Title: The Dreamer in the Spring Boudoir
Chapter: 105 out of 513 – The throne’s turbulent future (2)
Troubled by the conversation she had recently heard, Ji Man didn’t notice the person sitting next to her.
Seeing that Nie Sangyu had been silent this entire time, Ning Yuxuan thought she was angry. And so, he pursed his lips and added lot of food to her bowl.
But, the result was that Ji Man didn’t notice his attempt at all. She absent-mindedly ate whatever he added to her bowl without looking at him.
Ning Yuxuan felt disgruntled. It didn’t feel good to be ignored by someone else. However, he couldn’t say anything. Everyone else was in the dining hall, and they were also sitting at the same table as the two princes. He had to be especially careful with maintaining his image.
The crown prince had looked over here several times with a considering expression. After the meal was over, he invited Ning Yuxuan and Ning Mingjie to enjoy painting and calligraphy.
“I heard that Mingjie is very talented in calligraphy,” The crown prince said with a smile. “Now that I think about it, that ink blob is the most marvelous part of the poem hanging in Luoyan Pagoda. Mingjie, what were you thinking when you drew that ink blob at the top of the poem?” Even though he knew that Nie Sangyu was the one that composed the poem, he still phrased his question this way.
Ning Mingjie’s mask hid his expression and he only said, “Your Highness, you’re overpraising me. Madam Ning is the one with exceptional talent. I merely wrote out her words for her."
Ning Yuxuan glanced as the crown prince. In a neutral tone, he said, “Nie Sangyu has never shown such talent with words. For her to compose a poem like that one, I also feel very surprised.”
“Madam Ning is very talented. Yuxuan, there’s no need for you to make modest remarks about her. Since Mingjie happens to be here, why don’t we call Madam Ning over here to recite that poem out aloud and have him write out the first half and second half of the poem on one scroll, so I can take it back home as a memento?”
This request was a bit improper, but Ning Yuxuan actually agreed after looking at the crown prince for a brief moment.
Ji Man was woken up from her post-lunch nap and called over to the garden.
When she reached the garden, she saw Ning Mingjie holding a brush and was distracted for a moment. Then, she turned to Ning Yuxuan and asked, “My lord, what do you want this servant to do?”
“Recite your poem, Inviting you to drink wine,” Marqyis Moyu said.
Recite a poem? Ji Man rolled her eyes. She walked to Ning Mingjie’s side and obediently recited the poem.
Ning Mingjie truly looked very attractive when he was writing out these words. Xu Xi also knew calligraphy. Was the cycle of reincarnation unceasing? Would a person be reincarnated with the same appearance a hundred years later? A thousand years later?
Somewhat preoccupied by these thoughts, Ji Man watched as he finished writing the last word.
“Yuxuan, what do you think of this poem?” The crown prince asked with a smile.
There wasn’t much of a smile on Marquis Moyu’s face. He only unenthusiastically nodded his head and said, “Mingjie’s magnificent and grand writing style is a worthy complement to this poem.”
Ji Man felt there was something strange going on. She had been summoned to the garden to recite to the poem and had been sent away right afterwards. That night, Marquis Moyu didn’t return to her room to sleep. She didn’t know where he had gone. However, instead of wondering about his whereabouts, she slept even more peacefully.
As their visit to Li Province concluded and the court ladies and eunuchs returned, they were much better behaved and conscientious. Even Gancao and Dengxin became especially hardworking and busy, as if they were afraid their master would send them back to Li Province.
Looking at them, Ji Man didn’t know whether she should laugh or cry. She suddenly thought of that time when she had shared a roasted chicken with Muxu and her heart felt slightly melancholy. Before they boarded the boat, she made Beggar’s chicken and ate it together with the two young servant girls.
“There’s no one that will stay loyal for a lifetime.” As Ji Man gnawed on the chicken’s neck, she said, “But I’m willing to treat you well until you betray me.”
Hearing her words, the two young servant girl’s eyes were brimming with tears. They ate the chicken and firmly nodded.
Ning Yuxuan seemed to be increasingly busy and frequently didn’t share a bed with her. However, Ji Man didn’t care. You couldn’t expect a man to always be thinking about you, much less a man, whose attentions were largely occupied by the world.
In contrast, when Ji Man was by the railing to look at the river water during the daytime, she would frequently meet Ning Mingjie. He wasn’t a talkative person and he stood a distance away from her. When she occasionally said a few words, he would only utter a short reply. But, it was the silence of mutual understanding as if they were connected at a deep level.
There was a heaven and earth difference between the next province and Li Province. It was the rich and populous Xiang Province that was famous for having fertile land. The lean and hungry expressions on the gloomy group finally faded away and were replaced with smiles of jubilation.
Right after they disembarked, the crown prince suggested that they go to Tian Xiang and even suggested for Noble Consort Nie to come along.
(T/N: Tian Xiang means divine fragrance.)
Just hearing the name would be enough for people to know that it was a low-grade brothel. The emperor was going to visit prostitutes and bring along Noble Consort Nie. Ji Man thought; there really wasn’t anything that could be more preposterous than this! Fine, they would just be preposterous. Since the emperor had already agreed, no one else would say anything in disagreement. However, why was Noble Consort Nie the only female that was going? Even Ning Yuxuan and Nie Qingyun, who were men that already had someone, were also going. Why was she and Ning Errong being left behind?
Ning Errong was pouting as she sat in Nie Sangyu’s room and unhappily said, “I’ve never heard of people going to brothels during the southern visits!”
Ji Man sighed and comforted her, “Don’t worry, my older brother has always disliked going to see prostitutes.”
Ning Errong was still worried as she asked, “Really? What if there’s a vixen that’s especially good at seducing people?”
“There won’t be. You have to believe in my older brother. He has very high standards,” As Ji Man said this, she though that she couldn’t say the same for Ning Yuxuan.
During the past several days, she figured out that Ning Yuxuan was deliberately giving her the cold shoulder. As for the reason behind this, Ji Man was too lazy to think about it. If he wanted to give her the cold shoulder, she didn’t care. She wasn’t Wen Wan, who couldn’t bear to suffer a few days of being snubbed. If he didn’t pay attention to her, it would actually let her feel more relaxed.