Cheng Yujin’s face grew increasingly paler. She actually was wasting Cheng Yuanjing’s time and made the Emperor wait for a long time. Cheng Yujin could no longer remember what she was initially going to say. All her mind was to push Cheng Yuanjing out the door at the fastest speed.
“Ninth Uncle, I didn’t know that you have a prior appointment. It shouldn’t be too late now. Please go quickly.”
Cheng Yuanjing’s mood was already irritable after the interruption. Liu Yi could come any time, but he chose this exact moment! Hearing Cheng Yujin’s words, Cheng Yuanjing turned his head and saw her eagerly wanted to push him out.
This girl truly had no conscience.
Cheng Yuanjing sighed inwardly before he stood up and walked out. Seeing His Highness finally came out, Liu Yi also sighed in relief.
However, Liu Yi hadn’t yet take another breath when his master suddenly stopped again, turned his head, and then said to the girl behind: “I will be back soon. Wait until I come back, and we will continue our previous conversation.”
Cheng Yujin was standing on the doorsill, sending Cheng Yuanjing off. Seeing Cheng Yuanjing stopped suddenly, Cheng Yujin was stunned. After returning to her sense, she immediately responded: “Yes.”
Cheng Yuanjing also knew that he should be going now. But he still looked at Cheng Yujin, as if he didn’t want to part yet. He said again: “I have dispatched someone to send a message to Cheng family. You don’t need to go back. Stay here to recuperate, and don’t worry about anything else.”
Cheng Yuanjing has already informed Cheng family; what else Cheng Yujin could say? She could only nod her head obediently: “Okay.”
Even since the present Emperor was enthroned, he had never felt the feeling of waiting for other people. Especially because yesterday, the other party canceled the appointment halfway after making him waited for a long time. Even today, the Emperor had to send messengers a few times before he finally received a message from a eunuch that the Crown Prince had just departed.
The Emperor was speechless for a long time. If one didn’t know, they would think that he was the one who begged to see Cheng Yuanjing. The Emperor heard about Cheng Yuanjing’s itinerary from the eunuch. He calculated that their distance to the meeting place was about the same, so he walked out of the Zhanxing Tower1 under the pretext of changing clothes.
After the Emperor left, Empress Yang, who was watching the lanterns, suddenly turned her gaze. She looked in the direction of the Emperor’s departure, and her exquisitely drawn eyebrows slowly turned into a frown.
Not only Empress Yang, but other imperial consorts who accompanied the Emperor on this outing also knew that he was gone. Yesterday, the Emperor disappeared without reason for a few hours. Today, he delayed the return to the palace under the pretext of watching the lanterns. Although the Emperor seemed to be as usual, all the consorts sitting here were experts who could survive the inner palace battle. They had long noticed that the Emperor seemed to be out of mind since last night.
Now, after a eunuch whispered a few words, the Emperor immediately found an excuse to leave. All these signs pointed to one conjecture.
Of course neither Empress Yang nor other imperial consorts would think in the direction of the Crown Prince. The Crown Prince had been missing for fourteen years. Almost everyone assumed that he was dead. No matter how wild their imagination was, no one would ever guess that the Emperor was going to meet the Crown Prince. No. All the Emperor’s women, including Empress Yang, suspected that the Emperor had taken a fancy to a commoner’s girl, and took the opportunity of the past two days to enjoy the wild flower outside.
Empress Yang’s expression sank. Although the lanterns presented were still gorgeous and the performance troupe was still magnificent, there was no smile on her face. Because of Empress Yang’s bad mood, even if other imperial consorts wanted to have fun, they were too afraid to show it outright and had to suppress their laughter.
The eunuch in charge was totally befuddled. All of these entertainers were specially selected by him. He originally wanted to use this opportunity to please the imperial couple and make a great fortune for himself. Why did the atmosphere suddenly turn so cold?
A heavy atmosphere was slowly spreading in the Zhanxing Tower, but the people gathered in a secret meeting room nearby were ignorant of this.
The Emperor adjusted his mood as he began to question his eldest son: “What happened yesterday? I heard the eunuchs said that you summoned an imperial physician?”
Here, Liu Yi assumed his real identity. He stood with other eunuchs by the wall, bowing his head and daring not to look up. Facing the Emperor’s scrutiny, Cheng Yuanjing answered calmly: “On the way to meet Your Majesty, this son saw someone falling into the water. After rescuing her, my clothes became wet. Having no other choices, this son had to go back to the manor to change clothes. This son didn’t dare to let Your Majesty wait too long, so this son sent a messenger to ask Your Majesty to go back to the palace first.”
“Rescuing?” The Emperor was completely confused, “Who did you rescue? Even if you want to rescue somebody, why did you have to take the risk? What about your eunuchs and guards?”
Hearing this, Cheng Yuanjing’s attendants immediately knelt in fear. The Emperor’s attending eunuchs stood motionlessly, watching the dust scattered on the ground. Cheng Yuanjing didn’t care about his frightened attendants. Instead of continuing this topic, he said: “Your Majesty, this son has a request. Begs you to grant your permission.”
The Emperor suddenly had a strange hunch. It seemed that the perfectly arranged plan began to go off track since Cheng Yuanjing missed the appointment yesterday. The Emperor calmed down and asked: “What request?”
“Please bestow a marriage for this son.” Cheng Yuanjing stood up and gave the Emperor a very formal bow: “Your Majesty, please bestow a marriage between this son and Yichun Marquis Manor’s eldest daughter, named Cheng Yujin.”
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