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It was quiet in the huge palace hall, with only Li Chengjing’s voice filling the silence.
Empress Dowager Yang intended to attack Cheng Yujin, but Li Chengjing took all the responsibilities on himself. With Li Chengjing’s attitude, Empress Dowager Yang would not be able to continue attacking Cheng Yujin. Displeased, Empress Dowager Yang lifted her eyelids and said: “Crown Prince seems determined to protect Crown Princess. But since she has entered the imperial family, it is imperative that she understand the rules and duties expected from her status. Especially because the Crown Princess is the future Empress. Sooner or later, the Empress’ burden will be handed over to her. If the Crown Princess doesn’t set a good example, how can she stand above the rest of the women in the world?”
Empress Dowager Yang specifically mentioned Cheng Yujin, so she could no longer sit silently and had to stand up. Next to Cheng Yujin, Li Chengjing also stood up with her.
Cheng Yujin narrowed her eyes and showed a humble expression: “Empress Dowager is correct, and this granddaughter-in-law is thanking you for your guidance. However, His Majesty the Emperor is currently at his prime and still accompanied by Her Majesty the Empress. This granddaughter-in-law is still inexperienced and needs much guidance from Her Majesty. For Empress Dowager to say such a thing, this granddaughter-in-law cannot help but feel scared.”
Empress Dowager Yang certainly spared no effort to plant cracks in their relationship with the Emperor. Now, in front of the whole resident of the inner palace, with the Emperor himself present, Empress Dowager Yang dared to say that “The Crown Princess is the future Empress,” which was vicious beyond anything.
Cheng Yujin’s statement immediately made clear her position. Although Empress Dowager Yang was disappointed, she couldn’t keep pushing on. It was enough to use some light verbal attacks, but she must not lower herself by doing too much. This time she did not succeed, but there would always be opportunities in the future.
Empress Dowager Yang paused for a while, then she suddenly changed the tone of her voice and said again, “It has been half a year since the Crown Princess entered the palace. The Eastern Palace has been empty for the past half-year, and there is not even a single person to serve the Crown Prince. Although these words are offensive, This Dowager is the Crown Prince’s grandmother after all. This Dowager feels sorry for the Crown Prince and is willing to be a wicked person here. Crown Princess, This Dowager knows that you don’t like to hear these words, but you are the example of all the women in the world, and jealousy is a big taboo for women. According to the protocols, the Crown Prince can have three ranks of titled concubines after marriage, but now it has been half a year, yet he has not a single one. If this matter spread out, how can the imperial family maintain its duty as an example for the subjects? Crown Princess, don’t you think so?”
Cheng Yujin lowered her head. She had expected this situation long ago, but she didn’t expect that Empress Dowager Yang would use this occasion to launch an open attack.
Taking a concubine was a hurdle that any wife must pass through. For high-ranking families, concubines were as common as luxurious dresses and jewelry. Cheng Yujin saw from a young age how her father, uncles, and cousins took concubines one after another. For a woman born in a high-ranking family, managing her husband’s concubines were just a part of house management skill.
Cheng Yujin didn’t have any particular sentiments towards concubines before. In her eyes, there was almost no difference between concubines and household property. As long as the heir of the next generation was in her hands, where her husband spent his night was not of her concern. If the concubines gave birth to children, she might take them under her name to raise, and if not, it was no problem to let the concubines live in the inner yard and provide them for the rest of their lives. Anyway, it was not her money, so Cheng Yujin didn’t care.
Cheng Yujin also found some women to be incomprehensible. There were several girls whom she knew who were fine prior to marriage, but later allowed themselves to be miserable because of their jealousy towards their husband’s concubines. Why the fuss? It was just adding another object to the house. If the husband liked to play with them, just let him do as he liked. As a wife, the only thing they should do was to pay attention so that the object never became so big that it surpassed them.
Every time Cheng Yujin saw Qingfu Junzhu throw things in a fit of anger because of Cheng Yuanxian’s new concubine, she secretly shook her head. As for those who were heartbroken because their husband took concubines and made themselves look haggard, gloomy, and ugly, they were even more stupid in her eyes. However, it was also true that concubines were the cause of many unpleasant problems. Because of that, when Cheng Yujin was faced with the choice between the excellent Lin Qingyuan and the gentle and affectionate cousin brother Xu Zhixian, she did not hesitate to choose the former despite the narrow gap in their overall score.
Cheng Yujin thought that she was calm enough. Rationally speaking, she understood that it was just a matter of time for the Crown Prince to finally begin taking concubines. Rather than waiting for someone else to raise the subject, it was better if she took the initiative first so as to manage the candidates within the scope that she could control. Emotionally however, she disliked it. When Cheng Yujin thought that the Ciqing Palace she took care of would welcome another group of women, when she imagined Li Chengjing saying the same words he had told her to another woman, she felt uncomfortable.
Cheng Yujin pinched herself quietly, trying to use the pain to sober her mind. It was not easy for her to come this far, and she couldn’t ruin years of hard work for a momentary emotion.
Forgot to publish this fifth chapter 😅. Better late than never, I think…
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