Communal sponsored chapters (1/2) by SharleneMartin, Shirley Herling, Iru, Clae, Bbs, Kenneth Corley, Shambhavi, Maggie, dj willa, Didine11, Anonymous, Sherry, and Christiine Govinden-Lohat ko-fi. Thank you for your support!
Li Chengjing didn’t come back until late at night. When Cheng Yujin heard the door open, she immediately put on her cloak and walked out to greet Li Chengjing: “Your Highness!”
Li Chengjing saw Cheng Yujin and quickly held her waist in support: “Why are you here?”
“I am worried because you returned very late today.”
Li Chengjing’s face was heavy. He had just returned. Even though he used an umbrella on the way, his hand and body were still cold from the rain. When he gripped Cheng Yujin’s hand, the coolness of the water droplets in his palm almost seeped into her heart: “I’m okay. Let’s get in first.”
After entering the inner hall, Cheng Yujin immediately ordered the palace maids to bring towels for Li Chengjing to dry himself. Meanwhile, she personally went to fetch a bowl of ginger soup to warm the body. When Cheng Yujin returned, Li Chengjing was already sitting at the table, massaging his temples lightly with his eyes closed, looking very tired. When Li Chengjing heard the movement, he raised his eyes in vigilance. Seeing that it was Cheng Yujin, the cold gaze immediately became warm.
Cheng Yujin sat next to Li Chengjing and watched him drink the ginger soup before asking softly, “Your Highness, how is the situation at the court?”
Li Chengjing didn’t reply for a long time. Cheng Yujin also didn’t say anything and simply sat there in silence. After a while, Li Chengjing finally said: “Yujin, I might have to go to Jiangnan.”
“What?” Cheng Yujin was shocked. Her eyes widened in disbelief: “Your Highness!”
“I know.” Li Chengjing held Cheng Yujin’s hand and said seriously, “I know there is a plague in the disaster area in Jiangnan, and it is very dangerous to go there now. However, I must go.”
Cheng Yujin frowned, still disagreeing: “Your Highness, a plague is not a minor matter. No one knows how the situation in the disaster area is now. What if the plague worsened during the time it took for the report to arrive? At this moment, the cause of the plague, the way it spreads, the medicine needed to cure it, and the prevention method are still unknown. Your Highness, I know that you care about the people in the disaster area, but you are the crown prince. Only if you are healthy can you save more people. You cannot take such a risk yourself.”
Li Chengjing sighed, “I understand your concern. If I had time, why would I take such a risk?”
Cheng Yujin frowned and instinctively felt something was wrong: “Your Highness, what do you mean?”
“The Emperor’s complexion is not good today. The court officials who attended the morning court thought that His Majesty was angry, so they stopped quarreling and left the palace. But I followed His Majesty back to his palace, and he… he didn’t pretend it.”
Cheng Yujin gasped and felt a chill all over her body. She knew very well what this situation meant to them.
Cheng Yujin couldn’t help lowering her voice and asked quietly, “Your Highness, you mean…”
Li Chengjing nodded solemnly: “I was also put in the dark before. The Emperor was surrounded by his own people, and this kind of news must never be spread outside. It was not until today when I was by the Emperor’s side when the imperial physician checked his pulse that I finally know… it turns out that His Majesty has been ill for a while.”
“How is His Majesty?”
“It’s not a serious illness, but it can’t be cured either, and he frequently has a headache. When the headache is serious, he cannot even sit well or eat. This used to be rare, but there have been a lot of major affairs in the court recently. His Majesty had been worrying about the disaster in Jiangnan from the begin with, and when he learned that the situation hadn’t been put under control and a plague had even broken out, the anger caused his headache to flare. I saw with my own eyes when His Majesty summoned the imperial physicians to Qianqing Palace. He drank several medicines before going out again to discuss the Jiangnan affairs with the ministers. The imperial physician said that the Emperor’s illness needed a long-term treatment and he should have a good rest during that time. However, the plague is not a trivial matter. When I left just now, His Majesty had a headache again.”
Cheng Yujin sighed. The news that the Emperor was not in good health was extremely bad for them. The reason why the Eastern Palace had been able to go smoothly today was thanks to the Emperor’s obvious support. At this moment, the Yang family had not fallen yet, Yang Fucheng was still in control of the government, and Empress Dowager Yang was eyeing the inner palace. If the Emperor collapsed at this juncture, the Eastern Palace’s situation would suddenly fall for the worse.
Cheng Yujin vaguely understood why Li Chengjing said that he had no time and had to go to the disaster area.
Seeing that Cheng Yujin had understood, Li Chengjing sighed inwardly. He tightly gripped Cheng Yujin’s hand with both palms and said: “We don’t have much time and have to plan for the worst. I originally thought I had enough time to slowly topple the Yang family, but now the situation has clearly changed. I need achievements that can let me stand against the Yang family in the shortest time possible.”
Cheng Yujin stared silently at Li Chengjing. Although she didn’t say anything, her eyes were already full of tears. Cheng Yujin was of course unwilling to let Li Chengjing take such a dangerous risk. A plague was not a joke, and it didn’t discriminate between common people and the imperial family. But Cheng Yujin knew that Li Chengjing was right. They were at the edge of the cliff now, and it was obviously too late to keep following the original long-term plan. Li Chengjing was going to make a big gamble, and the chips were his own life.
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