Chapter 34 Ning Xueyan Goes to the Bamboo Forest after Dressing Up
As soon as Ning Xueyan left, Lanning went to see with concern but encountered Prince Yi’s guard of honor, so she quickly knelt beside the road. Then she knew that it was Prince Yi who came, knowing that most of the monks of Cold Mountain Temples went to greet him and would not have time to take care of other guests.
“I’ll go to see if Master Mingyue is there or not. If he’s here, I’ll invite him to come over and greet you. Don’t rush to pray for me, take care of yourself first. Several days later, Honored Consort Ya will come to the temple to enjoy the chrysanthemum and hold an appreciation grand meeting. Your sister, First Young Lady, has been married, and the Fourth Young Lady is not qualified. So, only you and Second Young Lady can enter the grand meeting. You have to keep a good body before the grand meeting.”
The Honored Consort Ya was coming to Cold Mountain Temple, so the temple had been busy recently.
And, that was the reason why the madams and ladies had all come here. But, why had Prince Yi and the Third Prince come too? It could be said that the Third Prince came here to accompany his mother. However, what was Prince Yi’s reason? He was not like a good person who was willing to accompany Honored Consort Ya to appreciate the flowers.
Ning Xueyan thought about it in her mind, but her face didn’t show her thoughts at all. She weakly raised her head and nodded hard. Although she was half-supported by Lanning, she still teetered. “Grandmother, I’m in poor health. I’m afraid I can’t go with my second sister!”
She was not interested in the appreciation grand meeting at all. She cared more about the news that Honored Consort Ya would come. It at least meant that that man would come too.
“You are the Fifth Young Lady of the Lord Protector’s Manor, how can you say that? Fine, I’ll ask someone to send you medicine. You take a good rest. There are still a few days left. Before that, you put your body first.” Madam Dowager was unhappy. She stood up and walked out while asking some maids to take some good herbs to Fifth Young Lady.
Seeing that Madam Dowager had left, others left too. Ning Xueyan closed her eyes slightly and leaned against Lanning’s arms, gasping, and then gently pushed Lanning away. “Go inquire about why these madams and ladies have come!”
Ning Xueyan didn’t think that Madam Dowager should be so positive about Honored Consort Ya’s chrysanthemum appreciation grand meeting. In the past, Honored Consort Ya held other chrysanthemum appreciation grand meetings. But, Madam Dowager had never participated. If Ning Lingyun was not qualified to take part in the grand meeting. What kind of person could take part in?
It was not difficult to identify the reason. All those madams came to Cold Mountain Temple with their own daughters. It was said Honored Consort Ya was going to look for suitable wives for several princes during this chrysanthemum appreciation grand meeting. If there was an appropriate one, Honored Consort Ya would directly grant a marriage. Those princes were distinguished and would choose an Official Wife this time, so the comers were Official Wife’s daughters from a rich or noble family.
Except for the Second Young Lady, Ning Yuling, only Ning Xueyan was an Official Wife’s daughter in the Lord Protector’s Manor. So, Madam Dowager would try her best to help the two take part in the chrysanthemum appreciation grand meeting. In Madam Dowager’s opinion, it would be a great honor if they married the princes. So, now she gave multiple precious medicines to Ning Xueyan.
Looking at the tonic on the table, Ning Xueyan sat up with Lanning’s help. She squinted at the tonic, sarcasm flashing in her eyes. Madam Ling was injured and laying on her bed. So, her grandmother was in a hurry to come over and see Ning Xueyan when she heard that Honored Consort Ya was going to choose wives for the princes.
That meant the Second Young Lady, Ning Yuling, was coming over!
She could never forget how her sisters had humiliated her when she was ten. On that day, she played in the yard and met Ning Yuling. The sinister Ning Yuling not only asked the maids to slap her but also asked maids to take off her clothes. Ning Ziyan watched the fun from the side and Ning Lingyun, watching her holding her clothes and crying, saying it was fun.
There were so many servants in the manor, but no one helped her. They just looked on coldly!
She was ten years old at the time. Even though there were only older female servants who worked only for madams and ladies when her clothes were taken off in public, her reputation and integrity would still be ruined. Ning Xueyan believed that her father, Ning Zu’an, would never tolerate that and would kill her secretly and call it an illness.
Fortunately, Madam Ming knew that and came from Bright Frost Garden. She slapped Ning Yuling and saved Ning Xueyan from the hands of the maids. But, at the same time, Madam Ming also insulted Ning Yuling and was punished to keel in the ancestral hall. She knelt for three days and three nights and was brought to Bright Frost Garden until she fainted in the ancestral hall.
After that, Madam Ming became weaker, and Ning Xueyan had never dared to leave Bright Frost Garden, becoming cowardly and useless!
But, Ning Yuling only had been reproached and it was said that she was not given money for one month!
How ridiculous it was! Ning Yuling almost killed her but was only punished by having no money for a month. Her life was only worth some money. However, Madam Ming was almost tortured to death by Madam Ling because she had slapped Ning Yuling. And Ning Zu’an and Madam Dowager did nothing.
Madam Ming was not favored by Ning Zu’an, so she was bullied and scolded in the manor. Even if she was dead, no one would care about her. Since they all believed the law of jungle, Ning Xueyan would not shrink in fear. She had died once, so now she knew what would hurt them most.
“How many princes live in the Cold Mountain Temple?” Ning Xueyan looked down and gently asked, her white fingers hooking a corner of the embroidered bed curtain.
“Only the Third Prince and Prince Yi came. The whereabouts of Prince Yi is unknown. The people who guard there are too fierce, I wouldn’t dare to inquire. The Third Prince lives in the middle courtyard on the right side. I have seen several Young Ladies of other manors walking around there from time to time.”
Lanning answered after thinking about it. In order to get more accurate information, she went there to spy. But, she had no way to get close to Prince Yi’s house. On the contrary, there were more girls that went to Third Prince. As long as they didn’t bother the guards at the door and didn’t intend to go into the yard, those ladies wouldn’t be chased off.
Ning Xueyan slightly frowned and was not sure why Prince Yi, Ao Chenyi, came.
People of the Shu Kingdom knew that Prince Yi hadn’t married since his fiancee died because of an illness before the marriage. The Emperor had mentioned it several times, but he rejected it every time. He said that he still loved his former fiancee and didn’t want to get married. So, his marriage had been delayed.
Would Honored Consort Ya choose an Official Wife for Prince Yi this time?
After carefully thinking, Ning Xueyan thought that this idea was ridiculous. Who was Prince Yi? He was in such a high position. Honored Consort Ya had no right to interfere in his marriage.
Ning Xueyan thought about it in her mind while getting up.
“Fifth Young Lady, you just get better. Your body will be weak again if you get up now. You’d better rest for two more days!” Lanning looked at her slightly flushed face, saying with worry.
“I heard that Ning Yuling is coming.” Ning Xueyan said faintly, holding Qingyu’s hands to stand up. She was still weak, so she almost fainted when she stood up but got better after a while.
She must heal quicker. Madam Dowager had asked people to send many medicines to her over the past few days. The older female servant who sent the medicine repeatedly told her to raise her body and said that if she would be healthy, she would not have a good marriage and maybe she would become someone else’s concubine.
In addition, she praised Ning Xueyan’s beauty. Ning Xueyan believed that the older female servant wouldn’t dare to say that to her without Madam Dowager’s order.
What did it mean that she would be a concubine if she couldn’t be someone else’s Official Wife?
This time, the Honored Consort Ya was going to look for an Official Wife for princes. Why had Madam Dowager mentioned the concubine?
This was a threat, but also a warning, or even a notice!
If she couldn’t become someone else’s Official Wife, it was likely that Madam Dowager would send her to someone else to be his concubine. In Madam Dowager’s opinion, she must do something for the Lord Protector’s Manor, or her beauty would be wasted.
Ning Xueyan had been bullied in the Lord Protector’s Manor for so many years. Later, she even didn’t dare to leave Bright Frost Garden. Madam Dowager had never helped her in the past years. But, now seeing that Ning Xueyan was beautiful, she wanted to send her to someone else to be a concubine. Thinking of this, Ning Xueyan was full of hatred.
“Dress me up, let’s go to the bamboo forest in the back mountain.” Ning Xueyan gritted her teeth, showing coldness in her eyes.
After saying that, she sat in front of the dressing table. Seeing that she was firm, the maids began to dress up her. When she was dressing up, a servant sent by Madam Dowager came and saw Ning Xueyan had gotten up, happily saying that she would report it to Madam Dowager.
Ning Xueyan said that she was still sick and would not go see Madam Dowager in order to not infect Madam Dowager, then asked the older female servant to express her apology to Madam Dowager.
The older female woman promised, scrutinizing Ning Xueyan for a while, then went back to report it to Madam Dowager. She used to think that the Second Young Lady was the most beautiful, and didn’t expect that the Fifth Young Lady who hadn’t left Bright Frost Garden for four or five years was a real beauty. Even though she was sick now, she was still beautiful and attractive. She thought Madam Dowager’s wish would be fulfilled.
After dressing up, Ning Xueyan ate a little porridge and felt better. Then she went out with Qingyu. Qingyu carried an old zither that had been left by Madam Ming. Madam Ming used to use this to teach Ning Xueyan how to play the zither. This time Ning Xueyan brought it from the manor to the Cold Mountain Temple.
The bamboo forest was at the foot of the back mountain, where there were no chrysanthemums. One would only see the chrysanthemums if he or she walked up. At this time, the bamboo leaves had been blown by the wind and it was depressing there. Nobody went to see the colorful chrysanthemums at this time but came to the bamboo forest.
Holding Qingyu’s hands, Ning Xueyan walked while looking at the scenery in front of her. The sun rode high in the sky at this time, so it was not cold. Ning Xueyan had had a fever for a few days, so now she was weak and had no strength. Although the bamboo forest was not too far away, she had to stop to rest several times and it took her longer than usual.
Another path on the mountain road was steep and unreachable. It was one of the few dangerous places there. A small yard was built on it, and the courtyard door was closed. Half of the yard connected with the rock on the side. So, from the bottom, it seemed that half of the yard was in mid-air. On the attic of the small yard, Ao Chenyi was reading the memorial. Suddenly, he became angry and threw away the memorial.
It scared the two guards at the door and they immediately knelt down.
“Catch Zuo Zhibing and decapitate him in public. Transport his male family members to the frontier juncture and send his female family members to the official whorehouse! Ao Chenyi showed a cold smile on his face, which frightened people.
If anyone was familiar with the court, he or she would definitely be amazed now. Who was Zuo Zhibing? He was a Three-class official. But, Prince Yi didn’t investigate and ordered them to decapitate him and exterminate her entire family.
“Your Highness, what if… if His Majesty asks about this…?” One of the guards asked with fear.