Chapter 19 Mixed-breed; Not Favored?
After giving his prayers in front of Madam Ming's coffin, Prince Yi left with his entourage without waiting for Ning Zu'an to return. It wasn't until he left that Ning Lingyun finally dared to come out of the side room.
Ning Zu'an had come over with the others while she was hiding inside the side room. Two stone-faced guards watched the entrance, making it impossible for her and her maid to return to the mourning hall. Thus, she had no idea of what happened inside the hall.
She hastily came out to investigate as soon as she saw the outsiders leave.
When she saw that Qingyu was helping Ning Xueyan swallow a pill, she thought that Ning Xueyan was so frightened that her illness flared. She stared at Ning Xueyan in contempt while inwardly mocked the latter for being so useless. She had forgotten how she hid inside the side room earlier, too afraid to even move a limb.
Without people around, Ning Lingyun refused to call Ning Xueyan her younger sister. With her chin raised, she asked rudely, "You there, what happened earlier? Why did Father come and then left?"
"A noble guest came to pay his respects to my mom," Ning Xueyan replied indifferently. She had Qingyu put away the bottle of uneaten pills that the imperial physician gave her earlier. He said the medicine could neutralize the poison in her bloodstream but whether it could destroy the roots of her illness was still undetermined. They could only wait and see until she finished this bottle of pills.
"A noble guest came to pay his respects your mom?!" A dumbfounded Ning Lingyun looked at the coffin lying in the middle of the mourning hall and curled her lips. She said bitterly, "Are you making up stories? Don't you know what kind of status your mom had? What kind of noble guest would come and personally pay his respects? It's already commendable if he even sends a housekeeper over! Do you think she was the official wife of the Lord Protector's Manor?!"
"When Father and Grandmother come, I'll inform them that you don't have to keep watch here. My mom doesn't need an insincere person serving her altar," Ning Xueyan said coolly.
She glanced at Ning Lingyun with a dark expression. The reason why a concubine's daughter like Ning Lingyun would take advantage of her was that she was easily bullied!
Ning Lingyun never imagined that Ning Xueyan would dare go against her.
Ning Xueyan's glance added to her fury. She rushed to Ning Xueyan, pointed at her face, and began scolding her!
"Ning Xueyan, who do you think you are? How dare you order me around! Did you think you're the first wife's daughter of this manor?! You're just an unfavored girl and a mixed-breed born in this manor! How dare you show me the temper of a first wife's daughter!"
Ning Lingyun's words riled Ning Xueyan up. Her gaze suddenly turned so razor-sharp that it frightened Ning Lingyun. Her bravado in bullying Ning Xueyan instantly weakened significantly.
Ning Lingyun looked ridiculous putting up a front after her rage was clearly extinguished. Seeing that, Ning Xueyan sneered. She raised her hand and swatted away Ning Lingyun's pointing finger.
"My mom was the legal family of this manor. Her status was the same as Madam Ling. All the Young Masters and Young Ladies of this manor must address her as Mother. For you to speak such wicked words in Mother's mourning hall is an unfilial act!"
Following her words, Ning Lingyun's expression changed. Just as she wanted to open her mouth to retort, she heard Ning Xueyan continue, "The standing of equal-status wives in a family has long been declared when the late Emperor founded this country: 'Equal-status wives are both considered one's mothers.' Your words earlier not only deny Mother her status, but also ridiculing the late Emperor's wishes. That makes you disloyal to the country!"
Ning Lingyun was already pale by the time Ning Xueyan started speaking.
The servants nearby all had different expressions.
Even men would be afraid of being accused of being unfilial and disloyal, never mind an unmarried girl like her!
Ning Xueyan sneered inwardly, having noticed Ning Lingyun's change in expression. She didn't have to waste much effort in dealing with an idiotic woman who spoke without thinking. With this in mind, she took her seat once again and continued, "Besides, your biological mother is also Madam Ling's maid. Fourth Sister, you're born a concubine's daughter and yet you hold such arrogance toward a first wife's daughter. You really opened my eyes today."
Ning Lingyun had always considered Ning Xueyan a weak and easily bullied person. After hearing the latter mention that her biological mother was no more than a concubine with the status of a maid, she was so humiliated that she flew into a rage. She immediately scolded, "So what if my biological mother is a maid? She's still better than a rebellious daughter like your mom! Who knows if one day, secrets are revealed and you're exposed as an illegitimate child!"
"Is that how your concubine-status mom educates you?! How dare you say something like that!" The imposing, furious voice came from behind them. Ning Zu'an stood in a dark corner by the door with a dark expression. He stared coolly at Ning Lingyun. No one knew when he came. The moment Ning Lingyun saw him, she was so frightened that her face turned chalk-white.
Ning Xueyan slowly lowered her gaze to hide her emotions. Naturally, she knew Ning Zu'an wouldn't punish Madam Ling this time. It wasn't hard to investigate something like this. Madam Ling was the one who oversaw the inner courtyard and sent Qingrui and the others to the Bright Frost Garden. If there were anyone in the manor who hated Madam Ming enough to kill her, it must be Madam Ling.
However, she bore little hope of Ning Zu'an finding out the truth of this incident. If this useless father of hers truly cared for Madam Ming, he wouldn't be completely ignorant about this matter.
However, now the truth that Madam Ming died of poisoning was out. It had become a thorn in Ning Zu'an's heart.
Perhaps, the thorn was still small now and not enough to make him loathe Madam Ling. However, once suspicion existed, his trust in her would gradually diminish.
Ning Xueyan quietly coughed several times and took advantage of the motion to hide her smirk. From now on, another person would be keeping his eyes on Madam Ling. Madam Ling would have to think thrice before doing anything to her.