When Cheng Yujin jumped into Li Chengjing’s arms, she was glowing with happiness: “Happy New Year, Your Highness.”
Li Chengjing also smiled and embraced her tightly: “Happy New Year.”
“Am I the first to give you New Year’s greeting?”
“Yes.” There was a deep smile in Li Chengjing’s voice, “I wish that you will always be the first every year.”
At this moment, Cheng Yujin didn’t avoid his question, nor did she analyze the probability rationally. Instead, she hugged Li Chengjing back and said: “I will.”
After the New Year came, fireworks were set off in celebration all over the palace. When people met, they would give each other New Year’s greetings, regardless of whether they were acquaintances or not. The Emperor enjoyed this atmosphere very much and sat in front of the steps of the Qianqing Palace for an hour. Finally feeling tired, he returned to the palace to rest.
Only after the Emperor was left that others dare to disperse. Imperial clan members and high-ranking officials also returned to rest in small groups. After Li Chengjing sent off the Emperor, he had no intention of wasting time outside, so after casually dealing with a few waves of people who came to give him a New Year’s greeting, he quickly returned to Ciqing Palace.
When he saw the snow-white figure standing in the night, Li Chengjing found himself suddenly relaxed: “Why are you still here?”
Cheng Yujin turned around when she heard the voice. She was still holding a palace lantern in her hand. The light from the lantern reflected on her clothes, making the red color even more vibrant: “I’m waiting for Your Highness.”
Li Chengjing took over the lamp from Cheng Yujin and then put her now-freed hand into his palm. Cheng Yujin smiled and asked, “What is Your Highness doing?”
Li Chengjing lowered his head to meet her gaze. The lantern illuminated, adding more brilliance to his smiling eyes. “Good. Now, both you and the lantern are mine.”
The two were supposed to return to Ciqing palace in an individual step-carriage, but Li Chengjing was unwilling to let go of Cheng Yujin’s hand today. He remembered the day of their wedding. At that time, Cheng Yujin returned alone after the banquet without waiting for him. Today, she was willing to stay outside and wait for him, which was truly a big advancement in Li Chengjing’s eyes.
Li Chengjing didn’t want a third person to come disturbing their world of two people, so he sent their entourages away. The two walked slowly on the paved road, hand in hand, enjoying the first day of the New Year together. At this time, the firework show was almost over, and the crowd in front of Qianqing Palace had almost dispersed.
The air was filled with the coldness of the late night and the smell of fresh gunpowder, but strangely, it also had the feeling of home. Although the night wind was as cold as a knife, the two did not find it annoying.
Neither Li Chengjing nor Cheng Yujin said a word. The two were enjoying a rare quietness and warmth. After walking for a while, Li Chengjing suddenly said, “Yujin, do you think our future children will be like you or me?”
Cheng Yujin was surprised. She then replied with a laugh: “Your Highness, why are you asking this all of a sudden?”
“Because this is the first New Year I spent with my family, I naturally think of our future children.” Li Chengjing spoke nonchalantly, but Cheng Yujin suddenly felt distressed. She held Li Chengjing’s hand tighter and said, “Out of all numbers, I like one the most, because two comes after one, and then continued with many, many more.”
Li Chengjing let out a chuckle. Amid the night wind, his voice was clear and pleasant, more intoxicating than a precious aged wine. Cheng Yujin felt her face a bit hot. Still holding hands, Li Chengjing continued talking about the future: “If I have to say, I would like our sons to be like you. If we have daughters, it’s even better for them to also be like you.”
Cheng Yujin was curious and turned at him: “Why?”
“While boys also need to marry, their lives wouldn’t be so bad no matter whether they resemble you or me. But girls have to marry into another family, so it’s better if they are more like you, so that I don’t have to worry about them being cheated by men.”
Cheng Yujin raised her eyebrows and gave Li Chengjing a dangerous smile: “Your Highness, it’s okay if you want to praise yourself, but why do you have to step on me?”
Li Chengjing couldn’t help laughing. Although he would chuckle from time to time, he rarely laughed out loud like this: “Silly girl, I’m complimenting you.”
Cheng Yujin glared at him, but there was a smile in her eyes, “Then I really have to thank Your Highness.”
Hand in hand, the two slowly walked back to the Ciqing Palace. When they finally returned, all the people serving in the palace already gathered in the yard, dressed up and with smiles in the palace. Seeing Li Chengjing and Cheng Yujin, they knelt and gave the New Year’s greeting: “Greeting to Crown Prince and Crown Princess. May this New Year be full of blessing and happiness.”
Hearing the joyful and auspicious words, Cheng Yujin couldn’t help smiling in response. Li Chengjing was also in a full smile, which was rare for him: “You people have done a good job serving the Crown Princess. Everyone will be rewarded with three months of salary.”
Hearing this, the palace maids and eunuchs were even more joyful and delivered many more auspicious words in gratitude. Cheng Yujin then returned to their living quarters in the inner hall. After watching the fireworks, she smelled of smoke all over her body. Hot water was ready in the bathroom all the time, so she went to take a quick bath before changing into a new middle shirt.
Cheng Yujin walked out of the bathroom and returned to the inner hall, which was full of red shadows. The row of lanterns outside illuminated the papercuts on the window panes bright red. Cheng Yujin didn’t see anyone in the hall, but she was used to it and directly returned to the bedchamber.
Li Chengjing was sitting behind the screen. Seeing Cheng Yujin return, he skilfully took over the task of drying her hair. But today, instead of carefully wiping her hair as usual, he clenched the towel tightly, sucked the water from the ends of her hair with another towel, then threw both towels aside and proceeded to hug her horizontally.
Cheng Yujin was caught off guard and hurriedly grabbed his shoulder. “Your Highness, what are you doing?”
Li Chengjing carried Cheng Yujin and strode towards the bed: “Naturally, I’m going to the major task necessary for the inheritance of the country and family.”
Cheng Yujin was very helpless when she heard this answer. Her cheeks were flushed, and she put one hand on his shoulder, not knowing whether to push him away or to back down: “Why are you doing this suddenly? Tomorrow is the New Year. We will be busy from the morning!”
“I know.” Li Chengjing put her on the red brocade quilt and supported the side of her neck. His smile was sincere, “That’s precisely why we have to fulfill our duty tonight. This is a major thing related to the stability of the country, and many people have been urging us several times. If you still don’t get pregnant, I will definitely lose my face.”
Cheng Yujin bit her lip. She tried hard to endure, but still couldn’t stop her ears from turning red: “You… you… how can you still look so prim and proper when saying such a thing?!”
Li Chengjing raised his eyebrows: “Why not? Should I be red all over just like you now?”
Cheng Yujin glared angrily and immediately reached out to hide her face and neck. Li Chengjing easily intercepted her hand and pressed her hand on the quilt: “Be good. This is my duty, so please cooperate tonight, okay?”
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