right away, “Great, then I won’t talk about it.”
Zhao Chengjun was silent for a moment and said quietly, “You’d better say it.”
In fact, he cared a lot.
Tang Shishi could not hold back and laugh out loud. Tang Shishi was not in a hurry to sit up. She changed her posture and laid comfortably on the carriage seat. She seemed to be thinking, “I remember that not long ago, someone seemed to have told me that after a few years, he would let me out of the mansion and let me marry Qi Jingsheng.”
Zhao Chengjun narrowed his eyes slowly. He knew that Tang Shishi was goading him, but she still succeeded. Zhao Chengjun felt irritated by just listening to these words and he also knew that he could not blame others.
Because he said it himself.
Tang Shishi had just entered the mansion at that time and Zhao Chengjun was wholeheartedly guarding against Tang Shishi from seducing Zhao Zixun. After hearing about this woman’s past, Zhao Chengjun felt some pity and promised to let Tang Shishi free after settling the matter. Who would have known that Zhao Chengjun successfully guarded against Zhao Zixun, but fell headfirst himself?
It turned out that there were some things in this world that even though one knew it was poisonous wine, but willing to drink it with eyes open wide. She was the poison that he could not give up.
Seeing that Zhao Chengjun’s face was not good, Tang Shishi knew clearly that he was genuinely concerned about the words “marriage was over”. With a smile, Tang Shishi suddenly took the initiative to reach out her hand around Zhao Chengjun’s neck and said, “It was impossible between me and him a long time ago. He already married my sister. Even without you, I will never interact with him in this life. He’s married and I’m married. In this way, the two of us have nothing to do with each other. It’s very good that each of us is happy.”
When Tang Shishi moved, Zhao Chengjun relaxed his hand and let her hold on to his body. Of course, Zhao Chengjun knew that Tang Shishi was already Jing Wangfei. In any case, nothing would happen with Qi Jingsheng. However, when he thought that Tang Shishi and another man were childhood sweethearts, innocent playmates who had liked each other without distracting thoughts when they were young, Zhao Chengjun was like having a fishbone stuck in his throat and hard to let it go.
Zhao Chengjun did not know what his mood was, and asked, “You two have been together for so long, but lost it in the end. Won’t you regret it?”
“What is there to regret?” Tang Shishi snorted and said, “In the beginning, I agreed to the contract because he was the man with the best prospects and character among the men I could meet. But later I was selected to enter the palace and he agreed to change his marriage without much resistance. I am afraid that his character is not that good. Even if the business fails, one can’t lose benevolence and righteousness. When we’re done, we’re done. We will go our separate ways in the future.”
Zhao Chengjun’s brows moved when he heard this but did not say anything. According to what Zhao Chengjun observed today, Qi Jingsheng might have resisted at the beginning but it was rather that Tang Shishi was unwilling to even see him. No matter what Qi Jingsheng wanted to say, he could not pass on to Tang Shishi. Slowly, Qi Jingsheng had no strength to resist.
There was no difference between resistance without any hope and without perseverance.
Tang Shishi this person was really heartless.
Zhao Chengjun sighed secretly, but he could not speak for his former love rival, so he let Tang Shishi continue the misunderstanding. At the same time, Zhao Chengjun also believed that Tang Shishi did not have any affections between a man and woman toward Qi Jingsheng.
She was not moved by anyone, including Zhao Chengjun. Qi Jingsheng used to be the person with the best overall score candidate that Tang Shishi could come in contact with. Now, this person has been replaced by Zhao Chengjun.
But it did not matter, Zhao Chengjun would always make himself the best and the only one. Fortunately, he had a few more years of experience than Qi Jingsheng and already had the ability to control his own destiny.
Zhao Chengjun thought about it and slowly calmed down. He helped Tang Shishi to sit up while holding on to her waist, helped her straighten her messy clothes, and said, “It’s all over now. With you and the child in the future, this is our life.”
Tang Shishi smiled happily and leaned on Zhao Chengjun’s shoulder intimately with a countenance of complete dependence. Zhao Chengjun also smiled faintly and put his hand around her shoulders.
The rumbling sounds of the carriage wheels, all kinds of shouting from the hawkers as well as the sound of boat oars were constantly coming from the outside. Jinling water town was built along the river and was hugely different from the well-regulated Xiping province. Zhao Chengjun quietly enjoyed the peace of warm fragrance of his lovely wife for a while and asked in a faint voice, “Next, what’s your opinion on the Tang family?”
“No opinion.” Tang Shishi closed her eyes with an impolite tone, “Only my mother is my family. Whether the others are dead or alive, what does it have to do with me?”
While Tang Shishi was talking, she thought of something and specifically raised her head to warn Zhao Chengjun, “If Tang Mingzhe comes to you to ask for something, or asks you to pave the way for him, you don’t have to worry about him. How did this heartless man treat me and my mother at the beginning? Now I’m married well and want to come to me with a virtuous face? There’s no such good thing in the world.”
Zhao Chengjun agreed softly, but he knew that things could not be done like this. After all, he was Tang Shishi’s biological father, and there must be some politeness.
Furthermore, Lin Wanxi was the legitimate wife of the Tang family, and she would live out her life in the Tang family. At Lin Wanxi’s age, it was unrealistic to have another son, so she could only rely on the concubines’ sons. Suppressing Tang Mingzhe would not make Lin Wanxi have a better life. On the contrary, giving the Tang family some sweetness to let them know that only by pleasing Lin Wanxi could they have future benefits.
As for Tang Shishi’s younger sister and brother-in-law’s family… It was better not to have any relation. It was good to maintain a relative relationship that met once a year that kind.
Zhao Chengjun thought for a moment and said, “Don’t you always miss your mother? Invite your mother to come over to see Gao’er on another day.”
“That’s great.” Tang Shishi responded with a look of longing in her eyes, “It’s been six years. When I left that time, I didn’t expect that there would be a chance to see my mother in this life. She has always liked children and certainly will be very happy when she sees Gao’er.”
Zhao Chengjun listened to Tang Shishi’s past with a smile. He was able to hear that their mother and daughter had a very good relationship, and Lin Wanxi loved Tang Shishi dearly. This was the first time that Zhao Chengjun has seen her so happy since he met Tang Shishi. Previously, no matter it was the title conferment of the imperial edict or magnificent jewels, she would laugh but her eyes would not twinkle like now.
Zhao Chengjun suddenly thought of Empress Dowager Yao in the palace and smiled faded slightly. If he wanted to make Tang Shishi happy all the time, he must settle with these people, Empress Dowager Yao, Emperor, and the Yao family.
Zhao Chengjun’s movements of hugging Tang Shishi were very gentle, but the light in his eyes was cold with killing intent.