During the morning court, the Emperor personally instructed grand ceremonies to be prepared for his new grandchildren. Naturally, the Eastern Palace spared no effort in preparing the first of the ceremonies — the third-day wash ceremony — ending up in an extremely grand scenery.
Many people came to attend. These babes were the eldest son and eldest daughter of the Crown Prince, the first children of the imperial family’s third generation, and currently the Emperor’s only grandchildren. They were already the focus of attention in the whole capital even when they were still in their mother’s belly. Now that they were finally born, the attention they gathered only intensified exponentially.
Even disregarding the political significance behind this pair of children, the mere fact that they were dragon and phoenix twins was enough to gather a crowd of visitors to jam the threshold. From the seasoned madams with children or newly-wed brides, all of them couldn’t wait to rub on the twins’ auspiciousness.
Many guests gathered, turning the main hall of Ciqing Palace into a display of glitter and opulence. The invited madams sat in small groups, exchanging small talks and greetings with one another, when a group of eunuchs suddenly filed in and silenced everyone present.
Two Mamas came to follow, each with a swaddling cloth in their arms. When the crowd saw them, everyone immediately broke into an endless stream of congratulatory messages. The items necessary for a baby had been prepared for Crown Prince’s child way before the expected delivery date, but no one expected dragon and phoenix twins. These past two days, the women working at the Directorate for Imperial Apparel broke their backs preparing a pair of bright red swaddle clothes embroidered with a golden dragon and a golden phoenix for the two little imperial grandchildren. The swaddling clothes allowed everyone present to recognize who was the little Junwang and who was the little Junzhu at a glance.
A crown prince’s son was a Junwang, and his daughter was a Junzhu. The babes had just barely been born, but they were already higher in rank than most of the madams present. It was the twins’ first public appearance, so the crowd naturally had nothing but praises and compliments, not to mention that most of the guests had never seen dragon and phoenix twins with their own eyes. Under the instruction of the eunuch who served as today’s master of ceremony, a midwife recited a string of auspicious words before washing the little Junwang and little Junzhu.
The two looked wrinkled and red when they were just born, but it took only a day for them to gradually turn white and plump. Although there were still traces of redness on their tender skin, the twins were already good-looking. A group of imperial wives and titled madams gathered on both sides, watching the midwife pouring water on the two children’s small hands. Their cute appearance melted the heart of everyone present.
Naturally, the babies were already very clean, as the washing ceremony was only symbolic. After superficially sprinkling the twins’ bodies with warm water, the midwife quickly wiped them dry with clean white silk and re-wrap them in their respective swaddling clothes. All the time, the crowd was full of praises and auspicious words. The two mamas each held a child, showing them off with a wide smile before quickly retiring with their ward in arms.
The mamas brought the children back into the inner hall, where an earth dragon was burning to make the chambers as warm as spring. The room was filled with a faint smell of milk. The mamas walked into the main bedchamber and saluted the person on the bed, “Crown Princess, the little masters have completed the third-day wash ceremony.”
Cheng Yujin responded with a nod. The keen-eyed Du Ruo hurriedly stepped forward to pick up one of the children and carefully put the baby into Cheng Yujin’s arms. Cheng Yujin was still too weak to hold both of her children, so she only held one in her arms and put the other on the bed.
“Have His Highness and His Majesty seen them?”
“We first brought the little masters to the Qianqing Palace, where His Majesty personally hugged them. Afterward, we brought them to the main hall for the washing ceremony.”
Cheng Yujin nodded, “Have they been exposed to chill wind on the way?”
“No, Your Highness, we were very careful. When we left Qianqing Palace, His Highness also specially instructed a group of eunuchs to walk on both sides of the road to block the wind for the little masters. We also wrapped another layer of red quilt outside their swaddle and were very careful not to let cold air reach them.”
Hearing this, Cheng Yujin was relieved. She turned her attention back to the little bundle of joy on the bed and gently shook the tiny hand. Twins were usually smaller than ordinary babies, as was the case with Cheng Yujin herself. Rationally speaking, she knew her children were born with no apparent frailty whatsoever. Still, when it came to her children, Cheng Yujin couldn’t feel at ease unless she took every precautive measure available. She grew up healthy, but couldn’t help but worry endlessly about her children. Born in winter, it was inevitable for the twins to make such a journey in the cold wind for the third-day wash ceremony, which worried Cheng Yujin to no end. Her worries only subsided after hearing about the careful measures taken on the road.
Cheng Yujin was inquiring about the children’s sleep and milk intake with the wetnurses when Lian Qiao came in, “Crown Princess, the Old Madam and Eldest Madam are here to see you.”
Lian Qiao was a servant girl who served Cheng Yujin since she was still in the Cheng family manor. The people she addressed only with ‘Old Madam’ and ‘Eldest Madam’ were naturally Old Madam Cheng and Qingfu Junzhu. Cheng Yujin nodded and ordered, “Let them in.”
Old Madam Cheng and Qingfu Junzhu entered the inner hall. Today was the little Junwang and little Junzhu’s third-day wash ceremony that the Cheng family had been eagerly looking forward to. However, they lost to the equally eager crowd and could only watch the process from a distance. Fortunately, the Cheng family had a good family connection and their womenfolk could directly enter the inner section of the Ciqing Palace to visit the Crown Princess. Old Madam Cheng and Qingfu Junzhu entered with their entourage. Seeing Cheng Yujin, Old Madam Cheng began to ask, “Crown Princess, how are you? How is your postpartum recovery?”
“Everything is fine.” This was indeed true. Cheng Yujin now had no worries about herself, and the entire palace seemed to treat her like a golden bodhisattva. Needless to say, Li Chengjing was extremely attentive to her needs and moods. Cheng Yujin only had to move her finger a little, and her servant girls would immediately step forward to serve her. The rewards from the Emperor also came endlessly, and even Empress Dowager Yang and Empress Yang had no choice but to put up an appearance and sent Cheng Yujin various rewards.
Cheng Yujin didn’t need to worry about anything. Her daily life only consisted of recuperating and watching over her children. With such a relaxing mood, her postpartum recovery was naturally very good.
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