Chapter 248 Madam Ling’s Scheme Is Different from Ning Qingshan’s
Xia Yudong had come to the manor with Xia Yuhang today. Of course, he had not told Xia Yuhang about what he discussed with Ning Qingshan privately.
He imitated Xia Yuhang’s every word and deed because Xia Yuhang was the most outstanding in the others’ eyes, and people always praised him for his literary talent, elegance, appearance and manners. Living in Xia Yuhang’s shadow since his childhood, Xia Yudong learned everything from Xia Yuhang unconsciously.
Because of this, he also got some compliments. Other people said that Minster Xia was good at educating his sons, as not only his first son had a very good manner, but his second son, whose mother was only a concubine, was so excellent as well.
Xia Yudong behaved like a graceful noble childe in front of people. He was obedient to Xia Yuhang and always gave priority to him. However, nobody knew that he was very resentful about it. Since both of them were Minister Xia’s sons and he was as excellent as Xia Yuhang, why did everyone take Xia Yuhang as a shining star, but he could only live in his shadow?
The concubine’s son! The concubine’s son! The fact that his blood was not as noble as Xia Yuhang weighed on Xia Yudong’s mind like a stone.
He swore that he would definitely rise high and prove to everyone that he was not Xia Yuhang’s follower and he could be more outstanding than him.
To achieve this goal, he needed to marry a woman from a powerful family. This could save him a decade or even a lifetime! Now the opportunity was coming. If he could impress Fifth Young Lady of the Lord Protector’s Manor and have her marry him, he might soon rise high.
Although Fifth Young Lady was unfavored and it was said that her status was even lower than a concubine’s daughter at the Lord Protector’s Manor, as least she was Ning Zu’an’s wedded wife’s daughter. If he married her, he would become Lord Protector’s son-in-law. Then everyone would think highly of him because of his identity.
Since both he and Xia Yuhang married Lord Protector’s wedded wife’s daughters, he would be as distinguished as Xia Yuhang in the future and nobody would look down upon him because he was a concubine’s son.
What was more, Xia Yuhang could not attend the imperial exam next spring, and if he wanted to attend the exam, he had to wait for another three years. Unlike Xia Yuhang, Xia Yudong still had the opportunity to attend the exam next spring. Therefore, he was more likely to win.
Besides, he considered himself a man of good manner and great literary talent, so he did not thought that he was inferior than Xia Yuhang. Moreover, he was promising and gentle with woman. Therefore, he was confident that he would be in the good graces of the Fifth Young Lady, who was unfavored at the Lord Protector’s Manor.
He had not had an opportunity to communicate with Fifth Young Lady when they were at Third Prince’s suburban courtyard. If they could meet a few more times and chat privately, he was confident that he would win Fifth Young Lady’s heart. What was more, at the thought of Fifth Young Lady, his heart thumped and he thought of her graceful eyebrows and moisture eyes. Although Fifth Young Lady was very young, Xia Yudong could tell that she would become an extremely beautiful lady in the future.
Xia Yuhang and Ning Ziyan had gone to the backyard to visit Madam Dowager. Xia Yudong could not go to the backyard for the moment, so he had no chance to bump into Fifth Young Lady. He wondered if Third Young Lady had already thought of this and would find an excuse for him to go to the backyard.
Everyone at the table with him was all noble childes of the capital. They were about the same age, so they seemed to have a lot to talk about and these childes seemed to admire Xia Yudong very much when they talked about poetry and prose. However, Xia Yudong had a feeling that they did not look at him the same way they looked at other people and he saw a trace of contempt in their eyes. After all, he was only a concubine’s son.
At the thought of this, he became resentful and stopped talking with them. He held up the liquor pot, poured a cup of liquor and drank all of them.
A maid with a liquor pot in her hand came over to pour liquor for Xia Yudong. Unfortunately, she poured the liquor onto the table by accident. Although Xia Yudong stood up quickly, the liquor still splashed on his clothes. Shaking his wet clothes, he could not help frowning.
Realizing that she was in a big trouble, the maid immediately knelt in front of him and apologized, “Sir, sorry! I’m sorry! I did not notice it!”
Since everyone was watching them, Xia Yudong could not lose his temper for the moment. He held back his anger and said, “Forget it!”
However, his clothes were wet and smelled of liquor. Besides, this made him looked untidy.
“Sir, please follow me. There are some spare clothes in that room and you can change your clothes there,” the maid said anxiously when she saw the stain on Xia Yudong’s clothes.
Normally, female guests would bring a suit of clothes with them when they attended an influential family’s banquet, but male guests would not. Therefore, the host would prepare a few sets of clothes in a wing-room to deal with some unexpected occasions. These clothes might not be the guests’ size, but they were better than nothing.
Some fastidious male guests would bring clothes from home as well. That would be even better, because they could change their clothes directly if something unexpected happened.
Since Xia Yudong was the concubine’s son, he was not that fastidious in his daily life, so he would not bring his clothes with him to attend a banquet.
At the thought that he would meet Fifth Young Lady after a while, he stood up helplessly and took leave of those noble childes beside him. Then he left following the maid.
There was a back door at the left-wing room, but the maid did not stop after leading him through it. After tuning two corners, they came to a path. It was a small garden and the flower fragrance could be smelled while walking on the path. Obviously, they had arrived at the backyard garden. A courtyard wall could be seen in the distance. It seemed that they were in the inner courtyard now.
Xia Yudong suddenly stopped walking. “Who sent you to me? Why are you leading me to the backyard?” he asked, a fierce look crossing his eyes.
The maid answered cleverly with a smile, “Mr. Xia, don’t worry! My master asked me to bring you here. Calm down! Nothing bad will happen and after a while, you will see the beautiful lady you have been longing for. Mr. Xia, you will be satisfied.”
“Did Third Young Lady ask her to bring me here to meet Fifth Young Lady?” Xia Yudong wondered.
“Did Third Young Lady send you here?” Xia Yudong still felt not assured, so he asked again.
“Of course. Mr. Xia, don’t worry. My master won’t do anything bad for you. After all, you are the relative of our masers, if something bad happens to you, Eldest Childe Xia and Eldest Young Lady won’t spare my master,” the maid explained with a smile, a quirky look crossing her eyes. Although she said that she had been sent here by her master, she did not specify who her master was.
“She wants me to wait up front?” Xia Yudong thought for a while with a frown and asked, pointing at the path.
“No, you should wait at the courtyard. Although there are not so many people here, it is inconvenient for you to meet Fifth Young Lady. After a while, Fifth Young Lady will come to the courtyard to rest. You can tell her that you come here by mistake while looking for Eldest Childe Xia,”
The maid answered with a smile. She specially reminded, “Fifth Young Lady is not sociable. Second Childe Xia, if you miss this opportunity, you may not get such an opportunity again. Then it will be too late for you to regret.”
Hearing that, Xia Yudong stopped talking and walked into the courtyard in front of them following the maid.
Madam Ling was talking to several noble ladies about Ning Qingshan when she was told that Xia Yudong had entered the inner courtyard. Everyone said that Third Young Lady was both noble and beautiful, so she would definitely have a promising future. Now Madam Ling had adopted Third Young Lady as her daughter, so those noble ladies immediately began to flatter her.
When they were talking excitedly, Mother Chen walked into the room and whispered in Madam Ling’s ear for a while. Knowing that something bad would happen to Ning Xueyan, Madam Ling was very happy and her smiling face looked even more amiable. She turned to those noble ladies and said, “You are all praising Third Young Lady for her beauty, but you don’t know that Fifth Young Lady of our manor is also as beautiful as a fairy. She is not only beautiful but also obedient.”
The noble ladies were curious when they heard Madam Ling talk about Ning Xueyan. “Marchioness, it’s said Fifth Young Lady is very timid and weak, and she does not behave like a noble Young Lady, but why are you praising her like that?” someone asked.
Most guests Ning Xueyan had greeted just now were Young Ladies and she had not come to the elder ladies yet. Besides, there were too many guests in the hall. Unlike Ning Qingshan, Ning Xueyan was not the star of today and nobody would have deliberately met her. Therefore, many guests had never seen Ning Xueyan. The noble ladies were curious when they heard Madam Ling praising her, for they all knew that Fifth Young Lady was not Madam Ling’s biological daughter.
“Of course Fifth Young Lady is excellent. I don’t know why the others spread rumors about her. Although she is a little timid, she is not weak. She is just too young.” Madam Ling seemed to be speaking for Ning Xueyan. It made the other ladies more curious. Someone suggested Madam Ling should have Fifth Young Lady here show them how outstanding she was.
Madam Ling immediately agreed to this suggestion and asked people to invite Ning Xueyan. After a short while, a maid came and reported that Madam Dowager had asked Fifth Young Lady to her courtyard and it was impossible for Fifth Young Lady to come out soon.
“Ladies, I will ask Fifth Young Lady to greet you when she comes out after a while,” Madam Ling said apologetically with a smile.
She was polite when she spoke this, so the others stopped talking about Ning Xueyan with a smile. However, they became a little more curious about Fifth Young Lady. Madam Ling seldom praised the others, so Fifth Young Lady must be very excellent! The Beauty Contest was coming. This Fifth Young Lady might be their daughters’ strong opponent, so they thought that they should know more information about her. These noble ladies immediately ask their maids and older female servants to collect the information about Fifth Young Lady.
However, Madam Ling did not think that what she had done did not make Ning Xueyan look stupid in front of people in what would happen next, but got her own daughter into trouble instead.
It was Ning Qingshan’s scheme to have asked Xia Yudong to seduce Ning Xueyan last time. However, in the beginning, Ning Qingshan had contacted Xia Yudong through Ning Ziyan, so Madam Ling had known her scheme from Ning Ziyan. However, this time, Ning Qingshan had contacted Xia Yudong directly and only asked Madam Ling to create an opportunity for Xia Yudong to meet Ning Xueyan privately. She had not planned to get Ning Xueyan into trouble this time and only wanted her to meet Xia Yudong and grew like him.
Ning Qingshan did not want to make trouble for the moment because she had a long-term plan, so she kept a low-key in doing this.
Since Madam Ling had just been released from the Buddha Hall, she was still in a rage and wanted to vent her anger on Ning Xueyan. Therefore, she had asked her maid to lead Xia Yudong to the inner courtyard. However, this was not enough.
She then began to praise Ning Xueyan in front of those noble ladies. Since today was the big day of Madam Ling and Ning Qingshan, all the guests were high-rank officials and wealthy people. It was the first time for Ning Xueyan to officially show up in front of the outsiders at the Lord Protector’s Manor. She had greeted some guests when Junior Concubine Xu got married with Ning Zu’an. However, it had just been a small party, so the guests were not so distinguished as the guests who came today.
Fifth Young Lady of the Lord Protector’s Manor had recently shown up in public for the first time. Hearing that she was even better than Ning Qingshan, of course those noble ladies would inquire about her. If Ning Xueyan was found out that she had an affair with Xia Yudong, Madam Dowager would definitely take measures to avoid the rumor spread. However, since this matter would happen suddenly, Madam Dowager would not have enough time to prevent the rumor from spreading. Therefore, if someone wanted to inquire, they would know it.
Besides, Madam Ling would leak the news to them ‘by accident’!
As a noble Young Lady who had just appeared in public, if Ning Xueyan was involved in such a scandal, it would be impossible for her to go to the imperial palace to attend the Beauty Contest.
Madam Ling was sure that everything would happen next would be under her control.
Madam Ling acted as her plan. However, although she was scheming, Ning Xueyan had found something wrong when she received the note.
There was only one line on the note, “If you want to know the truth about Madam Ming’s death, come to Orchid Garden.”