IBTBTED Chapter 127
It’s Better to be the Empress Dowager
Chapter 127 Enter the Palace
Tang Shishi stayed in Zhongcui Palace temporarily. The Imperial Palace Bureau had already cleaned the Zhongcui Palace, but Tang Shishi looked around and frowned secretly.
The former owner of the palace should be a sentimental person. There were layers of screens and partitions in the middle. There were exquisite small, high tables at the corners with copper incense burners or flowers on them. The wardrobe and seats were also delicate and exquisite in style. In this way, it was indeed beautiful, but it was not suitable for taking care of children.
Zhao Zigao had just passed his first birthday and was now learning to walk. He could stagger two steps but was not stable yet, so there must be no sharp or easy-to-fall things in the room. Thus, many things in Zhongcui Palace needed to be changed.
The Imperial Palace Bureau wanted to please Tang Shishi, so they specially chose Zhongcui Palace, but they did not expect it to be counterproductive.
She could not stress about exquisiteness when taking care of children. Safety was the most important thing in everything. After the female officials of the Imperial Palace Bureau left, Tang Shishi called the maids from the prince’s mansion and asked them to replace the things in the palace one by one. The wardrobe, chest, and so on were kept for the time being but removed those incense burners and potted plants.
The maids were moving things in full swing. Zhao Zigao gazed steadily at the adults who were busying walking back and forth. Suddenly he staggered along and walked towards a flowerpot, grabbed a leaf, and pulled it out incessantly.
Tang Shishi was originally wondering what this boy was going to do. When she saw his actions, Tang Shishi did not know whether to laugh or cry, “You are actually enthusiastic and want to learn from others to move things? I don’t need you to help me. Let go quickly, or else the flowers will be pulled apart by you.”
Seeing Zhao Zigao’s actions, the maids laughed together, “Little Junwang knows how to help when he is young. He must be an upright man in the future.”
When the maid finished speaking, she was lightly bumped by someone next to her, “What little Junwang, it’s time to call His Highness.”
The maid patted her forehead and repeatedly admitted her crime, “Niangniang, please forgive me. I’m used to calling that, but I didn’t realize it just now. His Highness is smart and kind, and will surely stand upright in the future to benefit the common people.”
Tang Shishi just laughed when she heard what they said, ignoring the loquacious of the maids. Tang Shishi also felt that Zhao Zigao had a good temperament and knew how to take the initiative to help at such a young age. She did not care about other aspects, at least he was a kindhearted and utterly sincere child. Tang Shishi was selfish and hypocritical, but when it was her son’s turn, she hoped that he would be sincere, righteous, optimistic, and benevolent, and grew up in everyone’s blessing and praise.
Tang Shishi secretly thought about it and must be cautious when choosing someone to serve next to him in the future, and never let anyone lead him crooked.
While they were talking on the inside, a voice came from outside the palace hall, “What about upright?”
When the maids saw the incoming person, they immediately put down the things in their hands and bowed their heads to salute Zhao Chengjun, “Long live Your Majesty.”
Tang Shishi turned around and saw Zhao Chengjun’s bright yellow imperial dragon robe. She was stunned for a while and took a long time before she saluted, “Pay respect to Your Majesty.”
Only Zhao Zigao knew nothing about it. He did not understand what it meant by their move, nor the significance of the color his father represent. He only knew that he had not seen his father for several days. Now that he saw Zhao Chengjun, Zhao Zigao immediately walked to Zhao Chengjun with joy and even babbled unclearly.
The eunuchs were startled when they saw the little prince stagger along, and immediately stepped forward to help him. Zhao Chengjun stretched out his hand to stop their movements, “Let him walk by himself.”
After Zhao Chengjun spoke, the wet nurses did not dare to help, they could only stare at Zhao Zigao anxiously. Although Zhao Zigao could take two steps by himself, this distance was too far for him. Zhao Zigao was halfway through, his left foot caught his right foot and fell with a plop.
Zhao Zigao lay on the ground with his mouth flattened and cried out loud.
When the little prince cried, the people in the palace hall immediately felt pitiful. Tang Shishi thought that Zhao Chengjun with this appearance was a little strange. When he looked over, she immediately felt that he was still him and still did the same shameful thing. Tang Shishi hurried forward and said in distress, “Does the fall hurt? Get up quickly. Let mother have a look.”
Zhao Chengjun forbade her and said, “Let him get up by himself. It’s not that he doesn’t know how to get up. He cries as soon as he fell down. He doesn’t have the look of a man.”
The maid had already walked up to him. However, after hearing Zhao Chengjun’s words, they did not dare to help him in an instant. Tang Shishi was angry when she heard that and said with a cold face, “If you don’t want to carry him, then let me do it. It’s not your turn to bully my son that I gave birth to with great difficulty.”
Tang Shishi passed through the maid and stood up from the ground with Zhao Zigao in her arms. Zhao Chengjun was frightened to see her actions so he quickly came forward to take over Zhao Zigao and said, “Be careful. You still have a child in your belly. You can’t exert yourself.”
Tang Shishi’s pregnancy was not completely stable yet, and her waist and abdomen could not exert force, so Zhao Chengjun took Zhao Zigao over. Zhao Zigao cried loudly on the ground just a moment ago. As soon as he was picked up, he stopped crying and turned his tears into laughter.
At a young age, tears were so free to flow. Zhao Chengjun had no choice but to swat his son’s chubby butt and reprimanded lightly, “You ah. From whom did you learn this? It’s too squeamish.”
Upon hearing this, Tang Shishi laughed and said, “Wangye has always been tireless and disciplined. It seems that he can only learn from me.”
Zhao Chengjun sighed slightly, “I also didn’t say you.”
“Wangye is right. I didn’t blame Wangye either.”
Liu Ji gave everyone a meaningful glance. The eunuchs and maids lowered their heads and retreated one after another. They know that even after entering the palace, Wangfei was still at the top of the food chain. Of course, it was time to call Empress Niangniang now.
Zhao Chengjun gave up. Anyway, Tang Shishi was always right. The more he explained, the more mistakes he would make. Zhao Chengjun stopped arguing. He looked around the palace and asked, “What are you doing?”
“These little things have too many edges and corners. I’m afraid it will hurt him, so I let people move it outside.”
Zhao Chengjun was busy with the affairs of the previous dynasty these days and had no time to deal with the harem, so he asked the Imperial Palace Bureau to tidy up a palace for Tang Shishi. Unexpectedly, they cleaned up Zhongcui Palace. The location of Zhongcui Palace was indeed good, but the decoration inside was really not suitable for raising children.
Zhao Chengjun sat on the arhat couch with Zhao Zigao in his arms and said, “There have been no children in the palace for many years. They can’t think of these minutiae. You will only have to put it up for two days. After the Kunning Palace is vacated, I will let them renovate the Kunning Palace completely.”
Tang Shishi sat beside him and nodded, “Very well. I’m not in a hurry to move. You should be busy with the important things first and the palace is not in a hurry.”
Zhao Chengjun squeezed Zhao Zigao’s hand and said, “Your things are what matters. It was inconvenient to tell you before, was it scary last night?”
Tang Shishi pursed her lips and said, “Not really. When I didn’t see Wangye come back at night, I thought Wangye has someone outside and don’t care about us anymore. Later, when I thought about it, it shouldn’t be.”
Zhao Chengjun helpless, “If you have anything to say, just say it directly. Don’t test it. You can rest assured on this point. Since I promised you, I will never break my promise.”
Tang Shishi pretended to be pretentious, “But the six palaces have three thousand beautiful women, and this is the ancestral rule…”
“The ancestor did not have this rule.” Zhao Chengjun said lightly. “The ancestor only talked about simplicity and diligence, curbing corruption, protecting the family, and defending the country. If I want simplicity, the harem must be reduced to avoid extravagance and waste. It’s easier to control when it’s less.”
Tang Shishi was satisfied and said hypocritically, “But there are three palaces and six courtyards in all dynasties with three thousand beauties. If this spread out, I’m afraid the officials may not obey.”
“They are them, and I am me.” Zhao Chengjun said, “I have enough of a headache by just marrying you alone, so why should I bring trouble to myself by adding others?”
Tang Shishi was angry and wanted to hit him, but Zhao Chengjun caught her hand. Zhao Chengjun smiled while holding Tang Shishi’s hand, and placed Zhao Zigao on the couch to let him crawl and play by himself, “My words are the same as before. As long as there are you and children, that’s enough.”
Tang Shishi smiled and gave him a shy look, “There is still a child here, let go of my hand.”
Tang Shishi withdrew her hand, leaned against Zhao Chengjun, and asked, “Wangye, you left suddenly yesterday which scared me. Did everything goes well for you in the palace?”
“Everything went well.” Zhao Chengjun grabbed Tang Shishi’s shoulder and said, “I’m sorry. I didn’t think about it properly, which made you scared. But it won’t happen again.”
Tang Shishi shook her head, understanding Zhao Chengjun’s scruples. She did not blame Zhao Chengjun did not tell her as the rise in rebellion was confidential and a slight leak would implicate everyone to lose their heads together. Zhao Chengjun was being responsible for not telling her.
Seeing that Tang Shishi did not blame him, Zhao Chengjun felt comforted at heart and said, “You didn’t sleep well for the whole night yesterday. If you are tired today, take a rest early.”
Tang Shishi shook her head, “No need, I have made up for it in the daytime, and I am not sleepy now. Wangye…” Tang Shishi had just finished speaking, but said helplessly, “Look at me, I always can’t change my mouth. I should call you Your Majesty.”
Zhao Chengjun did not mind at all and said, “It doesn’t matter. Whatever you call me is the same. I’ll only officially succeed to the throne after fourteen days. It’s all right to call Wangye now.”
Although he said it was all right, who dared to continue to call Zhao Chengjun Jing Wang? Tang Shishi have to try hard to change the way she addressed him and asked, “Your Majesty, what should I do next?”
Although Zhao Chengjun’s enthronement ceremony was scheduled for the twentieth of the third month which was ten days away, Zhao Chengjun’s position was unstable as long as he did not officially ascend to the throne in one day. Any delay would cause changes. Thus, the sooner he ascended to the throne, the better it was for him. Once the enthronement ceremony was completed, the other vassal monarch who wanted to raise an army would be considered a rebellion.
Therefore, the next period was particularly important. The transfer of power had always been an eventful period, and Zhao Chengjun also used some extreme measures. He would probably be very busy in this upcoming period.
Of course, Zhao Chengjun understood the upcoming situation. Right from the beginning, he knew what he would be facing when taking this path. Now he ascended the throne by legal means, which was much better than he had expected.
Zhao Chengjun said, “The lineage of Xiaozong is severed. I will inherit the throne. Firstly, I inherited the throne following etiquette, and secondly, following the aspiration of the people. As long as righteousness is tenable, I’m not afraid of other people’s propositions. There must be someone that is not satisfied, so the next thing will be to clean up the leading person, and then it’s good already.”
Zhao Chengjun’s initial preparations had always been preparing to attack Jinling. Unexpectedly, Empress Dowager Yao did him a great favor by summoning him into the capital. Of course, it was better to use legal means. The little Emperor had no heirs. So, when the little Emperor died, it was natural for Zhao Chengjun to ascend the throne as the closest person by lineage.
As long as orthodoxy and righteousness were tenable, the next thing that Zhao Chengjun needed to do was deterrence by using military force. In Zhao Chengjun’s opinion, this was not a problem at all. Zhao Chengjun knew about his brothers in arms’ abilities which were more than enough to clean them up.
When Tang Shishi thought of Zhao Chengjun ascending the throne by the rebellion in the book, he also sat firmly on the throne. In this life, he ascended the throne with propriety and justice, let alone defending the throne. Tang Shishi was stunned when she thought of this. In the original book, Zhao Chengjun died on the expedition to conquest the rebels. Then, would he still die prematurely this time?
After Zhao Chengjun finished speaking, he saw that Tang Shishi’s eyes stared blankly at a place without knowing what she was thinking. Zhao Chengjun’s eyes narrowed slightly and asked unexpectedly, “What are you thinking?”
Tang Shishi suddenly regained her senses, lowered her head to conceal, and said, “I’m thinking about keeping filial piety. It’s reasonable to be filial when Emperor died, but you’re the uncle of Wuzong. This…”
Only the younger generation kept filial piety for the elders, and there was no basis for the uncle to keep filial piety for the nephew. This was indeed a very tricky matter. Zhao Chengjun thought for a while and said, “Anyway, I have already won the throne. You don’t have to care about this insignificant superficial reputation. Just keep filial piety according to the rule for twenty-seven days. However, that’s how it is said, but in fact, you are number one. If those two people dare to put the Empress Dowager’s flair with you, you don’t have to be softhearted and just teach them a lesson directly. If it’s inconvenient for you to do so, then come to me and I’ll settle it for you.”
“No need.” Tang Shishi curled her lips and said, “No matter how useless I am, I still able to deal with this matter. I will arrange the two Empress Dowagers Yao properly.”
That was good and Zhao Chengjun was relieved. He picked up Zhao Zigao who was about to get down from the couch, placed him in the innermost part of the arhat couch, and said to Tang Shishi, “There are still many things outside that have not been arranged yet. I will leave first. If you are tired, rest early. Don’t have to wait for me.”
Tang Shishi nodded and watched Zhao Chengjun leave. When she came back, she looked at the gorgeous but empty Zhongcui Palace and sighed silently.
Even if the person was still that person, many places were different after entering the palace.
Perhaps because the bed changed, Tang Shishi did not sleep well that night. The next day, she had breakfast listlessly. The trusted aides of the prince’s mansion came quickly and whispered next to Tang Shishi’s ear, “Niangniang, there is a message from the Imperial Hospital that the Cining Palace called the imperial physician today. Niangniang, look…”
Tang Shishi slowly swallowed the porridge in her mouth and asked, “West Palace or East Palace?”
Empress Dowager Yao ah. Tang Shishi put down her spoon, smiled indistinctly, and said, “Empress Dowager is not feeling well. As the Empress, I naturally should go to have a look. All of you take good care of Gao’er, and the rest of you will follow me to Cining Palace.”