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Title: The Dreamer in the Spring Boudoir
Chapter: 086 out of 513 – The ending can be changed (1)
Ji Man felt chills on the back of her neck. Although the person next to her had a very attractive smile, she felt as if a snake was wrapping itself around her neck.
She turned herself over to sleep. For now, she couldn’t guess what he was thinking. But, that was okay. His villainous intentions would be revealed sooner or later.
A few days later, the news that the emperor wanted to go to the south had spread. The list of attendants and guests that would be coming along had also come out. The empress had to stay behind to oversee the imperial harem. Noble Consort Nie would be accompanying the emperor on his trip to the south. The crown prince, third prince, and Marquis Moyu would be escorting him. These people were all popular with the emperor, so it wasn’t strange for them to come along. However, there was another name on the escorting list. It was actually Ning Mingjie’s name.
“Does your cousin know martial arts?” Ji Man curiously asked Ning Yuxuan.
Ning Yuxuan lightly smiled, “There’s no difference between Mingjie’s martial arts skill and mine. What do you think?”
Ji Man was surprised. She wasn’t surprised that Ning Mingjie was really amazing. But, how could this soft and weak person in front of her know martial arts?
Most of the aristocratic men in the Great Song Dynasty were delicate. She looked at Ning Yuxuan. He always wore brocade robes that were as pristine as snow and seemed to float around. Ji Man thought he was raised like a prince and was the delicate type.
“This servant remembers that your cousin is a sixth-rank supervisor for military weapons. He doesn’t have anything to do with the imperial family, ah,” Ji Man quietly said.
Ning Yuxuan was lying on a cushioned couch underneath the eaves. He pulled his fur clothing up a little bit and narrowed his eyes at the snowy landscape. “Mingjie is a talented person. The emperor already had the intention of promoting him last year, but he wasn’t willing to leave his sick mother’s side. His mother died at the beginning of this year. They’ve been mourning for a long period of time and only recently stopped observing the rituals. Marquis Jingwen has the intention of letting him come to the capital to become an official in the imperial court. The emperor is very happy about this and wants him to come on the trip to the south. He wants to give Mingjie an opportunity to do a meritorious deed so that he can be promoted.”
Ji Man nodded. Ning Minjie was a person that stood aloof from worldly affairs. In the original novel, he didn’t even need to do anything for the emperor to rush forward to promote him. This dynasty was probably following the old customs from Wei and Jin Dynasty where officials were promoted based on physiognomy. Otherwise, the princes and subjects that were favored by the emperor wouldn’t all have appearances like celestial immortals.
Just as Ji Man was sighing over this, she saw Liu Mama coming through this courtyard’s entrance and hesitating for a moment when she saw that Nie Sangyu was also here.
“Go the kitchen and bring back some snacks for me.” Marquis Moyu turned his head and said to Nie Sangyu.
“Understood.” Ji Man nodded and left right away. Marquis Moyu had found an excuse to send her away. There was probably something that he didn’t want her to hear.
After she had stepped past the courtyard’s entrance, she stuck to the wall next to the entrance to listen.
“Marquis, Madam wrote a letter to you.”
“Oh? I’m right here in the residence. Why did she write a letter?” Marquis Moyu chuckled. His brows smoothed out and his eyes contained a child-like happiness from winning their spat.
“This servant doesn’t know. Marquis, please read this.” Liu Mama handed him the letter.
Newly cut white silk from Qi, clear and pure as frost and snow.
Made into a fan for joyous trysts, round as the bright moon.
In and out of my lord's cherished sleeve, waved back and forth to make a light breeze.
Often I fear the arrival of the autumn season, cool winds overcoming the summer heat.
Discarded into a box, affection cut off before fulfillment.*
* (T/N: Translation was taken from here. http://www.silkqin.com/02qnpu/16xltq/xl121hgq.htm. There’s also a lengthy explanation and history of this poem on that website. Basically, this was written by an imperial concubine, who was feeling depressed because she had lost the emperor's favor.)
This was a poem about a woman’s grievance. Each word and phrase showed sorrow and fear over losing favor. She wanted to angrily rebuke her lover for failing to be loyal, but she could only aggrievedly compare herself to a fan and try to win back her husband and lord’s love.
The corners of Ning Yuxuan’s lips soared upwards. He stood up and said, “Let’s go. The weather is cold and there’s no use for a fan, but I’ll still go the box and look at her.”
Ji Man hurriedly turned around and ran towards the path. If Marquis Moyu came out and saw her, she would be finished.
This man’s true heart seemed as if it was wrapped in layer upon layer of gauze. She couldn’t clearly see it or understand it. There was only one thought in her mind. Don’t give her heart to this person. Otherwise, there might not even be any remnants left at the end.
When Ji Man arrived at the intersection in the front, she decisively turned right and headed towards the southern courtyard. It was in the opposite direction of Qiangwei Courtyard. Since Marquis Moyu had gone over there, it meant that she wouldn’t need to serve the marquis tonight. She just needed to temporarily avoid him.
After Ji Man had stopped at the side of a flowerbed for a while and saw Marquis Moyu's distant figure walking farther away, she let out a sigh of relief. But, when she turned around, she almost bumped into someone.
Ning Mingjie wearing a white robe embroidered with silver pythons and holding a porcelain bottle. His eyebrows were raised as he looking at her with surprise, but he didn’t ask her anything.
Ji Man looked around. There wasn’t anyone else. This Sir Ning, who was highly valued by the emperor, looked relatively undignified at the moment. He was crouched down by the flowerbed and seemed like he was collecting snow that was on top of the flowers again.
Ji Man politely took a step back and quietly asked, “Young Master, you’ve collected so much snow. What exactly are you going to use it for?”
Ning Mingjie finished filling the bottle in his hand and chuckled, “Cold Fragrance Pills. The doctor said he needed autumn dew and winter snow. The snow on the flowers is the best. After this winter is over, I’ll have the ingredients to make Cold Fragrance Pills."
Ji Man had only heard of Cold Fragrance Pills mentioned in Dream of the Red Chamber*. She hadn’t expected that it would exist in this world too. It was made with twelve ounces of winter snow, twelve ounces of autumn dew, etc. It was truly troublesome.
* (T/N: Cold Fragrance Pills is a made-up panacea. Dream of the Red Chamber is one of China’s Four Great Classical Novels.)
“Who’s sick?” Ji Man asked another question.
Ning Mingjie stood up and lightly patted his robe. “My mother used to be sick. A traveling monk said that this medicine could cure her. I received the prescription this year, but my mother had already departed at the beginning of the year.”
In other words, he was gathering these items for his deceased mother?
This supporting male character was truly worthy of being called the supporting male character. Compared to Ning Yuxuan, who was shrewd, treacherous, and as unpredictable as the weather, the man in front of her was practically a snow lotus from Mount Tian. He was so filial! Although he wore a mask, he was still so attractive that people couldn’t bear to look at him directly!!!
(T/N: Below is a picture of the snow lotus.)