Living Leisurely in Tang Dynasty Chapter 33

Li Er was in an extremely bad mood. He sat on his throne and waited for the group to return.

Chengqian was worried about his sisters and father for he was seething with anger. He wanted to put in a comforting word but didn’t know where to start. This father and son duo hasn’t spoken to each other for a long time.

Chengqian didn’t leave but sat quietly and waited with the Emperor. When someone updated that the group has arrived, Chengqian instantly sat up straight and looked out.

The first person to come running in was none other than Sizi whose hand was being held by Yuanying. Sizi was the most beloved daughter of Li Er. Yuanying and her exchanged brief plans prior. As soon as she entered the room, she immediately rushed towards the Emperor’s arms shouting: “Father!”

Followed by Gao Yang, Xincheng and Hengshan; all shouting father sweetly in unison.

Being surrounded by all four of his precious daughters, most of Li Er’s anger dissipated at once.

Yuanying saw this change on Li Er’s face and he too tried to slowly lean forward intending to test if he has a chance to sell his good boy image.

The Emperor instantly caught a glimpse of his sneaky behaviour and the anger within him shot up again.

“You stand aside!”

Li Yuanying had to obediently retreat to one side and stand still.

Aihh…if Gao Yang and the others weren’t here, he would have acted more shamelessly.

With such a big incident, it’s impossible for His Majesty’s anger to just dissipate so easily. It was useless for the four princesses to act so coquettishly. He quickly reverted to an angry expression and asked them what had happened. His Majesty specifically ordered Li Yuanying and Gao Yang to not make any comments for these two little devils were too sneaky for their own good and he no longer believes the nonsense they spew.

Chengyang who is known to be honest was selected as the representative to re-tell the whole incident.  Hearing that the children didn’t know what or where Beili was and only got curious when Gao Yang heard about it from several brothers, his Majesty’s expression softened and he asked Gao Yang: “Which brothers?”

Gao Yang kept her mouth shut and refused to answer.

“You’re quite loyal, aren’t you?” His Majesty Li Er sneered and called his men to name all his sons who usually played polo with the princess and to punish all of them together. Fair and just!

Gao Yang’s eyes widened. Although she didn’t betray her brothers, the Emperor was still able to identify everyone.

His Majesty motioned for Chengyang to continue.

Hearing that Yuanying saw a Pipa and remembered his late father, Li Er glanced over at him and said nothing. It was when Chengyang mentioned Fang Jun making a scene that caused the blue veins on his forehead to pound violently. This couple is really something, the girl follows her uncle to such a dodgy establishment while the other one is even more amazing and tried to sabotage others and coincidentally met his fiancée!

Since Chengyang has already pointed out Fang Jun, Yuanying who was standing on the side couldn’t help but interrupt: ” See brother! I told you so, you need to investigate carefully before choosing your future son-in-law. Didn’t you say you had deliberated on this seriously before…. “

The Emperor shouted: “Shut up!”

Li Yuanying turned back and stood with his back facing the Emperor, ignoring him.

Chengyang might be honest, but she still knows how to cover up for Li Yuanying. She didn’t mention anything about his arrangement with Su Qi Niang. She only briefly mention that Qi Niang figured out that Yuanying was the Prince of Teng and gave her pipa to him. Then Li Dejian arrived.

Her statement which omitted certain parts did not arouse suspicion from His Majesty. Li Er looked at Yuanying who had his back facing him and did not know how to scold him to relieve his anger.

This kid is horrible but he himself was also misled into bringing the girls to Beili. Being in such a place, he didn’t do anything ridiculous but instead thought about his late father.

If this was someone else, Li Er would think that he’s talking nonsense trying to defend himself. However, it’s true that the late Emperor’s last few years in Da’an Palace was spent like that – addicted to singing and dancing, immersed in beautiful women, and even playing the Pipa for his concubines when he was in the mood. Although Li Yuanying was very young back then, he should still have slight recollection of this in his memory.  It’s not impossible for him to think about his late father when he walks into a place like Beili.

The Emperor paused for awhile before sternly lecturing the princesses and sending them home to copy books and reflect on their mistakes as punishment.

Sizi wanted to save Li Yuanying and said cautiously: “Young Uncle—”

His Majesty had a grim expression indicating no more negotiation: “You go back and don’t run around.”

As soon as the girls left, only the Emperor,Chengqian and Yuanying were left.

Chengqian considered in his heart how to speak good for Li Yuanying.

His Majesty glanced at Chengqian then scolded Yuanying who was still facing away from them: “Turn around!”

 Seeing that the girls were driven away by His Majesty, Yuanying decided to process Li Er’s “turn around” to become “come and sit down”. He ran over to sit beside His Majesty. Seeing this Chengqian was speechless.

When Li Er saw how Li Yuanying was shamelessly trying to lean toward him, he couldn’t help but scold him: “Can you stop for two days? Why do you cause trouble wherever you go?!”

This statement sounded unreasonable to the boy.

“What cause trouble? We were just listening to music, what’s wrong? Just because others might go to Beili with different intentions, those who wishes to just listen to music is not allowed to visit?

He continued in a sneering tone: “Those with impure intentions will look at everyone and think dirty. Like that second son of the Fang clan; arrogant when he hasn’t seen us but when you invite him to join us he was so frightened that he disappeared in the blink of an eye!”

This was the reason why His Majesty wanted Li Yuanying to shut up. Everything that comes out of his mouth is justified into something that seems to make sense. Thinking about the future son-in-law he himself has chosen, he felt worst.  Looking at Yuanying from top to bottom, left to right, all he sees is an eyesore!

“I’ll be going to Li Mountain in two days. If you manage to copy the entire <<Book of Songs>> [1]Shih Jing also known as classics of poetry, the oldest existing collection of Chinese poetry comprising 305 works dating from the 11th to 7th centuries BC. in two days, I’ll take you with me.”

When Yuanying heard this, his face turned bitter. Although he has grown up slightly and is reading much more, he has no interest in poems. Very boring with many uncommon words that he can’t understand, what’s so good about it!

The boy asked tentatively: “Then if I don’t go to Li Mountain, can I not copy it?”

Li Er sneered: “Okay! Don’t go anywhere else from now on. Up to you if you want to copy the book.”

Li Yuanying immediately shut up.

Both Li Yuanying and Li Chengqian were then promptly kicked out by the Emperor.

Yuanying saw that his eldest nephew was trying his best to sneak in a good word for him and so he was touched. He spoke in a soft voice and shared his experience: “Chengqian, you don’t have to worry! As long as you reason with the Emperor, his anger will quickly dissipate. The Emperor punishes us just to shut other people’s mouths, he’s not mad at us anymore.”

After that, he continued on earnestly trying to get Chengqian to understand and implement the basic principle of “acting weak when the enemy is strong, and acting strong when the enemy is weak”. Whenever His Majesty, Old man Kong or other teachers were to scold them fiercely, you must just sincerely admit your mistakes. Then, just wait for the episode to pass before continuing to do bad things after!

Chengqian recalled the scene of Yuanying getting along with his father, he vaguely could guess why his father is so tolerant towards this uncle. Ordinary people do not have the bravery or lack of shame like Li Yuanying!

“I’ll remember this.” (Li Chengqian)

Li Yuanying showed off a satisfied proud face like he has just taught his disciple a new trick.

They continued on another matter: “There’s news about doctor Sun from Yizhi. He’s at a village not far from Li Mountain. Since my father the Emperor is visiting Li mountain in two days, it wouldn’t be a problem for the old doctor to pay a visit and treat him.”

Yuanying was ecstatic. “Looks like the Fang Clan still has a rather reliable son, unlike the other one.”

“He’s a just teenager. Who isn’t promiscuous at that age? It’s not a big deal that he’s at Beili.” (Li Chengqian)

Yuanying was still not satisfied as he’s very concern about the well-being and happiness of his nieces.

“There’s nothing wrong in going to Beili, the issue is that he didn’t dare to admit it. He doesn’t give off a responsible vibe. Old Fang is powerful but if his son can’t stand up for himself, it doesn’t matter how powerful dad is, it’s useless. If you were Gao Yang, would you want such a husband!”

“You make much sense but the kid is only in his teens. Who’s to say he wouldn’t mature and become more responsible and stand up for himself in the future?” He patted Yuanying’s shoulder and advised him not to overthink. Instead, better go and finish his homework.

Yuanying carried a bitter look to find the book he needed. Much to his dismay, this thing has several times more words than the Book of Rites!

Li Yuanying complained to Lady Wu who helped him locate the book:”Why do you think the Emperor wants me to copy this stuff? I don’t want to read so many poems!”

“The poems in the <<Book of Songs>> were originally ballads collected during the Zhou Dynasty. In it are three main genres: folk songs, court music, and songs of praises. The first one comes from the common public where they sing of their thoughts and practices. The second one is court music played by nobles during banquets or official ceremonies and the final one being music used during ceremonies at the ancestral temple. There are also some satirical chants from the common people.” (Lady Wu of Talents)

She continued with a smile: ” His Majesty wants you to copy this, maybe because he wants you to learn more about etiquette and music.”

Hearing this, Yuanying instantly understood the Emperor’s intentions: “Hmmph! Last time I was asked to copy the Book of Rites and this time the Book of Songs. Such a bad person! If you want to punish someone then just punish them. Don’t have to also take the opportunity to take a jab at me about my lack of musical knowledge!”

Lady Wu chose not to respond. Not everyone can freely talk bad about the Emperor behind his back.

In the whole world, she’s only seen one guy bold enough.

Yuanying didn’t say anything else and just walked away with his thick book. As he walked home, he swore in his heart that when his corns are ready for harvest, everyone would get a packet of popcorn except the Emperor Li Er. Let’s leave him out and make him jealous!

There were more than 300 poems and the boy immersed himself in working on them for the next two days. However, he only managed to complete a small portion of his homework on the day of his departure.

Yuanying’s inner desire to play truant became strong and he went to see his brother with his partially finished work and cried: “No matter how much I copy, I can’t finish it!”

The Emperor glanced at him and said lightly: “Pack up,  we’re going to Li mountain.”

Seeing Li Yuanying’s overjoyed face, he paused for a moment before slowly completing his sentence,: “After arriving at Li mountain, you continue working on it, you’ll finish it one day.”

Li Yuanying: “…”

He then decided to ignore His Majesty Li Er.

The Emperor is making a trip here to try and recuperate his sick body so he did not bring many people with him. Even the Crown prince was left behind to deal with the court affairs. Before leaving, Chengqian gave Yuanying his personal token and asked him to personally escort Sun Simiao. Since this is a matter regarding the Emperor, he wouldn’t trust others to carry out the task.

Li Yuanying is rarely entrusted with heavy responsibilities so he put away the token carefully. He also managed to hear some gossip about the Fang family from Chengqian: Fang Xuanling immediately went to ask the Emperor for forgiveness the next day. He reasoned that his second son is naughty and so had been taught a hard lesson. I heard that Fang’s second son has become sick and hasn’t been seen outside. Not sure if it’s real illness or if he was beaten by his father. Moreover, Fang Xuanling had two wounds on his neck, looks like someone scratched at him!

This incident of Li Yuanying’s managed to make the Fang household go crazy!

Yuanying thinks that he’s innocent: “I really just wanted to listen to a song, who knew he would come make a commotion and snatch people?”

Chengqian didn’t think the boy was wrong. After all, he didn’t know about Beili before this incident. He didn’t say more about the incident but only persuaded him that Gao Yang’s marriage is being taken care of by the Emperor and he doesn’t have to worry too much about it. The most important task at hand is to ask Doctor Sun to heal the Emperor’s ailments. If he could heal all pain and old injuries on the Emperor, even better”

Yuanying agreed and immediately ran away with the token of his eldest nephew.

References

References
1 Shih Jing also known as classics of poetry, the oldest existing collection of Chinese poetry comprising 305 works dating from the 11th to 7th centuries BC.

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