Ji Man had already gone out to inquire about the status of Shuji Rouge Store. The formerly, extremely prosperous business that had a store in every province, had closed down. There were rumors that Shuji Rouge Store's female shopkeeper had been locked away in the imperial prison, and the government had seized all of her property without providing any reason. Regardless, the people here had made their own knockoff versions of cold cream, and there were all sorts of varieties available.
After two decades of schooling and hard work, she was bankrupt. She had majored in chemistry in college and knew how to make a couple of chemical products. When she graduated, she could only get a job as a salesperson without any special qualities. Now that she had become unwillingly involved in the struggle for power and didn't have a source of money, she could only start her struggles for money again.
Fortunately, her starting point was pretty high. Because everyone else thought she was Marquis Jingwen's relative, a lot of things would go smoothly. After thinking over her plan over the course of several days, Ji Man clenched her jaw and said to Dengxin, "Bring me a pair of scissors."
Marquis Moyu's main estate in the capital.
After the new emperor ascended to the throne, all sorts of bestowed items were sent to this estate. Many people had tried to come over to ingrate themselves and to try to climb up socially, but Ning Yuxuan didn't want to see them. He had the housekeeper send away all of these visitors for him.
Liu Hanyun continued to remain in the other estate, so the estate only had Xia-shi, Qi Siling, Mu Shuiqing, and Wen Wan. After he divorced Nie Sangyu, the position of the main wife became empty. Qi Siling and Wen Wan both thought that they should be the one that got promoted to that position. Thus, they were always trying to appear in front of Marquis Moyu.
Today, Ning Yuxuan was in his study and silently drawing.
Standing on the side, Mu Shuqing slightly sighed and said, "Who could have imagined this ending? Still, Madam is a sensible person and didn't lash out at you."
"Do you really think that she doesn't resent me at all?" Ning Yuxuan chuckled and started to paint the facial features for the person in his painting. "Even though she was happily smiling, who knows how upset she was actually feeling? In the past, every time she greeted me with a gentle expression, she was clearly secretly cursing at me."
Those eyes had always seemed as if they could see through everything. She thought that she had hidden her scorn and disdain very well, but he had clearly seen through her true feelings each time.
Mu Shuiqing deeply looked at him before pursing her lips and saying, "My lord, there's still one more year left of your mourning period for Old Madame. Based on the new emperor's behavior, if you continue to not have a main wife, he'll definitely bestow a marriage to you as soon as the mourning period ends."
"En. Who do you think would be a suitable main wife?" Marquis Moyu casually asked.
Mu Shuiqing answered, "Mistress Xia-shi is the heir's biological mother, but her words and actions are too vulgar. She's not suitable to be a wife. Mistress Wan has always received my lord's love, but she's not as composed as Mistress Ling. It's only that Mistress Ling..."
Qi Siling had been the one that exposed Nie Sangyu's business, and the direct cause behind why the marquis had divorced her.
"She's not suitable." Ning Yuxuan lightly harrumphed. He embellished the painting with two peonies. "Wan-er isn't suitable either. She can't manage a household with her easily ruffled emotions."
"Then, what is my lord's intention?"
Ning Yuxuan considered before saying, "For now, let's bring Hanyun back first. I heard that she has a younger cousin in Jing Province that's an official."
Mu Shuiqing clearly understood his intention and nodded.
Ji Man was disguised in a man's attire and currently sitting on the third floor of the biggest rouge shop in Jing Province. Holding a token that signified she was from Marquis Jingwen's household, she calmly drunk tea.
She didn't have a better option. She needed a way to earn money and selling products for women was the quickest way. This time, she had made eye cream and hand cream. After a lot of trial and error, she had finally produced the cream in these two boxes. At most, these two creams had a minor effect of preserving youthful skin. The crucial point was based on advertisement. Very often, a woman's skin care products had a subjective effect that was more affected by her expectations than objective reality.
This time, Ji Man wouldn't act so foolishly. She was using a male identity to discuss business with Tianxiang's shopkeeper.
However, as soon as the shopkeeper saw the token, she said that she had to discuss with her boss first, so Ji Man had been waiting here since then. Perhaps, they were concerned because it was a token from Marquis Jingwen. After all, this was Jing Province.
After Ji Man had waited for a time long enough to burn an incense stick, the response they gave her wasn't disappointing. They said that as long as she could supply the goods, they would help her sell the products for a percentage of the profit.
The owner of the store very amicably said, "It's only that we have a potential customer. He heard that you're selling these unusual items and would like to meet with you. He's called Sir Liu."
Wearing a professional smile, Ji Man stroked the mustache that she stuck on her face and said, "That's good too. This one enjoys making new friends."
The owner of the store nodded, and the shopkeeper went down to call that person upstairs. It didn't take long for a green-robed man in his twenties to appear. He courteously greeted, "This one is called Liu Rufeng."
The corners of Ji Man's lips twitched. She dryly laughed and said, "What a good name. This one is Ji Man."
(T/N: Rufeng means like/as the wind.)
"Young Lord Ji, you have such a refined appearance. You look like a talented individual. Could we be friends?" Liu Rufeng raised his head. His face looked very honest and even had a hint of a scholar's gentleness. "Young Lord, how about we move our conversation to somewhere else? The weather happens to be just right for an outing on the lake.”
If a total stranger suddenly ran up to you and said, "Wow, you look really marvelous. Let's be friends, okay? Want to go on a boat ride with me?" Would you go with him?
Only an idiot would go with him! Ji Man maintained her smile, but she stood up and said, "It looks like it's going to rain soon. How about we take a raincheck on that idea? This one also needs to go back home earlier today."
Without waiting for Liu Rufeng to reply, Ji Man dashed back to Marquis Jingwen's estate. She didn't put down her worries until she passed through the front gate. Then, she turned around to look in Tianxiang store's direction for a while and decided to go ask Errong if she knew Sir Liu.
However, right after she arrived outside of Errong’s courtyard, she heard two servants gossiping. Their words were especially unpleasant to hear.
Staying in Marquis Jingwen's estate was basically relying on someone else's charity. Towards outsiders, Errong said that Ji Man and Ji Zhu were her distant relatives and should be treated respectfully. However, the servants didn't see these two people as true masters.