His Majesty having lost his favorite chick decided to ignored Li Yuanying and went back to work.
The boy obviously wasn’t at all sad about sacrificing the fighting chickens. Before the deed was carried out, he has already wandered towards Wei Zheng’s house to tell Pei about the good news.
In winter, food supplies are expensive. Although the Wei family doesn’t lack in food, they seem to be inseparable from pickles in their daily meals. Such miserable meals! Yuanying took a stroll in Wei Zheng’s house and felt that sister Shu was becoming thinner.
He hurriedly told Pei that the Emperor would slaughter two chickens.
Hearing that Wei Zheng scolded His Majesty into slaughtering his beloved chickens, Mrs. Pei became a little worried.
Ever since Wei Zheng took a lead role in court and is heavily being relied on by the Emperor, Mrs. Pei has always been afraid. Afraid that one day her husband would not return.
In his early days, Wei Zheng traveled widely and pledge loyalty to several groups of people. Before the Xuanwu Gate incident, Wei Zheng was a loyal vassal of then Crown Prince, Li JianCheng, and even persuaded him to kill Li Er, who was then Prince of Qin. After the crown prince’s death, Li Er asked him directly about this incident, and Wei Zheng answered calmly: “If the crown prince had listened to me earlier, he would not have such ending.”
Nowadays, Wei Zheng chases after His Majesty reprimanding him, how can Mrs. Pei not be worried? If one day His Majesty stops tolerating her husband, maybe past incidents will be used as reasons against him!
Li Yuanying being someone that takes joy in teasing the tiger’s whiskers every day couldn’t understand Pei’s mood at all, but he instead enthusiastically discussed with her the best way to partake of poultry meat.
Yuanying felt that if there were many people, they could hang some outside to freeze and eat it slowly. Pick a fat one for cooking soup, while the rest should be boiled in hot water and served with dipping sauces.
Pei responded to the Prince by asking Wei Shu to go buy some ginger and green onions. It seems like the family ran out of these ingredients.
Wei Shu took the money and was about to go out so Yuanying immediately followed suit. It was freezing outside although it wasn’t snowing and the boy shivered.
The two children talked about the library’s grand opening in a year: “It’s in the West Market, very close by! You have to come and cheer me on!”
Not needing any explanation, Wei Shu could guess the origin of the word library: “The word ‘book’ came from a paragraph in the <<Records of the Grand Historian>> right?”
“That’s right! Sister, you’re so smart! Just hearing it once and you got it! Not like Old Kong, he had to ask me why it’s called a library, so stupid.”
Wei Shu thought that Chancellor Kong probably knew the answer but wanted to test if you knew. But seeing Yuanying happy, she didn’t say much and led the way to buy groceries.
Most of the vendors were familiar with the girl and seeing that she brought a young boy in luxurious clothes along, they became curious.
Li Yuanying being shameless didn’t hold back. He followed behind Wei Shu and started introducing himself to all the uncles and aunties along the way; reporting his name loudly and proclaiming that he’s Wei Shu’s brother. This is his first time coming here on instructions of adults at home to help his sister pick up vegetables!
Not many people knew the name of the royal family, especially in this area where poor peasants from outside the city came to sell items they produced/harvested. Naturally, they wouldn’t know that Li Yuanying is the newly crowned Prince of Teng.
Everyone just thought that the boy was a distant relative of the Wei family. Since the family was rich he dressed well and looked good.
The vendors are all selling their own produce and would leave by afternoon. Hearing Yuanying’s sprouting sweet words and not having arrogant rich people’s aura they took a liking to him and generously gave him more items. Someone even gave him pretty flowers from the mountains!
The money Wei Shu carried with her was not spent, but instead they returned with full reward.
Pei thought it was Wei Shu who made Li Yuanying spend money and gave her a disapproving look.
Wei Shu hurriedly defended herself: “It was given to us for free.”
Wei Shu felt depressed. Usually, when she runs errands for her grandmother she had to negotiate prices with street vendors. I went with Yuanying today and everything was free! Even a little girl who sold flowers gave him two!
Li Yuanying is usually treated like a ghost, as soon as people see him, many turn their heads to run away. This is the first time he got to enjoy such treatment. Although the items given to him weren’t anything valuable he walks back with a different feeling he had never felt before.
Li Yuanying said in confusion: “I took the first one, and the others started stuffing me with things!”
He put everything down, took hold of the two flowers, and asked Wei Shu where to place them.
Wei Zheng didn’t have vases at home so Wei Shu searched for a long time before pulling out a small vinegar jar, filling it with water, and placing the flowers in. The jar looked rough but the flowers were elegant and had a faint fragrance. The children played with it for a while before deciding to study for a bit.
Wei Zheng came back home to the aroma of stewed chicken soup.
Thinking that the royal brothers went to a cockfight, Wei Zheng was still feeling angry. But when he lifted the door curtain and saw Yuanying and Wei Shu sitting opposite each other looking calm and well-behaved, he felt that this kid was still teachable. Instead, it was His Majesty Li Er who as the ruler who should be more vigilant and lead by example
Wei Shu hearing movements, raised her head and shouted, “Grandfather!”
Li Yuanying also put down his pen and greeted Wei Zheng obediently. In front of his friends, Yuanying still intended to give Wei Zheng respect. Not only did he not call him old Wei, he also took the initiative to ask him for opinions on his calligraphy writings.
Wei Zheng took one look and gave an objective evaluation. In short, not enough strength, strokes were not smooth, no concrete shape. Learning bits and pieces from everywhere and everyone but not capturing the essence of their teaching
Li Yuanying: “…”
The boy couldn’t believe it and was angry: “The <<Fable of Han Zi>> which I printed last time was very popular, it can’t be that bad!”
“You yourself said that it’s a book for children so it’s naturally popular with children. Do you think Chancellor Kong would like it?” (Wei Zheng)
“That’s Old Kong’s own prejudice and lack of taste! He never liked Han Zi’s work!” (Li Yuanying)
“That means your book is not good enough to change Chancellor Kong’s mind about his prejudice.” (Wei Zheng)
Li Yuanying picked up his handwriting and looked at it then compared it with Wei Shu’s, He finds that though Wei Shu was younger her handwriting was much better. Although he has been practicing for the past six months, he hasn’t been practicing hard. In terms of diligence, he loses to anyone!
“I don’t need him to like it. Kong Yingda has never liked him since the beginning!”
Wei Zheng saw that the boy was upset, so he stopped with his provocation.
Food was ready, and Mrs. Pei called them for dinner.
When it comes to food, Yuanying quickly cheered up again. He sat next to Wei Shu and started gobbling down the Emperor’s favorite chicken!
Yuanying prepares to adjourn back to the palace right before evening approaches where the Capital goes into curfew. All gates within the city close and no one is permitted to enter, leave or walk freely.
Wei Shu mentions that there was one time when someone accidentally stayed in the neighborhood past curfew timing and was forced to find an inn for the night as the curfew outside the palace is very strict!
When Yuanying returned to the palace, it was still early. He suddenly recalls the delicious chicken soup and he was inspired to write an Ode the Rooster dedicated to his brother the Emperor. The whole poem sings praise to the rooster in which it was mighty and cute when alive and delicious after death. Such a worthwhile chicken life.
His Majesty has been working hard all day and finally was catching a breather at night. He was thinking about which concubine to visit but then someone sent word that Li Yuanying dedicated a poem to his majesty.
Li Er was surprised and asked those on his left and right: “It’s the sun rising from the west? That kid can actually write poetry?”
He then ordered someone to bring the poem up to him.
After reading it, his face turned black.
During his youth, Li Er has lived an indulgent and uninhibited life where he fought great battles and drank great wine. He indulges in hunting and making friends and developed many interests and hobbies. However, after ascending to the throne he was severely restricted. With Wei Zheng taking the lead in reproaching him, even going hunting others dares to stop him. If he wants to do something, he must consider first the consequences it brings.
If he had remembered that Wei Zheng was on duty, he wouldn’t have gone cockfighting with Li Yuanying and caused his well-raised chicken to lose its life in vain. But Li Yuanying is heartless, after killing his chicken he had the audacity to eat it; and after eating it he then writes a poem to anger him!
His Majesty yelled: “D*mn b*stard! This b*stard!!!”
Everyone left and right went silent.
After His Majesty ranted, he felt more at ease. After some thought, he found a way to get back at Li Yuanying. He snorted coldly and instructed: “Go inform the imperial kitchen, from tomorrow onwards only chicken will be served to that kid. No other dishes are allowed!”
If he likes it so much, then let that b*stard eat it every day!
Yuanying was still ignorant about his Majesty’s revenge plan and slept happily. The next morning, he was served chicken porridge for breakfast; at noon braised and roasted chicken and in the evening chicken soup. Although the dishes were extravagant and all cooked differently, it uses the same main ingredient! Snacks have been replaced with marinated chicken wings and chicken biscuits!
Yuanying felt that something was off so he sent word to ask about it, he then got to know that it was an order directly from the Emperor.
In the first two days, Yuanying felt that his brother’s the revenge was nothing much as the food was still delicious.
After a few more days of continuous chicken feasts, he couldn’t take it anymore. Even his mother was forbidden from cooking for him. He ran toward Wei Zheng to complain that His Majesty was abusing his younger brother.
What can a child like other than eating?! His Majesty now wants him to eat chicken feast every day. Such audacity! The more he spoke, the more wronged he felt and Yuanying started sobbing.
Hearing this Wei Zheng was angered. How can an Emperor take such personal revenge on his younger brother over a chicken? He told the boy to return home then, rolled up his sleeves, and began writing an entire memorial wholly rebuking the Emperor!
Recently, Li Er was in a good mood. According to reports, Li Yuanying has eaten so much chicken that it’s becoming unbearable for him. Very good, this is what I want!
His Majesty Li Er was waiting for his shameless brother to come beg him for mercy, but he instead got Wei Zheng lecturing him for an hour in court.
His Majesty became so furious that he stormed out of court.
The courtiers looked at each other.
Zhangsun Wuji glanced at Wei Zheng helplessly then trotted in the direction where His Majesty left.