Chapter 269 Go Down. Let’s Go to the Linjiang Restaurant Quickly
Although there was very little light, Ning Xueyan clearly knew that the woman below was Ning Qingshan. “She was with me earlier. How could she go on a rendezvous here, only after such a short while?” A graceful man with a gentle look, was sitting on a chair. When Ning Xueyan saw that the man was Ao Mingyu, her heart froze all of a sudden.
“What are they doing behind closed doors, after they tried to avoid all the others?”
Ning Xueyan’s head bent lower and lower, for she wanted to get a clearer look at the scene. Ao Chenyi, who was beside her, also pressed close to her, his handsome face showing some excitement. Leaning close to Ning Xueyan, Ao Chenyi looked down together with her.
Inside the room, Ao Mingyu, who was in formal attire, looked at Ning Qingshan, and asked her mildly, “Third Young Lady, what can I do for you?”
“Cousin, I did not plot the things that happened in the other courtyards. I was wronged. Don’t you know that I have always loved you with all my heart?” Her eyes glistening with tears, Ning Qingshan gave Ao Mingyu a winsome look. Her sharp little chin made her appear even more pitiful.
“I’m sorry that I made you feel bad.” It seemed that Ao Mingyu truly believed Ning Qingshan’s words. He stood up and walked to her. Then, he tenderly took her in his arms and in a tone filled with utmost melancholia, said, “In order to prevent others from gossiping I have to keep my distance from you these last few days.”
“Your Royal Highness, you, do you really believe in me?” Overjoyed, Ning Qingshan asked in a trembling voice, nestling against Ao Mingyu, like a little bird. Ning Qingshan appeared as if she was unable to restrain her joy, in her disbelief.
“How could I not believe in you? If it had not been for you, I would not have had the chance to be here today. Even if I don’t believe in others, I will always believe in you.” Ao Mingyu sighed, and in a voice filled with grief said, “I am a prince, but I still cannot take a false step nor make a wrong move. Even if I wanted to comfort you at that time, I was afraid that others would begin to talk. Thus, first of all, I should stop others from bad mouthing you behind your back. After all, I want you to be my principal wife, not merely a co-consort.”
Ao Mingyu said these words with deep affection and a sad expression on his melancholy and handsome face. Finally, Ning Qingshan’s anxious heart slowly calmed down. “It turns out that the Third Prince is still in love with me, and has never doubted me. It was just that he might also be restrained by others sometimes.”
At first, she thought that she could never capture the Third Prince’s heart. Now Ning Xueyan knew that the Third Prince just pretended to be indifferent to her, in front of others. A slight proud expression flashed unbidden, across her eyes. Of course, she could also hear the Third Prince’s warnings. If even he could not afford to make a single mistake, Ning Qingshan, who would be the Third Prince’s wife in the future, should certainly do nothing wrong.
Especially at this time, perhaps only one mistake could drag her down from the position of the Third Prince’s future principal wife, and eventually become merely a co-consort.
Once again, Ning Qingshan felt that she had made a wise choice in not dealing with Ning Xueyan for the time being. As long as she could become the perfectly justifiable wife of the Third Prince, Ning Xueyan would be no match for her.
“Which of the two do you think is telling the truth?” Ning Xueyan whispered her question in Ao Chenyi’s ears, a faint smile lurking around the corners of her lips. Both of them were so good at acting. They seemed so sincere as if what they said was true.
“How could Ao Mingyu turn a blind eye to the fact that Ning Qingshan might be Ao Chenyi’s favorite concubine? Similarly, Ning Qingshan also appeared creditable in her role as a woman who was truly in love and had genuine concern for him.”
“Do you think that they were acting? In this world, who doesn’t put on an act? Yan’er, do you think that you have never put on an act before? But why do I think that you are really good at acting?” Ao Chenyi’s evil voice came to her ears. It had a weird and vicious ring to it, which could give others a chill without being cold.
“Your Highness, don’t you put on an act too?” Suddenly, Ning Xueyan boldly asked him this question, without fear of receiving harsh punishment.
“I like to see the shows of others. I especially enjoy watching people getting into their characters, when they are playing out their roles. What an exciting show it is, when all kinds of demons with masks, run wild.” Ao Chenyi chuckled, his voice lingering in Ning Xueyan’s ears.
“Prince Yi’s pastime is really unique!” Ning Xueyan sighed in her heart.
“Your Highness, you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth. When you are enjoying your wealth and high social status, you certainly cannot understand the actors’ feelings. Perhaps, someday, when you are no longer in power, you may have also to act out several roles before others.” After pondering for a moment, Ning Xueyan responded in a soft voice.
If Ning Xueyan did not do any acting, she would have been dead by, now when she directly confronted Madam Ling, in her new life. Even though she knew who her enemies were, she would have to think carefully at each step and advance cautiously. She was afraid that a careless mistake would bring her to the road of destruction.
“But it will take countless people’s lives to take my power away from me. If so many people are willing to go to the nether world with me, I do not mind accompanying them, to go the same way and covered with blood.” Ao Chenyi’s voice sounded extremely arrogant and vicious. Even without looking, Ning Xueyan could imagine that his appearance would be extremely overbearing at this time. However, judging by his domineering attitude, Ning Xueyan knew that he was right.
Now that there was great power in Ao Chenyi’s hands, it could be said that his status in the imperial court was only second to the emperor’s.
Even the emperor was also very jealous of him, but he still did not dare to target Ao Chenyi aboveboard. What was worse, Ning Xueyan even had a feeling that if the emperor and the Third Prince won in the future, a horrifying situation would happen. At that time, countless corpses would be strewn all over the country, with blood flowing freely like streams. Ning Xueyan knew that Prince Yi was absolutely capable of burying the whole Chu Kingdom with him.
“So are you scared?” Seeing that Ning Xueyan was deep in thought and remained silent, Ao Chenyi asked, with a slight smile emerging on his cold and good-looking face. It was a question, but Ao Chenyi seemed not to expect an answer at all. Sure enough, the smile lurking around the corners of his lips turned bloody. With an air of superiority that only the king of evil demons could have, he gazed at Ning Xueyan, as if he were looking at an ant which was struggling between his fingers.
“It’s useless to be afraid. Since you have already chosen to be with me, I won’t give you any cause to regret it.”
“Your Highness, how about listening to them?” Ning Xueyan sank into silence again. Feeling a little confused, her eyes fell upon him, and she sighed lightly.
At this moment, she felt as if she had seen a scene from hell full of blood, in his being. How many people died because of him that even Ning Xueyan could see the raging evil spirit in him, at only a mere glance?
“Okay, then I will take a look with you, Yan’er.” He casually touched the hair on top of Ning Xueyan’s head. Ao Chenyi’s lazy but mellifluous voice showed that he was in a good mood. His slightly cold hands dropped down, and he half embraced Ning Xueyan in his arms. Clinging together, they continued to look down.
A moment later, the situation below had changed. On one side, Ao Mingyu sat quietly in the chair. Respectfully, Ning Qingshan stayed at the other side. It looked as if they had never shared any intimate moments a while ago. Ao Mingyu poured a cup of tea for Ning Qingshan. Handing it to her, he asked softly, “After some time, it will be my eldest uncle’s death anniversary. Do you want to visit his tomb with the others?”
“Will you be there?” Ning Qingshan asked softly. Although she did not want to go, she could not show her true feelings on her face. This dead man was her nominal father, but Ning Qingshan knew that she had little affection for him. However, she still needed this nominal father to be her link with the Honored Consort Ya and the Third Prince. Otherwise, she would have broken off her relationship with him long ago.
“I may not have time to go, for the time being.” After a moment of thinking, Ao Mingyu answered tenderly, his eyes fixed on Ning Qingshan.
“Cousin, I think that it is not convenient for me to pay homage to my father. After all, I’m now the daughter of Lord Protector’s Manor. If Lord Protector knows this…” Ning Qingshan did not finish her sentence. However, she still clearly expressed her concern. Since she was a daughter of Lord Protector’s Manor now, it would be better if others did not know that she had a relationship with the Grand Tutor Ya’s manor.
“Then, don’t go. You can just secretly hold a memorial ceremony for him in your room. I believe that if my uncle’s spirit in heaven sees you doing that for him, he should understand you. After you marry me, I will visit his grave with you, so that you will have a good reason to visit his tomb then.” Ao Mingyu said softly, with some concern. HE felt sorry for her and looked at her with a gentler expression.
“As Mammy Luo instructed me, I did not tell him the whole story of my life. Sure enough, it turns out that it did benefit me a lot.” Ning Qingshan was overjoyed. She noticed the Third Prince’s expression and knew that he felt guilty about not letting her visit her father’s tomb. Exerting great efforts to suppress her great joy, Ning Qingshan forced herself to show some sadness on her face. She blinked, and her eyes became a little red, as if she was going to cry.
She stood up and bowed respectfully to Ao Mingyu. “Thank you, my cousin. If that day comes and I can hold a memorial ceremony for my father in a righteous way, I believe that he will finally rest in peace in his grave.”
All these years, Ning Qingshan pretended to be a descendant of the Ya family, and the only child of General Ya, who was said to be killed in battle. General Ya chose to go to the fatal battlefield himself to protect his families. Since then, everyone in the Ya family felt sorry for him.
It was just for this reason that Honored Consort Ya was willing to come up with a romantic trap for Ao Mingyu with Ning Qingshan, when she was in the palace. Otherwise, how could Ning Qingshan know that the Third Prince was in poor health, and happened to be there to save the Third Prince, when no one was around to serve him? She did all of this only to leave an impression on the Third Prince’s mind.
Of course, in the past three years, she tried to keep a certain distance from him in order to make the Third Prince miss her even more. Anyway, she was too young to marry Ao Mingyu at that time. Thus, it would be much better for her to leave him for a while. But then, she made sure that the others constantly spread news about her to Ao Mingyu’s ears, without him noticing. In this way, she managed to increase and maintain her good reputation in Ao Mingyu’s mind.
Ning Qingshan said these words in an extremely gentle way and looked a little sad, at the same time. How many men would not show their tenderness toward such a considerate beauty, who seemed to be filled with such sadness? As Ning Qingshan expected, Ao Mingyu sighed softly and took her hand to pull her up. “Cousin, it’s too late now. You’d better go back early, lest others start to suspect you, which is not a good thing for you.”
It sounded like Ao Mingyu was worried about Ning Qingshan’s situation, and was afraid that it would hurt her reputation if she stayed here longer. His thoughtful words brought warmth to Ning Qingshan’s heart. She looked as if she was about to cry. Well, this time, she did not pretend. After all, she really liked Ao Mingyu. Previously, she was uncertain whether Ao Mingyu truly loved her. When she saw that he was so wholeheartedly considerate toward her, Ning Qingshan felt like her whole heart was bathed in warmth.
Touched, she nodded. “Okay, cousin. I know that. I… I will go back as soon as possible, but I want to see you a little longer.” The deep affection in her beautiful eyes was too intense to be hidden. Following a sudden impulse, she rushed to clasp Ao Mingyu round his waist, burying her head deep in his arms.
“Cousin, let me hug you once again.” she said this coquettishly. Now that she thought that her wishes would soon come true. Shortly, she would not only enjoy a high status and inexhaustible wealth, but also marry her loved one. What made her feel even better was that her beloved was deeply in love with her. Being overcome with passion, Ning Qingshan leaned her head against Ao Mingyu’s chest. Thus, she failed to notice a somber and disgusted look flashing across Ao Mingyu’s face.
“Are they leaving?” Ning Xueyan suddenly felt very anxious. She leaned back against Ao Chenyi and told him, “Let’s go down. Hurry, let’s go to the Linjiang Restaurant.”
Hurriedly patting Ao Chenyi’s hand, she turned around to whisper in his ear. The last sentence that Ao Mingyu said was not merely to advise or express his concern for Ning Qingshan. What he meant that Ning Qingshan should go and join the others from the Lord Protector’s Manor. After all, when these people got together, the one who was not there would inevitably attract all the others’ attention…