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Title: The Dreamer in the Spring Boudoir
Chapter 382 - The fragrance of the flowers has already faded away in the mortal world (1)
Although Luo Qianqian had an average-looking face, she looked rather classy in her autumn-colored buttoned jacket and a greenish-blue skirt. Although her face wasn't as attractive as the people around her, she exuded a feeling that made people feel comfortable around her.
When the crowd saw Ji Man and Marquis Moyu coming here together, they were a bit surprised. Since today was a gathering for the members of Tonghua Poetry Association to have fun by going sightseeing, it was one thing for the members of the association to bring along family members. But, why had Marquis Moyu brought along a man that he had no connection with?
Zhu Yurun was the only happy to see Ji Man. She waved her hands in greeting. “Mister Ji!"
Ji Man smiled at her. When she walked over there, she swept her gaze over the crowd. It was the same group of young masters and ladies that she had originally met in Tonghua Poetry Association back then. However, they were now all married. The young men that used revolve around Wen Wan now had wives of their own. This gathering was just like a classmate reunion in the modern-day. They were even going to tastefully go hiking to ascend to new heights.
The current prime minister, Xiao Tiangyi, had also arrived. His previous breezy and carefree young master image had been completely swept away. He was now a mature and composed official. However, it was inevitable that other people would feel slightly reserved now that he was here.
"It's been so long since we all saw each other, and everyone is well." Luo Qianqian was smiling as she said, "Who could have guessed that we would once again be able to go hiking together without anyone missing from our original group?"
Zhao Kaifeng was standing by Luo Qianqian's side. With his arm around her waist, he chuckled and agreed, "Absolutely!"
Looking at this scene, Ji Man though that Qianqian's life was probably going well. Ji Man didn't know why, but she actually sighed in relief and slightly smiled.
The previous Grand Tutor's eldest son, Sun Zhangyang, who was now an official himself, swept his gaze around. When his gaze landed on Marquis Moyu, he asked, "Why has the marquis come too?"
Qian Yingchen lightly smiled and said, "It's been a long time, and many new people have entered Tonghua Poetry Association since then. So, there's even less people that know about the marquis's connection to the association. He's actually the head of the association, so he's naturally the person that ought to attend this gathering the most."
Everyone was surprised. Hearing this news, a lot of the people that had pursued Wen Wan back then felt slightly awkward now.
“Oh, so it's like that. It's only someone like that marquis, who has such great talent, that he's able to be the head of the association for ten years." After a pause, Sun Zhangyan couldn't resist asking, "How's Lesser Madam Ning doing?"
As soon as he asked this question, a lot of gazes fell on Ning Yuxuan. Ning Yuxuan lightly said, "She's safe and sound in my estate. There's no need for anyone to worry about her."
It was definitely a bit improper to ask about someone's concubine. After everyone awkwardly laughed, the topic was changed to something else.
No one was paying attention to Zhu Yurun. Ji Man was also similarly being ignored, so Zhu Yurun simply went over to her side and whispered, "I heard that you've gotten rich."
Ji Man was smiling as she looked at her. "Yeah, I still need to give you a bonus too."
Zhu Yurun giggled and said, "I'm not lacking in money. I just think you're really awesome. If it was me, I definitely wouldn't have been able to do something like that."
What other woman would have the courage to deal with a group of merchants?
Ji Man glanced at Qian Yingchen, who was standing at a distance. His lips were pursed as he conversed with Ning Yuxuan. Ji Man caught him red-handed when he turned around and glanced at Zhu Yurun.
Qian Yingchen awkwardly turned his gaze away. His expression didn't look too good. Seeing this sight, Ji Man actually smiled. A foolish girl had a foolish girl's good fortune. It seemed that Qian Yingchen wasn't completely indifferent to Yurun.
Xiao Tianyi slowed his steps. His brow was furrowed as he looked at Ji Man and asked, "Are you Ji Rice Store's owner?"
Ji Man nodded. She saluted with her hands and said, "This one is only a commoner. It's this one's fortunate to be able to go on the same outing as the prime minster today."
After Xiao Tianyi examined Ji Man from top to bottom, he surprisingly smiled and softly said, "Heroes have come from the young since ancient times."
After dropping these words, he walked past them and caught up to Sun Zhangyang.
Ji Man shrugged. Since she had received the prime minister's praise, it meant that she hadn't done anything wrong. It would soon be the autumn harvest. Since the Liu family, the Rong family, and the other rice merchant families had suffered major financial losses, they might not be able to afford paying the tenant farmers in accordance to their contracts. This would offer her the opportunity to snatch away their contracts with the tenant farmers.
By the time that next year came and the road between Zhangjun and the capital was completely built, she would have complete control over the rice in the capital. People in ancient times probably hadn't experienced how horrifying a trade war was, much less how much threat that could be caused once a person grasped the flow of rice by its throat.
In theory, the government placed the highest importance on food, so they stressed the importance of agricultural and farmers while suppressing the merchants. They never bothered with paying too much attention to commerce.
In addition, there was a waste of labor and resources as Zhao Li enjoyed himself by having more buildings constructed in the palace. It really gave off the appearance of an incapable and fatuous ruler. He probably wouldn't be able to remain sitting on his throne for too long.
As Ji Man was contemplating these thought, she heard someone shouting from the front of the group, "Hey, you, walk faster."
These young nobles had come here to climb Fu Mountain. They had said that not only would they be able to go hiking, they would be able to reach the temple that was at the top of the mountain and pray for blessings. Although the mountain path here was considered walkable enough, it really was too high. Ji Man eventually ended up gasping for breath and sitting down with some of the women on the side of the road.
"This one and Tianyu will remained here to watch over the ladies. The other men can walk on ahead. If our group arrives at the temple too late, there might not be enough vacant rooms left," Qian Yingchen said, “Since this a poetry gathering, there's no need to pay attention to rank. Everyone will be treated equally."
His words loosened the pressure that everyone had been feeling. One after another, everyone agreed. The married women and young ladies gathered in one area to rest while the other men continue to ascend the mountain.
Unfortunately, Ji Man was a man right now.
Standing in front of her, Ning Yuxuan stretched his hand out and said, "Come on, get up. Don't stay here like a woman."