Chapter 176 Being Kind to Your Enemy Is Often the Wrong Beginning
Xia’er was dragged outside the courtyard and to prevent her from screaming, her mouth was plugged with a piece of cloth. Ning Zu’an ordered the guards to execute the punishment. The servants knelt on the ground in the courtyard, lowering their heads. None of them dared even breathe heavily. Soon, the sound of sticks hitting people and muffled grunting came from outside the courtyard.
The air seemed to be filled with a faint bloody smell. Mammy Luo knelt on the ground with other servants with a pale face. She was scared and she had never expected that Madam Dowager would have ordered people to beat Xia’er to death. How could she be so cold-blooded to kill a person just because she had stained an account book!
The air was suffocating in the room as well. Junior Concubine Xu was so scared that she covered her mouth with her hand, shivering behind Ning Zu’an. She had forgotten that today was her big day. She had been very happy when she took the jewelry from Madam Dowager just now. No matter how First Madam protested, she had become the concubine finally, and obviously, she won the battle with First Madam this time.
If she would have a son with Ning Zu’an in the future, she might have the opportunity to compete with First Madam.
But now, she had changed her mind. Looking at the dark face of Madam Dowager and the knife-sharp eyes of Ning Zu’an, she realized that her fate was still in their hands. They could decide her life and death. The idea that she might replace Madam Ling and become First Madam was completely dismissed by her now.
The repressed stuffy groans from outside, intermittent, represented the passage of life!
Ning Qingshan’s face was as pale as a sheet and she couldn’t stay calm anymore. She pinched the handkerchief, her fingers trembling. The person who was being hit was her personal maid, Xia’er, who wasn’t strong at all, so it was impossible for her to withstand the fifty times beating. She had just returned to the manor. If her personal maid was beaten to death like this, what the others would think of her?
She also felt the authority of Madam Dowager, so in addition to shame, she was frightened as well.
But at the same time, this accident strengthened her determination. One day, she would climb to the top of power and decide the life and death of others.
Then Madam Dowager, Madam Ling, Ning Zu’an and Ning Xueyan would all be stepped under her feet. But she needed to wait. She would definitely be more cautious in the future and would never be as reckless as she was today. If she hadn’t been so hasty, things could be different. She thought that after three years of forbearance, she had gotten everything under her control. However, she had never expected that Ning Xueyan would have gotten in her way.
Ning Xueyan held up the tea cup speechlessly. She took a sip of tea gracefully, allowing the bitterness to refresh her heart. She looked down, and her jet-black eyes were cold and clear, without a trace of fear in them.
She wouldn’t feel that Xia’er was pitiful. The weak was the prey of the strong. If Ning Qingshan’s plan succeeded today, Ning Xueyan would be the one who got involved in trouble, and maybe her maid would be killed miserably.
She had failed to protect her maid in her last life, and she herself even had been murdered.
When it came to this life, she wouldn’t make the same mistake again. Therefore, she was fearless and would never retreat!
Lanning stood behind her and quietly watching Ning Xueyan’s delicate figure. She was so thin, but she made people feel strong. Among the nervous people in the room, Ning Xueyan looked so calm, strangely calm. It seemed she wasn’t been disturbed at all. Her long eyelashes cast a light shadow on her fair face, and no fear could be found in her eyes.
Lanning had never witnessed a servant being hit like that before. But she didn’t feel nervous when she looked at the delicate and slim figure in front of her.
Yes, her mind was in peace. She had never been so calm before.
She knew that danger had been close to her today. If the others found the stained account book at Bright Frost Garden, Ning Xueyan would have been blamed. As her personal maids, she and Qingyu would have been punished too. If that was the case, the one who was being beaten outside might not be Xia’er, but her and Qingyu. So it was a fight to death!
Since Ning Qingshan began to frame Ning Xueyan, Bright Frost Garden and Foggy Courtyard were hostile! So she didn’t need to show even the slightest sympathy to Xia’er, who was being punished outside.
Sensing that Lanning’s breath calmed down, a faint smile crossed Ning Xueyan’s eyes.
Lanning had always been a cautious person, but it was not enough. She must be absolutely loyal to her and obey her orders unconditionally. Moreover, she must be cruel. Ning Xueyan had always appreciated Lanning, but she was afraid that Lanning was too kind just like she had used to be in her last life.
Being kind to your enemy was often the wrong beginning.
Lanning was smart, so Ning Xueyan believed that she would understand the truth.
Xia’er failed to last until she was hit fifty times. She had no breath when she had been hit forty times. An older female servant came in to report, shivering. Obviously, she was extremely scared, and her voice changed with fear.
“Take her out!” Madam Dowager raised her head and said slowly, glancing at everyone present.
“Yes!” The older female servant dared not to say anything more. She wanted to stand up and leave, but she was so frightened that her legs went limp, so she couldn’t rise to her feet.
“Lanning, help her up,” Ning Xueyan ordered calmly. Her face was still pale, but it was because she was weak, not because she was scared. She showed no fear at all.
“Yes,” Lanning answered and then walked toward the older female servant. She supported her up, her face as calm as it used to be.
Madam Dowager nodded secretly. Ning Qingshan was pretending to be calm, while Ning Xueyan was really calm. Even her personal maid looked calm and at ease, showing the air of an excellent first maid. It was quite different from that of the unruly maid of Ning Qingshan.
“Qingshan, it wasn’t a big deal that you had only one maid to serve you when you have been at the nunnery in the last three years. But now things are different. You have returned to the manor, so you must have several first maids,” Madam Dowager said. Then she turned to Mother Qin and said, “Transfer two second-class maids from my courtyard to Third Young Lady’s Foggy Courtyard. Increase two maids for her temporarily. If it’s not enough, let me know.”
“Yes. I’ll arrange it right now,” Mother Qin answered and then walked out of the room, lowering her head. She blinked at Ning Qingshan before leaving.
Ning Qingshan immediately understood what Mother Qin was hinting. She walked over and said with a smile, “Grandmother, how can I ask the maids from you. Don’t bother. I can choose two maids in the manor by myself.” Ning Qingshan looked more natural than she was just now. She was gentle when she spoke and she didn’t seem to have been annoyed by what had happened just now.
Her personal first maid had been beaten to death just now. Did she really not mind?
She knew that Madam Dowager wouldn’t give her two maids merely to serve her. Ning Qingshan was ambitious and greedy, so she wouldn’t be willing to let Madam Dowager arrange her people to watch her.
“Qingshan, you have just come back from the nunnery, so I won’t feel assured if you don’t have any good maids to serve you. You have left the manor for three years, so there are some rules you might have forgotten. You must learn them again. Otherwise, the outsiders will laugh at you,” Madam Dowager said meaningfully. She looked at Ning Qingshan, not as amiable as she used to be.
This was extremely harsh.
“Got it. Thank you, Grandmother!” Ning Qingshan was sensible, so she walked to aside. A coldness flashed in her eyes when she glanced at Ning Xueyan beside her. She would never forget that all the humiliation she had suffered today was because of Ning Xueyan.
“Fifth Young Lady, this account book was stained. Ask someone to buy a new and blank one, and copy the stained one. After making sure that there was no error, ask Mother Qin to check again,” Madam Dowager said, frowning. She was tired, and she waved her hand to Ning Xueyan.
“Yes, Grandmother. I’ll do it right now.” Ning Xueyan nodded. Then she asked Lanning to wrap the account book with a piece of cloth. The fishy smell was too strong, and nobody could stand it if the account book wasn’t wrapped.
After waving good-bye to Madam Dowager, Ning Xueyan took Lanning out the room.
At the same time, the rumors that Third Young Lady of the Lord Protector’s Manor was ambitious and wanted to fight for the administration power the second day she had just returned to the manor were spread out secretly.
Ning Huaiyuan and Xia Yuhang were drinking wine at the backyard of Xia Manor.
Ning Huaiyuan didn’t want to attend the wedding ceremony of Ning Zu’an and Junior Concubine Xu, so he had found an excuse and came to Xia Manor. He took the opportunity to visit Ning Ziyan. Then he stayed at Xia Manor to have lunch with Xia Yuhang. They didn’t ask any people to serve them, but poured the wine by themselves after finding a pavilion and heating the oven. Since only the two of them present, they were relaxed and free.
“Yuhang, can you tell me something about your new concubine?” Ning Huaiyuan raised his head and said crossly. Ning Ziyan had told Ning Huaiyuan that Xia Yuhang had married a concubine. She also said if not because of that woman, she wouldn’t have lost her baby.
“She is just a concubine,” Xia Yuhang drank up the wine in the cup and answered with a faint smile.
“It’s not a big deal that you married a concubine, but Ziyan miscarried because of her! That was also your baby. Don’t you feel sad?” Ning Huaiyuan said angrily. Seeing that Xia Yuhang was so cold, he slammed the wine cup onto the table.
“My baby?” A strange smile appeared on Xia Yuhang’s lips. Maybe the baby shouldn’t come to this world. When he heard the news that Ning Ziyan miscarried, he wasn’t that sad as he had imagined.
If it was a boy, he would be his first son. But so what?
If Ning Ziyan had never carried this baby, things might be different.
Xia Yuhang let out a long sigh and hid the bitterness in his eyes. When he raised his head again, he regained his gentleness and calmness. He explained, “Huaiyuan, I’m not lying. She is only a concubine. It was sensational and you know what happened between Chen Hexiang and me as well. I ran into her outside and she was pathetic, so I took her in. I was afraid that she might know it, so I… But since she has become my woman, I should marry her.”
Xia Yuhang said with a smile, as if he were talking about the story of other people. Except for a pause in his last words, he remained calm.
Although he had omitted some words, Ning Huaiyuan knew what he meant. He held the cup firmly with a complex look.
Of course he knew why Xia Yuhang had married Ning Ziyan. He hadn’t seen much of Ning Ziying, who had stayed at her place quietly ever since she had come to the manor. He only heard that she was a gentle girl. If Xia Yuhang had already had an affair with Chen Hexiang when Ning Ziying was still his fiancée, it seemed he hadn’t done anything wrong to Ning Ziyan.
He even felt that Ning Ziyan had overreacted.
After all, it was Ning Ziying who had an engagement with Xia Yuhang, not Ning Ziyan at that point! Even if Xia Yuhang had done something wrong, he should say sorry to Ning Ziying. Ning Ziyan had nothing to do with it at all.
“Anyway, Ziyan miscarried because of that woman. This kind of woman is by no means good. Don’t let her bully Ziyan.” Ning Huaiyuan knew it was improper to put it straightforward, so he had to hint Xia Yuhang.
“Got it. I’ll keep an eye on it. Let’s talk about you now. How did it feel to be back in the mansion?” Xia Yuhang smiled and shifted the topic.
“Yuhang, did you see my fifth sister? She is quite different from what she used to be!” Ning Huaiyuan suddenly thought of the girl under the plum tree, and he blurted.