Today was the closest distance the father and son had ever been in these fourteen years, and could even be said to be their only direct meeting after being separated.
The Emperor listened to Cheng Yuanjing’s last sentence, “May Your Majesty be blessed with healthy body and peaceful era,” which was the congratulatory message he sent for the longevity present this year. Now he said it again in person as a late congratulation for his imperial father. The Emperor was happy, but also felt sour. Especially when he heard his eldest son introduced himself as ‘Cheng Yuanjing.’
His name isn’t Yuanjing, let alone his surname is Cheng. He is the crown prince of the Great Qi Dynasty, Li Chengjing!
Thinking about the surname Cheng, the Emperor glanced at the last woman. Speaking of longevity present, Cheng family had made a great effort this year. In previous years, the Emperor had to burn all the congratulatory messages sent by Cheng Yuanjing, and nothing remained. But this year, the Cheng family proposed a novel idea and turned the message into a double-sided embroidered screen, sent as a present from Yichun Marquis Manor. Using this legitimate excuse, the Emperor could openly express his liking, displaying the screen in a conspicuous place, and looked at it day by day without being forced to destroy it.
Although Cheng family hadn’t made any achievements over the years, they were very obedient, doing well anything the palace ordered them to do. For Cheng Yuanjing’s matter, Cheng family’s lack of achievements and their thin sense of existence was a great advantage. This condition was ideal for concealing Cheng Yuanjing’s identity and providing sufficient time for him to grow up.
And this year’s embroidered screen was another thing that made the Emperor very satisfied.
Standing on the back, Cheng Yujin listened to the Emperor asking about Huo family before casually brought the topic to Cheng Yuanjing. Listening to Cheng Yuanjing’s introduced himself to the Emperor, Cheng Yujin couldn’t help sighing in secret.
Every family had its own difficulties, and the imperial family was exceptionally so. After sighing, Cheng Yujin vaguely noticed that the Emperor’s eyes were sweeping over her. She reacted promptly and performed a perfect formal greeting: “This subject daughter is the eldest daughter of Yichun Marquis Manor, the daughter of Qingfu Junzhu. This subject daughter pays respect to Your Majesty.”
Yichun Marquis Manor’s eldest daughter—the Emperor slowly got an impression. It seemed that the person who embroidered the screen was the Cheng family’s eldest granddaughter. The Emperor once again looked at Cheng Yujin, secretly surprised. Although Cheng family was small and unimpressive, they raised this daughter well. As an emperor, he had seen countless people performing various greetings. He could be said to be an expert in evaluating somebody’s etiquette. This Cheng family’s daughter had her movement and mannerism extremely perfect and fluent, even better than the palace’s female officials specializing in teaching and correcting imperial concubines’ manners.
Perfect but not rigid. This was very rare. And there was also that double-sided embroidery. Although the embroidery was based on Cheng Yuanjing’s own calligraphy, it was not an easy task to make, especially with such a high-level of quality. The Emperor initially thought that the screen was the craft of a master embroider with more than two decades of experience. Unexpectedly, it was done by such a young girl.
Appreciation rose in the Emperor’s eyes. He said: “All of you may get up.”
Cheng Yuanjing and Cheng Yujin got up simultaneously. The Emperor looked at them and suddenly felt emotional. He said: “The last time Zhen saw Huo Changyuan, Zhen felt a closeness, similar to the crown prince Zhen had lost years ago. Zhen didn’t expect the next time we meet, you are already married.”
Huo Changyuan bowed his head respectfully: “Many thanks for Your Majesty for remembering this subject. The crown prince is a blessed person and protected by heaven. Your Majesty must be able to find the crown prince soon.”
Huo Changyuan originally only said that to please the Emperor. Right after he spoke, the atmosphere in the pavilion very subtly became a little strange. Cheng Yujin lowered her head. Huo Changyuan was extremely correct. His Highness the Crown Prince would soon be ‘found.’
Today, the Emperor ‘accidentally’ saw Cheng family’s ninth son, which was a very important prerequisite for the crown prince to return. The Emperor could never tell the whole world that he had known—and hid—the crown prince whereabouts for so many years. They must devise a believable story to justify the crown prince’s return.
However, the emperor seemed to be truly pleased by Huo Changyuan’s words, and asked happily: “When did you get married? How long has it been?”
Huo Changyuan answered truthfully: “Replying Your Majesty. This subject got married on the ninth month of this year. It has been three months now.”
The Emperor nodded. He seemingly fell into another thought: “Three months, huh. Zhen remembers your age is about the same as the crown prince, only one year older than him. But your marriage age is already considered late. If the crown prince is living among the common people, maybe he has also been married.”
In the ears of the people who didn’t know the truth, the Emperor’s words were full of love and longing for his son. Even if his son had long been missing, he still cared about the child’s well-being. Had he been married or not? Maybe he had even had children? Unfortunately, Cheng Yujin knew the hidden story, and only felt helplessly amused upon hearing this.
Cheng Yujin secretly glanced at Cheng Yuanjing. As expected, although Cheng Yuanjing’s expression was seemingly as calm as usual, there were some subtle ripples in his eyes. Sure enough, parents all over the world were the same. Even if their children were not by their side, they would still urge their children to marry.
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