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Title: The Dreamer in the Spring Boudoir
Chapter 399 - You brought that upon yourself (2)
Ning Yuxuan raised his eyebrows. He pointed at an oxcart that was outside a farmer's house. "Since you're not busy, it wouldn't hurt to slowly go back."
Go back on an oxcart? Ji Man was dumbfounded. Although it was true that riding an oxcart would be more relaxing and less bumpy, wouldn't it also be too slow? By the time they got back, it would be the middle of the night.
"Head of the household, would you be willing to exchange your oxcart for my carriage?" Ning Yuxuan had gone straight to negotiating with the farmer, without waiting for Ji Man to agree.
In the end, the carriage was exchanged for an oxcart plus an additional cost of two silver taels. This was done completely without her, the real owner of the carriage, assent. After that, the farmer led them to a spot to take some loose straw to cushion the oxcart.
Ji Man felt quite indignant as she carried over the straw. This man's chauvinism really couldn't be changed.
However, after they gotten onto the oxcart, and the original carriage's driver started the slow drive home on the oxcart, not only was this ride less bumpy, there was also a pretty good view of the autumn sun descending to the horizon.
Not caring about his image at all, Ning Yuxuan lied down on the oxcart with her in his expensive robes. Looking at the sky too, he asked her, "Doesn't this feel really comfortable?"
"En." Ji Man nodded.
After the autumn insects had chittered a few times, they fell silent. The sky gradually darkened. Ji Man was almost lulled to sleep by the swaying oxcart when the person next to her quietly asked, "Can you really not find a man that you like in this place?"
Ji Man opened her eyes and responded with a very puzzled expression at his sudden question.
"You said that you want a man that knows how to repair sky lanterns and cushion brains." Ning Yuxuan pursed his lips and slightly looked away as he said, "That part is easy enough, but if you want someone that will whole-heartedly love one person, that's really difficult."
(T/N: Ji Man originally says someone that can repair computers in chapter 269, but she amends her words so that it'll make sense in ancient times in chapter 270. In Chinese, the literal translation for computer (diànnǎo) is electrical brain, and the Chinese words for electrical and cushion are homophones.)
Ji Man felt even more confused. What did he mean by repairing sky lanterns and cushioning brains?
But, she understood the intent behind the second half of his words. Ning Yuxuan wanted to confess his feelings for her.
Turning her head to the side to look at him, Ji Man smiled and said, "That really is very difficult, so I'm not holding onto that hope. If I can't go back in this lifetime, then after I've accomplished my goal, I'm going to find a place to live in seclusion."
"Where do you want to go to live in seclusion?" Ning Yuxuan slightly furrowed his brow. It had already been so long, but she was still saying that she hadn't found...
"I'll find a place that has enchanting scenery. A place where I can see the sunset and sunrise and isn't suppressed by bureaucracy or divided by social class," Ji Man casually answered, "Actually, when I was reading light novels, I used to really admire the male lead that would renounce his power for the female lead and go live in seclusion with her. But, now that I'm here, I finally understand that's impossible."
"Once a person has risen to a high position, how many people would be willing to go back to being ordinary? Love between ordinary people isn't explosively spectacular. And, who can guarantee a lifetime love? For example, those people that jumps off buildings. When they're throwing themselves off the ledge, they probably mustered up their courage and think they never want to go back. But, if the building is a bit higher, and they're given more time to contemplate their decision as they fall, they'll regret it."
Love was like that too.
Ning Yuxuan couldn't fully understand her words. He just gently leaned his head against hers and watched as the sunset glow changed into a night sky that was full of glimmering stars. The rest of their surroundings were tranquil too.
A long time later, Ning Yuxuan broke the silence by asking, "Do you still hate me?"
Ji Man contemplated. At the very beginning, she hated him very much and thought of a hundred ways to get revenge. However, after returning to the capital, finding out that Haohao was her son, and she herself was always in his care, as time went on, the hatred in her heart wasn't as strong as it had been at the beginning.
No wonder suffering had to be experienced every day to be remembered. Otherwise, as time elapsed, it became much easier to forgive a lot of things.
Although she wouldn't knock off the price of what was owed to her, he was no longer on her list of people that she wanted to kill.
"Marquis, you're overthinking things." Ji Man smiled and said, "Our relationship had already concluded a long time ago with that divorce letter. This one doesn't hate the marquis."
Ning Yuxuan slightly sat up. There was a glimmer of brightness in his eyes.
"Anyways, that doesn't matter. The marquis has chosen to be loyal to the emperor, and this one is carrying a blood debt that has to be collected. Our paths and plans are different," Ji Man added before closing her eyes.
She could forgive him, but she couldn't forgive Zhao Li for having her watch as Nie Clan was exterminated.
His eyes had looked as if they were filled with stars, but after hearing her words, it was as if there had been a sudden downpour, and the stars had completely disappeared.
Marquis Moyu wryly laughed. He twirled a wisp of her loose hair as he said in a slightly hoarse voice, "Why are you so heartless?"
"Didn't I learn this from the marquis?" Ji Man turned her head away.
The oxcart continued to slowly move forward. Ning Yuxuan quietly looked the side of her face without moving.
He had said that she brought trouble upon herself, but in the end, who was the real culprit?
A few days later, Ji Man received a letter from Zhangjun Prince. As expected, he wanted her to collect grain. Moreover, he wanted her to slowly raise the price of grain in the capital.
There had already been a shortage of grain to begin with this year, and the imperial court was collecting a large amount of grain to supply the soldiers that were going on the military exercise. The commonfolk had already been grumbling about this. Once Ji Man raised the price for grain, many people were unable to afford food, and cries of complaints filled the streets.
As a result, the imperial court was forced to release some of their stored grain to the general population, which was then completely bought out by Ji Man and shipped to Zhangjun. Thus, the price of grain didn't improve at all in the capital.
However, the emperor didn't care about the plights of the commonfolk. He still wanted Ning Mingjie to take the army to Zhangjun at the end of the year.