Chapter 108 Suspicion to the Past
Back to the Bright Frost Garden from Madam Dowager's courtyard, Ning Xueyan picked up a book at will, flipped it through, and then sat by the window in a daze. Images of her previous life slid by in her mind as flowing water.
Madam Ling had treated her so warmly like a true mother since she came to the Lord Protector's Manor, and Ning Ziyan also took her as a blood sister and sent to her courtyard all the delicious food and interesting playthings, making her believe that she had chosen the right persons to depend on. Later on, Xia Yuhang came to visit them.
He didn't avoid her since she was so close to Ning Ziyan like a sister of her.
What happed later was well-reasoned. But now, when thinking back, she always felt that she had neglected something important.
"Young Lady." Lanning came in with a cup of tea. She put the cup down and said to Ning Xueyan with a smile, "Young Lady, I have had the food shared by some maids of the courtyard. Now, even the bowls and chopsticks have been washed clean and sent to the kitchen."
In this way, even if they came to investigate, they could find nothing!
Those dishes looked very similar. But in fact they were slightly different. However, no one would notice the difference since they had been pigged out by so many people.
The food basket in Concubine Ma's hands was knocked onto the ground at that time and the food was mixed together. Now it had been cleaned up and even the basket, bowls and chopsticks had been thrown away.
Two portions of food, one was poisoned, one not, were now both obliterated!
Nothing could be found even if someone still wanted to investigate!
Lanning admired her Young Lady from the bottom of her heat, especially for the last words she had left to Concubine Ma, which made Concubine Ma follow her steps and cooperate with her wholeheartedly.
Those last words were the name of that young man from the theatrical troupe!
"Lanning, find a time to pay a visit to Mother Wang." Having a sip of tea, Ning Xueyan lowered down her eyelids and showed the hard-to-recover fatigue in her eyes.
After so many strikes, Madam Ling was unable to dispose of her at will like before. Mother Wang had so many clues about her previous life, so she worried about her. If Mother Wang was found and harmed by Madam Ling's servants, she would be too far away to help her.
So she must find a way to bring her into the manor. Now the thought had come to being, she needed only an appropriate chance.
For some of the things, she had no clue at all no matter how hard she had tried to think back. Had she really neglected so much during her previous life, or had Xia Yuhang concealed from her so tightly that each time she found something suspicious, he would give her a perfect explanation?
She obeyed Xia Yuhang completely and thought he would be kind to her and treat her wholeheartedly since he was her future husband. Never had she realized that he was cheating her all the time and his heart had changed long ago.
He had sworn to love her forever and to grow old with her!
At last, he left her only a pool of blood and an ending of drowning after making full use of her…
"Young Lady, the manor must be managed strictly at this moment. I heard that the husband of the Eldest Young Lady had come this morning. He paid a visit to the Buddha Hall to see First Madam particularly, and also had a talk with Madam Dowager. Then Madam Dowager ordered that servants could only enter into or go out of the manor with access card these days. Otherwise, we will be punished as committing private escape."
Xia Yuhang? So he was unwilling to give up.
Xia Manor was also in a troublous situation these days, but Xia Yuhang still had the mood to pry into the Lord Protector's Manor. Obviously, he was suspecting people from the Lord Protector's Manor.
She had really looked down upon him during her previous life and mistaken him as a graceful and gentle son of a high official, who was well-educated and reasonable without knowing any trickery. His righteousness and deep affection to his fiancée, an orphan girl, had only been illusions to cheat her.
Now she finally realized that he was the smartest one!
"It was him who taught Madam Ling to make up such a consummate story!"
"He had intended to save Madam Ling from this scandal by making Concubine Ma and me as the scapegoats."
"I was so lucky to foresee that Madam Ling would not be willing to let go and take actions before her thanks to Concubine Ma's being poisoned. Moreover, Ning Zu'an has always doted on Concubine Ma and is willing to listen to her, which helped me to get through this crisis!"
"And to undermine the plot!"
"In the past, was Xia Yuhang good for Ning Ziying?" Ning Xueyan leaned back against a soft mat.
"Yes, he was very good to Young Lady Ziying. He would send Young Lady Ziying whatever she wanted, so, so, Young Lady Ziying had never expected that he, and he was cheating her all the time and married the Eldest Young Lady at last." Thinking of Ning Ziying, Lanning replied with grief on face.
Lanning did not know the details of that case, but looking at the vicious Madam Ling and her daughter, she knew that Ning Ziying must be murdered by them instead of jumping into the pond to end herself. She was going to marry her beloved man soon. Why would she do that for no reason at all?
Lanning would never believe such words!
"What did Xia Yuhang and Ning Ziying usually talk about in the past?" Ning Xueyan frowned and asked.
Those closely involved cannot see clearly. She hadn't noticed anything at that time, so now she needed Lanning, a bystander, to remind her.
"They usually talk about..." Perceiving Ning Xueyan's confusion, Lanning also tried hard to recall the past. Xia Yuhang and Ning Ziying were just unmarried couple, and Ning Ziying was conservative, she would let a maid follow her each time she met Xia Yuhang. Lanning was stable and clever, so Ning Ziying would take her most of the time.
"I remembered it, Young Lady. In the last days, he usually asked Young Lady Ziying about her stories during her living in the regions south of the Yangtze River, and her childhood, or someone or something interesting that she had met in the past! He seemed quite interested in that!"
Childhood, someone or something interesting?
A ray of light flashed across Ning Xueyan's brain. Her memories were ignited abruptly by Lanning's words. It was true that Xia Yuhang liked to inquire about her memories of the past. He even asked it repeatedly without feeling bored even though she had already told him before, as if he was really very interested in her childhood.
She had felt it strange once, but Ning Yuhang explained to her soulfully that he loved her and wanted to know all about her. Even he was not involved in her past, he still wanted to listen to it again and again so he could share her previous happiness and sorrow with her.
She was so moved at that time and considered him as the best gift God had provided her with!
Since then she gave him all her heart and believed his simple explanation even when she was pushed into the pond by Chen Hexiang, a woman he had an affair with, and nearly got killed.
Ning Xueyan just had a vague memory about her childhood. The things she had told were simple and repeated without any feeling of freshness.
With a tremble in her heart, she suddenly recalled one thing. Xia Yuhang was not only interested in her childhood at that time. There was something he had asked more than once. She had considered it as his curiosity, but now realized it was more than curiosity due to his meticulous mind…
"The backyard is in charge of Madam Dowager now, isn't it?" A trace of melancholy flashed from Ning Xueyan's eyes. She might need to see Mother Wang first before she could make sure of something.
"The First Madam is incarcerated in the Buddha Hall and Madam Dowager doesn't feel well. All the matters of the backyard are in charge of Concubine Xu. It's said this will not last for a short time, and now is more assured after such things happened today. The First Madam has hurt herself on the head badly, but Marquis still let servants take her to the Buddha Hall. All the maids say the First Madam will have to spend the rest of this year there!"
Lanning had just inquired about the changes in the manor.
"Does anything happen to the Fourth Young Lady?" asked Ning Xueyan in a slow and orderly way.
"The Fourth Young Lady went to the courtyard of Concubine Xu directly after parting you, and then returned to her own courtyard. She didn't go to the Buddha Hall," Lanning replied. She had also inquired about the reaction of the Fourth Young Lady, knowing that Fourth Young Lady was quite shocked by her Young Lady's words.
It was unexpected that the Forth Young Lady should show no trace of abnormity at all. Everyone knew it was like jumping into a fire pit to marry Marquis of Ping'an, but the Fourth Young Lady, who had always emphasized her marriage very much, seemed very indifferent now.
No one had expected Ning Lingyun to be so tolerant. Was it because the backyard was now in charge of Concubine Xu?
"Lanning, sent the news out about the coming marriage between Marquis of Ping'an and the Fourth Young Lady." Ning Xueyan laughed unemotionally. Concubine Xu had once been a maid of Madam Ling. However harsh Madam Ling was to her maids about their appearance, Concubine Xu was still able to steer by Yu Lian's monitoring and climb onto the bed of Ning Zu'an, even giving birth to Ning Lingyun at last.
This manifested that Concubine Xu was clever enough!
And a clever person can always find the most beneficial way!
Uncle was unable to find out the truth about that thing because nearly all the people knowing that had gone. He could even find no one to inquire. But how about this Concubine Xu? She must be there at that time. The more mixed the water was, the more favorable was to Ning Xueyan!
As for Madam Ling, she never behaved herself!
Ning Xueyan might need Madam Ling to "live" longer in the Buddha Hall…
"I knew. Young Lady." Lanning was a clever girl. She got Ning Xueyan's intention immediately. She nodded and started to leave, but stopped at the door suddenly, said, "Young Lady. Yu Lian came furtively for Qing'er, the sick maid, today, and brought her some medicine as it seemed to be. Xinmei said they two looked quite intimate. But Yu Lian left soon after a simple chat at the door. It seemed that she didn't want others to know."
"Then find out who Qing'er's families are! We are going to have a trip out of the manor the day after tomorrow," Ning Xueyan said in an insipid voice, her eyes fell onto a tree outside the window. Leaves were falling in succession, and then rising with the wind, and falling again, having nothing and nowhere to depend on…
Madam Ling was sitting in front of a bed with a sour look on her face. Her head was wrapped with a bandage. In this narrow room, there was only one bed and one table, totally different from that of her Auspicious Clouds Courtyard.
"First Madam, I have comforted the Second Young Lady by telling her that everything will be fine and there is no need for her to worry. I have told her to obey Madam Dowager and Marquis these days and not to do anything wrong to distract you." Mother Chen appeared from nowhere and reported to Madam Ling.
"Very well. How about Marquis?" asked Madam Ling, her expression was sullen and her face looked bluish white and bleak under the lamp light, making her more ferocious and terrifying!
"I have sent the old garments of Marquis that you have preserved during those years to him. Marquis didn't say anything, but his attitude softened. He took those garments. Anyway, you and Marquis loved each other at that time and the garments were made by you personally stitch by stitch."
Madam Ling let out a sigh of relief and nodded. It meant she still had a chance since Marquis had accepted the garments.
Mother Chen comforted her, "Rest assured, Madam. Now that Marquis had accepted the garments, we can still turn the situation around. Besides, the Eldest Childe will come back in a few days. At that time, Marquis will be sure to let you out. But…"
Mother Chen hesitated. She wished to continue but stopped on a second thought.