Chapter 37 Sudden Appearance of Prince Yi and the Military Medallion from the Preceding Dynasty
"Third prince has always been gentle to women with good manners. There are many women admiring him in the backyard. What's the difference in having a few more!" Ning Xueyan replied gingerly. Neither did she care about Third Prince nor had she any thoughts for him at the moment. The only reason that she didn't want Ning Yuling to marry Third Prince was that it would be very disadvantageous to her.
It was said that there were a few beauties living in Third Prince's Manor, as attractive and desirable as the white jade. Given Ning Yuling's disposition, a turmoil must await in the future.
Ao Chenyi nodded, seemed to be satisfied by her reply. He then raised his hand and pointed outside, saying, " Go fetch a cup of tea for me. I am thirsty!"
With no attitude, Ning Xueyan picked up the coat hanging on the edge of the bed, put it on, and grabbed a teacup on the table before leaving the room. Since she had no habit of drinking water in the middle of the night, there was no hot water in the room. She should better try to find some from outside where Qingyu slept. Hot water might be available over there.
She was fairly weak. After detaching herself from the warm, cozy quilt, she became more vulnerable to the intrusive chill at this autumn night, right in its prime. She couldn't help but have a stroke of shiver. Along with the teetering of the teacup, her pure-jade fingers were shaking. However, despite all that, she bit her lips and staggered towards the door.
That was Lord Xiuluo we were talking about, there was no way to argue with him.
Ning Xueyan cracked the door open and realized that Qingyu had been asleep. She groped her way to the table in the darkness and poured a cup of hot tea from the teapot. She turned around and went back, and closed the door behind her. She served hot water on Ao Chenyi's reach and said, "Your Highness, please enjoy your tea!"
Such a stream of warmth penetrating through the teacup to her frozen fingers literally got her. But when his slender fingers came, she automatically let it go, leaving herself to the cold that blatantly seeped into her body, inch by inch.
All she could do was keeping a bitter smile to herself. It was so freaking cold; she felt like she would be frozen before long.
"Are you cold? ”It was like Ning Xueyan's shivering finally captured attention from Ao Chenyi, who grabbed the tea, took a sip, then leaned on a cushion he retrieved from the bed, and asked in a curt, dismissive voice.
"My lord. What may I help you with?”Ning Xueyan struggled to hold herself together and finished the sentence. This person, an obnoxious killer of countless lives, could never be expected to have some mercy and respect on a lady. He must have come with ulterior motives.
"I do have things that could use your help, but I wonder if you are willing to do me that favor! " A smirk flashed on his face, as Ao Chenyi patted the bed, "You look freezing. How about you come up and lay in bed? So we can talk.”
He lounged on bed and took up over half of the space, tucking most of the quilt under himself and leaving the rest drooping on the edge. It was never a pleasant combination when you had a glaringly bloody red, thriving Equinox Flower, also known as Manjusakaonablack garment, and the greenish cover of the quilt. This combination, although seemingly resplendent, reminded her of blood and struck the core of her heart.
It sounded like a proposal, but Ning Xueyan knew he wasn't asking because there was never an "asking" bone in his body.
"My pleasure, my Lord.”She owned up to her decision and helped herself walk towards him and getting on the bed with aplomb and composure. She circumspectly covered herself up with half of the quilt and rolled up in the corner. She instantly sensed the warmth coming from quilt which helped ease the numbness on her frozen extremities a little bit. It would be stupid to let the lofty and pretentious courtesy get in the way of her own health.
A sense of poignancy emerged from her heart. Given that she was never gifted with a robust constitution by birth and that she was unfortunately ill recently, exposure to the cold a little longer would cause a fatal stab to her health.
"My lord, you have all my ears," said Ning Xueyan, who tucked her whole body in the quilt, took a deep gasp to relax her uptight lips, and revealed her beautiful and innocent eyes while looking into the air.
Since he made an offer, it was impossible to have him withdraw it, let alone the attempt to discuss with her. Considering that there was no way to turn down this offer, it would be smarter to just play by his rules.
"Yan'er, you are such a clever woman knows the right thing to do," smirked with a bit of coziness, which diluted the heaviness in the air. He acted as if he was close to her, casually he said, "I have heard that there is a piece of the military medallion in the hands of Lord Protector, which belongs to the preceding dynasty. Yan'er, why not bring the military medallion to me? I would be very interested to have a peak of it."
A military medallion from preceding dynasty? Ning Xueyan's heart twitched and beat strongly as she heard it. Although she had no idea why Ning Zu'an had a medallion from the preceded dynasty, it must be true if Prince Yi said so. What a medallion from a dynasty that had demised for more than 10 years for? It made no sense for Ning Zu'an, a general of the current Chu dynasty, to have it.
"Your Highness, there... must be some kind of mistake?" Ning Xueyan turned her eyes to look at Ao Yichen. A bit of astonishment leaked out of the corner of her mouth, showing her surprise. Everyone would be as frightened as her if they heard the same thing. It is treason for Ning Zu'an to have the medallion and not hand it to the authority.
To justify treason, the whole family must be uprooted!
No matter how much Ning Xueyan hated Ning Zu'an, Madam Ling wouldn't be willing to sacrifice herself for the sake of their lives by the way of exterminating the whole family.
"Are you doubting my ability?" Ao Chenyi's face dropped. His voice was attracting yet merciless, emanating brooding and forbidding sense, which made her backbone chill. Her cold fingers touched Ning Xueyan's cheek and the frost activated by that touch doused the bottom of her heart. On top of that, there came his icy eyes, which all said nothing but Prince Yi was in rage.
"Your Highness, my father would not dare to hide anything from the former dynasty, especially the useless medallion." Ning Xueyan smiled softly, looking at Ao Yichen straight into his eyes.
Given the former dynasty only exist in the past, the medallion was certainly meaningless. People who hid this thing would be causing themselves trouble. No one along with their whole family could be spared if it was found out.
"If Your Highness says so, then Ning Zu'an must have hidden it from me. How dare you to be skeptical about my judgment?" He said with a snub in his voice, after noticing Ning Xueyan did not give away any trace of being frightened and evasive.
Ning Xueyan really didn't want to argue with him on this matter. Her body has warmed up a bit. She half-closed her eyes and said, "Well, when I return to Lord Protector's Manor, I will search my father's study for the medallion!"
"Aren't you afraid of dragging the whole Lord Protector's Manor down to the desperation of being exterminated?" Ao Chenyi found her being overcomposed quite intriguing. He leaned over and locked his icy eyes on Ning Xueyan's face, and slowly ran his slender fingers through her beautiful hair, which made her strain the scalp.
She fully understood that Prince Yi was not joking around. When he said extermination, he seriously meant it.
She looked down, and replied, "Of course I am. Will you stop me?"
"Never!" Without any hesitation, Ao Chenyi rebuffed relentlessly. His eyes projected a ray of menace; thin mouth, going slightly upwards at the edges, seemed like a smile on that charming appearance, yet quite terrifying.
"So, you leave me no choice but to find it." Ning Xueyan shrugged off.
She didn't get a say on anything. In front of Prince Yi, dignified yet merciless, the only thing she could do was playing by ear and be safe.
Ao Chenyi was quite content with her soft but calm attitudes. Out of nowhere, there came a meaningful gesture, a slight stretch on one corner of his mouth, pretty and flirtatious, and said," Yan'er, don’t worry. Even if the Lord Protectors' is in trouble, I can guarantee your safety."
Made a turn and sprang up from the bed. He then headed outside after dabbing his sleeves, unclosed the window when he passed by and shot a complicit smile at Ning Xueyan, "Since you are willing to give me a hand, I will be generous to offer you one."
Was this the justice he imposed? No room for negotiation. The discrepancy on power between him and her was like the distance between sky and earth, Ning Xueyan got nothing to say.
Before Ning Xueyan could say anything, he fleed away and disappeared on her after letting those words out, leaving the window widely open and the cold blast gusting into the room.
Ning Xueyan had to suck it up. She stood up, walked over, and closed the window. Accompanied by the serene night, cradled by the warm quilt, she sat there for a long time before finally drifting off.
"Young Lady, I thought you got much better last night. How come the fever come back again? "
"What do you say if I ask a master to have a look on you?"
"I'm afraid that's not possible. I've heard that Prince Yi is listening to the chants. No one would be allowed to leave at the moment. How about I go down the mountain and look for a doctor to take a look at you? Young Lady, you need to be cautiously taken care of to get your illness under control."
Laying in bed, Ning Xueyan was too weak to open her eyes and respond by moving her eyelashes fully. With Lanning and Qingyu's voices echoing in her ear, she felt like herself floating further and closer, and suddenly had no grasp of where she was.
"The Young Lady woke up. The Young Lady woke up." Two maidservants also saw Ning Xueyan open her eyes, all hurled themselves to her, and reported concernedly.
"Am I getting worse?" Ning Xueyan could barely make a sound after clearing her throat. She squeezed a bitter smile to herself. It is lucky enough for her to be able to wake up after standing outside for a long time on that freezing night.
"When I came checking on her, I found that her temperature was high again, and I thought I'd better go find a doctor at the foot of the mountain." Lanning helped Ning Xueyan sit up. When she first came in, Ning Yuning didn't respond to her calling at all, and her scorching forehead astounded her.
"Leave it as it is. Last night, some naughty wind opened my window, and I caught a cold." Ning Xueyan coughed and said in a low voice.
"I was planning on inviting a master to take your pulse, but everyone is preoccupied with chant lessons." Qingyu was finally relieved when she saw Ning Xueyan wake up.
"Are you saying you were stopped from coming inside by the guards?" Ning Xueyan asked weakly.
"Yes. My Lady. The guards gave me this pill and implied this was from Prince Yi. Look?" Qingyu showed her a little glass bottle, with one pill inside.
This was the favor Prince Yi had promised before.
"Water, please, I shall eat this pill." Ning Xueyan nodded and took a deep breath. Fortunately, Ao Chenyi didn't want to kill her. But Ao Chenyi had a swing mood, unapproachable and unpredictable. Just as last time, no one knew which word from him to believe and which not.
Fortunately, the silver lining was that for now, he had no intention of killing her.
"Young lady, we know nothing about the characteristics of the pill, your health..." Lanning suggested reluctantly, holding some thoughts to herself.
"It is fine!" Ning Xueyan laughed, received the water from Qingyu, picked up the pill and aimed it in her mouth, swallowed it with water. If Prince Yi was determined to deprive her of her life, there would be no way for her getting away with it. Besides, this pill was consisted of several valuable herbs, which could also be very helpful to her. She knew fairly enough about the quality of herbs.
She thought about what Ao Chenyi said last night. It seemed like she had to help him find that soldier medallion which belongs to the last dynasty. Since she had to be on the same board with Ao Chenyi, she would like to take advantage of his power. For somebody as shrewd, sophisticated, paranoid and unpredictable as Ao Chenyi, it certainly wouldn't be easy to use his power for her favor. She had to be more careful.
Requesting evils to act against their interests, and manipulating human mind were not what she was good at in her last life. However, in this life, she had to learn it from scratch.
Neither Ning Xueyan nor her had any attachment with the Lord Protectors, hence she couldn't care less about what the future held for the Lord Protectors.
Since she already walked into the road of revenge, she had never expected everything would go as she wished.
Alternatively, having Prince Yi on her corner was the best arrangement she could imagine in this situation where she did not have a say on anything.
After taking the pill, she rested for a while, right until lunch time. She was awake and soaked by sweat, but surprisingly found herself much better, as if she fully recovered overnight. Her appetite was back to normal and looked pretty well, except for her pale face, which made her two maids quite happy. The room was full of joy.
In the middle of joyfulness, a voice from outside interrupted. "Is Fifth Young Lady here?"