Li Chengjing only mentioned Chang Yuanxian in passing. The real topic he wanted to say came after that. Li Chengjing said again: “Today, the imperial edict has been officially announced to the world. Although the six etiquettes1 have not been carried out, you have been publicly recognized as the Crown Princess. In the past few days, many people heard that you were sick and sent calling cards to Yichun Marquis Manor. But you need to recuperate, so I didn’t let them disturb you, not even Cheng family. Today, Marquis Yichun came to me saying that he wants to take you back to recuperate at home.”
Cheng Yujin was puzzled at first, but soon understood. No wonder her surrounding was so peaceful these past several days. It turned out that people did come to look for her, but they were all blocked by Li Chengjing’s order. Cheng Yujin nodded and said: “I am better now. I should go back to see my parents and grandmother so that the elders can rest assured.”
Li Chengjing seemed to pause for a moment, but in the end, he just said: “Alright.”
Afterward, he immediately added in emphasis: “If you feel unwell, don’t force yourself. Although this house is small, it is safe here. You can pack your luggage slowly. No need to haste.”
“It’s okay. I’m feeling well now, and my illness has basically been healed. I came bringing only one piece of clothing, and there is no luggage to pack. I can leave this afternoon.” Cheng Yujin replied very smoothly, refusing to add more trouble to the host.
Li Chengjing stared deeply at Cheng Yujin again. Finally, he only said: “Up to you.”
Having finished the conversation, the two fell into silence. Cheng Yujin felt a bit awkward and wasn’t sure what to do. She felt uncomfortable. In the past, the two often didn’t talk at all and were busy on their own, but there had never been awkwardness. Today, Cheng Yujin didn’t know what was wrong, but she was extremely uncomfortable.
Except for the first day when Cheng Yujin was burning with fever, Li Chengjing hadn’t stayed in this residence. Cheng Yujin had never seen him again following their conversation after she woke up. After all, they were not a real uncle and niece. Men and women had to pay attention to the separation of gender. Moreover, since Li Chengjing wanted to marry Cheng Yujin as his main wife, he had to protect her reputation even more.
Therefore, even though he was reluctant, he still had to let Cheng Yujin return to Cheng family manor as soon as possible. After all, there were elders in Yichun Marquis Manor, which was safer for her reputation compared with staying outside.
But, once she left, they might never see each other again until the wedding.
Li Chengjing suddenly felt fortunate. Fortunately, his age was no longer young. Both the Emperor and Ministry of Rites wanted him to get married as soon as possible. Coupled with his push, the wedding date had been set for the seventh month of this year. If he really had to wait for the six etiquettes to slowly be conducted over a year or two, he might not be able to stand it.
The two fell into silence once again. Except for the whistling wind outside, no sound could be heard in the room. Cheng Yujin repeatedly glanced aside, but finally, she couldn’t help but stretched out her hand to hold on to her cloak: “Your Highness, don’t pull it anymore. It will look ugly if all the fur falls.”
The position called Crown Princess was a very difficult one. Cheng Yujin was now the center of everyone’s attention. She obviously didn’t have the power of an Empress, but the demands were even higher. In Cheng Yujin’s case, her pressure was heavier than other Crown Princess candidates.
Obviously, her future mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law regarded her as a thorn in their eyes. Moreover, her engagement had been broken once by that stupid Huo Changyuan, which damaged her reputation. Therefore, Cheng Yujin couldn’t afford any mistakes and had to be extremely cautious. After she spoke with Li Chengjing, she immediately ordered her servant girls to pack her luggage, and at the same time, dispatched a eunuch to notify Cheng family to send a carriage to pick her up.
In fact, if Cheng Yujin was under a lot of pressure, then Li Chengjing’s situation was even worse. He was a Crown Prince who appeared out of nowhere, and the doubts and scrutiny he had to face were much severe than a female like Cheng Yujin. Today was the day when the imperial edict was announced to the public. It wasn’t hard to imagine how busy Li Chengjing should be. Even so, he specially made a trip out of the palace just to have a word with Cheng Yujin.
She only learned about the marriage today. Li Chengjing had an obligation to explain the matter to her. But from what he saw, it seemed that Cheng Yujin entered her new role very quickly, and his worries were completely unnecessary.
Li Chengjing was surprised at first, but he didn’t find it at all strange. Sure enough, this was Cheng Yujin, able to bend and stretch at moments’ notice and adapt very well.
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- Three Letters and Six Etiquettes (三书六礼): A complete set of Chinese marriage rituals from proposal to the wedding. They are (1) formal proposal, (2) giving of the eight characters of prospective bride to the groom’s side, (3) placement of the eight characters at the ancestral altar to confirm compatibility, (4) sending of betrothal gifts to the bride and return gifts to the prospective groom, (5) selection of an auspicious wedding date, (6) wedding ceremony.