Title: The Dreamer in the Spring Boudoir
Chapter 366 – A boneheaded teammate (1)
It felt as if he had been confidently lifting a box, but then, someone had thrown a knife into his back out of nowhere. Ning Yuxuan turned his head in shock. The only thing behind him was his household, which he had always been protecting, so where had the betrayal come from?
The new emperor was smiling unfathomably. He patted Ning Yuxuan's shoulder and said, "This emperor will return your heir to you once my reign is completely stable."
There wasn't any difference between what Zhao Li was doing and a normal kidnapping, but he was making it sound so dignified. The emperor personally gave Haohao a new name. He said that Ning Jinyan, the previous name that Ning Yuxuan had given Haohao, was too ordinary, so he was going to change it to Ning Jinchen.
Chen, the emperor's imperial ancestral temple.
(T/N: Jin means brilliant like gems, yan means speech, and chen can have several, different meanings including association with the Year of the Dragon.)
Ning Yuxuan couldn't think of any words to say. Step by step, he walked towards his carriage. His footsteps had never felt so heavy before.
Ji Man had been pacing back and forth outside the palace walls. As soon as she saw Ning Yuxuan's carriage coming out, she hurriedly approached him and asked, "Where's Haohao?"
Ning Yuxuan was sitting on the shaft of the carriage. He pursed his lips and said, "His Majesty brought Haohao into the palace and even bestowed him a name. He'll be fostered by the empress."
Ji Man widened her eyes. "Why?"
After a bitter laugh, Ning Yuxuan got onto her horse from behind. "I don't know who it is, but someone disclosed the truth about Haohao to the new emperor. He even knows that you're still alive."
Ji Man was shocked.
"He didn't say anything else and only took Haohao into the palace. I was powerless." Ning Yuxuan closed his eyes and rested his head on her shoulder. He whispered, "I'm sorry."
Ji Man wasn't stupid. She could figure out the critical points of what had happened. But, they had always done a good job of hiding these secrets, so how were these secrets discovered?
Thinking of how Liu Hanyun had tried to stop her at all costs when Haohao had been taken away, Ji Man frowned. She sneered as she said, "Marquis, when you go back home, it's time for you to clean up your inner court."
Ning Yuxuan furrowed his brow and asked, "What's wrong with my inner court?"
Ji Man didn't answer him. She could only figure out that this was related to Liu Hanyun somehow, but she didn't know the exact details. After finding out that Haohao had been taken into the palace, her mind had already felt completely disheveled.
Ning Yuxuan thought it over and decided to not question her further as the two of them returned to the marquis's estate.
As soon as they passed through the estate's entrance, Ji Man returned to her room, and Ning Yuxuan went to Linghan Courtyard.
After sitting in her room for a long time, Ji Man looked around the room before taking out a box from underneath her bed.
As expected, the painting was gone.
Ji Man went over to the neighboring room, grabbed hold of the servant girl that unusually watched over Haohao, and asked her, "Who has been in my room?”
The servant girl was slightly at a loss. "Several people have come and went, so I haven't paid special attention. I do remember seeing Tanxiang, a servant girl from Qiangwei Courtyard, coming here. She said that she came here to help out by tidying your room.
Tanxiang would have never been assigned to clean her room. Ji Man pursed her lips. She took the empty box with her to Qiangwei Courtyard.
Liu Hanyun currently held her head low as she held Xi-er. She was calm as she answered Ning Yuxuan's question. "This servant doesn't know anything. When the people from the palace came, this servant was discussing with Teacher Ji about giving Xi-er lessons."
Ning Yuxuan rubbed his forehead. He had always done his best to show tolerance towards Liu Hanyun. It wasn't just because she had risked her life to save him. It was also because she was Xi-er's mother. There weren't many people left in his inner court.
But, she was the matriarch of this household. It was unacceptable for her to say that she had no idea what had happened when people from the palace had come here and taken away the heir.
He had only asked her a few questions when Liu Hanyun crumbled. Holding onto Xi-er, she cast an angry look at him and said, "My lord, you're so concerned about the heir, but why won't you look at Xi-er? Xi-er is also your blood and flesh and your legitimate son. What's wrong with the heir being taken to the palace? He'll be able to enjoy even more extravagance and splendor there. My lord, don't you still have Xi-er?!"
Ning Yuxuan's forehead was very wrinkled.
Xi-er was frightened by his mother's scream. His little face turned red, and he stumbled towards the wet nurse.
"It's not that I don't care about Xi-er. It's only..." No matter how angry he was before, the feeling dissipated after he heard Xi-er crying. Ning Yuxuan felt a bit guilty. It was true that he was too biased in favor of Haohao. He spent practically all of his time with Haohao to make up for Haohao not having a mother to keep him company. It was inevitable that he would end up neglecting Xi-er.
Liu Hanyun desolately sobbed. She looked at him and asked, "This servant doesn't try to compete for my lord's favor. This servant just wants my lord to look at Xi-er more often. Can you do that? This servant doesn't want anything else."
Ning Yuxuan pursed his lips and let out a long sigh. He didn't say anything.
In a different area of the estate, Ji Man had barged into Qiangwei Courtyard.
Wen Wan was currently gleefully looking at the gifts that Kangyuan Junzhu had sent over in her room.
By her side, Tanxiang said, "That was such a worthy trade. Not only did Master get so many items in return for that one painting, Master and junzhu's relationship has also become much better."
Smiling, Wen Wan replied, "Absolutely! Once the marquis comes back, make soup with this ginseng, and I'll pay a visit to the western courtyard in the evening."
Tanxiang was feeling joyful and was about to say a few more fawning words when the doors behind her were suddenly slammed open.
Ji Man's expression looked unpleasant. She sneered as she shook the box in her hand. "Mistress Wan, did you give that item to Kangyuan Junzhu?"
Wen Wan was shocked. She hadn't expected Ji Man to barge into here at this time.
"Y-You, you're acting impudent!" She instinctively stood up to block the view of the table. "Is my room a place that you can casually enter?"
Ji Man sneered. She took a step forward and pressed the box against her neck. "Mistress Wan, are you proud of yourself? Did you know that because you gave her that item, the heir has been taken into the palace by the emperor?"