Reborn After Widowhood – Chapter 91
The red sun was setting in the west, and the soldiers of Daxing Left Guard finished their training for the day and walked towards the dining room one after another.
There were ten people from the guard station who were about to participate in the martial arts competition, among whom Qin Wei was assigned as the captain.
Although the commander asked them to practice normally, Qin Wei deliberately extended the time for half an hour. When he brought the other eight soldiers to the dining room, he saw that almost all the tables inside were occupied, even if there were free seats, not enough for them to sit down together.
The commander had said that the ten of them must eat and live together for these three days.
Qin Wei glanced around, pointed to the table next to him that was about to finish eating, and said, “Just wait here.”
However, as soon as he finished speaking, a man in a dusty apron came out of the kitchen carrying a square wooden table with great difficulty, and shouted to them enthusiastically: “Captain, this way!”
This man was Gao Dazhuang.
While picking up an empty place to put down the square wooden table, he continued to greet loudly: “Come on, I left some food for you, sit down and you can eat right away!”
When he spoke, the entire dining room fell silent, and all the soldiers stared at Gao Dazhuang, Qin Wei and the others.
Qin Wei wanted to frown when he saw Gao Dazhuang’s thin body, but Gao Dazhuang’s eyes were so bright and his smile was so sincere, so he just paused and led the other people over.
Gao Dazhuang smiled and went to the kitchen to serve dinner for ten people.
Qin Wei and the other eight people were only familiar with each other today, and they were even unfamiliar with Gao Dazhuang who had not practiced with them. Coupled with the pressure of the martial arts competition, the ten of them sat together and had nothing to say except eating.
They didn’t say anything, but there were constant whispers around them. Some people didn’t even care about being heard by them and spoke very loudly.
“I thought that with the Prince Consort here, our guard station would be able to take off the last place title this year. Didn’t expect… Didn’t expect…”
“Exactly. Sending anyone else is fine, unexpectedly Gao Dazhuang is chosen.”
“What Gao Da Zhuang (tall and strong), more like Ai Xiao Shou (short and thin), hahaha!”
Gao Dazhuang lowered his head, his face alternatively turned red and white.
The faces of the other nine people were also ashen. Of course, they did not want to participate in the competition with Gao Dazhuang, but this was a foregone conclusion. At this moment, they were even less willing to listen to those people’s sarcastic remarks.
Just when Qin Wei was about to put down his bowl and go over to fight with those people, the chatter behind him suddenly disappeared, and the dining room became silent again.
Gao Dazhuang who sat opposite him looked incredulously at the entrance to the dining room.
Qin Wei turned around and saw the commander coming in and walking towards them.
All the soldiers in the guard station knew that the new commander was a prince consort, and he was married to the emperor’s favorite daughter, Princess Hua Yang. It was said that the princess was unparalleled in beauty, and the commander was very fond of the princess. He would rather spend an hour on the road every evening to rush back to accompany the princess, but why he didn’t go back today?
While everyone was in a daze, Chen Jingzong had arrived at their table.
After a while, the ten people put down their dishes and chopsticks and stood up.
Chen Jingzong looked at Gao Dazhuang and said, “Bring me a pair of bowls and chopsticks.”
Gao Dazhuang looked at the two large pots of vegetables on the table that had been fiddled by them, and stammered: “I, I’ll serve another pot of vegetables again…”
Chen Jingzong: “It’s fine, I’m not that particular.”
After speaking, Chen Jingzong placed the wine jar in his hand on the shabby wooden table.
Gao Dazhuang quickly brought the bowls and chopsticks.
Qin Wei’s ten people did not have a bench. Someone at the table next to them wanted to give up his bench to the commander, but Chen Jingzong refused. He followed Qin Wei and others to sit on the floor.
“I will eat and live with you for these three nights. Don’t be too stiff. Eat and drink as usual.”
Chen Jingzong poured himself a bowl of wine first, and the rest was divided among Qin Wei’s ten people, which would add to the fun without getting anyone drunk.
With Chen Jingzong around, the surrounding soldiers no longer dared to laugh at Gao Dazhuang and the others.
After dinner, night fell completely. Chen Jingzong followed the ten people to the barracks where they would stay for the next three nights.
The communal bed was big enough for fifteen soldiers to sleep together, so Chen Jingzong chose the end near the door.
He was the first to take off his boots, but Qin Wei and others were too embarrassed. The commander was good-looking, and he looked like he was a particular person. He must have taken a shower every day when he returned home, while they…
Chen Jingzong: “I will count to three. If anyone still standing on the ground, go out and run for an hour.”
Qin Wei and the others scrambled to take off their shoes and get on the kang bed, and in the blink of an eye they all got into their quilt obediently.
Chen Jingzong glanced at a row of shoes on the ground, and his elder brother’s words suddenly came to mind: “…open the window.”
He lay down silently.
Qin Wei was the closest to him as he was the captain. Others did not dare to ask, so he tentatively asked: “Commander, are you really not afraid that we will lose?”
Chen Jingzong: “What’s there to be afraid of? We were last in the previous years, and it’s normal to come last this year too. There’s nothing we can’t afford to lose.”
“You really don’t care about your ranking, then why are you so strict?”
“The purpose is to allow you to maintain your fighting power. If there is a war on the border one day, you can be some use on the battlefield instead of running around and being stabbed by the enemy’s knife in vain.”
“That being said, seeing that you came to eat and sleep with us in person, you must still care in your heart.”
Chen Jingzong: “Not being afraid of losing doesn’t mean you don’t want to win. Even if we just go from last to second to last, that’s still progress. Then I won’t smell the smell of feet in this room in vain.”
It was unknown who laughed first, but eventually everyone burst into laughter.
Chen Jingzong: “Okay, let’s get acquainted first. Starting from Qin Wei, everyone should report their name, place of origin, and who is in the family.”
This was simple, and ten people spoke in turn.
Chen Jingzong: “Next, let’s talk about the thing that makes you the happiest since childhood. Listen clearly. It must be the happiest thing. Don’t fool others.”
Qin Wei was silent.
The others urged him, Qin Wei coughed, and said with some embarrassment: “Our family is poor. When I was ten years old, I saw others eating chicken legs and became very greedy, so I went to the mountains to catch some pheasants. I was so hungry that I could hardly walk. The moment I caught a chicken, I was happier than when I gnawed on the chicken legs later.”
“That’s it. What are you embarrassed to say?”
Qin Wei touched his nose.
Gao Dazhuang was lying on the other side. He was the last one to say: “I used to be strong and very good at eating. My brothers and sisters-in-law at home all despised me. Later, when I entered the guard station, I showed them the reward for my first meritorious service, I felt very happy.”
There was a moment of silence in the room.
Chen Jingzong: “Go on and tell me the most difficult thing for you.”
“My father died.”
“The girl I like married someone else.”
“My brother stole family money and spent it, but my grandfather insisted that I stole it.”
Gao Dazhuang was the last one: “I got that disease.”
Silence fell again.
Qin Wei suddenly said: “Since the commander is here to accompany us, then you can also tell us about yourself!”
“Haha, I know that what makes the commander happiest must be marrying the Princess!”
Chen Jingzong laughed and did not deny it.
“What’s the most difficult thing?”
Chen Jingzong did not hide anything: “My second brother died of illness at the age of eighteen. I didn’t even see him for the last time.”
Qin Wei and the others:…
Gao Dazhuang: “How about we talk again and say the most embarrassing thing you have experienced. I will go first. When I was fifteen years old, I liked a girl and mustered up the courage to go find her. But I ate too many sweet potatoes that day, and as soon as I saw her, I started farting, and it was very loud. I ran quite a distance and still heard her laughing.”
“What happened next? Are you together?”
“No, she is good-looking and married into a wealthy family.”
“It’s my turn, my most embarrassing thing…”
After everyone finished speaking, there was a burst of laughter. It was Chen Jingzong’s turn to smile.
Chen Jingzong: “I have never felt embarrassed. As long as I am thick-skinned enough, no one can humiliate me.”
Qin Wei and the others:…
Understood, even if they really lose, they don’t have to worry about the commander losing face!
Three days later.
The competition of the twenty-six guards would be held at the Imperial Martial Arts Arena. In addition to the emperor and civil and military ministers, the concubines and some invited noble ladies could also watch the competition.
Hua Yang moved into the palace one day in advance so that she could arrive with her mother instead of having to get up early and wait in line outside the imperial city gate.
She brought Wan Yi with her.
Hua Yang didn’t take anyone with her in the previous life, but now she was closer to the children of the Chen family compare to before. Sanlang was so bold that he came to Siyi Hall and asked her expectantly if she could take him into the palace.
Hua Yang knew that once she agreed, Erlang might also come. Although Dalang and Wan Yi wouldn’t say anything, they must be envious and longing in their hearts.
At such a grand event, the ministers would not bring children. If Hua Yang favored Sanlang and others and took care of four children at once, some people would inevitably talk about the Chen family taking too much advantage of her as a princess, and her father-in-law would not be happy to get this limelight.
Therefore, Hua Yang only brought Wan Yi with her. The ten-year-old girl was already lovable, and it was not irritating to accompany her. After Wan Yi returned home, she could personally tell her brothers what happened on the martial arts field.
“Fourth Aunt, I’m so nervous.”
After having breakfast at Qifeng Palace, and on the way to Fengyi Palace, Wan Yi held her fourth aunt princess’s hand and whispered.
Hua Yang smiled and asked, “Didn’t you meet Niangniang yesterday?”
Wan Yi shook her head, raised her head and said, “I’m not afraid of Niangniang, I’m worried about my Fourth Uncle and the others.”
She was afraid that her fourth uncle would feel uncomfortable if he lost.
Hua Yang gently touched her head: “Don’t worry, your Fourth Uncle is not even afraid of your grandfather, how could he be afraid of a competition?”
Wan Yi laughed.
Not long after Hua Yang arrived, Concubine Lin and other concubines, Princess Anle, and Princess Nan Kang also arrived.
Princess Nan Kang gave birth in Mid-Autumn Festival, and at this time her body had already recovered. She looked plump and rosy, with an expression full of anticipation for today’s competition.
Seeing Wan Yi, Princess Nan Kang held her three-year-old daughter in hand and joked with a smile: “Sister really likes children.”
She felt that Hua Yang had to get close to her husband’s niece to relieve her loneliness because she couldn’t give birth.
Hua Yang just smiled and ignored her.
Wan Yi quickly looked at Princess Nan Kang, then quietly leaned to their family’s princess and said: “It turns out that not all princesses are as beautiful as you.”
The little girl’s mouth seemed to have been smeared with honey. How could Hua Yang not like it?
Not long after, the palace servant outside came to report that the emperor, the crown prince and the ministers had gone to the martial arts field.
Empress Qi also led everyone to set off.
The weather was sunny today, and the sky was blue. Although the wind was not strong, when blowing in the face it still made people feel cold, exhaling a cloud of white mist.
On the high platform, Emperor Jingshun’s dragon chair was placed in the middle. On the left were the seats of Empress Qi and other womenfolk, and on the right were the civil and military ministers.
After Hua Yang took her seat, she looked towards the martial arts arena in front of her.
There were ten soldiers from each twenty-six guard, divided into three rows, and they were arranged neatly in the middle of the martial arts field. Looking around, every soldier was tall and straight, with a heroic posture.
The soldiers have patches on their chests and backs, with the name of the guard station written on them, such as “Jin” for Jinyiwei and “Jinqian” for Jinwu Vanguard.
Wan Yi was next to the princess. At this time, she finally found her fourth uncle’s Daxing Left Guard in the third row at the far west.
“Ah, why is that person so thin?”
Wan Yi said in surprise.
At the same time, Emperor Jingshun also noticed an unusually thin soldier in his son-in-law’s ten-man squad. He frowned and said something to Eunuch Ma, who was bending down to serve beside him.
Eunuch Ma then ordered the little eunuch, who ran all the way down to the commanders who were standing at the front of the three rows of soldiers, and then asked Chen Jingzong to go to the stage to face the emperor.
Chen Jingzong followed the little eunuch to the stage.
Emperor Jingshun: “What’s going on with that thin soldier in your guard station?”
Chen Jingzong lowered his eyes and said respectfully: “Back to Your Majesty, the soldier’s name is Gao Dazhuang. He was once a strong man and made two military exploits. Later, he became weak due to illness. This minister thought that he had made great achievements before, although he was transferred to the kitchen later, but still let him bear the title of a soldier and receive military salary to show that the court will not forget the meritorious people and encourage other soldiers to be brave and push-forward.”
Chen Tingjian was very close to Emperor Jingshun, with only the crown prince between them. He frowned when he heard this.
Emperor Jingshun’s face was calm, but his heart was complicated.
He chose “Gao Dazhuang” because he hoped to secretly help his son-in-law choose a good soldier. Who would have thought that “Gao Dazhuang” would look like this?
He also knew that his son-in-law had only been in the guard station for less than half a year, and the matter of Gao Dazhuang was probably arranged by other officers.
“Since he’s sickly, why don’t you report it to Zhen? If Zhen know in advance, Zhen can help you choose another one.” Anticipating that his son-in-law would be ranked last again, Emperor Jingshun first laid a step for his son-in-law in front of everyone.
Chen Jingzong: “Thank you for your kindness, Your Majesty, but this minister feel that when the two armies are fighting on the battlefield, this minister cannot guarantee that every soldier will be free from illness and disaster. The same is true for the martial arts competition. One or two people who are sick may better reflect the true combat power of the guard station, therefore this minister still keeping Gao Dazhuang.”
Emperor Jingshun laughed: “You can still be open-minded. That’s all, go down.”
Chen Jingzong retreated.
The crown prince’s gaze followed his brother-in-law’s retreating figure, and then looked at Gao Dazhuang, feeling a bit of anticipation in his heart.