The Emperor reluctantly held back his anger and dissuaded: “You and her are nominally uncle and niece. How do you think the public will react after the announcement?”
“Our blood relationship is a fake.” Cheng Yuanjing replied calmly. “What’s more, with me marrying her, isn’t it the just right to prove that I am not surnamed, Cheng?”
“You!” The Emperor was very angry. “Uncle marries his niece. Do you want to bear this infamy?”
“She is not my niece. Why not?”
The Emperor was so angry that he could no longer sit still. He stood up from his seat and scolded: “Absurd!”
The Emperor could see it. Although Cheng Yuanjing maintained minimal contact with the Cheng family, he had been nominally surnamed Cheng for almost fourteen years. During that period, he gradually fell in love with Cheng’s eldest daughter. However, there were so many women in the world. Why would he be willing to ruin his reputation for a woman, and even block his future path?
The Emperor originally planned to send Cheng Yuanjing outside the capital. After disappearing for a period of time, he would return as Li Chengjing. The narrative they prepared was that the people the Emperor secretly sent over the years to search for the Crown Prince’s whereabouts finally found him living among the common folks. As for the person named Cheng Yuanjing, he naturally would need to pass away during his travel.
However, people’s appearance couldn’t deceive. After Li Chengjing’s return, people who knew Cheng Yuanjing’s face would surely be able to guess what’s going on. But some things could be known, yet there was no need to say it publicly. After all, more people didn’t know the Crown Prince’s face than those who knew, and the same was true for Cheng family’s ninth son. Since that was the case, let’s just say that everything was mere ‘coincidence.’
The Emperor would eventually compensate Cheng family’s meritorious deeds, but that would be far in the future. On the surface, the Crown Prince must have nothing to do with Cheng family. But once Cheng Yuanjing married Cheng family’s eldest daughter, he would be bound to Cheng family forever. No matter how powerful an emperor was, he couldn’t stop the public’s tongues. Slowly, everyone would find that the Crown Prince looked exactly the same as Cheng family’s deceased ninth son.
At that time, the Emperor’s claim that the missing Crown Prince had been found living among the common folk after years of difficult search would lose all the credibility.
The Emperor naturally didn’t want to see it happen. He took a deep breath, trying to restrain his anger. He sat down again. Having been sitting on the throne for twenty years, he was the best at forbearing. With a voice that devoid of emotion, the Emperor asked: “If you insist on marrying Cheng family’s daughter, what will you do about your identity? You also know that this kind of thing cannot be concealed from the public. Sooner or later, someone will find out that you are Cheng Yuanjing.”
Cheng Yuanjing’s eyelashes drooped a bit as he slowly replied: “If we cannot conceal it, there is no need to conceal.”
The Emperor frowned, “What did you say?”
“It’s clear to everyone that I am also Cheng Yuanjing. In that case, why bother to deceive and let everyone accompany me in the act? Your Majesty accidentally met Cheng family’s son in Xiangji Temple and became suspicious. After investigating, Your Majesty found out that he is the missing Crown Prince. Therefore, I can return to my identity as Cheng Yuanjing. It is more convincing than arranging another set of lies.”
The Emperor and Cheng Yuanjing had always maintained contacts over the years. The so-called missing Crown Prince was no more than public deception. But now that the Yang family had not fallen yet, they absolutely couldn’t admit that they had been acting for the past fourteen years.
The best method was to create an accidental happening. The Emperor came across a young man in Xiangji Temple. The blood connection between father and son made him suspicious of the young man’s identity. After sending people to investigate, he found that this young man was his long-lost eldest son.
This would be the official version of Cheng Yuanjing’s return of identity. In the future, even if the Yang family or other court officials turned over to investigate, they would only find this clue. After all, there really hadn’t been intersections between Cheng Yuanjing and the Emperor before this event.
The Emperor felt that disclosing the fact that the missing Crown Prince had been growing up under Yang family’s nose in the capital would be too provocative. Therefore, the Emperor wanted him to abandon the identity of ‘Cheng Yuanjing’ and made up an excuse of finding him among the common folks. With some investigation, Yang family would easily find up that the Crown Prince and ‘Cheng Yuanjing’ were the same people. But the Emperor had a golden mouth, jade words1. Since His Majesty had said so, even if the courtiers knew the truth, they had to cooperate and follow the play.
This way, everyone could maintain their dignity on the surface.
Check this page for the status of sponsored chapters.