Chapter 259 He Turned out to be the Man I Am Looking for
“Come down and apologize to your eldest sister!” Weighing the pros and cons, Lord Guardian decided to be ‘fair’, so he immediately shouted at Heng Yuwan.
It meant that he had admitted that Heng Yuwan pushed Heng Yuqing into the winter. How could Heng Yuwan take the blame? She sobbed and protested, “Father, I did not…”
Lord Guardian was heartbroken when he saw his second daughter crying. However, after thinking it over and looking at the Young Ladies present, who were all the wedded wives’ daughters of other manors, he knew that he should not be partial to Heng Yuwan anymore. Then he shook his sleeve and turned to leave without looking at Heng Yuwan.
Feeling unjustly accused of trying to murder her sister, Heng Yuwan ran away, crying. Except for Ning Xueyan, the Young Ladies on the platform did not see any point in staying, so they all left. Ning Xueyan told the maid of the Lord Guardian’s Manor that she wanted to see how Heng Yuqing was doing. She was worried that Heng Yuqing might fall ill from fright after falling into the lake in such a cold winter.
All the maids had known that Eldest Young Lady fell into the water and Second Young Lady was humiliated in front of people. Since all the guests were noble Young Ladies, hearing that one of them wanted to visit Eldest Young Lady, the maids did not dare to ignore her request, so they ran to report to their master. After a short while, a maid came over and led Ning Xueyan to Heng Yuqing’s courtyard.
After returning to her own courtyard, Heng Yuqing had changed her clothes. She had been rescued in time. After being brought to the bank, she was covered with a warm robe and took a bowl of liquid medicine. A moment ago after she had brought back to her courtyard, the maid served her with a bowl of hot and spicy ginger soup, so she felt much better now. She asked all the others out when she heard that Ning Xueyan was coming.
Heng Yuqing got off the bed and bowed to Ning Xueyan formally. “Sister Xueyan, thank you very much! Without your help, I will be accused of pushing Heng Yuwan into the water.”
Although she was straightforward, she was smart. She had been frightened to death just now, but when she calmed down and thought it over, she suspected that everything had been prepared—the old female servants, the liquid medicine and the warm robe. Besides, she had been rescued and wrapped with a robe as soon as she fell into the lake.
Everything happened in order, so clearly, this had been plotted. Plus the obvious provocative words Heng Yuwan had said and where she had been, all these showed that Heng Yuwan had designed this to let the others think that Heng Yuqing was vicious and wanted to murder her sister.
If that was the case, they would complain to her mother who was still sick. It would aggravate her mother’s illness. At the thought of this, Heng Yuqing broke out in a cold sweat and she was shocked by Concubine Yun and Heng Yuwan’s evil intentions.
Ning Xueyan helped her up and let her lie in bed again. She then sat down on the bed. “Yuqing, you don’t have to thank me. I happened to be there when she tried to frame you. You should be more cautious in the future,” she said with a slight smile.
Like Ning Zu’an, Lord Guardian was also a scum! Ning Xueyan appreciated Heng Yuqing because she was a straightforward person. Although she was a little short-tempered, she was very kind. Therefore, she would not stand by if she could help.
However, she could not help Heng Yuqing all the time if such things happened again, so Heng Yuqing had to rely on herself. In the same way, if Ning Xueyan had been timid and hidden at Bright Frost Garden all the time, Madam Ling would not spare her.
Compared to the former Ning Xueyan, who had been bullied by Madam Ling, Heng Yuqing had her mother with her, and her situation was better.
“To avoid Concubine Yun from complaining to my mother, I attended Heng Yuwan’s birthday party and showed my sincerity. My mother is ill and she cannot stand any mental blow anymore. However, I did not expect that they were so vicious and did not even spare a patient!” Heng Yuqing said with tears in her eyes, holding Ning Xueyan’s hand.
“If I had pushed Heng Yuwan into the water today, my mother might be enraged to death and I would be the sinner of our manor. If my uncle came to our manor, my father would blame me for everything and told him that I caused all the trouble.”
“If that’s the case, you would feel guilty about Heng Yuwan. Therefore, if Lord Guardian wants to make Heng Yuwan’s mother his wedded wife, you and your uncle can’t stop him from doing this,” Ning Xueyan said slowly after a short silence.
The two of them figured out the whole scheme of Concubine Yun and Heng Yuwan.
“I won’t let them get away with it! A few days ago, we received the Beauty Contest candidate list with my name on it. However, my father told my mother that he wanted to keep me at the manor to take care of my mother and let Heng Yuwan attend the contest instead of me. Besides, he wanted to upgrade Concubine Yun to his co-wife so that she was qualified to go to the imperial palace. I am not going to give my place to Heng Yuwan!”
Heng Yuqing sneered with reddish eyes. She had wanted to agree with her father not to go to the imperial palace to attend the Beauty Contest. However, she had changed her mind now and she would never give Heng Yuwan any opportunity to rise high.
“Are all the noble Young Ladies who came today going to attend the Beauty Contest at the imperial palace?” Ning Xueyan suddenly asked.
Since Heng Yuqing had her own plan, Ning Xueyan shifted the topic. Every family had their own problems. She was having a hard time protecting herself, so she could not help the others too much. Heng Yuqing had to rely on herself. Since she was clear about the current situation now, she would not fall into other people’s traps easily in the future. Besides, she had a powerful uncle.
“Yes. All these lords’ wedded wives’ daughters will attend the Beauty Contest. Their family background and appearance are all the best,” Heng Yuqing said, wiping tears off her cheeks.
“Will Commandery Princess Xianyun also go to the imperial palace to attend the Beauty Contest?” Ning Xueyan asked in confusion. Commandery Princess Xianyun was so noble. How could she also attend the contest?
“Commandery Princess Xianyun does not need to attend the Beauty Contest, but…” Heng Yuqing hesitated for a short moment and then lowered her voice. “It’s said that His Majesty would pick a husband for her,” she said.
The emperor would pick a husband for Commandery Princess Xianyun? Since she was so noble and also the Empress Dowager’s family’s eldest daughter, the emperor would definitely choose a prince or a noble childe as noble as her to be her husband. Only very few noble childes in the capital could match Commandery Princess Xianyun.
Ning Xueyan poured a glass of water and handed it to Heng Yuqing. “So Second Young Lady of the Yuns will also attend the Beauty Contest?” Ning Xueyan asked carelessly.
“Lord Peace’s Manor will only send Yun Luoluo to attend the contest. I heard that all the Young Ladies who came today would attend the Beauty Contest, so she was very mean to those who were more beautiful than her. Since she was distinguished, she thought that she would definitely become Fourth Prince’s wedded wife, so you should be careful.” Although Heng Yuqing was unfavored in her family, both the Hengs and her mother’s family had reminded her about this.
Compared to Ning Xueyan, she was much well-informed.
Ning Xueyan frowned slightly, but soon a faint, confident smile appeared on her lips.
After coming out from the Lord Guardian’s Manor, Ning Xueyan did not return to the Lord Protector’s Manor, but asked the driver to bring her to the west gate of the city. Finally, the carriage stopped in front of a book shop. Lanning put on a curtained hat for Ning Xueyan and then helped her out of the carriage.
The book shop was not big. It had two rooms and two floors. There were some pens, inks, paper, and ink-stones downstairs and all the books were on the second floor. There were only three or four guests on the first floor.
Ning Xueyan picked out a few things before going upstairs. She found there were more guests on the second floor than on the first. The books on the shelves were piled up even taller than a man. Ning Xueyan had to stand on tiptoe to reach the books on the top of the shelf. Lanning was a little bit shorter than her.
Ning Xueyan happened to take a fancy to a book on the top of the shelf. Since she was the master, of course, Lanning should take the book off for her. However, Lanning was too short to reach the book and failed after a few tries. “Miss, I can’t reach it,” she turned to Ning Xueyan and said anxiously.
“Let me help you!” Before Ning Xueyan could say anything, a man’s voice rang out loudly. He reached out a hand and took the book off easily. He then gave it to Ning Xueyan.
This was a young man of seventeen or eighteen. Although he did not wear silk clothes, he was neatly dressed and made people feel good.
“Thank you, sir!” Ning Xueyan bowed to him politely, taking the book from him. She then walked to the side to read. However, Lanning seemed to be curious about this young man and could not help observing him. He collected those books in a mess and put them to the side. Then he picked up a book and had a look at it before walking to a table in the corner and sitting down.
Lanning had nothing to do for the moment, so she walked to the table following the young man. “What are you doing, Sir?” she asked when she saw him copying something with a brush pen on a blank book.
“I have only one copy of this book and it was ordered by a guest, but several other guests also wanted to buy it, so I’m making some copies. After finishing copying, I will send them to those guests,” The young man smiled at Lanning and answered gently. He did not look down upon her because she was only a maid.
“Sir, are you working in this shop?” Hearing what he said, Lanning became even more curious. She blinked her eyes and looked at the words he had copied. She had not known a word before, but during the three years she served Ning Ziying, Ning Ziying had taught her to read when she was free, so Lanning knew some simple words.
The young man blushed when he saw a beautiful maid come closer and talk to him. He felt uneasy and moved a little backward. “This shop is owned by my teacher. I will come here to help him when I’m free,” he answered shyly.
“Your teacher? Sir, so you are still a student? Which academy are you studying in? I wonder if you are studying in the same academy as our Eldest Young Master!” Lanning seemed to have found that it was improper to be so close to him, so she took several steps backward, but still asked with a smile, looking curious.
The young man was abstracted by Lanning’s series of questions. He stopped copying and raised his head politely. “I’m studying at Qingyun Academy. Which manor are you from?” he asked back.
He had lowered his head or turned his head to the side when he spoke to Lanning just now. Besides, it was a little dark in the corner. Therefore, Lanning could not see his face clearly until he looked up. In the sunlight, she saw a handsome, vaguely familiar face.
Ning Xueyan was in no mood to read. She fixed her eyes on the familiar face through the veil of her hat. Undoubtedly, the young man bore some resemblance to Ning Huaiyuan, especially his eyes and nose. He was seventy or eighty percent like Ning Huaiyuan, or maybe Ning Zu’an.
“He turned out to be the man I am looking for!” Ning Xueyan thought.
“We came from the Lord Protector’s Manor. The Eldest Young Master of our manor is studying at the biggest academy in the capital. Sir, do you know our Eldest Young Master?” Lanning kept on asking, just like an ordinary lively maid, as if she had not noticed that the young man’s face suddenly darkened when she mentioned the Lord Protector’s Manor.
The gentleness on his face was replaced by coldness. “You are from the Lord Protector’s Manor? Who is that Young Lady?” The young man sized up Ning Xueyan, who seemed to be focusing on her reading, and asked in a low voice.