Chapter 169 the Warm-hearted Third Young Lady
Ning Qingshan cursed inwardly. Today was supposed to be her day. She had tactfully indicated to Madam Dowager that she wanted to greet the guests alone and Madam Dowager had acquiesced to her request. Her purpose in doing so was to show how graceful, generous and gentle she was. However, all her plans were ruined by a few words from Ning Xueyan.
It was her first time to attend the banquet of the social circle after she had cultivated in the nunnery for three years, so today was very important for her. Ning Xueyan’s sudden appearance made her passive and she couldn’t act as calmly as she used to be. Even though her smile was still perfect, under the smiling gaze of several ladies, she showed some flaws.
There were many smart people among the guests!
Ning Xueyan didn’t protest Ning Qingshan, but smiled quietly. Her jet-black eyes shone brightly and after glancing at all the guests, she finally fixed her eyes on Ning Qingshan. “Third Sister, grandmother was greeting some elders and she asked us to meet them,” she said slowly.
Madam Dowager hadn’t planned to greet any guests today, but to her surprise, there were several old ladies of her generation among the guests, so she invited them to Lucky Garden to chat. Of course, she wouldn’t forget to ask her two grand-daughters to show their respect to those old ladies on such an occasion. Ning Xueyan was at Lucky Garden at the moment, so she offered to ask Ning Qingshan over.
“If it’s Ning Qingshan who stained the account book, she must think that I’m anxious because of the stained account book, so I won’t be in the mood to show up in the flower hall. People like Ning Qingshan will never miss any opportunity to defame me, so my appearance will be the strongest riposte to her.” With that in mind, Ning Xueyan came to the flower hall.
Of course, it was only the first step for her to fight back.
She had learned from the miserable experience of her last life that some people naturally liked to raise themselves by suppressing others. Both Ning Ziyan and Ning Qingshan were such kind of people. They shared the common characteristics—selfish and vicious!
She hadn’t hated Ning Qingshan that much before, but now Ning Qingshan seemed to have stood on her opposite side. She would never show mercy to her enemies. Since Ning Qingshan had given her such a ‘gift’, she should give something back. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be fair!
So when she showed up in the flower hall, she caught sight of the suspicion, surprise, confusion and other looks in the eyes of the guests. As she had expected, Ning Qingshan didn’t forget to belittle her while enjoying the flattery and pleasing of others. Ning Xueyan’s showing up cracked her perfect camouflage.
From the look of those official’s wives and daughters, Ning Xueyan could tell that Ning Qingshan must have made up stories to defame her just now.
Since Ning Qingshan was so vicious, she didn’t have to be nice to her!
She wasn’t Ning Ziying of her last life anymore. Ning Ziying was so kind that she was even reluctant to step on an ant. But this innocent girl couldn’t even protect people around her and had been drowned into the lotus pool together with Xiang’er, her personal maid.
So she wouldn’t show any mercy this life!
She was cruel to herself, and would be even crueler to her enemies!
Ning Qingshan was surprised when she was told that Madam Dowager asked her back, but she felt relieved as well. Because with Ning Xueyan’s appearance in the flower hall, she couldn’t keep her ease and grace anymore. It was not bad to go to the Lucky Garden. She could take this opportunity to calm herself down and find a way to deal with Ning Xueyan.
After cultivated in the nunnery for three years, she became more patient. Since she could even withstand the hard life of the nunnery for three years, the minor provocation from Ning Xueyan meant nothing to her. But she was confused why Ning Xueyan was still so calm. “Hasn’t she found that the account book was stained? Or maybe she has found a way to solve the problem? Or maybe she is just pretending not being worried?” Ning Qingshan wondered.
But she quickly dismissed the second possibility, because she didn’t believe that Ning Xueyan was capable enough to solve the problem. The last page of the account book had been ruined like that, and it was impossible for Ning Xueyan to wipe the stain off. Besides, the strong fishy smell emanated from the stain could be smelled from afar. How could she find a way to remove it?
So Ning Xueyan was more confused about the reason that Ning Xueyan was so calm by now.
She took a leave of the ladies and girls in the flower hall, and then went for Lucky Garden, following Ning Xueyan.
“Fifth Sister, you have been busy in the kitchen for such a long time. Did you go back to Bright Frost Garden to take a break?” Ning Qingshan caught up with Ning Xueyan and asked, pretending that she cared about her. She couldn’t figure out why Ning Xueyan was so calm, so she tried to get the answer from Ning Xueyan’s mouth.
“Yes. I went back for a while. But because something happened to the kitchen, I had to come back to the kitchen and have a look. Then I went to grandmother,” Ning Xueyan answered with a faint smile. A sneer appeared on her lips, but as her lips were pale, nobody could find it out easily.
Ning Qingshan became anxious.
“What happened to the kitchen? Didn’t they prepare enough dishes? What will you do then?” Ning Qingshan asked, looking concerned about her very much.
“Nothing special. A big fish in the kitchen wasn’t dead after being killed with one cut. It jumped out and knocked over a pot, and almost caused a fire,” Ning Xueyan answered helplessly.
The fish had been sent to the kitchen the night before. It was said that because Madam Dowager liked eating fish, the kitchen staff bought it for her. But Ning Xueyan knew more than that. Madam Dowager hadn’t said that she wanted to eat fish, but Ning Qingshan kept on persuading her, saying that fish was nutritious and was especially good for the health of old people, so Madam Dowager ordered the kitchen staff to buy it.
“Huh? They were too careless! No wonder you were so busy. I thought that you would come to the flower hall soon after having a look at Junior Concubine Xu. After waiting for a long time, we still haven’t seen you, so I guessed you must have been with Junior Concubine Xu,” Ning Qingshan said with a sweet smile, covering her lips with her handkerchief.
Everything she said was meant to show that she had really thought Ning Xueyan was at Junior Concubine Xu’s place, so she hadn’t lied to those ladies in the flower hall just now. Meanwhile, the way she spoke also showed her grace and frankness. She had decided to disguise herself to the end, so although there was no outsider with them, she still took every opportunity to explain.
She disguised well, as if she was a person who was scrupulously honest even when there was no one around.
Such a person was the most difficult to deal with, because she seemed to have no flaws, or maybe she kept on fixing her flaws all the time. If Ning Xueyan was still as kind and naive as she used to be in her last life, even if she had heard Ning Qingshan speaking ill behind her, Ning Qingshan would be able to convince her in a few words, and made her feel that she had wronged her.
Unfortunately, her opponent was Ning Xueyan, a girl who looked weak and peaceful, but actually cold-blooded inside.
Although Ning Ziyan didn’t disguise as perfectly as Ning Qingshan did, she had been hypocritical in front of Ning Ziying. Since she had been cheated once in her last life, Ning Xueyan wouldn’t be fooled again, and now her eyes were bright and her heart was as hard as a rock!
“Thank you for your concern, Third Sister! I thought you were deliberately saying that I was being with Junior Concubine Xu. I wondered maybe I had offended you without knowing it, so the day after you just came back, you were mad at me,” Ning Xueyan said with a slight smile, which made Ning Qingshan not clear whether she meant it or she was just joking.
Ning Qingshan had a feeling that Ning Xueyan who stood beside her wasn’t the same person who had hidden herself in Bright Frost Garden all the time. They were totally different by nature! Was she really Ning Xueyan? How could she have changed so much? Ning Qingshan wondered subconsciously.
What made her think this way mainly because the personality of the person in front of her was far cry from the girl’s in her memory.
How could a person have changed so much? Under what situation could be a timid person became so sharp and smart?
To Ning Qingshan’s surprise, Ning Xueyan wasn’t moved by her concern and she didn’t hold her hand and call her ‘Third Sister’, but said something meaningful instead which made her more confused.
Was she really Ning Xueyan?
“Fifth Sister, I wasn’t mad at you. Though we were not born by the same mother, we are the closest sisters in the manor. Mom has left us, so we should help each other more so that we can lead a better life in the manor. If you meet any difficulties in the future, don’t hesitate to come to me!” she said.
Instead of showing suspicion, Ning Qingshan smiled gently, and her face looked as beautiful as a flower. It made her look more sincere to make good friends with Ning Xueyan. She even mentioned Madam Ming. Since she was Madam Ming’s daughter in name, it was normal that she had been closer with Madam Ming than Ning Yuling and Ning Lingyun.
She wasn’t sure whether the girl in front of her was real Ning Xueyan or not, but she was sure that this girl was smart and resourceful, so she needed to stay calm in front of her. Fortunately, the girl was still young, and couldn’t be as experienced as her. Ning Qingshan was confident that if she was more cautious, she would have no problem to deal with Ning Xueyan.
The stained account book was going to be found out soon, so she must show that she got well with Ning Xueyan in front of others, and thus nobody would suspicious about her.
To Ning Xueyan, what Ning Qingshan said sounded quite familiar. Although she was smiling, in her eyes, there was ice-like coldness. No wonder that Ning Ziyan and Ning Qingshan were close sisters, the way they spoke almost the same!
“Sister Ziying, you just arrived in the capital. Although we were not born by the same mother, I like you most in the manor. Since both of your parents have passed away, I should help you more, so that you can lead a better life. If you meet any difficulties in the future, don’t hesitate to come to me!”
At that moment, Ning Ziyan had held her hand and called her ‘Sister Ziying’ intimately. She had been so moved, and she had thought that after experiencing the pain of losing her mother, she had found a warm-hearted sister who sincerely treated her well!
But what had happened next? This “warm-hearted sister” not only had robbed her fiancé away, but also beat her hard, framed her for having an affair with another man, and murdered her finally. That was her close sister had done to her!
Ning Xueyan narrowed her eyes and hid all her sarcasm in the depth of them. When she raised her head again, a faint smile had appeared on her face. “Thank you very much, Third Sister! You’re the one who cares about me most. You worried that my hand to be injured, so you wanted to call the doctor for me. I know you regard me as your sister, so you are always so warm-hearted to me.”
Now they had arrived at Lucky Garden. At sight of them, a maid had lifted the door curtain and waited for them at the door. Therefore, what Ning Qingshan said was not only to Ning Xueyan, but to Madam Dowager as well. Smile appeared on Madam Dowager’s face when she found the two sisters were getting well with each other.
However, her smile faded away when she heard the last words Ning Xueyan had said just now.