“I will wait until Your Highness come back.”
Cheng Yujin was stubborn in some aspects, and this stubbornness was truly a hard one. Li Chengjing knew that he couldn’t persuade her, so he sighed and said no more. The two went to take evening meal together. After the meal, they returned to the inner chamber. Cheng Yujin saw that Li Chengjing seemed to have something in his mind and asked: “Your Highness, what’s wrong? You seemed upset.”
Li Chengjing shook his head: “I’m not upset, but worried. When you decide to treat someone well, you are very meticulous in everything. Nothing is neglected, and no small details escape your care. But once you change your mind, you are very quick to take away every bit of your care.”
The more Li Chengjing said, the sourer his heart became. Once, he personally saw how well Cheng Yujin treated Xu Zhixian and Lin Qingyuan. At that time, she was slowly boiling frogs in warm water, with the frogs themselves were totally oblivious as they enjoyed the warm water. Now that he had become the frog, he was trembling every moment and every second, fearing that the warm water would turn cold at any moment.
Li Chengjing pursed his lips and stretched out his hand to flick Cheng Yujin’s forehead: “Very fickle and heartless.”
Cheng Yujin was flicked by Li Chengjing. She was very resentful, yet Li Chengjing still accused her of being heartless. She rubbed her forehead and quickly held her sleeve to pour tea for Li Chengjing: “Your Highness, you are wronging me. My care of you is sincere and meticulous, and I have always personally done everything myself. Which part of me is fickle or heartless?”
Precisely because she was so good that he was always worried about losing. He would rather Cheng Yujin not be so caring, not be so good, so that when he lost her care, he wouldn’t be unable to accept it.
Li Chengjing took the tea and caressed the porcelain cup with his fingers, seemingly didn’t mean to speak. Cheng Yujin also didn’t expect him to answer. She poured tea for herself, sat opposite Li Chengjing, and asked: “Your Highness, is everything well today?”
Li Chengjing said: “More or less. The Emperor has discussed with the Cabinet and finally decided to let me go to the Ministry of Public Works to gain experience.”
Ministry of Public Works ranked last in the six ministries. Unlike the Ministry of Personnel, which decided the promotion of officials, or the Ministry of Revenue, which dispatched grain and silver and was a very profitable place to work, the Ministry of Public Works had the hardest and least appreciated jobs. If something went wrong, they would get blamed. If everything went well, the credit wouldn’t be theirs. It was a hard place to work.
Cheng Yujin said very euphemistically: “Your Highness, this task is bestowed by His Majesty. Nothing is easy from the start. This is a Your Highness’ chance to temper yourself and gain experience.”
Li Chengjing nodded. Three feet of ice wasn’t caused by one cold day1. Yang family had been in charge of the government for more than twenty years, and their influence wasn’t easy to be shaken. Li Chengjing said: “Although it’s not too good, I have expected this. I used to hold the post in the Ministry of Public Works. Now that I go back, the personnel is ready to use. A small sign can indicate a big change, and from the first small beginnings, one can see how things will develop. By starting from trivial tasks, I can slowly convince others of my ability.”
After he finished speaking, he looked at Cheng Yujin: “What about you? What happened when you went to see Empress Dowager today?”
Cheng Yujin couldn’t help but sigh: “Empress Dowager asked me to learn by helping manage the six palaces, but I refused, so she asked me to arrange the Mid-Autumn Festival banquet.”
Li Chengjing raised an eyebrow: “It’s hard but thankless. You have just entered the palace and cannot be too eye-catching. The task she gave you isn’t a good one.”
“We are the same.” Cheng Yujin replied without hesitation. The situation of both husband and wife was not very good. They exchanged a glance and then sighed with a smile.
Li Chengjing held his cup and lightly toasted Cheng Yujin: “I thank Crown Princess for your hard work.”
“Nothing. I am just a small infantry, nothing more than a flower on a brocade2. The real effort will depend on Your Highness.” Cheng Yujin picked up her cup and said: “I will use tea in place of wine to give Your Highness a toast as my gesture of thanks. From now on, I am relying on you.”
Li Chengjing glanced at her cup and said, “If you want to thank me, you should be more sincere. What’s the use of tea?”
“Cannot.” Cheng Yujin rejected, “My alcohol tolerance isn’t good. I will get drunk.”
Li Chengjing slowly turned the cup and said, “We are alone in the inner chamber. So what if you get drunk?”
Cheng Yujin frowned and said solemnly: “I’m speaking seriously here. Stop having messy thoughts.”
Li Chengjing was stunned for a moment and couldn’t help laughing: “I truly didn’t think about that. Niece, what are you actually thinking?”
Cheng Yujin’s face was getting colder and colder, and she glared at him fiercely: “Since you are such a gentleman, just drink by yourself.”
Li Chengjing held back his laughter and reached out his hand to hold Cheng Yujin: “Okay, don’t be angry. I was wrong. Here, I will give you this tea. Calm your anger, okay?”
Cheng Yujin was pulled to sit next to Li Chengjing and was forced to accept his cup of tea. She looked at the person before her eyes, who still looked as noble and proper as usual, and suddenly felt inconceivable: “Don’t you dislike being called Ninth Uncle by me? Why are you calling me niece now?”
“It’s not the same.” Li Chengjing held Cheng Yujin’s shoulder with one hand. His eyes were full of smiles. “If you call me Ninth Uncle and treat me as a respectful elder all the time, I naturally feel unhappy. But if we are doing it at night, this is part of bedchamber play.”
Men usually had unspeakable ‘hobbies.’
Cheng Yujin exploded with a bang. She completely lost her mind and slapped Li Chengjing’s hand furiously: “You…you!!! I am so stupid for listening seriously!”
Bedchamber play? The hell with bedchamber play!
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