Living Leisurely in Tang Dynasty Chapter 6

The two boys were working so diligently that everyone else has already had their meal.  

Not seeing the other children, Li Yuanying moved next to Li Zhi to have a meal together. He then quietly muttered: “I think Du He is not a very reliable person.”

Li Zhi took a bite off his food and hesitated for a moment before disclosing what he had heard during the day.  Du He and Fang Yiai were still young but they have already pledged loyalty to Prince Li Chengqian and Prince Li Tai respectively. This made him a little sad.

Li Yuanying took a bite out of his noodle soup while listening to Li Zhi. Noodle soup in Tang was not that different from later generations. The noodles are pressed flat and put into boiling soup to cook making it fragrant and bouncy. It’s a dish that Yuanying likes a lot.

“No wonder you were acting weird today.”

Without much care to the issue he nonchalantly added, “Even if all there is remaining is a broken hut in the family, they might still have fought over it. It’s not surprising at all. After all, your father was a prime example of this.”

Li Zhi was shocked to hear such a blatant statement from Yuanying that he almost jump up through instinct to cover his mouth. “Uncle, don’t ever say this in front of others. If father hears this, he would have skinned you alive!”

“I’m not a fool, why would I tell this to others?”

He changed his posture, sat cross-legged comfortably, and then shared his views: “Even if it’s handed to me on a silver platter I wouldn’t take up the job. Look at how exhausted your father is, he has to discuss government affairs in court every day and sometimes starts early in the wee mornings. If he ever wants to go hunting, old man Wei chases and reprimands him. If he wants to get a new consort into the imperial harem old man Wei chases and reprimands him again.  Why does everyone fight over such a tiring position?”

After hearing Li Yuanying’s clarification Li Zhi also felt that it was a little overwhelming but still subconsciously refuted: “It’s not all that tiring.”

“Are you going to fight for it too?”

Seeing Li Yuanying’s expression that implies “if you ever want to fight to be the ruler, let me know early so that I can get far away from you”, Li Zhi said firmly: “Whether it’s the eldest brother, third brother, or fourth brother they are much better than me! No matter seniority or ability it will still not be me, It’s would never be mine to fight for?”

Hearing this Li Yuanying finally managed to finish his meal and went strolling with Li Zhi in the imperial garden and diverted back to their main topic.

Li Yuanying still thinks that Du He is not suitable for Chengyang for she is slightly introverted and pure and kind-hearted.

Judging Du He from today’s behavior he appears to have ambition beyond his age perhaps due to his father Du Ruhui passing away early making his future less promising and him being unwilling to resign to that fate.  He is also impulsive and easily provoked. Even in the presence of his Majesty he was able to find an opportunity to ruthlessly get back at Fang Yiai. He’s definitely not one to live his life properly in peace.

No matter how you look at it, he’s not a suitable match for Chengyang.

Li Zhi thinks that the analysis is objective and reasonable but also knows that his father frequently thinks of the late Duke of Lai [1]Du Ruhui was posthumously made the Duke of Lai and thus is unlikely to cancel the engagement.

Li Yuanying who has never met Du Ruhui shakes his head: “Father is Father, Son is Son. They are not the same! You are your father’s son but are you the same as him? Your father has fourteen sons and even more daughters.”

With so many children the Emperor would not be able to prudently assess every aspect of each potential marriage candidate. The most he could do is a simple background check on each family’s circumstances. Li Yuanying doesn’t care about others but when it comes to his beloved nieces he is resolute in assessing and refusing any unreliable candidates regardless of whether his surname was Du or Fang!

His Majesty’s favoritism towards his ministers’ were reflected in the marriage of the princesses   

Princess Xiangcheng married Xiao Yu’s son.

Princess Changle married Zhangsun Wuji’s son.

Princess Yuzhang married Tang Jian’s son.

Princess Baling married Chai Shao’s son.

Princess Qinghe married Cheng Zhijie’s son.

The Emperor has so many princesses that there are more than enough of them to be married off to each and every favored clan.  Naturally, His Majesty would choose two of his most beloved princesses to be betrothed to the son of Fang and Du his most trusted ministers. Hence Chengyang was betrothed to Du family and Gaoyang was betrothed to Fang family.

Princess Gaoyang who prefers a lively atmosphere was not able to join them at Jiucheng Palace. The alternating hot and cold weather and her liking for ice-cold drinks caused her to fall ill.    

Li Yuanying thinks that Gaoyang is not very reliable but with her being a little younger than Chengyang it would be unlikely that she would be married off so quickly. Let’s figure out how to manage Chengyang’s engagement first. After all, practice makes perfect, the next time we face the same predicament it can be solved much easier.

Li Zhi seeing that Li Yuanying was determined to disrupt the engagement asked: “So what are you going to do?”

“I haven’t thought about it yet, let’s discuss it later.”

To be honest, he doesn’t yet have a clear concept of what marriage is but His Majesty’s punishment today of copying the Book of Rites gave him much inspiration.

Although the many rules described in the book made one’s scalp numb they are not completely unusable and could be taken advantage of for one’s benefit.

After the two boys separated, Li Yuanying went back to his room for a shower and started pondering about this matter. It was still early so he shouldn’t go to bed yet like the usual days.

He got someone to help him get dressed and went to the library with Dai Ting. As his Majesty is here to escape the summer heat, the library was still brightly lit even after nightfall as if it was waiting and welcoming the Emperor to visit at any time.

This greatly benefitted Li Yuanying. He requested Dai Ting to wait outside and walked along the rows of bookshelves intending to find the book of Rites he had read during the day.

Just as he followed his memory and saw the Book of Rites lying in a corner of a bookshelf, he unexpectedly saw a girl no older than fourteen or fifteen leaning against the bookshelf reading. He could only catch a glimpse of the girl’s side view but saw that she has eyebrows that were set apart and a high nose, no matter how you look at her she is a beauty.

But Li Yuanying was only nine, not yet at the age where he would be interested in women, so naturally, he didn’t think much about her beauty. He walked over with big steps, picked up his book and prepared to leave.

The sound of his footsteps startled the girl. She turned to look at him with bright eyes filled with curiosity.

Seeing Yuanying’s clothes she deduced that he should be a member of the royal family. Looking at his age and appearance she could guess Yuanying’s identity.

“Your Royal Highness, you came to read a book so late?”

Seeing that this girl might have guessed his identity, Yuanying looked up and assumed that she should be a low-ranking concubine. He gave her a seemingly polite (or so he thought) “um” and left with the book of Rites.

On his way back, Dai Ting who was waiting for him said: “That was Lady Wu [2]Wu CaiRen or Lady of Talents, daughter of Wu Shiyue who was on good terms with the former Emperor.”

Due to Wu Shiyue’s friendship with the former Emperor and Prince of Qi he was not highly regarded by the current emperor after Xuanwu Gate incident. Lady Wu (Wu CaiRen) was selected into the harem purely based on her looks.

Unfortunately for her around the same time Lady Xu [3]Xu CaiRen or Lady Xu of Talent also entered the imperial harem. Due to her resemblance in behavior to the late Empress Zhangsun she was preferred by the Emperor and was promoted to concubine of fourth rank “JieYu”.  

This is probably the reason why Lady Wu is hiding in the library alone reading books.

Li Yuanying has already grown accustomed to Dai Ting’s extensive knowledge hence it is not surprising to hear him recall these things in detail. Although he was not interested in the affairs of the imperial harem, he will not prevent Dai Ting from paying attention to these things. After all, to disrupt Chengyang’s marriage he needs to borrow the power of the imperial harem.

The entire Book of Rites appeared in the archive of the Myriad Realm Library after he finished reading it. The system conducted a comprehensive analysis and evaluation and finally gave it an S-rank. 

So long as the book is in the library’s archive Li Yuanying can freely choose if it should be open to the public for reading. In principle, if someone were to read it, Li Yuanying would get points from this.

He felt that no one would want to read such a book so he picked open for public viewing. He then continues to analyze it for any useful content. He was so engrossed in reading that he spent the whole night in the library. By the time he came to his senses, it was already bright and approaching dawn. Though he hasn’t slept at all his spirit was good!

He did a few stretches, freshen up, and went to meet the other children. After playing for so many days it’s finally time for class again.

There’s no need for Dai Ting to wait on him during class so Li Yuanying asked that he inquire about the Du and Fang family. News from all aspects about them would be useful, for you never know what information can be put to good use in the future.

Li Yuanying then strolls over to meet Li Zhi and a few others to move towards the lecture hall together. Everyone exuded a pitiful aura that says “I don’t want to go to school”.

When the person in charge of the lecture came in, the children instantly understood the meaning of “the house leaks from rain in the night, the boat came late while there was headwind” [4]Means unfortunate things happening one after another. This old man was scrawny looking but his eyes were sharp. It is the one and only Wei Zheng that even the Emperor doesn’t want to listen to.  

His Majesty obviously felt that the children has been slacking too much and wanted to give them a good beating. Hence he sent Wei Zheng over.

Li Yuanying blended in with his friends and pretended to be well-behaved. But suddenly the system prompted him about a new task: to locate a literary article that was nearby. Simply scan it with your naked eyes and get a pack of sunflower seeds.

The system gave a short introduction of the said article <<Ten gradual negligence in behaviors>> by Wei Zheng written close to the tenth year of the Emperor’s rule. The intention of this piece was to serve as a reminder to the Emperor about ten things that can be improved on as he felt that the Emperor was gradually becoming arrogant and complacent.

Li Yuanying exclaimed, old man Wei loves to find trouble.

Being an emperor is so tiring!

Li Yuanying isn’t very interested in the content of the article, he cared more about the reward.

He looked at the description of the reward and found that the sunflower seeds are very good. You can munch on them when being a spectator of any interesting event! What’s more interesting is that each pack contained ten raw sunflower seeds that come with planting instructions on a card. This is to allow consumers to experience growing beautiful sunflowers themselves.

Seeing a sunflower blossoming on display for him, Li Yuanying’s eyes lit up.

This is fun!

References

References
1 Du Ruhui was posthumously made the Duke of Lai
2 Wu CaiRen or Lady of Talents
3 Xu CaiRen or Lady Xu of Talent
4 Means unfortunate things happening one after another

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