T/N: Sorry for the late chapters. I'll make up Sunday's chapter tomorrow.
Title: The Dreamer in the Spring Boudoir
Chapter 260 - I'm getting married soon (1)
Ji Man really wanted to ask; why didn't she need to pay attention to him? However, her unspoken question was quickly answered by a gaggle of gossiping women.
"Why is the second prince attending this banquet too?"
"He's probably afraid that if he doesn't make an appearance soon, the emperor is going to forget that he exists."
"A cripple is quite pitiful. He doesn't have any chance of obtaining the throne, and he's not even a titled prince. Perhaps, he can't even afford enough food to feed himself, so he came to banquet in order to fill himself up."
After listening to this conversation for a while, Ji Man summarized the information she had learned. First, this prince was a cripple. Second, he had no chance of becoming the next emperor.
No wonder Ning Yuxuan had said that she didn't need pay attention to the second prince. It was true that a worthless prince wasn't within the scope of their consideration.
Ning Mingjie was wearing an azure robe that was embroidered with silver clouds today. His hair was tied up high by a jade hair accessory. As soon as he entered the garden, there were people looking at him from every direction.
Ji Man's gaze lingered on him. She sighed with emotion and said, "So, there are men that can keep looking better with each passing year."
Perhaps, it was because he had experienced more of life. Ning Mingjie didn't look as cold and aloof as before. His expression was also a lot calmer than when he had first taken off his mask. When his gaze swept over here and landed on her, he lightly nodded as a sign of greeting.
Ji Man still hadn't found an opportunity to thank him for jumping onto the room's wooden beam. She kept looking at him as she thought; she should go over there to thank him once the banquet was at time when the guests could freely mingle.
"Nie Sangyu." Marquis Moyu's fingers were gripping the low table in front of them.
Ji Man returned to her senses. "Huh?"
Ning Yuxuan slightly narrowed his eyes. He raised his hand and pointed at himself.
"What's wrong with your face?" Ji Man stretched her hand out and felt up his face. There weren’t any holes, ah.
Ning Yuxuan glared at her. Feeling a bit annoyed, he turned his face away.
Ji Man felt quite confused by his actions. Was he just being moody?
But, the banquet officially started in the next moment, so Ji Man didn't have time to think more about this. After the usual sequence of formalities was observed, the important relatives of the imperial family freely dispersed like kites flying in the wind. Ji Man had originally wanted to follow Ning Yuxuan. But when she turned around, he was acting as if he had never seen a woman before. He was approaching every single beautiful married woman at the banquet to talk with.
Ji Man's lips twitched, and she decided to look for Ning Mingjie.
Ning Mingjie was standing by a secluded rock garden. He seemed like he was waiting for someone. Ji Man stopped a short distance away and hesitated for a while. Not seeing anyone approaching him, she eventually walked over and called out, "Young Master."
"En." Ning Mingjie didn't sound surprised to hear her voice at all. He turned his head to look at her and said, "It was so rushed last time. We didn't even have time to properly exchange greetings."
Thinking of situation from last time, Ji Man still felt a bit speechless. If Ning Mingjie hadn't been able to jump onto the wooden beam, she would probably be at the bottom of a lake right now. She would definitely settle this score with Wen Wan later.
"It's Sangyu that hasn't had the time to thank you yet."
Smiling, Ning Mingjie looked at her for a while before finally saying, "I'm getting married soon."
Ji Man froze in surprise for a moment, then she said, "Oh, congratulations."
This conversation felt a bit strange. She didn't know why Ning Mingjie wasn't following the original novel's plot. In the original novel, Ning Mingjie had been whole-heartedly been helping Wen Wan. But, after she had come into the world, Ning Mingjie had changed from being the secondary male character to just one of the extra side characters and didn't really have any conflicts with the male lead because of the female lead. How can he be getting married when the female lead's future was still uncertain right now?
Placing her hand over her heart, Ji Man thought it was somewhat of a pity. The secondary male character that had been loved by all of the readers at first sight in the original novel was now heading towards the path of an ordinary life.
But, right now, she wasn't a reader. The Ning Mingjie that was standing in front of her was a fully fleshed out person. He didn't love the female lead to the point of not caring about his own life. He didn't wear his mask anymore. To her, he was no longer a silent and melancholy young man that was as beautiful as a flower. Instead, the person in front of her was like a close friend that was calmly telling her that he was getting married.
Ji Man smiled and said, "When that time comes, Sangyu will definitely come with the marquis and give you a big present."
Ning Mingjie calmly nodded. "Okay."
On the other side, the assistant minister's wife looked at Marquis Moyu, who was standing in front of her, and lightly called out, "Marquis?"
Ning Yuxuan looked away from Ning Mingjie and Nie Sangyu. He lowered his eyes. "This junior is here."
"Since you want to look at her so much, why didn't you tie her to your side?" The assistant minister's wife teasingly joked.
Ning Yuxuan said in a muffled voice, "What's the use in tying her to my side?"
He couldn't force her eyes to look at him or her heart to love him.
The assistant minister's wife had been good friends with Old Madame, so when she looked at Ning Yuxuan, it was the same as looking at one of her own children. She sighed and said, "You've always been a child that overthinks things. If you like her, then just go and keep her in your grasp. Is there anyone that can escape from your control? Even if you had missed the opportunity the first time, as long as you still have one chance at capturing it again, then just firmly seize it and make sure you never loosen your grip."
Ning Yuxuan laughed. He cupped his hand and said, "Thank you madam for your instruction."
It wouldn't be good for Ji Man to be having a private conversation with Ning Mingjie for too long. After exchanging a few words, she said her goodbye.
But, looking at the noble ladies that were clustered in groups of three to five, then looking at Ning Yuxuan, who was smiling and conversing with that beautiful married woman, she decided that it wouldn't be appropriate for her to go over there either. So, she simply headed towards the pond to take a stroll around there.
There weren't many people by the pond, but there was a wooden wheelchair parked in the distance. Feeling a brief pang in her heart, Ji Ma silently turned around and pretended to not see the second prince. She stopped behind a cluster of trees to hide her retreat.
There was no point in having a chance encounter with an unfavored prince. She would rather go back to garden, where the banquet was being held, and spend her efforts trying to seduce Ning Yuxuan than getting herself mixed up with the second prince.
Just as she was about to continue walking, she saw Fan Tianxing, the official that she had met in Qian Residence, walking over here. He stopped by the second prince's wheelchair and cupped his hands in greeting.
Unlike the other guests, he didn't seem to scorn or belittle the second prince. Fan Tianxing was even showing a respectful smile.
Ji Man wasn't interested in their conversation. Besides, it would still be better if she left this area sooner. Otherwise, if she heard some unspeakable secret, then stepped on a branch and was heard by them, her little life could end here.