Chapter 217 Ning Qingshan’s Plan
Third Prince, who was outside, straightened himself up, and walked in slowly, with his hands clasped behind his back. The doorman did not dare to stop him when he saw it was Third Prince, and he immediately stood aside. Two guards followed Third Prince in, one following him closely, empty-handed, the other one a few steps behind them, with a leash in his hand, and at the end of the leash was a small hound.
The maid who hid herself with the other maids behind Ning Xueyan, looked up nervously.
She looked as ordinary as the other maids, and it was obvious that she was not Concubine Ma, which was what everyone thought.
Ning Qingshan’s head buzzed, as if she had been struck heavily by something. Staring at the maid, who looked so plain and bore no resemblance to Concubine Ma at all, Ning Qingshan’s brain went completely blank. She could not believe her own eyes. She looked at the maid blankly, and the handkerchief in her hands was almost ripped to pieces.
She could not speak, and she was not in the mood to show her charming face at the best angle, a trick she had practiced countless times in front of the mirror!
“How did that happen? Caifen watched Concubine Ma following behind Ning Xueyan, dressed in a maid’s attire. How could she turn to be another person in such a short time?”Ning Qingshan wondered.
“I’m… possible! It must be Concubine Ma…” Mammy Luo was so shocked that she muttered to herself, with her eyes wide open.
“Mammy Luo, why are you so certain that it is Concubine Ma?” Ning Xueyan sneered, but her voice was very gentle.
“We saw Concubine Ma changing her clothes and following behind you with your maids…” Mammy Luo was so shocked that she was in a state of panic. She received a hard slap on herface as she answered Ning Xueyan, almost subconsciously.
“Since you saw Concubine Ma following behind Fifth Young Lady, why did the others tell us that she was chatting with our grandmother? Was that a ghost you saw?” Ning Huaiyuan slapped her and yelled angrily.
Mammy Luo shivered and suddenly came back to herself. She knelt and gave a far-fetched explanation anxiously, “Eldest Young Master, I did not see it in person. When I walked over with Madam Dowager’s two older female servants, a maid told me this. Therefore, Third Young Lady and I thought that Fifth Young Lady was going to take Concubine Ma out of the manor.”
She tried to explain why she had accused Ning Xueyan of trying to help Concubine Ma to leave the manor secretly, as soon as she arrived.
Ning Qingshan came back to herself as well. She calmed herself down and sighed helplessly. “Mammy, I told you that you should make things clear before you speak. You’re so quick-tempered and you always lose your cool when people say something. You must get rid of this habit! You’re lucky that Fifth Sister is a generous and kind person. Otherwise, you’ll get into trouble!”
She was hinting that if Ning Xueyan refused to let Mammy Luo off, she would be considered a selfish and vicious person.
At such a moment, Ning Qingshan was still playing tricks! What a vicious woman she was!
Since Ning Xueyan discovered that Ning Qingshan had poisoned Madam Ming when she was only a child, Ning Xueyan had decided to make her pay for it. Therefore, she would not let any chance to deal her a blow, go by.
“Third Sister, Mammy Luo is not only quick-tempered, but also able to foresee what will happen next. She is really capable! The maid merely told her that Concubine Ma was with my maids, and immediately she came to a conclusion that Concubine Ma was trying to escape, and I was going to help her to do this to meet her lover. Mammy Luo said that I was an evil and extremely shameless daughter, and she almost wanted me to commit suicide to make up for my mistake. Although she is only a servant, she is even more eloquent than those censor-in-chiefs! She is really good at framing people by using subtle means!”
Ning Xueyan said this coldly, a faint sarcasm showing in her moist and beautiful eyes. She paused a little as she spoke each word.
“Third Sister, you really found a capable servant for yourself! If Concubine Ma had really mingled with my maids, Third Sister, you would have forced me to commit suicide here. Am I right?”
Ning Qingshan praised Ning Xueyan for her generosity and kindness, hoping she would forgive Mammy Luo. However, Ning Xueyan had already decided to fight them to the end, so she would not let Mammy Luo off so easily.
She believed that Ning Qingshan would not miss any chance to set her up. She shifted her eyes from Ning Huaiyuan to Third Prince, who was walking to them, and to the small houndbehind Third Prince.
Their plan was really thorough! If Ning Xueyan did not die as they had expected, they would frame her by saying that she had something to do with the previous dynasty. Then she would be useless to the Lord Protector’s Manor, and would be abandoned.
Each of her words hit home. Ning Qingshan blushed with shame, and she almost could not say anything. However, she had to say something. Otherwise, Mammy Luo would end up like Xia’er.
It was not because she had a deep affection for Mammy Luo, but because Mammy Luo was too important to her. Besides, she had a secret, and except for Mammy Luo, no one else could help her. She had to save Mammy Luo, no matter what.
“No, no! Fifth Young Lady, I will not dare to do that. I thought as the maid said, you really… Fifth Young Lady, if you don’t trust me, you can ask them. They are Madam Dowager’s servants, you should believe them.” Looking at Ning Xueyan’s cold face, Mammy Luo knew that she would not forgive her that easily. She pointed at the two older female servants of Lucky Garden and said anxiously.
Of course the maid who had spread rumors about Concubine Ma’s escape had been arranged by Mammy Luo in advance, but now Mammy Luo had to shift the blame to her. Otherwise, Mammy Luo herself might lose her life. Mammy Luo was loyal to Ning Qingshan, but she shuddered at the thought that Xia’er had been beaten to death not long before, and now it might be her turn.
“Fifth Sister, it’s all my fault. I pampered these servants too much, and they became too arrogant. But Mammy Luo is my wet nurse and I will take care of her when she is old. Fifth Sister, you can vent your anger on me. You can either beat me or curse me, but please forgive Mammy Luo.”
Ning Qingshan became extremely anxious, when she saw the sneer on Ning Xueyan’s face. Having no time to think too much, she walked to Ning Xueyan and was about to kneel in front of her.
If Ning Qingshan knelt in front of Ning Xueyan, before the Third Prince and Ning Huaiyuan at the gate, everyone present would think that Ning Xueyan had forced her elder sister to kneel to her, and all the people of the capital would spit upon her.
Ning Qingshan was even more skillful in using deadly traps! By doing this, on the one hand, Ning Qingshan could show how she cared about her servant in front of people, on the other hand, she could force Ning Xueyan to agree not to punish Mammy Luo.
Ning Xueyan immediately grabbed Ning Qingshan by the hand to prevent her from kneeling. Meanwhile, she turned around and said to Ning Huaiyuan anxiously, “Brother Huaiyuan, come here and help me to raise Third Sister up! What will the outsiders think of our manor, if they know that she is willing to kneel to me, for the sake of a servant, who tried to set me up?”
Since he had found out that the maid was not Concubine Ma, Ning Huaiyuan had been standing aside, with an angry look on his face. Watching what was going on between Ning Qingshan and Ning Xueyan, Ning Huaiyuan had a thoughtful look and a trace of coldness in his eyes. Since Ning Xueyan was asking him for help, he had to come over and help Ning Xueyan lift Ning Qingshan up.
If he ignored what Ning Xueyan said and continued to watch Ning Qingshan kneeling, Ning Xueyan would not be the only one to be laughed at by people.
“Third Prince!” After pulling Ning Qingshan up, Ning Xueyan froze for a few seconds, as if she had just seen Ao Mingyu. She let go of Ning Qingshan’s hands and bowed slightly to Ao Mingyu.
“Third Prince!” Ning Qingshan pretended that she just caught sight of Ao Mingyu as well. She looked at Ao Mingyu, with tears in her eyes, looking pathetic and weak, as if she had been greatly wronged. She swayed a few times and almost fell to the ground. Thankfully, the maid by her side had quick reflexes, and caught her in time.
“What happened? What are you arguing about?” Ao Mingyu looked at Ning Xueyan with a complex look. Then he looked at Ning Qingshan. Although he seemed a little annoyed when he spoke, everyone could tell that he cared about Ning Qingshan.
“It has nothing to do with Fifth Sister. My wet nurse should be blamed for this. She believed the rumors and thought that Concubine Ma was trying to escape from our manor, by following Fifth Sister. She was quick-tempered and this annoyed Fifth Sister. I was trying to apologize to Fifth Sister just now.” Ning Qingshan wiped at her tears with a handkerchief and squeezed out a smile, but tears continued to stream down her cheeks.
Everyone could tell how wronged she was.
She was so scheming! It seemed she was telling Third Prince about what had happened and even though there was nothing special about her words, after thinking it over, people would think that she was defending Mammy Luo by describing such an incident as a misunderstanding. Besides that, she was hinting that it was Ning Xueyan who had misunderstood Mammy Luo, but she was making a fuss and trying to punish Mammy Luo.
That, plus her piteous look, made her look as if she was an elder sister who was being bullied by her younger sister. Even though she was being bullied, as an elder sister who took the interests of the whole manor into account, she did not speak ill of her younger sister.
This would make people think that Ning Qingshan was both generous and sensible. On the other hand, they would be disgusted with Ning Xueyan’s behavior. It could be a major incident or a minor one. Since it was just a misunderstanding and nothing untoward had happened, why did Ning Xueyan not want to let this go? It would not only ruin the manor’s reputation, but make people feel that she was too narrow-minded, as well.
“Ning Xueyan could not be compared with her gentle and generous elder sister at all!”
Seeing that Ao Mingyu’s face darkened at her words, Ning Qingshan was overjoyed. It seemed her scheme had worked well. Third Prince had gone over to her side when he saw her wronged face, and it meant that Third Prince still had feelings for her. It made Ning Qingshan feel more confident about what was going to happen next.
She had told Third Prince that she was going to his manor to visit him, but later, she changed her mind and asked him to come to the Lord Protector’s Manor. She knew it was improper, but since she mattered to Third Prince, it would not be difficult to explain it to him. She would tell him that she had planned to go to his manor, when she suddenly thought of that matter, so she had asked him to come over instead. Besides, she had just met Ning Xueyan by chance.
She looked at the guard standing a few paces behind Third Prince and evaluated the distance. It was still too far! Otherwise, why was there no response from the hound?
If this matter was exposed, Ning Xueyan would definitely be beheaded!
Then what Mammy Luo had done would just be a trifling matter. Ning Xueyan could not even protect herself, how could she punish Mammy Luo? Thinking about this, Ning Qingshan stole a glance of Ning Xueyan, a triumphant look in her eyes.
What would happen next did not have much to do with her, so what she needed to do was to watch the show.
If Third Prince found out what Ning Xueyan had done, even Madam Dowager and Ning Zu’an were unable to protect her. Besides, Ning Qingshan did not believe that Madam Dowager and Ning Zu’an would try to save Ning Xueyan for the sake of family affection. On the contrary, they would definitely abandon Ning Xueyan, and put all the blame on her instead.
It was impossible for Ning Xueyan to be lucky enough and reverse the situation again. She would watch her being punished!