For all the patient readers, good news – the ML returns! Do we finally learn his name? Let’s dive in and find out. Enjoy the chapter! ?
P.S. – ‘Youth dressed in black’ count : 4
Chapter 45: Meeting The Youth in Black Once More
In her previous life in the palace, the one thing she did not lack was the endless time. She had diligently tried to pa.s.s her days a little more meaningfully. But whenever Jiang Quan and the Eighth Prince told her things, she would willingly and repeatedly ruminate over those words during those sleepless nights. The Shen fu's structural layout was exactly identical to the one in her memories, therefore, today she was able to walk around without the least bit of effort.
Turning round and pa.s.sing the long corridor, she took a detour through a path by herself and approached a small room which was at the side, behind the garden. She then pushed the door open and entered.
The room was decorated very simply, almost as if it were an abandoned study that had not been used for a very long time. There were a few bound volumes of travel notes haphazardly placed on a study table. Jiang Ruan moved around to the front of the study table. Hung overhead on the wall was a drawing of a bamboo forest in the breeze. She stared at it for a short while and then reached out to lift it up. What was revealed behind the picture scroll was a smooth wall.
Jiang Ruan reached out her hands and traced her fingers along the snow-white surface of the wall as she slowly searched. Not too long after, her hands somehow pressed onto something. Hearing a crisp noise, the central wall in the room then gradually hollowed in, revealing a tiny hidden compartment.
She paused for a bit and then extended her hand into the hidden compartment and took a cloth bag out. The cloth bag in her hands had quite a bit of weight, and from a rough estimate, it seemed to be something like a book. Jiang Ruan smiled slightly, this was definitely the Shen fu's special account book that a.s.sistant Minister Shen kept in his home.
For any official in the officialdom, it would definitely be unavoidable that they would have to often use bribery in their daily activities and dealings to help smooth various relationships. In peacetime, for an official to give an incentive to one's superiors, inevitably, there must be a source of that silver money.
a.s.sistant Minister Shen had handed these matters over to Shen furen to organize. As for Shen furen, to have this account book hidden in any random place would not suffice, therefore, she had simply placed it inside this abandoned study room. Thus, to have hidden it so recklessly and negligently behind the picture scroll, but of course who would naturally think that it was hidden in such a place.
However, in her previous life, at the time when the Eighth Prince had met her in private, he had actually briefly touched on this subject. a.s.sistant Minister Shen was also someone who was in the same camp as Jiang Quan, however, due to some unknown reason, they later came to have some divergent opinions. Furthermore, Jiang Quan did not seem to mind this at all since he possessed some information that could be used against a.s.sistant Minister Shen. She had no idea how this account book had fallen into Jiang Quan's hands. If all these accounts were to be revealed, the high ranking officials who would be implicated were plenty, and it would undoubtedly lead to a huge upheaval in the capital.
Nonetheless, with this book now in her possession, today's trip was not in vain.
Jiang Ruan safely hid the cloth bag inside her clothes. However, as soon as she turned around, she was immediately startled.
Before the horizontally erect screen in the room, stood a person, who was presently staring at her. In the depths of his eyes, there were some inexplicable emotions.
As she earnestly looked over, she noticed that the person was dressed in black and possessed exceptionally cold and distinct facial features. However, his appearance also seemed unexplainably familiar. He looked precisely like that youth dressed in black whom she had accidentally met that day at the temple while she was on her way back to the capital. Yet, she had never imagined that today, she would meet him here once again. She was unsure if this was a blessing or a curse for her.
Jiang Ruan cautiously looked at him, yet, the other person simply stared at her chest. Jiang Ruan began to feel slightly annoyed when she suddenly heard her counterpart speak up, "Account book."
So, he was staring at the account book in her bosom. Jiang Ruan was a little stupefied and frowned, "You want the account book?"
This young man who appeared out of nowhere, for him to actually want the account book too, he might probably not get along with the Shen fu as well. Jiang Ruan's heart stopped for a bit. Then, taking the account book out from her bosom, she flung it far away in his direction. The youth dressed in black raised a hand to catch it and thoughtfully glanced at her. His expressions remained the same as before, cold and cheerless, which made one unable to decipher his emotions.
In her heart, Jiang Ruan felt free and relaxed. Originally, she had merely intended to add a blockage to the Shen fu and coincidentally, cause Jiang Li to get into some trouble. However, if it truly came down to it, with this sort of thing kept in her hands, it was just a hot potato. At present, with her immature wings, stepping forth into many matters would be inconvenient. Since this person wanted to deal with the Shen fu too, then, why not grant him a favour. To be able to see the Shen fu not have any good days in the future, she would still be happy to see that from a near distance.
The youth dressed in black was slender and graceful, and even while standing in the room, he seemed to add an ineffable layer of splendor to it. Yet, unexplainably, his handsome and bold facial features seemed to have an indescribable air of n.o.bility. Drooping her head in ponderment, Jiang Ruan wondered. She was unsure of what sort of status this person had, yet innate elegance emanated from his head to his toes, making his ident.i.ty really mysterious. Still, it was great that he did not have that murderous air he had had that night. In addition, it appeared that he did not have any ill intentions towards her, thus this was actually the merciful silver lining among all her misfortunes thus far.
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In any case, to have met him twice in these sort of circ.u.mstances, he could actually be considered as an acquaintance of hers then. Only, to appear whenever she was doing something ill-intentioned, she did not know what kind of fate this was.
Jiang Su Su timely hid the surprise in her eyes, followed by standing up and looking baffled, she asked, "Why did Da Jiejie come back alone, what about Third Younger Sister?"
Jiang Ruan smiled slightly, "Li niang urgently needed to go to the powder room, so she had me wait first. However, I was waiting for a long time and by some fortunate coincidence, I b.u.mped into a young maid who then brought me back here first."
"A young maid?" Shen Ming Zhu hastily asked, her voice was a little high-pitched and attracted sidelong glances from the surrounding furens and young ladies one by one. However, at this moment, she paid no heed to that and continued to question, "Which young maid, what was her name? Perhaps you are trying to frame me?"
Jiang Ruan asked in astonishment, "What kind of words are those, Ming Zhu meimei? If she isn't a young maid from your residence, then how could I return back here, perfectly fine on my first visit to the Shen fu? Moreover, I am unfamiliar with the grounds here."
Jiang Su Su's eyes flashed, "That's true."
Jiang Ruan chuckled too, "However, I forgot to ask that young maid's name, I only know that she looked lovely and clever. After she sent me ahead, she left."
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Translated by : Irisu-san
Edited by : Anks & Ely
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