Lian Qiao took the order and left. Cheng Yujin thought that it would take her only the time needed to go back and forth, but unexpectedly, Lian Qiao came back after a long time. When she came back, the expression on her face was…very indescribable. There was obvious surprise, shock, and trance, but also seemed to be mixed with great joy.
Cheng Yujin immediately asked, “What’s wrong? Seeing your appearance, it’s as if you cannot even speak properly.”
Lian Qiao didn’t waste her words. She quickly leaned closer to Cheng Yujin, her eyebrows fluttered with uncontrollable excitement: “Miss, you cannot blame this servant for being out of control. Two big events are happening outside!”
“His Highness the Crown Prince, who has been missing for fourteen years, has just been found! The Emperor is overjoyed and releases an edict to exempt the taxes this year.”
Cheng Yujin was stunned for a moment. It turned out to be so; no wonder people set off firecrackers in celebrations. She muttered dazedly: “So fast?”
This sentence was taboo to be spoken. The Emperor finally found the Crown Prince that had been missing for fourteen years. This was a great happy event for the whole country to celebrate. What Cheng Yujin meant was actually different. In fact, she initially thought that Cheng Yuanjing would still wait for a while before returning.
After all, Cheng Yuanjing still sent someone to inquire about her condition yesterday, yet he was now ‘disappeared’ overnight, which was too quick and abrupt.
Of course, he was no longer Cheng Yuanjing. He should be called by his real name, Li Chengjing.
Lian Qiao’s face blushed with excitement. She deliberately held on a very important point, but after a long time, Cheng Yujin still didn’t continue to question. Lian Qiao was very disappointed: “Miss, why don’t you ask who the Crown Prince is?”
“Who else can he be.” Cheng Yujin looked back at Lian Qiao puzzledly. “The Crown Prince’s name is Li Chengjing, the eldest di prince of the late empress. Who else can he be?”
In fact, if changed to someone else or if Lian Qiao was more knowledgeable, they would notice something was strange. Cheng Yujin spoke the Crown Prince’s name so naturally, as if she had known it a long time ago. The imperial family’s names, especially important members such as the Crown Prince, were naturally not well-known outside the most elite of circles. Moreover, the Crown Prince had been missing for fourteen years. How could Cheng Yujin, a young girl raised deep in the inner courtyard, blurted out the Crown Prince’s name as if it was the most natural thing to do?
However, Lian Qiao didn’t understand this. She was dumbfounded for a while and found that Cheng Yujin’s words could not be refuted at all. Lian Qiao gave up trying to be mysterious and immediately went on to share the shocking news she had just heard: “Miss, can you guess with what identity did the Crown Prince live over the years?”
Cheng Yujin suddenly had a premonition. Before she could react, Lian Qiao had already blurted out the answer: “He is our family’s Ninth Master!”
Cheng Yujin’s mind suddenly went blank. Even Du Ruo, who had always been steady and calm, was very shocked upon hearing it. After a long time, she stammered: “This…what’s actually happening here?”
“It all started at the time we were visiting Xiangji Temple. His Majesty met Marquis Jingyong and Second Lady in the garden and found that Second Lady’s paternal uncle — that is, our Ninth Master — somehow looks familiar. His Majesty became suspicious and sent people to investigate, and it turns out that the person is indeed the missing Crown Prince! Later, the Emperor met Ninth Master privately and asked about Ninth Master’s childhood and experiences over the years. When Ninth Master was lost, he was still very young and couldn’t remember much. He just remembered that he got lost in the rain and was already taken in by a kind woman when he woke up. When the woman saw the Crown Prince alone and helpless, she took him as her adopted son and treated him like her own child. After that, the woman moved into the capital with her husband, bringing the Crown Prince with her. The Crown Prince was later recorded in Cheng clan’s genealogical book and became Cheng family’s ninth son.”
Lian Qiao talked like a firecracker, so fast and crackling, making it hard to comprehend. It could be seen how much this news made her lost her composure. Perceiving the change in Cheng Yujin’s expression, Lian Qiao nodded vigorously, as if guessing what Cheng Yujin was thinking: “Yes, that kind woman is the little Xue-shi, the late Old Master’s outside mistress. Oh, no, she is no longer an outside mistress. I heard that the manor had promoted little Xue-shi as an honorable concubine, and she can be re-buried next to late Old Master.”
Old Madam Cheng hated little Xue-shi so much, but after the situation changed, her attitude also changed upside down. Cheng Yujin didn’t bother to pay attention to the bad debts from the previous generation. What surprised her the most was that the current trend of events was completely different from the previous life she saw in her dream!
At least in the previous life, she was very sure that Ninth Uncle Cheng Yuanjing accidentally contracted an illness and passed away during a journey. His Highness the Crown Prince naturally had nothing to do with him and was found out living among common people by the Emperor’s secret agents.
Why was it different now?
Cheng Yujin was listening lazily at first, but now she was sitting upright, asking with an extremely serious face: “Lian Qiao, tell me everything you hear from beginning to end.”
Lian Qiao saw Cheng Yujin’s serious expression and didn’t dare to be careless. She reported everything she knew in an orderly manner. Cheng Yujin listened carefully and asked questions when she encountered vague parts. By the end, she roughly understood the official story of the Crown Prince’s return.
The first half was exactly the same as Cheng Yuanjing’s own experience, except the claim that the Crown Prince was still too young to remember his identity and had totally forgotten the event of that year. Didn’t remember? Had forgotten? Even Cheng Yujin felt that the man was talking complete nonsense. From his performance, it was obvious that he remembered very clearly.
When visiting Xiangji Temple, the Emperor ‘accidentally’ met Huo Changyuan in the garden. Out of concerns of his courtiers, the Emperor stopped by to ask a few more questions, only to ‘accidentally’ found out that the family member of Marchioness Jingyong somehow looked familiar. After the Emperor went back, he thought deeply before finally sending some people to investigate in secret. In the end, all kinds of clues showed that this young man was indeed the Crown Prince who had been missing for many years.
In both lives, the diligent chess piece Huo Changyuan had done an excellent job to be used totally and thoroughly.
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