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Title: The Dreamer in the Spring Boudoir
Chapter 398 - You brought that upon yourself (1)
Zhao Li began by saying, “Regarding the matter of leading the troops for the military exercise, this emperor has great expectations for the two of you and hopes that the two of you can be of one heart and one mind as you help this emperor achieve his goals.”
As a place that was abundant in ore and had high grain production, Zhangjun was truly a lurking danger that was waiting to happen. Right now, there would be a shortage of grain even after the autumn harvest, and Zhangjun's granaries were empty. He could use the previous excuse of a grain shortage to send ten thousand soldiers over there as a military exercise. If Zhangjun Prince was unyielding, he would find an excuse to attack his fiefdom. If Zhangjun Prince was meek, he would collect all of the ore produced in Zhangjun by imposing a tariff. Either way, he would remove this threat through the use of a strong army.
He couldn't just sit and watch as Zhangjun Prince's territory became increasingly prosperous. If he waited until Zhangjun Prince revolted first, he might not be able to defeat him then.
Marquis Moyu currently controlled the Six Ministries, so he assigned him as the deputy general for the army that would go Zhangjun to move him out of the imperial court. This would give him the opportunity to tidy up the Six Ministries. During the time that Ning Yuxuan was away, Xiao Tianyu would temporarily be put in charge of the Six Ministries.
Ning Yuxuan saluted with his hands. "This subject will definitely not disappoint Your Majesty's high hopes."
As Zhao Li deeply looked at him, his gaze swept over the matching pair of purple jade that was hanging on Ning Mingjie’s and Ning Yuxuan's waists.
His heart slightly relaxed. In the end, Ning Mingjie and Ning Yuxuan were from the same clan and as close as brothers. He deeply believed in Ning Mingjie, and Ning Yuxuan naturally wouldn't abandon his older cousin. Moreover, seeing that the two cousins were close enough to wear matching jade waist accessories, they obviously must have a good relationship.
Still, he should wait until they left the capital before making Kangyuan his consort. He should also give Ning Mingjie something in compensation. Otherwise, even the most loyal of hearts would turn disloyal.
As Zhao Li contemplated this, he let out a long sigh. He didn't know how long Pengyue's anger was going to last this time. Anyways, she would always end up forgiving him.
While waiting for the road to Zhangjun to be completed, the emperor had Ning Yuxuan transfer over some of his work. Although the emperor had said it was just transferring some tasks, it was really seizing Marquis Moyu's power. Surprisingly, Marquis Moyu didn't resist. Other than control of the Ministry of Revenue, he slowly relinquished his control of the other ministries.
As a result, he gained plenty of free time to go looking for Ji Man every day.
Ji Man was very busy. Today, she had to personally go the countryside to collect the grain from the autumn harvest from certain tenant farmers. Taking advantage of the timing gap in the imperial court, she wanted to collect more grain. Previously, she had gotten most of her grain from Zhangjun, but she felt nervous because of the current political situation. She didn't need Zhao Zhe to tell her that it would become difficult to import rice from Zhangjun.
A trip to the countryside definitely wasn't romantic. Contrary to her imagination, there wasn't field after field of beautiful rice paddies. Instead, it was an endlessly long, bumpy, and muddy trip. Ji Man didn't even dare to wear any nice-looking clothing.
So, she didn't know why a lord like Ning Yuxuan would want to come along. Sitting in a carriage that was as bouncy as a trampoline, he was still able to maintain a calm and composed demeanor. "Why are you taking this trip yourself instead of sending your shopkeeper? Isn't he very competent?"
Ji Man's face had turned pale from the jolting carriage ride. "It's exactly because he's competent that I want him to stay inside the capital to help me with important things. If I send him here to do this type of drudgery, he'll say I'm abusing the employees."
Ning Yuxuan lightly snorted and pulled her onto his lap so that she wouldn't keep bumping around inside the carriage.
With his arm around her waist, it felt as if she was being constrained by a seat belt. Ji Man turned her head and looked at him with a serious expression as she asked, "Marquis, do you what's the popular trend in the capital recently?"
Ning Yuxuan murmured, "En."
"Pretty boy toys." Then, Ji Man pointed at herself. "The streets are full of fresh looking young men that look better than me. It's almost a waste for me to wear this face mask. There's also newly opened brothels. I heard their business is doing very well. Marquis, do you know how this trend started?"
Ning Yuxuan sneered, "It's your fault for crossdressing."
Of course, he was aware of how this trend started. The Minister of Revenue had already stuffed several nubile pageboys into household.
He was blaming her? Ji Man rolled her eyes. She felt uncomfortable being restrained by him. "This one just wants to say that one should pay attention to one's actions when he's in a public place. Marquis, there's no need for you to be so close with this one."
It seemed that Ning Yuxuan thought these words reasonable. He nodded in response and let go of her.
One of the carriage's wheels fell into a small pothole, but the wheel was pulled back up as the horse continued forward. When this happened, Ji Man didn't time to brace herself with anything, and her head hit the wall of the carriage. Ouch, the temple of her head really hurt.
Ning Yuxuan snickered. "You brought that upon yourself."
Utterly discomfited, Ji Man grabbed the edge of the seat. She really didn't understand why this person had come along and was in the mood to make flippant remarks.
When they arrived at their destination, Ji Man took her list and went from house to house to collect the grain and pay the cost. There was a group of shop assistants following behind her to carry the purchased grain back onto the carts. Surprisingly, Ning Yuxuan trailed behind her the entire time. He didn't seem worried at all that his white robe would get dirty.
There were several peasant women that couldn't bear to look away from this white-robed man. They were so distracted that they even told Ji Man the wrong prices for the grain. In an unhappy mood, Ji Man stayed silent when the quoted price was lower than the correct amount and reminded them when the price was too high. At the end of this busy afternoon, she almost didn't have the energy to lift up her feet.
"Boss, we're going to bring the grain back to the capital first," called out one of shop assistants that was sitting on an oxcart.
Exhausted, Ji Man gestured that it was okay for them to leave ahead of her. When she turned around to look at her carriage, her butt felt sore.
"Why are you in such a hurry to go back?" Ning Yuxuan was smiling as he asked her, "Is there something else that you have to do?"
"No." Exasperated, Ji Man rolled her eyes. "But if we don't head back now, are you planning on spending the night in the countryside?"