Cheng Yujin was looking for a safe place to hide the book when Li Chengjing’s voice suddenly came behind. She was taken aback and subconsciously hid the book in her sleeve.
The sleeve was wide, which totally concealed the thing in her hand. Cheng Yujin put her hand to the side and calmly closed the wooden box with her other hand. “Your Highness, you are here?”
Li Chengjing was supposed to read the memorials in the east hall, but he suddenly returned. Moreover, no one announced his arrival. Cheng Yujin wondered whether the servants on duty were slacking, but she quickly remembered that every person working inside and outside Ciqing Palace was basically Li Chengjing’s people.
Li Chengjing saw the thing in Cheng Yujin’s hand at a glance. He calmly walked to Cheng Yujin and held out his hand, clearly not allowing rebuttal.
Of course Cheng Yujin refused to give: “Your Highness…”
Out of an obvious guilty conscience, Cheng Yujin almost used a polite speech to him. Li Chengjing gave her a slight glance before leaning in to grab the thing. Cheng Yujin clenched her fingers hard and refused to hand over. Li Chengjing gave her another glance. Under that look, Cheng Yujin had no choice but to loosen her hand. After a slight moment, the thing in her hand was quickly taken away.
Cheng Yujin closed her eyes in despair. Seeing the title of the book, Li Chengjing was startled. After opening it and turning the pages, he became utterly speechless. He turned his head to look at Cheng Yujin. Sure enough, Cheng Yujin had closed her eyes and looked despaired.
Seeing her like this, Li Chengjing was pretty much amused. His lips quivered a little. He then sat on a nearby couch and beckoned: “Sit here.”
Cheng Yujin didn’t move. She tried to explain: “That book is not mine…”
Li Chengjing’s eyebrows were slightly upturned. He stared at Cheng Yujin for a while, as if signaling her to continue. Cheng Yujin opened her mouth, but no words came out. Not to mention Li Chengjing, even she also felt this explanation was too weak. This place was the inner chamber of Eastern Palace. Except for her, who else might be its owner?
Cheng Yujin fell into despair. It was Old Madam Cheng’s one-sided action, but now she had to shoulder the consequence. Which kind of dignified Crown Princess hid this kind of thing in her bedroom?
Seeing Cheng Yujin’s despaired face and watery eyes, Li Chengjing sighed. He threw the not-so-serious book on the table and pulled Cheng Yujin to sit next to him: “I’m not doubting you.”
Li Chengjing took the initiative to step back, and Cheng Yujin would be a fool if she didn’t follow up. She sat down next to Li Chengjing, relaxed her shoulder, and said: “It was grandmother who forced it on me before we left.”
“I know.” However, Li Chengjing was curious, “Why did she give you this?”
Li Chengjing paused, raised an eyebrow, and asked, “How did you tell them about our wedding night?”
“I didn’t!” Cheng Yujin quickly rebut. She was ashamed and annoyed. “Am I that kind of gossiper? How could I tell others?”
Li Chengjing looked at Cheng Yujin’s moist eyes, which were flaming with anger. He couldn’t help but smile: “Okay. Since you didn’t tell them, why are you so angry?”
Cheng Yujin snorted softly. She lowered her eyes and said: “Maybe because some people think I am a boring woman who cannot serve Your Highness well.”
Li Chengjing’s eyes were full of smiles. His black eyes were like obsidian soaked in water. Li Chengjing glanced at Cheng Yujin lightly and smiled: “Then what does Crown Princess think? Does Crown Princess really think that she has no appeal?”
Cheng Yujin still refused to look at Li Chengjing, but the man was not in a hurry. He picked up the book with his long arm and slowly turned two pages: “In my eyes, it’s not that you have no appeal at all. Merely that you have no such intention.”
Cheng Yujin was startled and subconsciously denied: “How can it be?”
“Why not?” Li Chengjing responded, “You always have a clear goal. You know what you want and what you don’t want. Once you have set your goal, you will spare no effort to achieve it, no matter how difficult. Similarly, you never bother to waste energy for the things that you deem not important.”
Cheng Yujin was silent. Li Chengjing spread the book on his lap, held Cheng Yujin’s shoulders with both hands, and turned her around: “You have never regarded your husband as someone with whom you will spend the rest of your life together. He is just a tool for you. Similarly, marriage is just a process you must go through in life. So, you actively looked for husband candidates and actively chose people who are beneficial to you. After all, they are just a tool you need to achieve your life goals.”
“Yujin, do you really not have such thoughts?” Li Chengjing looked straight into her eyes. His tone was slow, but his words pierced straight into Cheng Yujin’s heart: “What you need is just a man who meets your requirements. As long as you can accomplish the goal, it doesn’t matter who the man is. Whether it is Huo Changyuan, Lin Qingyuan, or me, we are all the same to you.”
“You don’t care what that man looks like, what character he has, and you never consider him a part of your life. You have to marry, so you put marriage into your life plan. You never think about love, and just care about profit.”
“For example, me…and can only be me. Except for our wedding night where you were still not accustomed yet, you always keep your makeup and hair perfect in every moment, even in our bedchamber. You said you have to look decent in front of outsiders, but you never thought of your living chamber as ‘outside’ before. It is because I am also here, because I am your ‘outsider,’ right?”
At first, Cheng Yujin still wanted to retort, but in the end, she gave up completely because Li Chengjing’s every sentence was correct.
This was how Li Chengjing was. He never failed to notice the subtle and selfish intentions of his surroundings, including relatives and friends, and even his own. He saw everything with a clear, even bordering cold, understanding.
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