News always flew fast in the imperial palace. Not long after the Emperor’s eunuch arrived, the people sent by Empress Yang and Empress Dowager Yang also came.
The one sent by Empress Dowager to inquire about the news was a senior mama. She had just entered the courtyard when the Emperor’s eunuch shouted excitedly, “Dragon and phoenix twins are auspicious. Now that they have landed in the imperial family’s Eastern Palace, it must be a sign of heavenly favor. Heaven blesses our dynasty!”
Others seemed to be startled awake by this cry, and they quickly rushed to congratulate Li Chengjing: “Congratulations, Your Highness. Heaven blesses our dynasty!”
The mamas sent by the Empress and Empress Dowager looked at each other in disbelief. The Crown Princess actually gave birth to a dragon and phoenix twins? Dragon and phoenix twins were so rare — the Crown Princess was already lucky enough to get a boy in one try, but she actually also gave birth to such auspicious twins?
What kind of luck must it be? Her life was too good.
At this moment, the palace was full of festive mood and congratulations. The two mamas stood there awkwardly. Having no other choice, they could only hold back their astonishment, put on a forced smile, and joined the crowd to congratulate Crown Prince.
Li Chengjing’s mind suddenly relaxed. At first, he had difficulty digesting the news and was stupefied for a while. However, it took him no time to recover his bearing as the Crown Prince, and he calmly began to accept the crowd’s congratulations and flattery.
Although Li Chengjing’s expression was as upright and dignified as always, the tone of his voice still revealed his mood at this moment, “Today is a festive day. Those who come to congratulate the birth of the Junzhu and Junwang1 today will be rewarded.”
Everyone immediately understood. The Crown Prince was using his wealth to celebrate the birth of his children. Once the news about the rewards spread, people from all over the inner palace would surely find a chance to come and deliver congratulations.
Money was indeed effective in raising the mood, and the crowd instantly became even more overjoyed. Congratulatory and auspicious words came endlessly like a torrent. Seeing this scene, Du Ruo was so happy that she couldn’t help crying a bit. She hurriedly wiped the tears from the corners of her eyes before turning to Li Chengjing and saying with a smile, “Your Highness, the two little masters are inside now. Would you like them to be taken out so you can meet them?”
“How can this be?” Li Chengjing turned around and quickly walked towards the delivery room. “It’s still snowing now. Don’t take the babies out. I will come in to see them.”
At this moment, the people in the delivery room were busy cleaning up bloodstains and packing up all kinds of utensils. When the door was pushed open, they turned their heads and saw that the Crown Prince was coming in. Freaked out, they immediately exclaimed, “Your Highness, you must not! The delivery room is inauspicious. You will meet with bloody disaster!”
“Gu is the Crown Prince. If Gu believes in such nonsense, how can Gu perform well in government?” Li Chengjing didn’t take superstition to heart at all. He said again. “The Crown Princess is still inside. If Gu found out that such nonsense has reached the Crown Princess’ ears, the propagator would be thoroughly investigated.”
Everyone was frightened and hurriedly knelt down in obeisance: “Yes, Your Highness.”
Li Chengjing ignored them. He bypassed the row of palace servants still kneeling on the floor and strode directly to the inner room.
“How’s the Crown Princess?”
“Please wait a moment, Your Highness. We are currently cleaning the blood on the Crown Princess and changing the blood-stained bedding. Please wait here for a while.”
Li Chengjing was frightened when he heard the word ‘blood.’ He suppressed his anxiety and asked, “How is she? Is she okay now?”
“The Crown Princess and the two little masters are safe and sound. Although Her Highness is fine, she is exhausted and not in good spirits now.”
Li Chengjing waved his hand and quickly instructed: “Go to the kitchen and let them prepare tonic and supplement for Crown Princess. Take Gu’s token and go to the warehouse to get anything you need.”
Du Ruo came in and said with a smile, “As your order, Your Highness, but we have prepared the tonics beforehand. Once the Crown Princess is ready, the kitchen will bring the tonics in.”
At this time, Lian Qiao came out with a midwife, each carrying a swaddle. The midwife was carrying a red swaddle, full of smiles that seemed to cover her entire face. “To have the honor of assisting with the Crown Princess’s delivery, this servant is truly blessed, not to mention to be able to hold the dragon and phoenix twins! It is this servant’s greatest blessing in life!” After a row of flattery, the midwife pushed the swaddle in Li Chengjing’s direction. “Your Highness, do you want to see the little masters? Little Junwang is the elder brother. He is a very calm little boy.”
Li Chengjing took a glance and said, “Very good.” At this time, a palace maid came out from the inner room, separated by a curtain for Cheng Yujin’s privacy. The palace maid raised the curtain to both sides, allowing Li Chengjing to come in.
Seeing this, Li Chengjing quickly walked inside without saying another word.
Both Lian Qiao and the midwife were speechless. The Crown Prince only took such a quick glance at his children before walking away so hurriedly — did he even see their faces?
Cheng Yujin’s labor was not easy. Fortunately, the twins were smaller than ordinary children. The contraction pain was great, but once the head came out, the rest went smoothly, and the bleeding also stopped soon after. The palace maids had changed the bloody beddings with new, clean ones, and Cheng Yujin’s personal servant girls had also wiped her body with warm water. She was feeling quite comfortable now.
The labor took one full night, and Cheng Yujin was truly exhausted. Her throat was so hoarse that she couldn’t even make a sound. Right after she was cleaned, Cheng Yujin saw a figure dashing toward her. The man suddenly opened the bed curtain, startling the maids. But the current Li Chengjing had no extra energy to pay attention to others. The moment he saw Cheng Yujin’s pale face, his heart was pained with utmost distress.
Li Chengjing sat at the bedside and gently held Cheng Yujin’s hand: “You have worked hard. How do you feel now? Does it still hurt?”
In fact, it still hurt a bit, but Cheng Yujin just smiled and shook her head: “Much better. I’m fine now. By the way, what about the children?”
Only then did Li Chengjing remember that he seemed to have seen their children just now. Li Chengjing tucked Cheng Yujin’s quilt and said, “They are healthy, strong, and good-looking. They look like you.”
“Really?” Hearing this, Cheng Yujin was joyful. The labor had sapped away her strength, and with so many people surrounding her, she hadn’t even taken a close look at the children she gave birth to. Cheng Yujin wanted to get up but was quickly held down by Li Chengjing: “You cannot move yet. Just tell me if you need something.”
Cheng Yujin nodded perfunctorily, then said in a hurry, “I want to see the children.”
“Alright.” Outside the bed curtain, Lian Qiao and the midwife were still standing with a child each in their arms. Li Chengjing turned around and said, “Take the little Junwang and little Junzhu in.”
The two came in one after another. Li Chengjing took one of the swaddles, carefully placed it next to Cheng Yujin, and then turned to hug the sibling.
Because Li Chengjing said that the two children were healthy and good-looking, Cheng Yujin had high expectations in her heart. But the moment she saw the wrinkled baby bundled in the swaddle, Cheng Yujin’s eyes widened in surprise as she turned to look at Li Chengjing in horror.
Healthy and good-looking? Looking like her?
What exactly were Li Chengjing’s criteria for ‘good-looking’?
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