Li Yuanying has been obsessed with studying and practicing calligraphy lately so he didn’t have time to visit Yique’s grottoes yet and didn’t know beforehand that Li Tai had a project here. Yuanying has always been a strong believer that a person should be filial while alive, so after hearing Li Tai talk about how he wanted to accumulate merit for Empress Zhangsun he felt that this fat nephew is not too bad and so decided to obediently follow the team without making trouble.
Li Yuanying was lucky enough to be born and bred in the wealth of the royal family. Therefore all he knew growing up was eating well and having fun. He has never heard or done anything serious. His biological mother, Lady Liu came from a humble background and had nothing much to teach her son. Growing up this way, he believes that even Buddha and Gods are illusory and had no control over him!
If he was God, would he have so much time to listen to people praying about this or that? To the eyes of Gods, what difference is man from the flowers, trees, birds and animals? Since there is none, why should the Gods treat humans especially favorably?
Therefore, Yuanying had never prayed or worshiped. He only actively communicate with monks because he wanted to sell tea.
Li Yuanying walked peacefully for a while and started feeling a little tired. He then abducted the younger kids and walked slower and slower. After awhile, he and his group of radish heads sat under the shade of a tree near the river and he started telling them a story about Empress Zhangsun. Among the Li siblings, Sizi and Hengshan were the youngest and had the most vague memory of the late Queen Mother. As for Little Round Ball who occasionally joins them, he wasn’t even born yet.
Li Yuanying was very young back then but a year of constant interaction was enough for someone like him with excellent memory to form a deeply impression of Empress Zhangsun. She was a being that was completely different from others in the world and Yuanying wanted to share about her life and immerse the children into her story so that they would hate themselves for not being born a few years earlier.
Li Zhi is about the same age as Cheng Yang and Li Yuanying but his memory was not as good. Listening to Li Yuanying’s narration the past became vivid in his memory. As they went to the emotional part of the story, Cheng Yang was the first to cry followed by Li Zhi who shed tears quietly. The atmosphere was infections and soon all the young children threw themselves into Li Yuanying’s arms and cried together. This included Little Round Ball who cried so hard that his shoulders moved up and down. He hugged Li Yuanying and said, “I want to meet her, and I want to meet her too.”
Wei Shu, who was not related to the family had red eyes after hearing the story. She secretly admired the intelligent and patient late Empress in her heart.
No one realized that the Emperor had returned and was standing quietly not too far away and was listening to Li Yuanying’s detailed recounting of Empress Zhangsun’s life.
Not too long ago the Emperor realized that all the small ones went missing. This is definitely Li Yuanying’s doing and he is probably leading them wildly again. He quickly sent someone back to look for children.
The imperial guards found them abut couldn’t bear to disturb them, so they quietly went back to report to His Majesty, saying that Prince Teng was telling the others about Empress Zhangsun and even the youngest child was fascinated.
Li Er was supposed to be leading a group of officials to admire the Buddha statue that Li Tai had commissioned for his late mother. He felt that this son was talented and had heart, so he planned to ask Cen WenBen to write an article to commemorate this and then asked Chu Suiliang to engrave today’s event onto an inscription. Hearing what his men had to say, Li Er temporarily took back his words, waved his hands and signaled everyone to listen to “the story king” sharing about Empress Zhangsun.
While listening, Li Er felt that Empress Zhangsun’s voice and smile was right in front of his eyes. He couldn’t help but feel a little sad. Nevertheless a king needs to remain emotionless in public so he showed no trace of sadness on his face. Seeing the younger kids throw themselves into Li Yuanying’s arms crying, Li Er had to admit one thing about this younger brother: this kid values relationship.
Some incidences were already a little fuzzy in Li Er’s mind but Li Yuanying remembered all big and small things deep in his heart. If he hadn’t, he wouldn’t have been able to tell such a vivid story about Empress Zhangsun. Even his youngest grandson who had never met her wanted to meet her.
Li Er couldn’t hold back the regret in his heart and said to Zhangsun Wuji: “Wuji, I am not as good as Yuan Ying, I don’t remember as clearly as the boy has.”
Zhangsun Wuji was wiping away his tears when the Emperor suddenly turn around and say this. He wiped them away before pleading guilty: “I have lost my manners. I also feel that I am not as good as His Highness Prince Teng.”
Zhangsun Wuji was immersed in the story. He almost felt like he could meet his younger sister who was dependent on him, the younger sister who would act like a baby and play with him. He could visualize her growing up into the dignified and virtuous queen mother of Tang Empire.
The two siblings had lost their parents when they were young. Other than their uncle Gao Shilian, the next closest relatives were each other. Now whether it’s his little sister or the upright Empress who discusses pros and cons and balance with him, both are gone!
Seeing Zhangsun Wuji’s behaviour, he realized that the story brought back memories to him too. Seeing his children and grandson crying so much, he was silent before asking Cen WenBen to record this matter down.
WenBen had already received an oral order from the Emperor earlier to write an article for Li Tai. Now that he has heard Li Yuanying share so many things about Empress Zhangsun, he naturally intends to alter his original article.
Hearing the Emperor’s order, he accepted it calmly without resistance.
Although the other ministers felt that Yuanying was normally too noisy, at this moment they had to admit his sincerity was worthy to learn from.
No one felt that Li Yuanying was putting up a show. After all, the group had fallen behind. If His Majesty hadn’t deliberately turn back, no one would have heard anything except for the children.
Everyone asked themselves, if they were being taken care of before the age of 5 or 6, would they remember so clearly? This boy even took his promise to the late Empress seriously where he playsed the role of the elder and takes care of his nephews and nieces, bringing them here and there for playtime.
Seems like this kid still had a little sense of responsibility!
Among everyone present, the only person who was not touched but was filled with anger is Li Tai.
He worked so hard and paid so much for workers to build a Buddhist cave for his late mother. It is a rare occasion for Father to come here in person and he even requested that an inscription be written for him to spread his filial name widely. BUT Li Yuanying just said a few words and now father wants it to be recorded into the inscription too!
Why? On what basis? Why this kid?!
Li Tai felt really wronged, he believes that Li Yuanying was sent by the Gods to mess with him. Otherwise why would this kid go against everything he does? This kid first used his mouth to persuade father about his figure and now he wants to share his credit!
Li Tai had a thousand resentment in his heart, but he couldn’t show it. He could only wipe away tears with Zhangsun Wuji.
His tears! His tears are all real tears!
I am so wronged that I am shedding tears!
No matter how sad or wronged Li Tai felt, the Emperor had spoken and Cen WenBen act on it immediately. He read a sentence and Chu Suiliang wrote a sentence, both working in synergy. This gave birth to <<The inscription of the Yique Buddhist Shrine>> which was written beautifully.
This article first mention the reason why Prince Li Tai built this Buddhist cave and praises his filial piety. Then it records the process of Prince Li Yuanying telling the royal children about Empress Zhangsun’s life which made everyone cry. Li Er was very satisfied after reading it and asked Li Tai and Li Yuanying to come over and have a look.
Li Tai secretly gritted his teeth in hatred.
In terms of length, the section about Li Yuanying is longer than his!
This is unreasonable!
Li Yuanying pulled Chengyang and the others to the front and looked the work again and again. The more he looked at it, the more he felt that the handwriting was beautiful. He stupidly asked his brother eagerly: “Brother, when you are finish with this inscription, can you give us the manuscript? We have been practicing calligraphy lately!”
Upon hearing this, the veins on Chu Suiliang’s forehead twitched.
This group of little locusts would come to his place every two months and sweep his place empty. Especially this Li Yuanying. Every time he saw him he would ask: “Old Chu, have you written anything nice lately? If yes, can you borrow it to us? After all it’s useless for you, if you need it you can just write another copy at will!”
Chu Suiliang had never seen such a brazen guy! ! !
What do you mean by “you can write another copy whenever you want?” Who wants to rewrite something again and again.
Now, this guy is getting close to the Emperor with intentions to steal this piece of work. He is so shameless!
Fortunately, the manuscript was supposed to be used to create a monument and so it belonged to the general public. Although Chu Suiliang felt that Li Yuanying was really brazen, he wasn’t so furious that he would vomit blood.
Only one person was angry enough to vomit blood.
Li Yuanying’s fourth nephew Li Tai.
Li Tai’s who was maintaining a good expression turned black.
Li Er didn’t think that there was anything wrong with Li Yuanying’s request. He knew that the boy had been leading the children to study in a peaceful manner lately. Listening to Kong Yingda and the others, even Li Zhi’s academics have improved by leaps and bounds. He will have no problem being admitted into the Imperial College! With his credit for teaching his nephew and niece, Li Er felt that it would be all right to reward Li Yuanying with this manuscript.
Li Er said to Li Tai: “Once we are done, you ask someone to send this manuscript to your young Uncle.”
What can Li Tai say, other than to obey his Majesty’s words.
Li Yuanying is a straightforward person, when he was talking about the late Empress Zhangsun he sounded sad but now that it’s over he has returned to his his usual vigor and hyperactivity. Hearing that His Majesty promised to give him Chu Suiliang’s original manuscript, he was overjoyed and felt that this trip was worthwhile. They will have new characters to practice next!
He looked again and felt that this calligraphy piece was more beautiful than the ones before. If it looks good it means that it was written well, there is nothing wrong with it!
Li Yuanying didn’t care if his fourth nephew was secretly sulking, he took the children on a trip to look at the grottoes one by one to see which one had the tallest, largest, and most precious Buddha statues. They played until it was dark in the evening, before Li Yuanying obediently returned with the bunch of radish heads. He then spent the night with His Majesty Li Er at the Buddhist temple.
Notes from the author:
Chu Suiliang: Shameless!
Fourth nephew: Shameless!
Little Prince: Huh? Huh?