Reborn After Widowhood – Chapter 32
The old lady of the Chen family died due to illness in the late First Month, which means that not long after the Lantern Festival after the New Year, the three brothers of the Chen family would finish their mourning period.
Today, Chen Tingjian called his three sons to the study.
A six-foot-square map hangs on the west wall of the study, which detailed the locations of the thirteen provinces of the dynasty and the counties under its jurisdiction. It also listed the neighboring countries on the south, west, and north sides.
Under the map, there was also a sand table with some small flags placed on it.
Even though the dignified Cabinet Elder was mourning at home, he didn’t neglect any of the responsibilities and concerns that he should have taken care of.
Chen Bozong and Chen Xiaozong stood in front of the desk with respectful faces. Chen Jingzong glanced at the sand table a few times, looking here and there, but not at the old man.
Chen Tingjian looked at his three sons and said, “You will be discharged from mourning in three months. According to the old practice, you should write a letter to the Ministry of Personnel, so that the Ministry of Personnel can arrange official positions for you in advance.”
However, for all officials who were in mourning, the official positions they held would be fill by new officials, as they could not remain vacant. When the officials finished their mourning period, the Ministry of Personnel would arrange new positions based on the situation.
Of course, different officials would receive different treatment. For example, Chen Tingjian, who was highly regarded by Emperor Jingshun, would definitely be reinstated when he was out of mourning. However, middle- and lower-level officials who have not made outstanding achievements might have long been forgotten by Ministry of Personnel and have to queue up for several months to wait for new vacancies.
Chen Bozong said: “Father, when you were young, you served as an official alone, and it was grandmother and mother who raised us. When grandmother was ill, us brothers were unable to fulfill our filial piety by her side. Now that we have returned to our ancestral home, we want to mourn for our grandmother for a while longer. Father, please grant us this request.”
Chen Tingjian: “I understand your filial piety, but it’s a rule for grandchildren to mourn for one year. If you are fulfilling your filial piety by extending the mourning period, what should other literati do? If they don’t learn from you, they seem to have lost in filial piety. If they learn from you, wouldn’t it be disturbed the rules?”
He knew that his sons didn’t want to leave their parents alone in the ancestral home, but he didn’t need them to. He and his wife were not old enough to have their sons and daughter-in-law waiting in front of them every day.
Chen Xiaozong smiled and said: “Father, Son is not in a hurry to leave. In addition to being reluctant to part with grandmother, you and mother, it’s also because Wan Qing is still too young to travel long distances.”
Chen Tingjian: “Then let your wife and children stay and wait to return to the capital with us.”
Chen Xiaozong: “Yuyan is clumsy, and the three children will have to be taken care of by Mother. Son will be even more worried after returning to the capital. It’s better to stay together.”
Three literati got together and pushed back and forth to come up with an article on “filial piety”.
Chen Jingzong said impatiently: “Whether you want to leave or not, the Princess and I will definitely return to the capital after the New Year.”
After saying that, the person went out.
Chen Xiaozong peeked at his father.
Chen Tingjian snorted heavily. Fortunately, he also wanted his sons to go back, especially since he couldn’t let the princess continue to live here and suffer injustice, so he didn’t take the Old Four’s unfilial piety to heart.
Hua Yang was playing shuttlecock in the main room. Recently, she had become proficient again. She could switch her feet to kick with ease and her posture was light. It not only exercised her body, but also fun to do.
Catching a glimpse of Chen Jingzong from the corner of her eye, Hua Yang kicked a dozen more times. When Chen Jingzong came to the door, she took the shuttlecock away and asked him while panting slightly: “Father, has some instructions for you?”
At this time, she actually knew what it was for.
Chen Jingzong glanced at her pink peony-like face, sat on a chair and said, “Remind us to write a letter to the Ministry of Personnel so that we can return to the capital to take up our posts after the year.”
When Hua Yang heard this in her previous life, her eyes lit up. She couldn’t wait to pack her bags and leave immediately.
But the next month, mother empress sent a letter to her, saying that both Chen Bozong and Chen Xiaozong hoped to find a vacant official position near Lingzhou. In this way that they could serve the court but also conveniently honor their parents.
Most of the officials were trying hard to become officials in the capital. Even if they dare not make requests to the Ministry of Personnel in their letters, they still hope so in their hearts. The two brothers of the Chen family actually took the initiative to stay in their place. Of course, the Ministry of Personnel were willing to make it happen, not to mention, it also gave Cabinet Elder Chen Ge some face.
Mother empress then explained some principle to Hua Yang, saying that she knew that Chen Jingzong definitely wanted to stay in Lingzhou to fulfil his filial piety like his brothers, but he didn’t say it out of fear that Hua Yang would be unhappy. The more this was the case, the more Hua Yang should take the initiative to stay in Lingzhou. Otherwise, if she go back first, while common people all over the world praised Chen Bozong and Chen Xiaozong for their genuine filial piety, wouldn’t the one-year mourning period for her and prince consort be in vain?
Hua Yang was persuaded by her mother, and after the new year, the official document from Ministry of Personnel was officially issued, asking Chen Jingzong to go to Lingzhou Guards to serve as the commanding officer of the fourth rank. Chen Jingzong was surprised, but Hua Yang was well prepared.
Mother empress entered the palace so late, but she was able to successfully become a favorite and conferred the empress, because she relied on more than just her beauty. Although mother empress sometimes asked her and her brother to do things they didn’t like for the sake of the overall situation, but Hua Yang knew that her mother was doing it all for their own good.
“I don’t want to go back so soon.” Hua Yang sat on the chair opposite him, took the warm handkerchief from Chao Yun, and talked while wiping her face.
Chen Jingzong looked over puzzled.
Hua Yang snorted, “I came all the way from the capital to this place. If I only stay in your ancestral home for a year and then rush back for a thousand miles, wouldn’t that be too much of a loss? I’ve already made up my mind. I will write a letter to Father Emperor, asking him to find you a vacancy in Lingzhou. When the time comes, you can do your job properly, and I can take the opportunity to visit the nearby famous rivers and beautiful scenery. Isn’t this place not far from Chibi and Yueyang? I want to see thewhere was in the Three Kingdoms, and then go to Yueyang Tower to see the misty Dongting Lake.”
Of course, the most important thing was that she has to deal with Prince Xiang!
“If you want to see Red Cliffs then just see Red Cliffs. What does it have to do with Zhou Yu?” After a moment of silence, Chen Jingzong said sarcastically, “If I haven’t read enough, I would have thought you had a male pet named Zhou Yu.”
Chao Yun burst into laughter.
Hua Yang handed the used towel to Chao Yun, leaned at Chen Jingzong and said: “It is said that Zhou Yu was handsome and elegant. He was such a romantic man with both civil and military skills. If he’s really willing to be my male pet, what else can you do?”
Chen Jingzong sneered: “A romantic man that died before he turned thirty. If you really marry him, you would become a widow like.”
Chao Yun smiled and said: “Princess, did you hear it? Prince Consort is jealous.”
Hua Yang observed Chen Jingzong carefully. Impossible, an ancient man who has been dead for more than a thousand years is worthy of him making a fuss?
Chen Jingzong drank tea as if nothing happened and said to her: “Since you want to stay here, let me tell the Ministry of Personnel, and they should also ask His Majesty for instructions.”
Hua Yang nodded: “Alright.”
Chen Jingzong: “I’m going to write the paperwork.”
Hua Yang watched him walk towards the west wing, which was converted into a study. When he was about to enter, he suddenly changed direction and quickly left Siyi Hall.
Chao Yun asked in confusion: “Where is Prince Consort going?”
Hua Yang actually had no clue.
There was a Moon Gate leading to the west courtyard from the main house. Next to the moon gate was a long veranda, connecting the three brothers’ courtyards.
Chen Bozong and Chen Xiaozong came back after bidding farewell to their father. After crossing the Moon Gate, they saw the Old Four sitting on the veranda, leaning against the pillar with his hands behind his head, his eyes closed, not knowing what he was thinking.
Chen Xiaozong coughed.
Chen Jingzong opened his eyes, and when the two of them approached, he asked, “What are you going to say to Ministry of Personnel?”
Chen Xiaozong looked at his elder brother and said, “I have discussed it with Eldest Brother and decided to ask the officials to arrange a vacancy in Lingzhou Prefecture for us. Fourth Brother, you are different. The Princess is in a hurry to return to the capital. You can go back with peace of mind. Our parent on this side has us to take care of, so you don’t have to worry.”
They all understood their fourth brother’s circumstances. If they were to marry a princess, they would have to give priority to the princess’s preferences, unless there were no other brothers in the family to support their parents.
Chen Jingzong smiled: “I originally thought so too, but the Princess said that filial piety comes first and she wants to stay with me and wait to return to the capital with the two elders.”
Chen Xiaozong looked stunned. The princess looked aloof, but she was so considerate?
Chen Bozong looked in the direction of Siyi Hall and said, “The Princess is so virtuous and kind, this is a blessing to our Chen family.”
Chen Jingzong didn’t tell his brothers that the princess was only thinking about Zhou Yu!
“Are you going to write the paperwork now?” Chen Jingzong stood up. He was obviously the youngest at only twenty-one years old, but he was taller than his two elder brothers who had already become fathers.
The two nodded.
Chen Jingzong said to his eldest brother: “I have something to ask Eldest Brother. Let’s go to your study.”
Chen Bozong was slightly surprised, and then left with his fourth brother.
In Guanhe Hall, Yu Xiu heard that her husband was back. She wanted to put down her needlework, but through the window she saw that her brother-in-law was also coming, looking very tall and heroic. Yu Xiu bit her lip, lowered her head and continued with what she was doing.
Chen Bozong ordered the maid to prepare tea and took his fourth brother directly to the study.
“What’s the matter?” he asked.
Chen Jingzong: “Nothing. You can write your paperwork. I’ll copy it after you’re done.”
Chen Jingzong picked up a chair and put it next to the desk. Seeing his brother’s serious look about to reprimand him, Chen Jingzong said helplessly: “Requesting to stay in Lingzhou, you must talk about filial piety and maybe quote some scriptures. If I have so many inks, I would also become a Zhuangyuan. If Eldest Brother refuses to help, then I’ll just write the letter casually. Anyway, I’m thick-skinned. Even if the Ministry of Personnel want to show it to His Majesty, I don’t care.”
The fourth brother was not afraid to lose face, but the Chen family could not afford to lose face because of this person.
Chen Bozong sat on the chair with an expressionless face. Seeing that the Old Four was not ashamed but proud, he pushed the inkstone over and said, “Grind the ink.”
Chen Jingzong knew that his brother had to find something to do for himself, so he picked up the ink stick without too much care, poured some water into the inkstone, and started grinding it.
Chen Bozong frowned.
When Chen Jingzong saw him, he inexplicably thought of Hua Yang. The disgusted look she gave when he wanted to sit on her Shu brocade bedding while still wearing his outer coat was exactly like this.
After all, he was asking for help, so Chen Jingzong relaxed his strength, imagining that the ink stick was Hua Yang’s tender flesh. Slowly twisting it was actually quite interesting.
Chen Bozong ignored him, lowered his eyes and thought for a moment. He then spread out a piece of ordinary paper, took a brush from the brush holder, dipped it in ink and started writing.
The Zhuangyuan who was parade around on horseback in the past was now in his thirties, but he was still elegant and graceful, only becoming more calm and restrained.
The little maid who brought the tea secretly glanced at her master before leaving.
Chen Bozong was concentrating on writing the letter and did not notice it, but Chen Jingzong could see it clearly.
Do these women really like bookish men? The same for the hero from Three Kingdoms period. Why did Hua Yang only praise Zhou Yu but not Guan Zhang?
He was thinking wildly while grinding ink. Chen Bozong finished writing a few lines of words eloquently.
Chen Jingzong wanted to take the paper and copy it.
But Chen Bozong couldn’t see him cheating in front of him, so he said: “Take it back and copy it. There is no need to return it. I will write another one.”
The two brothers wrote the same content, but the officials in the Ministry of Personnel were not fools.
Chen Jingzong changed direction and when the ink dried, he folded it up with a smile and tucked it into his chest.
Returning to Siyi Hall, Chen Jingzong went straight to the study and lowered the latch of the door, with the attitude of not wanting to be disturbed.
Hua Yang continued to kick the shuttlecock.
After less than a cup of tea, Chen Jingzong came out, took the newly written letter, handed it to Hua Yang, and said firmly: “Look, is it okay to write like this?”
Not to mention this life, Hua Yang never saw anything written by Chen Jingzong in her previous life. Even when he went with the army to put down the rebellion, he never wrote a letter home to her.
After making sure that there was no sweat in her palms, Hua Yang took the letter and stood at the door of the hall to read it.
To be fair, Chen Jingzong’s handwriting could only be considered ordinary, but his character’s style was sharp. However, his choice of words and sentences in this letter really different from his usual self.
Hua Yang asked suspiciously: “Where did you go just now?”
Chen Jingzong: “Looking for the old man. If you want to stay, I must inform him.”
This answer was reasonable and Hua Yang continued to read the letter.
Chen Jingzong leaned next to her and asked, “How does my literary talent compare to Zhou Yu’s?”
I still don’t quite believe it!