Chapter 172 Being Defeated Because of Self-righteousness
There was a touch of coldness in the depth of Ning Xueyan’s eyes, and the faint smile on her lips gradually turned to a sneer.
“Ning Qingshan is really not easy to deal with! She has even come up with such an idea to disentangle herself from me! Since Xia’er accused me like that, I have no chance to send the account books to Foggy Courtyard today,” she thought.
She knew that Xia’er was inspired after her master slapped her and knelt down in front of Madam Dowager for her mistake. That was why she banged her head so hard onto the ground. She wanted to arouse the other’s sympathy and let them suspect Ning Xueyan by hinting Ning Xueyan was a vicious girl and she was trying to frame Ning Qingshan’s maid.
Seeing everyone watching herself, Ning Xueyan walked over calmly and knelt down as well. “Grandmother, don’t be angry. I should be blamed. I just wanted to joke with Third Sister, but I didn’t expect that she would have been implicate because of this. Grandmother, if you want to punish Third Sister, please punish me first.”
“Ning Qingshan doesn’t want to be close to me, and she wants everyone to think that there is bad blood between us. I won’t let her get away with it!” Ning Xueyan thought.
“Fifth Young Lady, did you deliberately pull back the account books just now?” Madam Dowager’s face lit up a little when she heard Ning Xueyan take initiative to admit her mistake. She had thought it over and found it was true that Xia’er rushed over to take the account books from Ning Xueyan and she lost her balance because Ning Xueyan withdrew the account books.
“Yes. It’s all my fault. Grandmother, please don’t punish Xia’er. Even if she did something improper, please forgive her for the sake of the big day of Junior Concubine Xu,” Ning Xueyan said with a smile, raising her head.
She kept a low key when she admitted her mistake. Furthermore, she was interceding for Xia’er sincerely and taking all the blame on herself. She admitted that she deliberately withdrew her hands because she wanted to play with Ning Qingshan. It was normal among sisterhood. So it wasn’t a big deal at all.
Moreover, she explained this clearly that there were no hard feelings between her and Ning Qingshan.
Compared with Xia’er, who broke her head by banging her it onto the floor, Ning Xueyan seemed more natural and frank when she spoke. Ning Qingshan and Xia’er overreacted, and looked contrived.
Nobody had expected that a small incident would have come to this far on a joyous day! The old ladies present all focused on the big picture, so in their mind, the well-known Third Young Lady didn’t seem to behave better than the unremarkable Fifth Young Lady.
This matter wasn’t that serious, but someone bled on the day of a wedding was really ominous. If Ning Qingshan hadn’t slapped Xia’er, but explained carefully instead, plus Ning Xueyan’s additional explanation, Madam Dowager wouldn’t have blamed Xia’er and asked someone to slap her because of misunderstanding.
Moreover, the maid had always called herself ‘I’. A mannered maid would never do this. It was said Third Young Lady was a person of good manners, but obviously, that wasn’t the case.
She could be nice to her maid. But if she allowed her maid to call her master ‘You’ and call herself ‘I’, the old ladies would think that she wasn’t a stickler for rules.
The result was totally out of Ning Qingshan’s expectation. Xia’er had made trouble by accident, and she slapped her because she wanted to flatter Madam Dowager. She thought that after Xia’er had gotten the sympathy from the old ladies and shifted the responsibility to Ning Xueyan under her instruction, nobody would want to send the account books to her place anymore. But now, Ning Xueyan was not affected at all, while she appeared to be ignorant and ill-behaved.
“Get up!” Anger crossed Madam Dowager’s eyes, but she immediately turned to be gentler. She turned her head and said, “Mother Qin, take her out. The outsiders will think that we ill-treated our servant if they saw her bleeding on such an occasion. Besides, it’s ominous.”
Old ladies like Madam Dowager was extremely superstitious. But she was experienced, so although she was mad at Ning Qingshan, she didn’t show it on her face, but generously asked Mother Qin to take Xia’er out instead.
“Today is a joyful day, so don’t make things big. Otherwise, the outsiders will gossip,” she reminded and said.
“Yes, Madam!” Mother Qin walked over and supported Xia’er up. Then she led her out of the room.
Ning Qingshan had been held up by an older female servant. She lowered her head and shook off the dust from her dress. Xia’er didn’t get Ning Qingshan’s instruction, so she dared not to make trouble again and followed Mother Qin out.
“Third Sister, I’m sorry! Your maid was injured because of me, so please accept my apology,” Ning Xueyan said apologetically. She gave the account books to a maid beside Madam Dowager, and bowed to Ning Qingshan respectfully, lifting the hem of her skirt.
“Forget it. It’s not a big deal. If I was a little stricter to her, she wouldn’t have made such troubles,” Ning Qingshan said with a smile. She looked gentle and mild, as if she wasn’t annoyed by Ning Xueyan at all.
“Third Sister, I’m so glad that you’re not angry with me.” Ning Xueyan took a deep breath of relief, and her smile became more vivid. She said coquettishly, “That will be terrible if you’re mad at me and don’t want to check the account books for me!”
“Are the account books really so difficult?” Madam Dowager naturally took an account book from the maid.
She was a little unsatisfied with Ning Qingshan because of the incident just now, and she looked not as happy as she had been. And now, she didn’t put in a word when Ning Xueyan and Ning Qingshan was talking.
Ning Qingshan was sensitive to the dissatisfaction of Madam Dowager, but when she saw Madam Dowager was checking the account book, she was secretly happy. She was surprised that Madam Dowager would have checked them in person.
Everyone would sense something wrong if she took the account books close to herself. The fishy taste was so strong that everyone could smell it.
“Grandmother, let me take a look!” Ning Qingshan looked curious and got her body closer to Madam Dowager. Her face turned pale when she smelled a pleasant fragrance, instead of a fishy taste.
There were a total of five account books. Madam Dowager only took the one on the top and checked it briefly. She found that it was true that there was still some unfinished content in the account book. Then she quietly put it back into the maid’s hands and ordered, “Take them to Foggy Courtyard.”
The maid said yes and was about to walk out.
Ning Qingshan was extremely anxious and she took several steps forward and said, “Grandmother, don’t bother. I’ll ask my maid to take them back.”
She reached out and was about to take the account books from the maid.
The maid was shocked when she saw a master reach out to take the account book from her in person. She looked at Madam Dowager at a loss. She dared neither give the account books to Ning Xueyan nor pull them back.
Every Young Lady was honored and they would ask their maids to send or accept things from the hands of other master’s maids.
Ning Qingshan didn’t seem to have noticed the embarrassment of the maid. She grabbed the bottom account book and pulled it out forcibly.
“Third Sister, take it easy. How can you do it in person…” Ning Xueyan’s voice rang out in time. But before she could finish her words, with several bangs, all the account books dropped onto the floor from the maid’s hands due to the forcible pulling.
Ning Qingshan was sure that Ning Xueyan had known the account books were stained. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have done so many things, and she had even sprinkled some fragrant powder on it. Ning Xueyan must be worried that she might find out the stained page, so she did this. Ning Qingshan didn’t believe that Ning Xueyan had just wanted to play with her when she withdrew the account books, because she knew their relationship wasn’t that close.
This had been the case before, and it was now as well!
That was why she had to take the book in person. Nobody would mind her little recklessness when the stained account book was found later.
She didn’t care about what Ning Xueyan said at all. When she heard the sound of the account books falling to the ground, she took several steps back, looked like she was frightened. In order to arouse more attention, she screamed in a low voice, as if she found out something abnormal. She was very confident that Ning Xueyan couldn’t remove the stain from the account book no matter how capable she was.
Accompanied by her scream, all the account books dropped onto the floor!
Because those old ladies had no mental preparation, they were all taken aback. An old lady among them with poor physical conditions felt dizzy and fell onto an older female servant beside her, and it caused the older female servant to scream a lot.
“What’s wrong?” Madam Dowager couldn’t hide her anger anymore. She was asking the maid, but her eyes were on Ning Qingshan. From what Ning Qingshan had done and what Ning Xueyan had said, she could tell that the account books dropped because Ning Qingshan was worried about something. She wondered why Ning Qingshan who had been calm became so reckless today.
Seeing that Madam Dowager was angry, the maid was so scared and immediately knelt down. She argued, “Madam Dowager, Third Young Lady reached out so quickly, so I couldn’t hold the account books firmly.”
She didn’t dare to shift the responsibility to Ning Qingshan, but she suddenly came up with an idea. She borrowed what Ning Xueyan had said just now and hinted that Ning Qingshan didn’t behave properly and took things from a maid’s hands in person, and because she grabbed the account books so urgently, all of them were knocked to the ground.
“Third Young Lady!” Madam Dowager stared at Ning Qingshan with a dark face. The other old ladies were looking at her disapprovingly.
Now they knew the reason that the maid was unruly, because her master was undisciplined as well. They wondered why the rumors said that Third Young Lady of the Lord Protector’s Manor was a person of good manners and had the air of the prince’s wife. Did a person who was as obtrusive as her was really suitable to become a Consort of Prince?
“Grandmother, sorry. I was eager to see Fifth Sister’s account books, so I knocked them to the floor by accident. I’ll pick them up now.”
Ning Qingshan was surprised, because the stained page wasn’t exposed in front of them. But soon, she resumed calm. She thought it must because Ning Xueyan was lucky that even the account books had dropped onto the ground, the stained page didn’t show. She secretly looked at Ning Xueyan who was standing beside her and found Ning Xueyan’s face was extremely pale. She stared at the account books on the floor nervously, and that made Ning Qingshan felt a little relieved.
From Ning Xueyan’s look, she could tell that the stain on the account book hadn’t been removed yet, so she didn’t need to be so nervous. She then said to Madam Dowager with a smile and then crouched and was about to pick up the account books on the floor.
“Qingshan!” Seeing that she was going to pick up the account books in person regardless of her status, Madam Dowager warned her coldly, knocking the floor hard with her walking stick.
It had been three years since Third Young Lady left the manor. She wondered how could a smart girl became so stupid, and on such an occasion, she even wanted to do this kind of things in person. It was really too disrespectful!
“Third Sister, just let the maids pick them up. Don’t worry, Grandmother will ask them to send the account books to your place after they are picked up.” Ning Xueyan persuaded with a smile.
Hearing the warning of Madam Dowager, Ning Qingshan dared not to bend over again. obviously, Madam Dowager was in a rage. Ning Qingshan had been cautious and she knew she didn’t behave properly today. If she ignored Madam Dowager’s warning and picked the account books up in person, Madam Dowager would be angrier. It was not worth it.
“Got it. Grandmother, I should be blamed!” She straightened up, but didn’t walk backward. She bowed gracefully to Madam Dowager. Madam Dowager would have been delighted when she saw Ning Qingshan bow to her, but now she only felt humiliated at the thought of her improper behavior. What made her feel more embarrassing was that she had praised Ning Qingshan incessantly in front of those old ladies.
Therefore, she glanced at Ning Qingshan with a dark face. She didn’t answer Ning Qingshan, but looked at her meaningfully instead. She then said to the maid who was kneeling on the floor, “Pick up the account books immediately and send them to Foggy Courtyard.”