The shopkeepers were dumbstruck. Ji Man straightened her body and saw that Xiao Tianyi and Ning Yuxuan were smiling amicably.
Ning Yuxuan warmly asked, “Sir Li, why have you suddenly come here so late in the day?"
He was the one that should be asking why his immediate supervisor, Marquis Moyu, and the prime minster were both at this rice shop. He turned his head to the side to look. The other person that had recently saluted him was someone that he had previously managed. But, then there were the rest of the people, which included Prince Huainan's heir and the heir's wife. It was if this room was filled with Buddhas of all sizes that were observing this conversation. Why would all of these people come here to protect Ji Man, this poorly dressed person?
Li Licheng didn't dare to directly say that he had come here to arrest someone. He saluted with hands and said, "This one was just taking a stroll after finishing dinner. A chance meeting is better than a planned invitation. Sirs and Ladies, how about we go out and have some tea? It'll be good for digestion."
Zhao Kaifeng smiled and said, "Sure, Owner Ji just treated us to a dinner, and now Sir Li is treating us to tea. This is certainly saving us money."
Original translation is from fuyuneko dot org. If you’re reading this elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
Sir Li loudly laughed and politely looked at Ning Yuxuan as he said, "It's been a while since this one has seen the marquis. This will be a good opportunity to talk about matters related to the Six Ministries.”
Ning Yuxuan nodded and very casually turned his head to ask Ji Man, "Do you want to go?"
Ji Man considered. It wouldn't be appropriate for a mere commoner like herself to attend this time, so she shook her head. "It's fine. Marquis, you and the other nobles can go without me. This one will stay here to watch the rice shop."
Sir Li glanced at Ji Man, then he smiled at Ning Yuxuan and said, “Yes, Owner Ji has probably been very busy lately."
Ning Yuxuan slightly smiled and said, “"En, then I'll just stay here to keep him company for a while. I'm afraid that if I turn around for a moment, this person might end up being snatched away. Kaifeng, you should go ahead with the group."
Once these words were said, the mood became a bit awkward. If Marquis Moyu wasn't leaving, then the other people naturally wouldn't go either, even Xiao Tianyi didn't seem like he was going to leave.
Sir Li awkwardly laughed. He didn't have another choice and could only explain the matter. “People have filed a complaint that Owner Ji has maliciously lowered the price of rice and made it difficult for the other rice shop owners to run their businesses. This... He's only going to be taken to the government office for questioning and will be released after that."
"One has to take on the responsibility of profit and loss when doing business. This one is simply selling rice. What law has this one broken?" Ji Man curiously asked, "Who filed the complaint?"
The shopkeepers, who were standing by the doorway with trembling legs, retreated a few steps towards the hallway. Shopkeeper Liu forced himself to smile as he said, "This is a misunderstanding. The rice belongs to Owner Ji, and naturally he can sell it however he wants. There's no complaint, no complaint at all..."
Li Licheng turned his head and harshly glared at them. Sure enough, merchants had plenty of money, but they were too inferior to be seen in public with. They had come asking for his help without reaching a clear understanding of this Ji person's background beforehand. They had said that only Assistant Minister Zhu was supporting this person and caused him to fall into this awkward situation.
"Oh, so it was only a misunderstanding." Smiling, Ji Man saluted Minister Li with her hands. "Since it's only a misunderstanding, and it's been resolved, Minister Li, you won't need to trouble yourself over this matter anymore. How about this one will act as the host and invite everyone to Luoyan Pagoda? This one heard that from the seventh level of Luoyan Pagoda, one can see a distant river that looks quite interesting during autumn."
Ning Yuxuan had only been looking at Ji Man. As soon as she finished speaking, he voiced his agreement.
Minister Li understood what was going on now. As it turned out, this rice store's up-and-coming youngster was actually the marquis's person. No wonder this youth's path had been going so smoothly, and he had been able to destroy the livelihood of those experienced rice merchants too.
But, he hadn't heard of Marquis Moyu having a relative with the last name of Ji.
While Minister Li was preoccupied with thinking over those thoughts, the members of Tonghua Poetry Association were thinking that Ji Man's idea was pretty good. One after another, they got up and started to leave. Li Licheng could only follow after the departing crowd.
The shopkeepers had already run away. Faced with the oppressive presence of such important people, they naturally couldn't stand it. They were only little ants in comparison, so they could only flee! They also had to hurry with letting Ji Store's store manager out of prison so he could return here. Ji Store's owner's supporters were too strong, even the prime minister and Marquis Moyu was helping him. How could they even try to compete with Ji Man? They would thank their lucky stars if they didn't end up getting locked up themselves.
Luo Qianqian slowly walked to Ji Man's side and looked at him from top to bottom. "Excuse me for my impoliteness, but the insignificant me really wants to know. What exactly is your relationship with the marquis?"
Marquis Moyu had been so obvious in his favoritism towards this person, and the two of them had been so close during the entire outing. Luo Qianqian probably already had an inkling, but felt too uncomfortable to say the words aloud herself.
Surprisingly, Ji Man smiled and was looking at Xiao Tianyi and Ning Yuxuan, who were walking at the front of the group, as she said, "The marquis wouldn't do something that doesn't have significance. This one is probably useful to the marquis in some area and that's why he's helping this one out at this point in time."
Luo Qianqian didn't believe these words. If there was no relationship between these two people, there was no need for the marquis to help him out so thoroughly.
Ji Man thought it over before smiling and saying, "If this one has to describe the relationship between us, then let's say that the marquis is someone that loves flowers and is reluctant to see a peach tree die early."
What did this have to do with a peach tree? Luo Qianqian was looking very confused, but Ji Man had already taken a few steps forward to Qian Yingchen's side to ask him a few questions related to grain prices.
In the end, Luo Qianqian couldn't resist the impulse to pull Zhao Kaifeng to the side and gossip. “Hey, do you think the marquis would like a man?"
Looking at Ji Man, Zhao Kaifeng wrapped his arm around his wife. He chuckled and said, "Liking someone, why does it matter if the other party is a man or woman? Either way, if a person is really able to walk into the marquis's heart, it would be a rare sight to see."
Luo Qianqian thought it over and decided that her husband's words were quite reasonable.