It’s Better to be the Empress Dowager
Chapter 133 Affection
The sunlight was quiet, and cicadas were chirping outside. After a while, Tang Shishi asked in a low voice, “Are you blaming me for hiding from you?”
“No.” Zhao Chengjun sighed slightly, “Really no. What you did is right, and people’s hearts are unpredictable. You shouldn’t tell anyone about this kind of strange power and messy spiritual thing.”
“No but.” Zhao Chengjun let go of Tang Shishi, helped her tidy her hair around her hairline, and said, “I hope you can trust me, but I hope even more that you can protect yourself.”
Tang Shishi raised her head to look at Zhao Chengjun. Her eyelashes moved, tears suddenly fell from her eyes. Zhao Chengjun wiped the tears from the corners of her eyes and said, “Why do you cry for no reason? However, the book is written with a brush, but life is your own. Our next path should not be influenced by one book. Let’s burn that book.”
Tang Shishi was shocked and said instinctively, “But the war is not over yet. If you keep it, you can use it as a reference any time.”
“No need.” Zhao Chengjun said firmly, “There are many factors in the success or failure of war, but in any case, I should not be led by a book. If I rely on the tips of the book to win, then it doesn’t matter if I don’t fight in this war.”
Tang Shishi gradually calmed down. Yes, they lived in the world as a living person. If they did not dare to cry, laugh, hate or love because of the groundless plot, they would not dare to make any choice by themselves. Then, was this person alive or dead?
No matter why the book appeared, she did not need it now. Whether she could live a good life and what risks and crises she would encounter next, she should face it herself.
Tang Shishi nodded, the tears on her eyelashes were not dry yet, and whispered, “Fine.”
The palace people had already withdrawn. Zhao Chengjun lit a brazier and threw the “Biography of Shunhua” into the flame without any hesitation. Others may be greedy for prophets and prophecy, but Zhao Chengjun did not need them. The prophecy was to make life better, but if everything was determined by prophecy, it would only be the beginning of a greater tragedy.
Life was one’s own, and the choice was also one’s own.
The flames were blazing, and the tongue of the flame rolled onto the pages of the book, and the edges immediately burned. The palace people on the outside were startled when they smelled the smoke, and asked in a hurry, “Your Majesty, Niangniang, why is there a smell of smoke in the palace hall?”
“It doesn’t matter.” Zhao Chengjun said calmly and indifferently, “Empress is in a bad mood. She’s burning paper to play.”
Tang Shishi was dumbfounded and hit Zhao Chengjun angrily, “Pure nonsense.”
Zhao Chengjun held Tang Shishi’s hand and firmly encircled her. Both of them did not say anything and quietly watched the book turn into fly ash in the brazier. Finally, even the three words “Biography of Shunhua” were swallowed up.
Zhao Chengjun looked down at Tang Shishi, so happened Tang Shishi also looked up at this moment. Zhao Chengjun looked deeply into her eyes and said, “Wait for me to come back.”
Tang Shishi’s eyes moved and nodded vigorously, “En.”
In the early seventh month, Zhou Wang and Qi Wang set up troops in Kaifeng and Qingzhou under the banner of thoroughly investigating the cause of Wuzong’s death. The urgent report was sent back to Jinling. On the morning of that day, Zhao Chengjun proposed to go on an expedition in person.
The officials strongly admonished, but Zhao Chengjun insisted. Within a few days, Zhao Chengjun finished gathering the troops and left Jinling with the troops of one hundred thousand. Before leaving, he ordered his adopted son, Zhao Zixun to supervise the country.
On the twelfth of the seventh month, Zhao Chengjun left the capital. After Zhao Chengjun left, the Imperial Palace seemed to be soundless. Tang Shishi stayed in Kunning Palace for several days in a daze.
The palace people knew that His Majesty was gone, and Empress was in a depressed mood. Everyone walked quietly these days, for fear that it would arouse Tang Shishi’s forlornness.
In fact, Tang Shishi was not that fragile. Of course, she was worried about Zhao Chengjun, but she did not want to say how scared she was.
She believed in Zhao Chengjun. If other emperors got a book that could predict the future and predictable, it may be so precious, but Zhao Chengjun chose to burn it. Therefore, he must be very cautious in every choice he made since there was no way to retreat or a correct answer.
Tang Shishi admired Zhao Chengjun’s character from the bottom of her heart. Her father gave her an awfully terrible example, and her mother was not a strong and confident person. Since childhood, Tang Shishi did not know what love, home, and responsibility were. Tang Shishi did not know what it felt like to like someone, but she felt from the bottom of her heart that he was a very good person.
Formidable, rational, and mature. He never denied his merits and achievements, but when he encountered mistakes, he was not afraid to admit that he has made mistakes. Victory without arrogance, defeat without discouragement. He was able to be the backbone, but also able to bear the responsibility.
He was a good husband and also a good father. There was no doubt that Zhao Chengjun’s mind was much stronger than Tang Shishi’s. When she stayed with Zhao Chengjun, sometimes he felt like her husband, and sometimes he felt like her father.
It was her fortune to be able to spend her life with him.
She believed that he would smoothly quell the war, survived the crisis, and return to her and her child with peace and tranquility. What she has to do was to take good care of Gao’er, nourish her second child in her belly well, and wait for him to return home.
Tang Shishi was nourishing her baby with peace of mind. Her belly was seventh months now and with her body getting heavier and heavier, she found it harder and harder for her to walk. Tang Shishi stayed in the Kunning Palace nourishing her baby wholeheartedly, and a month had passed unknowingly.
Today, Lin Wanxi entered the palace to talk with Tang Shishi. Tang Shishi’s pregnancy term was getting closer, and Emperor was not in the capital yet. Lin Wanxi was very worried about Tang Shishi and has entered the palace from time to time to see her.
It was strange to say that when Zhao Chengjun was in the palace, Lin Wanxi missed her daughter, but she was not worried about her. Now that Zhao Chengjun was away, Lin Wanxi has many thoughts and felt that her daughter was unreliable, so she has to watch her more diligently.
Tang Shishi was very happy to have her mother accompany her while she was pregnant. Since Zhao Chengjun was not in the palace and Empress Dowager was practically powerless, Tang Shishi was the biggest person in the haram. Whoever she wanted to enter the palace was just a matter of a word and no one in the Tang family dared to stop her. Nowadays, the whole Tang family was providing Lin Wanxi very carefully. Several concubines’ born children were competing with each other to please her, and they were more filial to Lin Wanxi than to their own mother.
Tang Shishi and Lin Wanxi were sitting in the Kunning Palace, while Zhao Zigao was running around. Tang Shishi leaned on a soft pillow and asked, “Mother, has anyone in the Tang family bullied you these days?”
“No,” said Lin Wanxi helplessly, “With you and His Majesty here, who else dares to make me unhappy? Your father has sent Su to the village, and the housekeeper is also in charge by the young lady. Now several young masters and young ladies in the family come to me to greet me at dawn and only leave after dark. They even have to fight over to pass me a cup of water when I was thirsty. Bai told me yesterday that I should adopt the second young master under my name and record him as my son. So that there will be someone to burn incense for me during the sacrificial offering in the future.”
Tang Shishi sneered and said, “Don’t adopt, just let them be common sons. Now they are common sons, and they have to please you in everything they do. Once you adopt them and become your own sons, then they become your debts. It’s only natural that you have to subsidize them. If you subsidize them less, they will still complain about your unkindness. Giving money without any reason and still being resented. So, it’s better for them to be outsiders and give money to whoever treats you well. In this way, they would praise your kindness instead.”
After listening to Bai’s words yesterday, Lin Wanxi was more or less moved, but after listening to Tang Shishi today, Lin Wanxi was suddenly enlightened and stopped thinking about adoption. Lin Wanxi knew that no matter how well those common sons spoke, they were still closer to their own mother in their hearts. Since she could not compete with other people’s birth mothers, what was the use of adopting them?
It was better to maintain the current situation, brothers competed with each other, and concubines also bit each other. On the contrary, Lin Wanxi was able to live in peace.
Lin Wanxi has dropped her thoughts on adoption and said another thing, “Shishi, your father also asked me to pass a message to you. Do you know a man named Chen Tai?
Chen Tai? Tang Shishi’s eyes moved and asked, “I heard a little bit. What happened to him?”
Lin Wanxi sighed and said, “It’s a long story. A few days ago, a man named Chen Tai gambled in the Yang family’s gambling house. He spent several days around the gambling house and owed three thousand teals of silver, and still refused to stop. The young master of the Yang family sent someone to remind him, but that man said that he is Emperor’s in-law and Taizi’s uncle. Sooner or later, the world will belong to their family, and that they still care about these insignificant three thousand teals? The Yang family didn’t dare to act rashly for a while, so they could only send someone to provide delicious food and drink to him. Yesterday, Master Yang came to your father and asked if Chen Tai was a relative of our family. Your father had never heard of this man, but seeing Master Yang said with reason and logic, he didn’t dare to be careless. So, he gave the money to the Yang family for the time being to let the Yang family treat him well and let me ask you when I enter the palace today. “
Tang Shishi was on fire as soon as she heard it, “Tang family paid back the money for him?”
“Harmony brings wealth. Master is afraid of offending others. He said that three thousand Liang is not big money. If this person is really related to the imperial family, then this will be regarded as a treat to him by the Tang family.”
“Please what!” Tang Shishi said with a cold face, “What kind of in-law is he? Mother, you don’t know. Chen Tai is Xu of Chen’s younger brother, he is also Shizi’s own uncle. This man has always been idle and sneaking around. Now even better, he even cheated all the way to Jinling and dare to implicate the imperial family. No matter how much he owes, if he is willing to bet, then he must accept the loss. If he loses, then he has to pay back the money, and if he doesn’t, then go to jail.”
“What are you talking about?” Lin Wanxi looked at Tang Shishi disapprovingly, “It turned out to be the uncle of Shizi. No wonder! Although Shizi was adopted, the blood relationship can’t be cut off. You still have to rely on Shizi in the future. There’s no need to fight for the sake of mere three thousand teals, just be more relatives.”
Tang Shishi snorted coldly, “His family name is Chen, His Majesty’s family name is Zhao, my family name is Tang. So, what kind of family of relatives does he count as? Since they agreed to send the child away at the beginning, then don’t get in touch again after that. Seeing that the child grew up and becomes successful, they come back to make trouble again. What’s this call?”
Lin Wanxi was speechless as both sides claimed they were right. No one was wrong, but she just could not handle it. Even blood brothers had conflicts because of division between legitimate wives and concubines. Besides, Zhao Zixun was still separated by a generation which made things even more difficult.
Lin Wanxi had no idea at first. Since Tang Shishi was so tough, she just followed Tang Shishi’s way of thinking and asked, “Then what should I do next?”
“Just do what you should do. In the past, how did the Yang family deal with people who owed gambling money?”
“The first time is deterrence. If still don’t return it, they can only report to the official.” Lin Wanxi said while frowning, “Chen Tai is Shizi’s uncle after all. If they report to an official, I’m afraid Shizi will be embarrassed.”
“His surname is Zhao now, not Xu.” Tang Shishi said coldly, “Moreover, even if he is his own uncle, he doesn’t care when he gambles and makes a noise afterward, will he also dislike ashamed? If he dares to gamble, then he has to afford to play. If he wins, he’ll brag about it, and if he loses, he reneges on his debt. What kind of hero is this?”
Tang Shishi hated two kinds of people most in her life. One was those who have a family, wives and concubines, and still went to the brothel. The other was those who go to the gambling house. For these people, Tang Shishi could not wait to clean up one when she saw one. Now Chen Tai cheated the Tang family’s money, ruined the reputation of the Zhao family, and still dared to claim himself to be the Taizi’s uncle and coveted Zhao Chengjun’s world through his words.
Tang Shishi rolled her eyes vigorously and said loudly, “Let him roll into the prison to sober up!”