Title: The Dreamer in the Spring Boudoir
Chapter: 102 out of 513 – Who does your heart desire? (1)
Ning Yuxuan laughed boisterously, “When did you start caring about other people’s reputations?”
Ning Mingjie pursed his lips. His expression seemed somewhat sullen underneath his silver mask.
Marquis Moyu also knew that there were certain jokes that shouldn’t be overdone, so he put away his laughter. However, his mind would occasionally think about what happen last night and a smile would sneak out at the corners of his eyes and brow.
Li Province’s water project was just a river that went around the city walls. Due to repeated droughts in the past several years, this river had already been on the verge of running dry in past years. Right now, there were very few sources of water for the common people. Their only two choices were to dig deep wells or to bring water back from several miles away.
When the emperor brought along the princes and his inner circle of ministers to go look, there were countless citizens kneeling by the river. They were all kowtowing and weeping. The emperor slightly furrowed his brow and glanced at Li Province’s governor.
The latter immediately kneeled down and said in a trembling voice, “This subject has been unable fulfill my duty.”
If rainfall didn’t come from the Heavens, then there was only one option. The imperial court had to allocate funds for disaster relief. And yet, only a small portion of the disaster relief money came into his hands, much less the common people. Zhang Jin was as absolutely helpless as the ordinary people. He didn’t want to wrong them, so he hadn’t followed the orders from above and gathered everyone to lock them up during the emperor’s visit.
Zhang Jin was already doing everything that he could.
The emperor looked at that scene for a long time before he turned his head and asked the crown prince, “Zhe-er, how do you think this matter should be handled?”
The crown prince put away his half-hearted and unconcerned expression. He stepped forward and bowed. “Father, this son thinks that since Li Province has only turned into a disaster area this year, the imperial court should continue to support them so that they can overcome this crisis. They should be encouraged to sow seeds in this dry land in order to preserve their livelihood.”
The emperor nodded and also asked the third prince, “Jue-er, what do you think?”
Zhao Jue swept his gaze across the dried out river. “This river is a distributary channel that originates from a large river in the east. Half a year ago, the debris from a great mountain that suffered an earthquake cut off this distributary channel from the main river. This son thinks that imperial father only needs to expend manpower to dig out a channel in the blockage. Once the water is able to flow to this distributary channel, this problem will be solved.
The surrounding people made noises to expression their admiration, even Marquis Moyu slightly nodded.
Surprised, the emperor asked, “Jue-er, how did you know about this blockage?”
The third prince lightly smiled. “This son happened to pass through that large river half a year ago while traveling and heard the elderly folk mention that matter about the mountain. I wrote and sent a letter to imperial father that Li Province might be suffering from a dried up river. Imperial father, did you not see my letter?”
Zhao Jue spent his time traveling and Noble Consort Nie though he was uninterested in the imperial court’s matters because he never asked any questions. She didn’t know that Zhao Jue had traveled the entire country in the past years and remembered the circumstances of the people, along with each region’s natural conditions and social customs. He had even sent a booklet with all of his travel notes to the emperor. Although the emperor was very fond of the third prince, he though he was too leisurely and showed no interest about the imperial court matters. And so, the emperor had only looked at a few pages of the booklet before forgetting about it.
Now that the third prince mentioned that booklet, the emperor finally remembered. His eyes showed that he was extremely pleasantly surprised. After repeatedly nodding his head several times, he summoned the local officials and important ministers, as well as Li Province’s governor, to accompany him to discuss this matter.
The crown prince’s complexion slightly changed, but he was smiling as he patted third prince’s shoulder. “Third younger brother, you have extensive knowledge and experience.”
“Oldest brother, you’re too kind with your praise.” Zhao Jue cupped his hands and lowered his eyes. “I’ve just traveled a lot.”
“What a good job you’ve done with traveling a lot.” Zhao Zhe narrowed his eyes. “Your older brother has stayed in the palace for too long and can’t be compared with you, third younger brother.”
Zhao Jue seemed somewhat lost in his own thoughts and didn’t respond.
Zhao Zhe’s gaze wasn’t very friendly, but he only turned around and led the other people to continue to look around this area.
Ning Mingjie felt slightly sleepy. For an inexplicable reason, he kept having a nightmare every time he went to sleep recently. In his dreams, there would be a thick blanket of white fog. It was followed by a voice that continuously shouted, “You’re wrong, you’re wrong, you’re wrong.”
What had he done wrong? Ning Mingjie yawned, got onto a prepared horse, and went with the two princes and Marquis Moyu as they moved along the riverside.
Even if he had made a horrible mistake, at least tell him what he had done wrong. He wouldn’t look back if that voice only continued to shout that he was wrong.
He recalled yesterday’s memory. Nie Sangyu had personally prepared the meal. He had simply chosen a table that had three meat dishes and four vegetarian dishes because there was also a jar of Li Province’s local rice wine on that table’s tray.
He liked to drink wine. While he had been living in Marquis Jingwen’s fiefdom, he would frequently be drunk for several days and nights in a row. As a result, his father had said he was lacking in propriety. However, life only lasted for so long. If you always upheld propriety and never relaxed, wouldn’t life be meaningless?
He was still reminiscing over yesterday’s food. It was so much better than the food cooked by the servants. It tasted sort of like food from the common people’s restaurants, but it was made with much more care and thought. If one day, he could freely roam the mountains and rivers in a small boat with a jar of wine while the water reflected the bright moon, and have a person like her cooking for him, wouldn’t this life be wonderfully unrestrained?
After thinking about these thoughts, Ning Mingjie started to feel sleepier. He lightly leaned against the horse’s neck, but it felt too uncomfortable because of the horse’s jolting steps. Just as he wanted to change his position, he heard a distant guard shouting, “Watch out, assassins!”
Mixed in with the crying crowd, there were suddenly several sword-wielding people violently jumping out and rushing forward towards the crown prince and third prince.
Nie Qingyun hadn’t come out with them today because he had a stomachache from eating snacks that Errong made yesterday. Other than the guards, he and Marquis Moyu were the only ones that knew martial arts.
Ning Mingjie furrowed his brow before vaulting over, pulling the third prince from his horse, and protectively placing the third prince behind himself. Nearby, Marquis Moyu had done the same thing with the crown prince.
The group of common people started to scatter in a flurry of screeching, shoving, and kicking. Ning Mingjie and Ning Yuxuan were both in an extremely difficult position. The guards had seemed to be in control of the situation, but then a sound seemed to be rushing over here from a distance. Ning Mingjie wanted to dodge, but if he did, it would expose the third prince, who was behind him.