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Old Madam Cheng moved to the luohan couch in the outer room to have her after-meal tea. The servant girls promptly began to clean the table. After Old Madam Cheng finished drinking her tea, Qingfu Junzhu also arrived.
Qingfu Junzhu came only to pay her daily respect to Old Madam Cheng, and no one expected her to do more. Usually, the Old Madam only said a few random sentences to this eldest daughter-in-law before letting her go back. Today, for some reason, the Old Madam had Qingfu Junzhu stayed longer and said a few more words: “How is Bao ge’er? The temperature has fallen these few days. The weather is also cold and dry, and it’s easy to fall sick. Have you told people around Bao ge’er to be more careful?”
“Mother doesn’t have to worry. I’ve warned them several times. Every night, they got up three times to check on Bao’er and properly cover him with blankets. There will be nothing wrong.” Qingfu Junzhu quickly replied. Towards her only son, Qingfu was really meticulous in her care.
Old Madam Cheng nodded. She moved to another topic: “Many people fell ill after the temperature dropped a few days ago. I heard that the Empress in the palace was also afflicted with cold wind and hadn’t gotten better after a few days. Empress Dowager was worried about the Empress, so she asked for a health talisman. Not long after, the Empress got better. Empress Dowager was very happy and said that she wanted to express her gratitude to the Boddhisattva.”
“Oh?” Qingfu Junzhu raised her eyebrows in surprise. Things that happened in the palace really had nothing to do with people like them. However, for the better or the worse, Cheng family still held the title of Marquis and had accumulated some contacts over several generations. For example, Qingfu didn’t know about the movements of the women in the palace, but Old Madam Cheng, who was old and weak and seemingly was trapped inside the manor, was the first to know.
After having the morning meal, Cheng Yujin didn’t immediately leave, but stayed with Old Madam Cheng to put herself in a good light. Unexpectedly, she heard such news. Since Old Madam Cheng deliberately said it, she definitely wasn’t chatting casually, and there must be more meaning hidden behind.
Cheng Yujin didn’t care about the affairs of the palace. Those high-ranking people were too far away from her. Although she was a daughter of a marquis family, she was still many steps away from the palace circle. Cheng Yujin hadn’t ever met Shu Consort, who was unremarkable and without the Emperor’s favor. Let alone seeing the Empress and Empress Dowager?
Planning based on what you could reach was called forsighting, but planning on something outside your league was called overestimating your ability. Cheng Yujin knew her own weight, so she would never do things that only wasted her energy with no gains in return.
Cheng Yujin’s thoughts were still the same. However, since she overheard Cheng Yuanjing and Old Master Cheng’s conversation and learned Cheng Yuanjing’s true identity, it seemed that the distant palace suddenly became much closer. Cheng Yujin unconsciously began to pay attention to the changes in the palace. For example, when Old Madam Cheng began to talk about the Empress and Empress Dowager, Cheng Yujin, who didn’t pay much attention before, quietly raised her ears and carefully waiting for the Old Madam’s next words.
Qingfu Junzhu asked: “Mother, what does the Empress Dowager means? She wants to express her gratitude to the Boddhisattva, how will she do it?”
Old Madam Cheng sighed. Her voice was filled with meaningful heaviness: “The Empress Dowager wants to go out the palace and visit Xiangji Mountain Temple in person.”
“Eh?” Qingfu Junzhu was suprised, and hurriedly asked, “Is this news accurate?”
Old Madam Cheng nodded wordlessly. Both Qingfu Junzhu and Cheng Yujin understood. It seems that the Empress Dowager had decided it.
It was not a trivial matter for the Empress Dowager to go outside the palace, especially because Empress Dowager Yang had a particularly high status. Her travel preparation wouldn’t be small. For the most part, the womenfolk of high-ranking families in the capital would be required to accompany her.
The current men of Yichun Marquis Manor were dudes without any achievements in their career, but their family still had a second-rank nobility title. Qingfu herself held the Junzhu title of her own, which was the standard second rank title. No matter from which side, Cheng Yujin had the opportunity to join this outing.
Cheng Yujin understood why the Old Madam looked so distracted today, but she couldn’t understand why the Old Madam was so worried that she had no appetite to eat. Wasn’t it a good thing for the Cheng family, who held only an empty Marquis title, to join Empress Dowager’s outings? Why did Old Madam Cheng look so worried?
Qingfu Junzhu didn’t think so far. After she confirmed the news, the corners of her eyes raised with uncontrollable joy. “This is great. It has been years since the last time I greet Her Majesty.”
On the other hand, Old Madam Cheng sighed: “It’s okay if only the Empress Dowager who want to go out of the palace. Her Majesty always has a hard and unyielding temperament. What’s strange is that the Emperor actually also wants to accompany Empress Dowager to visit the mountain temple.”
Hearing that the Emperor would also go, Cheng Yujin’s heart jumped slightly. Although a bit uncommon, it was still normal for the Empress Dowager to make a personal visit to the temple. After all, Empress Dowager respected Buddhism and donated a lot of money every year. But it was very unusual for the Emperor to follow along.
Old Madam Cheng couldn’t figure it out. Now the Emperor had passed his prime age. The second prince was growing up, and the crown prince was still missing. Qingfu couldn’t understand. But the Old Madam, who had experienced the change of rulers, was very sensitive.
Before, Old Madam Cheng was just slightly worried. But thinking about her two sons’ achievements, with the current situation of the Cheng family, no matter how big the succession commotion would be, the wave wouldn’t reach their Cheng family. However this time, the Emperor would go out of the palace, which was uncharacteristic of him. In an instant, the Old Madam began to worry again.
Could it be that the status quo would change so soon? Did the Emperor have another purpose of leaving the palace?
Qingfu Junzhu was originally overjoyed. But seeing the Old Madam’s worried face, she couldn’t help but sigh. Cheng Yujin bowed her head deeply and didn’t speak. “The Emperor has the reputation of being filial. His ascension is thanks to Empress Dowager’s support. This time, His Majesty probably wants to accompany Empress Dowager to visit the temple because of his filiality. Isn’t it normal?”
Old Madam Cheng sighed, “Maybe.”
Cheng Yujin stood aside, still in silence. Old Madam Cheng couldn’t understand why, but she roughly guessed it.
If it was before, Cheng Yujin might not think much. But now that she knew Cheng Yuanjing’s true identity, how could she not understand the real reason why the Emperor wanted to go out of the palace?
Perhaps, the Emperor deliberately went in such a big circle, not hesitating to accompany the Empress Dowager to visit the temple to show his filiality and kindness. But in the end, the real purpose was to see Cheng Yuanjing.
Cheng Yuanjing’s identity was about to be restored.
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