Chapter 200 Investigation, and a Past Event about Ning Ziying
“What happened?” Ning Xueyan asked.
Seeing Mother Han waving her hand, Qingyu walked out cautiously.
Although it was impossible for Madam Dowager to come now, it would be better to be cautious.
“Miss, the plaques of the two shops in the name of Young Lady Ziying were replaced by those of the Xia Manor. It was said that these two shops were Eldest Young Lady’s dowry. The two shopkeepers were newly hired and even all the shop assistants were replaced. None of them knew who Young Lady Ziying was.”
The Ning’s shops were Ning Ziying’s property in the capital. They were neither big nor small, and were profitable enough for all Ning Ziying’s expenses at the Lord Protector’s Manor. When they were going to get married, Xia Yuhang had told her that the two shopkeepers seemed to have stolen something from the shops, and asked her to punish them. Ning Ziying had thought that she would marry Xia Yuhang sooner or later, so she had left the matter in his hands.
Later, all the dowry of Ning Ziying had been sent to the Xia Manor, and the two shops had become the property of Xia Yuhang. Ning Xueyan was a little surprised that Xia Yuhang had told everyone that the shops were Ning Ziyan’s dowry, and replaced the plaques with the Xia Manor’s so soon. She sneered. Thinking about this man, she was filled with disgust. How stupid she had been to think he had done everything for her good?
“But when I was inquiring about Young Lady Ziying, someone else asked about her as well. I thought it might be someone from her hometown, but after listening for a while, I realized that it wasn’t,” Mother Han said with certainty.
She had been thinking how she could ask about Ning Ziying, without arousing suspicion when she suddenly heard someone ask if the shop was named ‘the Nings’, and why it turned to be ‘the Xias’?
Then someone had told him that the shop was the dowry of the Eldest Young Lady of the Lord Protector’s Manor. Since Eldest Young Lady of the Nings had married the childe of the Xias, of course it should be named as ‘the Xias’!
“That person couldn’t have come from Young Lady Ziying’s hometown. Mother Wang said that the only acquaintance of Young Lady Ziying in her hometown was an old housekeeper of their manor. He had to take care of the houses of the Nings, so he wouldn’t have sent people here. Besides, before her marriage, the old housekeeper had sent many wedding gifts to Young Lady Ziying. It wasn’t possible for him to send people here in such a short time.”
Lanning shook her head and denied immediately.
Ning Xueyan leaned against the head of the bed and looked down at her slender fingers. Nobody could tell what she was thinking.
“I thought in the same way in the beginning, but I changed my mind soon. Because that person even didn’t know where Young Lady Ziying was, and he pressed the old shopkeeper many times, asking him the whereabouts of his former master, Young Lady Ziying. He also said that the shop didn’t belong to Ning Ziyan at all, and it was the property of Young Lady Ziying. He questioned how it had fallen into Ning Ziyan’s hand.”
At that point, not only the old shopkeeper had been so scared, but even Mother Han’s face had turned pale at fear as well. The man who had been asking about Ning Ziying did not seem to be a gentleman. His clothes had been bulging at the waist, as if a blade or sword at his side. It seemed he would draw out his weapon immediately once anyone had said something he did not like. In any case, nobody would believe such an aggressive person had anything to do with the gentle Young Lady Ziying.
“Someone is investigating Ning Ziying?” Ning Xueyan frowned slight, biting her lip.
Ning Xueyan recalled the woman in white at the Cloud Reflection Courtyard. Now a man who had suddenly come to the shop to look for Ning Ziying. She was sure he would not have been dispatched by the old housekeeper, and she could not figure out where he had come from for the moment. But it reminded her of the moment on the way she had come to the capital.
When she set off from her hometown, she had led a group of servants who drove luxurious carriages, carrying a lot of valuable dowry. But when they were approaching the capital, the team were been streamlined and the carriages were replaced by plainer ones in a small town.
These had all been arranged by the old housekeeper. He told Ning Ziying that her mother had warned before her death that gold, silver and satin were the most eye-catching things. As a lonely girl who had lost her parents, if being found out that she had a lot of property, Ning Ziying might get into trouble. Besides, it could even bring her death! Therefore, reducing the number of servants and changing the carriages would be the best choice.
Ning Ziying believed that her mother had said that out of concern for her safety. She had been very young and had just lost her parents, so it was normal that she would have followed her mother’s last words. She had never doubted about her mother’s motives, and no one had suspicions about her when she just arrived at the Lord Protector’s Manor.
When she thought it again now, she found everything was full of doubts. What if she had come to the capital with those luxurious carriages? Since Ning Zu’an was a powerful general, she did not believe that anyone would dare to get him in trouble for money.
However, if not because of this, why her mother did not want the others to know her whereabouts？It seemed that she had been trying to hide her identity, and even hide the fact that she had arrived at the Lord Protector’s Manor.
“Was mother trying to hide me from those people?”
“What do they want? Why are they looking for Ning Ziying?” Ning Xueyan wondered.
“What did those who were asked answer?” she asked.
“I heard them insist that they didn’t know Ning Ziying, and they have never heard that Ning Ziying was the owner of the shop. Their present master was the newly married wife of Childe Xia, the former Young Lady of the Lord Protector’s Manor. Since they didn’t know more than that, that man left,”
Mother Han thought for a while and answered. The shopkeepers and shop assistants were all newly hired, so of course they did not know who Young Lady Ziying was, and thought that Ning Ziyan was the owner of the shop.
It seemed it was time to take something out from the Cloud Reflection Courtyard. Ning Xueyan had not taken them out because she was afraid that it might arouse attention. She had hung out there recently when she had spare time and did not find anything abnormal. Once, she even had entered the Cloud Reflection Courtyard when there was nobody around.
It was empty inside, and those sacrificial offerings had been taken away. Dust could be found everywhere. Obviously, nobody had come here for a long time.
“Mammy, don’t go to the shops anymore, and don’t ask about Sister Ziying anymore. If someone asks you about that, just say that you know nothing,” Ning Xueyan said. She had come up with an idea.
“Miss, don’t you want to look into the matter about Young Lady Ziying’s shops?” Mother Han asked.
“It doesn’t matter whether we look into it or not. What’s more, we’re at the inner courtyard, so it’s not convenient to ask for something. But those people are different from us. They seem to come specifically to investigate things about Sister Ziying. If the shops are still there, they will find that the Nings and the Xias have problem. We just have to wait,”
Ning Xueyan said slowly, smiling.
Since someone was investigating Ning Ziying’s affairs, and they seemed to be doing better than Ning Xueyan herself, she was certainly willing to just sit back and leave others to find it out. She was sure that there was something she did not know about her last life. There were even doubts about how she had died. Except for the two cases of brocade, there must be something else had aroused Xia Yuhang’s attention.
Of course, someone else was more eager than her to find everything out.
After Ning Ziying was drowned in the lotus pool, people of the Lord Protector’s Manor kept it in secret. They only told the others that a relative of the Nings who lodged at their manor had died, and the outsiders even did not know her name. Since suicide was such an ominous and a miserable thing, the manor did not hold a funeral for her. What was more, someone seemed to be deliberately hiding the trace of her life at the manor, as if nobody had known that she had used to live here.
Ning Xueyan was not sure who the person was, Ning Zu’an, Madam Dowager or Madam Ling? But since someone had come to the capital to investigate Ning Ziying’s affairs, the person who was trying to hide her trails must be anxious. All Ning Xueyan had to do was looking on!
“Okay. Miss, it’s up to you,” Mother Han thought it over and nodded with agreement. She suddenly remembered another thing. “When I walked into the manor just now, I saw Mammy Luo walk over with a maid. The maid was pretty, but she was flirtatious in manner and didn’t seem to be a fine upstanding girl. After Mammy Luo walked away, I asked someone about the girl, and was told that she was Xia’er’s younger sister. Third Young Lady pitied her for being alone, so she brought her here to be a maid,” Mother Han said.
“Xia’er’s younger sister?” Ning Xueyan frowned, a trace of coldness appeared in her eyes.
If Ning Qingshan had not made Xia’er her scapegoat, Xia’er would not have been beaten to death. Ning Xueyan was sure that Ning Qingshan must have tried another trick to get Xia’er’s younger sister into the manor.
“She failed to frame me this time, so she came up with another trick! She has already injured her leg, but she was still thinking about setting me up. It seems she wants to make use of that woman from nowhere to fight me by telling her that Xia’er died because of me,” Ning Xueyan thought.
She was not afraid of Ning Qingshan’s tricks, but she did not want to be set up again and again.
“Mammy, pay a visit to Foggy Courtyard. Tell Third Sister that I asked you to see whether she had recovered. Tell her that I’m sick and I’ll visit her in person when I recover.” Ning Xueyan pointed at the gifts by the window. They were some medicinal materials and satin that Third Prince had sent to her.
“Miss, it seems to be improper to give the gifts that Third Prince brought you to Third Young Lady. Since they are not prepared by yourself, she may think that you’re not sincerer,” Mother Han suggested, looking at the gifts scatter on the table.
“It doesn’t matter. Since Third Sister is so noble, she won’t like what I prepared for her. Third Prince’s gifts are much better, and were more in line with Third Sister’s status,”
Ning Xueyan said with a smile, looking at Mother Han.
Even a personal maid of Ning Qingshan thought that she was extremely noble, so obviously, Ning Qingshan thought herself in the same way. Although she had not expressed this in front of people after returning from the imperial palace this time, Ning Xueyan was sure that Ning Qingshan looked down upon her from the bottom of her heart. If Ning Xueyan gave her the things from Third Prince, Ning Qingshan certainly did not want others to think she was inferior to her.
Things from the imperial palace were much better than those of the manor!
Moreover, neither Ning Xueyan nor Ning Qingshan had any valuable things. In spite of her popularity, Ning Qingshan was an adopted daughter. How could Madam Dowager give anything precious to her? If she wanted to show that she was not inferior to Ning Xueyan, the gifts she would give back to Ning Xueyan should be on par with Third Prince’s gifts.
Ning Qingshan was good at pretending to be gentle in front of the others. If Ning Xueyan had not forgotten to visit her and bring her gifts when she herself was ill, Ning Qingshan would definitely return the favor, and she would act in front of people and made them believe that she and Ning Xueyan had a deep affection for each other. Therefore, in any case, she would give gifts to Ning Xueyan in return that were even better than what Ning Xueyan had given to her!
Therefore, Ning Qingshan would definitely give Ning Xueyan the gifts that Fourth Prince had given to her that were even better than what Ning Xueyan had given to her in return.
It was said that the gifts from Fourth Prince were much more valuable than those from Third Prince.
These gifts were what she needed now.
“Got it. Miss, I’ll bring the gifts to her right now.” Mother Han did not understand Ning Xueyan’s attention, but she felt assured at the sight of the faint smile on her face. She agreed with what Ning Xueyan idea for no reason. Since her young master had ordered, she would do it immediately.
Mammy Han knew that her young master must have her reason, so what she had to do was follow her instructions.
Her young master was not the Fifth Young Lady who had always hidden herself under the wing of Madam Ming anymore.