Title: The Dreamer in the Spring Boudoir
Chapter 352 - An unwelcome encounter (1)
Ji Man had already completely stiffened. Out of all the places she could have ended up in, why was it this place? She was only trying to escape with her life. It wasn't a big deal that she was surrounded by other women when she surfaced from her dive into the river, but why did she have to see so many familiar faces?
Who could tell her why Kangyuan Junzhu was also here and accompanied by a group of female servants? Were they out on a social spring excursion? Kangyuan Junzhu would be able to recognize her and was the one that personally sent her out Jing Province. It would be problematic if they were to meet again.
A servant girl stayed by the pond and continued to call out, "Hey, I'm talking to you. Why aren't you responding?"
Ji Man turned her head to glance at that servant girl. She forced herself to smile as she answered, "I wasn't paying attention and got carried down here by the river current."
Fortunately, Kangyuan Junzhu and her entourage had already walked far away and only the lower-ranked servants were left behind to pack up.
Ji Man sighed in relief. She turned around with her arms crossed over her chest and said to them, "Miss, would you mind lending me some clothes? I lost my clothes in the water."
The servant girl, who had her hair combed into two buns, frowned as she looked at her and said, "I don't have any extra clothing. You should hurry up and walk away from here. Zhenyuan General and our lady are temporarily camping up ahead. You wouldn't want to offend them."
Several servant girls curiously looked in this direction. A servant girl in green clothing felt sympathetic for this stranger, so she said, "I have an extra set of clothing. How about I lend it to you for now? How can you come out of the water without anything to wear?"
"Oh, thank you very much." Ji Man repeatedly nodded.
A nearby servant girl quietly said, "Why are you bothering with her? We need to finish up with here and go attend to our masters over there."
"We can't just let her continue to stay in the water, ah." After saying this, the young servant girl ran off to get clothes. It didn't take long before the rest of the servants had also left, and the young servant came back with clothes and placed it by the pond. "Here, you can borrow this. You're lucky that I'm going to be making a new set of clothes for myself soon."
Ji Man felt extremely grateful. She came out of the water, took off her boots, and put on the inner layer of clothing. She took out some of her money from her boots and tried to give it to the green-robed girl. "Here, this is for you. It's just a little something to express my thanks."
The green-robed servant girl was surprised when she saw the stranger's boots. She rejected the money back and said, "I don't have extra shoes. Your boots... why were you wearing a man's boots...?"
"Ah..." Ji Man blanked for a moment before she thought of an answer and responded, "I'm ran away from home, and it's more convenient if I disguise myself as a man. Please accept this money."
"Since you're running away from home, then you should keep it for yourself. I don't need the money." This servant girl was very kind-hearted. After rejecting the money again, she turned around and ran off.
After putting on the upper outer garment, Ji Man poured out the water in her boots and put them to the side to dry for a bit before putting them back. That servant girl's robe was long enough to block the sight of her boots. Her next action was to find a carriage to bring her back to the capital. The fake skin face mask had disappeared while she was swimming. Right now, she was in a dangerous position. She was like a chameleon that had lost its ability to camouflage itself.
After tying her hair up in a simple hairstyle and walking out of the grove that was around the pond, she saw a camp in the distance. Ning Mingjie and Kangyuan Junzhu were certainly interesting people to have decided to camp out here in the wilderness with their five carriages and a group of servant girls.
However, when she walked to the top of a nearby hill and looked around, she realized they weren't camping out here for fun. There wasn't anyone else around other than this party. There wasn't a village in sight, let alone an inn.
How should she go back? Ji Man was at a loss.
"Hey, you, come over here and help carry stuff." A voice shouted from behind her, but Ji Man was still blanking out.
"Eh?" Changshan was holding hares and other wild animals in his hands. When he came over and saw a servant girl that was blankly looking out, he said, "Did you not hear me? Bring this to the cook so she can cook it..."
Ji Man absent-mindedly turned her head, and they were both shocked to see each other.
"You!" Changshan took two steps back, then he instinctively turned around to look at his master, who wasn't far from here.
It was Nie Sangyu! Or, as she preferred to be called, Ji Man.
As soon as Ji Man clearly saw the person in front of her, she wanted to flee. Unfortunately, Changshan's reaction's time was too fast. He dropped the stuff that he was holding and grabbed her wrist. He yelled, "Master!"
Although the person in front of him cut a sorry figure, he recognized that face immediately. After she had disappeared in Jing Province, his master had fallen gravely sick. His study was filled with countless painting of a faceless beauty. Still, the graceful womanly physique on those paintings resembled the woman in front of him. He had followed his master for many years, so he understood his master's thoughts very well.
Ning Mingjie turned his head in this direction and saw that Changshan had seized a woman. She was desperately struggling to get away from him. This scene looked a bit horrifying underneath the moonlight.
"What are you doing?" Ning Mingjie walked over here while holding a bow in his hand. Once he got a clear look of the woman that Changshan was holding onto, his expression changed.
"You're mistaken." Ji Man gave up on struggling and weakly said, "I'm just a passerby."
Changshan's didn't relax his grip at all, but Ning Mingjie seemed dazed. He blankly looked at her for a long time before stretching his hand out as if he wanted to touch her face.
"General, please conduct yourself with dignity." Ji Man furrowed her brow.
Ning Mingjie suddenly smiled. His fingers stopped in mid-air before he slowly took them back. "It really is you."
The person in his dreams would always warmly smile at him. It was only the real her that would look at him with such a conflicted gaze.