After Old Madam Cheng exchanged the usual pleasantries, she glanced at Qingfu Junzhu. Qingfu Junzhu was very good at socializing and immediately came up with a few caring questions, to which Cheng Yujin replied with a smile.
After Qingfu Junzhu and Cheng Yujin had finished the required mother-daughter interaction, Old Madam Cheng said slowly, as if in passing: “Today, the second child’s wife actually also wants to attend the ceremony. However, I am worried about leaving the manor empty with no one in charge and thus let her stay behind to watch the home.”
There was no change in Cheng Yujin’s expression as she responded, “Grandmother is in charge of the family, so it is just natural for you to arrange the affairs of the manor as you see fit.”
Old Madam Cheng was a little uneasy when she made this decision. The Crown Princess gave birth to a pair of dragon and phoenix twins, which doubled the value of the Eastern Palace. Now, everyone in the capital knew that as long as the Crown Prince didn’t make a big mistake such as treason or the Emperor didn’t suddenly go crazy, then the throne would definitely be his in the future. Pleasing the Crown Princess was essentially pleasing the future empress, which was totally different from their previous positions.
Old Madam Cheng spent the whole eleventh month in fear and uneasiness. Not only her, but other members of the Cheng family also followed suit in fasting and reciting Buddhist scriptures. Even Cheng Yuanxian stopped going out to play. It was not until the early morning three days ago that Old Madam Cheng finally received the news that the Crown Princess had given birth — to a pair of dragon and phoenix twins. Following the news, the entire Yichun Marquis Manor was washed in festivity livelier than even the New Year. Overcame with joy, the Old Madam immediately chanted the Buddha’s name and almost passed out in emotions.
This morning Old Madam Cheng had actually happily prepared to take her two daughters-in-law to attend the third-day wash ceremony in the Ciqing Palace. Prior to departing, however, she suddenly had a second thought about taking Ruan-shi with them. Cheng Yujin herself was born twins, but she was adopted by Qingfu Junzhu soon after birth, and now she had also given birth to a twin. If Ruan-shi entered the palace today, it might give the impression that Yichun Marquis Manor was deliberately mentioning the Crown Prince’s upbringing on such a happy day. Moreover, Qingfu was a junzhu after all. In order to prop up her eldest daughter-in-law, Old Madam Cheng hardened her heart and left the crying Ruan-shi in the manor, bringing with her only Qingfu Junzhu to the third-day ceremony.
Old Madam Cheng showed no mercy to Ruan-shi when she made her decision. Still, now that she was facing Cheng Yujin, she suddenly felt uneasy and couldn’t help but test the latter’s attitude. It was an iron truth that the current Cheng family was entirely relying on Cheng Yujin. Naturally, they had to take care of her mood and be careful not to offend her. Although Cheng Yujin was always precocious since she was young, Old Madam Cheng couldn’t tell for sure what her attitude towards her biological and adoptive mother was.
Old Madam Cheng carefully observed her granddaughter’s reaction for a while. Finding that Cheng Yujin didn’t look upset or unhappy, she finally felt a little relieved. In fact, even if Cheng Yujin was dissatisfied with Old Madam Cheng’s one-sided arrangement, no one here would be able to tell, including the Old Madam herself.
Cheng Yujin had been living in the palace for more than a year and a half. Not only was the Crown Prince a good teacher, but life in the palace itself was a brutal training ground for any person. Thanks to that, Cheng Yujin, who was already good at putting on masks from the begin with, had greatly improved her skills. Now, even Old Madam Cheng and her more than 40 years of experience were no longer unable to see through Cheng Yujin.
Old Madam Cheng was finally at ease and slowly changed the topic of conversation. Today’s Yichun Marquis Manor had greatly changed. The previously ignored small marquisate family had become the number one sought-after dignitary in the capital. Although Cheng Yuanxian enjoyed all the lavish praises and attention, he was essentially a true prodigal with no interest in doing a proper job or climbing career. Even now, he still devoted himself to playing around and enjoying life. In a sense, he was someone who would pose no trouble.
Having a prodigal as a future imperial father-in-law whose only talent was to live lavishly and had no political ambitions was actually the best. After the entire capital discovered this, they oddly felt relieved.
Old Madam Cheng shared with Cheng Yujin the latest news of the Cheng family and somehow turned to mention the Second Prince and Dou Xiyin: “A few months ago, Shou Wangfei was ordered by the Emperor to stay behind a closed door. Yet after Empress Dowager fell ill, she started to appear in the capital’s high society again despite receiving no formal pardon for her punishment. Not only that, but she was also very active in spreading malicious gossip to anyone willing to listen. She only stopped after the news of you giving birth to a dragon and phoenix twins came out two days ago.”
Cheng Yujin knew about this. After Dou Xiyin got her hand on Imperial Physician Zhao’s prescription, she learned that Cheng Yujin was pregnant with twins and immediately set off to the palace to inform Empress Dowager Yang. Later, Cheng Yujin managed to save herself and openly exposed their scheme in front of the Emperor. The Emperor was furious, but he didn’t dare to do anything to the Empress Dowager. All his rage thus went to Dou Xiyin, who was a mere wangfei. Dou Xiyin was ordered to study womanly virtue behind a closed door, forbidden to leave the Shou Wang Manor until she was deemed virtuous enough. However, merely a month later, Empress Dowager Yang suddenly fell ‘severely ill.’ Empress Yang hurriedly summoned the imperial clan members to the palace, including Dou Xiyin.
Releasing Dou Xiyin from her punishment was probably another purpose of Empress Dowager Yang’s scheme — besides using the ominous connotation to get rid of Cheng Yujin and her children, of course. But Cheng Yujin had achieved her goal and thus didn’t care much. Nowadays, no one with high enough status in the capital was unaware of the Emperor’s disgust toward Shou Wangfei. It was also commonly known that Shou Wangfei had instigated Empress Dowager Yang to harm the child in the Crown Princess’ belly, drawing the fury of the Emperor who then punished her severely. Now that Dou Xiyin’s reputation had been smeared so thoroughly, it no longer mattered whether she stayed obediently in her manor or walked around to make a fool of herself.
Cheng Yujin’s goal from the very beginning was to thoroughly destroy Dou Xiyin’s political values. At present, a good chess piece had turned into a total waste, and Dou Xiyin was no longer Cheng Yujin’s opponent. Hence, she was now too lazy to even pay attention to this person anymore.
When talking about Dou Xiyin, even Old Madam Cheng couldn’t completely conceal the schadenfreude in her tone, “Shou Wangfei was very active some times ago, sparing no effort visiting the palace practically every day. She kept spreading words that Crown Princess was carrying twins of ominous omen and was tireless in her effort to smear your reputation. Now, everything comes biting her back after Your Highness’ children turned out to be auspicious dragon and phoenix twins. Countless people are now laughing behind Shou Wangfei’s back. She probably would be too ashamed to even show her face around after this.”
“It doesn’t matter.” Cheng Yujin commented, “it’s her business to say whatever she likes, and it’s also her business to mess around with her reputation.”
Cheng Yujin’s attitude was pretty relaxed. Why should she waste her time on an idiot? As long as the idiot had no power to oppose her, she would pay no attention whatsoever.
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