It’s Better to be the Empress Dowager
Chapter 142 Extra: Previous Life 5
The eldest young lady fell into a nightmare while she was sleeping, and this incident was concealed in the rear courtyard of the Tang family without even causing ripples. Tang Mingzhe was still busy with business, and concubine Su was still striving for favor conscientiously. No one paid attention to Tang Shishi who had a nightmare.
However, only Lin Wanxi was scared to death. Lin Wanxi hugged Tang Shishi, questioned her for several days, and guarded her every night. Fortunately, everything was normal and there were no more nightmares again.
Tang Shishi sometimes did not know whether she fell into the dream too deeply that confused the reality, or whether those things really happened in reality. She remembered her previous life experience, how she died, how she became a wandering ghost and wandered in Chonghua Palace for a while, and somehow saw people and things from more than ten years ago.
She saw Jing Wang, Guo Guifei, and Empress Dowager Yao. At that time, Empress Dowager Yao was still an unpopular Empress and made every effort to be careful everywhere. She did not have the impressive appearance of governing the politics behind the curtain in the future.
For a while, Tang Shishi almost believed that she was just dreaming. However, a few days later, Tang Yanyan deliberately broke Tang Shishi’s jade bracelet and even fell to the ground, whining that Tang Shishi pushed her. Concubine Su naturally had a good bash on Tang Shishi and Tang Shishi’s heart gradually became cold. Only then did she know that she was not dreaming at all.
These incidents have also happened in her previous life.
That was true.
Tang Shishi was a person who had been schooled in the prince’s mansion and harem, would not be easily calculated by a child such as Tang Yanyan. However, when she looked at Tang Yanyan and concubine Su, she no longer had the enthusiasm that she once had to fight for.
She had enjoyed the best riches and honor and had entered the most beautiful places, but what about it? She still made a big mess and left the place sloppily. Even after her death, she could not even go home to have a look.
She got tired after fighting with Zhou Shunhua, Shizifei, and others for five or six years. In this life, she just wants to stay by her mother’s side, marry an ordinary husband, have a few ordinary children, and lived a peaceful and ordinary life.
The only regret was that she still did not see the Lantern Festival in Jinling in the end. She assumed she would never see it again in this life.
She would not enter the palace, nor would she go to Jinling. She would find a family of similar family in Linqing and stay in her hometown for the rest of her life. She left the Jinling to those younger, smarter, and more ambitious beauties.
Lin Wanxi only felt that after her daughter had a nightmare, she became depressed for several days and seemed to have completely changed herself with a much calmer nature. Lin Wanxi felt worried and observed secretly for several days. She found that her daughter was nothing different except for being very calm and staring at one place frequently. Lin Wanxi was relieved. She just thought that her daughter grew up and became chaste and quiet, and did not think in other directions.
In the evening, Tang Shishi accompanied her mother and watched her do embroidery. She suddenly asked, “Mother, do you know where Jing Wang is now?”
Lin Wanxi was taken aback when she heard, “Who are you talking about?”
“Jing Wang,” Tang Shishi added, “His Majesty, that’s not right. The fourth son of the former Emperor titled Jing Wang.”
Lin Wanxi laughed helplessly, continued to embroider the handkerchief in her hand, and said, “You ah, don’t listen to that storytelling. Those imperial families and Empress Dowagers that were sung in the play are all made up by the storytellers themselves. They are all ordinary people. Who has seen what the Emperor and Empress look like? You are still young, don’t understand what is right and wrong. Don’t take the play seriously.”
Tang Shishi pursed her lips. After a while, she said softly, “I understand.”
Of course, she had seen the Imperial Palace, Emperor, and Empress. She even experienced several changes in imperial power, but her mother did not believe her.
Probably, no one in the world would believe that a six-year-old girl knew things in the Imperial Palace. Tang Shishi knew that she could not get anything out of Lin Wanxi. She sneaked into the street secretly, gave the teahouse storyteller a piece of silver, and asked, “What happened in the capital recently?”
“Is little girl asking about Jinling?” The storyteller said slowly while holding a folding fan. “The former Emperor died, the new Emperor ascended the throne, and changed to the era of Yongxi.”
Tang Shishi knew about these things, and she asked again, “What about the women in the harem?”
The storyteller said “Oh” and he was excited to say this. He put down his fan, put on a storytelling posture, and said with a beaming face, “As the saying goes, a new official must do a few influential things first to show their talents and courage. When the new Emperor ascends the throne, he has to show some skills. The new Emperor named his birth mother Yao as Empress Dowager and his Taizifei as Empress. Unfortunately, Taizifei’s fortune was thin, and died after sitting in the Empress’s position for a few days. Some said that the new Emperor is not in good health. After the New Year, Empress Dowager Yao will hold selections for beautiful young ladies to fill Emperor’s harem.”
“What about the womenfolk of the former Emperor?”
The storyteller looked at Tang Shishi again and asked, “Little girl, why do you always care about the former Emperor?”
Tang Shishi with a straight face and said, “I’ll give you money. Just say it.”
“All right.” The money came first, whoever gave money was the master. The storyteller continued to shake his head and say, “According to the ancestral teachings of the founding Emperor, the imperial concubines and maids in the harem were buried with the Emperor when he died. However, women have rarely been buried with the dead since Zhaozong, and bury along the dead has been abolished for several dynasties. Unexpectedly, when the new Emperor ascended the throne this year, Empress Dowager Yao suddenly respected the ancestral teachings and wanted the imperial concubines of the former Emperor to continue to serve underground. The first person to enjoy the imperial kindness of the Emperor was the beloved imperial concubine of the former Emperor, Guo Guifei.”
Tang Shishi was shocked that Guo Guifei was buried along with the dead? Was not Guo Guifei the birth mother of Jing Wang?
Tang Shishi hurriedly asked, “What about the others?”
“Naturally, those who should guard the mausoleum guarded the mausoleum, and those who should live comfortably lived comfortably. Whether their fate is good or not and whether they stand in the wrong group, the result becomes clear at this moment.”
The storyteller did not say to the point, so Tang Shishi could only ask more specifically, “How about Guo Guifei’s three sons?”
Oh ho, the little girl nowadays was not simple. She also knew that Guo Guifei has three sons. For the sake of money, the storyteller just pretended to not know and said, “Teng Wang died due to excessive grievance while mourning beside the former Emperor. The other two Wangye went back to their fiefdoms. Xiang Wang went to Jingnan, Jing Wang went to the Northwest, and both became Wangye at ease.”
Jing Wang went to Northwest. Tang Shishi was stunned. When the storyteller saw Tang Shishi was stunned, he said, “Little girl, do you even know where Xiping province is? Go west from Linqing and you have to walk very far to get there. Northwest, that place is still in the war. The local people are fierce, bandits are everywhere, and constantly battling with the Tatars and the Mongols every day. I’m afraid you won’t be able to come back when you go there.”
Tang Shishi was silent. She naturally knew where Xiping province was, and she also knew that Xiping province was not peaceful.
Tang Shishi suddenly lost the strength to continue asking. She left the money to the storyteller and walked back with her head down. The storyteller saw it and asked, “Little girl, you don’t want to ask anymore?”
“Don’t ask anymore.” Tang Shishi lowered her eyelashes and said, “There’s nothing to ask about the princes and nobles.”
Xiping province was so far away from her that it could be assumed that they would not meet again in this life. In that case, what was the use of inquiring about his movements? It was better to live their life separately without any concern.
“You may not like fighting and killing. I have many stories about princesses, the emperor’s sons-in-law, and ideal lovers. Do you want to listen to them? It’s very cheap. It’s only fifty cents.”
Tang Shishi ignored him and walked away quickly.
When Tang Shishi returned to the Tang family, Lin Wanxi was sitting under the west window to do embroidery and a coarse maid was sweeping the floor awkwardly. She could hear the sound of Tang Yanyan and her brother swinging on a swing in a distance. Tang Shishi returned to her room and exchanged clothes with the maid. The little maid received a couple of silvers as a reward, turned around happily, and easily agreed to keep a secret for Tang Shishi.
No one asked her why she went out, and no one found that the eldest young lady had put away all the pearl-like jewelry. From then on, she no longer wore pearls.
Returning the double pearls with tears in his eyes, regretting not meeting before she got married. Let us not meet again in this life.
Tang Shishi restrained all her overstepping boundaries actions. She no longer chattered and imagined the world outside Linqing, and no longer thought about getting ahead all day long. Like all children of six or seven years old, she was a proper young lady of the boudoir. In the fifth year of Yongxi, Madam Qi brought along her son to visit her childhood friend and Tang Shishi followed her mother to greet the guests.
When Madam Qi saw Tang Shishi, she was startled immediately. No matter how Madam Qi looked at her, she like Tang Shishi. After entering the room, Madam Qi eagerly held Lin Wanxi’s hand and said, “Our two families have been family friends since our forefathers, and we were friends since we were young. It just so happens that now I have a son and you have a daughter, and both the children are about the same age. How about we become in-laws?”
Lin Wanxi knew that Qi Jingsheng was Madam Qi’s only son, and he was very good at studying. It was said that he would take the road of imperial examination in the future. Lin Wanxi was overjoyed, and she naturally wanted to agree, but the marriage was not only the order of the parents and the words of a matchmaker but also the young couple’s life. Lin Wanxi looked at Tang Shishi to ask her daughter for advice. She knew that since a few years ago, her daughter had suddenly become particularly stable, speaking and dealing with things like an adult. She always had to ask her about this kind of thing.
Tang Shishi was wearing a brightly colored red coat with a skirt and sitting in a plain weave armchair. The chair was a little big for her, but Tang Shishi sat there with a sense of dignity and solemnity inexplicably.
Tang Shishi looked up and saw her mother’s eagerness, Madam Qi’s expectation, and even Qi Jingsheng stared at her nervously. Tang Shishi finally nodded and said, “Good. Everything will be arranged by mother.”
Lin Wanxi showed a smile with a relieved expression. Madam Qi laughed immediately. She took Lin Wanxi’s hand with a cheerful heart, thinking about the past and thinking about the future.
Both mothers were incredibly happy, and Qi Jingsheng was looking at her secretly.
Tang Shishi thought that this was the most rational arrangement. In her previous life, she should have married Qi Jingsheng, but it was a pity that she got messed up by the imperial edict. Now, it was time to get everything back on track.
The summer day was long, and the sun was scorching. In the Jing Wang mansion in Xiping province, there was also a conversation in the study. The young commander in military uniform held the portrait and asked with his eyes raised, “Is this true?”
“Really.” A group of people dressed up as traveling merchants and were travel-worn lowered their heads and said, “I’m absolutely sure. That young lady looks exactly the same as the one in Jing Wang’s portrait.”