Chapter 204 The Reason Madam Ming Adopted Ning Qingshan as Her Daughter
“Xinmei, have a look at the Buddha Hall after supper. First Madam has chanted the Buddhist scriptures for a long time, and I think she should have calmed down!” Ning Xueyan said casually with an elegant smile, sitting by the soft couch and leaning against a soft cushion.
Madam Ling had been so quiet in the past few days that she seemed to be a different person. She would have tried to stir troubles at Buddha Hall even before her son returned. Now, her son had come back, how she could become so quiet, as if she was sincere to seek the peace of mind at Buddha Hall.
Ning Xueyan had not figured out what Madam Ling was thinking, but now she was enlightened by what Ning Qingshan said.
She had thought of the possibility before, and now she was very certain about it.
“Got it! Miss, I’m going to visit First Madam, who devoted to Buddhist meditation, right now. Do you want me to drop in Third Young Lady’s courtyard?” Xinmei immediately understood Ning Xueyan’s intention. She passed the tea cup to Ning Xueyan and answered.
“You don’t have to go to Foggy Courtyard. Xinmei, I remember your master said that Ning Qingshan was injured in her leg, so it can’t be a sprain.” Ning Xueyan took the tea cup and stirred the tea foam inside. She looked calm and gentle, as if nothing could disturb her thoughts.
And it seemed that she was not talking about the delicate, reserved Third Young Lady of the Lord Protector’s Manor, but an ordinary servant.
“Yes. My master said that he asked someone to stab Third Young Lady in the leg and left a shallow wound. I guess her injury is quite similar as yours. I don’t understand what’s on Third Young Lady’s mind. How can she recover soon without careful treatment?” Xinmei said after thinking for a short moment. There were so many people of great martial arts in the imperial palace, so Ning Xueyan had not taken Xinmei with her. But Xinmei knew that Ning Xueyan had been injured soon after the accident, so she had prepared the medicinal herbs for Ning Xueyan in advance.
She had also heard Ning Qingshan’s injury. She was surprised that this proud Third Young Lady had played down her injury by telling the others that she only sprained her leg.
If Ning Xueyan’s physical condition was not that poor, she would not have fallen ill because of the injury. That was why she had stayed on the bed for a few days.
Unlike Ning Xueyan, Ning Qingshan had been so feeble recently and could only get off her bed until now because she concealed her injury.
Hearing what Xinmei said, Ning Xueyan only smiled, but said nothing. Xinmei could not understand what Ning Qingshan was doing, but Ning Xueyan was not surprised about it. Ning Qingshan was a perfectionist, so she was striving for perfection for everything—perfect reputation, perfect smile, perfect gentleness…
Since Ning Qingshan pursued perfection crazily, she would not let anyone know that she had a scar. What was more, she did not want Third Prince to look down upon her because of the scar. She would not let the opportunity to turn her from a sparrow to phoenix slip from her hand because of the imperfection caused by the minor accident.
Ning Qingshan tried to keep a perfect image on any occasion.
The next day, Xinmei reported to Ning Xueyan what she had seen when Ning Xueyan was sitting in front of the dresser and having Lanning making up for her.
“Miss, I checked yesterday and didn’t find anything wrong with First Madam. Even Mother Chen, who was sitting there with her looked normal. They were talking about Eldest Young Master. First Madam asked Mother Chen about Eldest Young Master’s injury, and Mother Chen told her that Eldest Young Master’s injury wasn’t serious and he would recover soon. After a few days, he would be able to visit her.”
“Nothing wrong with her?” Ning Xueyan blinked her jet-black eyes in surprise.
As a powerful Marchioness, how could Madam Ling stay calm to be locked up in the Buddha Hall? With Madam Ling’s personality, she should have rushed out the Buddha Hall forcibly at the news that Ning Huaiyuan was hurt. How could she still stay in the Buddha Hall and chant the Buddhist scriptures at ease!
“Is there anything unusual about Mother Chen?” Ning Xueyan asked with a frown. She felt something wrong, but she could not remember it for the moment.
“Nothing unusual about her. But I saw her ask someone to take more quilts and winter clothes to the Buddha Hall. She must be worried that the Buddha Hall was too cold for First Madam,” Xinmei answered after thinking for a while. In order to find some clues, Xinmei had stayed a long time there on purpose to observe.
She saw that Mother Chen began to make the bed for Madam Ling after chatting with her for a while. Since the quilts were all very thick, Xinmei thought a quilt would be warm enough, but Mother Chen laid three quilts on Madam Ling’s bed. Mother Chen also said that if these were still not enough, she would ask people to bring another two quilts. Besides, those clothes were very thick.
The Buddha Hall was lingered with the smoke of incense, and there was a heater inside, so obviously, it was unnecessary to wear so many thick clothes. “Ladies from rich families are different from average women. They seem too delicate and weak!” Xinmei thought.
More quilts and winter clothes? Although it was quiet and cheerless in the Buddha Hall, it was not cold inside. Besides, in order to pray there in the winter, Madam Dowager had asked people to prepare a stove there. Ning Xueyan knew that Madam Dowager could not have forbidden Madam Ling from light the stove. After all, Madam Ling was the First Madam of the manor.
Moreover, only people of the manor knew what mistakes Madam Ling had made, and those mistakes did not seem to be that serious, so it was impossible for Madam Dowager to punish her too severely. Above all, Ning Huaiyuan was Madam Ling’s son, so he would not watch her mother be ill-treated by Madam Dowager without doing anything. Therefore, Madam Ling’s behavior was more suspicious.
“Could I have guessed wrong and Ning Qingshan didn’t conspire with Madam Ling?”
Ning Xueyan lowered her head. The confusion in her eyes gradually turned to certain. She could not be wrong. Otherwise, Ning Qingshan would not have known that someone had poisoned her with infertile pills. In order to keep it from Third Prince and Honored Consort Ya, Madam Dowager had kept it as a secret, and only several Madam Dowager’s henchmen knew it.
Therefore, Ning Qingshan would not have known it.
She had been so offended by Ning Xueyan’s words that she blurted out that Ning Xueyan might not be able to conceive in the future. How could she know it? It was impossible for Madam Dowager to tell her about it. So she must have gotten the news from Madam Ling. Even she and Madam Ling had not met with each other openly, they must have met privately.
Or even they had not met with each other, Mother Chen and Mammy Luo must have met.
Ning Qingshan had not been back the Lord Protector’s Manor long, so she would not have visited Madam Ling. After the incident at the imperial palace banquet, her leg had gotten injured, so of course she would not have met Madam Ling in person. Madam Ling had been locked up in the Buddha Hall because she annoyed Madam Dowager, so the Buddha Hall was strictly guarded, and it was impossible for Madam Ling to come out. Then most likely, the two of their henchmen had met.
However, how could they be so confident that their henchman would convey their message clearly and accurately, without screwing things up?
“I must have missed something.” Ning Xueyan’s heart thumped.
“Mother Han, why did my mother adopt Ning Qingshan as her daughter?” Something flashed in her mind, but she failed to catch it. Ning Xueyan raised her head and asked seriously when she saw Mother Han walking in.
“Madam Ming did not offer to adopt Third Young Lady. Marquis brought her here, saying that she was the kid of his old friend and asked Madam Ming to adopt her as her daughter so that the kid wouldn’t starve at least. By that point, Third Young Lady was already six years old, and you were only three,” Mother Han answered after hesitating for a while.
“Ning Zu’an asked Madam Ming to adopt a friend’s kid to be her daughter out of pity?”
Ning Xueyan did not believe it at all. Ning Zu’an was even ruthless to his own child, how could he be so generous to adopt his friend’s child? There must be some hidden reason! There must be some story behind Ning Qingshan’s origin!
“Why did Third Sister move out from Bright Frost Garden?” Since Madam Ming had agreed to adopt her as her daughter, Ning Qingshan should have stayed with her at Bright Frost Garden. Why had she moved to Foggy Courtyard? Besides, every one of the manor had treated her even much better than they treated Ning Zu’an’s biological daughter.
Hearing that, Mother Han’s face darkened. She walked close to Ning Xueyan and let out a sigh, lost in memory. “Miss, in the beginning, Third Young Lady was very obedient and she used to be with Madam Ming for some time. She was pretty, smart and obedient. Although Madam Ming was always preoccupied, she would have been amused by her. So there was some time that Madam Ming treated her like her own daughter.”
Mother Han’s face even more darkened. “I thought that she really took Madam Ming as her own mother because she had lost her parents. That would be a good thing. However, once you were sick and after a long time, you still hadn’t recovered. Madam was very anxious and she stayed by your side for several days and nights. After you became a little better, I persuaded her to rest for a while. When I came back, I was stunned by what I saw.”
A horror look appeared on Mother Han’s face. She swallowed hard, as if she could not continue for the moment.
Ning Xueyan looked at herself in the mirror and asked calmly with a smile, “You saw Ning Qingshan trying to hurt me, right?”
“Mi-Miss, you’re right!” Mother Han stared at Ning Xueyan with wide eyes. She was so shocked that she did not know what to say.
“Calm down, Mammy. I’m just guessing. My mother loved Ning Qingshan so much, but I was also her child, so Ning Qingshan couldn’t enjoy my mother’s love alone, and she could only rank after me. Ning Qingshan is a person who peruses perfection, so it was normal that she couldn’t bear my mother being nicer to me than to her. Since there was nobody else in the room, it was a good opportunity for her to make a move.”
Ning Xueyan said with an indifferent look.
“Yes, Miss. I felt strange that it was quiet in the room. I thought maybe First Madam was in the room, so I became cautious. I walked to the window and saw Third Young Lady take something out from her pocket and pour it into your medicine bowl. Then she held you up and began to feed you that.”
Mother Han paused for a while. It was horrible that a little girl of only six had done this and she even looked as calm as nothing had happened in front of people. No wonder that Fifth Young Lady’s illness became more serious every time Madam Ming had left for a while. And after more than half a month, Fifth Young Lady had still not recovered.
The more she thought, the more frightened Mother Han had become.
She had gotten her head heavily knocking on the window frame out of fear, and it alerted Ning Qingshan. Mother Han had seen clearly that Ning Qingshan pretended to pour the medicine onto her clothes by accident and screamed, causing the maids and older female servants to come in and everyone was in a mess.