Cheng Yujin quoted another paragraph: “‘At the time when a woman begins to have the prospect of starting her own family, she should extend the way she serves her father and mother to her in-laws, with nothing to add or subtract.’ By looking at how a woman is filial to the elders in her natal family, one can infer how filial she will be to her in-laws after marrying. Zheng Gugu stops me from fulfilling my filial piety to my elders. Are you also going to stop me from fulfilling my filial piety to Her Majesty the Empress?”
This last sentence completely blocked Zheng Gugu’s protest. She gritted her teeth and said: “Eldest Miss Cheng is eloquent and know how to use your tongue well. But the most important thing for a woman is her behavior. Sooner or later, being too eloquent will only do you no good.’
Of course Cheng Yujin could hear the implied threat, but so what? No matter how many tricks Cheng Yujin did now, what the four female officials could do was to wait until they returned to the palace to badmouth Cheng Yujin to Empress Yang. But Cheng Yujin didn’t care. An old proverb said that there was no difference between a hatred value of 100 points and a hatred value of 50 points. No matter what she did, Empress Yang would never like or treat her well, so why made herself uncomfortable?
Cheng Yujin smiled softly, “I will remember what Zheng Gugu said today. We are going to be a long acquaintance after all, and this short time is not enough for me to thoroughly study the rules and etiquette. If there are opportunities in the future, I would like to ask Zheng Gugu for more guidance.”
Who said that Cheng Yujin couldn’t threaten people? Zheng Gugu’s frown deepened. She threatened Cheng Yujin with Empress Yang, and Cheng Yujin threatened her back with a future retaliation. After all, Cheng Yujin was the Crown Princess. After she entered the Eastern Palace, even if Empress Yang wouldn’t stand on her side, it was still very easy for her to pinch a female official to death.
Zheng Gugu was suffocated, but Cheng Yujin’s rhetoric was flawless. All the threats were perfectly hidden between cleverly chosen words. From an outside perspective, there was nothing to nitpick on. Zheng Gugu glared at Cheng Yujin, but the girl paid no heed at all. After leisurely changed her clothes, Cheng Yujin took her servant girls and went out.
It was the fourth month now, and everyone was dressed in light spring clothes. All around the manor, various flowers were in full bloom. Seeing servant girls in spring clothes walk among the flowers and trees was beautiful scenery in itself. Leading four female officials and a group of servant girls, Cheng Yujin walked gracefully on the path towards Old Madam Cheng’s Shou’an Hall.
When the servants saw Cheng Yujin’s procession approaching from the distance, they quickly gave her way. Cheng Yujin’s momentum was so great that Old Madam Cheng had been informed long before their arrival. When the Old Madam heard that her eldest granddaughter was bringing the four female officials to Shou’an Hall again, her head began to throb so much that she couldn’t even swallow her tea.
Those four female officials were in charge of teaching rules and discipline. Just standing silently in the background, they were scary enough to look even more menacing than the Buddha’s warrior attendant. Although their focus was on Cheng Yujin, how could Old Madam Cheng, who was sitting in the same room, be not affected? Yet Cheng Yujin deliberately came every day, which put Old Madam Cheng in a constant state of tension these few days. She couldn’t even eat or drink well and was cautious in her every movement.
Even Old Madam Cheng was like this; no need to mention how miserable were the servants below. In just a few days, the whole Shou’an Hall was shrouded in misery.
They were just bystanders, yet they were already so exhausted. Then how much difficult it was for Cheng Yujin, who was at the center of the vortex?
Cheng family womenfolk gradually felt that being the crown princess was not something a human could do. In the beginning, many of them were jealous and unwilling to see such a great fortune fall on Cheng Yujin’s lap. They even declared that they could do better than Cheng Yujin. However, only a few days after the palace pre-marriage training had begun, such noises of dissatisfaction had completely disappeared. Now, whenever they looked at Cheng Yujin, there was no more jealousy or envy, only awe.
However, even though Old Madam Cheng emotionally felt sorry for Cheng Yujin, it didn’t mean that she was willing to accompany Cheng Yujin’s training. Qingfu Junzhu could hide in other places under the pretext of managing the household or going on visits, but Old Madam Cheng, as the manor’s matriarch and old madam, couldn’t hide. What’s more, her Shou’an Hall was here. Where else could Old Madam Cheng hide?
After Cheng Yujin entered the door, she smiled and greeted Old Madam Cheng. The four female officials followed behind, like the four heavenly kings, menacing and majestic. Old Madam Cheng subconsciously straightened her posture and sat upright. As for the servants standing in the room, they also straightened their posture and raised their heads. There was no relaxed or playful attitude at all. Each of them stood upright as if there was a bowl of water on top of their head.
Old Madam Cheng really wanted to tell Cheng Yujin to stop coming, but Cheng Yujin was very ‘filial,’ stating that even though she was going to become the Crown Princess, it was not a reason to neglect her filial duty. Therefore, she insisted on going to pay respect every morning and evening.
Cheng Yujin’s thought was very simple: as a family, blessings might not be shared, but difficulties must be taken together.
After all, a family had to be united and harmonious.
Seeing her effort was futile, Old Madam Cheng’s mood sunk even lower.
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