The servant girl was easily persuaded. Indeed, whether it was prior to or after ascending the throne, His Majesty’s love for the Empress was very apparent.
Dowager Consort Shu then sighed pitifully, “It is clear from whom this remark came. How pitiful. She can only see what others have gotten in their life but never think about what they have paid to reach such a point. When her elder sister was originally engaged, she resented her for taking what she saw as her place. She eventually got married as she wished, but found her new life was not the fairy tale she imagined. When she looked back and saw that her sister had married an even better man and was living a good life, she felt unreconciled, and now began to complain about their grandfather’s partiality, even claiming that her sister had picked up what was supposed to be hers. Oh, what a poor, ridiculous, and sad soul.”
The servant girl listened silently. Dowager Consort Shu fanned herself leisurely and then pointed out: “Although This Palace don’t know much about the Cheng family, This Palace can guess one thing: if the elder sister’s engagement was never broken and she got married according to plan, the crown princess would have nothing to do with the younger sister. That seat was reserved to one person from begin with, and there has never been such a thing as picking another person’s fortune.”
Dowager Consort Shu sighed for a while, then suddenly smiled: “Oh well, what does this have to do with This Palace? The affairs of the new reign have nothing to do with the dowager of the previous emperor. We must never discuss the matter of the imperial couple, understand?”
“Yes, this servant understands.”
As the night darkened, the lights in the inner palace were lit up one after another. Li Chengjing was resting in the Kunning Palace after a day’s work and was currently playing with his children. After weighing the twins separately, he turned to Cheng Yujin and said, “Mingyue is growing more beautiful every day, as expected of our Daqi’s princess. But Mingqian is gaining weight too fast. We have to pay attention to his future image and cannot let him grow into a fat prince.”
Cheng Yujin glared in response, “Who is fat? Mingqian is just normally chubby.”
“Just normally chubby?” Li Chengjing pinched his son’s fat arm and smiled, “Look at his arm. Do you think he is not fat?”
Facing Cheng Yujin’s angry glare, Li Chengjing admitted defeat with a chuckle, “Alright, alright. You are usually so rational; why do you seem to have no bottom line when it comes to the children?”
Cheng Yujin snorted softly and snatched her son from Li Chengjing’s hand. “After criticizing Mingqian, you are now criticizing me? Go back to your own place if you dislike us.”
Li Chengjing smiled and quickly stretched out his hand around Cheng Yujin’s waist. “He is really heavy. You have to be careful. Don’t be angry, okay? How can I bear to criticize you?”
Babies get tired easily after playing for a while. Seeing the children getting sleepy, Li Chengjing ordered the servants to bring them back to their respective rooms. Without the children getting in the way, Li Chengjing finally gained a quiet moment with his beloved wife.
He ordered the remaining servants to withdraw, then walked to the window and sat opposite Cheng Yujin. After filling two cups, he said, “Double Ninth Festival is coming, and we suppose to climb a mountain to avoid misfortune, but I’m afraid we won’t have the time this year. At least, let’s exchange a toast of chrysanthemum wine.”
The wine was orange-red in color, looking very beautiful when poured into a white jade cup. Cheng Yujin picked up one of the cups and took a sip tentatively. Finding it tasted good, she slowly drank the rest, commenting, “This wine is sweet and not at all bitter.”
Li Chengjing poured her another cup, took a sip himself, and said, “Don’t drink too fast. Although this is a flower wine with a sweet taste, its alcohol content is not low. You will get drunk in no time if you drink it too fast.”
Cheng Yujin was already halfway through her second cup. She put down the cup and said helplessly, “Why didn’t you tell me earlier? You have to watch me finish drinking first.”
Li Chengjing caressed the corner of his cup, his eyes twinkling with a smile, “Oh? It seems that I haven’t seen you drunk for a while and suddenly want to see it again.”
“Don’t talk nonsense. When have I ever been drunk?”
“You won’t admit it? You were very bold when drunk last time and extremely presumptuous to me.”
It seemed that the wine really had a quick effect. Cheng Yujin suddenly found herself a bit dizzy. She propped herself on the table, turned her head sideways, and asked with a smile, “How does Your Highness know that I was indeed drunk back then?”
Your Highness? It seemed she was already drunk. Li Chengjing thus nodded cooperatively and said, “You are right. It’s very likely that you pretended to get drunk to do things you don’t dare to when sober.”
“Really? What did I do?”
“You hugged me tight, refused to let go, and tried to kiss me.”
Cheng Yujin smiled as she watched Li Chengjing spouting nonsense without batting an eye. She then nodded and responded, “It seemed that I have indeed wronged Your Highness. Did I succeed?”
Li Chengjing paused for a moment, then shook his head seriously, still with the face of a proper gentleman: “No.”
Cheng Yujin smiled. She stood up suddenly, crossed the low table with her upper body, and gently kissed Li Chengjing’s face. “Well, I do now.”
Cheng Yujin’s face turned red instantly. She wanted to withdraw, but found her waist buckled in Li Chengjing’s arms. He quickly knocked her down with one hand and said with all seriousness, “That’s not the correct way of kissing. Come, let your husband teach you.”
Cheng Yujin’s face was getting redder and hotter. Could it be that he was the one who pretended to be drunk? It was already dark outside. Bright stars were dotting the dark blue sky; very beautiful. Yet, none of those matter to Cheng Yujin, because only one person was currently reflected in her eyes.
Cheng Yujin’s entire face and neck were already crimson red. Finally, unable to hold it any longer, she glared angrily at the man in front of her, “As a gentleman and elder, you should have some self-awareness, no?”
“Since you call me Ninth Uncle, of course I have to do my duty as an elder to teach my niece well. Study hard, and don’t be so perfunctory next time you steal a kiss, okay?”
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