Title: The Dreamer in the Spring Boudoir
Translator: Fuyu Neko
Chapter 451 - Women that he needed to marry and women that he didn't (2)
In the marquis's estate, Ji Man and Ning Yuxuan were sitting across from each other and drinking tea.
"I heard the emperor is giving the empress the cold shoulder. The empress is so upset that she almost miscarried." Ji Man put down her cup and sighed. "You're too ruthless."
"If Shen Clan and Xiao Clan's alliance isn't torn apart, we'll be the ones left feeling uneasy." Ning Yuxuan put down his cup too. He looked at her very admiringly. "I didn't expect that you would know what I was planning on doing and even lay out the foundation for me."
Ji Man clicked her tongue and shook her head. "It was just a coincidence."
How could she have known his reach was long enough to enter the inner palace? Wasn't he a marquis that stayed within the bounds of his role?
Right now, was this considered a meeting of villains that were colluding together?
Erxin was truly a cunning young woman. Step by step, she climbed upwards without meeting any difficulties. In return for her sprained ankle, she was promoted to noble consort. She even went to the empress's palace to thank her for her favor.
Using the excuse that he was sick and the superstitious belief that a marriage would cure his illness, Ning Yuxuan asked the emperor to hurry with bestowing him a marriage. He wanted to get married to Ji Man soon.
However, Zhao Zhe still didn't agree.
Not only did he refuse, he also invited Ji Man to the palace to write poems and discuss them with him since Ning Yuxuan was supposedly sick.
"This emperor still remembers the poem you wrote in Luoyan Pagoda, Inviting you to drink wine." Zhao Zhe smiled. "Can you write something else?"
Ji Man nodded and easily wrote out the lines from Prelude to the Water Melody by Su Shi.
How long will the full moon appear?
Wine cup in hand, I ask the sky.
I do not know what time of the year
’Twould be tonight in the palace on high.
Riding the wind, there I would fly,
Yet I’m afraid the crystalline palace would be,
Too high and cold for me.
I rise and dance, with my shadow I play.
On high as on earth, would it be as gay?
(T/N: Excerpt taken from https://www.ccjk.com/literary-translation-thinking.)
The emperor's delighted laughter was so loud that even the people passing by Zichen Hall could hear him. And so, the people in the palace thoroughly realized that there was someone in the emperor's heart. He especially longed for her and doted on her, but he couldn't have her.
After Ji Man had been summoned into the palace by Zhao Zhe for three days in a row to write poems for him, the empress finally couldn't tolerate this anymore. She tried to persuade Zhao Zhe into bestowing a marriage for Nie-shi and Marquis Moyu.
"Why?" Zhao Zhe pursed his lips. "This emperor doesn't want to bestow that marriage."
Shen Youqing trembled in anger. "Your Majesty, she's someone else's abandoned wife. Why do you insist on coveting her?"
Zhao Zhe angrily reprimanded, "As the empress, how can you be so petty? This emperor is only discussing poetry with Nie-shi. Why would you have a say in this matter?"
Men expected their wives to be magnanimous. When they requested for their wives to not be wrongfully and randomly jealous, they were usually saying this because of a guilty conscience.
Shen Youqing was driven out of Zichen Hall, and she returned to her palace and cried all night. Afterwards, the fetus wasn't stable again. Seeing that the empress was constantly stressed from one thing or another, the imperial physicians thought it wasn't likely that the empress would be able to carry the fetus to full term.
But then, Erxin came over and delivered a soup beneficial for pregnant mothers. It was made from a secret family recipe. The imperial physicians checked the results; the fetus had settled down and was saved.
However, later on, Erxin encouraged the emperor to favor the empress. The empress had been pregnant for three months, and the fetus's condition was stable, so the empress was also willing to serve the emperor in bed. It was only one night, but the empress ended up miscarrying.
When Ji Man heard this news, it felt as if she had been blasted with the stench of blood. She couldn't resist dry heaving.
"What's wrong?" Ning Yuxuan put down his book to look at her.
Ji Man shook her head. It was probably because her imagination was too rich, and she had disgusted herself with the imagery.
Since the empress had lost her baby because of the emperor, no one else could be blamed. Shen Youqing felt lost. She closed her doors and wouldn't see anyone for an entire month.
In the imperial court, case after case of Shen Clan's members embezzling and accepting bribes were brought forth. Although Xiao Tianyi did his best to protect them, many people were still implicated.
Ji Man had a premonition that Shen Clan would become the second Nie Clan.
More and more people came over to marquis's estate under the guise of visiting a sickly patient. However, whenever these people came over, they would end up staying sequestered in Ning Yuxuan's study and discussing something with him for half a day. When they left, their expression would be very solemn.
Ji Man wouldn't ask Ning Yuxuan what these discussions were about. She would just helpfully brew tea for him and rub his shoulders. When she was in a good mood, she would hum a little tune.
Ning Yuxuan had been staying in Feiwan Courtyard for a long time without staying elsewhere. When Ji Man was present, not even a servant girl could be seen by his side. Ji Man had also secretly followed him. She didn't see him overly intimate with anyone else either.
If one day a tiger suddenly like to eat carrots, would you believe this is true? Anyways, Ji Man didn't believe it. However, seeing that he was behaving so well, she was pretty happy. She behaved like a virtuous, little woman. From time to time, she would cook for him.
One day, when she was going out, she heard the servant girls discussing in the rear courtyard.
"Why does it seem like the marquis's estate only needs the western courtyard and Miss Nie? What's the point in have the other courtyards. They're not being used anyways."
The servant girl next to her hurriedly covered her mouth. "Be careful. What if someone hears you and tells on you? This household isn't lacking in servants."
Ji Man contemplated her situation. Did Ning Yuxuan enjoy this modern-day lifestyle or was he faking it?
That night, when they were laying in bed, Ji Man couldn't resist the urge to ask him this question.
Ning Yuxuan was a bit lost. "What's a modern-day lifestyle?"
"The way that we're living right now, just you, me, and Haohao, and not many servants. I'll cook for you and do your laundry, then go out to check my rice shop. When you come back from the imperial court, we'll eat dinner together. I'm the only woman by your side."
Ning Yuxuan looked at her seriously for a long time. He pursed his lips and said, "That's not impossible. Right now, there isn't any woman that I have to marry."
He only had two types of women: women that he needed to marry and women that he didn't.
Ji Man felt somewhat discouraged. After such a long time, it wasn't because he enjoyed being with her more than anything else. Instead, it was because there was no one else that he needed to marry?