T/N: Sorry for the late chapters. I’m working on the next chapter part.
Title: The Dreamer in the Spring Boudoir
Chapter 353 - An unwelcome encounter (2)
"After we were parted in Jing Province, it's been so long since I saw you... How did you end up here?"
Ji Man pursed her lips together. "Someone tried to harm me and brought me all the way out here from the capital."
Feeling as if something was wrong with her words, Ning Mingjie furrowed his brow. "Why did you return to the capital?!"
Once someone saw her face, only death would await her. Back then, when she and Nie Qingyun had supposedly fallen off a cliff, Marquis Moyu had even specially gone to Foshan to put up a spiritual memorial tablet at that temple to signify that he had believed her death was real. This was why the new emperor hadn't pursed the matter any further. If she went back again, wouldn't this be an unpardonable crime of lying to the emperor?
Ji Man gestured for Changshan to let go of her. "It's a long story. I usually don't go out with this face. Right now... there was a mishap. General, would you mind helping me return to the capital based on our prior acquaintanceship?"
"Of course." Ning Mingjie opened his mouth. There were so many things that he wanted to say, but when he saw the guarded look in her eyes, he swallowed those words back down. Instead, he took out a handkerchief and said, "Use this to hide your face for now. I'll send you back myself."
It was a light blue handkerchief, and there were still embroidered snow-capped mountains on it. Ji Man paused, but she didn't refuse. She took the handkerchief and spread it open, but it wasn't big enough. She could only press it against her face.
"Changshan, lead my horse over here."
Changshan was a bit stunned. "Master, are you going travel through the night to bring her back?"
"I can't let the junzhu see her," Ning Mingjie quietly said, "Otherwise, her life would be absolutely be at risk."
Changshan assented and left right away. The remaining two people awkwardly looked at each other.
Since that time in Jing Province when Ning Mingjie has asked her to come with him, Ji Man felt conflicting feelings towards him. Although she was very supportive that the secondary male character had abandoned the female lead, gotten married, and was run towards a new life for himself, she wasn't interested in him. Her initial romantic interest in him had dissipated over time. Ning Mingjie was a good person, but he was too sentimental. It would be difficult for him to accomplish great things.
She would just treat this incident as owing him a favor. Once she got back to the capital, she would simply resolve it by sending him a gift.
Kangyuan Junzhu had naturally noticed when Changshan came over to take Ning Mingjie's horse. However, Changshan refused to say anything. He took the horse and left. Kangyuan Junzhu followed after him and only saw Ning Mingjie getting onto a horse with a woman that was dressed like a servant.
"Who is she?" Kangyuan Junzhu's expression sunk.
The servant girl by her side looked and said, "Aiya, isn't that the person who recently borrowed clothes from Luqi?"
Ning Mingjie had Ji Man sitting in front of him and was completely blocking the sight of her so no one could see her face. Without even taking the time to exchange greetings with Kangyuan, he quickly fled away with Ji Man.
Ji Man shrank her head back and stayed silent as she endured the pain of riding a galloping horse. It felt as if her internal organs were going to be jostled out.
Ning Mingjie asked, "Did you go to the capital because you were looking for Yuxuaun?"
Ji Man pretended that she hadn't heard him. The wind was too strong. She really couldn't hear much.
Ning Mingjie smiled as he said, "I though you would hate him. After all, he was the one that ordered the capital's gate to be opened. I guess I was worrying for nothing. At the time, Yuxuan didn't have any other choices. If he didn't order it, other people would have done it. If he ordered it, he would at least be able to ensure the safety of Ning Clan."
Ji Man was stunned.
"I didn't have the chance to tell you this before. You were always avoiding me when we were in Jing Province. I couldn't even say one word before you would disappear." Ning Mingjie wryly smiled as he said, "Do you hate me too for supervising the execution of Nie Clan?"
"You weren't in the capital then, so perhaps you don't know that a lot of things couldn't be avoided. Yuxuan also did all that he could in order to save you."
There was the clopping of the horse's hooves, and the whizzing of the wind. Ji Man sneered. She hadn't heard anything. She only knew that Nie Xiangyuan had died, that Nie Qingyun had been forced to change his name in order to save his life, and that all of the other members of Nie Clan were gone. As for them being compelled by circumstances and difficulties to do those things, she didn't know and didn't want to know.
The sound of the horse's hooves striking the ground suddenly became messy. It sounded as if someone up ahead was urging a galloping horse to go faster with a whip.
"Whoa -" Both parties stopped on the small road when they saw the other person.
"Mingjie?" Ning Yuxuan was gasping for breath. He furrowed his brow as he looked at his cousin. "Why are you here?"
Hearing Marquis Moyu's voice, Ji Man let out sigh of relief. She raised her head and waved her hand at him. "It's me..."
Before she could finish her words, Ning Mingjie pressed her head back down against his chest. He calmly looked at Ning Yuxuan and said, "I'm bringing her back to the capital. Did you come out looking for her?"
Ning Yuxuan's gaze dropped. He moved his horse closer and grabbed Ji Man over so that she was on his horse. "Something happened in my estate. I did come out here to find her."
Ji Man was initially startled by being plucked off from one horse and brought onto another as if they were performing a challenging circus act. However, as she leaned against Ning Yuxuan's chest, she actually let out a sigh in relief. She nestled herself and decided to not say another word. Since she was able to see Ning Yuxuan, then she would naturally be able to return. It had been quite tiring to rush about all night.
Marquis Moyu lightly asked, "How did the two of you meet?"
Ning Mingjie shook his head. "I met her when was I was coming back from hunting. Yuxuan, excuse me for overstepping. With her face, it's not suitable for her to walk around the capital. You..."
"There's no need for you to worry." As Ning Yuxuan turned the horse's head around, he said, "Kangyuan Junzhu is probably waiting for you. Older cousin, you should concern yourself with tending to your own affairs."
Behind him, Guibai also turned his horse towards a different direction.
Ning Mingjie watched as those two horses gradually moved further away. He furrowed his brow, then decided to follow after them anyways.
There weren't any signs of human inhibition around here except for a shabby city temple that was over 2.5 kilometers from here. Just as they had arrived and was getting off the horses, Ning Yuxuan saw that his cousin had caught up to them.