Chapter 13 First Madam's People
Out of nowhere, Ning Xueyan turned around and bellowed, "Stop right there!"
This time, even Madam Dowager and Mother Han noticed someone shifting suspiciously behind the white banner. The middle-aged woman that had just arrived at the door looked at Ning Xueyan in bewilderment. She didn't know if she should put down her raised foot. She was the very picture of awkwardness!
"Could you be sneaking out to find a way to save these two wicked slaves? Fake some evidence and witnesses to help them out of this predicament?" a pale-faced Ning Xueyan said coolly.
Madam Dowager, who occupied the central seat, watched the middle-aged woman wear a guilty expression as if her intention had been uncovered. She turned livid with rage and flung the teacup in her hand at the middle-aged woman's feet.
The middle-aged woman was so frightened that she trembled. With a loud thud, she kneeled down and tried to explain herself. "Fifth Young Lady, I'm just feeling the urge to go to the washroom. I'm not going off to fake evidence or whatever; I just didn't want to disturb Madam Dowager!"
"Even if you're feeling an urge, you shouldn't be leaving at this time. With your blatant disregard for rules and regulations, how can you serve Grandmother?" Ning Xueyan gave her an indifferent glance.
Such words fanned Madam Dowager's anger even further. How could the people around her, the Madam Dowager of the Lord Protector's Manor, flout the rules and regulations? It was impossible for her not to flare up.
Moreover, she recognized this middle-aged woman to be a relative of Housekeeper Lu. Housekeeper Lu was an older female servant of the inner courtyard and a maid that was a part of Madam Ling's bridal entourage. She was Madam Ling's most loyal dog.
She didn't give this incident much thought but this time, she immediately understood that this middle-aged woman belonged to Madam Ling. How could she not be angry when Madam Ling dared to provoke even her?
"Drag this wicked slave out as well! Flog her 20 times!" Madam Dowager slammed a hand on the table. Her face was ashen and dark as she became even angrier at Madam Ling.
Amid the middle-aged woman's terrified pleading, Ning Xueyan looked out to the corridor to where Qingrui was. The handmaid's face was drenched with blood after repeated slaps. A mocking smirk appeared on Ning Xueyan's face. Madam Dowager's heart was pricked by a thorn. Even though it didn't hurt now, it would one day penetrate deeper…
Out of fear that Ning Xueyan's health would fail, Madam Dowager ordered Ning Lingyun to keep watch of Madam Ming's coffin so the former could rest in the side room. Ning Lingyun felt so angry about this that she secretly crushed her handkerchief. She had no choice but to reluctantly keep watch inside the mourning hall.
Ning Xueyan was simply too frail to reject the offer. After eating a small portion of lunch, she leaned against the couch with her eyes closed, racking her brain as she rested.
"Madam Ling is as clever as she is ruthless. The reason I gain the upper hand this time is that I manage to catch her off guard and make her suffer a great disadvantage. When she recovers, she'll definitely not let me off. She has every advantage when it comes to status, so I must strike while the iron is hot. I must make my move in succession so that she won't have the time to target me."
No matter how she thought about it, there were still too few trustworthy people around her! The intel that she could obtain were also too few!
There was no way for her to tell the world about the poisonous fragrance found on Madam Ming's body. Tomorrow, the coffin would be nailed and moved to the grave. If she didn't bring up this matter now, she would lose the chance forever!
She subconsciously reached out to touch her arm. The wound on it had been treated with ointment and bandaged. Her long, finely eyebrows involuntarily knitted together. There was no one that she could use!
"Young Lady, are you okay?" Qingyu ran into the side room with Ning Xueyan's garment in hand. She had heard that something happened in the mourning hall on her way here. Worried that Ning Xueyan was in trouble, she ran so hard here that her forehead was soaked with sweat. The moment she came in, she sized up Ning Xueyan and only heaved a sigh of relief after seeing that she was fine.
"I'm fine. Why were you gone for so long?" Ning Xueyan asked casually. It didn't take that long to go from Madam Dowager's place to Bright Frost Garden to the mourning hall.
"I was already on my way back but halfway here, I met Lan Ning from the Cloud Theater. She requested that I ask you if you still need a handmaid, even if it's a low-level handmaid who sweeps the grounds. She's willing to come to our Bright Frost Garden."
"Lan, Lan Ning?"
Ning Xueyan bit her lower lip. She lowered her faraway gaze and her heartbeat abruptly quickened.