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Title: The Dreamer in the Spring Boudoir
Chapter 280 - Acting as well-qualified tour guide (1)
Ji Man was also considering this problem. When she normally went out to buy something, she was always riding in a carriage or sedan chair. For her to accompany this lively, spirited, and active princess wasn't her status a bit unsuitable?
Unexpectedly, the imperial noble consort had already planned for this issue. She covered her smiling lips and said, "The princess is a noble guest. Bring along Sir Ning as the two of you take the princess out for sightseeing. This way, you’ll be able to walk around freely without worries. This consort had also already asked Marquis Moyu and Sie Nie to borrow the two of you for a few days. The two of you are about the same age as the princess, so the three of you will be at ease to enjoy yourselves."
The empress sneered. "Younger sister Ninglu, this empress is worried that this conduct would be somewhat improper."
"Your Majesty, you don't need to worry," the imperial noble consort smiled and said, "The emperor has given this consort authority over handling this matter, so Ninglu will be responsible for arranging everything. If Sangyu and Errong aren't suitable to accompany the princess, isn't there still Sir Ning?"
It should be said that the focus of all this was Sir Ning.
In accordance to his agreement with Nie Sangyu, Ning Mingjie had already gone to Luoyan Pagoda. The next step was to figure out how to get Princess Pengyue over there.
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With an unsmiling face, the empress didn't say another word. In the harem, the status of each woman was based on how much favor they received. The imperial noble consort had been quite favored recently because of the fourth prince. There wasn't much that she could say after the imperial noble consort brought up the emperor.
Princess Pengyue slightly frowned. It seemed that her mood was worsening. But, soon after, Nie Sangyu and Errong led her out of the palace, this princess gradually started to smile again.
Inside the carriage, Princess Pengyue looked at the women across from her and said, "I came here to marry someone, but I want to choose my husband myself. I don't want someone to pick for me."
Ji Man's heart slightly jumped. Ah, was this a rebellious princess?
Ji Man asked, "Your Highness, do you already have someone that you like?"
The imperial court had probably previously sent over many portraits.
"No." Pengyue curled her lip. "I've only seen several portraits. A couple of them look very handsome, but I want to see them with my own eyes. Imperial father is insisting that I marry someone from Great Song and I already agreed. As for who I marry, I should be able to choose the person that I want."
Compared to other girls, her sense of independence was very strong and made her quite unique. But, this type of personality wasn't suitable to living a happy life in this ancient time period.
Ji Man smiled. She opened up a map of the capital that she had prepared in advanced, pointed at Luoyan Pagoda, said, "There's a lot of people here that like poetry. They also have very delicious snacks here. Your Highness, if you don't mind, let's go there to play first."
Pengyue's eyes brightened. She nodded. But then, lowering her head and looking at her attire, she opened up the curtain and shouted, "Stop!"
The carriage stopped at the side of the street. Ji Man stretched her head out look. They had stopped right outside of a clothing store.
This made sense. If the three of them were going to play, they really should change their attire first.
"Come on, come on." Pengyue excited jumped down from the carriage. The attendants assigned to Pengyue were skilled at martial arts and doubled as her bodyguards had been following behind them. Seeing the princess exiting the carriage, they protectively swarmed around her.
"Errong?" It took Ji Man tugging on Errong's arm a few times before Errong returned to her senses. With her eyes lowered, Errong made a sound of assent.
"What's wrong?" Ji Man curiously looked at her. "You don't seem to be having a good time. I though your personality would very compatible with Princess Pengyue's, that why I asked the imperial noble consort to have you come with us today. But, you seem troubled today?"
Ning Errong opened and closed her mouth, but in the end, she only sadly smiled and said, "Never mind that. We came out to have fun today. I don't want to bring up anything depressing. Let's go."
Ning Errong and Nie Qingyun had been married for a year and nothing major had happened during this period. When they had come to visit her, they seemed to have still been deeply in love. Feeling somewhat doubtful and unconvinced, Ji Man followed Errong out of the carriage. When they had free time later, she would definitely ask Errong what was going on and get to the bottom of this matter.
The store had many beautiful dresses and sleeveless garments and jackets in a variety of styles. They browsed through the clothes for a while before Ji Man pointed out a greenish blue dress for Pengyue, "What about this one?"
Pengyue disdainfully shook her head, turned around, and choose an inconspicuous gray cotton dress. "I'll wear this one."
Ji Man paused. Without a better option, she chose two similar types of dresses for herself and Errong. The two of them had also undone their married women hairstyles and replaced them with an ordinary maiden's hairstyle. Three beautiful, noble ladies entered the store, and three village girls left the store.
Although it was true that their new attire looked ugly, it didn't have any of the confining feeling that her formal attire had. In the short walk it took to return to the carriage, Ji Man had already noticed that this dress felt extremely comfortable.
Right after they boarded the carriage, Pengyue stretched her head out and shouted at the bodyguards, "Don't follow us. With so many people following, aren't you worried that our status will be too obvious to other people?”
Errong lightly said, "The capital isn't safe right now. Your Highness, it'll better to allow some of them to stay for your protection. They can also keep a little farther away from us."
Pengyue pouted. Gripping her red whip, she said, "Even so, if there are any evil doers, I'll be able to protect the two of you."
Ji Man could see it clearly now. From top to bottom, every cell in this girl was full of rebellious intentions. If someone wanted her to do something, she would insist on not doing it for the sake of being contrary.
Errong shrugged. All of the guards outside of the carriage pretended to leave, then they continued to follow the carriage from a distance.
Luoyan Pagoda was as lively as usual. On the fifth floor, the scroll for the first half of "Inviting you to drink wine" was no longer in the center of a wall. Without its other half, the second half of the poem, which was still being hanged on the wall as a decoration, looked lonely. By chance, when the group of them came up, Ning Mingjie was in the middle of writing a poem.
Ning Mingjie's deft and strong strokes of calligraphy made the brush resembled a dancing dragon as he wrote his poem. His silvery sleeves that were embroidered with blue threads were also slightly swaying. Everyone was utterly silent on the fifth floor as they admired the scene before them. If Ji Man was watching this scene on TV in modern-day, there would definitely be special effects such as plum blossom petals drifting into the room through a window and sprinkling down on top of this man or the sound of traditional Chinese music magically starting in the background.
Unfortunately, this man's brow wasn't relaxed, and there was a faint mocking smile on his face. He mumbled, "
Back then, I wasn't aware,
Drawing the beauty in the east of the Cinnamon Hall,
Now that I am aware,
I am filled with endless vexation."
(T/N: I think the "east of the Cinnamon Hall" might be in reference to one of Li Shangyin's poems, which was about his longing and ethereal connection he feels towards someone. Two of the lines in that poem are “west of the Painted Chamber and east of Cinnamon Hall” and "Yet we had a meeting of minds and a binding of hearts to each other." I think the latter line describes Ning Mingjie's one-sided feeling about Nie Sangyu/Ji Man pretty well.)