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Title: The Dreamer in the Spring Boudoir
Chapter: 098 out of 513 – Experiencing a different type of life (1)
Ji Man had originally been worried over this question; what kind of method did she need to use to get Marquis Moyu to gradually have a favorable impression towards Nie Sangyu? In the end, she realized that she was overthinking things. Men were visual animals while women were auditory animals. Why had she thought she needed to use the thirty-six stratagems?* A simple beauty trap would be enough to conquer half of the world.
* (T/N: The Thirty-Six Stratagems is a famous Chinese essay that consists of 36 proverbs that are related to 36 battle scenarios in Chinese history and folklore.)
Although there was a saying that if you win people over using your beauty, then your good days will be short-lived because your beauty will inevitably fade away with time, beauty was still necessary to attract a man’s interest. Once you gained his interest, then your beautiful mind will have the opportunity to reveal itself. When he has truly fallen in love with you, then your appearance will no longer be that important.
There were very few men that would a favorable impression towards Fengjie and dislike Fan Bingbing if they saw Fengjie and Fan Bingbing at the same time.
(T/N: Below is a picture of Luo Yufeng (Fenjie is her nickname) and Fan Bingbing. Luo Yufeng is famous on the Internet for her outrageous comments. Fan Bingbing is a very famous actress.)
As Ji Man followed behind Ning Yuxuan, she planned on what she would do next.
The group of the emperor’s relatives was all dressed as simple as fresh water cabbage, and they looked considerably blander compared to before. However, their attitudes remained and there was still a significant difference between them and the common people.
Noble Consort Nie was wearing a pale yellow dress, and she looked as vibrantly gorgeous as always. The emperor couldn’t be blamed for never moving his hand away from her waist. In the battlefield of the harem, beauty was still an outstandingly effective weapon. However, Ji Man didn’t know if Noble Consort Nie had told the emperor she was pregnant. Although they were traveling by waterway, there would still be bumpy parts during their journey. She was worried that Noble Consort Nie wouldn’t be able endure the fatigue.
While Ji Man was standing next to Ning Yuxuan and lost in her thoughts as she looked at Noble Consort Nie from a distance, she suddenly felt something wrapping around her waist. She tilted her head and saw Marquis Moyu’s serious and unhappy face.
She quietly asked, “What’s wrong?”
Ning Yuxuan retracted his gaze from the other direction. He lowered his head and said into her ear with a smile, “Don’t raise your head.”
What? Ji Man instinctively looked in the direction he had just been looking at and saw that the crown prince was currently examining her from top to bottom with overflowing interest in his eyes.
It was the crown prince again. Ji Man sighed. If this playboy crown prince became emperor, she guessed that the entire palace wouldn’t have enough space to fit his harem. The princess consort was standing right next to him too and he dared to look at her in such a flagrant way.
The princess consort’s expression was already very ugly. She hadn’t exploded into anger yet out of consideration for loss of face.
The third prince, Zhao Jue, unexpectedly called out, “Imperial brother.”
While his voice was gentle and pleasant to hear, Ji Man didn’t dare to continue to look. The grip Ning Yuxuan had on her waist felt as if it was tight enough to stop her blood from flowing.
“My lord, please be gentler.” Ji Man slightly frowned and said, “This is a waist not a tree trunk. It hurts when you hold so tightly.”
“Do you really know what pain is?” Ning Yuxuan’s smile didn’t reach his eyes. “If you provoke the crown prince, it won’t be the simple pain of me holding your waist. Nie Sangyu, I thought you're clever.”
Ji Man smiled as she clenched her teeth. “The crown prince is also very clever. He won’t do anything untoward to this servant. My lord, you don’t have to worry.”
Ning Yuxuan coldly harrumphed. His heart still felt bursts of irritability. If he had known this would happen, he would have gone against the emperor’s order and brought Wen Wan instead. At the very least, he wouldn’t be feeling so troubled right now.
This place was the boundary line for Li Province. Trembling with fear, Li Province’s provincial governor explained about the place he had prepared for this large group of people to stay. In front of the emperor, he kowtowed for a long time and said that Li Province hadn’t been able to collect taxes for several years in a row because the farmland had been poor. Thus, they weren’t able to construct a temporary imperial residence.
Unexpectedly, the emperor was in a very good mood and didn’t blame him. Instead, he sent the group of eunuchs and court ladies to farming families to do manual labor such as working the farmland and cleaning gravestones. Then, he led his family to a large residence that been offered up as tribute by a wealthy merchant.
The emperor gathered the group of people to the main courtyard and said, “We’ve lived in the palace for so long. It’s rare for us to come out and have a chance to experience something like this. Starting from today, no one is separated by ranks. Everyone has the same rank. While we’re staying here during the next few days, we won’t observe any ceremonial rules. We’ll simply be headed by an old master and madam and live like the common people. What do you all think about this idea?”
The emperor had said these words. Would anyone dare to have a dissenting opinion?
With a smile on his face, the crown prince said, “Father, your idea is very good. This son will be the first to follow.”
Noble Consort Nie glanced at the third prince, and the latter sighed before stepping forward and saying, “It’s worth it to try out living unrestrained while we’re at this place of natural beauty. Father’s idea is feasible.”
The emperor was smiling as he looked at the third prince and said, “You should probably like this type of unfettered lifestyle the most.”
Noble Consort Nie hurriedly said, “Jue-er has a natural and unconstrained temperament, but he knows how to follow etiquette.”
Zhao Jue stayed silent.
Standing by the side, Ji Man secretly looked at him. There was a jade flute tucked in his belt at his back and he was wearing the long robes of a scholar. He appeared especially refined. This type of person wasn’t suitable to be part of the imperial family. He should live freely like Li Bai* by drinking lots of wine and composing numerous poems while away from worldly affairs,
* (T/N: Li Bai is the famous poet that Ji Man plagiarized from at the end of chapter 64.)
Unfortunately, he was Noble Consort Nie’s only son and she wouldn’t let him off to live the carefree life that he wanted. She guessed that his future path would be competing with the crown prince to see who would win the title of emperor.
After the courtyards were assigned, Marquis Moyu was summoned by the emperor to discuss something. Gancao and Dengxin had been sent away with the court ladies. Ji Man could only roll up her sleeves and clean up the courtyard by herself.
Li Province didn’t have snow in the winter. Although it was very cold, it only took a little bit of moving around for her body to warm up. With no else around, Ji Man didn’t need to wear a properly long skirt. She tied the bottom of her skirt to her waist for ease of movement before she started to boil water and clean the rooms.
Translator Ramblings: It feels like there's a missing scene that should have happened before this chapter. Until the beginning of this chapter, Ji Man has only been grudgingly tolerating Ning Yuxuan's presence and telling him to go away in varying degrees of politeness, so it seems out-of-place that she's suddenly trying to get him to like her. What do you guys think?
If you want read a tiny spoiler about a later scene that I think should have been in this chapter, look in the comments below.