Chapter 130 Worrying about the Disclosure of the Conspiracy
Everyone had come back to the Lord Protector's Manor. Under the instruction of Ning Xueyan, Qingyu led several servants to carry Mother Wang into the Bright Frost Garden. Then Ning Xueyan went to the Lucky Garden to visit Madam Dowager. The two older female servants had reported Madam Dowager about Ning Xueyan's coming in advance. Nobody had expected that the injured old woman was Mother Wang, the wet nurse of Ning Ziying. Ning Ziying was the cousin of Ning Xueyan and she was already dead.
"What? The wet nurse of Ning Ziying?" Madam Dowager was drinking tea while she heard the news. She was so astonished that the tea cup slipped from her hand and fell to the ground.
"Yes. It's exactly her. We have seen her several times in our manor before," the two older female servants answered, trembling.
"How could it be her?" Mother Qin was surprised as well. She asked a maid to clean the floor while asking the two older female servants about the details. She felt a little relieved when she knew that it was the two older female servants who had made the decision to bring Mother Wang to the manor.
If it wasn't Mother Wang, it would be much easier.
"Why did Fifth Young Lady take Mother Wang to the Bright Frost Garden?" Madam Dowager asked with a serious look.
"Fifth Young Lady said that since Mother Wang was injured because of her, she should take responsibility. She wouldn't bother Madam Dowager and would arrange the servants and maids from the Bright Frost Garden to take care of Mother Wang. Besides, she would pay for Mother Wang's daily expenses." The two older female servants evidently felt that Madam Dowager was not very pleased, so they dared not conceal a thing, but told her exactly what Ning Xueyan had said.
"Did Fifth Young Lady know that it was Mother Wang before you came here?" Madam Dowager asked to make sure. It was abnormal. Why had Ning Xueyan been out of the manor without anything special? How could the person who had been knocked down by her carriage happen to be the wet nurse of Ning Ziying?
"When we arrived there, the doctor had just diagnosed for Mother Wang and was telling Fifth Young Lady about her injuries. The maid Fifth Young Lady took out with her today was Qingyu. She always stayed in the Bright Frost Garden with Fifth Young Lady and never left our manor before," the two older female servants answered after thinking for a short while.
Everyone in the manor knew that Ning Xueyan used to be timid. She had always hidden in the Bright Frost Garden and refused to see any visitors. Her personal maids had acted the same way.
Before Ning Ziying came to the Lord Protector's Manor, Ning Xueyan had hidden herself in the Bright Frost Garden. It was not until the death of Ning Ziying and Madam Ming that she walked out from the Bright Frost Garden, so she and Ning Ziying wouldn't have communicated with each other before and it was impossible for Ning Xueyan to have known Ning Ziying's wet nurse.
Madam Dowager felt something wrong, but she couldn't tell what it was.
She gestured the others leave except for Mother Qin. Then she asked with a sigh, "Did you find anything wrong?"
Madam Dowager would be happy if the Nings and the Xias could tie the knot by marrying Ning Ziyan to Xia Yuhang. When Ning Ziying just came to the Lord Protector's Manor, Madam Dowager heard that she had been engaged to the elder son of Minister Xia and she sighed in front of Madam Ling, saying that a powerless orphan like Ning Ziying didn't deserve Xia Yuhang who was so talented, noble and would have a great future.
Although she didn't ask Madam Ling to murder Ning Ziying, she turned a blind eye to Madam Ling's inappropriate behavior.
Lord Protector's Manor would get great benefits from the marriage if Ning Ziyan could marry Xia Yuhang.
So she had never asked what Madam Ling was going to do. She allowed Madam Ling to make the final decision for everything in the Cloud Reflection Courtyard, without reporting to her.
After some time, Madam Dowager told her that Ning Ziying was dissolute and had an affair with another man. Madam Ling was happy secretly at the news, because no man would tolerate his fiancée to have an affair with other men. Thus this marriage was bound to be a non-success.
Since Xia Yuhang wouldn't marry Ning Ziying, Minister Xia would consent to his son marrying Ning Ziyan if the Lord Protector's Manor arranged someone to propose the marriage.
Madam Dowager had never cared about the destination of Ning Ziying. Therefore, although Madam Dowager hadn't ordered someone to murder Ning Ziying, she had given a hand to the murderer. Nobody tracked down why Ning Ziying and her personal maid Xiang'er died in the lotus pond.
But to everyone's surprise, Ning Ziying's wet nurse appeared at such a moment. Madam Dowager couldn't help being nervous.
"Madam Dowager, don't worry. Nobody could tell how Young Lady Ziying died. She was too narrow-minded, so it was normal for her to commit suicide. If Mother Wang wants to know about this, you can ask her to ask First Madam. It's said First Madam still kept some "evidence." Mother Qin knew what Madam Dowager was worrying about, so she tried to comfort her.
"Does First Madam still have the 'image' of Ning Ziying having an affair with another man?" Mother Qin wondered.
"How to explain the marriage between Ziyan and Xia Yuhang? Xia Yuhang was Ning Ziying's fiancé. I'm afraid Mother Wang will make trouble when she knows that it was Ziyan who have married Xia Yuhang," Madam Dowager said in worry. She felt unassured, as a person who shouldn't have appeared in the manor had shown up.
"That's easy. We can tell her that Childe Xia shifted his affection to Eldest Young Lady after knowing that Young Lady Ziying had an affair with another man. Since the wedding ceremony between him and Young Lady Ziying was approaching, and everything had been ready, if he didn't get married, his reputation would be ruined, so he married with our Eldest Young Lady, instead. The consequence was caused by Young Lady Ziying herself! As her affairs were known by us, she committed suicide. We don't have anything to do with her death."
Mother Qin was very flexible. Hearing her explanation, Madam Dowager felt a little relieved.
"That sounds reasonable.
"No regulation says that a man can't marry another girl after he broke off his former engagement!"
Madam Dowager thought for a short moment and then nodded. Ning Xueyan had knocked Mother Wang down in public, so she wouldn't let Mother Wang die in the Lord Protector's Manor. Otherwise, the Lord Protector's Manor would get into trouble. At least, what Mother Qin said made sense, so maybe Mother Wang would believe it.
"Madam Dowager, Fifth Young Lady is coming," a maid reported outside the room.
"Let her come in," Madam Dowager ordered. Then Mother Qin stood behind her again.
A maid lifted the door curtain and then Ning Xueyan came in with a guilty look on her face.
Seeing the two older female servants went back to the Lucky Garden in a hurry to report the accident, she had told Qingyu to find several servants and carry Mother Wang to the Bright Frost Garden. That was why she had just arrived at the Lucky Garden.
"Greetings, Grandmother! I'm so sorry that I have made the trouble," Ning Xueyan said regretfully in a gentle voice the moment she walked into the room.
"Are you going to keep her in the Bright Frost Garden? Madam Dowager asked after observing Ning Xueyan's expression and finding nothing abnormal.
"Yes. Since it was me who has knocked her down, I shouldn't ask you to take the consequences for me. Or the outsiders will say that the Young Ladies from the Lord Protector's Manor are irresponsible," Ning Xueyan explained sincerely. As if she had thought of something, her face turned red with shame. "Someone mentioned Second Sister when we were on the street. He said that all the Young Ladies from the Lord Protector's Manor were arrogant, rude and irresponsible."
Hearing what Ning Xueyan said, Madam Dowager recalled something about Ning Yuling. Ning Yuling used to knock someone down before because of her arrogance, and this news had been spread over among the city. The Lord Protector's Manor had had a hard time to put the matter to rest. Because of the impact of this accident, the wedding ceremony between Ning Yuling and the son of the Honored Consort Ya had to be postponed and eventually canceled. If Ning Yuling hadn't been that arrogant, she would have become the concubine of the Third Prince.
Such kind of things shouldn't happen again!
Now Madam Dowager had made her decision. Since Ning Xueyan would like to take the responsibility, just let her do it. She didn't want the Young Ladies' reputation to be ruined again.
"Alright. I agree to keep her at your place. Although she got injured because of you, you're the Young Lady from the Lord Protector's Manor, so you shouldn't take care of her in person. Just ask the servants and maids to do that. Otherwise, people from other manors will look down upon you." Madam Dowager reminded Ning Xueyan.
Although she looked amiable when she spoke, there was a note of warning in her words.
Worrying that Mother Wang might say something to Ning Xueyan secretly, Madam Dowager didn't want Ning Xueyan to be close with her.
"Got it. I will have done my duty by bringing her home and asking my maids to look after her. How could I serve her in person?" Ning Xueyan said with a smile.
Seeing her so obedient and considerable, Madam Dowager nodded with satisfaction. She then asked about the health status of Ning Xueyan and gave her some high-class medicinal materials. She told Ning Xueyan to make herself stronger so that she could enjoy the endless prosperity in the future.
"It seems Madam Dowager is still thinking about marrying me to the Third Prince to be his co-consort!"
Ning Xueyan snorted inside, but she didn't express her disdain. She thanked Madam Dowager and then took leave of her. Since she had come in a hurry, she didn't take any maids with her. Madam Dowager arranged a young maid to send her back.
"Did any outsiders visit Madam Dowager today?" Ning Xueyan pretended to ask casually. When she was on the way close to the courtyard, she saw an older female servant walked out from the courtyard with a smile. She seemed to be familiar with everyone in the manor and when she saw someone on the way, she would have stopped and talked to them for a short while, and all of those people looked happy while talking with her. Obviously, she was a smart and an artful person.
But Ning Xueyan had never seen her before.
"No outsiders have been here. But Mammy Luo, a female servant of Third Young Lady has come to take a message. Third Young Lady is so kind. She was supposed to be back in a few days, but because she saw a sick child who had nobody to take care of on her way back, she decided to stay there and take care of the child. Then she can only postpone her return to our manor."
The maid answered with a smile.
"Mammy Luo seems to be a smart person and she is familiar with everyone in our manor. I guess Third Sister must be a smart girl as well," Ning Xueyan said with curiosity. She felt puzzled, because her mother was Ning Qingshan's mother in name, but why did Ning Qingshan seem to be closer with Madam Ling?
Ning Qingshan had only shown her respect on the surface to Ning Xueyan's mother. But when everyone looked down upon people from the Bright Frost Garden, this kind of respect won admiration for her.
As she thought about it, Ning Xueyan couldn't find a trace of warmth in this kind of respect. Ning Qingshan had always paid attention to etiquette very much in front of her mother in name, but she had never had a real affection for her.
"Mother Han told me that mom was very kind to Ning Qingshan, just like she treated me, but why was Ning Qingshan nicer to Madam Ling than to mom?" Ning Xueyan wondered. She had asked Mother Han the same question before, and Mother Han looked like she wanted to tell her the reason, but she couldn't. This made Ning Xueyan more skeptical.
"I don't know. I only heard that Third Young Lady was a nice and gentle person. She was kind to the maids and servants in the manor and she had never beaten and scolded the maids and servants," the maid answered. She didn't know what Ning Xueyan's intention was. She thought that Ning Xueyan was happy because Third Young Lady would come back soon, so she wanted to know more about Third Young Lady so that she could please her when she was back.
"Fifth Young Lady, since you are interested in Third Young Lady, I will collect more information about her when I'm free and then I'll tell you about it," the maid said.
"People in Lucky Garden will definitely know more about Ning Qingshan. That will be great if someone is willing to act as my eyes and ears!" Ning Xueyan thought.
"Fine. Take it seriously." Ning Xueyan smiled but she didn't explain more. When they arrived at the Bright Frost Garden, she asked Qingyu to give the maid two taels of silver pieces.
The maid had never expected that she would have gotten so much money just by sending Fifth Young Lady back, so she left with excitement.