When Cheng Yujin saw Zhai Yanlin came from behind, complicated feelings flashed through her mind, and for a moment, she didn’t know what to do.
Old Madam Cheng’ coincidentally’ told her to visit the garden. Cheng Yumo left ‘coincidentally.’ And she ‘coincidentally’ met Zhai Yanlin here. No matter what, it certainly was not coincidental.
Old Madam Cheng actually reached a consensus with Old Madam Zhai in such a short time and arranged for their chance encounter in the garden. Truly hard work. Should she feel grateful?
However, the matter had happened. It was useless to insist on finding the cause and effect or venting her emotions now. When she turned around to face Zhai Yanlin, Cheng Yujin had calmed down. However, she had no intention to move from her place. Separated by half of the long corridor, she greeted Zhai Yanlin: “Duke Cai.”
Compared with Cheng Yujin’s polite alienation, Zhai Yanlin was enthusiastic. He didn’t care about the distance at all. Women were shy and reserved. If she didn’t come to him, he just needed to walk towards her.
Zhai Yanlin strode towards Cheng Yujin. As he approached, the details of Cheng Yujin’s appearance became apparent. Zhai Yanlin couldn’t help sighing in admiration. His initial view was correct. Cheng Yujin was very beautiful, like an excellent jade. Although she wore plain clothes, she was still beautiful. But her current attire was far from showing her true potential. A woman like her should use all the precious things in the world. All kinds of gold, silver, jade, and gems should adore her body. Her disposition was to be revered by many, and be admired like the sun and the moon.
Out of a man’s instinct, seeing a beauty made Zhai Yanlin happy. He had seen countless beauties, and his late wife and concubines were all of an outstanding look. But strangely enough, ever since he had seen Cheng Yujin, he always missed her. It was just a few months since he last saw her, but Zhai Yanlin couldn’t bear it. When he heard the news that the Empress Dowager was going to go out of the palace, his first reaction was not to analyze the implied meaning, but to feel joyful.
Cheng Yujin would definitely join the occasion, and he finally had a chance to see her again.
This random encounter’ was actually his instruction. Even if Old Madam Zhai wanted to see Cheng Yujin personally, she wouldn’t so brashly ask for Cheng Yujin and Zhai Yanlin to meet directly. This matter was secretly arranged by Zhai Yanlin himself.
On the one hand, Zhai Yanlin was aware that he was acting outside the decorum. On the other hand, he was immersed in the joy of seeing Cheng Yujin again. Zhai Yanlin’s eyes gleamed invasively while he got closer and closer to Cheng Yujin. Cheng Yujin frowned. Without even bothering to pretend, she took a few steps backward.
“Duke Cai, please don’t get closer.” Cheng Yujin stood straight and said coldly. “Men and women should keep their distance. Although this little girl accidentally meets Duke Cai, if others see us, they may misunderstand. It’s better not to stand too close.”
Zhai Yanlin raised his eyebrows and smiled playfully: “What does eldest Miss Cheng mean?”
Cheng Yujin was annoyed by Zhai Yanlin’s slightly provocative tone and playful manner. It was as if he thought that he had completely seen through her and that they were exchanging a flirting banter. Cheng Yujin had a high double standard. She liked to appraise men’s worth to choose the best possible husband candidate. However, she couldn’t accept others did the same thing to her.
Cheng Yujin’s expression was frigid, and even her smile was sarcastic: “What do I mean? Exactly what Duke Cai just heard.”
Zhai Yanlin suddenly froze in place. The playfulness on his face disappeared. He originally thought that Cheng Yujin was merely playing hard to catch. Women were like this. In order to show their worth, they would pretend to be aloof to hang men’s appetite.
Zhai Yanlin had seen plenty of women who pretended to be reserved and distant, waiting for the men to chase them. Zhai Yanlin always felt impatient by this trick, but he didn’t feel averse when it came to Cheng Yujin and was willing to play along. However, Zhai Yanlin was not stupid. From Cheng Yujin’s last words, he heard only a total alienation.
She actually rejected him?
Zhai Yanlin couldn’t believe it. His face sank, and his voice turned cold: “Eldest Miss Cheng, since you are coming here, you must already know everything you should know. Showing this kind of attitude at this juncture, what is your intention?”
Zhai Yanlin did not hide what he had done. Cheng Yujin did not evade either, and raised her head to meet Zhai Yanlin’s eyes: “Since Duke already knows, I might as well say it straight. When I go to greet my grandmother just now, I also met Old Madam Zhai.” Cheng Yujin paused only for a moment. “Then, what does Duke Cai want to do?”
Zhai Yanlin was a bit surprised. He knew that Cheng Yujin had mostly seen through the Zhai family’s intention, or to be precise, his intention. However, due to a woman’s reserved nature, Zhai Yanlin thought that Cheng Yujin would be too embarrassed to inquire straightforwardly.
However, since she asked so directly, Zhai Yanlin didn’t hold back either: “You are right. Eldest Miss Cheng’s performance in the garden that day is still fresh in my memory. At your sister’s wedding, eldest Miss Cheng also performed very well, not being humble or arrogant. Both my mother and I think that eldest Miss Cheng will be a good wife and mother. Therefore, we want to propose to Yichun Marquis Manor and marry eldest Miss Cheng as Duke Cai’s legitimate wife.”
Cheng Yujin laughed. She finally shed off her usual dignified and amicable facade, leaving only the icy coldness and total indifference that seemed to alienated people thousands of miles away.
Zhai Yanlin was stunned. At this time, Cheng Yujin spoke.
“Of course I will be a good wife and mother.” Cheng Yujin said with a smile, “But why should it be yours?”
Zhai Yanlin was stunned again. He had heard the exact same words from Cheng Yuanjing before. For a moment, Zhai Yanlin had a mixed feeling and even questioned his own conjecture. Could it be that Cheng Yujin and Cheng Yuanjing was a real uncle and niece? Otherwise, how could it be that their reasoning and speech so similar?
Out of indescribable feeling, Zhai Yanlin didn’t respond immediately, but asked back instead: “Why does eldest Miss Cheng say that?”
Zhai Yanlin was really curious. When helping Huo family welcoming their bride, Zhai Yanlin met Cheng Yuanjing in Yichun Marquis Manor, who also said the same thing to him, and even warned him to stop thinking about Cheng Yujin.
Even if Cheng Yuanjing had a bright prospect and limitless future, in Zhai Yanlin’s eyes, he was no more than a young man who had just entered the court. Zhai Yanlin never took Cheng Yuanjing’s warning to heart.
Chasing power and beautiful woman was a man’s natural instinct. Cheng Yujin was young and beautiful, but she had nothing to do with Cheng Yuanjing. What right Cheng Yuanjing had to forbid other men from chasing her?
But Zhai Yanlin wanted to hear Cheng Yujin’s own words, and even more, her own feelings.
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