It’s Better to be the Empress Dowager
Chapter 131 To be at Odds
What did Zhao Chengjun mean?
Zhao Zixun also wanted to know.
On that day when Zhao Chengjun took over the throne, Zhao Zixun received the news from everyone in the capital. When he heard the eunuch’s message, he was undoubtedly relieved, but then he felt depressed shortly after that.
For such an important matter, Zhao Chengjun guarded against him like an outsider, and Zhao Zixun did not get even a hint. From planning to preparation to execution, there was nothing at all.
No one seemed to remember that the huge Jing Wang mansion still have a Shizi. Zhao Zixun did not believe that if Zhao Chengjun had an adult biological son, he would not allow his son to participate in the uprising event.
Zhao Chengjun was guarding against him. No matter how nice it sounded, no matter how much Zhao Zixun has done for Zhao Chengjun and how much loyalty he has shown, Zhao Chengjun still did not believe him.
Zhao Zixun returned to the palace. When the eunuch at the palace gate saw him, he ran over quickly and said in a soft voice, “Master, His Majesty just sent a message to ask you to go to the Qianqing Palace after you come back.”
Zhao Zixun nodded, “I know.”
Zhao Chengjun ascended the throne for more than three months, Tang Shishi has been conferred as Empress, and yet Zhao Zixun, the Master Shizi was still unclear.
The day after Zhao Chengjun succeeded to the throne, Zhao Zixun moved into the Imperial Palace with Tang Shishi. Tang Shishi went to Zhongcui Palace. After living for a month, she moved to Kunning Palace. While Zhao Zixun lived in Duanjing Palace, which has always been the place where the prince and Taizi lived. Zhao Zixun thought that his conferment decree would arrive soon. Unexpectedly, he waited for three months and did not see Zhao Chengjun’s decree of Taizi.
The weather in Jinling was getting warmer day by day, but Zhao Zixun’s mood was also getting colder day by day. He knew that the decree of Taizi most likely would not come. Zhao Chengjun never thought of passing on his family property to him. Once Jing Wang could not do it, but now he has become the Emperor, let alone take advantage of him who was an “outsider”.
The identity of Zhao Zixun was dragged on like this. The palace people did not know whether Zhao Zixun could be regarded as a prince, Wangye, or Taizi, so they had to use “Master” when they call out to him. Zhou Shunhua comforted him that His Majesty might be too busy during this time and could not take any action. After Wuzong and vassal monarchs were dealt with, he would be conferred as Taizi.
Zhao Zixun smiled after hearing this but did not believe it. If he was really busy, why did not Zhao Chengjun forget to confer Tang Shishi’s title? If he was really busy, why did he still go to see Zhao Zigao and the child in Tang Shishi’s abdomen every day?
It was really ironic when Zhao Zixun thought of this. After Zhao Zigao entered the palace, everyone automatically called Zhao Zigao “His Highness” even without conferment. When it was Zhao Zixun’s turn, the palace people’s attitude became vague. Even the old officials who had been called brothers in the Jing Wang mansion, talked about other things when they met Zhao Zixun.
These people’s hesitation, hesitation to point out were like a ubiquitous knife, slowly cutting him like the death of a thousand cuts punishment.
Zhao Zixun reached Qianqing Palace, and the palace people bowed their heads to salute when they saw him. After a while, Liu Ji walked out of from inside and smiled at Zhao Zixun, “Shizi has been waiting for a long time, please come with me.”
Zhao Zixun was stung by the “Shizi” in Liu Ji’s words. Even at this time, Liu Ji was still beaming with smiles, just like when he showed his goodwill to him many years ago.
Zhao Chengjun was sitting behind the imperial table approving the memorials. Zhao Zixun bowed to greet Zhao Chengjun, “Pay respect to Your Majesty.”
Zhao Chengjun did not raise his head but finished approving the memorials in his hand, and then asked, “Did Shizifei arrive yesterday?”
Zhao Zixun looked down at the ground and replied, “Yes.”
“I heard that Shizifei was ill on the journey. Did you invite an imperial physician after you went back?”
There was a trace of irony in Zhao Zixun’s eyes. He even knew clearly about when did Lu Yufei arrived in the capital and fell ill on the journey. Would Zhao Chengjun not know what was going on in the palace? Was he going to beat him again by asking these questions?
Zhao Zixun said, “Your Majesty, Empress Niangniang sent an imperial physician yesterday and also gave many tonics. Shizifei is already much better now. Thank you for Your Majesty and Niangniang’s concern.”
Actually, Zhao Chengjun knew all these things. He asked about these just wanted to reconcile his relationship with Zhao Zixun. It would be too strange to talk about official affairs as soon as he came in.
Zhao Chengjun picked up the teacup by the table, moved the teacup cover slowly, and said, “She’s not in good health. I’m afraid she’s not used to the rules in the palace when she first came to the capital. You should spend more time with Shizifei. You’re not young anymore, so it’s time to concentrate on more serious things and consider the matter of the heir.”
Zhao Zixun could hardly resist the sneer on his lips. He did have an heir but was aborted by Zhao Chengjun. At first, he was the one who was upright and ruthless, but now he was also his gentle and loving father. He has done both the good and bad people. What did Zhao Chengjun want after all?
Zhao Zixun answered, but his tone was very cold. When Zhao Chengjun listened to his reply, he knew that Zhao Zixun was not interested, but Zhao Chengjun could not say that he chose Shizifei, and he had also ordered to beat Zhou Shunhua. If he managed more, he was afraid that Zhao Zixun would become more disgusted with him.
He originally asked for Zhao Zixun to marry Lu Yufei with good intentions, but he did not expect that the two would become a pair of unhappy couples. Zhao Chengjun stopped talking further in-depth and talked about other things instead, “Zhou Wang wrote to Qi Wang secretly last month. In the past few days, the two places have shown signs of mobilization of their military. If they are allowed to rebel, it will be a great catastrophe. Therefore, I plan to go on an expedition myself to the Zhou and Qing states.”
Zhao Zixun was surprised when he heard that as he also knew about the vassal monarchs were not peaceful these days. Zhao Zixun even thought about whether to ask for the order to quell the rebellion and recruit his own subordinates conveniently. He did not expect that Zhao Chengjun actually wanted to go on the expedition himself?
Zhao Zixun immediately cupped both his hands together and said, “Your Majesty must not go. The swords on the battlefield have no eyes. If Your Majesty is hurt, what should we do? I’m not talented, but I’m willing to go on the expedition on behalf of Your Majesty.”
Zhao Chengjun waved his hand and said, “I’ve already made up my mind, so you don’t need to say anymore. I have discussed with the cabinet that you will temporarily supervise the country after I leave the capital. The cabinet has been in charge of politics for many years and the decree has its own laws and regulations. You just need to check on it and don’t make big mistakes. If you encounter a problem that you can’t decide, then go ask Taifu, Wang Zhengtang.”
Zhao Zixun was quite flattered. He did not expect that Zhao Chengjun would give him the power of supervising the country. Throughout the dynasties, only the Taizi have the ability to supervise the country.
What did Zhao Chengjun mean? Test him or promote him? Should he refuse it resolutely or not? Zhao Zixun could not make up his mind for a moment. Zhao Chengjun said that these were not asking for Zhao Zixun’s opinion as he just simply notified him, then he talked about the next thing, “When I’m not here these days… You have to take care of the womenfolk in the harem even more and don’t let them be wronged.”
Zhao Chengjun was talking about the womenfolk in the harem, but Zhao Zixun knew right away that he was talking about Tang Shishi. In the end, the temptation of power was overwhelmed with caution. Zhao Zixun bowed solemnly and said, “I will not disgrace you.”
After Zhao Zixun came out from the Qianqing Palace, he seemed to be floating in the air all the way to the Duanjing Palace. Until he saw Lu Yufei’s face, Zhao Zixun returned to reality at once, feeling boring.
Lu Yufei was not resourceful, beautiful, or gentle and it was simply boring to be with her. If possible, Zhao Zixun wanted Zhou Shunhua to be his legitimate wife.
Moreover, Zhou Shunhua has a relation with Duke Cai behind her, and Zhao Zixun did not want to give up even more. Unfortunately, with Zhao Chengjun around, he would not let Zhou Shunhua be promoted from concubine to legitimate wife status.
Zhao Zixun was bored, but due to Zhao Chengjun’s face, he had to greet Lu Yufei with warmth. Zhao Zixun asked, “How is your health today?”
Lu Yufei coughed and said weakly, “I’m much better now. Jinling is very humid. I grew up in Xiping from childhood, and I am still not used to it now. Empress Niangniang delivered pearl barley and red bean porridge at noon today, and also sent a lot of medicine to dispel moisture. I really feel much better.”
Zhao Zixun smiled softly and nodded, “That’s good.” However, he thought in his heart that her words could not do without His Majesty and Empress. She was indeed a good daughter-in-law chosen by Zhao Chengjun.
After Zhao Zixun sat a stick of incense, he immediately wanted to leave. Lu Yufei and Zhao Zixun have not seen each other for half a year and should have a lot to say. However, she was a little disappointed when she saw Zhao Zixun showing the intention of leaving, and asked, “Does Shizi still have anything outside?”
“Yes.” Zhao Zixun said without blinking his eyes, “His Majesty has arranged some important matters and I’m in a hurry to go out to meet people, so I won’t accompany you. You get well soon and I’ll leave first.”
Lu Yufei wanted to say something but hesitated. At last, she could only smile virtuously and said, “It’s doesn’t matter here. Shizi, go ahead. I send Shizi respectfully.”
Zhao Zixun could hardly wait to leave Lu Yufei’s room. For fear of being entangled by Lu Yufei, Zhao Zixun did not go back to the rear courtyard but went straight out of Duanjing Palace. While walking on the outer palace courtyard, he calculated slowly in his heart that Duke Cai’s family was huge, and he must make good use of this assistance. Although Ren Yujun was rigid, Marquis of Anning was still well-known in Jinling. It seemed that Ren Yujun could not be ignored in the future.
While he was thinking, his trusted aide came up from behind, and whispered closed to Zhao Zixun’s ear, “Shizi, the uncle and Xu family have arrived.”
Zhao Zixun paused, and his trusted aide continued, “Madam Xu said that she hadn’t seen Shizi for a long time and miss you a lot. Madam also asked if Shizi would have time today, and Madam would like to see Shizi with her own eyes.”
After Zhao Zixun left, Zhao Chengjun sat in his study for a long time. One thing happened after another in the past three months. After he finished his accession to the throne, he had to revise the structure of the court, and just after stabilizing the internal matters, Zhou Wang and Qi Wang rebelled.
According to the news from the imperial guards, the two planned to dispatch the military in the name of investigating the cause of Wuzong’s death. Zhao Chengjun knew that although Wuzong died of illness, many people in the world doubted the real cause of Wuzong’s death. This battle would undoubtedly be fought.
The battle was not just for the vassal monarchs to see, but also for the common people all over the world. Zhao Chengjun wanted to prove that no matter how Wuzong died, he was now the Emperor. He has the ability to sit firmly on the throne, but also has the ability to create a stronger era.
This time he could only win, not lose. Only when he won, he could subdue his officials and deter all the vassal monarchs. Nowadays, many people were ready to move. Only when Zhao Chengjun beat them thoroughly that these uncles and brothers would give up. Otherwise, they would jump up one after another which was really annoying.
Zhao Chengjun reduced the number of visits to Kunning Palace under the pretext of his busy schedule with court matters. Although he did not show up, he was always clear about the movements of both mother and son. He knew exactly how big her abdomen was, how much food she ate every day, what words Zhao Zigao has learned, and what trouble he had caused today.
The only thing that he could not know was the child in her belly, did not know if this child has any fetal movements or whether this child was well-behaved enough when in the mother’s belly.
Zhao Chengjun sighed softly as it was not that he did not want to go, he just did not know how to face her.
Zhao Chengjun finished reading that book. At the same time, he also understood many things that he had not figured out before.
It explained the matters. No wonder Tang Shishi dared to rush out to report the assassin as soon as she met him, no wonder she pestered Zhao Zixun again and again, no wonder she wanted to go hunting with him and went “walking” in the woods…
That explained why Tang Shishi cried like that after Lu Yufei set up someone else as a concubine. Zhao Chengjun thought that Tang Shishi was emotionally sensitive and suddenly became fragile. He did not expect that she was sad because others had robbed her identity.
And all these changes were due to Zhao Chengjun.
Zhao Chengjun was suddenly a little afraid to know what Tang Shishi thought of him. In Tang Shishi’s eyes, who was he?
Zhao Chengjun should have conferred a title on Zhao Zixun early, but after reading this book, he was not sure. In addition, he has been extremely busy these three months, the Taizi’s affairs have been delayed day by day.
At the same time, Zhao Chengjun was also reflecting on what was wrong with his education toward Zhao Zixun? What did he do to make Zhao Zixun kill him to relieve his hatred?
Zhao Chengjun thought that as long as he was meticulous in educating and setting an example, he could avoid the historical ending of the adoptive father and son turning against each other. But in fact, he could not avoid the estrangement between Tang Shishi and him, nor could he avoid that blood was thicker than water. There was a difference between closeness and distance.
Therefore, Tang Shishi would be partial toward her own child. After Zhao Zixun wielded the power, he would also bring his biological mother Madam Xu into the palace. Even Zhao Chengjun himself has to admit that he preferred Zhao Zigao among his two sons.
This was human nature. No one could avoid it, nor him.
If the wife and concubines could not tolerate each other, it was even more impossible for the adopted son and biological son to live in harmony. It was reasonable for Tang Shishi to be angry with him and Zhao Zixun’s resentment against him also has traces to follow.
Now, the time has come to make a decision. Zhao Chengjun stood up with a calm and undisturbed expression, and commanded unhurriedly, “Let’s go to Kunning Palace.”