Living Leisurely in Tang Dynasty Chapter 17

After feeling satisfied at how he was able to annoy Li Tai, Yuanying ran off happily.

This boy’s biggest plus point is that he clearly distinguished between kindness and hatred. Whether he receives kindness or bad intentions, he will reciprocate the same.

In the past when Empress Zhangsun visit the late Emperor in Da’an palace she often sees Yuanying there and would bring him food or interesting playthings.

To him, Empress Zhangsun is a good person.

Therefore, he willingly spends time playing with Sizi and the other children and also gets along well with Li Zhi. He even occasionally visits the East Palace to see his little grandnephew. The only exception was Li Tai who doesn’t like to interact with them but instead prefers to be seen with a book pretending in front of his father Li Er.  He became busier after establishing his literature museum and hardly even visits his mother Empress Zhangsun when she was ill.

If Yuanying was in his shoes, he would have stayed by his mother’s side every day. To hell with the literature museum or palace decorum. Even if he can’t stay beside his mother every moment, he would still visit her daily without fail.

At first, he couldn’t understand Li Tai’s behavior but now he finally found his answer. It is for the position of Emperor which now belongs to Li Er. His older brother really is a miserable person; only in his early forties but his mother is gone, his father too and so is his wife. He finally has a son that he cherishes but said son is a fatty with bad intentions. Despite the fact that his father is neither old nor senile, he has already started plotting to take over his position. Really, being the emperor is a hard job!

Li Yuanying felt pity for his older brother but upon reaching home he enthusiastically wrote a mushy letter to his mother. The theme was “Mothers are the best, children who still have their mothers are treated like treasures.” He also told her all about his book printing and promised that he would bring a copy home to show her!

His letter was sent together with the letters of other children.

While Prince Li Chengqian was done dealing with official matters, he was informed that his younger siblings had written to him again. He has lately become accustomed to receiving letters from Jiucheng Palace. He pulled out the letter at the most bottom and as expected it’s from Li Yuanying who’s again asking him for a favor to pass the letter to his mother, Lady Liu (Liu Baolin) [1]Lady of Treasure; 7th rank in Tang imperial harem.  

This kid is sly as usual. Afraid that his letter would get lost, he makes the other children write theirs together so that it all gets sent to the East Palace! 

Li Chengqian smiled while looking at the words written on the cover of the envelope: “Young uncle has made lots of progress. Seems like there’s something unusual about the Feng Shui in Jiucheng Palace, even our young uncle unexpectedly started practicing calligraphy! “  

Yuanying’s mother has cultivated a habit of reciting one scripture passage daily; praying that her son would be safe outside and not encounter any accidents. Since her child began writing letters to her, she would read them after finishing her readings. Since a letter was delivered to her today, she happily read it after rewarding the sender.

Lady Liu (Liu Baolin) came from a humble background and was originally illiterate. Resembling her, Li Yuanying initially had no intention of learning and was unable to recognize words as a young child! So mom thought of a way to coax him to learn; she used to pretend to wipe away tears silently whenever Li Yuanying was close enough to notice, and would tell others that she is being bullied because of her illiteracy. When her child heard this, he got angry and immediately commit to studying with the aim to in turn teach his mother!

When Li Yuanying puts his heart into doing something, he would definitely produce good results. He actually learnt how to read and taught his mother one character at a time. Although Lady Liu (Liu Baolin) might not have extreme fluency she is now able to read simple letters. Remembering that her son has a caring personality and like to take initiative, she can’t help but miss and worry for him.    

Reading that her child has been getting guidance from Wei Zheng, Xiao Deyan and others scholars and even plan to print a book, she was overjoyed. She thus ordered servants to check the treasury to calculate the inheritance left by the late Emperor for her son.

If that’s not enough, they should also be getting good income from the fief. Lady Liu has already inquired all about their land prefecture of Teng; it’s near the lake and sea making it a land with abundance of produce. Life in such a place shouldn’t be too difficult.

Lady Liu was busy till the late afternoon; counting cash, cleaning up, doing needlework in preparation for winter.

……

In a blink of an eye, it was already the end of August, and autumn’s colours are starting to gradually paint Jiucheng Palace. The golden sunflowers have passed their blooming days and all that remains are the “works” painted by Li Yuanying. By autumn, all ten sunflowers began to bear fruit producing much seeds!

Li Yuanying hasn’t been actively doing his assignments from the system lately, so it’s been a long time since he has eaten any sunflower seeds and he was craving for it.  After spending the whole morning looking for the largest and best flower disk, he took it intending to instruct someone to cook it for him.

Although no one around him has experience in stir-frying seeds, it shouldn’t be difficult to get it done. Hmmm, if you want it to have a hint of creaminess, perhaps add some goat milk?!  

Despite his great plans, the moment he turned around holding the flower, everyone nearby knelt and begged him not to do so, otherwise the Emperor will find fault and punish them.

That’s really unreasonable! This is obviously my sunflower; why can’t I eat it? If the Emperor find faults with the servants and punishes them, then it’s Li Er who is unreasonable, what does it have to do with me?

Justifying to himself, Li Yuanying ignored the pleas from the men around and left with the flower in hand.  

Dong Xiaoyi was shocked pale but he continued to knelt and didn’t dare to stop the royal prince from leaving.  

Upon leaving the greenhouse and waking quite a distance, Dai Ting who was silent suddenly shouted: “Your Royal Highness.”

Li Yuanying turned to look at him.

Dai Ting hesitated but still ended up pleading on his knees. “Dong Xiaoyi comes from the same hometown as me, may I humbly ask for your Highness to help him?”

Dong Xiaoyi was ordered personally by Yuanying to take care of the plants and with that his presences have been made known to the Emperor. This has caused many to be jealous of him. With the young prince snatching away a sunflower so abruptly, it’ll then become an opportunity for those who hate Dong Xiaoyi to accuse him of wrongdoing and make him suffer.

Li Yuanying quietly knelt beside him and frowned. “Aren’t there still many more flower discs? Why can’t I pick one?”

“It is negligence even if it’s just one.”

“Why didn’t you just say so earlier?”

Dai Ting became silent.

He is of humble status and is already overstepping his boundaries by opening his mouth. Besides, he and Dong Xiaoyi are just fellow villagers but haven’t spoken much so they don’t have much of a relationship. He wouldn’t have publicly made a request in front of outsiders that his master would not necessarily agree to. On one hand, it’s Li Yuanying his master and on the other is just a fellow countryman. He could easily weight his best options and would never had said a word except that his conscience is aware that his master could easily change Dong Xiaoyi’s fate. Self-preservation is hard enough in the palace, what more protecting others?

Li Yuanying has long been accustomed to Dai Ting’s old-fashioned but matured habit of weighing all his consequences. After a little thought he was inspired: “Get up. I’ll just go to my brother and tell him of my intentions. This is just petty issue, what’s the hesitation about?!  

Dai Ting got up and followed his master as usual.

Yuanying carried the flower disk and went looking for his brother intending to inform him that the sunflower seeds are ready to be harvested!

Li Yuanying thinks that he should have a say on what to do with these plants. Since there are ten of them, he wants to keep two for himself. As for the remaining eight, he thinks that the Emperor should seek the other children’s permission for it.

Li Er made it very obvious that he wanted to forcefully keep them for himself: “It’s planted in my greenhouse so it belongs to me.”

“If you’re gonna be so unreasonable, I will write a big notice and paste it on the city gate to talk bad about you!”

Li Er is hearing threats for the first time and raised his eyebrows with interest: “Ohh… you have improved; you can write notices now?”

“Of course. I can even publish books!”

Li Er is well aware that his younger brother is a shameless brat that dares to do anything.  “I won’t ask for your two plants but Sizi & the other kids are my daughters. Why can’t I have theirs?”

“Because they also like the flowers very much. The saying goes that a gentlemen do not forcefully convert that belongs to others as his. You are their father; how can you snatch something that your daughter likes?!” He continues to point out Li Er’s other mistakes: “Within that remaining eight, two belongs to Sister Shu and Sister Shu is not your daughter!”

Li Er was taken aback, fuming in anger and unwilling to give in to this brother: “Fine, I’ll summon them her and ask them myself if they will give it to me!”

The three princesses were quickly summoned over. Upon hearing the request, they willingly gave away their sunflowers.

His Majesty gave Yuanying a sideways glance intending to tell him to look at others and then look at his own behaviour.

Li Yuanying felt that Li Er was too shameless so he insisted on not giving him his two plants. He also conveniently asked that Dong Xiaoyi be assigned to him so that he can aid him in the following year in planting on a huge piece of land in his own fief.

 Dong Xiaoyi is just a mere servant who tend to seasonal vegetables in the greenhouse, so his Majesty gave the green light. After all, Yuanying is officially now titled as the Prince of Teng. He needs a few more talents around him.

At this time, Wei Shu was also brought over.

Since the summon came directly from the Emperor, Wei Shu was ordered by Pei to wear female clothing which made her look cute and lovely.

Since this is the first time Li Yuanying is seeing Wei Shu dressed as a girl, his eyes lit up. Then once Wei Shu finished her greetings to the Emperor, he slipped over to poke her and said in a low hushed voice: “Don’t give it to him!”

Li Er glared at Li Yuanying. We are standing so close to each other; you really think people can’t hear you by lowering your voice?

Li Yuanying decided to shut up. He’s finished talking anyway!

His Majesty told the young girl all about his plan of requisition of the two sunflowers.

Wei Shu heard Li Yuanying and out of unconditional trust in her little partner, she refused the Emperor without hesitation.

Since Li Er is aware that Wei Shu was Wei Zheng’s granddaughter, he wasn’t surprised in getting such a reply. He already has six which were offered by the princesses in the greenhouse, so allowing Yuanying and Wei Shu to keep another batch is a good strategy so that he can avoid putting all eggs in the same basket. His Majesty felt that his banter with Yuanying about something so trivial is all because that kid annoyed him so he quickly waved his hand to dismissed him so that he doesn’t bother him anymore.

Li Yuanying took the other children and ran away.

Outside, Yuanying started criticizing the three girls as he thinks that it was silly of them to just give their belongings away so easily. Even if you were to give it away you should have negotiated for some benefits!  

“If father wants it, we should naturally give it to him. How can we bargain with the Emperor?” (Princess Chengyang)

The other two girls nodded their head in agreement.

Li Yuanying took a long hard look at the three honest girls and wonder if he should tell them some stories with values like “you should fight for things you desire and so on”. Being so obedient, wouldn’t you be at risk of being deceived in the future?!

“Fortunately, you didn’t give in else the Emperor would be more pleased! Sizi and the other two girls are too giving. If it’s Gao Yang, she will definitely be sticking notices throughout the kingdom in protest!” (Yuanying to Wei Shu)

Wei Shu asked curiously: “What kind of notice?”

Yuanying proudly said that he threatened His Majesty Li Er. He was of the opinion that his threats against him worked or else the Emperor would have snatched the sunflower plate way. Such shamelessness!

All who heard this were dumbfounded.

This really is a bizarre trick that only Li Yuanying can pull off!

References

References
1 Lady of Treasure; 7th rank in Tang imperial harem

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