Living Leisurely in Tang Dynasty Chapter 2

Holding Sizi in one hand and the youngest Princess Hengshan in the other his Majesty led the entourage into Jiucheng Palace. Li Yuanying seeing that the children were following the Emperor wanted to sneak away to complete his mission but was immediately stopped by two guards. It was then Li Yuanying realized that despite his brother giving off an outwardly nonchalant vibe towards him in actual he was monitoring his every move through the guards.

This is bullying! I ain’t no troublemaker! Li Yuanying being aware that he wouldn’t win in a fistfight nor was he able to sneak away gave up and followed the group.

Along the way the Emperor listened to the “Happy Prince” which was being retold by Sizi. The story is indeed a good one but His Majesty is no child. He realized that there are foreign ideas hidden in the story that do not belong to the children’s world. Naturally he did not feel sad for a bird and a statue like Sizi.

The Emperor has always been patient with Sizi and coaxed: “In the end didn’t the heavenly messenger brought them to heaven and let them live happily together?”

Sizi was still miserable and hugged the Emperor ‘s neck: “But I’m still sad! These bad people even threw Happy Prince into the furnace!”

After successfully pacifying the children and making them sit, the Emperor called for the perpetrator. At this very same moment Li Yuanying was wondering if he should get a servant to bring him a meal. Hearing that Li Er was summoning for him, he immediately touched his hungry stomach and ran over. As soon as he walked in, he was amazed! Sizi and the others were all looking at him!

Li Yuanying stepped forward and bowed to His Majesty. Before the Emperor could speak, he sat down obediently and asked: “Lord Brother are you not hungry? Isn’t it already time to eat? You work hard every day managing the country, you shouldn’t go hungry!”

Li Er instantly understood the meaning behind this sentence, this kid is trying to cheat a meal. Li Yuanying was his younger brother anyway and he would not let him starve so food was to be served.

“Did you tell a story to the children on the way here”

Fearfully remembering the sobbing faces of his nieces & nephew Li Yuanying was quick in thinking of a way to push the blame away “These stories were written by a man named Wilde and it has nothing to do with me!”

Many have complained that Li Yuanying was not attentive in class and causing a scene was his specialty. Knowing all too well the Emperor naturally knew that he could not come up with such a story himself. Hearing that Li Yuanying said “these stories” he became curious and asked “Are there others? Tell us another one!”

Hearing this Sizi immediately forgot all about her misery and was looking at Li Yuanying with shiny eyes pleading for him to tell another one.

Although Li Yuanying is only nine years old he has many mischievous antics up his sleeve. Every time before he told the children a story he stalls for time.  After all, “Wilde’s Fairy Tales” didn’t come easy to me, I had to read a full volume of “the Analects of Confucius” in exchange! Hearing that the Emperor wanted a second story from him, Li Yuanying was unwilling and touched his belly dramatically: “Lord Brother I’m hungry! I can’t remember anything when I’m hungry!”

At the same moment, Sizi’s stomach grumbled as well. “Father, I am hungry too.”

“I have called for a meal to be prepared. In the meantime, since your uncle can’t remember well, why don’t you tell father the story instead?”

Hearing that all four children were excited and were retelling the story one after another while Li Yuanying sat obediently.

He felt that there was nothing wrong in telling the story since they were originally written in books.

Don’t panic!

In the beginning, missions offered by the Myriad Realm Library was not as easy as the current task. Initially he had to read and understand books to proof that he was qualified. With that Li Yuanying had to read several books throughout these past three years. Going by his motto that nothing he has put in effort should go to waste, he thus compiled his readings into simple and easily understood stories and retold them to the children. Nothing seems wrong, don’t panic!  

While Li Yuanying was waiting enthusiastically for the meal, the Emperor became more and more surprised as he listened to the stories being retold.

His Majesty has spent half his life acquiring knowledge and has read a huge array of books. Naturally he has also read most of the classics that Li Yuanying has told. He realized that modifying such classics into stories that are easily understood by children no more than five to six years old is no easy task.  

As the food arrives the Emperor signaled to start eating. While his Majesty ate he fell into deep thoughts and was looking at Li Yuanying. Is his younger brother deliberately hiding himself? But he quickly changed his mind, if his younger brother was indeed someone with a great mind, why would he foolishly reveal his true self to the children?

He thought that the most likely conclusion was that since everyone had a preconceived notion that this kid is a troublemaker no one attempted to really teach him properly. Even the Emperor himself being the older brother hadn’t noticed that Yuanying had such talent!  

 After the children has finished eating, his Majesty requested that Li Yuanying tells another story to soothe the children’s emotions. Li Yuanying felt that since he got to eat a royal meal for free it was no loss to him if he told another story.  

This story called the “Little Princess’s Birthday” is also very warm and moving. It’s about a beautiful princess who is about to celebrate her birthday. In order to make the princess happy, her subjects presented a particularly ugly boy to dance for her. The princess was amused by the boy’s funny dance and threw him a white rose.

 After listening to this, His Majesty nodded approvingly and thought that although the story was a little flat, it was not bad. At least it taught Sizi not to judge people by their appearance. Everyone in the world has their value!

Li Yuanying stopped for a sip of water before continuing with the story.

The little boy had mistakenly thought that the princess liked him so he broke into the palace to express his feelings only to find a mirror on the way. The little boy was poor and had not seen a mirror. He was startled when he saw himself in the mirror: “What kind of monster is this?!” After he confirmed that the “monster” in the mirror was indeed himself, he was very sad. At that moment he heard the princess smiling and telling her friends: “It’s funny how he dances.”

The little boy then realized that the princess just thought of him as nothing but a clown and died of a broken heart.

At the end of the story the princess learning that the little boy can no longer dance to amuse her became angry and said: “From now onwards, anyone who plays with me should not have a heart!”

The Emperor: “……”

The way Li Yuanying described the little boy’s determination when he broke into the palace was very realistic. The moment the little boy’s dream was pierced by harsh reality was naturally very heart-breaking. After hearing the whole story Sizi, Hengshan, Chengyang cried again.

The remaining Li Zhi sat on the side in silence fearing that his father would be furious and that his three younger sisters would have swollen eyes from crying so much. He didn’t know what to do.

Upon seeing the tense atmosphere Li Yuanying hurriedly got up and tried to escape: “This was indeed a long and arduous journey. Lord brother you must be exhausted hence I will take my leave and not bother the Emperor anymore!”

Seeing his three precious daughters crying tearfully, his Majesty weakly cursed: “Get out!”

I don’t know who that Wilde is but how dare he write such stories! If this happens again even if I had to get someone to dig the ground, I will find Wilde!

……………………………

After successfully escaping, Li Yuanying was led back to his residence and took a comfortable nap. When he awoke in the evening, Li Zhi had quietly came over with his three younger sisters.

The three young girls were all wearing clothes that are easy to move in and had their hair tied into a bun making them look like young boys. Being children they have all but forgotten about their sorrows in the afternoon. Sizi happily rushed towards Yuanying holding a map drawn by Li Zhi: “Let’s go orienteering, ninth brother has arranged it!”

Most would find Sizi hard to understand as she is only six years old but not Li Yuanying. He understood her intentions right away!

This activity was planned in the carriage on the way here and is called “Jiucheng Palace Play Plans”. First Li Zhi will sneaked to His Majesty’s study to draw a map of Jiucheng Palace and have servants bury tools at designated check points. Then they split up, reporting to check points and the first to arrive at the final destination wins!

Li Zhi was not a bold person, it’s absolutely impossible for him to sneak into the Emperor’s study unnoticed. He instead chose to confessed everything to his father and asked for a map. Now that Li Zhi has drawn two maps and sent someone ahead to prepare the check points, the team can start playing immediately!

Now here comes the awkward problem all three of his sisters wants to be on Li Yuanying’s team and not his. 

As soon as Sizi and Hengshan heard that they were to split into teams they immediately hold on to Li Yuangying’s hand refusing to let go.  Luckily Chengyang was a good natured child and saw Li Zhi all alone so she decided to join his team.

So the team was split like this”

Team ONE – Li Zhi and Chengyang; eleven and nine years old.

Team TWO -Li Yuanying, Sizi and Hengshan; nine, six and five years old.

Li Yuanying was not dissatisfied with having two young teammates with him. Instead he felt that Li Zhi being bad at directions was at a disadvantage even with Chengyang in his team. Furthermore, his goal is not to win but to reach the location of the inscription. 

The reason why he suggested playing this game was just to get the children to be active, move their muscles and use their brains. The result was not important, what’s important was to participate!

Li Yuanying held the map, pondered then explained the route to Sizi and Hengshan. Finally, he put out his palm on top of the map.

Sizi understood instantly and stacked her little palm on his.

Hengshan followed suit and did the same.

“Let’s Go!” shouted the three children.

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