The Dreamer in the Spring Boudoir - Chapter 406
Chapter 407 – Rather wait three more years 2
Chapter 407 – Rather wait three more years (2)
After paying the carriage driver, Ji Man hastily got off the carriage. She straightened her clothes, then went to the entrance to look for the jailer. After messing around in Zhangjun for so long, she had established some contacts here. But, it wouldn’t be good to go bother those people in the middle of the night, so she went straight to using money as a temporary expedient.
After a lot of persuasion, she finally gained access to the imperial prison. However, when she said that she was looking for Ning Yuxuan, they all said that there wasn’t a prisoner by this name.
It was probably because his imprisonment was a top secret, so the common jailers wouldn’t know? Ji Man thought it over and bribed them with more money. “Sir, could you help me out and let this one see the people that were arrested today?”
Once enough money was given, the jailer became quite easy-going. He led her into the prison and allowed her to walk around. The imperial prison wasn’t a place that enforced strict and fair discipline. There were plenty of people that came here to settle personal vendettas. The row after row of torture tools that were hanging on the wall were quite terrifying. Ji Man’s heart felt increasingly heavy as she walked here. However, after searching through the entire place, she didn’t see Ning Yuxuan.
Did Wu Yong lie to her? No, that couldn’t be possible. Then, Ning Yuxuan must have been locked up in a secret location, and it wouldn’t be a place that she could gain access just by using money.
Ji Man left the imperial dungeon in dismay. She felt a bit regretful. He was a man that would do important things. As a woman, why had she messed things up for him? If Ning Yuxuan met his end here, it would be such a waste. If one day, someone wrote Marquis Moyu’s bibliography, she would be written as the femme fatale that brought disaster.
After returning to the prince’s estate, she asked around again, but no one knew where Marquis Moyu had went. Ji Man didn’t sleep well that night and even had a nightmare before waking up. She couldn’t remember what had happened in that nightmare and only felt lingering fear.
To her surprise, Guibai came over when she was eating breakfast.
“The marquis has already left the city.” Guibai looked at her with a stern expression as he said, “He wants me to say something to Mister Ji on his behalf.”
Left the city? Stunned, Ji Man felt as if a large stone had fallen down in her heart with a loud thump. Great, she hadn’t actually harmed him.
Ji Man slightly smiled as she asked, “What’s the message?”
Guibai lowered his head. He was probably mimicking Marquis Moyu’s expression. “My lord said,
“I came from far away with a heart full of hope,
but all my expectations and efforts have been dashed to nothing.
The past three months had felt like three years.
Once we met, I would rather go back and wait another three years.”
Ji Man’s smile slightly stiffened, and the corners of her mouth slowly went down. In the end, her lips twitched, and she chuckled. “The rhyming isn’t very good. It could use some work.”
Guibai deeply bowed at her, then he turned around and left.
The weather was chilly today, and snowflakes were fluttering down. Ji Man stood at the doorway, and white mist came out with each exhale. She looked at the sharp edge of a distant building and couldn’t help laughing lowly.
It was good to not show forgiveness. She wouldn’t relent to him, and he shouldn’t show her affection. After all, she was only a passerby, and she didn’t want to leave behind any reasons for sorrow.
The army sent by the imperial court was already stationed at Xi River when Ning Yuxuan arrived at the army camps.
Seeing his cousin’s unpleasant expression, Ning Mingjie chucked and asked, “What’s wrong? Didn’t you rush to come here? Why do you seem unhappy?”
Ning Yuxuan expressionlessly answered, “It’s too cold. I’m frozen stiff. I can’t move my face.”
Ning Mingjie wasn’t sure how to respond. He gestured for him to come over. “I’ve sent people over to Zhangjun to announce the imperial decree, but looking at their stance, a battle is inevitable. I’ve already written a military report requesting for reinforcements. The report is on its way to the emperor now.”
“En.” Marquis Moyu went over to the side to look at the pile of correspondence on the desk. He lightly said, “Let’s bide our time and wait until the imperial court has sent reinforcements before attacking Zhangjun.”
“That’s what I was thinking too.” Ning Mingjie slightly smiled. “This war will probably last a long time. Who knows how old our children will be by the time we return?”
Ning Yuxuan froze in surprise for a moment. Thinking of how Haohao was still in the palace, he couldn’t help sighing.
Zhangjun Prince refused to accept the imperial edict, tightly closed the city’s gates, and gathered the twelve surrounding cities with Xi River as a boundary line. He threatened to purge the emperor’s court of its evil officials as his political slogan for fighting against the current regime.
This news traveled to the capital, and the emperor was furious. He sent the requested reinforcement to Ning Mingjie and put the dowager empress under house arrest. Zhao Li also wanted to take the opportunity to deal with Xiao Clan.
(T/N: Just in case it was too long ago, the dowager empress is Zhao Zhe’s mother, and Xiao Clan is her maiden clan.)
The news quickly spread from the imperial court to the commoners like smoke. Xiao Clan had a centuries-old foundation, so how could it be possible to remove it in a single move? Xiao Tianyi incited the common people, and the civil and military officials also jointly petitioned to protect Xiao Clan. It was only now that Zhao Li woke up from his dream. When he swept his gaze over the imperial court, he realized that most of the officials that had once been loyal to him had been pulled to Xiao Clan’s side without him noticing.
He had previously arranged for his own people to take over duties in the Six Ministries. To his surprise, other than the people in the Ministry of Revenue, most of those people had become traitors. Every one of them was saying that Prime Minister Xiao was a good official that worked for the benefit of the common people and the country and that Xiao Clan couldn’t be harmed. It was a clan that had always taken on the responsibility of supporting the reigning emperor.
Under this pressure, Zhao Li could only back down and leave Xiao Clan alone.
After he gave Kangyuan Junzhu the rank of virtuous consort, her father, Yong’an Prince, took the opportunity to enter the capital and serve the emperor by lending his troops to Ning Mingjie. Surely, this would help Ning Mingjie seize Zhangjun.
As a result of all this, the situation in the imperial court suddenly became tense. Zhao Li was at a loss. When he turned back to look, it had already been a long time since Pengyue was willing to see him while Kangyuan was whole-heartedly devoted to him. It was only… He didn’t know why. His heart felt empty.
An endless stream of reinforcements were sent to Zhangjun, but Ning Mingjie continued to bide his time. By the beginning of spring, there were already fifty thousand soldiers camping outside of Zhangjun’s city. The grain reserve was running low, and the imperial court was struggling, but support continued to be provided. The emperor had sent four imperial edicts to order Ning Mingjie to start attacking as early as possible, but Ning Mingjie ignored them.
Spring was already heavy in the air when the war against Zhangjun finally and officially started.