“Crown Prince has arrived. Marquis Jingyong has arrived.”
When the eunuch’s loud announcement rang into the hall, Cheng Yujin was surprised for a moment, but she quickly got up and walked towards the door. Huo Xue-shi and Su Ke’er, still kneeling on the ground, were dumbfounded. When Cheng Yujin’s red train dragged past them, the two suddenly startled awake and quickly got up to welcome the Crown Prince.
Cheng Yumo was also supported by Ruan-shi and walked outside the screen. Ruan-shi and Huo Xue-shi met in the main hall and glared at each other.
Cheng Yujin raised her arms slightly, put her right hand on her left hand, and bent her knees slowly: “Greetings to Your Highness.”
The Crown Princess was curtsying at the Crown Prince, and Huo Changyuan naturally didn’t dare to stand in front of her, so he quickly moved to the side. But Li Chengjing walked straight to Cheng Yujin, held her hand, and helped her up without hesitation. Huo Xue-shi was kneeling behind Cheng Yujin and was utterly surprised to see the Crown Prince’s hands on Crown Princess’ arms.
There were so many people in the hall; how could the Crown Prince do this? A dignified Crown Prince actually helped a woman personally, and still in front of his subjects — didn’t he feel that he had lost his dignity as the head of the family?
However, what surprised Huo Xue-shi even more was yet to come. After Li Chengjing helped Cheng Yujin up, he didn’t make any pretense or retract his hands. Instead, he held Cheng Yujin’s hand very naturally and said: “Why did you come out? I said that you don’t need to welcome me personally, but you never listen.”
Cheng Yujin smiled and didn’t refute Li Chengjing in front of many eyes, but she never intended to really follow Li Chengjing in this matter. What a joke — with so many eyes watching, the Crown Princess remained seated grandly in the inner room and didn’t welcome the Crown Prince when he returned to the palace. Once this spread out, she would be a ready-made target. Cheng Yujin would never make such a low-level mistake.
Cheng Yujin said, “This consort doesn’t know that His Highness is returning to the palace and thus lost my composure. Why are you back so suddenly?”
“I saw Marquis Jingyong at the gate of the palace. When I asked him, I found out that Marchioness Jingyong and Old Marchioness are both in Ciqing Palace. It happened that the matter at His Majesty’s side has just been over, so I took him back to the Ciqing Palace with me.”
It turned out that they met at the palace gate. Cheng Yujin instantly figured it out. It was no secret that she summoned Huo Xue-shi to enter the palace. Presumably, before Huo Xue-shi left, she quickly sent an urgent message to Huo Changyuan. After receiving the message, Huo Changyuan rushed to the palace, but unexpectedly bumped into Li Chengjing.
Cheng Yujin then asked, “Your Highness just returned from Qianqing Palace? How is His Majesty?”
“His Majesty is all right. He is very satisfied with the moon cakes you prepared today and praised Crown Princess’ virtuousness in front of all officials. I think a reward will be delivered soon.”
Cheng Yujin smiled and curtsied: “This consort merely shows a minuscule skill. It must be nothing in front of His Majesty and other officials.”
The inside and outside the hall were full of people kneeling, but the couple talked like no one else was there. Huo Xue-shi knelt on the floor in disbelief. Nothing was gained for a man to please his wife, so she truly didn’t understand why the dignified and noble Crown Prince did such a condescending thing.
Su Ke’er was still very terrified, but she couldn’t help but secretly glance at Li Chengjing. Heaven, so this is the Crown Prince? She thought that her biao brother Changyuan was the best man in the world, but it was not until she saw the Crown Prince today that she finally understood how noble and mighty the imperial family was.
As for Cheng Yumo, who knelt beside her mother Ruan-shi, she grew increasingly pale at each sentence. In the end, it was Huo Changyuan who couldn’t stand it any longer and coughed slightly.
Li Chengjing seemed to have just remembered the existence of these people. He said with a smile: “Blame Gu’s1 memory. Gu almost forgot that Marquis Jingyong is still waiting outside. It’s inappropriate to chat outside, so Marquis Jingyong should come in first.”
Huo Changyuan cupped his hands in salutation. Upon Crown Prince’s words, Cheng Yumo and Ruan-shi pair, and Su Ke’er and Huo Xue-shi pair, helped each other get up. Li Chengjing walked into the hall first, followed by Cheng Yujin half a step behind, then a large number of palace maids and eunuchs. After Li Chengjing entered the inner hall, he naturally took the main seat, with Cheng Yujin sitting next to him. Then Huo Changyuan and the others finally walked into the hall. Not daring to sit down, they all remained standing respectfully.
Before Li Chengjing opened his mouth, no one dared to make a sound. Li Chengjing first poured a cup of tea, handed it to Cheng Yujin, and then filled another cup for himself: “It seems that Marquis Jingyong’s family is gathering in Ciqing Palace. What’s the matter?”
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