Title: The Dreamer in the Spring Boudoir
Chapter 318 – Is she gone forever? (1)
In the first year of the new emperor's reign, Marquis Moyu continued to hold power over the Six Ministries. Above Ning Yuxuan were Prime Minister Xiao Tianyi and Xiaoren Dowager Empress, and below him were officials from Xiao Clan. And so, Zhao Li's daily life wasn't going that smoothly. Still, the new emperor had a very good relationship with his empress, which guaranteed his alliance with Yuzhen. Thus, his position as the emperor was still very stable.
(T/N: Just in case it was too long ago, Xiaoren Dowager Empress's maiden clan is Xiao, and she's also the first prince's mother.)
Zhao Zhe seemed to have already contently settled down in his fiefdom with his new title, Zhangjun Prince. And, all of Xiao Clan had publicly expressed their loyalty and devotion to the new emperor. Zhao Li was busy handling political affairs, so he naturally tolerated the continued existence of Zhangjun Prince. It was only that he seemed especially interested in Ning Yuxuan and interfered with his household matters several times. For example, when Ning Yuxuan went to file documentation with the Ministry of Revenue to formally raise Liu Hanyun to the position of main wife, Zhao Li stopped the process.
Brightly smiling, Zhao Li asked, "No matter what, Liu-shi's family background makes her unsuitable to be a main wife, right?"
Sitting on the side, Ning Yuxuan thought; Zhao Li really deserved to be called his father's son. He displayed the same irritating behavior as his late imperial father. Just like his father, the scope in which he wanted to exercise his control was vaster than the sky.
"This subject thinks Liu-shi is very suitable."
Unhappy with this response, the new emperor said, "Qi Siling is the one that's served you the longest, and her family background is adequate too. Why is it Liu-shi that's the most suitable?"
Marquis Moyu slightly smiled. "Qi-shi recently committed an offense. This subject is already writing a divorce letter."
Hearing Qi Siling being called "Qi-shi", Zhao Li slightly raised his eyebrows. He cleared his throat and asked, "What offense has she committed?
"She tried to poison my heir. If this subject hadn't found out in time, my heir would have lost his life," Ning Yuxuan very calmly said, "It's only because this subject is taking into consideration Qi Clan that this subject is writing a divorce letter instead of ordering her to commit suicide."
Zhao Li stayed silent. After all, this was someone else's private family matter. It was only unfortunate that Qi Siling had been with him so long and was now being discarded.
The new emperor's gaze became deeper as he changed the topic. "This emperor heard that you've recently been exchanging a lot of communication with Jing Province. What does Jing Province have that catches your attention?"
Ning Yuxuan slightly paused before answering, "Marquis Jingwen's daughter is Yuxuan's younger cousin. She's pregnant, and also... So, it's only normal for this subject to send more letters inquiring after her health."
The new emperor smiled. "Now that you mention it, that was quite a pity. This emperor had already let them off, but in the end, they weren't able to continue living. Yuxuan, do you hold grudges against this emperor?"
"Of course not." Marquis Moyu lightly lowered his head. "This subject isn't lacking in women."
The new emperor loudly laughed. He looked at Ning Yuxuan with admiration. "Yuxuan, you're certainly a very talented individual that's worthty of being cultivated."
Marquis Moyu only chuckled in response.
As he was leaving the palace, he saw that were already soft green leaves on the willow trees that lined the path. Ning Yuxuan turned around and asked Guibai, "How are things developing in Jing Province? When will she be returning to the capital?"
Guibai lowered his head and stayed silent.
"En?" Ning Yuxuan raised an eyebrow. "Did you not hear my question?"
After hesitating for a bit, Guibai said in a low voice, "Master, Madam has disappeared."
The curved lips slowly went down. Ning Yuxuan blankly looked at him for a long time before asking, "What do you mean by disappeared?"
Marquis Jingwen's estate had been thrown in an upheaval. Ji Man had quietly left. Other than leaving behind Ji Store's title deed to Dengxin, she hadn't left behind anything else, not even a letter.
Sitting in the empty room, Errong was at a complete loss. Ji Man's life had been going so well here. Why did she leave?
Next to her, Ning Mingjie's face was somewhat pale. Lowering his eyes, he smiled and asked, "Did she leave of her own initiative?"
With reddened eyes, Dengxin nodded. "If she didn't willingly leave, then master wouldn't have had the time to leave her stuff in this servant's room."
Standing by Ning Mingjie's side, Kangyuan Junzhu still had a calm expression. No one would think that Ji Man's departure had something to do with her.
She hadn't known Nie Sangyu from before, but she didn't like to see other women by Ning Mingjie's side. Since that woman was suppose to be dead, then she should stay far away. If that woman came back to entangle herself with Ning Mingjie, then she would send her away a second time too.
Marquis Moyu suddenly became gravely ill. The new emperor personally came to the marquis's estate to visit him. Seeing that he looked haggard and was even having trouble breathing, Zhao Li allowed him to take sick leave. He wouldn't need to attend the imperial court sessions until he had recovered.
The heavy burden and great responsibility of managing the Six Ministries temporarily fell on Prime Minister Xiao Tianyi's shoulders.
A carriage swiftly sped towards Yong'an County. When they had reached halfway, the passenger said her stomach wasn't feeling well. While they were temporarily stopped at a relay station, she snuck onto another carriage and continued her journey in a different direction.
In the following year, no one was able to find Ji Man. Even though Ning Yuxuan had faked an illness and secretly went to Jing Province, he only found out about Kangyuan Junzhu's connection to Ji Man's departure. As for what happened after that, he knew nothing.
One year later, the carriages on the roads were all heading in the same direction. The titled princes with fiefdoms at the borderlands of the country were on their way to visit the capital.
Sitting inside a luxurious carriage, Ji Man sighed and said, "Riding a carriage is still such bumpy ride."
The other person in the carriage lightly harrumphed and said, "You didn't need to come here this time."
Ji Man turned her head to look at Zhao Zhe. She cupped her hands and said, "Your Highness, these words are said in bad taste. Although this one is only an insignificant advisor, it's still fine if this one shares your carriage to come to the capital to do business, right?"
Zhao Zhe pursed his lips and swept his gaze across her. "Is being able to sell your rice the only reason why you don't want to become an official?"
No one would have expected that Ji Man would ask for help from Zhangjun Prince after she left Jing Province. Dressed in a man's attire and carrying the five hundred silver taels she had accumulated, she started from the entrance of Zhangjun Prince's estate selling rice. From there, she attracted the attention of the estate's head steward, and then she got acquainted with the advisors that lived in the prince's estate. At the end, because of her out of the ordinary style of conversation, she was given a recommendation to be one of Zhangjun Prince's advisors.