Title: The Dreamer in the Spring Boudoir
Chapter 305 - Treasure what you have (2)
Liu Hanyun packed up very quickly and was personally sent away by Guibai. Right before her departure, Ji Man went to send her off. Liu Hanyun continued to have a resolute gaze when she looked at her. "Madam, be more guarded against Xia-shi. That peasant woman isn't a simple character."
Ji Man started to feel a bit doubtful. Could Xia-shi really be a wolf in sheep's clothing? But, Haohao was already the heir. Even if she wanted to compete, what was there for her to compete for? It couldn't be that she wanted her position as the main wife, right?
For Liu Hanyun to say these words even when she was leaving, Ji Man took her words to heart and observed Xia-shi more.
When all was said and done, the struggles in a harem couldn't be compared to the changes in power in the imperial court. Marquis Moyu really did help Nie Qingyun get a position, as the assistant minister for the Ministry of Rites, and Nie Clan's position seemed be more secure. But then, Ning Mingjie returned later that spring.
During the war for Jiangdong, Yuzhen had assisted Great Song with fifty thousand soldiers. Under Ning Mingjie's command, the soldiers had fought beautifully. Compared to the enemy, who had lost forty thousand soldiers, Great Song had done quite well in the number of casualties. There had been a loss of less than twenty thousand soldiers including Han De, who had died in battle. After the enemy troops retreated all the way to Dongshan, they shouldn't be able to muster up enough forces to attack during the next two years.
(T/N: Just in case it was too long ago, Han De is Consort Han's older brother. Consort Han is the third prince's favorite consort.)
Because the emperor was extremely pleased, when he heard the news that Ning Mingjie was returning to the capital, he ordered the empress and the imperial noble consort to work together and have womenfolk, who had family members that were third-rank or higher, to go to the capital's gate to welcome Ning Mingjie.
On the day when the army returned, numerous civil and military officials were present at the gate, and even the emperor was here as well.
Since the beginning of this dynasty, there hadn't been a general that enjoyed such a grand treatment, and Ning Mingjie had only been a temporary commander for the war. Technically, he was only an assistant general. However, after the news of his accomplishments during the war had been known, several court officials had presented petitions to the emperor that attributed the victory of the war to Ning Mingjie.
Standing in the crowd, Ji Man watched as the faraway horses, carrying the dust of travel got closer.
Ning Mingjie was riding at the forefront. His formerly devastating beauty had long been baptized away by time and had been replaced with a robust figure. He urged his horse to the capital's wall, then he dismounted from his horse and knelt down. "This subject has unfortunately failed in my assigned mission."
Standing at the top of the capital's wall, the emperor loudly laughed in response. Eunuchs went down with cups of wine. After Ning Mingjie along with a group of high-ranking military officers all drank the bestowed wine, an imperial edict scroll was unrolled and read aloud by a eunuch.
"Since this emperor had founded the nation, worthy people have always been rewarded for their meritorious service. As this emperor managed the civil and military officials for this country, this emperor has come to a conclusion. My subjects should strive to be altruistic and loyally toil away for the nation. Not only have you accomplished meritorious service, you fulfilled your role as the commander very well. Therefore, continue to display and cultivate your talents. Be a dependable..."
To put the voluminously speech in simpler terms, this was the emperor's way of saying that Ning Mingjie had done a pretty good job with his group scuffle, his strategizing was good too, and he also had great courage and insight. He had proven himself more than adequate to be the Zhenyuan General. And, the emperor will continue to rely on Ning Mingjie to fight for him, seize more territory, and pacify the world.
This was how the position of Zhenyuan General fell onto Ning Mingjie's head.
Ji Man felt a bit fearful.
There was no need to go over the rewards that were bestowed to the other military officials afterwards. Since the solders had returned triumphantly, there would naturally be a celebration banquet at the palace.
Although Marquis Moyu brought her along, once they arrived, he was pulled away by a group of officials to drink wine with them. He only had time to turn his head and briefly look at her before disappearing into the crowd.
Ji Man was left standing by Nie Qingyun's side as he slowly drank wine.
"Older brother, are you tired?" Ji Man turned her head and looked at him with concern.
Nie Qingyun looked quite haggard. She could even see that he had strands of white hair now.
"It's okay." He lightly smiled and looked at her. "I can still bear it."
The burden of supporting Nie Clan wasn't light. Who knows how much energy and thought went into being the pillar of Nie Clan?
Ji Man couldn't resist asking, "Older brother, do you know how Errong has been doing?"
"I do." Ning Qingyun's eyes slightly dimmed. "She should be living a pretty good life in Jing Province."
Pretty well? Ji Man pressed her lips together. Compared to a woman getting divorced in modern-day, it was much harder to be a divorced woman in ancient times. Living with the blackened reputation of a woman that had been discarded, how could Errong possibly be living a pretty good life? Even now, she couldn't understand why these two people had chosen to divorce.
"Older brother, are you really planning on not getting back together with Errong?"
Nie Qingyun tilted his head and looked at the sky. He lightly curved his lips and said, "The heart yearns, but life frequently doesn't follow the desires of people. Sangyu, treasure what you have."
Treasure? What was there for her to treasure? Was she supposed to treasure Marquis Moyu, who had a harem of women, or the never-ending drama caused by the women in his harem?
Ji Man sighed. Suddenly, she heard a group of people teasing someone. Ji Man turned her head to the side to look and saw that Ning Mingjie was surrounded by a group of officials.
"I heard a while ago that General Ning has someone in his heart. Who exactly is she? How about sharing her name with us?"
"Ah, how long have you been using this? It looks so old."
Slightly stunned, Ji Man furrowed her brows and looked at that group. Someone had snatched Ning Mingjie's handkerchief and was holding it up high for everyone to see. It was a light blue handkerchief that was embroidered with snow-capped mountains.
Ning Mingjie was slightly annoyed. He grabbed the handkerchief back and tucked it away. "There's no need for anyone to concern themselves."
Next to him, the third prince said with a smile, "And here I was, worried that you were mad at me over that matter with Qian-er. As it turns out, I actually did you a big favor. Who gave you this handkerchief? I'm really curious. Which woman is so fortunate?"
Ning Yuxuan also looked over in that direction. When he got a clear look of that handkerchief, he finally put down his wine cup, stood up, and walked over to Nie Sangyu's side.
With a serious expression, he asked, "Isn't it tiring to keep standing here?"
Ji Man withdrew her gaze, shrugged, and said, "I want to talk with my older brother for a bit."
Nie Qingyun and Ning Yuxuan nodded to each other, as if they were wordlessly communicating. Pulling on her wrist, Ning Yuxuan said, "Keep me company. I feel sort of drunk. Let's go outside and take a stroll together."
Translator Ramblings: Four more chapter parts until the beginning of book 2! (DSB is divided into two books, plus lots of extras after the main story ends.)