Living Leisurely in Tang Dynasty Chapter 16

After leaving Taichang Temple, Dai Ting who has been silently following at the side finally spoke up.

 “Your Highness, we didn’t bring so much money to Jiucheng Palace.”

“Really?”

Yuanying was taken aback for he has no concept about the value of money. After all, he doesn’t really spend much apart from rewarding servants who run errands for him. Yuanying’s mother left the responsibility of handling finances directly to Dai Ting, so he’s the most familiar with their financial situation.

“No!”

“It’s okay, I’ll borrow money then!” said the boy calmly

Dai Ting became silent again. He quietly followed Yuanying who was heading towards the place where Li Er was discussing politics. Looking at his behavior, it’s obvious that the boy wanted to borrow money from the Emperor!

Dai Ting guessed correctly, Yuanying’s target is ​​His Majesty Li Er. Doesn’t everyone say that the richest earth in the whole world belongs to the royal family? If so, then the Emperor definitely wouldn’t be short of money!

Li Yuanying ran towards the council chamber, looked around and was preparing for an opportunity to enter and approach Li Er.

The Emperor caught a glimpse of Li Yuanying’s sneaky figure but calmly continued to discuss business with his ministers. But after seeing Yuanying going around in circles while scratching his cheeks outside, His Majesty sent someone to escort him in.

Having been busy the whole day, Li Er was exhausted. He waved his hand to indicate to his ministers to retreat. When everyone has left Li Er asked the boy: “What brings you here?”

Don’t underestimate his young age, this is a horrible brat who only looks for his brother, the Emperor in troubled times. If things were smooth sailing, he definitely would be hiding from him.

Li Yuanying said shyly: “Lord Brother, I want to borrow money!”

“Everything you eat and use in the palace is provided for, why do you need money?”

Yuanying told Li Er all about his grand plan of writing a book and wanting to print one hundred copies of it.  He even generously thumps his chest in declaration that he will surely give a copy to Li Er after it is completed!

His Majesty couldn’t help but frown. This kid really is someone who could sell his father’s property without feeling any distress. Just because he is slightly more favored by our father, he really doesn’t blink an eye when he splurges!

“You write me an IOU note; I’ll get someone to bring you the money.”

Knowing very well that this was Li Er’s personality, he only lightly hummed twice before asking the servant next to him to prepare paper and pen.  Although he had never written a loan agreement, he wasn’t hesitant in writing one. In fact, he even added an extra digit to the budget Li Chunfeng has prepared for him. According to Li Yuanying’s twisted logic, since it’s so troublesome to borrow money, he should ask for a bigger amount so that he doesn’t have to do this again.  

As a matter of fact, Li Yuanying actually has his own private vault of gold so Li Er wasn’t afraid that he’s unable to pay him back. He put away the IOU he received and directed his man to bring the boy to collect his loan.

Yuanying isn’t interested in moving things himself so he requested Dai Ting to get someone to move the money directly to Li Chunfeng.

Seeing that the amount he received was ten times more than his requested budget, Li Chunfeng was rendered speechless.  

Dai Ting conveyed the little prince’s message to Li Chunfeng: “If you can’t finish it, please just keep it aside for future use.”

Li Chunfeng has a carefree personality, so seeing that the prince didn’t mention anything like “no misuse” or “no personal pocketing” he immediately responded that his Royal Highness the Prince of Teng is such an easy person to work with, there isn’t any tiring elements like guessing intentions or scheming involve.

Since Yuanying trusted him, Li Chunfeng immediately went to work and began gathering people to complete what Yuanying has entrusted.

While Dai Ting returned to Li Yuanying’s side.

The young prince was busy sorting out sketches he had drawn. Although he uncovered more than two hundred short stories in <<Han Zi>> not all stories are suitable for drawing otherwise the book would become too thick!

After much consideration, Yuanying decided on typical classics like “Three’s a Tiger”, “Contradictions”, “Suspecting Neighbours”, “Waiting idly for Rabbits”, “Hiding sickness in fear of treatment” and other such short stories [1]These are all short stories with moral values in them arranged in order of what he thinks is easiest for the children to accept.

After finishing, Yuanying felt that he had to ask someone to write a prelude for his so that it’ll look like a serious book!

He thought about his circle of friends and felt that Wei Shu is the most suitable – good handwriting, smart, and reliable! He immediately went looking for her with the manuscript in hand.

Wei Shu was surprised when she heard his plan to print a book. Although there’re many books in her house, they were all hand-copied. She has never seen a book printed with engraving.

Wei Shu took the manuscript and had a serious expression and felt a little anxious: “I might not write well.”

“You’re good in this, you can definitely do it well!”

Coincidentally, Wei Zheng came home and seeing that the Prince is here he was curious to know what’s he doing here. The boy truthfully told him his thoughts of adding a prelude to his book.

Hearing that Yuanying was looking for someone to write the prelude, Wei Zheng stroked his beard and said, “You really wrote a book? Show me the manuscript. If I feel that it’s good, I’ll write it for you.”

Li Yuanying blinked and firmly said no:  “No way, you are too old to be suitable! This is a book for children, sister Shu will write it for me!”

Wei Shu was chuckling away at the side.  

This horrible brat really puts you into a love-hate relationship with him! Wei Zheng glared at him and refuted: “Okay, I won’t write the prelude for you but show me your work.

Li Yuanying still refused to give in: “No, it’s not printed yet, so I can’t show it to anyone yet!”

Upon saying this he quickly ran away with Wei Shu into the study room and stretched out his little finger towards the girl.

“Pinky swear, you cannot show the manuscript to Wei.”

Wei Shu did the same and then put the manuscript into a small box and express that she will write the piece as soon as possible.

At the thought of having the opportunity to pen her writing into a book, Wei Shu was excited and happily sent Yuanying away.

On his way home, Yuanying quietly muttered: “Girl’s hands are so soft, it feels different.”

Dai Ting was again silent.

Li Yuanying happily went back for dinner.

The young boy kept this book printing incident a secret from the other children as he plans to surprise them.  In the subsequent few days, he went back to his usual mischievous ways of being a pain and continuously finds fault with his teachers in class.

A few days have passed when Yuanying decided to check with Wei Shu on her progress. The prelude was done and even the manuscript was kept in perfect condition without any dents to its corners.

“The stories you’ve painted are entertaining!”

“Of course!” said Yuanying triumphantly but then thought that he should be humble and added: “The stories are all from <<Han Zi>> and there’re more stories that are not suitable to be drawn so I’ll tell you verbally next time.”

Wei Shu nodded.

At first glance of Wei Shu’s writing, Yuanying noticed elegant and beautiful handwriting, a significant improvement from her last practice.  Looking at the content, he found that it was fresh, timeless and interesting to read.

On the spot Yuanying started praising Wei Shu to the moon and back, not giving a care that she was getting embarrassed.

While Wei Shu completed her preface, Li Chunfeng also completed his task. Li Yuanying inspected the results of several carvings and was satisfied with the finished products.  He handed over the manuscript to Li Chunfeng and requested he print them out urgently; else if delay it would be time to return to the Capital.

Li Chunfeng promised to finish the book as soon as possible.

Li Yuanying likes Li Chunfeng’s candid and frank personality so he decided to chat with him further. Although there’s almost a twenty-year age gap between the two they quickly became acquainted. Li Chunfeng even brought Yuanying to view his restored artifacts, things that he would only read about from ancient books.

Such as a Tilting vessel. [2]An ancient Chinese ceremonial utensil that automatically overturned and spilled its contents once it reached capacity, thus symbolizing moderation and caution.

This artifact is recorded in <<Xunzi>> and it’s rumored to be originally placed in the ancestral temple of King Lu. Li Yuanying has heard of this before and when he now sees the real thing, he couldn’t resist the temptation to try it out:  in the middle is a strange container that is connected by two bases. When it’s empty the container will tilt to one side, but if some water is added to it the container will stop steadily in the middle; and if you fill it up to the brim, the container will tip over and all its content will be poured out!

After Li Yuanying finished his experiment, he circled the artifact twice while thinking that the mechanism is quite strange so he grabbed hold of Li Chunfeng wanting to know all about the principle behind this.

Li Chunfeng is a person who either speaks of nothing when he is ignorant OR won’t stop speaking once he has started.

Li Yuanying also learned from Li Chunfeng that Xunzi was the chief at Jixia Academy during the end of the Warring States Period. Similar to Kong Yingda, he was an educator with many disciples. One example is Han Fei, the author of <<Han Zi>>. Being a disciple of Xunzi he has similar views to his master like thinking that “human nature is by default evil and needs education to guide them onto the correct path”.

Instantly Yuanying felt that there are so many amazing people in this world. Hearing that Xunzi is so awesome he now wanted to read articles written by him.  

Thinking of the all the additional books he’ll need to read if Li Chungfeng introduces him to new items, he immediately refused to see anymore and ran away!

Deep in thoughts about why am I learning so much lately, it’s not like me at all, Yuanying unknowingly went towards Li Tai’s place. He remembered that he hadn’t visited Xiao Deyan for days, and shamelessly went in to look for him.

Upon entering, Yuanying discovered that Li Tai was also present and was talking to Xiao Deyan.

Li Yuanying sneakily went towards them and overheard Li Tai discussing about himself and his idea of wanting to print a book related to Hanzi and even borrowed money from the Emperor.

Li Tai is of the opinion that Yuanying’s behavior is wrong, extravagant and spreading wrong ideology.

Wow, that’s gossiping about others behind their back!

Li Yuanying didn’t care about being busted for eavesdropping and rushed out angrily.

“It’s not like I won’t return the money I borrowed from Lord Brother, why are you badmouthing me in front of teacher!” He didn’t care that Li Tai was stunned speechless and instead went to sit next to Xiao Deyan with an attitude that is unwilling to concede. “All I want to do is print a book for Sizi and the other children, how is this wasteful! If you and I both don’t spend money, who’s going to buys things? How will the craftsman work? Farmers needs to sell rice and vegetables to survive! Holding money in your hand will not multiply, what’s the use of saving? Why can’t I spend my own money?”

Hearing the young boy rambling on and on angrily, Xia Deyan couldn’t help but gently pat his head while laughing.

“Yes yes, you are right!”

Li Tai had annoyance written all over his face. This brat, does he think this is his house? Coming and going as he like without a word to inform and even eavesdropping.

The most annoying thing is that Xiao Deyan actually is still fond of him.

Upon hearing Xiao Deyan’s affirmation, he triumphantly smiled at Li Tai. If he had a tail it would be wagging upright proudly.

Yuanying is not bothered about whether Li Tai hates him or not, he immediately told Xiao Deyan about his meeting with Li Chunfeng. Being the self-proclaimed little devil who wreaks havoc as his daily habit, he’s not used to his sudden thirst for knowledge and is confused.

“Why do you think I suddenly want to read books now? There’s still many things out there to play with, where do I find time to read?!”

Xiao Deyan smiled upon hearing his statement and thought that the child was not a mischievous good for nothing but is someone that can be taught.

“Look at yourself, even when reading so many books, you still found time to play no? On the contrary you found more interesting and fresh things.” 

Yuanying was suddenly enlightened and said happily: “Oh, I now understand!”

Li Yuanying didn’t feel that he was an uninvited outsider, he caught a glimpse of Li Tai listening to their conversation and realised that he was obviously jealous that teacher likes him better.  The boy suddenly got even more energetic and took out a piece of candy, unwrapped it, and handed it to Xiao Deyan.  

“This candy is sweet, taste it!”

Li Tai: “…………”

This kid is definitely doing it on purpose!!

References

References
1 These are all short stories with moral values in them
2 An ancient Chinese ceremonial utensil that automatically overturned and spilled its contents once it reached capacity, thus symbolizing moderation and caution.

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