Chapter 88 The Hairpin and Ning Ziyan's Personal Maid
The vest on Chen Hexiang looked no different from the green ones on other maids if someone didn't watch it carefully. However, after taking a good look at the material of the green vest, Ning Ziyan found that it was actually made by silk. Although it wouldn't need too much cloth to make a vest, it was still luxury for a maid to wear something made by silk. Even Ning Ziyan only had two pieces of the silk cloth.
And she had already used them up after making only two pieces of clothes.
That silk cloth was a gift from one of Xia Yuhang's friends. He had told her that this rare cloth was a tribute to the royal family, which was even hardly to be seen in the palace.
So why was this maid's vest made of silk?
Ning Ziyan clenched the handkerchief in her hand and then loosen it up. Then with the stiff smile on her face easing, she said breezily, pretending not to care, "I got the extra cloth and gave it to her to make a vest. I didn't realize that she would wear it today. Don't ridicule me for that, sister."
Although there were still smile on Ning Ziyan's face, the malevolence in her eyes was not able to be hidden. Ning Ziyan determined to torture her maid when she came bakc to her manor. "You b*tch, you have seduced Xia Yuhang all day long. And you still claimed there's nothing between the two of you? I'll marry you to the ugliest and the most disgusting old night watchman. Let's see how you are going to lure my husband," Ning Ziyan thought.
Meanwhile, Chen Hexiang was also having a bad feeling. So she raised her head to look at Ning Ziyan with fear, then she lowered her head timidly, looking cowardly. However, she was thinking that she couldn't wait anymore and she had to let Xia Yuhang admit her position. Today was a perfect day to accomplish her plan. So Chen Hexiang had worn this vest on purpose today.
Seeing Chen Hexiang's delicate look and the craft expression that was flashed in her eyes, Ning Xueyan snorted secretly. It seemed that so many people were plotting something on today's feast. That was even better, the more chaotic the situation became, the more likely her enemies would make mistakes. Ning Xueyan was wondering if Madam Ling and Ning Ziyan would be able to extricate themselves this time.
"Sister, your makeup today is too simple. After all, it's Concubine Ma's birthday, you should at least add some powder on your face. Don't let Concubine Ma think that we look down on her." Ning Ziyan said that with a grin.
"My, my mom had just died for..." Ning Xueyan said that with a reluctant look on her face.
"Although your mom were dead, it has already been a month. Concubine Ma seldom has the chance to have a birthday feast like this and all the people in the manor now are having a good time now. Don't have the guests' spirits dampened. "Ning Ziyan said that as if she was really being thoughful for Ning Xueyan. Then she took out a ruby tassels hairpin, which was particularly pretty.
When Chen Hexiang saw Ning Ziyan taking out the hairpin, she couldn't help raising his head while looking at the hairpin with a greedy look. Then she lowered her head instantly. If Ning Xueyan hadn't been observing Chen Hexiang the whole time, she wouldn't notice this maid's facial expression.
"Sister, this hairpin will look so beautiful on you. Just look at the color, it suits you perfectly. You are the daughter of the Lord Protector, don't let other people sneeze at you. You should wear this hairpin! This one belongs to me, I'll give it to you!" Ning Ziyan said that generously. Then she took over the hairpin and tried to put it on Ning Xueyan's hair.
"Thanks a lot, sister. But I don't think my outfit could match such a pretty hairpin!" Ning Xueyan declined that with a troubled expression while holding Ning Ziyan's hand to let her sit down. Then Ning Xueyan stared at the ruby hairpin with light flashing in her eyes, showing great interest.
"What are you talking about? Sister, you are so beautiful to fit all the nice things. Have you just said those things deliberately because you dislike my hairpin?" Being rejected by Ning Xueyan, Ning Ziyan showed a sullen look on her face.
"Sister, you misunderstood me. Look at the color of my face, I can't wear something so bright..." Ning Xueyan pretended to be hesitating, with her eyes fixed on the hairpin. After that, she still pushed the hairpin toward Ning Ziyan.
Her acts made Ning Ziyan believe that she really liked the hairpin but she had to push it away.
Then Ning Ziyan looked at Ning Xueyan's face doubtfully and found that it was true that Ning Xueyan had a paler face than ordinary people. That bright-colored hairpin was surely not suitable for her. It would be a huge mistake for a woman to wear a piece of jewelry which had a brighter color than her face.
However, Ning Ziyan had to give this hairpin to Ning Xueyan today!
Then Ning Ziyan found a perfect reason to give the hairpin away.
She found that Ning Xueyan was quite fond of the hairpin, so she said, "Sister, I see your pale face. It doesn't matter. Don't you remember that I have presented you some powder and blusher? Come here, I'll do the makeup on you. Then you can wear the hairpin. Trust me, you'll look like a fairy by then."
Hearing her words, Ning Xueyan was persuaded. Then she stopped pushing the hairpin away.
Ning Ziyan put on an even brighter smile after seeing that Ning Xueyan's hesitation. Then Ning Ziyan said, "Sister, what are you waiting for? Half of the guests who came here today haven't seen you before. I'll take you to greet them afterwards. You just have to dress up to see those people. Come on, it's not like I am asking to wear red or green colored clothes. No one will care about a little hairpin."
"But Fourth Sister said that she liked the powder and blusher and has taken them all away!" Ning Xueyan said that with her eyebrows knitted.
"That's OK. I have some with me. You can use these," Ning Ziyan said while showing her generosity. Then she told Chen Hexiang who was standing behind her to take out the powder.
Now Ning Ziyan was very careful with her body. So she always brought the powder and blusher with her in order to refine her makeup anytime she wanted.
Chen Hexiang then came over instantly, pulling out the powder and blusher from the bag.
"Eldest Young Lady, thank you. I'll do the make up for our Young Lady then." Lanning took over the powder in Chen Hexiang's hands and said that politely.
Since Lanning already said that, Ning Ziyan couldn't insist on letting Chen Hexiang doing the make-up. Having nodded, Ning Ziyan sat behind Ning Xueyan and watched Lanning primping Ning Xueyan. However, it seemed that Lanning was not very familiar with the make up procedure according to her slow movements. After Ning Ziyan had sat there for a while, she only saw Lanning finished the foundation for Ning Xueyan.
Since Ning Ziyan was pregnant, she always felt uncomfortable with her body. She already felt a bit tired now after sitting there for a short while. She leaned to the left at first then she leaned to the right. However, no matter what kind of posture she had, she only felt more and more exhausted and couldn't bear to stay there anymore.
So she held Chen Hexiang's hand to get up, saying, "Sister, I'll go to the garden to see who has come. Then I'll introduce them to you afterwards."
"Fine, you can go first, sister. I'll be there in a minute." Ning Xueyan nodded while saying that smilingly, with darkness flashing in her eyes. What she had guessed was right, Ning Ziyan had already colluded with Madam Ling to set her up.
"I hope you won't cry so hard afterwards!" Ning Xueyan thought that.
"Young Lady, what are we going to do about this hairpin?" Lanning stopped doing make-up for Ning Xueyan right after Ning Ziyan had left. Having walked to the table, she picked up the ruby hairpin and asked Ning Xueyan that.
Although Lanning couldn't see what was wrong with the hairpin, she still knew that it must be something that could hurt Ning Xueyan according to Ning Ziyan's willingness for Ning Xueyan to have it. Back to the old days, the Eldest Young Lady had also treated Young Lady Ziying with the same attitude. And what had happened next only showed the Ning Ziyan's evil intentions toward Young Lady Ziying. However, all the evil intentions had been hidden behind that smiling face of Ning Ziyan.
And Young Lady Ziying never managed to see Ning Ziyan's true colors. That was why she had died in the lotus pond strangely.
Ning Xueyan had already smelt the fragrance on the hairpin. The smell was easy to be ignored because it was too light. If it had not been for her knowledge about the drug, she would never realize that this hairpin had drug on it. And the kind of drug was...
Ning Ziyan and Madam Ling were both malicious women. They had tried everything to destroy Ning Xueyan. However, Ning Xueyan would only disappoint them. "How desperate are you two that you already made a move before I have done anything!" Ning Xueyan sneered inwardly.
"Lanning, find a way to drop the hairpin in front of Chen Hexiang." Ning Xueyan curved her lips and smiled coldly while staring herself in the mirror. She knew that Chen Hexiang had worn that vest today for a reason. Then Ning Xueyan felt obliged to give Chen Hexiang a hand. When she had seen Chen Hexiang's greedy eyes on the ruby hairpin just now,
she knew that Chen Hexiang must be eager to have this hairpin. Perfect, then she would give Chen Hexiang the thing she wanted.
When Ning Xueyan arrived at the garden, she was totally dressed up. With the light make-up on her, her face looked brighter. Now she looked even more beautiful. The ruby hairpin with wobbling tassels made her look like an impeccable jade.
The feast was set in the garden. The male guests were all seated on the left while the females were on the right. There was a gauze curtain between them. So the males and the females could hear each other’s voices but couldn't see each other’s figures clearly.
A drama stage had been set up and there were already some people performing opera on it. The audiences were giving applause and there were waves of laughter coming from the crowd from time to time.
Most of the people who had been invited already arrived before the feast began. However, the Lord Protector still had to wait until all the guests came here in order to show courtesy.
Madam Ling and Ning Ziyan sat in the crowd with a bunch of madams and ladies around them. They were chatting and laughing.
Suddenly, Madam Ling and Ning Ziyan saw Ning Xueyan coming over with the ruby hairpin on her hair. Then they looked at each other and smiled evilly. After that, they both turned their head and stopped paying attention to Ning Xueyan.
Meanwhile, Ning Xueyan found a chair in the corner and sat, not intending to come over to them.
This was a perfect spot for her to observe everyone without being noticed.
Concubine Ma came here hastily. It seemed that she was in a hurry because she was wiping the sweats on her forehead. When she arrived at the place, she looked around and found nobody noticed her. Then she let out a sigh of relief. After pushing away Qiufang who was beside her, Concubine Ma walked quickly toward Madam Ling.
Seeing Concubine Ma coming over, Madam Ling glanced at her with disdainful expression in her eyes. However, Madam Ling still showed a genial smile on her face and pulled Concubine Ma over favorably, saying, "Where have you been? How come you just show up? I almost tell the maid to look for you."
Hearing that Madam Ling had planned to look for her, Concubine Ma trembled subconsciously. But she gave out a smile at once and answered, "I was in the kitchen just now. I heard that they had made delicious soup there. I thought that the lunch would be late and I might get hungry by then. So I drank the soup first."
Concubine Ma had actually been to the opera troupe just now. But she had no guts to tell Madam Ling that. Then something popped in her mind. She remembered two older female servants had told her about the soup on her way there. So she had chosen to use a story to cover for herself. She had even gone to the kitchen to taste the soup in order to have a perfect excuse.
"Soup. I'm a bit hungry as well. Do you still have some, Concubine Ma?" Ning Ziyan had a good appetite these days. Now she really was starved. She hadn't dared to drink the soup at Ning Xueyan's place. Since Ning Ziyan saw that Concubine Ma was fine, she really wanted to have a taste of that soup now.
"Of course. I was thinking that you should try this delicious soup. Then I have let someone bring a large bowl of it on purpose. Eldest Young Lady, if you want to have a taste, I can take you to the room there to have a rest and drink it." Seeing that Madam Ling didn't find anything wrong with her story, Concubine Ma breathed a sigh of relief while pointing at a room out of the crowd.
She had let someone served the soup to that room in order to make her story sound more believable and fawn upon Madam Ling.
"Fine. You can lead the way." Ning Ziyan stood up. She had sat there for too long and became a little tired. So she wanted to relax her body by walking for a short while.
Madam Ling knew about her daughter's condition, so she didn't suspect anything else. Then she nodded...