T/N: Sorry for the late chapter part! Thank you patrons for sponsoring this chapter.
Title: The Dreamer in the Spring Boudoir
Chapter 316 - A creature that loves to sprout words about true love, has a lotus heart, and hidden arsenic (1)
Ji Man calmly and unhurriedly put the money back into a box before raising her head and looking at the servant girl as she asked, "What's wrong?"
The young servant girl was so excited that her cheeks were flushed. Her eyes were glittering as well as showing a teenage girl's bashfulness. "The heir has returned. The junzhu wants you to go to the receiving room."
The heir? Surprisingly, Ji Man's first response was wondering why Haohao was here. A moment later, she realized that the servant girl meant Ning Mingjie had returned.
She had heard the new emperor had bestowed a marriage to Ning Mingjie. He was now married to Kangyuan Junzhu. For Ning Mingjie to bring his wife to his ancestral home, it meant that the capital had already settled down, and the new emperor didn't need him remain there to oversee things.
After thinking it over, Ji Man changed out of her men's attire before following the servant girl to the receiving room.
The woman standing next to Ning Mingjie look very much like someone that was above worldly concerns.
There wasn't much expression on Ning Mingjie's face as he listened to his father speak. From time to time, he would nod. Hearing someone coming into the room, he turned his head to look.
Ji Man had cut her hair a lot shorter than before to make it easier to put her hair into a man's hairstyle. So now, when she was dressing as a woman, her hair was only long enough for the simplest of hairstyles. She only had one hairpin in her hair, and she had randomly chosen an outfit to change into. She hadn't applied any makeup either. She could have been mistaken as of the servant girls in the courtyard.
Ning Mingjie furrowed his brow. Just as he opened his mouth and wanted to say something, Errong tugged Ji Man over and said, "Older brother, do you still remember her? She's a distant relative of ours. Her name is Ji Man, and her older brother is Ji Zhu.
Swallowing down the many words that he wanted to say, Ning Mingjie deeply looked at Ji Man before nodding his head and saying, "En."
All in all, the point of this visit was Ning Mingjie bringing his wife home to show her to his father. Ji Man had only come here to take a look. It was enough for her to silently sit by Errong's side. And yet, seeing Ning Mingjie, she couldn't help thinking of the token he had tossed onto the ground on that rainy day as well as the dying screams from Nie Clan's members.
There were many things that she hadn't been able to think through. For example, why had Ning Mingjie been the official that supervised the execution? Out of everyone, why he had been the one that matchmake Pengyue and the second prince together? Why had he been the one that became Zhenyuan General in the end? Furthermore, when the emperor ruthless exterminated Nie Clan, why hadn’t Ning Clan been implicated at all? When all was said and done, these two clans had once been relatives by marriage.
Because these messy thoughts were running amok in her head, Ji Man inevitably showed an unpleasant expression.
Kangyuan Junzhu had already respectfully offered Marquis Jingwen tea and finished going through the social courtesies with Marquis Jingwen's honored concubines. When she turned her head, she saw Ning Mingjie staring at Ji Man in a daze.
"My lord and husband?" Kangyuan Junzhu quietly called out.
Ning Mingjie returned to his senses and lightly smiled as he said, "Sit down and stay here for a bit. I have words I want to say to Errong."
Kanguan Junzhu was a very sensible woman. After nodding, she obediently sat down by the honored concubines.
Ning Mingjie looked at Errong meaningfully, and Errong brought Ji Man with her as they returned to her courtyard.
Inside Errong's courtyard, Ning Mingjie asked, "Are you doing well?"
Sitting by Errong's side, Ji Man couldn't resist laughing when she heard this question from him. "I'm still alive. How could I not be doing well?"
There was guilt in Ning Mingjie's eyes. He pursed his lips and said, "I feel very regretful over what happened to Nie Clan too. Neither Yuxuan nor me expected that your business would be exposed. The new emperor used this excused to wipe out Nie Clan."
So, he was saying that she had harmed Nie Clan and been responsible for it being wiped out? Ji Man looked at him in a daze.
"During that short period when Yuxuan sent you away, he was doing his best to mediate between the second and third prince," Ning Mingjie said, "But, the second prince's hidden forces were much bigger than we thought. At the end, no one had the power to stop him from doing anything. We could only follow him."
"Heir, what is it that you want to say?" Ji Man raised her eyes to look at him. "Right now, I'm just an insignificant person. You don't need to tell me that you're feeling guilty."
Ning Mingjie paused. He sighed and said, "I don't know why. I just want to talk with you. What are you planning on doing for your future? I heard Yuxuan is going to... promote someone to the position of main wife."
After a pause, Ji Man nodded and said, "That's good too. If he doesn't put someone into that position, the new emperor will do it for him. Since it's like that, he might as well choose someone that'll be loyal to him."
"What about you?" Ning Mingjie deeply looked at her. "Have you thought about... coming with me?"
Shocked, Errong gasped, "Older brother!"
No matter what, Ji Man had once been Marquis Moyu's woman. How could...
Ning Mingjie pursed his lips. "I'm asking what she wants."
Ji Man smiled. "Heir, you brought your newly wife back home to mess around with a little three. Does Kangyuan Junzhu know about this?"
"Little three..." Ning Mingjie was a bit confused. "What's that?"
"It's nothing important. It's just a creature that loves to sprout words about true love, has a lotus heart, and hidden arsenic." Ji Man continued to smile as she said, "I just want to live the rest of my life peacefully. I don't want to be involved in another harem's intrigues and struggles. Heir, thank you for thinking so highly of me."
She had originally though that Ning Mingjie would bring her good news, but in the end, he just wanted her to follow him and be his concubine. Was she supposed to say thank you for the deep love that you feel towards me? When she was reading the original novel, she had quite like this man. But, when she saw his face that couldn't possibly be more familiar to her, Ji Man just felt pained.
It was as if she was experiencing the same pain when she saw evidence of Xu Xi's two-timing.
(T/N: Just in case it was too long ago, Xu Xi is Ji Man's ex-boyfriend in modern-day, and Ning Mingjie looks exactly like him.)
There were traces of disappointment in Ning Mingjie's eyes, but he continued to smile as he said, "I'll be staying in Jing Province for a while. Feel free to tell me if you change your mind."
Ji Man briefly laughed in response.