Chapter 29 Dressing up as a Man, Ning Xueyan Offends Prince Yi
Ning Xueyan had a nightmare again! She lifted her quilt, smiling ruefully, and stood up. Then she walked toward the table to grab a cup of cold tea, pouring in her mouth. But she was too weak to swallow the cold water. She poured in quickly, so she had to grasp her chest for a slight cough. Although she tried to do exercise every day, it seemed that she hadn't get better.
Ning Xueyan was lost in thought, standing in the front of the window. She looked at the lightful dawn with frowning.
She had been at Cold Mountain Temple for half a month. Several days ago, Mother Han wrote a letter to tell her that her uncle was about to come to the capital and today was the day of his coming. Ning Xueyan never met this uncle before, but Mother Han guaranteed to her this uncle would protect her.
Therefore, Ning Xueyan planned to meet this uncle today, to verify whether Mother Han told the truth. Moreover, if she didn't go to see him, her uncle would inquire about her from Lord Protector's Manor, which would cost more time unnecessarily. In addition, she needed to tell him something in person.
She must meet him before Madam Ling, making sure she and her uncle were on the same boat.
It was early, so she went back to bed. However, she couldn't fall asleep. Ning Xueyan replayed the scene of her death in her mind for no reason. Blood, suffocating, struggling, the pain... She lay on the bed remaining stock still with eyes closed, but she could still sense the smell of fear and the despair caused by death.
Grabbing her quilt tightly, Ning Xueyan took a deep breath to relax. But even her breathing was smelt like the blood. She sat straight again, abruptly trying to memory other things for distracting her thought. It came to her mind suddenly that her dowry was sent to Shangshu Manor at the beginning.
Something was wrong!
Looking back at her previous life, her father died on duty and her mother followed his step after being sick for three years. Her mother told her to turn to Ning Zu'an, the family patriarch. She came to the capital taking all her belongings with the old housekeeper. After she moved to Lord Protector's Manor, Shangshu Xia visited her and Madam Xia came to console her with Xia Yuhang.
The Ning and Xia families had already made the decision of her marriage, which would settle down when she was 16.
They had been engaged since they were kids. However, she knew Xia Yuhang. He would constantly give her father some gift in person when her father was in the office. It seemed Xia family didn't plan to go back on their word. As soon as Ning Xueyan arrived in the capital, Xia Yuhang and Madam Xia went to see her immediately.
Observed in any aspect, Xia Yuhang showed great affection for her. It could be told from his bright smile.
When did he begin to change?
Ning Xueyan's mind was full of doubts. Almost one or two years ago, even earlier, maybe it was at the time when she reached here... But she couldn't remember what she did to piss him off. The only thing she remembered was some stuff was sent from her family when Xia Yuhang and Ning Ziyan were at her place. They left hurriedly after seeing the things.
Ning Xueyan also inquired about the rumor in these days. The story that Xia Yuhang and Ning Ziyan had been engaged since they were little, started to spread from then on.
If Madam Ling and Ning Ziyan wanted to replace her long ago, why did they keep her alive until the night before her wedding? Was there any difference?
Did they really keep her for her dowry? But Ning Ziying was alone without any immediate family living in Lord Protector's Manor temporarily, so if she died early, the manor could have all her property. Madam Ling and Ning Ziyan didn't need to wait, then what was the truth behind? Ning Xueyan had a sneaking suspicion that something was hidden.
She might be overthinking so that she forgot her fear of death. In the end, she fell asleep.
When Lanning came to wake Ning Xueyan up, Qingyu had prepared the breakfast well. Because she was going out today, Ning Xueyan didn't climb the mountain. She took the clothes of some manservant style from Lanning's hands. The clothes fit her perfectly. It must be made by Qingyu and Lanning according to her size.
"My lady, do you really want to go alone?" Lanning was a mature girl and worried about her. After all, her lady hadn't been outside of Bright Frost Garden in her previous life.
"It's okay; I know the way." Ning Xueyan straightened her clothes and said," If someone of the manor wants to visit me today, please tell them I am ill and can't greet them."
Ever since the last time she defended Ning Ziyan in public, even though it couldn't eliminate Madam Ling's doubts, she showed great sisterhood to people. This could prevent Madam Ling from being harmful to her provisionally providing her some time to prepare other things. And this duration was important to her.
Madam Dowager sent people to inquire after her now and then. This was for showing her concern about Ning Xueyan. Since that time, Ning Xueyan was no longer the quiet Fifth Young Lady. Instead, she became the one who could defense Lord Protector's Manor's dignity. Of course, Madam Dowager needed to show her respect.
"Yes, I'm aware. But please be careful, my lady." Lanning said as nodding.
After arranging it all, Ning Xueyan didn't go out of the room without delay. Cold Mountain Temple was the suburban district, not far from Shili Pavilion. Whoever coming from that direction, must pass Shili Pavilion if they wanted to go to the capital. She would see her uncle there.
She struggled to climb the mountain for exercise every day. Not only her body but also her complexion got better these days. So it wasn't difficult for her to walk for a while after the downhill.
Hastily coming out of the pilgrim's yard and then walking through several halls, Ning Xueyan saw the temple's door, the honor guards stood there. She frowned a little noticing there were many carriages with a huge array, especially a lenient carriage stood at the entrance. And the abbot of Cold Mountain Temple was waiting by the door. Ning Xueyan was aware that big shot was about to show up.
Who would come to Cold Mountain Temple in a big way now?
Big shot's men came over in lockstep. All the monks went out for greeting and they were bald, so it would be obvious if Ning Xueyan walked out now. She knew she was a woman in a man dress. Therefore, she was afraid of being caught and was careful everywhere. She thought and looked at the side door. The monks were all out of the front door and only a few persons were by the side door. So even though it was almost closed, she could go through the door.
More importantly, nobody would notice her.
Taking a few steps quickly, Ning Xueyan walked towards the side door. Her body was small and she was far from the front door so it would be possible no one saw her.
Sure enough, the side door was slightly closed and nobody noticed her.
However, a young monk who was behind the abbot found her. He made a gesture to her. Ning Xueyan didn't think it through at the moment. She saw nothing outside in her sight. So she thought the young monk tried to ask why she went out. She raised her hand pointing at the side door then herself, and wanted him to know she was about to go out.
The little monk seemed a little anxious giving a strong hint to her by his hands constantly, but Ning Xueyan didn't understand him.
She would leave him alone because time was ticking.
She heard the rebuke when she opened the door. The next thing she knew was someone shouted, "Who is it? Arrest him!" She could feel the coldness of the man.
Looking at the sharp knife in front of her, she looked back at the young monk who was in a panic now. Ning Xueyan was aware that the young monk was trying to warn her of the man outside the door. But she didn't see anything just now and misunderstood him. So she was caught.
The dignified soldiers guarded the hidden place with armors. They surround the unshaped lenient carriage.
And that was exactly the direction of her way.
"Who are you? How dare you to run in front of Prince Yi? Knee on the ground, now!"
Prince Yi? Ning Xueyan changed her face and was really frightened now. People in Chu state might know nothing about their emperor, but they definitely knew Ao Chenyi, Prince Yi. He was not only Prince Yi but also the named previous emperor's younger brother, which meant he could succeed to his brother's throne.
The younger brother could get his crown, this was the previous emperor's decision.
Ning Xueyan heard that Ao Chenyi fought beside the previous emperor on the battlefield, and he was famous for his great valiancy. So he struggled out of the slaughter. He must be cold-blooded and didn't care about people's lives.
Everyone in the capital knew Prince Yi was a ruthless guy, who killed ten ministers overnight, leaving nothing alive in their families. It shocked people and other officials, so people were scared of him. Besides, he controlled the Ministry of War and the Ministry of Punishments. Even some intelligence organization and Secret Service of the Imperial Court was in charge of Ao Chenyi.
As long as it was reported by Secret Service of the Imperial Court, being taken to the Ministry of Punishments' court, anything could happen. What they wanted, they got it easy.
Therefore, although some ministers wanted to support the prince being the crown heir, they couldn't say it out.
Ao Chenyi was the true ruler of this country, who stood under the emperor only but everybody else stood under him. He was obviously the next emperor in the future and also cold-blooded, so nobody dared to be against him unless he lived for long enough.
Ning Xueyan thought a guy like him shouldn't come here. The merciful Buddha might be stunned by his blood figure.
Coming across Ao Chenyi, Ning Xueyan was unable to calm down. She went out hastily today never expecting something like this. Looking at the curtain of black carriage with gold ornaments, she flopped down on her knees immediately trying to explain herself, "I get work to do outside the temple ordered by my master. Please let me go."
Her body was small, but the hat of her clothes was huge so that it seemed she hid her face in the hat when she dropped her head. Her face couldn't be seen totally. This made the guard think there was a problem with her.
"You are trying to hide something. Move your hat away!" The guard said as using the knife edge to poke towards her hat. Sharp knife scared Ning Xueyan but she remained where she was and explained, "My highness, I'm not interrupting on purpose. If you don't believe me, I can go back now and wait until you leave, then go out doing my job."
She couldn't let the hat go away, or else, they would find out she was a girl.