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Cheng Yujin originally planned to turn the table using the chess game, but unfortunately, the thickness of her skin was still inferior to that of Li Chengjing.
When Li Chengjing took Cheng Yujin to the bath, he asked with a sigh: “Is this what Old Madam Cheng taught you today?”
“No.” Cheng Yujin leaned on his shoulder, having no strength to speak. Li Chengjing was still not satisfied and asked again, “Then where did you learn this kind of thing?”
“I am such a talented beauty. Cannot I learn it myself?”
This was what Li Chengjing once said. Hearing Cheng Yujin’s retort, he laughed and said meaningfully: “That’s great.”
Cheng Yujin closed her eyes and turned her head away, too lazy and tired to talk. After Li Chengjing cleaned Cheng Yujin and himself, his chest was wet. When he carried her, the water droplets penetrated through the clothes and lingered on the tip of Cheng Yujin’s nose from time to time.
Li Chengjing put Cheng Yujin on the bed. She had no strength, but he was in high spirits. Li Chengjing’s hair was still wet at the moment, and his nightshirt was already thin from the very start. All combined, he looked very seductive indeed.
Li Chengjing ignored his wet hair. He took a towel, sat on the bed, and began to wipe Cheng Yujin’s hair gently: “Should I do a complete set?”
Cheng Yujin opened her eyes, and her gaze naturally fell on the man in front of her. She stared at Li Chengjing’s half-wet collar for a while before closing her eyes again in utter defeat, “Just wipe it dry.”
At the beginning of their marriage, Cheng Yujin was the role model of self-discipline and self-control who never let herself be less than perfect in every single matter. Now, she had become degenerate.
Li Chengjing couldn’t hold back his chuckle.
As the time entered the third month, not only was the weather getting warmer, but the entire palace also became lively because of the Second Prince’s upcoming wedding.
As the willow buds sprouted new leaves, there was the hustle and bustle everywhere in the palace. Today, Cheng Yujin went to pay respect to Empress Dowager and the Empress as usual. Empress Dowager Yang seemed to be hit hard by the Second Prince’s incident and didn’t have the energy to deal with trivial matters, so she simply waved her hand and let Cheng Yujin leave. After Cheng Yujin left the Cining Palace, she went to Kunning Palace to pay respect to the Empress.
It was very lively at Empress Yang’s side today, with many people sitting in Kunning Palace. After all, Empress Yang’s only son was about to get married. Although her father and aunt had an unpleasant fight, Empress Yang was still in a festive mood and took over herself to handle all the details of her son’s wedding.
Today, Empress Yang called a lot of people, and together they discussed the pattern of the fabric to be used on the gift box of the wedding candy. Among the high-ranking imperial consorts and concubines, almost half were called over. Everyone sat in a row, choosing patterns and giving their opinions in turn.
Cheng Yujin had never been involved in this kind of task. From time to time, someone would ask, “What does Crown Princess think of this one?”
Cheng Yujin just smiled and nodded in response. “I think all of them are good. I’m just an amateur, but Her Majesty’s selections are naturally the best.”
Cheng Yujin’s tongue was always slick, and it didn’t even take her any effort to handle this small exchange. When the imperial consort saw Cheng Yujin being elusive, she had no choice but to turn to another person for opinion.
The hall in the Kunning Palace was full of women’s chattering. Cheng Yujin put a superficial effort to maintain the scene, but remained silent herself. Usually, this kind of social nicety was Cheng Yujin’s forte, but today, for some unknown reason, she frequently felt tightness in the chest and nausea, plus bursts of lethargy.
Cheng Yujin began to feel worried. What happened to her? Could it be that she accidentally fell into a trap? This thought startled Cheng Yujin, and her body subconsciously tensed. It was at this moment that someone finally noticed Cheng Yujin’s unusual behavior and asked, “Crown Princess, what’s happened? Why do you look uncomfortable?”
In an instant, everyone stopped talking and quickly turned to Cheng Yujin. At this point, no one in the inner palace didn’t know how the Crown Princess was practically the embodiment of gracefulness and etiquettes. No matter when or where, the Crown Princess never let herself look less than graceful.
Even Empress Yang looked at Cheng Yujin with disbelief. In Empress Yang’s impression, Cheng Yujin never showed any weakness outside. Since the day she married into the imperial family, Cheng Yujin diligently went to the two palaces every day to pay respect. She had never been late or absent, regardless of summer, winter, or rain, and never made a single mistake. Both Empress Dowager Yang and Empress Yang clearly knew that she had no respect for them, but they couldn’t do anything to her. Except for the fact that she hadn’t given birth to a child, Cheng Yujin provided nothing for her enemies to attack.
During this period of time, Empress Dowager Yang had made many difficult situations for Cheng Yujin. Still, she calmly overcame them one by one without any signs of resentment or anger in her demeanor. Sometimes, even Empress Yang felt tired just by looking from the side, but Cheng Yujin’s expression didn’t even change a bit.
Empress Yang truly felt that Cheng Yujin was simply terrible. This kind of person either had no feelings or harbored great ambitions. Either way, the way Cheng Yuji behaved sent chills down Empress Yang’s back.
This was the first time Empress Yang had seen Cheng Yujin’s expression change in front of outsiders. Cheng Yujin’s face was a little pale. Although she behaved the same, it was clear that she looked a bit weak.
Empress Yang asked: “Crown Princess, what’s wrong with you?”
Now that she had been exposed, Cheng Yujin stopped putting on the strong pretense. She got up, bowed toward Empress Yang, and said, “Replying to Her Majesty, this daughter-in-law accidentally caught a cold last night, which affects my body today. This daughter-in-law will go back and take a rest now.”
Cheng Yujin clearly said she was uncomfortable, but Empress Yang couldn’t do anything to her. The most important thing for a member of the imperial family was their reputation. As the mother of the world, Empress Yang couldn’t act like a common folk’s shrew mother-in-law. Knowing her daughter-in-law was uncomfortable, could she still force her to stay behind to pour tea and wash clothes with cold water? Empress Yang couldn’t afford to lose this face. If she really did this, a wave of sympathy would pour towards Cheng Yujin, while she herself would become the laughing stock.
So when Cheng Yujin directly admitted that she was not feeling well, Empress Yang couldn’t do anything. She had to act like a virtuous stepmother and said to her daughter-in-law with concern: “Since Crown Princess is not doing well, you should go back and rest. There are many people here, so this palace doesn’t need you to serve. If you take good care of yourself, it is the greatest filial piety to both this palace and His Majesty.”
Cheng Yujin feigned polite rejection two times before she finally bowed in thanks and left.
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