In the eighth year of Jianwu, a mountain flood washed away Qingxuan Temple, and the five-year-old Crown Prince was missing. Empress Dowager Yang of course knew that the Crown Prince wasn’t simply missing, and that the so-called natural disaster was actually not. Nevertheless, it was good that the child was gone. Without this ‘Crown Prince’ dangled around her eyes, Empress Dowager Yang felt much more refreshing and even smiled more.
She handed the inner palace to her niece with confidence, then waited for the niece to produce a prince with the blood of Yang family.
When the palace announced the good news that Her Majesty the Empress had given birth to a prince, his future had been determined by Empress Dowager Yang and Yang Fucheng. Whether the child was smart or stupid, playful or ambitious, he would be the next emperor. Fortunately, the Second Prince was more promising than they expected. This was a pleasant surprise. Slowly, even other court officials began to acknowledge the Second Prince.
In Empress Dowager Yang’s mind, what they lacked was just one title. There was no hindrance in the inner palace and the court, and Second Prince himself was capable. Making him the new crown prince was just a matter of choosing an auspicious day and preparing the ceremony.
However, they still had to consider the Emperor’s mood.
Their Yang family had given the greatest grace to the Emperor, and it was a given that he should return their kindness. It was she, Empress Dowager Yang, who single-handedly supported the unfavored prince to the throne. His honor as the supreme ruler and the good days he enjoyed all these years were bestowed by Empress Dowager Yang and made possible by the Yang family’s support. Otherwise, with Li Huan’s humble background and mediocre ability, how could he sit on the dragon throne?
In Empress Dowager Yang’s eyes, these all were something Yang family deserved. However, Li Huan was not her biological son after all, and as the emperor, some respect still had to be given to him. Empress Dowager Yang didn’t force the Emperor too much, nor was she anxious. Anyway, the Emperor only had one choice. Apart from the Second Prince, who else could he pass the throne to? There was no need to fall apart with the Emperor for something that was already in their palm. So, despite the Emperor’s long-time refusal to title the Second Prince as the crown prince, Empress Dowager Yang was willing to wait.
Empress Dowager Yang previously thought that the Emperor might want to sharpen the Second Prince’s temperament and thus was hesitant to make the child a crown prince too early. After all, it was not a good thing for a ruler to be too smooth in his life. Both Empress Yang and Second Prince also think the same, so the Second Prince devoted even more attention to his studies, and Empress Yang encouraged her son even more.
Yang family thought they had reached a consensus with the emperor, so they let things drag on year after year under this ‘tacit agreement.’ Who could have imagined that the Emperor’s reluctance was not to wait for the Second Prince to grow up but to raise another heir he liked.
The missing eldest son of the Emperor, whose fate had been unknown for fourteen years, the almost forgotten crown prince Li Chengjing, was still alive.
Empress Dowager Yang looked at the young man who was already very tall and not at all resembled his weak, younger self. Her lips were slightly upturned coldly. Oh, it turned out that in these fourteen years, he hadn’t been missing at all! The child she and Fucheng thought had been dead long ago, in fact, had been living under their eyes all these years. On top of that, he also took the imperial examination, got the jinshi title, and even began his official career openly.
This was simply a loud slap on the Yang family’s face. Truly ridiculous. Their Yang family had been waiting patiently for the Emperor to make the Second Prince the crown prince, but in the end, they were made a fool by the father and son’s big lie.
After Cheng Yujin finished saluting, there was no response from Empress Dowager Yang. Cheng Yujin subtly moved the tip of her eyes and noticed that Empress Dowager Yang’s eyes were locked on Li Chengjing, and she was staring at him deeply.
Cheng Yujin understood. When enemies met, their eyes blazed with hatred — this idiom perfectly fit Empress Dowager Yang’s mood at this moment, especially because the enemy she was looking at was the one she thought had long been dead. Cheng Yujin could probably imagine Empress Dowager Yang’s hatred. However, what about Li Chengjing?
Deprived of his identity, forced to hide his real name, and lived for fourteen years as another person. Whose fault was it that he was forced to endure these misfortunes? Empress Dowager Yang saw Li Chengjing as a thorn in her eyes, but for Li Chengjing, Empress Dowager Yang and Yang Fucheng were enemies.
Empress Dowager Yang didn’t speak for a long time. Although she didn’t utter any words, everyone could understand the meaning behind her silence. The atmosphere in the palace gradually became frozen, and all the palace staff held their breath and kept their head down, afraid to even make a single sound.
However, Li Chengjing was very calm. Empress Dowager Yang didn’t speak, and he didn’t take the initiative to break the ice. Cheng Yujin and Li Chengjing were both masters in appearance. Their posture, still in the salutation, was not faltering in the slightest, and they still looked calm and unperturbed. On the contrary, Empress Dowager Yang, who deliberately made it difficult for young people despite her status as an elder, looked unsightly in contrast.
Empress Dowager Yang finally opened her mouth and said coldly: “You two are polite. Get up.”
Li Chengjing and Cheng Yujin bowed once again in salute before standing up slowly, not showing the slightest dissatisfaction or anxiousness. This time, even Empress Dowager Yang’s personal Mama couldn’t help sighing inwardly.
The Crown Prince was solemn and reserved, while the Crown Princess was beautiful and elegant. They were precisely the model of what people imagined ideal rulers to be. Even people like her, who stood on Yang family’s side, thought that the couple looked perfect in their roles. In this way, was there any reason to abolish the Crown Prince?
Tuesday’s late chapter.
It’s chapter 100, woohooo!!!!!
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