IBTBTED Chapter 143

It’s Better to be the Empress Dowager

Chapter 143       Extra: Previous Life 6

Zhao Chengjun’s hand holding the scroll suddenly tightened. He had been looking for her for four years since he left the palace.

But over the years, no matter how many people he dispatched and how many scouts he spread, it was like a stone dropped in the ocean without any news. Zhao Chengjun never gave up, but he became more afraid in his heart.

He was afraid that he remembered her name wrongly, afraid that he could not find her, afraid that she had already married, and even more afraid that she was no longer alive. Now suddenly hearing the news, Zhao Chengjun’s first reaction was to avoid it.

However, he forced himself to face the facts. He sat at his table for a moment and slowly unfolded the portrait brought back by his people.

Zhao Chengjun was mentally prepared, but when he saw the woman in the portrait, his eyes slowly warmed up.

It was her. Although she looked young, he could see that her facial features were the same.

It was truly good that she was still alive.

Zhao Chengjun focused on looking at the portrait and did not pay attention to the slightly strange expressions of his subordinates at all. His subordinates struggled for a long time but still felt that they had to warn Wangye, “That girl’s family name is Tang, and her boudoir name is unknown. However, according to the old servants in the family, the eldest young lady is not favored. All the information of this the eldest young lady of Tang is in line with the person Wangye is looking for, but…”

Zhao Chengjun’s mood was just starting to relax but when he heard these words, he suddenly became tense. He clenched his fingers unconsciously and asked, “But what?”

“But the eldest young lady of Tang is only ten years old this year.”

Zhao Chengjun did not expect this answer at all. He was startled for a moment, and his voice rose unconsciously, “How old do you say she is?”

“Ten years old.”

Zhao Chengjun was dumbstruck. He thought of many circumstances and even prepared for the worst, but he never expected that Tang Shishi was younger than him.

So much younger.

This was a little tricky. Zhao Chengjun sat behind the table with a calm face and gently tapped on the armrest with his fingers. He originally thought that after finding Tang Shishi, he would immediately take her back to the Jing Wang mansion to prevent further complications. Even if she got married, he could also take some special measures. However, she was only ten years old…

This was really impossible to bring her back. Zhao Chengjun could not even go to see her. If his whereabouts reached Jinling, then Empress Dowager Yao would be suspicious and would be in trouble at that time.

But he could not completely put it down. A young lady of twelfth and thirteenth was at the peak of betrothal. What could he do if he appeared late and Tang Shishi had made a marriage contract?

He could not be too early or too late, so he could only have to calculate the time well. Zhao Chengjun pressed the center of his eyebrows with a headache and said to his subordinates, “I know. You can go out now. You’ve done a good job on this matter and must be rewarded. However, if you leak any information…”

The subordinates immediately showed their loyalty, “Wangye can rest assured. This subordinate will definitely keep my mouth shut and will never tell anyone else outside of Wangye, not even the family members.”

Zhao Chengjun was relieved and waved to them to retreat. After they left, Zhao Chengjun opened the portrait again and looked at it with concentration. His eyes were focused as if tracing every inch of her skin, bit by bit outlining her current appearance. Zhao Chengjun looked at it for a long time, then opened the nearest drawer and took out a scroll painting.

Looking at the color of the paper, this painting had been painted a long time ago, and it had been taken out from time to time. Zhao Chengjun opened the scroll painting and placed the two paintings side by side on the table.

In the older one, a young lady at her prime leaned against the window sleeping with her head propped up, and behind her was the sun shined brightly, and the spring scenery all over the garden seemed to pour on her side. In the newest one, a seven- or eight-year-old girl wearing a double bun, sitting on a swing and looking up at the wall, as if she was thinking about something.

The backgrounds, brushstrokes, and styles of the two paintings were completely different. Only the young lady in the paintings was obviously the same person.

Zhao Chengjun closed the portrait and exhaled.

When she was in the palace, she always regretted that she could not see the Lantern Festival in Jinling. Zhao Chengjun did not answer her, but he quietly remembered the incident in his heart.

After his Emperor Father died, his Imperial Concubine Mother was forced to death and his third brother died simply because of delayed treatment. Zhao Chengjun was sent to the desolate and bleak Northwest while having a high fever. Only a year later, his second brother died. These were the most significant changes in Zhao Chengjun’s life, but no matter how difficult it was, he always held on to his breath and refused to fall from the beginning to the end.

He was not afraid of death. However, when he thought that he had not found Tang Shishi, he still did not know where her family was and where she was, so he was extremely unreconciled and always refused to close his eyes.

He had not taken her to see the lanterns in Jinling and had not paid off the debts of his previous life. How could he die like this? This voice supported him through the high fever of unconsciousness, supported him through the days and nights of being tortured by hatred, and supported him to crawl back from the battlefield with mountains of bones. Now, more than a thousand two hundred days and nights have passed, and he finally found her.

Long time no see, Tang Shishi.

When she disappeared four years ago, she persistently told him not to trust Empress Dowager Yao, not to talk about adopting a child, and especially to be careful of the arrow behind him. Zhao Chengjun understood the first thing, but he could not guess the reason behind the latter two.

Anyway, it did not matter. Since she did not like it, Zhao Chengjun just did not talk about adopting a child. In the past, he planned not to get married, he did have the idea of adopting a son to solve all his troubles but later he met Tang Shishi and the idea of not having a family quietly faded away.

Therefore, he had no need to talk about adopting a child. He would not do it even more especially after Tang Shishi reminded him. When he was on the battlefield, a deputy general with a family named Xu died for saving him. Zhao Chengjun compensated the other’s family, left a lot of money for the Xu family’s orphan and widow, and also sent that child to a private school. After that, Zhao Chengjun looked for Tang Shishi with all his heart and mind.

She said it herself that every year there was today and there was today every year. That being the case, she would spend every New Year with him, regardless of yin or yang, life or death, past or afterlife.

She would always belong to him.

In the blink of an eye, Tang Shishi was fourteen years old now. In the past four years, Tang Shishi has become even more captivating and beautiful. No matter what she was wearing, she could be seen at a glance standing in the crowd.

The reputation of the eldest daughter of the Tang family was also slowly gaining prominence. In recent years, Qi Jingsheng had come to the Tang family more and more frequently, and his road to the imperial examination had been smooth. He had become a scholar last year and was now preparing for the provincial imperial examination. The Qi family said that in order to make Tang Shishi look good during the wedding ceremony, Qi Jingsheng vowed to propose marriage after he became a Juren so that Tang Shishi could get married grandly. Tang Mingzhe was so happy that he was grinning from ear to ear. Lin Wanxi was also very gratified and emotional and prepared Tang Shishi’s dowry wholeheartedly.

Lin Wanxi was even imagining what the baby’s name would be when Tang Shishi gave birth to a child in the future. Tang Shishi did not have any mood to marry anyone, and she felt uncomfortable all over just thinking of marrying Qi Jingsheng. However, Lin Wanxi was so looking forward to this wedding.

In the end, Tang Shishi did not say anything.

During the warm spring of the third month, the flowers bloomed, the grasses were tall, and the nightingales were in the air. Tang Mingzhe liked ostentation and invited people to the Tang family for a banquet. The noise in the front was so lively, so not to mention how busy concubine Su and her daughter were. Whereas, Tang Shishi avoided the crowd, went to concubine Su’s room quietly, and found her portrait in the cabinet.

Everything was the same as her memory. In the spring when she was fourteen years old, the Flowers and Birds envoys were looking for beautiful young ladies everywhere. Concubine Su secretly asked someone to paint a portrait of Tang Shishi and handed it to the Flowers and Birds Emissary while no one was looking. Later, Tang Shishi was selected and received the imperial kindness to have the privilege to enter the palace.

The marriage between her and the Qi family was also naturally invalidated.

Tang Shishi held the portrait in her hand and hesitated for a moment. She knew that as long as she put down the portrait and returned to her room pretending she did not know anything, she would be selected by Flowers and Birds Emissary just like in her previous life. After three years of training, she would be sent to the Jing Wang mansion. She missed him in her previous life. As long as she avoided Zhao Zixun in advance this time and moved closer to Zhao Chengjun, maybe she still had a chance to achieve good results with him.

However, this might be just her wishful thinking.

Tang Shishi stood for a long time. In the end, she put concubine Su’s portrait into her sleeve and replaced it with the portrait she had prepared.

The spring of the second year of Shentai passed peacefully. Tang Mingzhe was busy doing business, while Lin Wanxi was busy embroidering dowry for Tang Shishi. Everything was the same as usual, except for concubine Su’s private complaints, no one knew that the Flowers and Birds Emissary had come to Linqing.

In the seventh month, Madam Qi came to discuss the six rites with the Tang family ceremoniously. According to Madam Qi’s idea, there was no need to wait for the mid-level provincial imperial examination since the triennial provincial imperial examination would not be completed in a year and a half and it was not impossible to start performing the six rites now.

The adults were discussing in front while Tang Shishi sat in the backyard doing embroidery and even pricked her fingers several times. When the maids saw that, they laughed and winked at each other, “The future mother-in-law is here, and the eldest young lady’s mind is not in the rear courtyard. She even pricked her fingers.”

The maids originally intended to tease her. They did not expect that Tang Shishi would put down the embroidery ring and her face suddenly sank, “Presumptuous. Who allowed you to talk about master’s affairs?”

The maids were all frightened. Tang Shishi shouted coldly, “Still don’t go do your work quickly?”

The maids responded with a grievance and dispersed in confusion. After the maids left, Tang Shishi looked at the messy mandarin duck that was made by her and was so upset that she could hardly even sit down.

After a while, a little maid ran up and said dumbly, “Eldest Young Lady, Master asked you to go to the front hall to meet a guest.”

She did not even have to think about it, he must be asking her to meet the Qi family’s father and mother. Tang Shishi was already upset at first. When she heard this, she was even angrier, “Don’t go!”

The little maid was scared away. Tang Shishi thought she could have some peaceful moments this time. She did not expect after a while, Tang Mingzhe’s housekeeper ran to her, “Eldest Young Lady, this distinguished guest has made it clear that he wants to see you. The Tang family dare not provoke this big Buddha, so you should better go out to have a look!”

Tang Shishi’s anger had reached its peak and exploded. She went to the front hall angrily. She wanted to see which scumbag dared to bother her again and again!

Tang Shishi went to the front hall and entered through the side door carrying her skirt. In front of the side door stood a screen of six beautiful young ladies with flowers, the screen was tall and precious, dividing the front and back into two parts. Tang Shishi stood behind the screen and looked at the people in front of her quietly.

Tang Mingzhe sat in the main seat with his back facing Tang Shishi. Many people surrounded him, and more than half of the Tang family had come over. A young man was sitting in the first guest seat with his side face facing the screen. From the perspective of Tang Shishi, she could only see his perfectly straight figure and the coiling dragon with bared fangs and brandished claws on his black clothes.

Tang Mingzhe’s tone was respectful and flattering. He said with a gentle and cautious manner, “I don’t know that Wangye is coming, and excuse me for not going out to meet you. I wonder why Wangye is looking for my daughter?”

A voice shed from youth and full of adult man’s strong and heroic spirit sounded, “Nothing, just reminiscing about the past.”

Reminiscing about the past? Tang Mingzhe did not know whether to be happy or disappointed when he heard this answer. Tang Mingzhe tactfully warned in a roundabout way, “However, my daughter already has a betrothal, and will perform the six rites soon. I’m afraid it’s inappropriate to see a foreign man.”

“Oh?” His voice still sounded calm, but everyone on the scene inexplicably heard a murderous spirit, “She actually has a husband-to-be?”

“Yes ah, it has been almost five years since the arranged betrothal at the age of ten.”

Zhao Chengjun smiled, turned his face sideways, and looked at the screen forcefully and directly. Behind the sunflower pattern, a slender figure was standing by the side quietly.

“It did not matter if she has a husband-to-be, I don’t admit it.”

She was his. She was the pearl he missed in his previous life, and this life was the love debt he would repay for the rest of his life. Even if in the next life, she was also his destined wife.

Life after life, never stop.

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68 thoughts on “IBTBTED Chapter 143”

    1. Thank you for this excellent translation. I enjoyed reading this novel very much. Can’t wait for your next work.

  1. :0 so it’s like three lifes? parallel universes?
    one with the storyline of the book… one of the whole main story we read and the other is this one from the extras? niiiiiiice
    thanks for translating and happy new yearrrr!!!!

  2. Yay!!!!!!!!!! They’re reunited!!!!!!!!!
    In this lifetime, their fate together began sooner!!! 😍😍🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉🎉💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕

    Happy New Year to you, Translator-san!!! Many thanks for your hard work on this story and I sincerely wish you a very happy great year ahead!!! 💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕

  3. Happy new year ✨✨✨✨
    Thanks for beautiful translation .
    It is very nice story .the spin off is also greatly romantic.
    Looking fwd for your next pick.

    1. Hi, can you consider the leisure life of princess yu yu as your next project? Thank you so much for your hard work

    2. So sweet… Really love this novel very much. One of d best… FL and ML combined.
      Big thanks…wonder Anymore novel from this author??

  4. Wait…is that it? Like…is this the last chapter?

    I needed one more chapter to tie everything up😔oh well I guess.

    I throughly enjoyed this story.
    Thank you so much for translating it and keeping a consistent schedule – I (im)patiently waited for your updates.

    Thank you for all your hard work and I can’t wait to read any works you decide to translate in the future

    1. Thank you so much for all your hard work and completing the translation for this fantastic story I’m glad they’re together in the end!!!

  5. chinesefanreader

    The amazing author has blown my mind🤯🤯🤯 They seem to have an array if parallel lives.. missed in the 1st one, lost years and added drama in the second and finally getting it right in this one🥰 So this is her third life, avoiding the palace draw but not happy about marrying Qi boy… when her 21 yr old prince shows up to claim his 14 yr old wifey early this time 😍😍😍😍😍

    So they had 5 kids before.. now they have time for 7 or 8 🤣

    Kudos kudos kudos to Beloved TN for your excellent work and dedication 🙏🥳🎊🎉

  6. Happy new year! Thank you for the update. I love this parallel timeline too. So sweet. Thank you for your hard work.

  7. Thank you! I loved this novel and I find myself lucky enough to have found this novel already fully translated.

    I will wait for your next project. Keep up this good work!
    Thanks again!

  8. Just binge read this in 2 days! Thank you for the amazing translation and bringing up this delightful story into English!

  9. Aaahh I’m glad this was a happy end! But also… I wonder how they all reacted to a 21yo prince breaking a 14yo girl’s engagement to marry her himself despite no prior interaction. Since this is Wangye he probably has a plan, but the reactions after “I don’t admit it” were probably pretty big.

    Sad that the extra isn’t longer, I would absolutely read the entire story again. This TSS seems to be quieter and calmer (more like the mature TSS after she had kids in the last life), but this ZCJ also seems softer than the last life, probably because he grew up with ghost!TSS.

    Thanks for the TL!

    1. Well, since TSS also regained her past memory this time… then I think there won’t be any obstacle :-D.
      She seems to hesitate anyhow to marry Qi jingsheng and even contemplated for a moment to let the picture stay so that she can be chosen, although she cancelled it at the last minute.
      But it shows that she had the urge to meet him and correct the plot.
      She is promised to QJS but they haven’t completed the 6 rites yet, so technically she is not engaged, it is just somehow inappropriate to break a promise between good friends.
      But since the other party is a wangye, I don’t think anybody would dare to complain.
      However this extra story of the past life seems to hint that Jingwang might have noticed her and then developed feeling after watching how she was schemed by the other concubines…but he was just an upright man, a true gentleman…therefore he never cross the line.
      How different he is from his adopted son.
      He really wasted 12 years on ZZX to be betrayed by him for no reason.
      He was not married and only had him as a son, no mother, no relatives in that previous life.
      He will always be the crown prince in any case, neverthless ZZX had stabbed him in the back.
      How ungrateful. He is really a scumbag.
      I really am not doubting at all that he was influenced by the pillow talk of that scheming ZSH. Considering the pearl bracelet, TSS didn’t even understand the meaning of the bracelet, but she was killed because of that… it shows that ZZX can only be deceived by other concubine to make him jealous.
      This last timeline seems to me the best outcome… so that no scumbag around :-D, and ZCJ is going to be even more warm 😀

  10. Has been binged read it for 3 days and 2 nights.. And I’m still not ready to say goodbye to Shishi and her beloved destined fate. I don’t know why but for me, the last extra story was the most romantic. More than the main story. Really love it. Thank you for translating this amazing story

  11. Thank you so much for everything!! This novel has been amazing, I never knew I could love someone as… tenacious (?) as TSS. I’m indebted to all of you 😭❤❤❤❤❤❤

  12. So sad that this is the end! I enjoyed the novel immensely. Thanks for the translation. I will leave a good review on novelupdates too!

  13. Omg I reached the end… So sad part with this novel I loved it so much, it now one of my favourites. The extras killed my heart… Thank you so much for giving this work in English so we can also appreciate it… Looking forward to read your two other projects soon…

  14. I love it… i never once finished a translated chinese novel before… just this one… it was never boring. kudos to the author and to the translator(s).

  15. Just rereading again and I really love this couple. The extra/past life even makes it better.

  16. i think i understand it all now, there are three different lifetimes the two of them go through and they all influence one another. there is the original lifetime in which Tang Shishi marries Zhao Zixun, and then this second timeline where she meets Zhao Chengjun as a ghost, and the third one where she receives the magical book (the lifetime we read in this novel).

    in the first timeline, Zhao Chengjun seems to be the one that sent Tang Shishi her magical book for the third lifetime to happen (we get hints of this event when Tang Shishi is watching Zhao Zixun talk to his subordinate about the strange monk who was the last person Zhao Chengjun talked to and who has an important book) so this action of his led to the third lifetime which has a lot more rom-com elements with the way the story was written.

    but the second lifetime wasn’t caused by Zhao Chengjun from the first lifetime, it seemed to be caused by Tang Shishi who as a ghost travelled back in time to meet the young Zhao Chengjun and the story seems to be much more dramatic and sad with a Tang Shishi who has experienced all the hardship and death from the first lifetime. (a different vibe from the Tang Shishi in the third lifetime who only knows of the bad ending and hasn’t experience the hardship)

    i love both the lifetimes though, and i wish we could have gotten their second lifetime as a full novel because i feel like everything would have been more impactful and more emotional since the characters has experienced more but i also like the story we have now since i love the comedy and the light-hearted of Tang Shishi’s scenes.

    i think including all the lifetimes even the second lifetime if only in the extras shows how much both Zhao Chengjun and Tang Shishi love each other. both of them tried to change fate which resulted in two lifetime where they both ended up with one another even if the way it happened was different, it’s just so beautiful and i love them so much <3

  17. I would love to read this one life too haha it’s so cute, they’re so goals too. thank you so much for translating this amazing novel <3 wouldn't have known it without you <3<3<3

  18. truly grateful to author and translator for this masterpiece. nothing is lacking and i will miss reading it for very long time. my favourite, hope author keep writing more novels♥️

  19. ahhhh isxjdisoodis i wish the author wrote a second book to this i wanna read about this lifetime moree. I’m a huge sucker for this kind of development

  20. NOOOOOO!!!!!!
    Quería más de este final muy bonito pero al mismo tiempo me dejaron queriendo más 😭😭😭😭

  21. Thank you so much for all your hard works in giving us readers this wonderful story! Sad it over but glad to be a part of it.

  22. First life she dies and they miss each other.

    Second.1 life is when she receives the book and it works out and the book is something he gave in the first life to the monk to give her.

    Second.2 life is when she meets him as a ghost and he makes sure it works out.

    Basically first life is the only one where they miss each other and every off shoot after that is them getting together because he and fate make sure it happens.

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