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Cheng Yujin was already annoyed enough. Hearing Li Chengjing’s words, she became furious. Of course she had heard those comments before. Over the years, she had received the same remarks from many people. Cheng Yujin was Yichun Marquis Manor’s public face. The madams and young masters who came as guests would always be surprised by her at first sight, but their impression of her would develop in two diametrically opposite directions after the initial contact. The madams were very satisfied with her, but the young men who initially were attracted to her would end up liking Cheng Yumo more.
Because Cheng Yumo would play with them, joking and laughing together. But Cheng Yujin wouldn’t. She always sat with a smile, gracefully and dignifiedly, not allowing even the corners of her skirt to be wrinkled.
This had troubled Cheng Yujin for many years. Later, she finally faced it with an open mind. There was no need to bother with something that was out of her strength. Since she was not lively and interesting enough, she should just focus on marketing herself as a dignified and virtuous daughter-in-law. Anyway, when it came to marrying a wife, the young men had little say. They only needed to nod at the candidate chosen by their female elders.
The label ‘beautiful but boring’ followed almost the entire Cheng Yujin’s girlhood. Of course, Ruan-shi and Cheng Yumo had some credit for spreading the rumor, but Cheng Yujin’s own personality was the cause of it.
She was too rigid and solemn.
This statement was actually very unkind, as it simply denied all the charm Cheng Yujin had as a woman. Even if Cheng Yujin faced it with an open mind, it didn’t mean that she was willing to hear others saying it in her face. Especially if the person was her newly-married husband.
Cheng Yujin was furious. She didn’t even notice that her eyes were sparkling with emotion. After taking a bath, her eyes were very moist. Burned with anger, those beautiful eyes looked even more charming.
“I know I am boring, so what is Your Highness going to do?”
Cheng Yujin inwardly thought that if he dared to say that he would take a lively beauty, she would kick him out of the bedroom tonight.
Li Chengjing smiled and put Cheng Yujin down on the red wedding bed. The bed was covered with layers of exquisite brocade covers, which made Cheng Yujin feel as if she was lying on soft clouds. Before she could get up and regain control of her body, a broad chest pressed in front of her, facing her to lean back. Cheng Yujin’s still half-damp hair draped all across the red brocade. Red and black intertwined, creating gorgeous and charming color contrast.
Cheng Yujin knew that she couldn’t get up, so she resigned herself and stayed in a half-leaning posture with difficulty. An arm suddenly reached to touch her ear, followed by Li Chengjing’s head. He buried his face in the area between Cheng Yujin’s shoulder and neck. His tall nose bridge was pressing against her collarbone. Li Chengjing inhaled, filling his nostril with the scent from Cheng Yujin’s hair, mixed with a faintly discernible body fragrance.
Li Chengjing put his lips on Cheng Yujin’s ear and whispered: “Those people are not wrong. However, the more perfect something is, the more it arouses others’ desire to destroy. Precisely because your every move complies with rigid etiquette that I especially want to see…what are you like when you fall into disarray.”
The cold, beautiful, and seemingly inhuman beauty. She made him want to pull her off to the ground, destroy her dignified manner, smear her exquisite makeup, make her hair spread out untidily, and see her perfect appearance turn into a messy one. He wanted to hear her polite and distant voice turn into sobbing, preventing her from saying any coherent sentence.
This was the desire to destroy and conquer that all men were born with.
Li Chengjing had given Cheng Yujin enough tolerances, and he wasn’t going to wait any longer.
Cheng Yujin’s cheeks burst into red. Her face was flushed, and her shiny black eyes were widened in shock, both by anger and shame. Li Chengjing actually said such a thing? Usually, he was even more dignified than her. His gestures and movements were the perfect examples of a solemn and dignified Crown Prince. But he turned out to be such a rogue in bed?
However, Cheng Yujin had no chance to question Li Chengjing. After everything was over and she was carried into the bathroom, she was totally limp and listless.
Today was the Crown Prince’s wedding, and there were naturally people waiting outside the bedroom. But from the moment Li Chengjing wrapped her up with a brocade quilt and took her into the bathroom, no one came in to disturb them. When she was taking a bath, Cheng Yujin vaguely heard rustling sounds from the bedroom, which should be the palace staff cleaning up the mess.
Of course. Although Li Chengjing lived outside for so many years, the people around him were all palace eunuchs. Years of strict education had deeply rooted in his bones. He returned to the palace half a year ago, and the people who could serve them closely must have been thoroughly arranged by him early before his return.
Cheng Yujin thought about it for a while, but her brain started to become muddy again. In a daze, Cheng Yujin thought about her hair. Li Chengjing tossed her back and forth so much that her hair had become wet again. Didn’t it mean that her previous hard work was in vain?
Li Chengjing bathed Cheng Yujin first, then carried her back to the bed before going to bathe by himself. When Li Chengjing returned, he saw Cheng Yujin leaning on the red bedpost with her loose shirt, carefully drying her hair little by little. She looked very sleepy. Her head nodded off from time to time and her hands slightly trembled, but she still persistently tended upon her hair.
Alright, she was indeed very persistent. Li Chengjing was equally helpless and amused. He sat on the bed and casually took the towel from Cheng Yujin’s hand: “I’ll do it.”
Cheng Yujin indeed no longer had energy. Her wrists felt soft and her body was weak all over, so she let Li Chengjing take the towel and dry her hair. Cheng Yujin couldn’t help but yawn again. She leaned against Li Chengjing’s shoulders tiredly, her voice was drifting: “Don’t rub the hair too hard, and don’t twist it either. Wake me up after it has been dry for five minutes. I have to apply the flower oil.”
Li Chengjing hummed in response. He had watched the complete steps just now and he understood the complexity. Cheng Yujin’s consciousness seemed to be drifting on and off. She said slowly: “I have to get up early tomorrow?”
“Yes.” Li Chengjing replied. He lowered his gaze and saw Cheng Yujin’s half-closed eyelids. Feeling distressed, he lowered his voice and said: “We have to meet the Empress Dowager, the Emperor, and the Empress. Don’t worry, I will accompany you.”
“How long will the meeting take?”
“We have to go to both Cining Palace and Kunning Palace1, but the Emperor will be there with the Empress. She won’t dare to deliberately find fault of you in front of His Majesty.”
After Li Chengjing finished speaking, he didn’t hear Cheng Yujin’s reaction. He lowered his head and found that she was already asleep.
Li Chengjing chuckled. He gently moved Cheng Yujin’s position so she could lay more comfortably. He then reached out his hand and stroked the top of Cheng Yujin’s hair. Her many years of hard effort in maintaining her hair had proven useful. Her long black hair was silky and beautiful, and Li Chengjing couldn’t have enough to touch it.
In the dead of night, the only red candles in the palace were gleaming warmly, making a crackling sound from time to time. Inside the silent bedroom, Li Chengjing’s voice was almost inaudible: “Sleep well. You have me to depend on.”
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