Chapter 66 - The Fight in the Woodshed
Ning Xueyan dressed Lanning and herself well when she returned to her yard. Then they left for Auspicious Fortune Hall.
The female servant standing by the door saw her coming and greeted her, "Fifth Young Lady, you are finally here. Madam Dowager and Madam Ling asked about you just now."
Ning Xueyan just nodded and kept going.
The maids by the door lifted the curtain to let Ning Xueyan in.
"Xueyan, you are here. Let Mother see. How could this happen to you? Why bad person poisoned you? You are such a good girl. The bad servant did damage to you but you are innocent. You would have been killed if we didn't find out..." Seeing Ning Xueyan in, Madam Ling started to sob. She could not even speak clearly as she wiped away her tears with a handkerchief.
Ning Xueyan stood to the side and a coldness emanated from her eyes. In Ning Xueyan's previous life, she was killed by Madam Ling. So she would not be tricked by her again. Raising her head, Ning Xueyan saw Consort Dowager, Madam Dowager, and Madam Dowager Liu sitting above. Madam Ling was putting on a show for them.
She got close to Ning Xueyan on purpose and opened her mouth first. She did it all for show. She knew Ning Xueyan would not embarrass her even though she was unhappy.
"Mother!" Ning Xueyan stepped back and got free from her. It seemed they were not close at all.
"Ok. Well, I'm happy to see that you're okay. You are a nice girl with a bad servant. What a pity..." Madam Ling's ambiguous looks could not hide the viciousness in her eyes.
"Thank you, Mother. I will talk to you later after greeting grandmother," Ning Xueyan said.
Her grandmother was here so she could not talk with Madam Ling first because it was impolite.
Ning Xueyan's words stopped Madam Ling's show.
She turned around, avoiding Madam Ling's frozen face, and walked toward Madam Dowager. "Nice to see you, grandmother and aunt-grandmother."
"Okay, okay. This is Consort Dowager," Madam Dowager said happily. She glanced at Madam Ling, who stood aside with hatred. The only reason she let her be was for her grandson's sake.
"My honor, Consort Dowager." Ning Xueyan bowed to Consort Dowager.
"Never mind that. What a polite kid." Seeing that Ning Xueyan had acted properly and elegantly, Consort Dowager felt sorry for her. Although she was not perfect, she thought she could be a big shot if Lord Protector taught her well.
Although Ning Yuling was the first daughter of Lord Protector, she was a real shrew.
Consort Dowager was fond of Ning Yuling's personality at first and she had wanted her to control her grandson. But she didn't expect her to be a slut and cheat on her grandson before they could get married. This did damage to Consort reputation as well. So, of course she was angry with her.
So she never stopped her grandson and wanted this to become an issue.
The bigger issue it was, the less that people would care about her grandson's fault.
Unexpectedly, it had nothing to do with Madam Ling. It was Concubine Ma who had done this. But only god knew the truth, what she saw might not have been true.
Hearing the praise, Madam Ling felt embarrassed. She shook her handkerchief while walking over elegantly. "Xueyan, you treat your servant too well for them to respect you. So Mother Han became arrogant and did that bad thing in the name of your reputation. From now on, they'll need discipline."
It seemed she was worried about Ning Xueyan. But actually, she was saying that Ning Xueyan was not good enough to take control of her people. Her servants must be as horrible as she was.
"Mother, where is Mother Han now?" Ning Xueyan's smile faded away slowly and her eyes looked gentle on her cold face.
"She is a bad servant! Xueyan, let her be! I will help you clear up your people in case someone will damage you again." Madam Ling looked merciful. People would misunderstand that Ning Xueyan was her biological daughter because she cared so much.
Ning Xueyan glanced at Madam Ling and stopped talking with her. She turned to Madam Dowager saying, "Grandmother, Mother Han is the only servant that my mom left to me. I want to see her so I can ask her what exactly happened. Whom she was counting on and why she let her son do such things."
Ning Xueyan's words were reasonable. She did not show any bias so Madam Dowager could not say no. Some older female servants were about to take Mother Han here by the command of Madam Dowager.
Ning Xueyan's lips were full of a bitter smile. She made a suggestion. "Thanks, grandmother. Please allow Lanning to go with them in order to dress her up. After all, she was my close servant before..."
"That's so nice of you, Xueyan. A bad servant like her won't need it. In my opinion, we must punish her hard. The only reason why she wasn't flogged to death is that she's been with you for a long time." Madam Ling followed Madam Dowager immediately when she found herself in an awkward position.
Madam Dowager stared at Madam Ling ruthlessly. She despised her. She thought Madam Ling was belittling herself. As the mistress of Lord Protector's Manor, she should not be petty. Besides which, Madam Dowager clearly knew that the poison had nothing to do with Mother Han. She knew that Madam Ling was framing her. How did she dare to say so?
Compared with Ning Xueyan, Madam Ling was mean.
"My dear fifth granddaughter, of course your maid can go with them."
Ning Xueyan had already given her command to Lanning, so Lanning followed behind the older female servants with respect, lowering her head. She stepped back and acted carefully. It looked like she was serving her mistress. Her movements did not belong to a first maid. Consort Dowager, who sat above, watched with some suspicion in her eyes.
Lanning followed the older female servant out, walking toward the woodshed.
An older female servant was ahead of Lanning. Lanning kicked a stone at her feet and it did not miss.
"Oh!" Hit by the stone, the older female servant screamed and went to check her feet.
"Mammy, what happened?" Lanning stepped ahead and tried to support her ostensibly.
"What the hell! Something hit my feet," the older female servant said while touching her feet. Lanning kicked it so heavily that the stone had caused great pain.
"Mammy, you can take a rest if you can't continue. You need to check your wound in case it damaged your bones. I heard the Mammy Li, who was in Madam Ling's yard, had gotten hurt before because she was careless when she walked. Her leg got hurt badly so that she is unable to walk now."
It would take 100 days to recover if one broke their bones, especially for older people. If she did not take it seriously, she would be unable to walk again.
This frightened the older female servant. Her legs became limp right away, for she was afraid that her bones were broken.
Mammy Li was unable to walk because she had not been paying attention.
"Lanning, my feet can't move now, so would you mind taking her here?" the older servant asked Lanning. She dared not move any farther and she leaned on a tree holding her feet. The mistresses were waiting inside, so she could not delay.
"Mammy, they might not let me see Mother Han. Could you do it yourself? Maybe it's no big deal." Lanning shook her head perplexedly.
Maybe it was nothing! On the contrary, maybe it could be something!
The older female servant was so worried, but she could not move until she found out if her bones were okay. If it was not okay, she would be disabled because of being delayed. So she said, "It's fine, it's fine. You can go first and tell them that Madam Dowager asked you to take her away. If they stop you, you can come back to me."
"Could... could that work?" Lanning frowned and acted like she did not know what to do.
"Of course, it's fine. Just a servant. It's nothing. Go!" The older female servant only cared about her legs now so she pushed Lanning to do it.
So Lanning had to go first!
The older female servant found a covert place to check her legs. Another older female servant was eating sunflower seeds when Lanning arrived at the woodshed, but she ignored her.
Sure enough, she was one of Madam Ling's people. Lanning had seen her with Madam Ling more than once.
"Let Mother Han out, I need her." Lanning was not as gentle as she was before when she said that coldly. She was standing akimbo and had her chin raised up high.
"Eh? Who are you?" the older female servant rolled her eyes and asked disdainfully. She stood up and shook the seeds off her clothes. She knew her but she despised her.
"I've come to take Mother Han. Open the door now and give her to me. Otherwise, you will be punished hard if you delay the mistress's business," Lanning said while widening her eyes.
"Mistress? Who is Lanning's mistress? It's the Young Lady, that unfavored and cowardly girl."
Mentioning this, nobody was afraid of her in the manor.
The older female servant did not give a damn. She pushed Lanning away when she saw her standing in front of her and acting proudly. "Move away! Now! As for your sick mistress, please leave me alone, I think she could be dead anytime."
"How dare you say that!" Lanning screamed.
Her shrill scream startled two maids who walked by. They had an interest in the drama so they stopped.
"Nobody cares about your sick mistress in the manor! Don't try to frighten me!" Seeing her bravado, the older female servant mocked Lanning.
The two maids started to laugh as well.
Lanning's face grew dark. She rushed at the older female servant and thrust her head into her chest. This made the older female servant step back and fall down on the ground. Her head hit the door of the woodshed. Then the door opened.