Reborn After Widowhood – Chapter 59
The gold and silver jewelry, silks and satins, antique calligraphy and paintings, fine wood, and other things that were seized from the Prince Xiang Mansion, plus the mansions he built privately during his extensive construction projects, could be converted into silver worth tens of millions of taels.
When Prince Xiang’s family was escorted out of the city, the people in Lingzhou lined the streets to “send them off”. If the guards hadn’t stopped them, they would have crushed Prince Xiang to death with the rotten leaves they threw out.
It seemed to be miserable for a dignified vassal prince to fall to such point, but if he was not a vassal prince and did not share the blood passed down from the same ancestor as Emperor Jingshun, with the crimes he committed, he could have grown a hundred heads and it would all be cut down.
In the past few days, the talk in the streets and alleys of Lingzhou City was that all about the abolition of Prince Xiang, and the people finally let out their resentment. On top of that, the Dragon Boat Festival was approaching, and the city had a lively atmosphere comparable to the New Year.
At dusk, a smallwas mixed in with other cruise boats, moving slowly on the Linghe River.
Various shops line up along both sides of the river. At this time, restaurants and teahouses were the busiest.
When the wupeng boat was about to pass a teahouse, a high-pitched voice suddenly shouted angrily from inside the teahouse: “Come! Plug his mouth and beat him for me!”
Inside the wupeng boat, Hua Yang felt that this sentence was very familiar. She subconsciously approached the screen window and looked towards the teahouse on the riverbank.
Chen Jingzong saw it and signaled Fu Gui outside to stop the boat and move closer to the riverbank.
The teahouse was not big, but because the business was booming, a pergola was set up by the river with six to seven tables underneath. At this time, people in plain clothes gathered inside the pergola. Through the gaps between the figures, Hua Yang saw a white-faced storyteller in his forties sitting in the teahouse. Holding a whip in his hand, he made a beating motion with lively expression, while vividly imitating a woman’s voice perfectly: “Who are you, to be so bold and actually molested our princess!”
Chen Jingzong sat across from her, observing her expression, and said, “If you don’t like to hear it, I’ll have someone arrest that storyteller and taught him a lesson.”
Hua Yang shook her head. From what she had heard so far, although the storyteller made up some words, they did not offend her.
After the storyteller finished telling her story, he actually told the story of how the Prince Consort making a big fuss in Prince Xiang Mansion, and even praised Prince Consort’s horsemanship as “extraordinary in martial prowess” and “dignified in appearance.”
Hua Yang looked as if what he said was untrue and urged: “Let’s go, there’s nothing good to hear.”
Chen Jingzong: “I want to listen.”
Hua Yang went to look at the riverbank on the other side.
When the storyteller took a rest, the common people drinking tea talked with great interest about the princess and prince consort.
“One time I was shopping on the street and I met Prince Consort riding back to the city. He was indeed brave and handsome, at least eight feet tall. He looked so majestic when he riding a horse!”
“Of course, if the Prince Consort is not good-looking, can the emperor choose him as his son-in-law?”
“The Princess is as beautiful as a fairy and has the heart of a bodhisattva. She is willing to redress the grievances of our people. I heard that the Prince Consort has also done a lot of practical things for the soldiers in the military station. So it seems that the Prince Consort and the Princess are really a match made in heaven.”
When these words floated into the cabin, Hua Yang saw that Chen Jingzong’s eyes were full of smiles, and he was so pleased that he almost rewarded them with money.
“Did you arrange these people in advance?” Hua Yang asked suspiciously.
Chen Jingzong put away his smile, looked at her and said, “If I really arrange them, I should tell them to praise me instead of flattering you and me as a match made in heaven.”
He is too tall and can no longer grow, so his skin is getting thicker and thicker, right?
The man who was a match made in heaven for her has not yet born. Chen Jingzong was just had a good luck to became her prince consort.
At rest day at the end of Fourth Month, the two couples still did not return to Shiqiao Town. It was not until the Dragon Boat Festival that the Yamen and the military station have a three days holiday, Chen Jingzong and Chen Bozong took their wives back to the Chen family’s ancestral home.
Chen Tingjian personally went out to welcome them. When he saw Hua Yang, he made a big salute: “The abolition of a prince is a disaster, but fortunately the Princess is here to make the decision for the people. The Princess is kind and loves the common people, this is really a blessing for the people of Lingzhou.”
Hua Yang helped him up and said with a sincere expression: “Father is praising too much. I just presented the grievances of the people so Father Emperor aware of it. I would never dare to take credit.”
She did help the people of Lingzhou in this life, but without her father-in-law suing Prince Xiang in her previous life, Hua Yang would have no way of knowing how evil Prince Xiang was and how much suffering the people of Lingzhou had experienced. Ordinary officials either did not dare to offend the vassal prince, or did not have the prestige to persuade father emperor to punish Prince Xiang. Only her father-in-law stepped forward bravely. Although he succeeded in overthrowing Prince Xiang at the time, he was later criticized by the court because of this move, affecting the descendants of his family.
The one the people of Lingzhou really needed to thank was her father-in-law.
Hua Yang made some polite remarks in front of the imperial envoy, but what she said to her father-in-law now was from the bottom of her heart.
Chen Jingzong could see the admiration on her face.
How strange that she seemed to want to give the credit to the old man even though she was the one that done the good deed.
Chen Tingjian felt the princess’s sincere humility.
A princess who was should have been pampered in the capital came all the way to Lingzhou to mourn with their family. She not only did not complain, but also made achievements worthy of being recorded in the annals of history. She was not proud or arrogant, and she had a jade-like appearance with the character of a saint. If she were a man, the crown prince of this dynasty would definitely be the princess, and she would definitely become a wise monarch in the future!
Chen Jingzong also saw the star-like admiration and affirmation in the old man’s eyes. Not to mention him, even his Zhuangyuan’s brother had never received such treatment!
“Okay, let’s go in and talk if you have something to say. Don’t you feel hot here?”
Chen Jingzong suddenly spoke, interrupting the mutual admiration between the cabinet elder and the princess.
Chen Tingjian’s eyes passed over his fourth son. No need to say anything, his disgust was completely showed.
Chen Jingzong had long been accustomed to it. When Hua Yang saw it, she looked at the father and son and smiled: “Father, if you want to talk about credit, Prince Consort secretly collected the criminal evidence of Xiang Baoshan and others after joining the military station, which saved a lot of effort for the imperial envoys who investigated the case, otherwise this case may be delayed for a while longer.”
Chen Tingjian said solemnly: “He’s serving as an official in the guard post thanks to His Majesty’s grace. These are all his duties, it’s not worth mentioning.”
Sun shi wiped her sweat with a handkerchief and said with a smile, “It’s quite hot. Let’s go in quickly.”
After gathering in the hall for a while, the three young couples went back to the west courtyard to change clothes.
Chen Bozong and Chen Xiaozong were surrounded by children, making Hua Yang and Chen Jingzong seem particularly deserted.
After returning to Siyi Hall, Hua Yang looked at Chen Jingzong’s face and said jokingly: “Why, your father refuses to praise you, are you unhappy?”
Chen Jingzong glanced at her and said, “It’s my responsibility anyway, really not worth mentioning. If he praises me for such a trivial thing, I’ll have to see if the sun has come out from the west.”
Hua Yang: “Then why are you doing with a stiff face?”
Chen Jingzong stopped talking.
Chao Yun and Chao Yue came in with fresh water and helped the couple cleanse their faces and wash their hands.
After a short break, they went to the main house for a reunion lunch, and Hua Yang didn’t mention it again.
Until they took a rest after lunch and she lay down on the bed, she saw Chen Jingzong sitting in front of her dressing table, lowering his head to look in the mirror.
The dressing table was not big, it was the right size for Hua Yang. But when he, a nine-foot-strong man, squeezed in there with his legs folded, it looked very funny.
Hua Yang couldn’t help but ask: “Why are looking at yourself?”
Chen Jingzong touched his chin and asked in the mirror: “What if I keep a long beard like the old man?”
She tried to imagine what Chen Jingzong would look like, and the more she thought about it, the more disgusted she became: “If you dare to do that, don’t appear in front of me again.”
Chen Jingzong tilted his head and looked at her strangely: “I thought you liked it.”
Hua Yang frowned: “When did I like it?”
Chen Jingzong paused and said, “Don’t you admire the old man’s look?”
Hua Yang had already lied down, but when she heard this, she sat up and glared at him: “I admire Father, firstly, because Father is a senior and it’s normal to have a beard. Secondly, Father is elegant and refined, keeping such long beard gives off an air of immortal grace. It’s not just me; anyone who sees Father would praise his distinguished bearing. But you, at such a young age, growing a big beard is like a. Moreover, you don’t even like to take a bath, if you really grow a long beard, I can’t imagine how messy it will be.”
As she talked, Hua Yang actually felt sick.
When Chen Jingzong saw this, he immediately stopped this idea, sat by the bed and said, “I’m just saying it casually. If you don’t like it, I won’t grow it. That’s all.”
Hua Yang covered her chest with one hand, raised her head, her gaze roamed over his face several times, and hummed: “You have a nice face now, you’re not allowed to grow a beard until you’re forty years old.”
Chen Jingzong lowered his eyes, touched the side of his lips, and asked in a low voice: “You want to control me until I’m forty?”
Hua Yang: “What’s wrong with forty? As long as I don’t like it, you can’t grow a beard until you’re fifty.”
Chen Jingzong laughed: “If I still don’t have beard at that time, then I won’t have dignity as a father in front of the children.”
Hua Yang wanted to say more, but Chen Jingzong suddenly pounced and pinned her down.
Hua Yang didn’t quite understand. They were arguing just now, so why did he become interested?
The main house, Chunhe Hall.
When Chen Tingjian came back after talking to his eldest son, he saw his wife sitting in front of the dressing table, combing her still jet-black long hair while humming a local tune softly.
Chen Tingjian smiled and asked: “The children are back, so you’re in a good mood?”
Sun shi glanced at him lightly, stopped humming, and pursed the corners of her lips with a look of disapproval.
Chen Tingjian paused, bent over and stood in front of the washstand to wash his hands, while carefully recalled what happened today. In the end, he was very sure that he had not offended his wife in any way.
Even so, when he sat on the edge of the bed, he still asked tentatively: “Have I upset you again?”
Sun shi: “Who else besides you?”
Chen Tingjian: “How do I upset you?”
Sun shi: “My son has made great contributions in rooting out corrupt officials. Even the Princess praises him, but you don’t even give him a good look.”
What else should Chen Tingjian do, he shook his head when he heard this and lay down on the bed while saying: “The Old One’s and Old Three are doing well in their official positions, I also have the same face. Why should I be special to him alone? They’re all grown up building their careers, do they want to be like Sanlang, who need to be praised for reciting a book?”
Sun shi: “It sounds like you praised the Old Four for being smart in reading when he was young.”
Chen Tingjian: “What to praise? The more you praise, the more complacent they become. You should be strict in educating children. The Old One’s Zhuangyuan and the Old Three’s Tanhua are not due to praise.”
Sun shi: “Then why does it seem like your mouth is filled with honey when you praise the Princess?”
Chen Tingjian was straightening his beard strand by strand. When he heard this, his hands shook and he looked at his wife in disbelief: ” You can’t control your mouth again! How can you say such things out loud?”
Sun shi: “Of course I didn’t mean that. Anyway, if you treat the Old Four as well as you treat the Princess, the Old Four won’t look at you coldly every day.”
Chen Tingjian sneered: “If he is as humble and polite as the Princess, I won’t look at him coldly every day.”