Chapter 461 – Seizing power (2)
Recently, more and more officials came to the marquis’s estate. They would rather seek Ning Yuxuan’s help to handle matters than enter the palace and request an audience with the emperor. Ji Man didn’t know why this was happening.
“That’s true, I’ll be busy for a period of time, so you’ll have to wait for me.” His smile was full of confidence and certainty. “You won’t have to wait long.”
Zhao Zhe had been living in Zhangjun for the past several years. Most of the current officials were the original ones that were accustomed to using the old methods. When all was said and done, they were the ones that were most familiar with their work. As long as they weren’t absolutely loyal to the previous emperors, they were allowed to continue serving in their original official positions.
Naturally, these court officials were closer to Ning Yuxuan than a lofty emperor. From the time that Ning Yuxuan started to secretly approve petitions, he gained a lot of power to deal with things. Without the emperor noticing, these officials had gained the habit of asking Marquis Moyu’s opinion before doing anything.
By the time Prime Minister Xiao told Zhao Zhe there was something strange going on, Zhao Zhe finally noticed that if he wanted to know something like that status of capital’s wall repairs, he would have to ask Marquis Moyu.
During court sessions, it was enough if Marquis Moyu attended by himself. It was because he knew everything. However, he wouldn’t report anything unless the emperor asked him for the answers, one by one.
Zhao Zhe finally realized there was something wrong. Ning Yuxuan had turned him into a mere figurehead.
However, he had realized this too late. Even if he wanted to remedy the situation, he didn’t have the energy right now. The war between the borderlands and Yuzhen was becoming increasingly intense. It was rumored that Yuzhen had divine soldiers. Great Song’s army was losing badly. Over time, Great Song’s army had retreated 50 kilometers after successive losses. Seeing that the borderlands would soon be lost, Zhao Zhe could only dispatch a massive military force to the borderlands.
The military problems were unending. How would they continue to supply army provisions? How would the various military expenditures be funded and which ones should be approved? Every day, officials from the Ministry of Revenue came over to bother him with these types of questions. Over time, Zhao Zhe became glad that Marquis Moyu was helping him out with a portion of his responsibilities.
However, Marquis Moyu started to be selective about the issues he would handle. He would only handle major issues. Piles of unimportant petitions – such as issues related to Jiangxi Province’s canals, the promotions of officials in Jiangnan, etc – were all left to pile up on the emperor’s desk.
Zhao Zhe asked Xiao Tianyi where these petitions normally went. Were they usually sent to the prime minister’s desk instead? However, Xiao Tianyi had no idea. Lately, he had been rolling in riches, and his days were truly free and unfettered.
Other than the war at the borderlands, the imperial court was the picture of joyous harmony. Other than Zhao Zhe and Ning Yuxuan, no one was experiencing the turbulence below.
Zhao Zhe summoned his trusted subordinates to discuss. However, the war with Yuzhen was more pressing. Who cared about how to seize power at a time like this? They recommended that the emperor put his mind to settling the borderland war first.
If Zhao Zhe was a fox, then Ning Yuxuan was nine-tail fox that was a superb competitor. He knew how to advance by retreating, and how to defeat his enemies with their own tactics.
“Let’s go.” Ning Yuxuan looked at Ji Man’s round belly. Concerned, he amended his words, “With your body like this, let’s walk slowly.”
Ji Man was very curious. “Go where?”
“Didn’t we agree on going on a sightseeing tour?” Ning Yuxuan smiled. “I happen to be free now. Let’s head towards the east.”
Ning Mingjie had led the army east. If they travelled 1,500 kilometers east, they would reach the boundary between Great Song and Yuzhen.
“Alright.” However, Ji Man was willing to go with him. Even if this was just a business trip, it was remarkable that a man would be willing to bring his wife along.
“What kind of life do you want to live in the future?” Ning Yuxuan asked.
Ji Man thought it over before answering, “A peaceful one. A life where I can have my own career, not feel uncomfortable over other women, safely give birth to my baby, and for Haohao, who’s so far away, to be safe and sound. When he comes back one day in the future, our family can sit down and eat the meal I cooked.”
Ning Yuxuan tilted his head and very gravely said, “That’s a bit difficult. After all, there are too many women that like me.”
Ji Man rolled her eyes at him. “There are plenty of other men that like me. Haven’t you heard? Those women in the palace that look like me, they’ve already been promoted to imperial consorts. Tsk, tsk. The empress hasn’t even returned to the palace yet either.”
Ning Yuxuan’s expression blackened. He took a step forward and grabbed her shoulder. “Do you still think about him?”
“You’re allowed to show off, but I’m not allowed to say anything?” Ji Man harrumphed. “I only think about how I wish he would die sooner.”
Ning Yuxuan’s expression slightly improved. He sat down by the bed and fiddled with a not particularly outstanding jade ornament that was hanging from her sash. “I think you wouldn’t be interested in a man whose heart is so divided.”
The corners of Ji Man’s lips twitched. This dear friend seemed to have completely forgotten how he used be the same way too. In the past, he had called Wen Wan petty for wanting him to wholeheartedly love her.
Fortunately, she was the one that was with him at the end.
They boarded a boat and set off on their journey to the east. Ji Man was standing at the prow of the boat. She turned her head, stretched her hand out, and said to Ning Yuxuan, “Come here and wrap your arms around my waist.”
Ning Yuxuan’s face had already turned pale because she was standing so close to the edge. He strode forward and stabilized her body. He quietly rebuked, “What are you doing?”
Ji Man stretched her arms wide open to do the classic scene in Titanic. She closed her eyes and sighed. “I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a man to do this with.”
Ning Yuxuan didn’t know what was so great about this position. However, seeing how happily she was smiling, he continued to securely hold onto her and protect her from falling into the water.
Thinking of how he hadn’t figured out what fixing computers meant, Ning Yuxuan decided that he should treat Ji Man better in other areas as compensation.