Title: The Dreamer in the Spring Boudoir
Chapter: 108 out of 513 – On the precipice between life and death (1)
If men were reliable, then pigs could climb to the top of trees. A man would say all types of flowery, but insincere words in order to obtain a woman. Ji Man’s smile bared her teeth as she said, “Sangyu is lacking in virtues and talent. It’s enough for me to just accompany the marquis. It’s not worth it for the crown prince to go through such trouble for a fallen woman like Sangyu.”
The smile on Zhao Zhe’s face froze. He pursed his lips and said, “Do you ever say anything sweet with your mouth?”
Ji Man saluted, “Sure. May the crown prince and princess consort live a long and happy life together.”
The crown prince was momentarily stifled by her words. His gaze sunk and he said, “Nie Sangyu, you really don’t know how to appreciate a good thing. You don’t even have a tiny spot in Marquis Moyu’s heart. Why do you cling to him so tightly? Don’t you think this prince is offering the better way out of your difficult situation?”
Ji Man smiled. This person must think she was stupid. What kind of relationship did they have? How could Nie Sangyu be with the crown prince? As soon as Nie Sangyu showed feelings towards the crown prince, someone would deliver this information to Marquis Moyu and the relationship between Nie Clan and Ning Clan would be over. Did Zhao Zhe assume she was easy to bully based on her appearance and think her head was filled with tofu?
“Your Highness, have you heard of this saying? There are some people, who you can’t clearly say what’s good about them, but nonetheless, they’re irreplaceable to you.” Ji Man was still showing a beaming smile to the person standing in front of her, but inwardly she cursed him from top to bottom. “To say it in a slightly more artistic way, “Compared with the clouds on Wu Mountain, the clouds elsewhere are beneath my notice.”* Your Highness, you’re also very good. Perhaps, if Sangyu hadn’t married the marquis six years ago, Sangyu might be willing to be with the crown prince for a lifetime.”
* (T/N: This is a line from a poem, Thoughts of Departure. The writer of this poem was mourning the death of his wife and saying that no one could be compared to her, like the way a river can’t be compared to the sea. Below is a picture of Wu Mountain.)
But, perhaps, things could change.
Zhao Zhe raised his eyebrows and chuckled. “I really can’t get angry with you after hearing these words.”
“Sangyu still has something that needs to be embroidered. Sangyu will leave first.” Ji Man saluted, then she meekly retreated to her room.
Gancao and Dengxin were currently tidying the room.
Seeing Nie Sangyu coming inside, Dengxin hurriedly went over and closed the doors. Looking at her with worry, she said, “Master…”
“It’s fine. There’s nothing to worry about.” Ji Man waved her hands. She saw through the crown prince’s plot and absolutely wouldn’t fall into his trap.
Lost in his thoughts, Zhao Zhe stood at the deck of the boat for a while. His trusted aide, Taxue, whispered, “My prince, shouldn’t you be returning to the other boat? If the emperor ends up looking for you later on …”
Zhao Zhe raised his hand and said, “It’s fine.” He stood at the prow of the boat for a long time and looked at the river. When he finally closed his eyes and reopened them, he had on a gentle smiling expression again. “Since I boarded this boat, I’ll just stay here without worrying. Third imperial brother rarely has a chance to talk with imperial father. I’ll be generous and give him this opportunity.”
“Understood.” Taxue retreated to the side.
During this journey, he had experienced the various popular customs and much of the public opinions in the regions they had visited. He was the throne’s successor and naturally had his own plans for the future. A prince needed to project an aura that could calm the imperial court as well as the entire country.
After he gained the loyalty of Ning Clan and removed Nie Clan, his position in the imperial court would naturally be secured. This had been Zhao Zhe’s plan all along. He would do his upmost to find Nie Sangyu’s mistakes and use them to destroy the relationship between Ning Clan and Nie Clan. He had originally thought it would be easy to seduce her. He had money and other valuables, as well as the promise of the future empress’s position. Either of those things should have been enough to lure her in.
He would have never expected that Nie Sangyu would obstinately refuse to be swayed by him.
A strategic advisor had once told him to look for an opportunity to get rid of Nie Sangyu as a way to break the link between Ning Clan and Nie Clan. This was a good idea and he had originally planned on doing so during this trip. But, for an inexplicable reason, when he thought of that woman’s completely guarded gaze while still adhering to etiquette, he was suddenly somewhat reluctant.
Nie Sangyu was so interesting, ah. Would this world feel lonelier if she disappeared?
The boats would continue to travel during the night, so everyone had to stay on the boats. When they stopped at a dock at a midpoint, Ning Yuxuan returned to the second boat and the crown prince returned to the first boat.
That night, Jinse served Marquis Moyu in bed again.
Feeling bored, Ji Man visited Errong to talk.
“The crown prince was the one that gave my cousin Jinse.” Errong had heard about this gossip from someone. In an irritated tone, she said, “Is this the crown prince’s hobby? Giving men women from brothels? Was Mu Shuiqing not enough? Now, there’s Jinse.”
Ji Man considered before saying, “Isn’t this just a way from him to win people over? Isn’t money, power, and women what all men want? It wouldn’t look good for him to give money and power, but he can easily send a woman over.”
Ning Errong stewed in anger for a while before she suddenly said something in a slightly gloating tone, “Look at how my cousin is treating this woman. He hasn’t let her leave his side for a few days, right? If Wen Wan knew, she definitely wouldn’t be able to be as calm as you.”
That was certainly true. With Wen Wan’s small-mindedness, could she tolerate Marquis Moyu bringing back a prostitute six months after she had married into this household? She couldn’t. However, Ning Yuxuan had probably considered this point too. He had said he wouldn’t be bringing Jinse back to the capital with them. He was only using Jinse as a way to make her feel uncomfortable during this journey.
Unfortunately for him, she didn’t care. Unless he was starving her or locking her up, then there was nothing else that Marquis Moyu could do to make her feel angry.
The river wasn’t peaceful tonight, and Ji Man wasn’t able to peacefully sleep. Getting a headache from the swaying boat, she put on her clothes and went up to the deck for fresh air. She was starting to get seasick.
In the dead of night, without a moon in the sky, Ji Man looked at the other boat’s fluttering dragon flags. The other boat wasn’t far. She could even faintly see a person standing on the other deck.