Chapter 363 There Would Be a Great Calamity
“Why is it not a complete set? I specifically asked someone to do it. The Lord Protector’s Manor is not an empty shelf. You are all the legal daughters and represent the dignity of the Lord Protector’s Manor. Even though such a material is hard to come by, it was still used to make complete outfits for both of you.”
Seeing that Ning Qingshan was shocked, Madam Dowager thought that she doubted the prestige of the Lord Protector’s Manor, so she said this unhappily.
“No, Grandmother… Did you make the bellyband?” Ning Qingshan asked with a pale face, her voice trembling. She twisted the handkerchief in her hand frantically.
“Yes, didn’t you get it?” In the end, Madam Dowager stared at her with wide open eyes.
“Yes, Grandmother. I never knew that there was such a thing in it. I… I did not get it at all.” Ning Qingshan was so frightened that she was about to cry. Her legs were weak, her body swayed, and she almost fell. Caifen, who was standing at one side, hurriedly held her up. She helped her to a chair nearby.
“Mother Qin, go to the embroidery shop and ask someone to call the Fifth Young Lady here.” Madam Dowager’s look had changed greatly. She might not have been so panicky before today, but it was different now. The two granddaughters would be marrying into the royal family. It would be a big deal if something like this happened.
“Yes, I’ll check it out right now.” Mother Qin also knew that it was a big mess. At that time, she had gone to the embroidery shop to order the clothes. If something went wrong, she would not be able to evade the responsibility. After putting down the patterns in her hands, she turned around and hurried out. When she reached the door, she ordered a maid to invite the Fifth Young Lady over.
“Young Lady, Young Lady, bad news!” Before Madam Dowager could calm down, a maid rushed in. When she saw Madam Dowager, she froze for a moment. She then seemed to remember that this was the Lucky Garden. Immediately, she knelt down and said, “Madam Dowager, I have something to report to my Young Lady.”
“What’s the matter?” Madam Dowager asked in a low voice.
“Er… er, those clothes…” The maid stammered and looked at Ning Qingshan, who was standing beside her.
“Say it!” Madam Dowager shouted.
“Yes, I will speak. I heard that the little cloth men were made from the same material as the Fifth Young Lady’s and my young lady’s clothes. My Young Lady was afraid, so she asked me to check it out. I found that there were only a few pieces of leftover materials, and most of them were missing. Because the cloth was good, the Third Young Lady left some for us then.” The maid was frightened, so she spilled everything out.
To win Madam Dowager’s trust, she deliberately held a few cloth strips in her hands and held them above her head.
Madam Dowager had given the materials to the Foggy Courtyard and the Bright Frost Garden only, and now the materials were used to make clothes men for witchcraft. Madam Dowager was worried about it. However, Junior Concubine Xu had been taken care of by Ning Zu’an, so she did not know how she could investigate into the matter. Last night, although the little cloth men were caked in blood and mud, she took one and pinched the material between her hands. It was indeed made of the material that she gave.
At that time, she was still wondering where Junior Concubine Xu got the cloth from. She held a grudge because one of the four dolls was meant to be her. No wonder she had been feeling dizzy and down in luck recently. It was because she had an ungrateful person around her.
“Did Junior Concubine Xu’s maid take it from the Foggy Courtyard?” Madam Dowager asked coldly, gritting her teeth.
The maid shook her head and said, “No. The Junior Concubine Xu is not close to our Young Lady. She and her servants have never come to our garden. First Madam cares about our Young Lady, and will send people to visit her from time to time.”
“Grandmother, Junior Concubine Xu is a maid who serves in the bed. I don’t like such a person, so I seldom have any contact with her. When I failed to be chosen, my mother knew that I was sad and sent people to visit me from time to time.” Ning Qingshan seemed to have calmed down at this time. She raised her head and answered.
Almost in an instant, Madam Dowager suddenly felt that she had been enlightened. She pounded the ground with her walking stick and felt a dull pain in her chest. She could not breathe.
This could only be related to Madam Ling!
After Ning Qingshan had failed to be chosen and came back, she did not even send anyone to see her. Madam Ling was not her biological mother, so why would she send anyone to visit her repeatedly? She must have an ulterior motive. When she thought of Ning Zu’an’s reaction last night, Madam Dowager thought something was wrong.
She thought that Ning Zu’an knew that it had something to do with Madam Ling, but he could not say anything in front of so many people. So, he could only vent his anger on her grandson. Ning Huaiyuan had been implicated by his mother, so he was kicked by Ning Zu’an. Otherwise, why would he suddenly hit his son?
He had no outlet to vent his anger, so he vented all of his anger at her grandson.
“This vicious woman is hateful!”
Suddenly, an idea came to her mind. Madam Ling was the one who caused the accident yesterday. What about the Third Girl’s bellyband? Who in the manor was exceptionally adept in trickery? She had asked servants to send all items in the set of clothes to the two yards. Why was there one missing in the Foggy Courtyard? Even if someone liked this kind of cloth, he or she would not have dared to target this set of clothes.
To make it easier to identify them, she deliberately asked the servants to embroider their names on it. For such an important thing, no one would have dared to take it out, except for those who had ulterior motives. And there was no one else in the manor, except Madam Ling.
Madam Dowager was conscious that the Third Girl and Fifth Girl were not Madam Ling’s daughters. Not only did the Fifth Young Lady not get along with Madam Ling, but the Third Young Lady was also not close to Madam Ling. Madam Ling was afraid that she would not be able to control them, so she deliberately stole the most intimate items from them, so that she could use them to threaten them in the future.
“Whether it is one item or two, it’s still stealing.” Madam Dowager was sure that Madam Ling did it. She was so angry that she wanted to kill Madam Ling right now.
“Madam Dowager, the Fifth Young Lady is coming.” A maid came in and reported.
Madam Dowager pounded her chest with one hand, and waved her other hand to signal her to come in. Then, she coldly told the maid who was kneeling on the ground, “Get out!”
The maid did not dare to say anything else. She hurriedly lowered her head, bowed, and left cautiously.
When Ning Xueyan came in, she first greeted Madam Dowager and then Ning Qingshan. Then, she raised her head and asked in surprise, “Grandmother, what can I do for you?”
Seeing her come in, Ning Qingshan cast her eyes on her hand. When Ning Xueyan greeted her grandmother, she pulled back her sleeve slightly. Ning Qingshan could see a circle of red and swollen marks on her right hand. The marks were not light, so she could see that the marks had been caused by pinches. It seemed that Ning Xueyan was really injured.
Ning Qingshan felt relieved and narrowed her eyes. She was glad about her misfortune. “Did Ning Xueyan get the invitation from Commandery Princess Xianyun? She did not seem to have been treated well.”
“Xueyan, is there a bellyband in the clothes I made for you last time?” Madam Dowager asked directly.
Ning Xueyan shook her head blankly and turned to Lanning behind her. “A bellyband? No, don’t tell me that there’s a bellyband in that set of clothes.”
Lanning paused and said firmly, “Young Lady, no. I’ve checked several times at that time, but I did not see such a private item. Otherwise, I would have put it away carefully.”
In the two sets of clothes, only the two bellybands, the most private female items, were missing. Everyone was clear about the meaning. Madam Dowager’s face was dark.
“Is there a bellyband in it?” Feeling the cold atmosphere in the room, Ning Xueyan’s face immediately turned white. She asked hurriedly, holding back the panic in her eyes.
“Fifth Sister, I’m afraid that both of us have fallen into a trap, and we’re going to be framed,” Ning Qingshan said with a sigh, wiping her eyes with a handkerchief. She was so anxious that she was about to cry. Both of them seemed to be filled with a common hatred.
“Third Sister, is this true? What should we do? If… if someone finds out, I’m afraid all the people in the mansion will be in danger, not just us!” Ning Xueyan’s face was pale, and her voice was filled with uncontrollable fear and panic.
This fear immediately infected Madam Dowager, and she thought of Prince Yi, Ao Chenyi. Ao Chenyi killed people, depending on his mood. Ning Xueyan was Prince Yi’s co-consort-to-be. It would be announced soon based on what had happened in Commandery Princess Xianyun’s Manor today.
If such a thing happened at this time, it would be equivalent to making a cuckold of Prince Yi, the bloodthirsty Asura King. It was frightening to think about it. Moreover, the Third Prince was also involved. The Third Prince’s love for the Third Girl was evident.
Although he was gentle, a man would not stand for this sort kind of thing.
If it was only concerning Prince Yi, the Lord Protector’s Manor might have a chance to survive. But with the inclusion of the Third Prince, the future of the Lord Protector’s Manor seemed to be headed for a disaster. Madam Dowager had a vision of a bloody scene. The whole Lord Protector’s Manor was drowning in mountains of corpses and seas of blood. It was going to be a catastrophe.
Madam Dowager was not a coward, but she was also frightened by this scene. Her face turned pale, and her eyes were full of anger. “Madam Ling, this vicious woman, she wants to harm the whole Lord Protector’s Manor!”
“Grandmother, is it possible that… the Third Prince came to inquire about this on purpose?” Ning Qingshan had the same intent as Ning Xueyan at this time. She rushed about in distress, deliberately added fuel to the fire.
No matter how bad their relationship was, they had the same intention in this matter. Madam Ling did this to force them to die. Once a lady lost her bellyband, there would be no way out.
“Is it for this reason… that he vented his anger on me today?” Ning Xueyan frowned, bit her lips, and looked confused. She was confused and scared. Under her drooping eyelashes, there was a blood-thirsty coldness in her eyes.
Ning Xueyan’s and Ning Qingshan’s conjectures seemed to be groundless, but they appeared to be reliable. Madam Dowager’s scale in her heart had already been tilted. At this time, she felt that everything was reasonable.
“Come on. Get Madam Ling to come here right away.” In a flash, Madam Dowager had made up her mind. She raised her eyebrows, and her face, which had always been kind, turned ferocious.