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Title: The Dreamer in the Spring Boudoir
Chapter 308 - From now on, there's nothing between the two of us (1)
There was a rumble of thunder from the sky. It was only now that the downpour of rain had truly started.
Ji Man numbly followed Ning Yuxuan. He didn't look back as he led her to the carriage that would take them to execution grounds.
When the carriage's curtain was put down, they were the only two people inside. With only the sound of the rain falling onto the top of the carriage, the atmosphere felt very stifled.
After a long time had passed, Ji Man broke the silence to ask, "My lord, have you always been helping the second prince?"
Marquis Moyu slightly turned his head to look at her. He lightly smiled and said, "Where does the issue of helping a certain person or not come into play? As a government official, Yuxuan's duty is to assist the person on the throne."
When the first prince had been the crown prince, he had done his best to help him. If it turned out that the third prince would become the emperor, then he would help the third prince instead. However, he had taken stock of the matter and felt that Zhao Jie wouldn't be able securely maintain his position as the emperor, so he had personally opened the capital's gates for Zhao Li so that he could enter the capital.
If the deceased Qian Lianxue were to be described as two-faced spy, then Ning Yuxuan would be a salesman that had an unknown number of faces. She had thought that he was trying to remain equilibrium with two sides, but as it turned out, there had been three sides.
He was a pragmatic person that knew how to steer the rudder perfectly in the face of ever-changing winds. Ji Man thought it was only to be expected that he would be able to save himself as well as everyone else in his household during this turbulent situation.
With his gaze on the carriage's curtain, Ning Yuxuan very calmly said, "After we go to the execution grounds, you should leave with Guibai. He'll arrange a place for you."
Ji Man's brain hadn't recovered yet. She hadn't given thought to what would be waiting for her in the near future, so she only quietly nodded.
Ning Yuxuan finally turned his head back to look at her. "Do you still not have anything that you want to say to me?"
Ji Man smiled. "My lord, do you have anything that you want to say to Sangyu?"
After a long pause, with the sound of the rain getting heavier and heavier, Ning Yuxuan said in a neutral tone, "I'll take care of Xia-shi and Haohao. Nothing will happen to Hanyun and Xi-er either."
What the f***? This was already the scene of their parting, and he was listing out his women and children? The corners of Ji Man's lips twitched before she chuckled and said, "May my lord live to a hundred years old and have enough to descendants to fill a hall."
Marquis Moyu deeply looked at her before pursing his lips and saying, "Big Meow is still in your courtyard. I'll take good care of it too."
"Oh. Thanks." Ji Man really would miss that fellow. However, after going to the execution grounds, she had no idea what her future would look like. It was already going to be a problem to support herself, much less a toddy cat too.
It felt as if this carriage ride had been very long. When they finally arrived, Ning Yuxuan got down from the carriage first, opened an umbrella, and helped her down from the carriage.
Although there was an alarmingly heavy rainstorm, this hadn't diminished the number of people at the execution grounds. They had on woven rush coats or were using umbrellas. In the nearby audience stands, the seats were filled with court officials and their wives. They were dressed quite magnificently. Sitting in center stand, where the officials would be supervising the execution, there was Ning Mingjie.
In front of them, the second prince turned around and said with a smile, "Sangyu, how about you go up there and sit at the closest stand to watch the execution? Since you'll still be living on for Nie Clan, they'll feel more at ease."
Ji Man's steps stiffened. She nodded and left the protective cover of Ning Yuxuan's umbrella and headed towards the curtains of rain.
There were over a hundred people kneeling on the execution ground. The third prince was at the forefront, and he hadn't been tied up. The public thought that the second prince felt brotherly affection for his younger brother. And so, he would be allowed death by poisoned wine instead of being beheaded. As for the people behind the third prince, they were either his confidants or members of Nie Clan.
As soon as Ji Man turned her head, she saw Nie Xiangyuan and Nie Qingyun. They were right behind the third prince and had raised their heads to look at her.
Feeling as if her heart was being tightly clenched, Ji Man couldn't take another step. She numbly stood in the pouring rain and let the rainstorm drench her from head to toe.
Chen-shi and Nie Chenyu were kneeling in the center of the group. As soon as Nie Chenyu saw Marquis Moyu, she kept crying, "My lord, my lord... why won't you save Chenyu? Why won't you save Chenyu?"
Chen-shi cried to the point that her entire body was shaking. Desperately leaning against Nie Xiangyuan, she loudly mumbled, "Old Master, Old Master."
Nie Qingyun hadn't said a single word, but when he saw her, there was surprisingly a relieved look in his eyes. He faintly smiled and closed his eyes.
From a distance, Ning Yuxuan looked at the person standing in the rain. He pursed his lips and said, "Sangyu, go over there. Sit down next to Mingjie."
Ji Man wanted to reply, "Okay." But, when she opened her mouth, only a sob came out.
She was just an outsider. She should have already gotten used to seeing people in this novel dying. So why? Why did she feel so pained and wretched right now?
She absent-mindedly remembered that not long ago, when she had first visited Nie Residence, Nie Xiangyuan had gently stroked her hair as he said that if she was suffering any grievances, she could just come home. She also remembered the first time she met Nie Qingyun. He had been standing by her bed as she pretended to be unconscious. He reproachfully looked at Marquis Moyu as he questioned what had happened to her. They were the last two remaining people that treated Nie Sangyu the best, were they really going to depart from this world too?
From all sides, a feeling of boundless desolateness and loneliness pressed down on her. With a pale face, Ji Man slowly turned around.
In the midst of the battering sound of the heavy rain as it hit the ground, she heard the sound of crying welling up inside her. That was probably Nie Sangyu, who was crying as if her heart was being torn into pieces. Ji Man wanted to smile. Did her arrival help Nie Sangyu or had it only brought her pain? At the very least, when Nie Sangyu had originally died, her family members had all been alive then.
As she half-fell and half-crumpled onto a stool, she sensed the person next to her looking at her. Ji Man faintly smiled. Her gaze was unfocused as she said, "I'm so lucky. I get to be the only survivor."
Translator Ramblings: Tiny spoiler for the next chapter part since chapter part 308 and 309 were originally one chapter. Nie Qingyun will be saved from execution.
When I first read this novel, this scene felt so tragic and devastating. Even now, on my third time reading it, Ji Man's grief feels so palpably heartbreaking. But other than Nie Xiangyuan (who I argue isn't a very good person) and Nie Qingyun (who will be saved), Nie Sangyu and Ji Man weren't close to anyone else in her family. Since the beginning, Ji Man described Nie Residence as a dangerous lair of vipers. It says a lot that she would rather put with the craziness of Ning Yuxuan's harem rather than get a divorce and live with Nie Sangyu's maiden family.
Is Ji Man blaming herself? If she hadn't helped Noble Consort Nie with her pregnancy, and the third prince hadn't become emperor, the rest of Nie Clan might be safe right now. It might have been the empress's family on the execution ground instead. But, there were so many other factors and other points that could have diverted Nie Clan’s extermination. Ji Man is just one person.
Anyways, if anything, the death of Nie Clan finally frees Ji Man from the shackles of Nie Sangyu's family and having to be her. Ji Man spends the entirety of book 1 trying to succeed as Nie Sangyu, but it was simply impossible for Sangyu to get what she wanted as the daughter of Nie Clan.
What do you guys think?