Until the newly-married couple left, Empress Dowager Yang’s face was still cold. The Mama helped Empress Dowager Yang back to the inner hall and then carefully helped her change out of her formal wear. The Mama then tentatively said: “Empress Dowager, what are you worried about? You are the most powerful woman in the country, and everything is always done according to your will. Being too emotional will affect your body.”
Empress Dowager Yang sneered: “This Dowager originally thought everything was going well. Once the Second Prince is formally named the crown prince, This Dowager will no longer have any worries. Who knows that the position would suddenly get robbed by the eldest son who came out of nowhere? He and the Empress have been husband and wife for so many years, yet he was able to conceal it for so long. Heh, it turns out that This Dowager has underestimated our Emperor.”
The Mama didn’t dare to reply, let alone persuade. She could only wait for Empress Dowager Yang to calm down and then vaguely said: “The Empress is blessed, and she will be more blessed. Both she and Second Prince respect you the most. Empress Dowager, in the future, you will no longer need to be so troubled.”
Empress Yang was already the Empress, what kind of ‘more blessing’ could she get? Empress Dowager Yang didn’t respond to the Mama’s words, but her attitude was obviously an acquiescence. After a while, Empress Dowager Yang said heavily: “The matter has come to this point, and it’s useless to say anything. Since the Crown Prince is still alive, it’s impossible to let him stay outside. When This Dowager heard that the Crown Prince was washed by mountain flood and his whereabouts were unknown, This Dowager did think that the situation was not so simple. It was certainly not a coincidence that he came back. But who would expect that he has been living in the capital all this time and even serving as an official for several years?”
Mentioning this, Empress Dowager Yang became furious again. It took her a while to regain her composure: “Things have come this far, but it is never too late to fix. This Dowager originally wanted to betroth Xiyin to him. It was unfortunate that the Yang family has no girl in this generation. However, Xiyin is also a half Yang family. With her as the Crown Princess, the Crown Prince would be tied forever to the Yang family. Unexpectedly, he has already found a candidate on his own. Before This Dowager had the chance to prepare the marriage bestowment, the Emperor had already released the edict. An Emperor’s edict is absolute. This Dowager cannot do anything and has to give up.”
The Mama tentatively asked: “Empress Dowager, this Crown Princess seems…”
This was also the aspect that confused Empress Dowager Yang. She had been an empress for many years and finally became empress dowager. Her eyes had long been trained to be very critical. However, this Cheng Yujin actually made her confused.
This woman was indeed beautiful and attractive, but there was no shortage of beauties in an emperor’s inner palace. Here, personality was the most important. However, Cheng Yujin was also strange in this aspect. Her personality…it was as if she had no personality.
Her every move was too standard, and she simply was the ultimate model of a virtuous, intelligent, capable, dignified, and beautiful main wife. Because every part of her was too in line with the stereotype, she seemed to have no personal trace, which made her seem inhumane.
Empress Dowager Yang had lived for many years, but she had never seen such a person before. Unable to gauge Cheng Yujin’s depth, Empress Dowager Yang didn’t know what to do with her. This feeling seemed to remind Empress Dowager Yang when the previous emperor was still alive, when she was still locked in a deadly battle with other imperial concubines.
Empress Dowager Yang felt ridiculous. How could a mere crown princess remind her of the old feeling? Over these years, all of her old rivals had been killed by her. How could such an immature girl be her opponent?
Empress Dowager Yang shook her head and smiled. It seemed that she had been thinking too much lately. The fatigue made her suspicious for no reason. She stopped thinking about it and said again: “Merely a fifteen-year-old little girl. No matter how capable she is, what can she do?”
After leaving Cining Palace, Cheng Yujin and Li Chengjing went to the Empress’ Kunning Palace. The Emperor was also at the Kunning Palace today. Seeing Li Chengjing come with his wife, the Emperor felt very emotional. Cheng Yujin was quickly called out as soon as she bent down to bow: “We are family, no need to be polite. Li Chengjing gets married late, and he doesn’t have an easy life either. Now that you two have been married, you must support each other and live well.”
The two responded in unison: “Yes.”
The Emperor gave a few more auspicious words and then bestowed a generous meeting gift. Seeing the Emperor’s attitude, Empress Yang also needed to say something, so she also gave a few auspicious words with a smile.
However, although Empress Yang was smiling, her expression showed her reluctance. Her mood at this moment was indeed terrible.
Empress Yang’s gaze fell on the Crown Princess. This woman was young and beautiful, dignified and elegant, just like the ideal crown princess everyone imagined. Her attire was second only to the empress, but she was younger and more brilliant than Empress Yang.
Empress Yang had dominated the Emperor’s inner palace for many years. No one dared to compete with her, so Empress Yang was unable to feel the passage of time, nor did she ever receive a real evaluation. In fact, Empress Yang’s appearance was just average, and both her ability and temperament were mediocre. But with Empress Dowager Yang and Yang Fucheng on her back, everyone couldn’t wait to flatter her. Who dared to point her shortcomings?
So Empress Yang had been living a comfortable and satisfying life for decades. It was not until this moment when she looked at the young Crown Princess that she felt it very clearly: she was old.
Li Chengjing had grown up. The frail and sickly child had grown into a handsome young man, but she was getting old. Now, Li Chengjing had brought back a wife. The Crown Princess’ phoenix crown, diyi dress, accessories, and jewelry reminded Empress Yang that this Crown Princess was here to replace her.
The Crown Prince was the heir apparent to the throne and his wife, the Crown Princess, was the future empress.
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