Huo Changyuan stared at Cheng Yuanjing’s pouch. His brows frowned tightly. At this moment, Cheng Enci felt bored and ran outside to chase a butterfly. Seeing his brother was gone, Cheng Enbei also wanted to go out. Seeing Cheng Enci ran into the garden, Cheng Yujin was worried that he might accidentally trip over, and Old Madam Cheng would reprimand her again.
Cheng Yujin stood up and walked out to watch over the boy. Cheng Enbei used this chance to slip away behind Cheng Yujin.
After Cheng Yujin and the boys were gone, only Cheng Yuanjing and Huo Changyuan were left in the pavilion. Huo Changyuan had stared at the other man for a long time. He finally used this timing to ask: “The purse on your waist looks unusual. Where did you get it?”
Cheng Yuanjing had long known Huo Changyuan’s mind. With a casual tone, he replied: “You mean this seal-holder pouch1? Yujin gave it.”
Although he had a strong guess beforehand, Cheng Yuanjing’s answer was still unacceptable for Huo Changyuan. He tried to calm himself down, but his voice was icy and thorny: “Really? I remember her needlework is excellent. But she almost never makes any hand-embroidery things for outsiders. For so many years, her personal handworks can be counted with the fingers of one hand.”
Hearing Huo Changyuan’s words, Cheng Yuanjing lowered his eyes to admire the pouch.
The pouch was made of fine brocade fabric, embroidered with pale blue and purple floral medallion motif. The motif, composition, and even the stitches were exquisite and perfect. Although the colors used were pale, it didn’t reduce its elegance.
Cheng Yuanjing didn’t have any particular fixation on worldly things. Besides, he had seen countless precious items since childhood, and very few things could enter his eyes. However, beautiful things naturally attracted one’s gaze. Such was the case with Cheng Yujin, and also the things she made.
Cheng Yuanjing looked at the pouch. His eyes couldn’t help softening. He nodded and nonchalantly replied to Huo Changyuan: “Yes. She rarely makes things for outsiders. However, I am not her outsiders.”
Huo Changyuan’s breathe suddenly stagnated. Dared to say such a thing so blatantly, this person truly was shameless.
With an unchanged smile, Cheng Yuanjing continued to say: “You see, even if it’s not visible from the outside, all the patterns actually are double-sided embroideries. In the entire capital city, Yujin is the only one who can make a double-sided embroidery. I cannot bear making her work so hard, but she insisted on using the most elaborate and difficult technique. Except for the embroidered screen sent into the palace for the Emperor’s longevity gift, this is the only double-sided embroidery she made. Even Old Madam Cheng said that Yujin never makes any double-sided embroidery before.”
As Huo Changyuan listened, his expression turned increasingly ugly. He even had a ridiculous feeling, as if Cheng Yuanjing purposely said this to show off to him. As a fourth-rank official, there was no way Cheng Yuanjing would do such a childish and ridiculous thing. But it had to be said that Cheng Yuanjing’s words indeed stimulated Huo Changyuan.
Huo Changyuan knew how cold and indifferent Cheng Yujin was. She trained her embroidery and cooking skills merely to add more worth to herself. It was wrong to think that she was willingly tired herself to make pastries and embroideries because she liked it. Cheng Yujin only made embroideries with her own hands on occasions like Old Madam Cheng’s birthday or the Emperor’s longevity present. Naturally, she did it after calculating the gain she would get. On the other hand, her fiance Huo Changyuan had never received this honor before.
She was indifferent to every one. Why Cheng Yuanjing was the exception?
Huo Changyuan was furious. He took a deep breath and said coldly: “She pays most attention to etiquette and rules. It is naturally inconvenient for her to give outsiders something that is used on the body. But there is nothing taboo when it comes to family, father, and brother.”
Huo Changyuan hinted that Cheng Yujin merely gave the pouch as filial piety towards an elder, and it didn’t mean anything for a niece to embroider something for her uncle.
Cheng Yuanjing didn’t seem to be care. He smiled relaxedly: “Really? I never saw Cheng Yuanxian and Cheng Enbao have similar embroidery, so I guess mine is the only one. It turns out that Marquis Jingyong has seen others before?”
Of course Huo Changyuan had never seen it. Having been repeatedly refuted, he felt extremely annoyed. Now that Cheng Yuanjing showed off again and again, he was so angry that he almost couldn’t maintain the facade of politeness. Did this person know what was enough? It was already clear, must he still expose others?
In his anger, Huo Changyuan turned his face away from Cheng Yuanjing, refusing to look at the other man again. He glanced into the garden full of various plants and trees. A wind blew into the pavilion, rustling the branches and the grasses. Huo Changyuan frowned and muttered: “It’s going to rain.”
Cheng Yujin had not returned yet.
Because Cheng Yujin had to watch over Cheng Enci and Cheng Enbei, she did walk quite a distance, and suddenly felt the wind in the back. The wind was strong and rushing over the garden, bringing moisture with it. Cheng Yujin used her hand to cover her eyes and urgently said to Cheng Enci and Cheng Enbei’s servants: “It’s going to rain. Bring the two young masters back.”
Fortunately, the two boys Enci and Enbei still had a sense of proportion and obediently followed the servants back. By the time Cheng Yujin reached a roofed corridor to shelter from the rain, heavy raindrops had fallen from the sky.
Autumn rains came swiftly and vigorously, pitter-pattering on the ground. Rain and wind knocked the tree branches, and the sound of rain instantly enveloped the whole world. After Cheng Yujin reached the roofed corridor, Lian Qiao hurriedly stepped forward to tidy Cheng Yujin’s hair that was hit by the raindrops.
When the group of servant girls was busy, heavy footsteps suddenly came from the other side of the corridor. Huo Changyuan walked in the forefront. Upon seeing Cheng Yujin, he hastened his pace and strode towards her.
“Why did you get wet? It’s raining outside. Don’t you know to take a shelter?” Huo Changyuan frowned and was about to pull Cheng Yujin towards him. Cheng Yujin quickly stepped back and angrily avoided Huo Changyuan’s hand.
“Marquis Huo.” A few strands of drenched hair fell on Cheng Yujin’s temple, to her cheeks, and made her face even whiter as usual. Her red lips opened, only to mercilessly say: “Man and woman should keep a distance. Please pay attention to your manner.”
Huo Changyuan was startled, as if he didn’t expect Cheng Yujin to be so ruthless. For some reason, the moment Huo Changyuan saw Cheng Yujin, he habitually reached out to pull her towards him.
It was as if this action had been carved deeply into his body and turned into a habit. His brain hadn’t reacted yet, but his subconsciousness already moved his body.
Huo Changyuan’s fingers twitched, and he retracted his hand awkwardly. But looking at Cheng Yujin’s half-wet hair, he still couldn’t bear it: “Okay, I won’t touch you. But you are wet, go change into dry clothes.”
Then, Huo Changyuan took off his outer coat and was about to pass it to Cheng Yujin. Cheng Yujin’s eyes became colder, and she didn’t even glance at the coat on Huo Changyuan’s hand: “Marquis Huo, you overstep the line.”
His Highness is fed up with Huo Changyuan’s persistent light-bulbing…
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