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Title: The Dreamer in the Spring Boudoir
Chapter 277 - Was it really that difficult to say, "I love you"? (2)
Ji Man was genuinely preparing for the Yuzhen princess's visit. In accordance to the imperial noble consort's wishes, she had to do her best to play matchmaker for the third prince. If she couldn't do that, then it would better to match the princess with Ning Mingjie rather than letting this alliance marriage benefit someone else.
Right now, there were only three princes that would be suitable marriage candidates. The first prince and third prince already had princess consorts. Between them, there was the second prince, whom hadn't been engaged yet. But, the second prince's mother had already passed away, his legs were disabled, and his father didn't care about him. It was very improbable that the princess would become interested in him. Out of all the young, talented men in the imperial court, Ning Mingjie was clearly the most popular character.
She knew that Ning Yuxuan had extensive knowledge about the important officials, even minor information like what breed of dog a specific imperial court official had in his household. During his free time, he had even shared gossipy information about some of the officials' families with her.
And so, Ji Man thought that he would know something about this Yuzhen princess.
She had only been waiting in the study for a short period of time when Ning Yuxuan arrived. It seemed that Wen Wan hadn't been able to keep him.
Marquis Moyu said, "I heard that the Yuzhen princess likes men that are talented in martial arts. I think that you shouldn't even make an attempt to pair her with the third prince. That princess is prideful and arrogant. You might end up offending her if you try to convince her to be a side consort. It'll be better if you go straight to matchmaking her with Mingjie."
The corners of Ji Man's lips twitched. She wasn't a professional matchmaker. As far as Ning Yuxuan knew, her only task was to welcome the princess and play tour guide as well. Did everyone think that the princess would just marry whomever she choose?
"This servant will do my best."
Everyone used to say that Ning Yuxuan was Zhao Zhe's close friend, but during this period of time when Zhao Zhe was spending his days in the relaxed role of the first prince, Ning Yuxuan's path rarely crossed with his. Ji Man vaguely thought; the first prince probably had no hope of getting back the crown prince position. Otherwise, Marquis Moyu, this rudder that agilely followed the winds of popularity, wouldn't be acting like this.
If the third prince's position was stable, then Nie Sangyu's little life was secured safely in a safe. No one would dare to touch her.
Ji Man made a resolute decision to play matchmaker. She wrote down all of Ning Mingjie's good points and planned out a series of methods to fully display the best of his special qualities.
However, before she could start executing her plan, Ji Man mentally prepared herself and went to Ning Residence again.
Sitting outside in a courtyard, Ning Mingjie quietly watched her as he prepared tea for the two of them.
Ji Man went straight to the point by saying, "I've seen the portraits in Young Master's study." She smiled for a few seconds before adding, "The woman in the portrait looks quite similar to me."
"En." Ning Mingjie slightly lowered his eyes before saying, "When I was looking at the scenery sometimes, I somehow ended up painting you each time."
Ji Man nodded. "The only person in my heart is the marquis."
Ning Mingjie froze for a moment before glancing at her and saying, "That's okay. I was just casually painting."
"Then, sell all of those scrolls to me," Ji Man said with a smile, "I happened to have recently started a hobby of collecting paintings and calligraphy."
The steam from the tea rose up in spirals. Ning Mingjie silently kept his head lowered. After a long time passed, he finally mumbled, "If I had known this earlier, I wouldn't have let you go in there..."
"En?" Ji Man raised her eyebrows. She hadn’t clearly heard his words.
"It's nothing. If you like them, then I'll give all of them to you." Ning Mingjie smiled. It looked as if his vitality had been sapped away. "It's about time for me to change the decorations on the walls anyways."
"Alright." Ji Man didn't feel the slightest trace of embarrassment. She had specially brought two extra servant girls with her today to help her move the items.
"Sangyu has no good way to repay Young Master's generous giving of so many presents," she said, "Young Master, how about meeting with Sangyu at Luoyan Pagoda three days before you leave the capital? Sangyu will treat Young Master to drinks, and we can have a discussion about poems one more time."
Three days before he was leaving to go the battlefield, the Yuzhen princess would be arriving in the capital. Ning Mingjie lowered his eyes again. Pretending not to know her real motive behind asking him, he lightly nodded and said, "Sure."
Ji Man brought back all of the calligraphy scrolls and paintings to Feiwan Courtyard, dug a big hole in the backyard, and started to bury the box that contained everything.
She turned around to return to her room. There was a painting in her room. It was a very average-looking peony painting that could be purchased anywhere. Once she took down the peony painting, the hidden daffodil painting was revealed.
"Master, do you want to bury this painting too?" Dengxin asked.
Ji Man stretched her hand out to take down the painting and laughed, "En, bury this too."
Dengxin took the painting from her and tossed it into the box outside.
The peony painting that Ji Man had been holding slipped and made a loud sound as it dropped to the ground.
The edge of the mounted painting slightly curved up and revealed another layer.
Was there something underneath the flat-surfaced peony painting? Ji Man slightly raised her eyebrows and ripped off the peony picture.
There was a wrinkled painting of a beauty underneath. The ink used to paint the woman's beautiful, thick hair had slightly bled into the paper. There was a light colored mark between her eyebrows, and her lips were vermillion.
Was this her?
Ji Man raised her eyebrows. Paintings in ancient times always looked as if the artist had liberally used Photoshop. When Nie Sangyu's face was drawn like this, she looked really beautiful.
But, who had painted this? Ning Yuxuan had been the one that gave her this peony painting. Why had he hidden a crumpled, then smoothed out portrait underneath it?
Could it be that in ancient times, people always secretly drew pictures of people they were in love with?
Ji Man’s eyes brightened and she hastily ran to Ning Yuxuan's study.
Marquis Moyu was currently in the middle of writing a secret letter when the study's doors were suddenly pushed open. He impressively maintained his calm and used a book to cover the letter.
He asked, "What?"
Slightly gasping for breath, Ji Man clutched his lapel and said, "My lord, say that you love me."
Startled by her behavior, Ning Yuxuan blankly looked at her and repeated, "Love me?"
"Don't just say, "love me". Say that you love me." Ji Man was very eager. Thinking that she would soon be able to return to modern times, she was so excited that her body was slightly shaking.
"You love me?" Ning Yuxuan pursed his lips.
Ji Man felt flustered and exasperated. This person more or less had fallen in love with Nie Sangyu. As long as he said that one sentence, she guessed that she would be able to go back!
"It's not, you love me, it's I love you!"
Ning Yuxuan's cheeks had turned slightly red. He pursued his lips and turned his head away. "Alright, I know."