Living Leisurely in Tang Dynasty Chapter 9

Wei Shu followed Li Yuanying dubiously.

Yuanying instructed Dai Ting to bring a gunny sack and they went together to look for Zhangsun Wuji.

Zhangsun Wuji was busy arranging court affairs. Seeing Li Yuanying, he asked strangely: “Your Royal Highness why aren’t you going to the lecture hall? Why did you come to me?”

Although Wei Shu was Wei Zheng’s granddaughter she hasn’t have many chances to meet Zhangsun Wuji. Nonetheless, she was an intelligent child and when she saw his purple outfit with a golden belt she instantly knew that he was of high status. She quietly waited outside not daring to make big movements or sounds.

Li Yuanying on the other hand doesn’t have to feel any nervousness. 

Zhangsun Wuji is Sizi’s uncle and had a close and trusting relationship with late Empress Zhangsun. He is currently also a trusted aide of His Majesty, making him not only a close relative to the royal family but also one of the three highest-ranking officials. In Li Yuanying’s view, since he’s part of the Royal family that makes them relatives.

“I see that there are many discarded documents in each department. After they are used to convey messages these documents are then rendered useless. I want these waste papers. Can you write an official decree so that I can go around collecting them?”

Zhangsun Wuji has always been kind to others. Seeing that Yuanying’s request was a simple one he obliged and gave him permission in writing.  

After getting the needed permission the boy happily meet Wei Shu and they ran towards various government offices to ask for unused documents.

Seeing that the decree was given by a top official no one would dare neglect his instructions. Li Yuanying stuffed the sack full with paper by just going to a few departments filling it to the brim and was very heavy, so the task of carrying it was handed over to others.

“How’s that? With so much paper it’ll last you for a long time! Isn’t my method great?”

Wei Shu believed that only Li Yuanying can carry out such a task. With Zhangsun Wuji being among the top three highest-ranking officials around [1]Sikong: one of the Three Ducal Ministers who else would dare to ask for his favor so easily?

Since Li Yuanying helped her get so much paper, she was naturally very grateful.

“Your Royal Highness really has a way to get things!”

Li Yuanying not only succeeded in getting to know a new friend but also helped her out. Being contented, he happily swaggered back home with Wei Shu. Seeing Pei, Yuanying greeted her sweetly before asking for permission to carry the sack into Wei Zheng’s study.

Pei stared disapprovingly at her granddaughter. Being more carefree in front of her grandmother Wei Shu gave a mischievous expression in return.

The young prince gave an explanation to Pei on Wei Shu’s behalf: “These papers are all recycled and no longer useful. They can be used to practice calligraphy by young sister Shu.”

Hearing this, Pei thought that this boy is different from her husband’s description.

Li Yuanying has often been compared to a loose cannon and does whatever he wants. But when it comes to girls he is especially caring so he unconsciously also took good care of Wei Shu.

What a caring child! When my son or grandson was at his age, they never took care of their sisters? It would have been a blessing if they did not bully her instead!

It’s obvious that Wei Zheng loves his granddaughter as there were many books and writing equipment for her use in the study. Wei Zheng being a prominent minister was really not that poor, all necessities for his granddaughter were provided in full. It is actually Wei Shu’s obsession with calligraphy that caused materials to run out making her resort to writing on the ground for practice. 

Being in Wei Zheng’s study, Li Yuanying wanted to complete his task.

“I heard that your grandfather has good relations with Chu Suiliang. There must be many manuscripts penned by him here right?”

Wei Shu who was busy sorting out paper from the sack got up and took down several volumes of manuscripts from the bookshelf.

“This is a manuscript from Ouyang.”

“You sort out the paper first before your grandfather comes home and scolds you for the mess! I’ll just look around myself. There’s nothing here that is restricted right?”

Wei Shu often browse books in the study as she wished and was never stopped by Wei Zheng so she permitted him to do so without much consideration.

Li Yuanying pretended to read the manuscript of Ouyang while in actuality he was relying on instructions from the Myriad Realm Library to locate the article from his mission which was kept somewhere on the shelf.

He happily turned on the scanning function to record the article’s existence in the library.

Halfway scanning, the curtain to the study was opened from the outside.

It was Pei who was carrying two bowls of red bean soup.

“Your Royal Highness the weather is hot; why don’t you drink some red bean soup? Although it’s nothing fancy it can help relieve the heat.”

Li Yuanying who was caught in the act of fumbling with someone else’s things did not panic. He instead read the article leisurely before putting it back to its original position and thanked Pei for her offer.

Pei’s good impression of the boy increased.

Li Yuanying having achieved his goal was in a good mood.  He obediently sat down with Wei Shu and ate dessert.

Pei was talented in cooking. The red bean soup she made was well cooked; the beans were soft and the soup was soaked in cold water beforehand. The dessert was served cold and made the summer heat slightly more bearable.  

Upon tasting it, he felt a slight hint of sweetness spreading in his mouth, it was delicious.

“It’s so delicious!”

 Pei likes this child even more now.

While Li Yuanying was having his dessert with Wei Shu he was thinking about the sunflower seeds that he would get from completing his mission.

“I’ll be planting some very unusual flowers tomorrow with Sizi and the others. Do you want to join us?”

To illustrate to Wei Shu how unique this flower is, Li Yuanying pulled a piece of paper and started drawing.

“Look, if it grows well the sunflower’s disc can be as big as our head. On this disc sits many seeds that are arranged compactly together. It’s edible and is super delicious when roasted!”

Yuanying went on to describe the appearance of sunflowers – They bloom on tall branches with large leafy green leaves and flowers even bigger than the leaves. What’s even more unique is that this flower chases after the sun. When the sun goes from east to west, the bud also turns in the same direction ensuring that it will always bloom following the sun!

Wei Shu has never heard of such a flower and was curious so she readily accepted the invitation.  

Yuanying being overjoyed said his goodbyes and return home intending to receive his reward while making plans for tomorrow.

Seeing that the young prince didn’t turn up to ask him questions and also managed to skip classes, Wei Zheng was disappointed but that’s within expectation. You can’t expect a kid to change suddenly. Upon returning to his residence, he found out that Yuanying had been with Wei Shu the whole time.

“His Royal Highness praised the red bean soup I made.”

“Why did he start hanging out with Shu’er [2]Refers here to Wei Shu. ‘Er is sometimes added behind a person’s name to connote fondness usually used in close relationships?”

“Probably by chance. Shu’er is always running around outside, it’s not surprising.”

Pei also told Wei Zheng all about how the young boy helped Wei Shu get recycled paper for calligraphy practice. Instinct is telling Wei Zhen that this was no simple coincidence but was pre-planned by Li Yuanying. But what intentions does he has?

“Let me go check it out.” He walked into the study to see what his granddaughter was doing.

Wei Shu got so much paper so she was engrossed in her calligraphy practice. So long she could practice she didn’t feel the stuffiness in the study.

Seeing how focus Wei Shu was the grandfather couldn’t help but feel pity that she was born a girl. If only she was a boy she could have grown up becoming someone and leaving a mark with her accomplishments.  

Regrettably, this world is harsh on women. Even if a woman was talented she would still only be regarded as a good wife. They are never able to get the same recognition or opportunity to show their worth like men. After all, not many men were willing to lose face and acknowledge that his wife was better than him.

Wei Zheng’s heart softened. Instead of scolding her he instead carefully looked at her writings and pointed out areas for improvement. Taking the feedback Wei Shu immediately rewrote them with great improvements.

Seeing that Wei Zheng had a soft look on his face, she took the opportunity to ask for permission to join the other children tomorrow.

Frowning involuntarily, Wei Zheng is opposed to it but seeing his granddaughter’s pitiful expression full of hope, he didn’t have to heart to say NO.    

“Okay go.”

Princess Jinyang and the others will also be there so it should be safe. Wei Zheng suddenly became curious about the sunflower his granddaughter described and asked her to show him Li Yuanying’s drawing.

Wei Zheng has been alive for almost sixty years and he has never seen such a flower. He stroked his beard and said, “It’s quite unusual, go and take a look.”

Although Wei Shu behaves much more maturely than her peers she was still a child and was always curious.

“It’s said that if you plant this flower now, it will bloom in July and August. Will we still be here until then?

“I will stay here for half a year this time. We’ll be here in July and August.”

Wei Shu felt excited that she could see the sunflowers blooming. Seeing the rare sight of his granddaughter showing joy and happiness like other children, he felt he made the right decision in allowing her to join the children for playtime.

His granddaughter has always been smarter than others and didn’t like playing childish games with other children. But a child of six or seven shouldn’t always be reading books.

Before falling asleep, Wei Zheng and Pei talked about letting Wei Shu go out for playtime tomorrow.

Pei felt reassured. It’s a strange feeling but she felt that Yuanying was a good reliable child even though she’s only met him twice.

“If Shu’er wants to go, let her go.”

Wei Shu on the other side was sleeping soundly.

In her dreams, there were big sunflowers blooming towards the sun, golden and beautiful.

    

References

References
1 Sikong: one of the Three Ducal Ministers
2 Refers here to Wei Shu. ‘Er is sometimes added behind a person’s name to connote fondness usually used in close relationships

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