Title: The Dreamer in the Spring Boudoir
Chapter 410 - The most loyal official (1)
Ji Man felt a bit absent-minded, but soon after she laughed. She knew that Ning Yuxuan would have never said something like that. Still, it was pleasant to hear these words.
She truly felt apologetic towards Nie Sangyu's face. It had been so long since this face had been exposed to sunlight, and it was pale enough to pass as a ghost's face. Fortunately, she had been diligent in taking care of her skin, so she didn't have any acne. After changing into a woman's airy attire, she couldn't wait to go out and take a frolicking stroll around the block a few times.
After saying good-bye to Guibai and thinking it over, Ji Man decided to go back instead. It would be safer in the prince's estate. However, she forgot that most people wouldn't be able to accept her sudden gender change. And so, on the way back to her room, the other advisors looked at her with surprised expressions. The reason was simple. Almost everyone here was man, except for Shen Youqing, the prince's wife, and a few servant girls.
After Zhao Zhe had become a titled prince, Shen Youqing had dismissed the rest of her husband's harem before they went to Zhangjun. She had said it was because having too many women would be a distraction and hardship to the prince. Since the dowager empress hadn't voiced any objections, Zhangjun Prince silently accepted the disbanding of his harem.
And now, a woman had suddenly appeared in his estate today.
Seeing Wu Yong, Ji Man finally stopped walking. She brightly smiled at him and curtsied. "Brother Wu."
Wu Yong was dumbfounded. Ji Man was the only person in this estate that dared to address him as Brother Wu, so who was this woman in front of him?
"This one is Ji Man. This one is really sorry for keeping this secret from you for so long," Ji Man said in embarrassment.
In the end, Wu Yong was a person that had seen many things. Although he was very shocked, he still quickly returned to his senses. "So you're... Miss Ji. His Highness is looking for you."
Ji Man followed him to meet with Zhangjun Prince. After looking at her in silence for a period of time, Zhao Zhe told her to go the main military camp on the other side of Xi River. Since she had returned to her original gender, there would naturally be uses.
In every war, regardless if it would be effective or not, there would be an attempt at negotiating peace. There would be a few visits from one side to the other to express that they didn't want to continue to fight and were keen for a peaceful resolution.
Ji Man knew this was her opportunity to make a showy appearance. And so, she spent some effort in dressing herself up. She wore a bright red dress embroidered with peonies and had her hair done up in chaotian hairstyle with a pair of dangling bluish-green hair accessories. It wasn't surprising that she would attract everyone's gaze when she stepped into the military camp.
(T/N: Below is a picture of chaotian hairstyle.)
The soldiers unobtrusively murmured amongst themselves. Had Zhangjun Prince sent this woman over to curry favor with their general? However, everyone clearly saw that as soon as Ning Mingjie saw this woman, he accidentally knocked over the wine and seemed dazed.
Ning Yuxuan wasn't here to see it, but Ning Mingjie's performance was very successful. Not only did Ning Mingjie keep looking at Ji Man, he also seemed very reluctant to part from her as he watched her leave.
Many people in the army began to gossip about the identity of this woman.
Ning Mingjie's trusted aide said, “That's Nie Sangyu。”
A single sentence raised a thousand ripples. Wasn't Nie Sangyu dead? Wasn't she Marquis Moyu's divorced wife? Why did Zhenyuan General looked like he was very fond of her? It couldn't be that these cousins had really similar tastes, right?
At the same time, Mu Shuiqing, who had supposedly been sick for a long time, finally came out of her courtyard and brought people over to Feiwan Courtyard. She acted very mysteriously and deliberately led Wen Wan over before having the servants dig for something in the courtyard.
A large box filled with portraits of Nie Sangyu that had Ning Mingjie's signature was dug out. Although her face wasn't painted, everyone could guess that it was her by the clothing and the view of her back figure, especially because that box also had the first half of the famous poem that used to hang in Luoyan Pagoda, "Inviting you to drink wine".
Mu Shuiqing pretended that she had inadvertently discovered this box and had the box buried again in a flurry of panic. After that, she left to take a leisurely stroll around the estate.
But, Wen Wan was an idiot and didn't realized that Mu Shuiqing had deliberately lured her over here to show her this act. As soon as Mu Shuiqing left, Wen Wan dug out that box. When she saw the contents of the box, she joyfully thought this was an opportunity to get credit for a meritorious accomplishment again. She hurriedly had a servant send a letter to the virtuous consort about the situation and told her to come get the box.
(T/N: The emperor gave Kangyuan Junzhu the status of virtuous consort a few chapters ago. It's one rank below noble consort.)
Zhao Li was sitting on the throne. He had received a letter from his spies in Zhangjun that Nie Sangyu had appeared. Her appearance hadn't stirred up the slightest emotion in Ning Yuxuan, but Ning Mingjie had lost his sense of propriety when he saw her.
What did this mean? Why would Ning Mingjie care about Nie Sangyu?
Once the virtuous consort sent over that box and explained the matter to him, Zhao Li finally came to a sudden realization. Ning Mingjie had fallen in love with Marquis Moyu's former wife? Was it really a coincidence that they had met again on the battlefield? And, Nie Sangyu was loyal to Zhao Zhe?
Zhao Li sneered and sent Ning Mingjie an imperial edict. The imperial edict stated that as long as Ning Mingjie won this war, the emperor would bestow him any unmarried woman that he wanted.
This imperial edict was very attractive to Ning Mingjie. His cousin had already divorced Nie Sangyu. As long as he achieved victory, he would be able to marry her.
However, he wasn't swayed. He accepted the imperial edict and agreed, but his next action was ordering the troops to retreat.
Zhangjun Prince had hanged Ji Man in front of the army and was using her to threaten Ning Mingjie into withdrawing. The rumors that Ning Mingjie was deeply in love with Nie Sangyu had already circulated on both sides. There were varied versions of their past with complicated plots. Some old soldiers even became a bit teary when they heard these stories.
And so, no one found it strange when Ning Mingjie ordered the soldiers to withdraw, but many people weren't willing to follow the order. They had finally started the war with Zhangjun. How could they just leave?
Ning Yuxuan was the one that mostly fiercely objected. He spent a long time trying to persuade Ning Mingjie, but his cousin wouldn't listen. Furious, Ning Yuxuan obstinately took his most trusted aids away to continue to wage war while Ning Mingjie led the majority of the army back to the capital.