Living leisurely in Tang Dynasty
Living Leisurely in Tang Dynasty Chapter 8

News of Li Yuanying skipping class to look for Wei Zheng reached Li Er.

As the Emperor was actively observing Li Yuanying, he was surprised when he heard the news that his younger brother was associated with Wei Zheng. Due to his busy schedule filled with official matters he was already exhausted. He had no energy left to spend on Li Yuanying so he decided to speak to Wei Zheng directly to see what was going on.

Li Yuanying really doesn’t care about what others think of him. He followed closely behind Wei Zheng back to his residence.

Although lodging was prepared for those who came to Jiucheng palace together with the Emperor, daily meals were not covered.  When Yuanying stepped into Wei Zheng’s residence he realized that wherever Wei Zheng lived, he could make his home look shabby as if he was living in poverty.

Wei Zheng’s wife, Mrs. Pei was busy in the kitchen. Upon hearing that her husband had brought a member of the royal family home, she became dazed for a moment before appearing from behind the curtain.

Li Yuanying was looking curiously at the furnishings around him and upon seeing Pei he immediately greeted the plainly dressed woman politely without the slightest hint of his rumored preposterous behavior.  

He was so good at acting that even Wei Zheng couldn’t help but look at him a more few times.

As soon as Pei heard that the prince was going to stay for a meal she immediately added more rice into the pot that was boiling. The rice in their home was a mixture of miscellaneous grains and was not of the finest quality or best texture, however, it will guarantee a filled stomach.

Seeing Yuanying looking around as if probing about something, Wei Zheng sternly said, “It’s still too early for dinner. If you have something to ask, ask now.”

The boy immediately opened the <<Book of Rites>> and asked Wei Zheng for advice.

Though Yuanying was young, he actually has good comprehension and is able to put what he has learned into practice.  The more Wei Zheng taught him the more he thinks that if not for his lazy and mischievous personality he would have been a bright student.

Both teacher and pupil were discussing with great concentration when suddenly movements from outside the door were heard. Yuanying looked out and saw a boy about six or seven with such beautiful features that one might mistakenly recognize him as a girl at first glance.

Yuanying has had many play companions but has never seen this boy before so he was curious. The boy feeling the same ran towards Wei Zheng and asked: “Grandfather, who’s this?”

The young boy has heard all about Li Yuanying’s mischievous exploits and so when he heard his name, he looked at him curiously.

The boy snuggled next to Wei Zheng and confessed: “My name is Wei Shu. I am a girl. I wear boy clothes for convenience. Don’t tell anyone!”

Li Yuanying couldn’t believe that his initial hunch was correct. He nonchalantly said: “Not surprising at all, Gao Yang also likes to wear boy’s clothing and she plays polo better than many boys!”

If Li Yuanying is known as the little devil among the princes, then Gao Yang should be known as the troublemaker among the princesses. Li Yuanying and Gao Yang weren’t on good terms when they were young. However, as the frequency of them meeting, fighting, and subsequently getting punished together increased, their relationship miraculously improved.

When Wei Shu saw Yuanying with a book, she sat quietly and watch them re-enter into their question-and-answer session. Upon hearing Pei calling to help serve food, she got up and went to the kitchen.

At this very moment, Li Yuanying’s retainers came bringing a generous amount of delicacies. After getting Wei Zheng’s consent, the food was distributed and served to everyone.

As Li Yuanying had paid full attention to class today, he was exhausted. Upon smelling the delicious food, he was famished and so followed the elder to the table. It was still not yet dark after food and so he asked a few more questions before taking his leave.

As soon as Li Yuanying left, Wei Zheng started reprimanding his granddaughter. His son and wife were working abroad making it inconvenient to bring Wei Shu along so she was left in the care of her grandparents.  But this granddaughter of his isn’t fond of ladylike education like needlework, she instead loves painting and calligraphy. It was fine if she loves reading and writing but unfortunately, she also has a habit of dressing up as a boy while going out. Which other family’s daughter is as wild as her?

Wei Shu obediently listened to the scolding without a word.  After her grandfather was done she went behind him and started massaging his shoulders. As she is still small she didn’t have strength but this rendered Wei Zheng speechless.

“His Royal Highness doesn’t seem to be the same as the rumors.” She has heard hearsay that there resides a little devil in the palace who isn’t afraid of heaven nor earth and dares to do anything. If anyone provokes him, that person is destined to live a horrible life! I’ve heard that when he was only four or five, he was already extremely cruel and once almost killed a servant by ordering him to be buried under snow, not allowing him to come out!

“Nothing is different from the rumors.” Although Li Yuanying is showing signs of wanting to change for the better, he can’t hide all the bad things he’s done.

Wei Zheng likes Yuanying’s transformation but he will not let his guard down. His instinct tells him that something is weird for how can a leopard change its spots?  

Li Yuanying met up with Dai Ting on the way back and walked in front of him without speaking. Halfway through the journey, Li Yuanying smacked his forehead realizing that he’s forgotten all about <<Ten gradual negligence in behaviors>> which he was supposed to bring up under the pretense of getting advice.

How can I forget such an important thing!

Fortunately, Wei Zheng will be there every day and will never run away so he will have many opportunities.

After the Ashina association attacked the palace, security at Jiucheng Palace was much tighter with people guarding the door of Yuanying’s room. He yawned, took a shower, and fell asleep comfortably.

The next day, after His Majesty had finished discussing official matters with his ministers, he purposely asked Wei Zheng to stay back and ask about Li Yuanying. Hearing that this younger brother was very interested in <<The Book of Rites>>, His Majesty showed Wei Zheng the short stories that he has compiled based on Yuanying’s retelling.

Wei Zheng was the first person to say good things about Li Yuanying, so His Majesty wanted to get his views on these short stories.

Tang Empire belongs to the Li family. If a prince is talented it would be beneficial to the royal family.

After experiencing the Xuanwu Gate incident then the passing of the former Emperor and Empress Zhangsun, Li Er started treating his younger brothers better and even gave them all titles.    

Only towards his youngest brother His Majesty has hesitation. You can’t say that the kid is stupid, for he is smarter than others when it comes to doing bad things; You also can’t say that he’s smart for he’s way too bold for his own good.  Most importantly, this kid grew up under his and Empress Zhangsun’s care so no matter how you look at it, he is special to the Emperor.

Li Er originally intended to give Yuanying a good estate and to let him live a good life of comfort. However, upon realizing that he might have extraordinary talents, Li Er felt that this was too wasteful.

He hopes that all talented individuals are of service to him including his own brothers.

After reading through the stories, Wei Zheng was as surprised as Li Er. If these classics are really chosen and made abridged by Li Yuanying himself, then he definitely is a rare talent.

His Majesty saw Wei Zheng’s reaction and knew that he thinks the same so he ordered that him to teach his younger brother well if he comes back and seeks his advice.  

What Wei Zheng didn’t know was that Li Yuanying skipped class again today. What’s different is that instead of skipping class to look for him, that kid instead went and created an “encounter” with his granddaughter Wei Shu.

With the help of the Myriad Realm Library, Li Yuanying could roughly sense where Wei Zheng’s article was located. Yesterday Wei Zheng has carried it around but today he did not. Judging by its position, he should have left it at home.

Li Yuanying is not someone who stays idle. Thinking about the rewards he soon came up with another plan. Since Wei Zheng is not at home, he should get close to his granddaughter and find an opportunity to play in the study room in which he would naturally have a chance to see the article.

He is determined about his plan and so asked Li Zhi to apply for sick leave on his behalf so that he could look for Wei Shu.    

He saw her under a tree. Though she was young she seems to be very fond of books and was sitting under a tree with a book in her hand. From time to time she would even write and draw on the ground with a tree branch.

Hesitation and Shame are two words that don’t exist in Yuanying’s dictionary. He ran over sat down on the ground near the tree and looked curiously at Wei Shu’s writing on the ground. 

He was impressed with her handwriting. It was at the very least much better than his. While you can tell that it was written by a child, it somehow has a charm and grace to it.

Not aware that his sudden appearance could be perceived as abrupt, he commented: “Your writing is a bit like Chu Suiliang’s.”  

Chu Suiliang was a famous court official well known for his good handwriting. He was appointed by the Emperor to record his personal notes. In short, this means he follows the Emperor around and records all his daily activities.   

Although Li Yuanying was not a learned person, he has been surrounded by famous and capable teachers since he was a child. While he might not be as good as others in other skills, his foresight was definitely not bad.

Wei Shu seeing that Yuanying could tell who’s handwriting she was mimicking felt even more convinced that he was different from the rumored little demon king. She smoothens out the words on the ground and started writing in a different style.

The characters she wrote this time are round with exposed edges, very different from the initial ones.

“This is Ouyang Xun’s handwriting!” the boy was taken aback as this is the first time someone could switch between writing styles so freely at such a young age.

“How old are you? Why are you so good at this?”

“I’m about to turn seven.”

“I’m about to turn seven. That means your birthday is near?”

Wei Shu did not answer for birthdays were private information that was only exchanged between families when you have intentions of getting married.  

Wei Shu wouldn’t answer but Li Yuanying didn’t care. He instead told his own birthday: “My birthday is near too; I’ll be nine in two months!”

He then asked why she wasn’t practicing calligraphy in the study.

“It’s such a hot day to be out. It’s much better to be practicing in the study. Put two basins filled with ice on both sides of the bookcase. It’ll be cool and comfortable!”

Wei Shu didn’t get annoyed from hearing this and only admitted that her family was poor: “Paper is expensive and ice even more. My handwriting is not that great that it must be written on paper.”

Li Yuanying instantly understood and thought to himself that he’s an idiot who was stating the obvious. Although they had only met twice, he knew that Wei Shu is not the kind to accept help from others for nothing. He thought for a while and said with bright eyes: “If you don’t mind using used paper, I have a way to help you get lots of paper!”

Even though Wei Shu said that she didn’t mind not practicing on paper but if given the opportunity she would definitely want to do that. She became interested and couldn’t help asking: “What your means?”

“Come with me, I’ll get you paper.”

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