Reborn After Widowhood – Chapter 90
As the chief minister, Chen Tingjian focused most of his energy on state affairs, but at dusk on the last day of every month, he would call his three sons to the study to inquire about their officials’ job.
Today was no exception.
The little maid came to the west courtyard and sent messages to the eldest master, third master, and prince consort in turn.
Chen Bozong was the first to arrive in front of the moon gate leading from the west courtyard to the main courtyard. Not long after, Chen Xiaozong also arrived.
The winter wind in the capital was very strong. Even though the brothers were dressed warmly, their exposed faces were almost stiff from the wind.
Chen Xiaozong stamped his feet, looked at Siyi Hall and said, “Why is the Fourth Brother so slow?”
Even if their courtyards were closer and they got the news first, the Old Four shouldn’t be delayed for too long.
Chen Bozong was silent.
At this time, a dark shadow suddenly appeared in the corridor in the distance. The two brothers looked at it together, and their handsome faces that were half or sixty percent similar froze at the same time.
Chen Bozong was still fine, but the corners of Chen Xiaozong’s mouth twitched and he cursed indistinctly.
Chen Jingzong, wearing the elegant and luxurious fox fur cloak, walked to his two brothers calmly.
Chen Bozong looked at his younger brother, turned around and walked forward.
Chen Xiaozong walked side by side with his younger brother, casting his eyes on the jet-black cloak several times. Finally he couldn’t hold back and said while clicking his tongue: “Princess treats you very well.”
Chen Jingzong: “Why, do you think only you two deserve Eldest Sister-in-law and Third Sister-in-law’s pampering, but I am not worthy of the Princess’ care?”
Chen Xiaozong: “You deserve it, you deserve it more than anyone else.”
Chen Bozong said without looking back: “The Princess treats you well, that is your blessing, but you should not be too ostentatious.”
Chen Jingzong: “What do you mean ostentation? I only wear it on the road in the morning and evening. It’s pitch black that the people passing by would think there was no one on the horse.”
Chen Xiaozong: “Aren’t you wearing it today?”
Chen Jingzong: “I didn’t go out.”
Chen Xiaozong: “You still know that you won’t go out, and in our family, you’re the least afraid of the cold. Then you dress up like this for these few steps, are you deliberately showing off to us?”
Chen Jingzong: “If you’re jealous, just say so. When the Princess gives me a new one next year, I will give you this one.”
Chen Xiaozong really wanted to beat this younger brother, but unfortunately, as early as when his younger brother was seven or eight years old, he, this elder brother, could not take advantage of him at all.
The two brothers were bickering on the way, but as soon as they entered Chunhe Hall, they were like Chen Bozong, silent as a mountain.
Chen Tingjian was in the study, and Sun shi came out of the main room when she heard that her sons had arrived. Although they all lived in the same house, the sons were busy with errands and did not spend much time together.
When the curtain was lifted, Sun shi saw the tallest and most flamboyantly dressed Old Four first.
With a snort, Sun shi clutched her stomach and laughed. One more glance, her laughter was getting louder and she couldn’t stop.
The laughter spread to the study, and Chen Tingjian came out in confusion. His eyes swept over the three sons and finally settled on the Old Four.
Chen Jingzong held his head and chest high.
Chen Tingjian snorted hard and turned back in.
“Mom, please stop laughing, your health is important.” Chen Xiaozong supported his mother who was almost fell over and advised her helplessly. Chen Bozong simply stood in front of his mother to prevent her from looking at his fourth brother.
Sun shi laughed to the point of tears. The Old Four’s little thoughts were written directly on his face. But then again fighting with the old man this way was better than any play.
After laughing enough, Sun shi did not speak to her sons. She waved her hand and told them to go to the study to see the old man. She herself entered the hall.
While the three brothers walked to the study door, there was another burst of laughter from the other side of the hall.
Chen Bozong and Chen Xiaozong looked at their younger brother at the same time, and the latter whispered: “Fourth Brother is the epitome of.”
Chen Jingzong directly pushed him in.
There was dragon earth burning under the study, and it was warm. Under Chen Tingjian’s dark gaze, Chen Jingzong untied his cloak and hung it on a shelf nearby.
Chen Tingjian withdrew his gaze and pointed at the three chairs next to the desk for his sons to sit on.
In order of eldest to youngest, he started with Chen Bozong.
Dali Temple had many criminal cases, often involving crimes of some officials. Chen Jingzong leaned lazily on the back of his chair, closing his eyes to rest, and occasionally frowning.
After the autumn, Chen Xiaozong went to the Ministry of Household Affairs, where he worked as the head of the Shandong Qingli Division, which was the sixth rank. He had a good understanding of the tax accounts in various regions of Shandong.
When the sky darkened outside the window, Chen Tingjian finally asked his fourth son: “How is your military training going?”
Chen Jingzong: “The competition will begin in half a month. You will know at a glance whether it’s good or not.”
Chen Tingjian: “I’m asking you if you’re sure, don’t finish last place again.”
Chen Jingzong: “Then if I say I can definitely get first place, will you believe it?”
Just when Chen Bozong was about to scold his younger brother on his father’s behalf, Chen Tingjian waved his hand. Out of sight and out of mind: “Go back.”
The three brothers retreated together.
After walking out of Chunhe Hall, Chen Bozong turned around. Before he could meet his younger brother’s eyes, Chen Jingzong suddenly quickened his pace and left his brothers behind in the blink of an eye.
Chen Xiaozong: “No conscience! Each time, we waited for him to come together, but he always leaves us behind and slips away first.”
Chen Bozong just kept silent.
Hua Yang sat on the couch in the side room and watched Chen Jingzong walk into the inner room wearing the big cloak. After a while, he came out wearing only ordinary clothes, with a bit of spring breeze remaining between his eyebrows.
She stopped looking, flipped through the book and said, “It’s also worth showing off, huh?”
Chen Jingzong: “The cloak itself is nothing. The important thing is that it was given by you. His Majesty also gave one to the old man before. He wore it as soon as winter comes, isn’t it also to show off?”
Hua Yang: “Father wants to let Father Emperor know that he always remembers his grace. That is just being a good minister.”
Chen Jingzong: “Me too…”
Hua Yang: “Shut up!”
The martial arts competitions of the twenty-six guards in the capital were always scheduled on the 15th of Eleventh Month.
The Ministry of War would send the rosters of each guard station to Emperor Jingshun three days in advance. Emperor Jingshun would then select ten people at random.
This method of selection not only took into account fairness, but the three-day preparation time prevented each guard station from sharpening the spear before going to battle on those ten people, so that it could more effectively reflect the overall strength of each guard station.
Imperial study room.
The Minister of Ministry of War was waiting on one side, while Eunuch Ma sent the rosters of each guard station one by one to the imperial table.
Emperor Jingshun took the vermilion brush, turned a page, and randomly circled the names of ordinary soldiers. It was very simple and required almost no effort.
Until Eunuch Ma put up the roster of Daxing Left Guard.
Daxing Left Guard, where his son-in-law was appointed as the commander!
Emperor Jingshun could not openly show favoritism and asked his son-in-law in advance for a list of ten strongest soldiers. However, he felt that the general situation of the soldier could be seen from the names of some soldiers.
His eyes quickly passed through the names, and Emperor Jingshun suddenly paused, and then circled “Gao Dazhuang (literary means ‘tall and strong’)”.
The list of all the guard stations was circled. The Minister of War took the roster and sent the officials under him to write out the ten names selected from each guard station separately. One copy was submitted to the emperor, one was kept by the Ministry of War, and one was sent to the twenty-six guard stations.
Chen Jingzong was sitting with his two deputy commanders, Lu Chengliang and Ma Hong, when they learned that someone from the Ministry of War was coming. Lu Chengliang and Ma Hong became a little nervous.
Just because the Daxing Left Guard was rank last every year, and the previous commanders have all been transferred to local guards. If they came last again this year, the Prince Consort would lose face at most, but the two deputy commanders may also be thrown into faraway place by the emperor.
Soon, the list was handed to Chen Jingzong.
Chen Jingzong had been at the guard station for almost five months, but it was impossible for him to know every one of the more than 5,000 soldiers.
Ma Hong, who came behind him to take a look, suddenly sighed.
Chen Jingzong: “What?”
Ma Hong pointed to a person on the list and said: “This Gao Dazhuang, his name is quite deceptive. In fact, he is neither tall nor strong. He can’t do anything well.”
Chen Jingzong: “That bad? I should have some impression.”
Ma Hong: “You haven’t seen him because I transferred him to the kitchen a long time ago.”
Lu Chengliang: “I remembered that when Gao Dazhuang first entered our guard station, he was actually very strong, so even though he was a bit shorter, the guard station still accepted him, he even made two meritorious services. But later he became ill, and after that he lost a lot of weight and also lost his strength.”
Ma Hong shook his head. Just because Gao Dazhuang had made meritorious services, he couldn’t bear to kick him out. He didn’t expect it would interfere with the competition.
Chen Jingzong: “Okay, let’s call everyone over first.”
After a cup of tea, nine soldiers came quickly and lined up outside.
Chen Jingzong walked out and saw that although these nine men were not the tallest and strongest soldiers in the guard station, they should be able to take the job after five months of training.
“Why don’t I see Gao Dazhuang?”
As soon as Chen Jingzong finished speaking, a man hurried over.
Chen Jingzong narrowed his eyes slightly.
This person Gao Dazhuang had a height of seven and a half. He was indeed short for the twenty-six guards in the capital, but he was still considered to be of average height among ordinary people.
It was just this Gao Dazhuang was too thin. When the north wind blew and the clothes stick to his back, it showed a thin and weak frame in the middle, and empty space on both sides. It made people worry that if the wind was stronger, it would blow him away!
While everyone sizing him up, Gao Dazhuang was panting and reached the last position of the nine people. He had just been kneading dough, and his hands were all sticky with flour, so he got delayed by washing hands.
In the guard station, all the soldiers knew how important the martial arts competition was. Gao Dazhuang looked at the Commander Prince Consort opposite, and then at the nine soldiers beside him. He lowered his head in shame and said with a red face: “Commander, why don’t I report my illness, and you can ask His Majesty to choose another person.”
Ten people were chosen from each guard station, so there were more than 200 people from the twenty-six guard stations. It was not unusual to encounter someone who was sick. This had happened in previous years.
Chen Jingzong looked at him and said coldly: “I heard from Sir Ma that you were quite a talent when you first entered the guard station. Why, you fell ill and lost your strength and now your backbone is also gone, so you don’t even dare to compete with others?”
At this time, Gao Da Zhuang’s neck was red and his vision was a little blurry.
The pictures of once showing off his power and made meritorious service came to mind. He had to stiffen his neck and raise his chin to trap tears in his eyes.
He didn’t want to get sick, he didn’t want to be just a cook, and he didn’t want to drag the guard station back, but he couldn’t help it when he became like this!
The blood on his face faded, and the howling north wind finally blew away his tears, rolling down his pale and thin face.
Ma Hong turned away and couldn’t bear to look at it anymore.
Gao Dazhuang was only felt bitter for a moment. He quickly wiped his face with his sleeves, then straightened his back, looked directly at Chen Jingzong and said: “Don’t worry, Commander, you dare to let me to take part, andI will fight for a good ranking even if I have to risk my life!”
Chen Jingzong: “No one asks you to risk your life, just do your best. You can choose people for competitions, but on the battlefield, the cooks are also soldiers. When it’s time to kill the enemy, you must kill the enemy. No matter if you made meritorious service or die in battle, you are still the hero who protects the country.”
Gao Dazhuang and the nine people beside him looked awe-inspired and shouted in unison: “Yes!”
When the rest of the voice fell, Chen Jingzong continued: “From now on, the ten of you will live and eat together. Train as usual during this time and Gao Dazhuang will continue to work in the kitchen.”
Ma Hong looked at Chen Jingzong doubtfully: “We won’t give ten of them a special training?”
Chen Jingzong: “What special training can help them improve in three days?”
Ma Hong scratched his head, he still hoped that prince consort would have some good ideas.
Lu Chengliang understood and said with a smile: “Commander has already told us to put in our usual efforts, so in these three days, everyone just needs to be normal.”
The other nine were fine, but Gao Dazhuang tentatively said, “How about I train some special training? Maybe I can get a little stronger.”
Chen Jingzong: “What’s the use of little stronger. If your arms and legs are sore from training, the gain will outweigh the loss. In these three days, instead of wasting your mind on places that are destined to be inferior to others, it’s better to think about how you are better than others.”
The only thing he could do better was his cooking skills, but what was the use of cooking skills in the competition arena?