Cheng Yujin rarely fell ill since she was a child. Unexpectedly, her illness this time came fiercely. Although her fever had been controlled, her temperature didn’t return to normal for several days, making her feel very weak and groggy.
Falling into the river during the winter was truly not a small incident. Cheng Yujin was so listless that she couldn’t do anything except for staying on the bed. Servants in the yard didn’t dare disturbing Cheng Yujin’s recovery and were very cautious when talking and moving, trying to be as silent as possible. The yard was so quiet that people could even hear the sound of a feather falling on the floor.
This way, everyone could maintain their dignity on the surface.
But Cheng Yuanjing didn’t think so. He had already given up his identity once. Now he also had to give up his decade of upbringing in the capital alongside an official career and experience with a jinshi background and returned to the Eastern Palace as a Crown Prince with common folks upbringing and no experience. Who would be willing to follow such a Crown Prince? Only a few people knew the truth. Only the confidants he nurtured during his appointment outside the capital would be his foundation.
The Emperor reluctantly held back his anger and dissuaded: “You and her are nominally uncle and niece. How do you think the public will react after the announcement?”
“Our blood relationship is a fake.” Cheng Yuanjing replied calmly. “What’s more, with me marrying her, isn’t it the just right to prove that I am not surnamed, Cheng?”
After Cheng Yuanjing finished speaking, the room fell into a heavy silence. The Emperor’s face turned dark. After a while, he frowned and asked: “What are you doing?”
“This son has been missing for fourteen years and suddenly come back alive. Even if Your Majesty acknowledges my identity, many people surely won’t believe it. If this son is alone without any ties, others will think this is a scam. Even if some old officials are willing to believe, they must be uneasy seeing this son is still unmarried at the age of twenty. It’s better if Your Majesty decreed this son’s marriage at the same time with this son’s return. With a Crown Princess, some of the problems will be resolved.”
Cheng Yujin’s face grew increasingly paler. She actually was wasting Cheng Yuanjing’s time and made the Emperor wait for a long time. Cheng Yujin could no longer remember what she was initially going to say. All her mind was to push Cheng Yuanjing out the door at the fastest speed.
“Ninth Uncle, I didn’t know that you have a prior appointment. It shouldn’t be too late now. Please go quickly.”
After speaking, Cheng Yujin tried to observe Cheng Yuanjing’s reaction. Cheng Yuanjing didn’t say anything for a long time. After a while, he glanced at Cheng Yujin with a very intriguing expression.
“Do you think that I want to take you as my side consort?” Cheng Yuanjing was very puzzled. What kind of image was he in Cheng Yujin’s eyes?
“Don’t cry.” Cheng Yuanjing wiped Cheng Yujin’s tears gently and sighed in helplessness, “I never thought about it like this before. Even if you want to change the subject, don’t put this blame on me.”
Cheng Yujin’s eyes still hanged down, refusing to even look at him.
“So you didn’t hear what they were talking about.” Cheng Yuanjing understood, “No wonder.”
“Eh?” Cheng Yujin was confused. She looked at Cheng Yuanjing suspiciously.
Cheng Yujin was sitting close in his arms as her eyes looked up at him. From such a close distance, she was even more beautiful and mesmerizing. Cheng Yuanjing suddenly had an impulse to do even more intimate things. However, they hadn’t been married yet or even engaged, and those kinds of actions were far beyond properness.
That being the case, Cheng Yuanjing’s behavior yesterday gradually pointed to another possibility that made Cheng Yujin shudder in chill.
There was no difference between Zou Cheng and Cheng Yujin, except that as a woman, Cheng Yujin couldn’t marry more than one man. In contrast, men could marry a wife and have multiple concubines. If only the society allowed it, Cheng Yujin would also want to choose Lin Qingyuan as her main husband and take Zou Cheng as a reserve and investment, but unfortunately, she couldn’t.
The room fell into silence. For a long time, no sound could be heard. Cheng Yuanjing was the first to break the silence: “Is this your answer?”
Cheng Yujin lowered her head and replied, “Your Highness misunderstood. This subject daughter doesn’t deliberately want to offend you, but proper courtesy should be restored. This subject daughter has been rude before. Relying on the fact that Your Highness still needs Cheng family to be your cover, this subject daughter kept pestering you like a real uncle. This subject daughter is guilty. Since this subject daughter has known your identity, this subject daughter ought to maintain the courtesy between a ruler and his subject. Not to mention that yesterday, this subject daughter was fortunate enough to be rescued by Your Highness. Your Highness is the crown prince and also this subject daughter’s lifesaver. Being respectful to you is a must.”