Ji Man was at a loss. She touched the mask on her face. Fortunately, it hadn't come off when she was crying.
Why had Qian Yingchen come here?
When Zhu Yurun saw him, she giggled and fussed with her hair. "You're here!"
He strode into the room and sat down on a stool by Ji Man. He uttered a light, "en," as his reply. His eyes fell on Ji Man, and he scrutinized Ji Man with a sense of uncertainty. "Teacher Ji, what's wrong?"
"This one is called Ji Man." Ji Man cleared her throat and respectfully saluted with her hands. "I've already resigned from my position as a teacher."
Qian Yingchen was somewhat surprised. Hadn't Yuxuan previously praised this teacher? So, then, why would he allow this teacher to resign? Still, this wasn't the important part. The most important question was why was he crying in Zhu Yurun's room?
Zhu Yurun was sitting in the bed and said to him, "Don't bring up older brother Man's sorrowful matter."
Qian Yingchen glanced at her, then he coldly harrumphed and stood up. "Your body has probably mostly recovered by now."
During Zhu Yurun’s recovery period after the miscarriage, Qian Yingchn had been paying her a daily visit. Although Assistant Minister Zhu continued to be angry with him, Zhu Yurun was very happy and eagerly looked forward to his visit every day.
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However, after the ancestor veneration ceremony had concluded, the day of his wedding with Miss Peng was still approaching.
Hearing these words, Zhu Yurun's gaze dimmed. Tugging on her quilt, she said, "Yeah, I've gotten better. I can leave my bed and start walking around tomorrow."
"Then, I don't need to come tomorrow." Qian Yingchen slightly smiled. "I've done all that I could."
"En." Zhu Yurun obediently nodded.
Hearing these words, Ji Man sighed and said, "Thank you for checking up on Yurun the past several days, Sir Qian. Once she's completely recovered, it'll be time for our wedding to take place... Oh, right, Sir Qian, when will your wedding with Miss Peng be?"
Qian Yingchen glanced at Ji Man. “In four days."
Ji Man nodded. "Zhu Yurun and my wedding is around that time too, but the preparations were rushed and so many things had come up recently. It might not be possible to make it especially grand."
Zhu Yurun opened and closed her mouth. She was a bit surprised as she looked at Ji Man. Were they still going to get married even though the baby was gone?
Ji Man gave her meaningful look to indicate for her to stay silent, but Qian Yingchen didn't say anything.
A moment later, he didn't look at Zhu Yurun and only respectfully saluted Ji Man with his hands. "Congratulations. This one will leave first then."
Ji Man stood up and smiled as she said, "Sir Qian, are you busy with something afterwards? This one happens to have something to discuss with Sir Qian because of Ji Store's tribute rice."
Qian Yingchen was slightly surprised. "This year's tribute rice will be from Ji Store?"
"Yes." Ji Man politely saluted with her hands.
The tribute rice was an important matter. This was the only rice eaten by the people in the palace. Last year, Liu Store's reputation had soared because it had been responsible for the tribute rice. It vaulted up to be the capital's largest rice business, and its rice could be found everywhere. He had originally expected that the honor would fall on Rong Store's this year. Unexpectedly, it had fallen on Ji Store instead.
He looked at Zhu Yurun, and a trace of understanding appeared in his eyes. He chuckled and said, "Let's go over to Luoyan Pagoda to discuss the matter then."
Ji Man agreed. After saying a few sentences to urge Zhu Yurun to properly recuperate, Ji Man left the estate with Qian Yingchen.
Sitting in Luoyan Pagoda, Qian Yingchen said in an unclear tone, "Brother Ji, you're truly skilled. This one had originally thought you were a straightforward scholar. It was surprising to hear that you're a rice merchant as well, and even more surprising to hear that you would marry a woman from Zhu family that had completely ruined her reputation in order to gain the honor of being responsible for the tribute rice."
Ji Man gave a vulgar and sly smile in response with greed flashing through her eyes. Looking like a total villain, she looked at the man across from her and said, "Sir Qian, you think too highly of me. This one is just trying to make a living. Since it’s possible to climb up, why would this one remain at my starting point? It's fine that Miss Zhu has a ruined reputation. This one just wants to borrow a way up."
Qian Yingchen's brow was deeply furrowed. As he looked at Ji Man's face, he silently thought he must have been blind when he saw this teacher at the marquis's residence last time. Otherwise, why would he think this person was a decent and polite individual that was worth speaking to?
"As you know, Assistant Minister Zhu likes this one a lot right now," Ji Man said with a smile, "The tribute rice will be handled by the Ministry of Revenue. This one hopes that that Sir Qian will keep an eye on it when the time comes. Please be magnanimous during the inspection time.”
Merchants were always unscrupulous, and the tribute rice that was sent into the palace would always be less than the correct amount. Still, Ji Man was the first one to boldly state this matter aloud. Thus, the disdain he felt for Ji Man increased further.
This man only dared to act so outrageously because he had Zhu Clan as his supporter. As he looked at this awful merchant, he thought; how could it be possible that this man would treat Zhu Yurun well?
That girl was stupid. It was okay if she couldn't see through a person's real character, but she would probably end up crying when she was wronged in the future. Wasn't Assistant Minister Zhu supposed to cherish his daughter a lot? How could he have found this type of person for her?
As Qian Yingchen drank his tea, his expression was unpleasant. He didn't show any signs of agreeing to Ji Man's request. Instead, he asked, "Brother Ji, do you not care that people will take behind your back after the wedding?"
"Why should I care about that?" Ji Man widened her eyes. "I'm just marrying someone and leaving her in my home. Later, we can also live in separate households. Even if there are such people, since I'm a man, they'll definitely spend more time speaking badly about her and less about me."
This world really was this unfair to women.
"Besides, Sir Qian, why are you asking about this?" Ji Man chuckled. "Weren’t you the one that ruined Miss Zhu's reputation?"