Chapter 362 The Third Prince Will Be Responsible
“What? There’s a bellyband in that set of clothes?” Ning Qingshan looked gloomy, and the anger in her heart flared up. She twisted the handkerchief in her hand into a crumpled mess. “How dare Madam Ling do such a thing?”
Except for Madam Ling, no one else in the Lord Protector’s Manor could manage do such a thing without leaving a trace.
She even thought that since she became the legal daughter through Madam Ling, Madam Ling would unite with the Third Prince through her marriage. Unexpectedly, Madam Ling had set up a trap for her. However, she was now helpless. Judging from the handkerchief in her hand, she knew that her name must be embroidered on the bellyband.
If this piece of clothing went missing, she would be ruined!
Thinking of this, how could Ning Qingshan not be angry? Madam Ling almost held her life in her hands, but she was not aware of it.
“Yes, Young Lady. I’ve checked, but I found no bellyband. I did not expect that Madam Dowager would order the maid to make such a complete set. So when I took it, I just looked at it and did not pay much attention to it. Unexpectedly, we fell into the First Madam’s trap.” Mammy Luo was sweating with anxiety.
This kind of situation was severe. If something happened, the Young Lady would be ruined. She had always been loyal to Ning Qingshan, so how could she not be worried?
Now, she felt remorseful and guilty. She also chided herself for her lack of vigilance. She thought that First Madam and her Young Lady were on the same side. Unexpectedly, internal contradictions occurred. The First Madam had stabbed them in the back. Like Ning Qingshan, Mammy Luo immediately believed that Madam Ling was responsible for this.
“Mammy Luo, why did they say that intentionally?” After her outburst of anger, Ning Qingshan calmed down a little and asked in a low voice.
Did the maid of the Bright Frost Garden say such words unconsciously? Ning Qingshan was a little uncertain. What a coincidence! She dared not look down on Ning Xueyan, after experiencing several losses. Thus, she was full of doubts about what Lanning had said.
“Young Lady, I think it’s a bit of a coincidence. She may have done it deliberately.” Mammy Luo was well experienced in many things. After thinking about it carefully, she, too, felt that it was too coincidental.
Fifth Young Lady’s hand was injured, so she had asked Lanning to get the ointment from Third Young Lady. Seeing Third Young Lady’s clothes, Lanning casually chatted with her for a while, and then mentioned about the Fifth Young Lady’s clothes. She seemingly inadvertently said that someone had made a complete set of clothes, including all items from inside out, to show one’s extraordinary identity.
Ning Qingshan asked her servants to report to her about what the people of the Bright Frost Garden had said, and she would deliberate over it repeatedly. After her deliberation, she felt that something was wrong. Maybe her set of clothes had all the articles. The more she thought about it, the more likely she thought it was. Then, she realized with a start that her bellyband was not there.
These things seemed unintentional. However, the people of the Bright Frost Garden had said it, so Mammy Luo felt that she had to think about it carefully. The Fifth Young Lady was not as simple as the Second Young Lady and the others.
“Mammy Luo, go and inquire about what happened at Commandery Princess Xianyun’s party. I did not visit my grandmother when I came back, so I’ll bring the candied fruit to her, to let her try,” Ning Qingshan said in a cold voice. “Ning Xueyan’s hand is swollen, so it must have happened in the Commandery Princess Xianyun’s manor.”
If Ning Xueyan’s hand was swollen, maybe it was a coincidence. She had worn this set of clothes casually today. No matter how cunning Ning Xueyan was, she did not think that she would also put on this set of clothes today. In this respect, it might be a coincidence.
But now, the most important thing was the bellyband in her set.
“Yes, I’ll check it out later… Caifen, you follow the Young Lady to Madam Dowager’s place. Remember to act according to circumstances.” Mammy Luo nodded. After a pause, she turned to Caifen, who was standing by the side, and told her that neither of these things could be put off. She also had to find out what was the real situation pertaining to the Fifth Young Lady.
Caifen, who was standing aside, also knew that the matter was serious. Her face turned pale, and she nodded in agreement.
“Wait a minute, Mammy Luo. Do we have any extra material left from the last time?” Ning Qingshan suddenly asked Mammy Luo, who was about to go out.
“The rest of the material?” Mammy Luo was stunned for a moment, but then she understood. She walked out of the room and looked at it before entering the room. She said in a low voice, “Young Lady, there are some left, but not much. There are not many pieces of material left.”
Junior Concubine Xu deliberately came to ask for those materials. Ning Qingshan was suspicious, so she asked someone to check on it. Although she did not know much about Junior Concubine Xu’s matter, Ning Qingshan knew about the general situation. So, she pretended to be careless and gave the materials to Junior Concubine Xu. She knew that they were going to deal with Ning Xueyan. Ning Qingshan hated Ning Xueyan to the core, so Ning Qingshan did not mind paying some “little effort” to deal with her. In this way, she could put Ning Xueyan to death and stay out of the affair.
Mammy Luo had already planned for this, and deliberately kept a few pieces of materials. If someone investigated the Foggy Courtyard, they could also say that they did not lose any leftover materials.
“Take out these leftover materials and call a maid.” Ning Qingshan nodded with hatred in her eyes. “Since Madam Ling is so ruthless, don’t blame me for being ungrateful.”
When Ning Qingshan came to Lucky Garden, Madam Dowager had just seen a doctor. At that time, she was resting on the bed, with her head covered by a white cloth. Hearing that Ning Qingshan was asking to see her, she nodded absent-mindedly, indicating that she could come in.
Ning Qingshan came in, dressed in a set of gorgeous clothes, which immediately made Madam Dowager’s eyes light up. But then, she felt a little depressed. She had specially asked people to make this set of clothes for the Third Young Lady and the Fifth Young Lady. She had hoped that they could make a great coup in the palace, but she did not expect that both of them would be kicked out. Now when she saw this set of clothes, she became extremely vexed.
“How is your hand? I heard that you went out today. What did you do?” Madam Dowager asked unhappily. She was unhappy that Ning Qingshan could not be the Third Prince’s consort. Now, she still had the patience to talk to Ning Qingshan, because the Honored Consort Ya had shown her respect to Ning Qingshan.
“What a snobbish old biddy!” Ning Qingshan sneered in her mind, with disdain. When she just came back, Madam Dowager treated her very well. At that time, she was slated to be the Third Prince’s consort, and almost everyone thought that was confirmed.
Even she had the same thought!
But now, the old biddy treated her coldly, after the news came from the imperial palace that she would not become the Third Prince’s wife. No one went to Foggy Courtyard to ask about her for a long time. Ning Qingshan was a proud person. How could she not hold a grudge? She did not let it show on her face.
“Grandmother, I went out to relieve my boredom and brought you some candied fruit. I think you don’t have a good appetite recently, so you might want to have some to improve your appetite.” Ning Qingshan took out a can of candied fruit from Caifen’s hand, and put it on the table with a smile.
Madam Dowager tilted her eyes and nodded indifferently. “Third Girl, you are so thoughtful!”
“Grandmother, what a coincidence! I met the Third Prince just now. The Third Prince praised me for my beautiful clothes. Grandmother, thank you for making these new clothes for me.” Ning Qingshan seemed not to see Madam Dowager’s impatient look. She pulled the corners of her skirt and looked very happy.
Hearing that the Third Prince had praised her clothes, Madam Dowager relaxed. She looked quite proud. “The material is a tribute. It’s rare even in the palace. I ordered a set of clothes for each of you so that you can…”
Speaking of this, Madam Dowager was in a bad mood again. She glared at Ning Qingshan gloomily. Both of them had failed to be chosen, so she felt that they were stupid.
“Grandmother, it’s my fault. I disappointed you. When I saw His Royal Highness today, he said that he would give me an explanation.” Ning Qingshan narrowed her eyes, looked at Madam Dowager, in tears, and grumbled.
“What?” Madam Dowager’s eyes widened, and she suddenly sat up. She was excited and asked in surprise, “Do you mean that the Third Prince will be responsible?”
She had given up on Ning Qingshan due to her bad reputation. The news came from the imperial palace that there would be a consort and a co-consort for the Third Prince. Since Ning Qingshan could not become his consort, she could not be the co-consort either. It had been heard that the Grand Tutor Ya’s granddaughter and the Third Prince had grown up together, so she would probably be the co-consort.
How could she not be surprised when she heard what Ning Qingshan had just said? With Ning Qingshan’s status, if the Third Prince wanted to take the responsibility, she might become the Third Prince’s co-consort, at any rate.
When she thought there would be two co-consorts in the royal family from her manor, Madam Dowager suddenly felt that her head was no longer painful, and her eyes were no longer dazed, and she felt full of energy.
“Yes, that’s what His Highness said.” Ning Qingshan answered shyly, with a little grievance on her face. “His Highness promised me the position of consort before, but now…”
“Well, Third Girl, you can’t blame anyone else for this. It’s all because of your behavior in the palace. The Third Prince must be under great pressure if he is still willing to marry you, despite your past behavior. You’re always the one who should be blamed!” Madam Dowager said with emotion.
She already had a plan in her mind. How could they become co-consorts when they failed to be chosen? This was great news.
“Yes, that’s what His Highness said. By the way, when he saw my clothes today, he especially asked me if they were all of a set. He asked me how you got the patterns. He said that I looked good in the clothes, and wanted to make two sets for me.” Ning Qingshan blushed with shyness. She seemed a little embarrassed.
“Of course, it’s a set of clothes from the outside garments to the inside garments. The Third Prince has good taste. I specially selected this pattern, and I have a few more patterns. If he likes it, I’ll give them all to you.” Madam Dowager said generously and asked Mother Qin to get the patterns. She was pleased that the Third Prince cared so much about Ning Qingshan.
Although Ning Qingshan would be only a co-consort now, no one could be sure what would happen. To marry Ning Qingshan, the Third Prince even refused his cousin, who was his childhood sweetheart. So, the Third Prince must like the Third Girl. He wanted to make clothes for her before she entered the manor. It was apparent that she would be favored. This was good news!
“It’s a complete set! From inside to outside, but… but… how could it be?” Ning Qingshan seemed to be very frightened, and her face, which had been smiling just now, suddenly turned as pale as snow.