Whether the final winner was Yang family or the Crown Prince made no difference to the imperial concubines and consorts. Truth to be speaking however, they would still rather see the Crown Prince win. Because Empress Zhong was no longer alive, the position of the empress dowager would be left empty following the Crown Prince’s coronation. As dowager consorts, they might not have to move away from the palace and could still enjoy old age in the palace. Otherwise? Haha. The fate of the favored concubines of the late emperor — that is, the old rivals of Empress Dowager Yang — was clear for everyone to see.
Anyway, since they had nothing to rely on for the future, they were also not afraid of taking risks. Currying favor with the Crown Prince and Crown Princess was undoubtedly a good deal. Even if they lost, their situation wouldn’t get worse than before, while winning would gain them a guarantee for the rest of their lives. No wonder Shu Consort was so happy tonight.
The rest of the imperial consorts and concubines were sour with jealousy, and they all looked at Shu Consort with envy.
Shu Consort Xu never expected fate to bring her today. She entered the palace early and had never known Cheng Yujin except from words of mouth. Her family talked about a very talented niece of her second uncle’s wife. In order to please, they even used the phrase ‘she resembles you’ to describe this girl. Although Consort Shu was curious, she didn’t pay much attention. For her, this girl was no more than a promising junior. If there was a chance, she might let her sisters in the Xu family bring Cheng Yujin along when they visited so she could take a look, but she wouldn’t take any initiative to invite the girl specially.
Who knew that when the two finally met, it was Shu Consort who had to please Cheng Yujin. The girl was the newly appointed Crown Princess. Although Cheng family was weak, there was the Crown Prince behind Cheng Yujin. What other backing did she need? As for Shu Consort Xu, she was just an ordinary imperial consort with nothing to show. Both in terms of current status and the future, the two were totally different.
Shu Consort Xu sighed in silence. At first, it was Cheng family who couldn’t wait to please the Xu family, but the situation was reversed in the blink of an eye. Cheng family was about to thrive. Shu Consort Xu only hoped now that her family would do their best to establish a good relationship with Cheng family via Cheng Min.
Today’s palace banquet was very grand. Perhaps because the inner palace rarely welcomed newcomers, an endless stream of people came to give Cheng Yujin a toast. In no time, Cheng Yujin hurriedly ordered Du Ruo and Lian Qiao to mix water in her wine so she could survive the rounds of toasts.
The banquet in the inner palace was held simultaneously with the banquet at the Emperor’s side. The female guests couldn’t make too many noises, and the atmosphere soon quieted down. Not long after a eunuch came to pass the news that the Emperor had withdrawn, the Empress also announced the end of the banquet. The two banquets were held in separate places, and Li Chengjing couldn’t get away immediately even after the Emperor was gone, so Cheng Yujin didn’t wait for him and returned to the Eastern Palace on her own.
After entering the palace gate, Cheng Yujin couldn’t hold it anymore. She was unable even to stand firmly. Lian Qiao and Du Ruo hurriedly supported her and ordered the palace’s kitchen to prepare hangover soup.
Cheng Yujin was completely drunk. She only vaguely remembered the servant girls asking her to drink the hangover soup before everything turned silent. The whole chamber was quiet, and then a chill blew in. A warm hand suddenly touched her forehead. Cheng Yujin’s memory afterward was vague, as if she was dreaming. But she felt someone was feeding her soup.
In her dream, that someone seemed to sigh helplessly: “Your alcohol tolerance is so bad. Why did you drink so much?”
After a while, the calm and slightly cold voice spoke again: “Don’t make trouble. Put your hands away, and don’t grope around.”
Cheng Yujin wondered who this person was. Why was he so nagging in her dream? She wanted to push the person away, but her hands and feet didn’t follow her will. She felt limp and unable to exert any strength. Li Chengjing was touched all over by Cheng Yujin. She didn’t have much strength, but her hands rubbed his body again and again. Against a drunkard, Li Chengjing could neither use reason nor force. In the end, he could only hold the two restless wrists with one hand and pressed her body on the bed.
“Don’t move. Go to sleep.”
Cheng Yujin couldn’t move at all. She seemed to feel either uncomfortable or wronged and let out a whimper. Her eyes flashed red, as if she was about to cry. Li Chengjing’s body tensed all at once, but before he could react, Cheng Yujin’s hands turned restless again. She twisted her waist and feet, trying to break free from the shackles.
Li Chengjing was silent for a long time and took a deep breath. Inhaling the smell of alcohol from her mouth, he finally sighed and said: “Wait until you sober. As for tonight’s matter, I will remember it for your share too.”
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