Chapter 74 The Closed Courtyard Door and Slightly Closed Room Door
"Xia Yuhang... do you know? I wish I could eat your flesh and drink your blood!"
In the gap between the trees, Ning Xueyan saw Xia Yuhang, who wore a long snow-white robe, standing in front of the door with his hands clasped behind his back.
Xia Yuhang, a graceful gentleman, should not be wearing such plain coarse clothes. However, he stood there at this time in these clothes and slightly frowned, showing a sense of loneliness.
Xia Yuhang, who had always been elegant and outstanding, had lonely days too!
Ning Xueyan smiled coldly. The love between her and Xia Yuhang had already disappeared! That kind of deep attachment, with the drainage of her blood, had long become a cold and cruel edge, bruising her all over.
How much Ning Xueyan had loved him before, and how much she hated him now! She saw his hypocrisy at the cost of her life.
After rebirth, Ning Xueyan did not shed a single tear for him. With such an excellent performance, he pushed her into the abyss and was beyond redemption.
He was elegant and gentle. Unfortunately, Ning Xueyan had misread him!
"Who's over there?" Suddenly, Xia Yuhang turned his head, looked over at Ning Xueyan, and shouted with furrowed eyebrows.
Even when unhappy, he still kept his elegance and gentleness. He deserved to be called a gentleman.
"It's me!" Since she had been discovered, Ning Xueyan stopped hiding and came out from behind a tree. Ning Xueyan was excited just now so she had accidentally stepped on some branches on the ground, making a sound that startled Xia Yuhang.
"You... you're..." Xia Yuhang looked at Ning Xueyan and could not help looking into her dark, jade-like eyes with uncontrollable enthusiasm, and his voice unconsciously shivered.
"Brother-in-law, did you forget who I am?" Ning Xueyan faintly asked.
Only then did Xia Yuhang clearly see the emaciated girl in front of him. She was so young and pale that no one would think she was beautiful. But in another year or two, she would be a beautiful woman.
Ning Xueyan, the Fifth Young Lady of Lord Protector's Manor!
"Oh, it's you, Fifth Young Lady." Xia Yuhang coughed and cleared his throat, with a gentle smile on his handsome face and a look of sudden realization.
Xia Yuhang was just as hypocritical as before.
Xia Yuhang had black hair and wore a white robe, looking elegant and gentle. But Ning Xueyan's eyes were full of disgust.
"Brother-in-law, why are you here at this time? I remember... this is Sister Ziying's courtyard, right?" Ning Xueyan's watery eyes fall on Xia Yuhang's face, twinkling to hide the hatred in her eyes.
Xia Yuhang was stunned by Ning Xueyan's question. Then he smiled lightly and said, "I just have the feeling that this courtyard is different from others. It's strange for such a good courtyard to be locked."
"Sister Ziying's death is still unclear now. The servants are scared and said that there were ghosts here. Later, they said that there were servants missing, so no one dares to come around. Often there are people saying that they saw Sister Ziying wandering around the lotus pond. Maybe Sister Ziying doesn't want to leave here. Brother-in-law, how about having a look inside?" Ning Xueyan said with a slight smile on her face.
Ning Xueyan calmly looked at Xia Yuhang and invited him.
"No. I'm just curious. Fifth Young Lady, we heard that something had happened to Lord Protector's Manor. So, your eldest sister asked me to come." Looking at that pair of eyes which showed slight alienation, Xia Yuhang smiled uneasily, and subconsciously avoided Ning Xueyan's eyes.
That pair of eyes should have been full of love, rather than indifference.
"Oh, it's nothing serious. The Second Sister is going to marry the Princely Heir of Commandery Prince Li. Only now did the mother inform the whole family. You can go there now to congratulate her," Ning Xueyan said with coldness in her eyes. Then she retreated to one side and gave way to Xia Yuhang.
"The Princely Heir of Commandery Prince Li?" Xia Yuhang was stunned and could not speak for a moment, his eyes widening. Then his face darkened and did not look good. It seemed that he was surprised by the news.
"Yes, it's the Princely Heir of Commandery Prince Li. He and the Second Sister had a very happy conversation, so the two families decided on their marriage. They'll get married in half a year," Ning Xueyan smiled and faintly said.
Ning Xueyan had told the truth. Even if Xia Yuhang were to go ask Madam Ling now, Madam Ling would also say so. It was absolutely impossible that Madam Ling had told Xia Yuhang about Ning Yuling's scandal.
"Wasn't it said that she would marry the Third Prince? Why will she instead marry the Princely Heir of Commandery Prince Li?" Xia Yuhang muttered, and the changes in his eyes were like the rising wind and scudding clouds.
Ning Xueyan coldly looked at the handsome face in front of her. She remembered that she had seen this face through the water when she was being drowned. Sure enough, this man had other plans.
Only when she came back to life again could she learn what kind of person he was!
"Maybe the Third Prince doesn't like the Second Sister, but the Princely Heir of Commandery Prince Li does like her. Brother-in-law, I have something to do. I have to go now!" Ning Xueyan did not want to stay with Xia Yuhang any longer. So, she saluted him, turned, and walked toward another path.
"Fifth Young Lady..." Xia Yuhang called Ning Xueyan, frowning.
Ning Xueyan looked back and asked coldly, "Is there anything else?"
"Oh, nothing. There's no way ahead," Xia Yuhang explained gently, his eyes twinkling for a moment.
"Unexpectedly, you're familiar with such a remote place, brother-in-law. That makes me think you've been here before." Ning Xueyan's gaze was cold and her smile was light. She looked at the road under her feet and answered casually, "I'm just wandering around. I'll come back if there's no way ahead."
She could turn around if there was no way ahead in the garden!
What about the road of her life? After rebirth, she could no longer be the infatuated Ning Ziying!
Ning Xueyan turned around and her gaze was cold and gloomy.
Xia Yuhang helplessly watched Ning Xueyan passing by. For a moment, he wanted to reach out and hold her, but found that he had no excuse to do so.
This strange girl gave him a sense of both familiarity and strangeness, and always reminded him of Ning Ziying, but she and Ning Ziying were two different people.
Ning Ziying was gentle and pure, but the Fifth Young Lady in front of him was indifferent and not easy to get close to. Xia Yuhang could even sense a trace of hostility from her. He had only seen the Fifth Young Lady of Lord Protector's Manor a few times. Xia Yuhang did not know why she hated him.
But now wasn't the time to figure this out. Xia Yuhang took a deep breath to suppress his restlessness, turned around, and strode toward Madam Ling's courtyard.
When Xia Yuhang left and could not be seen, Ning Xueyan wandered back from the path and went back to the door of Cloud Reflection Courtyard.
Ning Xueyan had not been here for half a month, but the doorway of Cloud Reflection Courtyard was overgrown with weeds. The lower edge of the wooden door was almost hidden in the weeds. Nobody would remember Ning Ziying, who once lived here, or anything about her. She had faded into the past.
Ning Xueyan took a deep breath and felt uncomfortable, as if she still could feel the pain when she was being suffocated.
Ignoring the discomfort, Ning Xueyan half-circled around the fence and saw the familiar big crooked tree at the back of the courtyard.
Seeing that there was no one around, Ning Xueyan went to the backside of the tree. She tied a knot at the hem of her long dress, grabbed the branches of the tree, and began to climb up. In her last life, Ning Xueyan also had a happy childhood. She used to secretly climb trees during her study breaks without her mother's knowledge.
Now, this crooked tree became Ning Xueyan's secret.
Even though she trusted Xia Yuhang so much, Ning Xueyan had never mentioned that to him due to the fear that Xia Yuhang would think she was not a lady.
After a short time, Ning Xueyan went up to the crooked trunk of the crooked tree, where there was a small hole. Ning Xueyan searched inside it skillfully and took out a long ribbon. Then, she walked along a branch that crossed the fence, crouched down, and tied the ribbon to the trunk.
She fastened the ribbon and let herself down using the ribbon.
No one lived in the yard, so it was lifeless here. The ground was covered with withered branches and leaves that crunched under Ning Xueyan's feet when she stepped on them.
The courtyard was so silent that you could hear someone gasp.
The courtyard was still the same courtyard where Ning Ziyan once beat her. But now, there was no trace of blood on the ground, just residual branches and leaves. The wind rolled up the residual leaves and they gathered by her feet. It was bleak and desolate here.
Ning Xueyan did not think about her past for long. She looked around, untied her dress, and walked toward the house. She pushed open the door of the middle room. The dust in the room was blown by the wind and went toward Ning Xueyan, who closed her eyes subconsciously as she was about to go inside.
Suddenly, Ning Xueyan stopped.
She looked at the fruit on the table in the house with astonishment.
It was impossible that the fruit had ripened during this season unless they were produced in the greenhouse. But usually, the amount of fruit that was grown in the greenhouse was very small. Why would it be put in the house of a master who was dead?
The candles had been burned up, leaving two candle-holders. The table was covered with a piece of snow-white cloth, on which fruit was placed. All of these were sacrifices.
Ning Xueyan of course did not believe that this was done by anyone sent by Madam Ling. Although there was a greenhouse in Lord Protector's Manor, very little fresh fruit was offered to them every day. So, there was no more fruit to be placed in front of Ning Ziying's memorial tablet. Furthermore, Ning Ziying was murdered by Madam Ling and Ning Ziyan. Why would Madam Ling be so kind to worship her?
"Who did this?" Ning Xueyan pondered.
After she arrived in the capital, she went directly to Lord Protector's Manor and then lived there. Aside from Xia Yuhang, she did not know anyone else. She could not think of anyone who would worship her. These fresh fruits were not easy to get, so this person worshipping her could not be an ordinary person.
The closed courtyard door, slightly closed house door, and tidy but dusty room were all strange. Everything here was full of mystery. And it seemed that the exact cause of her death became suspicious.
Suddenly, the door opened and gave off a squeaky sound, showing a sense of decay. Ning Xueyan turned her head subconsciously, her eyes widening unconsciously...