Chapter 73 The Pretty Maid, Yu Lian
"Young Lady, Sister Yu Lian sent by the First Madam has come. She has something to say to the Young Lady," a maid reported.
"Let her in!" Ning Xueyan nodded.
Mother Han put the dowry list into her breast pocket, stepped backward, and stood behind Ning Xueyan.
The portiere was lifted and a maid came in dressed in a colorful, embroidered skirt, looking delicate and spotless, elegant and polished. Ning Xueyan stared at her and recognized that she was the first maid, Yu Lian, who served Madam Ling. Ning Xueyan cast her eyes on her face that had been meticulously made up and then noticed her embroidering shoes, which were decorated with colorful stitchwork of birds and gold.
There seemed to be a faint smile on her face. She was calm as she stopped looking Ning Xueyan up and down.
"Fifth Youg Lady, the Second Young Lady is betrothed to Commandery Prince Li's Manor. The wedding ceremony will be held in half a year. The First Madam has asked you to embroider some sachets for the Second Young Lady if you are at leisure in case they don't have enough sachets to award the servants."
Yu Lian shook her aromatic handkerchief and spoke impatiently.
She was not respectful at all. Apparently, she was treating Ning Xueyan like a maid.
"If the Second Young Lady is to be married, you can turn to the weavers. The Fifth Young Lady never needs to embroider personally," said Mother Han crossly.
"The weavers in the manor are busy now. The New Year is coming and they have to weave clothes for people in the manor. Now that the Fifth Young Lady has nothing to do, she can kill time by doing this and make less trouble," Yu Lian glanced at Ning Xueyan and said disdainfully.
Her words were becoming more and more bitter.
This was another slave using her mistress's power for bullying. All the slaves beside Madam Ling were the same, who always looked down upon those from Bright Frost Garden. These slaves once even bossed Ning Xueyan around and never treated her as a mistress. They created all sorts of obstacles for her and tried to frame her with Madam Ling.
Looking at the well-dressed maid, Yu Lian, Ning Xueyan lifted the corners of her mouth slightly and sneered. Yu Lian was probably 16 or 17 years old. She was slender and attractive and had been an Eldest Young Lady. She was not like a maid at all judging from her dressing.
People would take her as a Young Lady if they had not heard of her.
But going by her facial expression, she could not be a serious girl.
Mother Han's face turned cold when she heard Yu Lian's disdainful tone. She was about to flare up but was stopped by a gesture from Ning Xueyan. Ning Xueyan smiled at Yu Lian, leaned back, and asked leisurely, "Yu Lian, who will be the next for you to inform of the marriage?"
"I'll inform the marquis next. The madam said that this will be a great event and I should let him know," Yu Lian answered after a beat, her eyes moving constantly. She did not expect for Ning Xueyan to ask her this.
"I'll tell my father that. You can now go back and report to the madam," Ning Xueyan said with an affable smile.
"There is no need for the Fifth Young Lady to do this. I will go there anyway. So just let me tell him." Hearing Ning Xueyan was going to inform Ning Zu'an of the marriage herself, Yu Lian was anxious and she refused.
"Are you visiting the marquis dressed up like this? Some might know that you are going to inform the marquis of the marriage, but most unwitting people will believe you have other purposes," Mother Han snorted. She detested Yu Lian for her coquetry.
"What... what else can I do?" Yu Lian blushed and stammered because Mother Han had hit the nail on the head.
"Who knows what you want to do? There is no festival but you've dressed up so gaudily to visit the marquis. How would others think of you?" Mother Han never thought much of the maids who always intended to go to their masters' beds. Now seeing Yu Lian still being so stubborn, Mother Han could not help denouncing her.
"Nonsense. I... I'm just informing the marquis of the marriage. Why would you speak those brittle words? I'll tell this to the marquis." Yu Lian was so ashamed and indignant that she stamped her feet with anger because Mother Han had guessed her secret.
"It seems that she is indeed in love with Ning Zu'an."
Ning Xueyan smiled and pretended to glare at Mother Han. She turned back and said to Yu Lian, "I already knew that, but I have no time to do needlework for the Second Eldest Sister. You can go back and tell madam that I have to transcribe the scriptures for my mom to comfort her spirit since she has passed away."
Madam Ling and her daughter had always been trying to frame her, so she would never embroider for Ning Yuling. She did not feel guilty at all refusing their request.
"Yes. I'll report to the madam immediately." Yu Lian realized after the short conversation that the Fifth Young Lady was quite different from how she used to be. She dared not act unbridled anymore and instead responded obediently.
She did not have to worry about what to say to the madam. All she wanted was to visit the marquis as soon as possible.
The madam was so alert that she seldom had the chance to see the marquis. Even if the marquis came to the manor, the madam would ask Hong Lian, who looked much worse than Yu Lian, instead of her to attend to him. She was extremely annoyed by this.
Therefore, she would by no means give up this golden opportunity to visit the marquis while having the chance to inform the Fifth Young Lady of the marriage.
Though the madam had promised a long time ago to marry her to the First Childe, she never put it into practice. Yu Lian became more and more skeptical of her promise and thought the madam must have lied to her. Maybe the marquis had fallen in love with her but the madam was envious, so she tricked Yu Lian.
Now that Ning Xueyan had asked her not to inform Ning Zu'an herself, Yu Lian did not run counter to Ning Xueyan's order and left Bright Frost Garden for the front courtyard happily.
As she always did, she left without bowing to Ning Xueyan.
"Young Lady, think of her attitude and behavior. As long as they see her dress, everyone will know that she is about to hook up with someone. Look, what a coquette she is! She always dreams of going to her master's bed." Mother Han cursed at her figure indignantly.
"Mammy, this isn't what we need to worry about!" Ning Xueyan lifted the corners of her mouth with a cold looking in her black eyes.
"That's rather interesting for Madam Ling to have a maid like this. It seems that she was compliant outwardly but unsubmissive inwardly. I wonder how Madam Ling would behave if one day the first maid beside her went to the marquis' bed."
It did not take long before Ning Yuling's delight was known all over the manor. Though some people who did not know the truth were confused by the fact that Ning Yuling would marry the marquis instead of the Third Prince, they were envious because the Second Young Lady's bridegroom was a princely heir from the royal family and they lauded her for her good blessing.
But no one knew that Ning Yuling had smashed all the porcelain in her room in Qingrong Courtyard.
The two maids who served her looked at the door in fear and heard nothing from inside the room. Then they went in holding a cup of tea with great care. "Young... Young Lady, have some tea, please."
Ning Yuling opened her eyes, looking wild and ferocious. She would grind her teeth as long as she thought that she was going to marry the lewd Princely Heir of Commandery Prince Li. She took up a cup beside her and threw it at one of the maids' heads, cursing, "Bitch! Bitch! Bitch! I'll kill you."
"Ouch!" The maid failed to dodge the cup and she fell onto the ground. Boiling water spilling on her hands and she screamed out in great pain.
It was the Third Prince who privately dated Ning Xueyan, so why did it turn out to be the Princely Heir of Commandery Prince Li? Confused as she was, Ning Yuling was clear that she had been tricked by Ning Xueyan. So she grabbed one of the maids in place of Ning Xueyan, took out an embroidery needle from the basket, and stabbed the other maid recklessly.
Her brittle scream stunned a group of servants who had just arrived at Qingrong Courtyard, looking pale and scared.
Everyone knew that no one could be more ferocious than the Second Young Lady because she would vent her anger on anyone in front of her at any time and beat them until they were halfway dead. They wondered who was so unlucky this time.
Madam Ling gestured at those servants and asked them with a cold face to leave.
She stepped toward the room looking sullen.
The room was in a mess with broken porcelain all over the ground, while the two maids who had been stabbed were rolling around on the floor miserably.
"Get out." Madam Ling scolded them.
Seeing that Ning Yuling said nothing, the two maids left in fear, holding each other.
"Mother, I won't marry that swinger. It's also clear to you that the swinger is incomparable to the Third Prince. I'll marry the Third Prince and become the Third Princess." Ning Yuling looked wronged and cried when she saw Madam Ling come in. "I'll kill that bitch. How dare she trick me!"
"Ling'er, stop mentioning the Third Prince. You'll never marry him." Madam Ling was more clear-headed than Ning Yuling at the moment. Even if Ning Yuling and the Princely Heir of Commandery Prince Li were clean, they had been found in one bed, not to mention that Ning Yuling was now unclean.
Ning Yuling would never be the Third Prince's wife.
"No, mom. You'll ask my father to think of an idea and have him fully support the Third Prince. Then the Third Prince will marry me. Honored Consort Ya had said that she liked me." Ning Yuling was still not in her right mind yet and she cried toward Madam Ling, pulling her clothes in agitation.
In the past, her mother would do everything to satisfy her as long as she cried.
And now, she was still the Second Young Lady in Lord Protector's Manor who would get everything she wanted.
Ning Yuling sighed in commiseration seeing Ning Yuling like this. This was her most-loved daughter, but now her reputation had been ruined and had to reluctantly marry the Princely Heir of Commandery Prince Li. How could she not be so resentful? Ning Yuling would have been married as a concubine if it were not for Ning Zu'an, who promised to ensure the Princely Heir of Commandery Prince Li's prospect.
Madam Ling became resentful when she thought of this. She reached out, wiped the tears from Ning Yuling's face, and said in a peaceful but cold tone, "Ling'er, take it easy. Do you want to suppress that bitch forever and decide whether she lives or dies yourself?"
Just like Madam Ming, who used to be high above her, was defeated and lived in a lower status than hers...
Ning Yuling opened her eyes open and stopped crying when she heard that they were going to punish Ning Xueyan. She asked hurriedly, "Teach me what to do, mother."
The ferociousness in Ning Xueyan's eyes turned into complacency with some coldness. She would subdue Ning Xueyan forever once she managed to suppress her.
Ning Xueyan did not know that Madam Ling and her daughter were scheming against her for a second time. She was taking a walk alone after lunch. As she headed for Cloud Reflection Courtyard, she never thought that she would run into that man at the courtyard's gate.
She felt an aching pain in her heart instantly, distinct and biting...