Living Leisurely in Tang Dynasty Chapter 29

As dusk approached, the army was still heading west.

There were more than 100 people behind the army and their faces show signs of fatigue. They’ve entered a small desert and if they don’t follow those who know the way closely, they will be lost in the rough sand forever.

Dai Ting is the leader of this group.

The group comprises of brave and strong men who had been on the battlefield before. At first, they were a little contemptuous of Dai Ting and all they had were a head full of ideas about the bright future Li Yuanying had promised them: gold, property, family!

Therefore, they only listen to Dai Ting’s orders superficially as he’s Li Yuanying’s trusted vassal. But along the way, everyone started to admire this seemingly slender young man. Although he was young and a eunuch, he never showed signs of being tired. On this journey, one of the men who had been provoking him fell ill. Dai Ting was neither impatient nor did he abandoned him. He instead asked for medicine to cure the man’s illness before rushing to catch up with Hou Junji’s army.

Currently, that beefy man who is standing next to Dai Ting was the one who was seriously ill. If anyone dares to defy Dai Ting’s order he would pick a fight with them on his behalf.  Dai Ting’s attitude has not changed much, he still dons his mask and only speaks when he needs to arrange or divide work.  

After walking for more than two months, no one from the group has gone missing. Instead, it was the army that had people who dropped off and went missing. But then again not everyone is cut out and can adapt to such an arduous long-distance journey.

At nightfall, the group set camps on the spot. Hou Junji and Xue Wanjun sat opposite each other and drank. Referring to the group of people following behind, Hou Junji asked curiously, “I thought they would have retreated due to the difficult journey, I wasn’t expecting them to be able to follow for so long. Looks like they really might follow us all the way to Gaochang.”

 “It’s just a hundred of them so it’s okay if they follow us. This means that they have faith in us, right? Otherwise, with war being extremely dangerous, who would want to take the risk?” (Xue Wanjun)

“That’s right, let them do as they wish.” (Hou Junji)

If it was just Li Yuanying’s vassals Hou Junji wouldn’t be bothered about them. But this group also comprises of people sent by the Emperor’s sons and daughters. So he still had to give some respect to the Emperor and had to share brief updates about the group with him.

However, they were not too concerned.

Xue Wanjun is right, what can a mere hundred people do?

 ……

Li Yuanying fell asleep. He had no interest in state affairs. After listening for a while, he fell into a deep sleep and even had the audacity to use the Emperor’s legs as a pillow. When it was time to go back, he didn’t want to wake up so Li Er had to carry him and threw him into the carriage.

Li Yuanying happily slept when he was tired from playing. Li Chengqian had a much more awful night. After returning home, he was severely lectured again. His Majesty and Kong Yingda took turns scolding him to the bone, saying that he was not doing his job properly and that he wasn’t working hard but is instead of wasting money building a place to roast food. It’s better if he were to just read more books!

When Yuanying heard about the tragic experience of his eldest nephew from Li Zhi, he felt that they’ve gone too far. Everyone had a share in eating, how can they wipe their mouths and bring up old faults!  

Li Yuanying slid back to his residence, prepared ink, and started drawing.  His painting was titled <<The Emperor and Ministers Sitting and Eating Lamb Leg>>. He sneakily went into the Emperor’s meeting hall and posted the drawing in a conspicuous place while the guards were not paying attention.

 Ministers who were summoned to the council hall that day would pause before entering and stare blankly at the painting posted outside. What, what is this? Although the painting is not very realistic, anyone who has seen it can instantly recognize the Emperor in the center! The other ones eating with him are obviously Kong Yingda, Fang Xuanling, and Zhangsun Wuji!

When did they eat roasted lamb together and were even being painted?!

This question hovered in everyone’s heart, but no one dared to ask the subjects in the painting directly. After all, these are high-ranking people -the Emperor and his high-ranking official. How can they ask such gossip casually?

Finally, it was the guards who were changing shifts that notice this strange painting!

They hurriedly tore off the painting and reported the matter to His Majesty Li Er.

Fang Xuanling and the others arrived at the council hall early morning and did not go out again, so they had no chance to see the painting. Fang Xuanling’s face turned green when he took over the painting from the guards and hurriedly presented it to Li Er!

Li Er only needs one look to know whose masterpiece it is. His face darkened and he asked that  Li Yuanying be arrested in a rage.

No wonder the ministers had weird expressions when they came in today. It was Li Yuanying’s wonderful deeds again!

Li Yuanying and the girls were looking forward to their plan of starting a sunflower garden. This garden was originally to plant only sunflowers but now that they have corn and peanuts too, Li Yuanying told Dong Xiaoyi to plant them together. To be safe, he requested Dong Xiaoyi to plant them on two plots of land to prevent losing everything in case of a disease outbreak.

Seeing that the Emperor had sent someone over, Yuanying knew that something has happen. He remained calm and left the planting guides to the other children. He then obediently followed the imperial guard to the meeting hall to meet Li Er.

His Majesty became even more furious when he saw Yuanying’s well-behaved appearance. He threw the “Masterpiece” at him and asked, “What is this?!”

Yuanying calmly went to His Majesty’s side and straighten the “masterpiece” that was crumpled by His Majesty and explained sincerely: “I had so much fun yesterday that I woke up thinking about eating another roast lamb so I just drew it! After I was done, I remembered that you were kind to me and so I dedicated this painting to you! However, you were busy with business and I thought I shouldn’t bother you so I just  posted it outside thinking that you’ll be able to see it when you’re done!”

Yuanying added triumphantly, “Look, my plan worked! You saw my painting!”

Li Er looked at the four subjects in the painting that was portrayed eating lamb leg with no etiquette.  His face twitched twice and he sneered: “Just try uttering more nonsense.”

Li Yuanying immediately shut up.

“Tell me, why are you painting this for?”

“Yesterday, yourself, Old man Kong and the others ate together with us, so why are you scolding Chengqian?” Li Yuanying sat down next to His Majesty to raise objections for his nephew’s injustice openly. “Don’t do to others what you dislike! You must also hate being scolded, how can you scold Chengqian at every opportunity?!”

 “Chengqian is the Crown prince, he needs to pay more attention to his words and actions!”

“But isn’t there you the Emperor on top of the Crown prince?”

Yuanying boldly raised his head and looked straight at Li Er: “Look at yourself, you are in your prime. You don’t even have white hair and so you have a long life ahead still. Why not let Chengqian enjoy and have enough fun first! Otherwise, he’ll be exhausted since he’s been work even as a child, how tragic!”

Meeting Li Yuanying’s dark eyes, the Emperor was silent. Although he’s only in his forties, the world is impermanent. Who can guarantee how many years he will live? The Empress was only in her early thirties but she still passed and left her young children behind.

Li Er spoke to Yuanying in a rare solemn, serious tone: “Our Tang Empire managed to conquer our world in an instant but we cannot govern the country properly right away. I’m not asking that Chengqian bury his head under books every second but he cannot be indulging in hunting all day long. This is not only neglecting his studies but also is a disappointment to citizens’ expectations of having a better world. Since Chengqian is the Crown prince, he has to shoulder the responsibility of that position.”

He continued in a deep voice, “You only see that I have no gray hair on the surface but you don’t know of the countless hidden injuries I have sustained spending half my life on the battlefield. Don’t mention decades, I’m afraid it will not be that many years before I follow in my father and your royal sister-in-law’s footsteps. If Chengqian continues being so irresponsible, how can I be at peace?”

 Li Yuanying was left speechless.

He thought of the death of his father and sister-in-law.

Both fell ill and never woke up in the end.

“Can’t it be cured?”

“It has long become a chronic illness and can no longer be cured.” This is also the reason why he often goes away to escape the summer heat. This Daxing Palace that was left behind by the Sui Empire is humid and hot in summer making him ill.

Yuanying grabbed the hand of his brother and said stubbornly: “Lord Brother will live and healthy life to 100 years old!” He gave Li Er an example, “Look at old scholar Xiao, he’s 83 but still energetic! You will live to be a hundred years old!”

“If you create less ruckus, maybe I will live a longer life.”

Yuanying felt uneasy after that conversation so he was unable to sleep and was left thinking deep into the night. He toss and turn and finally decided to get up, put on his clothes, and ran all the way to the East Palace.

It was rainy in Spring. When night falls, it starts to drizzle making the whole palace wet and foggy.

When the servants of East Palace saw Li Yuanying they hurriedly led him inside. It’s obvious that Li Chengqian was being punished for it was still bright in his study. Hearing that the Prince of Teng was here, he was stunned but quickly asked that the boy be brought in.

It was a chilly night in February. Chengqian saw that Yuanying was wearing thin clothes soaked from the rain and so he instructed that hot soup be served. After that, Chengqian asked why was he here so late.

 “I can’t sleep.”

That’s strange for Li Yuanying.  He’s never heard of the boy having trouble falling asleep. Like yesterday, he fell asleep directly on his brother’s lap and didn’t even stir when they throw him into the carriage.  How could a guy who sleeps so well be unable to sleep?

“Why can’t you fall asleep?”

Yuanying shared his conversation with the Emperor. No one would joke about life and death, especially the ruler of a country. That’s why Yuanying was sad and scared.

“Is there no one in the Imperial medical team that can cure the injury of the Emperor? Such a big hospital, so many doctors, and not one powerful enough?”

Although his brother was fierce, he still didn’t want him to leave them.

Li Chengqian was stunned. He then thought of his mother.

A sudden illness stole away his mother within half a year. He’s seek help from famous doctors, prayed to God, and even asked His Majesty to grant amnesty but in the end, it was to no avail. At that time he thought, what’s the use of father being the Emperor and me being the Crown prince? We can’t keep our mother with us!

 Now, Yuanying is saying that even father has chronic illness.

The scenes after Empress Zhangsun fell ill reappeared in Chengqian’s mind.

Father has never told him directly. He only kept making demands and let Kong Yingda and the others constantly influence him. He never thought of the possibility before that his father in his prime might leave them at any time. Chengqian was silent for a long time before he bluntly comforted Yuanying: “No, the father is healthy, the old injury is not that serious.”

Yuanying was still worried: “I heard from Li Chunfeng that there’s a powerful doctor named Sun Simiao, who is unwilling to become an imperial doctor even on the Emperor’s insistence!  Do you think you can find a way to invite him back?”

Li Chunfeng and Sun Simiao are both Taoist priests, but they have different goals and focus. One is engaged in fortune-telling and product development while the other is engaged in medical research. Li Yuanying went to chat with Li Chunfeng in his spare time and heard many legendary stories from him with Sun Simiao being one of them. It’s just that Yuanying had no use for famous doctors at that time and so didn’t care.

Chengqian also thought that it was a solution. He nodded and agreed to Yuanying’s request.

 “Okay, I’ll send someone to look for him.  If he doesn’t want to come, I’ll invite him in person!”

Yuanying listened in agreement and went back to sleep happily after drinking the hot soup prepared for him.

Since now he has ask Chengqian to look for the genius doctor, Yuanying had no more worries and slept soundly.

It was Li Chengqian who lay down until dawn with his eyes open.

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