IBTBTED Chapter 121
It’s Better to be the Empress Dowager
Chapter 121 Perseverance
When Tang Shishi woke up, she saw the familiar red curtain at the top once she opened her eyes and the brocade quilt under her body also had her familiar smell. Tang Shishi’s taught face slowly loosened and was glad that she had returned home.
The bed curtain was hanging low, and there was a faint talking voice from outside. Tang Shishi moved her fingers. When the people outside heard the movement, the voice stopped suddenly.
The bed curtain was lifted shortly. Zhao Chengjun sat at the bedside and reached out his hand to Tang Shishi’s forehead, “How do you feel? Are you still uncomfortable?”
There was some discomfort in her lower abdomen, but it was much better than when she was in the Wang family. Tang Shishi shook her head gently. Zhao Chengjun was relieved to see that although her face was pale, she was in good spirits.
Tang Shishi just woke up, and her voice was hoarse, “What time is it now?”
Zhao Chengjun motioned to the maid to pour water. He helped Tang Shishi to sit up, tested the teacup temperature with his own hands, and carefully fed her, “It’s shenshi (3 pm – 5 pm).”
Tang Shishi thought she had slept for a long time, but she only slept for an hour. Tang Shishi sipped water in a small gulp. After drinking half of a teacup, she did not want to drink anymore.
Zhao Chengjun put the teacup on the maid’s tray. After he put the things down, he suddenly straightened his face and said to Tang Shishi, “Shishi, I have something to tell you.”
Tang Shishi was startled to see Zhao Chengjun so serious. Her fingers unconsciously clenched, “Yes.”
“You must stay calm and don’t get excited.” Zhao Chengjun said in a serious tone after laying the groundwork again, “You are pregnant for almost a month.”
Tang Shishi blinked and slowly raised her eyebrows, “What else?”
“Since you are too frightened in the Wang family and the baby is not too stable, you may need to stay in bed for a while to preserve the baby.”
Tang Shishi gave an “Oh” and said lightly, “I know.”
Zhao Chengjun thought several times before Tang Shishi woke up, he feared that his words would be too harsh and frighten her. Zhao Chengjun was mentally prepared. He did not expect Tang Shishi was so calm. Zhao Chengjun said in surprise, “Aren’t you surprised?”
“There’s nothing to fuss about.” Tang Shishi said in a very indifferent tone, “It’s not that I’ve never been pregnant before. Although the month is short this time, I can probably feel it.”
Zhao Chengjun was stunned for a while. So, after worrying for a long time, he was the only one who was fussing about nothing and was caught off guard?
However, Tang Shishi accepted the reality faster than he expected which was a good thing. Zhao Chengjun felt relieved and said, “It’s good that you can accept it. Thank you for your hard work for these coming months.”
Zhao Chengjun held Tang Shishi’s hand and felt quite sorry in his heart. Pregnancy in other people’s families was a happy event, but Tang Shishi was the opposite. Her pregnancy was full of disasters every time. When she was pregnant with Zhao Zigao, she was almost given an abortion medicine. When she was pregnant with her second child this time, she was almost chased into miscarriage.
Zhao Chengjun was indescribably distressed. The last time he was not with Tang Shishi, the omission was excusable. This time he was guarding the mansion, and he was almost taken advantage of by others. Zhao Chengjun wrapped Tang Shishi’s hand and comforted her softly, “Don’t worry, I’ve already asked the imperial physician. They said that although the baby is not stable, you were well raised after giving birth. As long as you stay in bed to rest, consolidate your foundation and cultivate your vitality, and don’t be too happy or angry, then everything will be fine. When the baby preservation goes well, you can go to the ground normally in about a month.”
Tang Shishi nodded, feeling very calm as if she was sure that she would be fine. It might be because she had returned to the familiar environment and she had a sense of security, but it was more likely because Zhao Chengjun was here.
It seemed that as long as he was there, even heaven and earth could not easily take away their children.
Tang Shishi suddenly thought of something and asked, “Where are Xique and Dujuan?”
Zhao Chengjun said, “They have also come back. Since they have been drugged, they are still recuperating in the room. By tomorrow, they will be able to serve you.”
Tang Shishi let out a long sigh of relief. The target of those people was her, and after they knockout Dujuan and Xique with drugs, they immediately rushed to chase Tang Shishi. Later, Zhao Chengjun arrived in time and rescued Tang Shishi. Zhao Chengjun left with Tang Shishi in his arms, and the guards who left behind to deal with the aftermath found Dujuan and Xique and brought the two back to the mansion together.
After they were drugged, the back of their head and limbs were bumped to varying degrees, but fortunately, there were no other injuries. This was really a blessing in the misfortune.
Tang Shishi hesitated for a moment and asked softly, “What about the Wang family?”
Zhao Chengjun’s expression obviously sank after mentioning the Wang family. Thinking of Tang Shishi’s presence, he concealed his expression and said warmly, “I left early and didn’t know what was going on in the Wang family. However, I heard that the youngest son who is Wang Taifu’s favorite was drunk. He did not know how he got to the garden and fell asleep in the cool room. As for the few people chasing you, I heard that the Wang family borrowed them from outside and did not belong to the Wang family. After they were caught, they all committed suicide.”
Tang Shishi rolled her eyes and heard many ways. She was led to the garden. By coincidence that Wang Taifu’s youngest son also fell asleep in the garden. If Tang Shishi had not escaped halfway, where would she be taken to?
Tang Shishi knew that Empress Dowager Yao was not a good person. She did not expect that she still greatly underestimated Empress Dowager Yao. Tang Shishi knew that Empress Dowager Yao hated her. Empress Dowager Yao could have assassinated or poisoned her, but Empress Dowager Yao actually wanted to frame her reputation.
She was a young Wangfei and the mother of a one-year-old child. If she was convicted of infidelity, not only her life would be lost, but also Zhao Zigao and the Tang family would be implicated. The most frightening thing was that once the news of Jing Wangfei and Wang Taifu’s youngest son was spread, it would sweep across Jinling in an instant. At that time, the gossip women in the streets would add highly colorful details over and over again and had no idea how awful they would spread it out. When that time came, the Jing Wang mansion and the Wang family would be disgraced, and the relationship between Zhao Chengjun and Wang Taifu would inevitably be broken.
Empress Dowager Yao’s move was extremely dirty, but Tang Shishi had to admit that her method was very brilliant, which could be described as killing three birds with one arrow.
However, all these gains were based on success. Perhaps, Empress Dowager Yao did not expect that she would have failed.
Zhao Chengjun and Wang Taifu were not fools, how could they not understand who was the mastermind behind all of this today, and what they wanted to do? It could be assumed that the Wang family was also not as peaceful at the moment. Wang Taifu was wise all his life, but he was calculated by others when he was old, he must be angry to death.
The dignified Empress Dowager who governed from behind the curtain and with high veneration used this kind of dirty tricks to calculate the old meritorious official now. How many elder officials’ hearts had been chilled by this incident? Tang Shishi was originally worried that the Wang family refused to help Zhao Chengjun, unexpectedly in a blink of an eye, Empress Dowager Yao sent a wave of assistance swiftly. This was really a gift of thousands of miles. Although the gift was light, the affection was very deep.
Tang Shishi blinked, approached Zhao Chengjun quietly, and asked softly, “Today is Wang Taifu’s birthday, but I caused a disturbance in the garden. What did Taifu say? Did he blame me?”
Tang Shishi covertly asked for the follow-up of the Wang family. Wang Taifu was highly respected, and his students could be found throughout the court and among common people. If Zhao Chengjun got the support of Wang Taifu, his help would be immeasurable. Zhao Chengjun did have military power in his hands, but to seize and rule the world was more than just a strong military force.
Military power, people support, and court officials were indispensable.
Zhao Chengjun did not answer. He held Tang Shishi’s shoulders, carefully put her back on the soft pillow, and said, “You raise the baby with peace of mind and don’t have to worry about these things. Don’t worry, I’ll arrange it properly. You just need to take care of yourself. It’s enough to feed yourself fat as soon as possible.”
Tang Shishi chuckled. She glanced at Zhao Chengjun, and said angrily, “Who is going to get fat?”
Zhao Chengjun laughed, pulled the quilt for her, and said softly, “Take a good rest. I’ll be back in a while.”
Tang Shishi did not think much about it. Zhao Chengjun was busy with his affairs and often had to leave for a while halfway through. She just thought he was the same as usual and did not take it to heart. She nodded happily, “En.”
Zhao Chengjun touched Tang Shishi’s head and left the bedroom with a smile. After he walked out of the main courtyard, his expression became colder inch by inch.
Liu Ji followed at the side and reported, “Wangye, the person has been detained. What do you think should be done?”
“Bring it to the front courtyard.” Zhao Chengjun said coldly with stern eyes, “Don’t dirty Wangfei’s ears.”
In the front courtyard, Zhou Shunhua was forced to kneel on the ground. Zhao Zixun stood not far away with an anxious and distressed expression, “Father, is there any misunderstanding in this?”
“Misunderstanding.” Zhao Chengjun sat up straight in the main hall and said unhurriedly, “She secretly met with Empress Dowager Yao’s spy, and then the spy deceived Wangfei that Cefei Zhou have a miscarriage. She just pretended to have a stomachache. What other misunderstanding can there be?”
Zhou Shunhua knelt on the cold hard floor. The weather at the end of the first month was cold, the cold moisture seeped into her clothes and slowly penetrated into her bones. Zhou Shunhua felt a faint discomfort in her abdomen. She warned herself to stay calm and said to Zhao Chengjun with neither humble nor assertive, “Wangye is knowledgeable with vision. I accidentally ate some cold food at noon, and my abdomen was suddenly cramped. I mistakenly thought that something happened to the child, so I panicked, but I definitely did not do it on purpose. As for that spy who plot against Wangfei’s life, I didn’t know her. She came to deliver something to me in the morning, and I thought it was arranged by the mansion, so I exchanged some pleasantries with her. I don’t know anything about the rest.”
Zhao Zixun knew that Zhou Shunhua had a baby in her abdomen and was only more than two months old now, which was at a fragile period. The ground was so cold that if she continued to kneel for a long time, there would be problems. Zhao Zixun hurriedly pleaded, “Yes, father. Today’s matters were strange. Those people obviously came prepared, maybe these things in the mansion were also their intentional diversion. Father might as well check it for a few more days to avoid being schemed by those people.”
Zhao Chengjun smiled lightly and said indifferently, “Do you think I didn’t? Zhou Shunhua, since you said you were wronged, then let me ask you, on the day of Lantern Festival, where did you go after you left the mansion group?”
Zhou Shunhua hesitated, and forced herself to be calm, “There were too many people that day. I was lost among the crowd and accidentally lost Shizi.”
Zhao Chengjun looked at Zhou Shunhua quietly. Up to now, she still wanted to lie. Zhao Chengjun lost his patience and said, “Someone saw you quietly go back to the Moon Pavilion.”
Zhou Shunhua was dumbfounded, and Zhao Zixun’s face tightened, “What?”
There was no emotion in Zhao Chengjun’s voice and asked, “What did you say to Empress Dowager?”
Zhou Shunhua lowered her eyes and tried desperately to think about countermeasures, but her brain was the same as mixed with paste and it was completely blank at the moment. Zhao Zixun understood Zhou Shunhua’s expression in his heart. That day, Zhou Shunhua was not lost but she went back to snitch with Empress Dowager Yao.
In fact, Zhao Zixun secretly wondered why Zhou Shunhua only walked this short distance after such a long time. Zhou Shunhua explained that after she found out that she was lost, she did not dare to walk around and stood there waiting for him. Although Zhao Zixun felt suspicious, he was unwilling to think deeply. He did not expect that everything was really the last thing he wanted to see.
Zhou Shunhua betrayed the prince’s mansion and turned to Empress Dowager Yao.
Zhou Shunhua’s mind was blank, and she watched helplessly as she missed the best defense time. Zhou Shunhua closed her eyes bitterly. It was over. Even Zhao Zixun would not believe her this time.
In fact, what Zhou Shunhua did today was not what she wanted. She was not stupid. She pretended to have a stomachache on the day when Empress Dowager Yao made trouble. How could she not arouse the suspicion of Jing Wang?
However, Zhou Shunhua had no choice at all. When it was almost noon today, a maid came to deliver food to her and quietly displayed the token of Empress Dowager Yao on her sleeve. What could Zhou Shunhua do? She could only follow the instructions of Empress Dowager, cooperated with the maid by pretending to have a stomachache, and let the maid leave the mansion for a perfectly legitimate reason.
The maid comforted Zhou Shunhua by saying that Tang Shishi would not have a chance to come back today. Therefore, no one would not know what the maid said to Tang Shishi at all. When she was being questioned in the future, Zhou Shunhua would say that she had a stomachache after eating something bad and the maid made a ruckus as she mistakenly thought there was a problem with the baby. Even if Tang Shishi questioned her in the future, Zhou Shunhua could also shirk that it was the maid who had passed on the wrong words.
Of course, Tang Shish probably would not have the opportunity to question her.
Zhou Shunhua waited for the follow-up news with trepidation. In the end, she did not hear the good news from the spy. Instead, she heard that Jing Wang had returned to the mansion with Tang Shishi in his arms. Zhou Shunhua had an extremely bad premonition instantly, but before she could react, she was under the control of Jing Wang’s people.
Zhou Shunhua was watched tightly that there was no time to pass a message to Zhao Zixun, so Zhao Zixun did not know the truth now. Even if he wanted to defend Zhou Shunhua, he could not find an opening. But in any case, Zhou Shunhua was his woman after all. Zhao Zixun strengthened his courage to say, “Father, Shunhua may be forced by the traitors and has no choice but to do so. I hope my father can see that she is pregnant…”
It was still tolerable if Zhao Zixun did not mention it. Once he mentioned it, Zhao Chengjun thought of the old account again. Zhao Chengjun’s gaze swept across Zhou Shunhua coldly and said, “Now it’s at the end of the first month, the baby in Zhou Shunhua’s belly should be six months old. Earlier you said that the month is short and can’t see it but now still can’t see it at six months. I’m afraid she is not pregnant at all. Colluding with outsiders, plotting against Wangfei’s life, plus telling lies by nature, are absolutely unrepentant. Any one of these is enough to beat her to death. For the sake of Wangfei who is not suitable to see blood, I will spare you. Liu Ji, give the command to flog Cefei Zhou with a stick thirty times. Small punishments with big admonitions. Execute at once.”