Chapter 192 Third Young Lady, Please Wait!
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“Third Sister, so you think the bracelet is of no importance?” Ning Xueyan asked, pointing at the bracelet. She sneered inside, but did not show it on her face.
From the appearance of the bracelet, one could tell it was valuable. And all the gems on it were precious. Ning Qingshan had not expected that Ning Xueyan had such a valuable thing. But she was not that surprised. Since she had been in the imperial palace for some time, and seen many valuable jewels of Honored Consort Ya, she certainly would not make a fuss about a fine bracelet.
“Fifth Sister, don’t be naughty. The bracelet is really beautiful. But don’t worry. I have a pair of bracelets similar to this one. I’ll give them to you when we’re back,” Ning Qingshan said generously.
It seemed in any case, she was a generous, nice elder sister. Many people among the crowd were impressed by her, and they thought that Ning Xueyan was too vexatious. It was not a big deal, but she had made the two honored imperial concubines uneasy because of it.
But a few of others did not think in the same way. They put on a weird look and looked at Ning Qingshan with disdain.
Honored Consort Shu laughed, covering her mouth with a handkerchief. But she did not say anything.
Honored Consort Ya looked a little embarrassing. But she immediately said gently, “Third Young Lady, you must not have looked at it carefully. Your bracelets couldn’t be the same as this one. There are only a pair of such bracelets in the Chu Kingdom, and now only one piece left. Each gem on it is extremely valuable. So you can imagine how expensive it will be with so many gems on it.”
Of course the bracelets of Madam Ming’s were extremely precious. All the gems on it were high-quality natural gemstones of the same size. It was not easy even to gather all of them. People who were experienced could tell it. But Ning Qingshan even boasted that she had a pair of bracelets just like this one. Obviously, she was lying.
She was not only had a poor taste, but she tried to cheat Ning Xueyan as well.
If you told a lie, others might not trust you anymore. It was hard to believe that Third Young Lady who was well-known for her loyalty and filial piety would have said something like that. When people thought it over, they found Ning Qingshan’s hint in her words. She had been telling people that Fifth Young Lady was very narrow-minded, and made a fuss over a trifle. “Could that be her who was framing Fifth Young Lady of the Lord Protector’s Manor?” someone thought.
Sensing the mocking, skeptical looks, Ning Qingshan felt ashamed. She bit her lip and could not stay calm anymore.
“Take the stupid maid out and beat her to death with sticks!” Honored Consort Ya ordered coldly.
Two eunuchs came over and skillfully stuffed a piece of cloth into the palace maid’s mouth. Then they each grabbed one of her hands and dragged her out.
Before she could utter a single word, the palace maid had been dragged out.
“Bring this bracelet to Fifth Young Lady, and give her another pair of bracelets as a gift,” Honored Consort Ya leaned back and ordered, losing all her interest in seeing into this matter.
“Got it.” A high-grade palace maid of Honored Consort Ya walked over to Ning Xueyan, with a delicate jewelry box in her hands. Meanwhile, another palace maid brought Ning Xueyan her bracelet.
Ning Xueyan knew that Honored Consort Ya did not want to see into this matter anymore. She smiled and bowed to Honored Consort Ya respectfully to show her thanks. Then she asked Lanning to take the bracelets and walked back to her seat.
“Young Ladies, go back to your seats,” Honored Consort Shu waved her hand and said. She was smiling all the time, seemed to be in a good mood.
All the Young Ladies understood what the two honored imperial concubines meant, so they returned to their seats soon. No matter what had happened, since Honored Consort Ya did not want to see into it, they would not meddle.
Maybe the palace maid had been attracted by the beautiful bracelet and stolen it when she sent the note to Fifth Young Lady. Or maybe the palace maid lied, and there was no note at all. Anyway, Honored Consort Ya had punished her, and it was over. Nobody could tell what had been going on.
In short, Third Young Lady did not seem to be as harmless as she looked. She was more like a scheming b*tch!
Suddenly, they heard someone shouting, “Here’s a hair-pin! A golden hair-pin! Whose is it?”
“It’s… mine! It’s mine!” The Young Lady who had lost her hair-pin rushed out. She saw a hair-pin under the tree at a corner, and it was hers! She could not help but cry out joyfully.
It suddenly became very busy over there.
Ning Qingshan stood there stiffly for quite a while. It was not until she regained her mobility that she returned to her seat.
She looked at Ning Xueyan, eyes full of hate. She had not expected that Ning Xueyan dared to talk about the note in front of the two honored imperial concubines. At that point, she had been worried, but could not say anything. By now, nothing bad had happened to Ning Xueyan, but Ning Qingshan was almost exposed.
If Honored Consort Ya had not been so determined and stopped that eunuch from accusing Ning Qingshan in time, she might have been exposed.
If that was the case, she was done. At thought of this, she sweated and her legs went weak.
Her reputation for “loyalty and filial piety” was nearly ruined!
Even though Honored Consort Ya did not see into the matter, many people had already begun to suspect her. Furthermore, what she had said about the bracelet made the others feel that she was inexperienced.
Noble family valued experience most. She was doomed to be laughed at if she was inexperienced.
How dared Ning Xueyan treat her like that!
She was staring at Ning Xueyan fiercely, and did not notice that Honored Consort Shu was looking at her. Honored Consort Shu suddenly said, “Third Young Lady, please wait a moment!”
Why did Honored Consort Shu call her? Ning Qingshan was shocked, but she immediately stopped and turned to bow to Honored Consort Shu respectfully. “Your Highness.”
The gentle and perfect smile came back to her face again.
“Third Young Lady, it’s said you are very close to Wan’er. When did you become so close? I remember three years ago, there was nothing between you. I wondered why Wan’er was starting to miss you after you have just come back to your manor a few days.” Honored Consort Shu said with a smile.
It sounded that she was chatting with Ning Qingshan casually, but Ning Qingshan felt like being struck by the lighting. She was frozen there with a pale face.
“Wan’er? Is Honored Consort Shu talking about Fourth Prince, Ao Mingwan? Why did she say I was close to him? Although she said politely, she seemed to be hinting that I have seduced Ao Mingwan, so he was starting to miss me after I have just come back to our manor a few days!” Ning Qingshan thought.
Honored Consort Ya’s face darkened as well. She had chosen Ning Qingshan as her future daughter-in-law. Now she suddenly heard that Ning Qingshan was close to Ao Mingwan, so she could not help being angry.
“Your Highness, I don’t… understand what you mean.” Ning Qingshan’s eyes turned red and tears rolled in them. She looked at Honored Consort Shu blankly, as if she was very confused.
“Third Young Lady, don’t cry. Otherwise, Wan’er may think I’m bullying you. It’s okay if there’s nothing between you. Maybe I misunderstood. Wan’er told me that he wanted to marry you as his co-consort. It seems I have made a mistake. I’ll confirm with him later,” Honored Consort Shu said, smiling. She shook her fan, looking guilty. Then she shifted her eyes to Honored Consort Ya.
“Sister Ya, I’m a straightforward person, and I can’t hide anything. I’ll teach Wan’er a good lesson after returning to my palace, so that he won’t dare to talk nonsense again. I was wrong about Third Young Lady,” she said.
Her words easily reminded people of the ambiguous relationship between Ning Qingshan and Third Prince. It was said that Ning Qingshan would marry Third Prince as his wife. It seemed that Fourth Prince liked her as well, and he had pleaded Honored Consort Shu to agree him to marry Ning Qingshan as his co-consort . For Third Prince and Honored Consort Ya, it was a real slap on the face!
The woman that Third Prince wanted to marry as his wife could only be a co-consort of Fourth Prince!
What was more, the imperial family most tabooed brothers liked the same woman!
Thinking about this, Ning Qingshan’s face turned as white as a sheet. No matter how vicious she was, she was only a girl of sixteen years old, and she was not match for Honored Consort Shu, who had fought with other women at court for years. Besides, she had not gotten married yet, so it was improper for her to talk about the relation between men and women too much.
Because it was quiet now, although Ning Xueyan was a little far from them, she still could hear what they were talking about. She was surprised that Ao Mingwan liked Ning Qingshan. Obviously, Honored Consort Shu did not like Ning Qingshan. It was an unexpected pleasant surprise for her to know that the sociable Ning Qingshan had offended Honored Consort Shu. Ning Xueyan had shown herself in front of people just now, now she only wanted to quietly watch the others perform.
She held up the tea cup and took a sip of the tea. Then she began to watch what was going on with a smile.
Suddenly, she sensed two cold and sharp gazes. She looked back subconsciously and saw a pair of extremely beautiful, but cold eyes. “Ao Chenyi? Doesn’t he like to watch harem fight? Why is he looking at me?” Ning Xueyan was a little surprised, blinking her eyes.
Seeing Ning Xueyan turn her head, Ao Chenyi curved up his lips and a faint smile appeared on his face. He glanced at his ‘favorite concubine’ beside him, who did not dare even move, and then held up the wine glass and took a sip of the wine slowly.
The blood-red wine soaked his lips, made them look extremely charming, but cold and dangerous as well. Ning Xueyan suddenly remembered what she had promised Ao Chenyi. She frowned slightly. It seemed she had no choice but acted as his favorite concubine.
But accidents were happening one after another, and there was no sign that everything would come back to normal soon. Besides, it was an imperial party. What excuse could she find to leave?
“Honored Consort Shu, you’re really frank. His Majesty talked about you the day before yesterday. He said you were the most straightforward person in the imperial palace. I didn’t expect that Fourth Prince to be as straightforward as you. It’s really good! I’ll tell His Majesty later,” Honored Consort Ya said with a gentle smile.
But Honored Consort Shu’s smile faded away when she figured out what Honored Consort Ya meant.
She knew that the emperor wanted to choose the heir to the throne from his sons. Now the most powerful princes were Third Prince and Fourth Prince, so there was bound to be a fight between them, and their mothers, Honored Consort Ya and Honored Consort Shu, were also being at strife openly and secretly.
They both knew that the emperor wanted to choose a thoughtful and capable prince, who was able to suppress Prince Yi, Ao Chenyi, to be his successor. If he were a straightforward person, not only he was unable to control Ao Chenyi, but he might be killed by him. If Fourth Prince was such a person, the emperor would immediately kick him out from the candidates for his successor.
Honored Consort Shu knew what Honored Consort Ya was hinting, and for a moment, she did not know what to say.
“Sister Ya, you’re joking. Wan’er has royal blood. How could he be as silly as me?” Her embarrassment could be discerned in her words.
Since Honored Consort Shu had given in, Honored Consort Ya stopped fighting her. She turned to Ning Qingshan and said with a smile, “Third Young Lady, you can go back to your seat now. Fourth Prince was joking with his mother. The kid is smart, but he always likes to make jokes.”
“Yes. Wan’er likes to joke. It’s very annoying sometimes. Third Young Lady, I hope you’re not offended,” Honored Consort Shu said with a smile. Since Honored Consort Ya had given her an out, she immediately followed her and explained to Ning Qingshan politely.
She seemed to bear Ning Qingshan no ill will at all, and what she had said just now was more like a joke.