Living leisurely in Tang Dynasty
Living Leisurely in Tang Dynasty Chapter 57

Hearing the Emperor’s question, Lady Wu instantly knelt to the ground and paid him great respect. She managed to keep a calm composure even though a thin layer of cold sweat had formed on her back.

With suitable vibrato in her voice, she calmly said: “As a woman, I obey my father before marriage and after marriage I obey my husband. If your Majesty has instructions, I dare not disobey.”

Li Er got up and walked away. His sleeves swept past <<Liezi>> and the book fell to the ground.  

It fell at a place where Lady Wu could see it.

She didn’t dare to get up immediately but instead waited until there was no movement in the surroundings. She then sat on the ground weakly for a long time before she managed to pick up the fallen book in front of her.

She looked down at the scroll in her hands.

When the Emperor asked that bizarre question just now, Lady Wu would be lying if she weren’t  a little tempted. She’s currently only 16 and had entered the palace harem at the young age of 13. When she was still living at home, her father didn’t care much about her. It was already a rare blessing for her to be able to read and write. She shouldn’t be hoping for anything more.

At that time, she was not willing to resign to her fate. Not willing to accept that despite her being as brilliant  as her half-brother, she was being treated as inferior and couldn’t do the things that she wanted.

After she was sent into the deep palace, she did try imagining the kind of person the Emperor was. She also thought about how she could work hard to win his favor, so that her two half-brothers will have no choice but to rely on her. However, it a pity because Li Er was not a person who lust over beautiful women. She was given the title “Lady of Talents” only because her father had done useful deeds for the country in the past.

Only those who lived deep in the palace harem would understand how lonely the days are.

Li Yuanying’s existence is incompatible with the world around him. He is like a fish that has broken into deep waters and lives freely and vividly. He can do whatever he want, and say whatever he want to. Even if it’s directed towards the Emperor, he still freely cause trouble and criticize him whenever he wants.

But after calming down a little, she realized that Li Er’s statement was a trap that shouldn’t be answered.  The Emperor obviously came over after hearing rumors. If she had responded with joy, her fate would definitely not be the one he promised her.

Lady Wu  clenched <<Liezi>> tightly in her hands.

Thinking carefully, Li Yuanying is not a good choice. His mom is only a lowly 7th rank Lady of Treasure. This is even lower than hers (Lady of Talent  = 6th rank). Li Yuanying’s only winning card was his favor from the Emperor.

And whether this favor genuine is still difficult to determine.

After all, Li Er had slayed his brothers in the early years. It’s not that far-fetched to think that he is using Li Yuanying as a tool to show his brotherly love and benevolence.

In the end, all life and death are in the hands of the Emperor. If he wants you to be rich, you will have a glorious life. If he doesn’t want to, you wouldn’t even be able to see his face and will be trapped behind these high walls for the rest of your life.

No freedom.

And extremely hard to obtain freedom.

Lady Wu sat in the same position and did not move for a long time.

The candle lit quietly, causing the scroll in her hands to cast a faint shadow on the ground.


 On the other side, Li Er left and went straight to Li Yuanying’s residence.

The servants all glanced at each other and hurriedly followed behind him not daring to say anything.

Li Yuanying was reading with the lights on. The book <<Liezi>> is exactly like what Lady Wu said it would be. There were many topics that he didn’t think much of but still had some interesting stories. For example the story about “the suspicious axe thief” is similar to “the suspicious neighbors” that he had read much earlier. This story is about a man who left his axe at his work place and could not find it when he went home. The more he looked at his neighbors, the more he is suspicious of them for stealing his axe. The next day when he found his axe at work, he thinks that his neighbors no longer looked like thieves!

Li Yuanying was reading with relish and Lady Liu brought him mung bean soup. It was a hot day and this soup will help him read in peace.

Yuanying took it and had a few sips before asking mummy if she has drank some.

“Of course I have.”  (Lady Liu)

Seeing her son reading, she decided to leave him alone. She reminded him to put on more clothes if the weather becomes cold.

Li Yuanying responded without the slightest hint of impatience.

Just as Lady Liu was about to leave, she saw the Emperor at the door of Li Yuanying’s small study room.  

She hurriedly bowed to him.

Li Er excused her. The Emperor then lifted up his robe and sat down opposite Li Yuanying.

Although Lady Liu was worried that Li Yuanying and the Emperor would fight, she didn’t dare to disobey the king’s order. She left for her own room and asked the servants to monitor the situation and alert her of every small movements.

Li Yuanying didn’t know why Li Er is here, but he still remembers his grievances on the Sunflower Garden. He put down his bowl of mung bean soup and turned his back to ignore Li Er.

Seeing that his brother is showing him the back of his head, Li Er didn’t know whether he should be angry or to laugh. Lately Sizi and the other children have also became more lawless when he confronts them. It’s obvious who they learned their tricks from.  

Li Er stretched out his hand and grabbed Li Yuanying’s back collar to make him turn around obediently.

Li Yuanying couldn’t breath and grew even more angry. He turned around  and angrily pushed away Li Er’s hands.

“I will not talk to you again! I will not look for you anymore, you are not allowed to come to me!” (Li Yuanying)

“Didn’t realize this earlier but seems like you have quite a feisty temper.” (Li Er)

Li Yuanying ignored him.

Li Er picked up the first volume of <<Liezi>> and said: “Someone stopped me just now. They accused you of often visiting Lady Wu?”

When he heard this, he put aside his annoyance and looked at His Majesty strangely not understanding the statement.

He hummed: “What’s so strange about this? Someone stopped you and told you this?”

“Do you like her very much?” (Li Er)

Li Yuanying was initially planning to ignore Li Er, but seeing that his expression was not the same as usual, he replied: “Of course I like her, she is amazing! I asked her back in Jiucheng Palace ‘Why is it that when both Old man Wei and Old man Kong gave me items for studying, I felt that Wei was encouraging me while Kong was laughing at me?’. She quickly found me <<Hanzi>> which helped me understand the reason through the story about the suspicious neighbour!”

Li Er listened patiently without saying a word.

Since this conversation had started, Li Yuanying’s mouth couldn’t be shut anymore.

“Speaking of which, I told her today that Changle’s is a talented person in both literature and maths. It’s such a boring life for her to just be at home serving her in-laws. Lord Brother, since we are talking about this now, I feel that Lady Wu being in the palace all day is a waste of her talents. There are so many women in the harem and you are always busy. You don’t have time for all of them! After some time, I’m afraid you won’t even remember what they look like. By me, you should let some of these girls leave the harem so that they are not forced into a lifetime of solitude! I heard that in the past, sister-in-law allowed 3,000 palace maids to leave the palace!” (Li Yuanying)

His Majesty said calmly: “You seriously dare to comment on everything. Now you even have opinions about the Royal harem.”

Li Yuanying kept his silence. He intends to continue to ignore the Emperor.

“Since you have given your opinions, looks like I have to listen to you.” Li Er looked at his younger brother.  “How about I give you Lady Wu?”

Li Yuanying was stunned and raised his head to look at Li Er.

The Emperor’s eyes were serene. Can’t tell if he’s happy or angry.

Yuanying asked inexplicably: “What do you want to give her to me?”

He doesn’t lack people serving him and he’s not old enough to get married. Besides, it make no sense for the younger brother to marry his older brother’s concubine!

“Up to you to decide what to do with her. She will have to listen to you. How about that? Just take it as I’m exchanging her for your corn and peanuts.” (Li Er)

Remembering how awesome Lady Wu was, Yuanying was a little tempted but quickly hesitated after thinking deeper.

“Then Lord Brother it will be a great loss to you. She’s amazing! But she might not want to come over to my side. If she’s unhappy about it and is reluctant, it’s better for her not to come over.” (Li Yuanying)

“If I instruct her to do it, she has to. Who cares if she’s happy about it? Since you are asking me to let go of many from the harem, did you ask them if they are willing to leave?”  (Li Er)

Regardless of whether you are born into a rich family or an ordinary family, no one is able to predict if their marriage will end well. Maybe the life outside the palace is far worst than staying put!

Initially, Empress Zhangsun had to let go of 3,000 palace maids because the Empire was just established. This decision was made to reduce expenditure of the royal household. Secondly, there was an urgent need among the common people to marry. They needed to encourage the people to populate the country to ensure successful continuity of the Empire.

Li Yuanying has never thought about these points.

Thinking back about the group of refugees he met at the foot of Li Mountain, Li Yuanying calmed down.

“How is it? Have you made up your mind?” (Li Er)

 “Can I let you know tomorrow?” (Li Yuanying)

His Majesty gave him a deep look and nodded: “Okay, as you like. If you don’t talk about it tomorrow, your corn and peanuts will be given to me for free.”

Li Yuanying got angry as soon as he heard about corn and peanuts. He got up angrily and pushed Li Er out his door rudely,

“You should leave. I’m going to sleep!” (Li Yuanying)

His Majesty laughed loudly and showed no signs of being offended. He strode out of Li Yuanying’s small study in big steps and left.

At once, Lady Liu came over and asked why is the Emperor here.

Li Yuanying didn’t say much. He just mention that brother is here to coax him and would give him compensation. Now he will talk to Li Er but with reluctance and he hasn’t figured out what he wants as compensation!

In Lady Liu’s opinion, no matter how delicious the corn and peanuts are, they are nothing compared to the favor of the Emperor. It is only when the Emperor favors you that you can have a good life and bright future. Lady Liu was conflicted. On one end she was afraid that her son would offend the Emperor but on the other end she is afraid that her son would lose favor too if he is too well behave like everyone else.

Li Yuanying hummed twice without an opinion. He  only persuaded mother to go to bed.

Early the next morning, Li Yuanying went straight to look for Lady Wu.

She didn’t sleep well last night and looked slightly haggard.

Seeing Li Yuanying running over in a careless manner, Lady Wu’s heart skipped a beat and couldn’t help thinking about the incident with the Emperor yesterday.

When Yuanying saw her, she didn’t look like her usual calm self and so asked with great concern: “What’s wrong? Are you sick? Should we call a doctor to take a look?”

Seeing Li Yuanying behaving like normal, she laughed and replied: “It’s okay, I just didn’t sleep well last night.”

She doesn’t look sick so Yuanying nodded and pulled Lady Wu to sit down and talk.

Lady Wu didn’t want to have too much interaction with Yuanying but she couldn’t bear to give him the cold shoulder.

“Have you finished reading Liezi?” (Lady Wu)

“Not yet. It’s all  the Emperor’s fault. He suddenly came to my place last night killing my mood to read!” (Li Yuanying)

Lady Wu’s heart pounded like crazy.

Li Yuanying is not someone who can hold back his tongue and have even less self-awareness of whether others are interested in his topic. He quickly told her all about what had transpired yesterday. When he brought up the topic of the whistle-blower, he still thought that it was strange and whispered to Lady Wu in puzzlement: “I asked you to help me find books. Why should I tell that to the Emperor?”

Hearing this, the tight strings on Lady Wu’s heart suddenly loosened.

Seems like messy things from the outside will never affect Li Yuanying’s heart.

She laughed: “Yes, no reason to tell him.”

Li Yuanying was happy that he had found a true friend. He continued his story and when he saw that Lady Wu was stunned, he quickly pulled on her sleeves and said, “I didn’t agree to it right away. Although no matter how you look at it, it’s my gain but I will still ask for your agreement before answering to the Emperor. I also told Lord Brother that if you are unhappy about it, then there’s no point. “

Lady Wu stared at Li Yuanying.

The boy’s eyes were bright and compelling. Like a star in the sky.

Li Yuanying also did not avoid her gaze. He did not promise Lady Wu anything nor did he boast  about leading her to achieve great things. He only ask for her will in all seriousness: “Are you willing to come to my side? If you are willing, I will inform the Emperor. If not, I won’t say a word again.”

Notes from the author:

Little Prince: Although I don’t know what she will do in the future, I still think she will be very powerful! (Work harder to recruit her!)

Regarding whether Empress Wu becomes the future ruler or not, this is not real history. The story here will not affect the real history of this female ruler. And according to the real historical line, Lady Wu becomes Emperor after outliving the current and the next Emperor. That is about 50 years in the future. Therefore, it is definitely impossible to write about it. (hey), let’s just have a good time and enjoy now! You must understand that in the world view of the little prince, being an emperor is a suffering chore!

1 comment
  1. leeknowiscute has spoken 10 months ago

    the people that snitched probably didn’t expect this development ,


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