Chapter 270 All the Three Girls Are Missing
“I never expected that my cousin didn’t know how to show his tenderness toward women!” Ao Chenyi narrowed his eyes and glanced at Ning Xueyan’s face, showing her his enchanting and beautiful smile. He then reached out to put back the tile. Carrying Ning Xueyan in his arms, Ao Chenyi turned around and jumped away.
The wind went whistling past Ning Xueyan’s ears. Ning Xueyan felt that the wind sounded so loud that she unconsciously buried her into Ao Chenyi’s arms and grasped his clothes. Ao Chenyi returned much faster than he came here. At first, Ning Xueyan didn’t adapt to such a fast speed. But suddenly, everything went black before her. It turned out that Ao Chenyi put the hat of the cloak on her head. All of a sudden, Ning Xueyan felt that she was surrounded by warm darkness.
It had never occurred to Ning Xueyan that she could feel so warm even in the dark.
It turned out that the sun was not the only thing that could make people feel warm in their hearts.
“Well, you can come down. Do you want to stay in my arms and so refuse to come down?” Only when Ao Chenyi’s lazy and melodious voice sounded in Ning Xueyan’s ears did she feel that her feet had already landed on the ground. Blushing, she hurriedly pushed him away. Suddenly, Ning Xueyan could see the scene before her for Ao Chenyi had lifted her hat up. She found that they were standing in an alley. Opposite them was an illuminated street.
“Young Lady, it’s so nice to see you come back.” Staying in the dark alley, Ning Xueyan suddenly heard Xinmei’s anxious voice. She turned around and saw not only Xinmei but also Qingyu.
“Are there people looking for us the whole time?” As soon as Ning Xueyan saw the anxious look of Qingyu and Xinmei, she sobered up and asked.
“Yes, just now all you three Young Ladies separated from and lost touch with us. Then, people from our manor were sent out to look for you. If they still could not find you, others would know that the three of you were missing today.” Qingyu anxiously said.
“Prince Yi, allow me to retreat first. I’m afraid other unpleasant things will happen if these people cannot find any of us.” Ning Xue calmed down and said goodbye softly to Ao Chenyi.
“It’s all right. Anyway, you originally are my co-consort. Since you are merely a co-consort, I can overlook your slightly damaged reputation.” Sparkling in the darkness, Ao Chenyi’s eyes looked deep, which also showed a hint of a rare smile. He waved his hand generously. Then Ao Chenyi unhurriedly stretched out to untie the cloak that covered Ning Xueyan.
When Ning Xueyan heard that he said this thing so lightly, a slightly shameful and annoying look emerged on her face. Biting her lips, Ning Xueyan decided not to make a fuss about the words he just said. But she also knew that she didn’t have the right to argue with him. They were actually doing business with each other, and now Ning Xueyan had just traded her marriage.
The next thing that Ning Xueyan should do was to remain loyal to Ao Chenyi!
Just now he acted like that was not only to show his generosity, but also to show his right. Or he wanted to express the meaning that she was weak and powerless before him.
Ning Xueyan took a deep breath. She waited until Ao Chenyi completely took off the cloak on her. Immediately after that, she turned around and left with her two maids. When she got help from him, it represented that the deal between them began. But with his overbearing manner, Ning Xueyan had to give him anything that he wanted to get from her, only except for her heart.
Thus, Ning Xueyan secretly decided to make her heart much stronger.
“Young Lady, after the crowd separated us, I could not find you and was about to scream for help. But then, I saw that the Third Young Lady left alone. After that, the Fourth Young Lady was also missing. Just when I feel extremely anxious, Xinmei came to me and brought me here, saying that our Young Lady will come out soon.”
Just now, Qingyu was desperately anxious. When Xinmei told her that, she could not fully believe it. However, she still chose to believe it later because as one of the few trusted maids around Ning Xueyan, she also knew that Xinmei had Kung fu. In addition, Prince Yi sent her to protect her master. Since Xinmei said so, there must be a reason.
But just a moment ago, the two of them saw Ning Zu’an rushed out of Linjiang Restaurant with a large group of people. Then, a few servants shouted in a hurry, saying that the three Young Ladies were missing and everyone should go to look for them. Upon hearing this, both Qingyu and Xinmei knew that if others knew the Fifth Young Lady hadn’t yet returned, something bad was really going to happen to their master.
Qingyu went back and forth in a hurry. As for Xinmei, she was perspiring with anxiousness already.
Fortunately, the Fifth Young Lady unexpectedly appeared before them. That exalted Prince Yi even sent their master back by himself. Although Qingyu could not understand some of his words, she didn’t care. After all, her master came back finally.
“Is Ning Lingyun also gone?” Ning Xueyan’s eyes twinkled slightly, and a ray of unfathomable light flashed across her eyes. “Ning Qingshan went to meet Ao Mingyu. Who did Ning Lingyun see? Was she also plotting something? Of course, when Ning Qingshan was separated from others, she would secretly go to meet Ao Mingyu. But what was Ning Lingyun doing at that time? Originally, I thought that she must be too scared to do anything after so many bad incidents happened to her. But to my surprise, she still acted like the restless her in the past.”
“It is normal that people are separated from each other when they are enjoying the various lanterns. Many people have been dispersed by the crowds at this time of every year. But how could this thing bother Ning Zu’an? The maids of Ning Qingshan and Ning Lingyun could not be so stupid. Then, someone must have deliberately given this matter away.”
“Let’s go to Linjiang Restaurant.” Ning Xueyan composed herself, then walked out of the alley after taking a deep breath. She went directly to Linjiang Restaurant on the opposite.
After arriving at the entrance of Linjiang Restaurant, she saw a servant coming toward her. “Fifth Young Lady, you finally came back. Marquis and Madam Dowager are terribly worried.”
He said in a rapid tone. Plus, he appeared to be extremely anxious. Instantly, he attracted the stares of everyone around them.
“What’s up?” Ning Xueyan said in a soft voice, smiling gently.
Her clothes were simple but neat, and her hair was perfectly coiffed. Ning Xueyan looked perfectly calm. With her pair of watery eyes, she looked at the servant with a little curiosity. She didn’t appear as something had happened to her. Even the two maids following behind her looked very calm and collected.
All of them appeared as if they didn’t know what had happened at all, and even if there was something, it was totally none of their business.
“Just now, some people said that they saw several Young Ladies were separated from the others by the crowd. Besides, someone spotted that the Third Young Lady…” At this time, the servant seemed to be speaking without thinking. But then, he woke up to the situation and immediately covered his mouth. Pointing to the upstairs, he said, “Fifth Young Lady, you should go up quickly. Madam Dowager is waiting for you upstairs, and I will report to marquis later on. ”
Before Ning Xueyan could say anything, he ran out in a hurry.
“What happened to the Third Young Lady of Lord Protector’s Manor?” Upon hearing the servant’s words, these people around gazed at each other, puzzled. After all, what he said did not sound good.
The location of Linjiang Restaurant was particularly good today because it was just beside the lake at the end of the dragon-boat race’s track. Soon, a high platform would be built by several big boats on this lake. The emperor and the empress, as well as some of the emperor’s consorts, would watch the race. It could be said that Linjiang Restaurant was wonderfully placed. Thus, the Linjiang Restaurant ‘s boxes had been booked up a long time ago.
Everyone raced to book the boxes.
The housekeeper of Lord Protector’s Manor acted too slow, so he didn’t get a box. But luckily, the manager knew that they could not afford to offend the Lord Protector’s Manor. Thus, the manager of Linjiang Restaurant told him that if any box would then be available, he would certainly reserve it for the Lord Protector’s Manor first. In fact, every year, some of the people who had booked the boxes in advance would not be able to come for various reasons. Therefore, the manager promised the housekeeper that he would reserve a box for the Lord Protector’s Manor without even the slight pressure.
When the housekeeper booked the box, Ning Zu’an asked him to find the three Young Ladies and emphasized the reason why he would book the room.
Today, those people who came here were certainly from either noble families or rich families. A large part of them had already heard the good reputation of the Third Young Lady from the Lord Protector’s Manor. Of course, at this time, only some servants and maids had arrived here. Pricking up their ears, they were focusing on listening to some juicy gossip about the Third Young Lady from the Lord Protector’s Manor.
The draft was coming soon, and many people had been sent to the palace. Many had heard about the three princes and the three girls who protected the country. If they had never entered the palace, they would consider Ning Qingshan as their opponent. People, of course, knew the minds of their own masters. After listening to the gossip, they were ready to speak to the masters, so as to please the masters.
Ning Xueyan’s eyes fell on the distant man, with a corner of his lips, turned and walked upstairs. Ning Qingshan never imagined that the Third Prince had no intention of marrying her as a consort. These small slanders, although there was no direct evidence, sometimes catching the wind was enough.
But a co-consort? Ning Qingshan had always been as proud as a princess. If she knew the cousin that she was sure to marry only wanted her to be his co-consort, would she still love him so deeply? But Ning Xueyan certainly would not feel sorry for Ning Qingshan.
Someone like Ning Qingshan was born as vicious as poisonous snakes. Even if you treated her well, she would not be grateful.
In the box upstairs, Madam Dowager became anxious long ago. From time to time, she would send her maids to inquire about the news. Now seeing Ning Xueyan come back safe and sound, she was slightly relieved. After all, the Beauty Contest was coming, so none of the three ladies could afford to make any mistake.
As soon as Ning Xueyan sat down, Ning Lingyun also went upstairs with her maids. Although she looked timid, her clothes and the accessories that she wore were neat in perfect order. It was evident that nothing serious had happened to her. When two of the three Young Ladies from the Lord Protector’s Manor came back, Madam Dowager was finally able to sit down and eat some snacks.
Ning Qingshan had always been a smart girl. Madam Dowager thought that since Ning Lingyun and Ning Xueyan were fine, she must also be okay. Anyway, she was merely separated from others by the crowds. Everything would be okay as long as the servants found her.
“Fifth Young Lady, where have you been all this time? Why did you come back late at this time?” Facing Ning Xueyan, Madam Dowager asked.
“Grandma, just when I was separated from my two sisters, I went back here with Qingyu and Xinmei. It was just that we were quite familiar with the roads. Thus, we were lost our way halfway to this place and took a very roundabout way. Later, we asked someone who knew the right way and finally came out of the opposite alley to get here. Only at that time did we realize that we went the wrong way.” With full composure, Ning Xueyan smiled and explained, wearing a slightly sorry expression on her face.
“If I knew that earlier, I would have sent someone to act as a guide for you at that time. Well, look at you. You could even get lost in the imperial capital.” Madam Dowager didn’t doubt Ning Xueyan’s explanation at all. It was mainly because Ning Xueyan had been staying in the Bright Frost Garden for so many years. Also, one of her maids had been keeping in the Bright Frost Garden for a very long time. Well, the other maid, who was sent here by Ming Feiyong’s manor, didn’t look like a clever one.
“Fourth Young Lady, what’s the matter with you?” Madam Dowager was rather kind to Ning Xueyan, but she was not that nice to Ning Lingyun.
“Grandmother, I… I met my cousin from Concubine Xu’s family. We stood aside and talked for a while. That was why I came late then.” Lowering her head, Ning Lingyun spoke with hesitation.
“Your cousin is from Concubine Xu’s family. But Fourth Young Lady, you are now a Young Lady from the great Lord Protector’s Manor. You should always keep your high status in mind. Don’t let others look down upon you.” When Madam Dowager heard that Ning Lingyun was talking with someone from the Concubine Xu’s family, she drew a long face and said unpleasantly. From her words, Ning Lingyun knew that Madam Dowager gave a subtle warning to her.
“Yes.” Didn’t dare to say anything, Ning Lingyun replied, bowing her head.
But how could Ning Lingyun go to meet with someone from the Senior Concubine Xu’s family and even have a conversation with her? If everyone on the spot remembered correctly, Ning Lingyun always considered herself as a Young Lady of the Lord Protector’s Manor. How could she especially go to find and talk with her previous cousin?
While they were talking, the box door opened. With a gloomy face, Ning Zu’an appeared and rushed in angrily. Behind him was Ning Qingshan, who was a total mess now.