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It was snowing again in the middle of the night. When Cheng Yujin woke up the next morning, the ground was already full of snow.
Today was the 23rd of the twelfth month. Since early morning, the palace was filled with a festive mood. After all, it was the beginning of the holiday.
Today, the government formally ended this year’s working days. From tomorrow onwards, the majority of the governmental body would be closed and would not resume their duty until the 20th of the first month.
Because the Lantern Festival also had its own holiday, the days off were combined with New Year’s days off, so the annual year-end leave lasted from the 24th of the twelfth month to the 20th of the first month. Both the Emperor and the Crown Prince, who never took the day off from the morning court despite the weather and temperature, could finally take a good rest during the New Year.
Today was the last day of this year’s morning court. Fortunately, the leaders of six ministries also couldn’t wait to start their year-end leave, so no one brought out any major issues. Having nothing to do, the morning court was soon dispersed. Afterward, Li Chengjing went to Wenhua Palace. One after another, court officials came to deliver year-end greetings. It took Li Chengjing a while until he finally returned to Ciqing Palace.
Seeing Li Chengjing was back, Cheng Yujin smiled and gave him a year-end greeting: “Congratulations, Your Highness. This year’s governmental affairs are going well, everything went smoothly, and you end the year satisfiedly.”
Li Chengjing was able to rest for nearly a month. He was also relaxed and responded with a smile: “Being able to marry Crown Princess this year is truly my great happiness. It can be seen that your new year’s greeting to me at the beginning of this year is very accurate. From now onward, I will be the first to hear your New Year’s greeting every year.”
Cheng Yujin did not expect Li Chengjing to still remember the conversation from such a long time ago. During the last New Year’s Day, Li Chengjing was absent from the Cheng family house for ‘visiting friends.’ At that time, Cheng Yujin thought that he would never come back again, but unexpectedly, she saw him hurried back on the second day of the New Year. Cheng Yujin was still worrying about her marriage then. Thinking that Li Chengjing was not at the manor, she boldly went forward to ensnare Lin Qingyuan, but was caught red-handed by Li Chengjing while drinking tea with the young talent.
At that time, in order to escape, Cheng Yujin deliberately flattered Li Chengjing to the sky. She said that she had been waiting for him ever since New Year’s Eve because she wanted to be the first to say Happy New Year to him. Cheng Yujin was just talking casually then and had since forgotten her own words. Unexpectedly, Li Chengjing still remembered it, even to this day.
Cheng Yujin was a little guilty, but she couldn’t let Li Chengjing see through it, so she nodded solemnly: “Yes. It must be the arrangement of heaven. After I told Your Highness that I wanted to be the first to give you New Year’s greeting every year, I really ended up marrying you. From now on, I will spend my New Year with Your Highness every year.”
Li Chengjing smiled and flicked Cheng Yujin’s temple: “This is not an arrangement of heaven, but the result of man-made effort.”
Cheng Yujin originally wanted to put on the air, but in the end, she couldn’t help laughing. After a while, she sighed: “Your Highness is right. How come the arrangement of heaven can be compared with Your Highness’ ability? Your Highness, you are starting your leave today. Take off that court attire first and change into lighter clothes.”
Li Chengjing also had this intention. The two walked into the inner room. Since Cheng Yujin married Li Chengjing, she had taken over the duty of Li Chengjing’s personal grooming from his eunuchs. She personally chose a light blue brocade dress woven with gold thread for Li Chengjing. He was too lazy to change his hairdo, so he still wore the crown prince’s formal gold cap.
Cheng Yujin stood on tiptoe, tidying up Li Chengjing’s collar. There were only the two of them in the warm and cozy inner room. Li Chengjing could feel Cheng Yujin’s soft breath on his neck. He lowered his head slightly, pressed his cheek sideways against her hair, and sighed in a low voice: “You have worked hard these days. Thanks to your effort with the madams, the Eastern Palace’s position has improved. It is all your credit.”
As New Year’s Day approached, Cheng Yujin took the opportunity to socialize with many madams of noble families. Although the process was slow, there was obvious progress and gains. Womenfolks diplomacy was also a profound art. With their wives acting as a buffer, Li Chengjing and several high-ranking officials finally got a chance to make contacts and probe each other in a low-key and cautious manner.
“Your Highness flatters me too much.” Cheng Yujin neatened the collar for Li Chengjing, then took out a jade belt from the closet. “It’s His Highness sincerity that moves the people. I don’t dare to take credit.”
Li Chengjing changed into his regular clothes. This outfit was elegant in color, with faint golden light from the gold thread flowing between his movements, echoing the golden cap he was wearing. Light blue and light gold added radiance to each other, enhancing the wearer’s refined and noble appearance and also making him look even more handsome.
Cheng Yujin was holding the belt in her hand. Seeing that Li Chengjing was still standing upright, she had to remind: “Your Highness, please raise your hands.”
Li Chengjing lowered his gaze and looked at Cheng Yujin before slowly raising his hands, but the distance was not very high. Cheng Yujin had no choice but to get closer and neatly tie the jade belt around his waist.
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