Cheng Yujin slowly held out her hand. Her movement was a little hesitant, but when her fingers touched Li Chengjing’s, he immediately took her hand into his grip. Li Chengjing’s palms were warm and strong. When Cheng Yujin was escorted out of the phoenix sedan by him, she felt an indescribable sense of security.
It was as if…no matter how much she hesitated, as long as she was willing to take the first step, Li Chengjing would take the remaining ninety-nine steps and cross thousands of miles to take her hand into his.
The female officials standing on the side glanced at each other. It was their duty to escort the Crown Princess out of the phoenix sedan, but the Crown Prince did it first, which didn’t conform to the protocol.
The female officials quietly looked up to see Li Chengjing’s expression, and none of them dared to say a word of reminder. Obviously, the Crown Prince didn’t need their reminder either. He knew very well each step of the wedding and knew what to do and not to do.
They had entered the palace, and there were no outsiders’ eyes here. The female officials pretended not to see anything and let the Crown Prince do whatever he wanted. After Cheng Yujin got out of the sedan chair, she quietly broke away from Li Chengjing. There was still a long way to go from the Eastern Gate to the Ciqing Palace. Cheng Yujin wanted to hold the jade tablet with both hands, but Li Chengjing kept holding her hand.
Cheng Yujin moved slightly, and Li Chengjing finally let her hand go. Soon, the palace carriage arrived. The two changed into a step-carriage1 for the second time and entered the Eastern Palace one after another.
After the next stop, they finally arrived at the Eastern Palace. The Eastern Palace was not the name of a palace, but how the Crown Prince’s residence was generally called. The Crown Prince’s palace was traditionally located in the eastern part of the imperial palace, hence the name. Since the establishment of the current dynasty, the formal residence for the crown prince had changed several times, as did the name. From the previous emperor’s time, it was named Ciqing Palace until this day.
Cheng Yujin heard a long and loud announcement: “Putting down the sedan chair.” She suddenly felt an indescribable feeling. This was the Ciqing Palace, the famous Eastern Palace, and also the place she would call home for many years to come.
The sedan’s door opened, and Cheng Yujin slowly got off, stepping on the clean road made of polished stone slabs. Once she walked through this road, she would never be able to look back again. From now on, her life and death, glory and downfall, would be attributed to this magnificent palace.
From the moment Cheng Yujin stepped down from the sedan chair, the female officials used a curtain to prop up a closed space for Cheng Yujin to walk into the palace’s main building, preventing outsiders from seeing her figure. Because of the curtains, Cheng Yujin didn’t know what the palace looked like. Once she was inside, she followed the instructions from the Palace Service Personnel for another round of bowing and kneeling. The whole process required her to walk to several places back and forth. After seemingly dozens of rituals, she finally drank the nuptial wine. After Cheng Yujin and Li Chengjing bowed to each other, they were led to change clothes by the eunuchs standing on each side.
Cheng Yujin finally had the chance to sigh in relief. It was truly a very long day.
Du Ruo and Lian Qiao, who were just accompanying, were already tired enough, let alone Cheng Yujin, who was clad in a heavy attire and equally heavy headdress. Once they were in the bedroom, the two servant girls hurriedly ran to Cheng Yujin’s side and asked in a low voice: “Crown Princess, are you alright?”
“I’m fine.” Cheng Yujin had no energy to speak more. She gestured at the nine pheasants and four phoenix crown on her head and said: “Help me change.”
The phoenix crown was extremely gorgeous. Made of pure gold and adorned with emeralds, pearls, and other gems, it was ornamented with four wings, only two less than the Empress’s crown. Truly an epitome of gloriousness. Cheng Yujin had counted casually and found that this phoenix crown alone should be made of more than 100 gems and 4000 pearls.
How did she reach the number? Well, Cheng Yujin herself couldn’t say.
The phoenix crown was indeed beautiful, but its weight was almost inhumane. If it weren’t for the crown’s value and importance to the ceremony, Cheng Yujin wouldn’t be willing to wear it all day.
Du Ruo, Lian Qiao, and several palace maids worked together to remove the phoenix crown from Cheng Yujin’s head. The moment the heavy crown was lifted away, Cheng Yujin suddenly felt her head much lighter. She couldn’t help but rub her sore neck. Cheng Yujin massaged the stiff muscles on both sides of her neck, feeling that the weight almost shortened her neck.
Lian Qiao felt her hand almost fall with the weight of the crown. Knowing that her Miss was carrying this thing on her head all day, she sincerely admired her. Du Ruo already stepped forward to massage Cheng Yujin’s shoulders and neck. Her strength was just enough, neither too light nor too heavy. She carefully massaged every stiff and sore area. Cheng Yujin let out a relaxed sigh, enjoying the rare moment of leisure.
Lian Qiao was also very considerate. She quickly came over to massage Cheng Yujin’s legs, saying: “Crown Princess, you woke up on the third watch2 today. You have been tired all day. Please let this servant massage your legs.”
Cheng Yujin replied: “Do it later. The eunuchs and female officials from the Palace Service Personnel are still outside. Go and distribute the rewards to them.”
Tuesday’s late chapter
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