Chapter 60 A Gift Comes from Aunt Xiang
Although several young men and women became couples after the chrysanthemum appreciation grand meeting held by Honored Consort Ya, it was unexpected that neither of the two most important princes found a good match. The reasons why they didn't find a match were that Ning Yuling had an accident and the Fourth Prince was absent on business.
Although the chrysanthemum appreciation grand meeting was over, the Honored Consort Ya didn't leave, so those madams couldn't leave first.
Early in the morning, Ning Xueyan went to greet Madam Dowager.
Madam Dowager had already got up. She heard that Ning Xueyan had come and asked her to come in. Before they chatted for a longer time, Madam Dowager received an invitation from the Honored Consort Ya. Something big happened yesterday and the two families hadn't sat down to have a good talk. So Honored Consort Ya invited Madam Dowager to have a talk.
Ning Yuling's scandal apparently brought shame on the Lord Protector's Manor. However, all the madams here clearly knew that there was an agreement between the Honored Consort Ya and Lord Protector's Manor that Ning Yuling would marry the Third Prince and be his consort. So such a thing also brought shame on the Third Prince.
Generally speaking, it was the Lord Protector's Manor that was sorry for the Third Prince. There must be an explanation for this matter.
Whatever the reason was, Madam Dowager should go there. So she decided to go with Ning Xueyan.
The two followed by a group of servants went to Honored Consort Ya's courtyard together.
When they arrived at the gate of the courtyard, the eunuchs were already there. Seeing Madam Dowager coming, a eunuch trotted into the room to report. When Madam Dowager arrived, an Honored Consort Ya's older female servant came out with a smile and respectfully welcomed Madam Dowager in.
Not only the Honored Consort Ya was in the room, but also the Consort Dowager of Commandery Prince Li's Manor sat there with a depressed look.
Ning Xueyan gave a look to Consort Dowager and found that she didn't bring her white civet cat. It seemed that the incense she made had worked.
The Honored Consort Ya smiled all the time as if she didn't mind the matter of yesterday at all. When she saw Madam Dowager coming in, she politely invited her to sit down.
"Madam Dowager, some preserved fruit were sent from the Palace this morning. I heard they are the new product this year. So I especially invite you to have a taste." The Honored Consort Ya pointed at the preserved fruit in front of her and said to Madam Dowager with a smile on her face.
The Honored Consort Ya just left the palace for a short time, but His Majesty in the palace began to miss her and sent something to her. It could be seen that she was favored now.
Madam Dowager recognized Honored Consort Ya's power from her words, so she hurried to stand up and said, "Your Highness, thank you very much. But I'm too old to eat this sweetmeat. Thank you for your care."
Honored Consort Ya didn't say anything, but actually, she was extremely unhappy. The Third Prince always had a good reputation. But now he was cuckolded by Ning Yuling. Everyone would be angry if such a thing happened to them, let alone the royal family member.
"Honored Consort Ya really cares about Madam Dowager. Look at your dark circles, didn't you sleep well last night?" Consort Dowager of Commandery Prince Li's Manor coldly said in an impolite way.
Honored Consort Ya's face darkened when she heard that.
Hearing Consort Dowager's words, Madam Dowager felt embarrassed. Yesterday's scandal also implicated the Princely Heir of Commandery Prince Li. It seemed that the Consort Dowager was angry too and today came here to find fault with Madam Dowager.
"I'm so sorry, Your Highness. I've lived for a long time, but I didn't expect such a thing to happen. The Second Young Lady usually behaves well. I really don't know how she was fooled by her servants. Alas, it's a family misfortune!" Madam Dowager sighed with tears in her eyes and her voice trembled.
Although Madam Dowager wanted to pin that on the maids, she was really sad!
Honored Consort Ya, whose smile became sort of gentle, turned around and saw Ning Xueyan standing behind Madam Dowager. She softly said to her, "Fifth Young Lady, come here, let me see you. You face is really pale. How about I asking the imperial physician to treat you? How can a young girl be so weak?"
This scene was similar to the scene that Consort Dowager of Commandery Prince Li's Manor cared about Ning Yuling while taking her hands!
Ning Xueyan smiled coldly. She didn't want others to think that she would certainly marry the Third Prince. If the Honored Consort Ya really cared about Ning Xueyan, she wouldn't wait until this time and intentionally showed her concern in front of others. Honored Consort Ya just wanted others to believe that there was a new agreement between the Lord Protector's Manor and her.
Ning Xueyan lifted her head and regained composure. She walked forward and saluted Honored Ya with cleverness. "Thank you very much for your kindness, Your Highness. But Grandma has invited a new doctor for me. The doctor said that I'm only weak and need good care."
"Yes, there's nothing serious about her health. It's inborn. She didn't pay much attention to her health so that she's so weak now. The doctor said that she should pay more attention in the future. The imperial physician needn't come." Madam Dowager rushed to say after Ning Xueyan.
If the imperial physician checked Ning Xueyan, the matter that she had been poisoned would be disclosed!
But Madam Dowager's words showed that there was more distance between her and Honored Consort Ya.
The Consort Dowager of Commandery Prince Li's Manor, who was sitting on the other side, stopped finding fault with Madam Dowager, shrewdness in her eyes. But all her behaviors and expressions had been seen by Ning Xueyan. It seemed that the Consort Dowager was not as useless as others said.
"Women should pay great attention to their health. It's related to whether they will have children or not. You can't slight your health." Honored Consort Ya didn't insist on asking the imperial physician to check Ning Xueyan, but the meaning of her words made Madam Dowager upset. Actually, Madam Dowager wanted to accept Honored Consort Ya's advice and tell others that the Young Lady of Lord Protector's Manor still would marry the Third Prince.
However, she was afraid that the Honored Consort Ya would know Ning Xueyan's current physical condition by the imperial physician. And the issue of child Honored Consort Ya mentioned greatly upset Madam Dowager.
"Yes, girls do have to pay more attention to their health." Madam Dowager reluctantly replied. Then she turned to Ning Xueyan and said, "Xueyan, you can go to the garden. It's nice. I'll talk to the Honored Consort Ya for a while."
Madam Dowager wanted Ning Xueyan to leave for a while, because some topics were not suitable to be talked in front of young girls.
Because of the previous matters, Madam Dowager would never determine her marriage at random, so Ning Xueyan nodded her head and left the room.
When she passed the Consort Dowager of Commandery Prince Li's Manor, she understood why the Consort Dowager of Commandery Prince Li's Manor was unhappy and smiled greatly.
The Honored Consort Ya's courtyard was one of the best in Cold Mountain Temple and was originally used to entertain important guests.
Behind Honored Consort Ya's courtyard, there was a garden where there were many rockery forests and a winding cobblestone path paved with red maple leaves.
Palace maids and eunuchs were all serving Honored Consort Ya and her guests, so the garden was quiet. Ning Xueyan strolled along the winding cobblestone path, feeling soft under her feet. The chrysanthemum bloomed around the rockery, which was very charming. The layered petals made them look like pleated skirts, colorful and beautiful.
Ning Xueyan walked slowly forward while enjoying the beautiful scenery around her. After turning a corner, she saw Aunt Xiang standing under a big maple tree with her hands clasped behind her back.
Aunt Xiang had helped Ning Xueyan prove that Madam Dowager was poisoned. But after that, Ning Xueyan had no chance to see Aunt Xiang. So when she met Aunt Xiang at this time, she hurried to step forward and cried, "Aunt Xiang!"
"Fifth Young Lady, are you here to see Honored Consort Ya?" Aunt Xiang didn't move, but only turned her head to face Ning Xueyan and asked politely.
"Yes, Grandma is talking to Honored Consort Ya. She asked me to go out for a stroll." Ning Xueyan answered with a faint smiled. Then she stood beside Aunt Xiang and looked up at the maple tree Aunt Xiang had been looking at. "What's on the tree? Why are you so absorbed in it?"
"I'm not looking at anything, just thinking of an old friend." Aunt Xiang turned and walked to the back of the tree, followed by Ning Xueyan. After several steps, Ning Xueyan saw a stone table and two stone benches behind the tree. A teapot and two delicate bamboo-shaped cups were on the stone table, and one cup was steaming, tea aroma spreading.
"Aunt Xiang, you're aesthetic. It's great to drink tea and enjoy the scenery here!" Ning Xueyan said with a smile.
"Fifth Young Lady, please sit down!" Aunt Xiang smiled and offered a seat to Ning Xueyan. Then she poured a cup of tea and pushed it to Ning Xueyan.
It was daytime now and they were in Honored Consort Ya's courtyard, so they couldn't be too close. However, Ning Xueyan could still sense Aunt Xiang's sincere and warm smile in her eyes.
Ning Xueyan didn't refuse the tea. She took it handed by Aunt Xiang and took a sip. Immediately, her eyes brightened and she couldn't help but praise it. "Aunt Xiang, it's really a good tea. I can taste the fragrance of chrysanthemum. How did you make it?"
There were only tea leaves in the tea, but Ning Xueyan tasted chrysanthemum. The aroma of chrysanthemum and tea was mixed together, which was a different flavor.
"This is a favorite tea of an old friend. She made the tea leaves by her new method. Hasn't your mother mentioned it to you?" Aunt Xiang seemed to ask at will, but the corner of her eyes throbbed for one time unconsciously. From that, Ning Xueyan felt that Aunt Xiang was nervous when she asked.
"My mother didn't mention this kind of tea to me. I think your old friend must be a person of poetic temperament. I really admire her for making such good tea. What kind of people your old friend was?" Ning Xueyan asked in a pretended casual way, turning around the cup with her white fingers.
"She's just an old friend of mine. But she has passed away." Aunt Xiang shook her head with sadness on her face and didn't want to talk about the past. Then she stood up and said, "Please enjoy yourself, Fifth Young Lady. I have work to do and have to go now."
Then she stretched out her hands and lifted her long sleeves, as if she was going to pour more tea for Ning Xueyan before leaving.
Aunt Xiang's long and layered sleeve blocked the sight in the other three directions, and only Ning Xueyan could see a small note falling in front of her. Ning Xueyan's fingers moved slightly, and the note silently fell into her sleeves.
Ning Xueyan had guessed that Aunt Xiang wouldn't appear in the courtyard for no reason. She was waiting for Ning Xueyan here.
Ning Xueyan stood up and said with a smile while keeping her countenance, "Aunt Xiang, please yourself."
Aunt Xiang smiled and said nothing more, turning and leaving. But when she passed the maple tree, she paused and looked up at the straight maple tree, murmuring something before leaving.
When Aunt Xiang disappeared in her sight, the smile on Ning Xueyan's face faded away and she began to meditate.
Just then, Ning Xueyan seemed to hear a footstep. Somehow, she unconsciously looked to the left and hid behind the rockery on the other side. She couldn't help be shocked when she saw a familiar person coming from another road through the holes in the rockery.
How could it be him!