Cheng Yumo was in a daze. When she finally regained her sense, she found that she was the only one left in the outer hall. Huo Changyuan had already entered without giving her a word.
Cheng Yumo clenched her fist tightly, her nails embedded deep into her palm. That was her husband, her natal family. Because she was clenching too strong, Cheng Yumo accidentally broke her little fingernail.
She stared at the blood on her finger with a dazed face. At this moment, all the servants were busy in the inner hall, and no one noticed Cheng Yumo’s situation. Cheng Yumo refused to call anyone. She hid her injured hand in her sleeve and didn’t even bandage the wound. Like a wandering soul, she entered the inner hall dazedly and listened while everybody else was talking.
She sat there in a haze, as if losing her soul.
Cheng Yumo couldn’t help thinking; she was no worse than Cheng Yujin and more interesting. Compared to Cheng Yujin, it was obvious that she was more popular with men. If it weren’t for the fact that the Cheng family no longer had more unmarried daughters, a woman whose engagement had failed once wouldn’t be chosen to marry the Crown Prince. In other words, if only she hadn’t married Huo Changyuan then, the one who was now tenderly cared for by the Crown Prince, the one who stood above and envied by everyone… should be her?
After Li Chengjing came, all the topics revolved around Li Chengjing and Cheng Yujin. Everyone chatted for a while until the noon meal was ready. Under Old Madam Cheng’s lead, they then moved to the dining room to have a meal together.
When eating, Cheng Yujin accidentally choked on the chili pepper. She frowned and held back a cough. Lian Qiao, who was serving Cheng Yujin’s meal, didn’t notice it. However, Li Chengjing saw it and said: “Bring some buttermilk.”
When the Crown Prince made his order, a servant girl hurriedly went to the kitchen to pass the message. Everyone else on the dining table stopped their chopsticks and looked at Li Chengjing: “Your Highness, it was this subject’s negligence for failing to plan the menu carefully. This subject has been disrespectful, begging Your Highness for forgiveness.”
Li Chengjing waved his hand. He poured a cup of tea, shook it slowly in his hand, and said, “It’s not that I like it. It’s just that buttermilk is good for the throat.”
Following Li Chengjing’s gaze, everyone was surprised to find that Li Chengjing asked the buttermilk for Cheng Yujin. Lian Qiao finally realized it late and hurriedly prepared porridge for Cheng Yujin to relieve the spiciness. Li Chengjing stopped her and said: “The porridge is hot. You will feel spicier after drinking it.”
Meanwhile, the tea in Li Chengjing’s hand seemed to have cooled down to a desirable temperature. Li Chengjing tested the cup with his finger and said: “The temperature is just right. Drink a bit to cool your throat first.”
Cheng Yujin couldn’t speak a word. She nodded and took the tea. When Cheng Yujin was drinking, Li Chengjing personally helped her hold the teacup. After she finished drinking, Li Chengjing took the cup and put it on the tray carried by a servant girl before gently patting Cheng Yujin’s back: “Are you feeling better?”
Cheng Yujin nodded, “Much better. Thank you, Your Highness.”
At this time, the buttermilk finally arrived from the kitchen. Seeing this, Cheng Yujin said helplessly: “I was just choked a little, so there is no need for such trouble.”
“How can this be a trouble?” Li Chengjing replied casually. He raised his sleeve and picked a dish for Cheng Yujin, “This one is light. Try it.”
The rest of the people at the dining table were caught off guard and now totally dumbfounded. Li Chengjing’s movements were very natural. When he poured tea and water for Cheng Yujin, he looked very familiar and comfortable, as if his action was not damaging to his prestige as a man. And Cheng Yujin’s reaction was also very bland. There was no surprise on her face, nor were there any signs of showing off. Looking at the expressions Lian Qiao and other palace servants had, it was clear that this interaction was an everyday commonplace.
Cheng Yuanxian was holding his chopsticks up for a long time, as if forgetting how to put them down. Cheng Min and Qingfu Junzhu, who had been married for decades, were full of mixed emotions. Meanwhile, the unmarried girls at the other table were feeling excited, surprised, and envious upon seeing the scene. Cheng Min sighed with envy. She quietly glanced at her daughter Xu Nianchun, who was sitting at another table with her cousins. If only this girl could find a fine young man who treated her just ten percent as well as the Crown Prince’s treatment towards the Crown Princess, she as a mother would be very satisfied.
Meanwhile, Ruan-shi couldn’t help but look at Huo Changyuan and Cheng Yumo. The couple also sat together, but they each had their own meal without interacting with each other. Ever since they came to the table, they hadn’t said a word or even exchanged glances.
…like a pair of strangers. No, it was worse than a stranger. At least Huo Changyuan wouldn’t be so indifferent and cold towards a stranger.
Ruan-shi sighed in her heart. But apart from her, no one at the dining table paid attention to Cheng Yumo and Huo Changyuan. All eyes were looking at the Crown Prince and Crown Princess.
Maybe they did notice. But when two young couples were sitting at the same table, the contrast was too obvious to see, so everyone deliberately avoided mentioning it.
Old Madam Cheng’s eyes swept across everyone’s expression. Many thoughts passed through her mind, but there was only a long sigh in the end.
What she saw today was too shocking. In her opinion, the Crown Prince was respectable and upright, while Cheng Yujin also had a rigid temperament. When two people with such personalities became a couple, it was pretty much a given that they would end up treating each other like a guest, living a dull and bland marriage. When Cheng Yujin returned home on the third day of her wedding, Old Madam Cheng even suspected whether the husband and wife were acting. The one Old Madam Cheng didn’t believe was not the Crown Prince, but Cheng Yujin.
But now, time had proved everything. What they thought was accurate speculation turned out to be despicable malice. People could pretend for two, three days, or even a month, but what about half a year?
Love could be faked, but not sincerity.
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