Chapter 377 The Past, the Lost Sachet
Although he and Ning Xueyan came here today to specifically find out about the effect of Ning Yuling’s matter, it was hard for him to talk about it.
“The carriage crashed. For some reason, both carriages met with accidents. One of them was smashed. As for the other one, it did not break, but…” Ning Huaijing could not say it. He looked embarrassed, but he could not hide these things from the others.
“I heard that the Second Young Lady and the Fifth Young Lady were in the carriages of the Lord Protector’s Manor, and they were on their way to visit the Eldest Young Lady. They ran into the Eldest Young Lady’s husband enroute. Then, something happened. The Second Young Lady and her brother-in-law hugged each other. The scene was hot.” Brother Yan covered his face with a fan and then tilted his head forward. He lowered his voice and asked curiously.
“How did the Second Young Lady get undressed in the carriage? The Fifth Young Lady’s carriage also crashed. Apart from getting a fright and nearly losing her life, she is fine!”
It was hard for Ning Huaijing to answer. He did not know why Ning Yuling did such a crazy thing in the carriage. Otherwise, such a thing would not have happened when she was trying to escape from the carriage. Besides, she also had bruises on her body, so it was beyond explanation.
“Second Young Master Ning, I heard that the Eldest Young Master of Minister Xia had a marriage arrangement with the Eldest Young Lady of the Lord Protector’s Manor since they were very young?” Hua Yunheng, who was sitting on one side, changed the topic at the right time, which defused Ning Huaijing’s embarrassment.
“I heard that it’s true. They must have been engaged for many years.” Ning Huaijing nodded. All the people in the manor told him about this.
“Do all the girls in the capital marry so late? I heard that the First Young Lady Ning was already 17 years old, wasn’t she?” Hua Yunheng seemed to be quite puzzled and asked.
Women usually got married at the age of 16, or even earlier. Such a case was rare. Ning Ziyan could even be called an old spinster.
Speaking of this, Ning Xueyan also felt suspicious. She fluttered her long eyelashes as a trace of puzzlement flashed in her watery eyes. She held her breath and listened carefully. The Xia Manor and the Ning Manor had spread the news that Xia Yuhang and Ning Ziyan had been engaged for a long time. How could they not let this matter go on? Moreover, they made it seem as if Ning Ziyan was an old spinster.
“I heard that there was some kind of dispute in this matter. I’m not sure about the details, but it seems…” Ning Huaijing spoke with some hesitation. He had only been back for a few days, so he did not really care about it at all.
“I am speaking out of turn.” Hua Yunheng smiled and stopped asking. He said in a gentle tone, “I heard that the Eldest Young Master of the Xia family has an unusual literary talent. If possible, please introduce him to me.”
Did Brother Hua want to get to know Xia Yuhang? It turned out that Brother Hua had taken a longer route in order to get to know Xia Yuhang. Ning Xueyan was deep in thought. She did not understand why Hua Yunheng wanted to get to know Xia Yuhang, and why he wanted to befriend Xia Yuhang. No wonder she felt that Brother Yan was overly enthusiastic just now.
It seemed that he had been looking for Ning Huaijing for several days. Now, he was pleased to have found him.
But why did Brother Hua want to get to know Xia Yuhang? Ning Xueyan frowned slightly and glanced at Hua Yunheng quietly. Unexpectedly, she saw a pair of bright eyes looking back at her. Both of them seemed to be surprised. Hua Yunheng even smiled at her. Ning Xueyan opened her mouth, but she did not utter the word “brother” in the end. She hurriedly pretended to peek at him and lowered her head in a panic.
She was not Ning Ziying now, so she could not address Hua Yunheng as “big brother.” Moreover, she had not figured out what Hua Yunheng wanted to do yet. Was he going to make friends with Xia Yuhang, or did he have other plans? She always thought that Hua Yunheng would not be so simple.
The marriage between herself and Xia Yuhang had been arranged a long time ago. There were not many people who knew about it in the manor. Moreover, he should have left by that time. How could he know about this kind of thing? So, it was unlikely that he knew about it. After all, no one would tell him that sort of information, according to his status at that time!
“Well, if there is a chance, I will introduce him to you. I believe that he will be very willing to get to know Childe Yueming, who is famous in the regions south of the Yangtze River.” Although Ning Huaijing and Hua Yunheng had only chatted for a while, Ning Huaijing felt that he was elegant and talented, so he deserved to be called the scholar of the regions south of the Yangtze River. Xia Yuhang also had a reputation for his talent in the capital, so maybe they could be friends, so Ning Huaijing agreed immediately.
The three people chatted for a while. Hua Yunheng then stood up and said goodbye. Brother Yan also took his leave and accompanied him. Ning Huaijing stood up to see them off.
“Second Young Master Ning, your servant seems very intelligent. I wonder if you will consider giving him away.” When Hua Yunheng turned his head, his eyes fell on Ning Xueyan. His alluring voice was gentle and pleasing, but it frightened Ning Xueyan. She immediately hung her head and dared not to peek at him anymore.
It was Ning Xueyan’s first time to meet an old friend, and he was her elder brother, who treated her so well when she was a child. How could Ning Xueyan not look at him several times? Now, she also knew that she had peeked too often at him, which was not befitting that of a young male servant. She thought that since she was standing in Ning Huaijing’s shadow, Brother Hua might not have seen her. But now, it seemed that it was impossible for Brother Hua not to notice her, because of his shrewdness.
Ning Huaijing did not expect Hua Yunheng would suddenly talk about Ning Xueyan. His heart tightened. He laughed and politely refused, “This is the servant my father arranged for me. He’s very smart, but I can’t give him to you.”
He had never expected that the world-renowned Childe Yueming would be interested in a young male servant. If he were another young male servant, it would be fine. But it was Ning Xueyan who was in the guise of a young male servant. How could he dare to agree to that?
“He’s an interesting young male servant. If you don’t need him in the future, you can give him to me.” Hua Yunheng looked at Ning Xueyan, who was standing stiffly at the side. With a gentle smile at the corners of his mouth, he told him. Fortunately, he did not insist.
After he finished speaking, he walked out with Brother Yan. The fellow who was on guard there nodded and bowed to him again, and then sent him downstairs.
Ning Huaijing turned back and looked at Ning Xueyan from head to toe. He did not find anything abnormal. Ning Xueyan was as short as any young male servant now, and her head had been lowered all the time. Even if she had good looks, there should not be a problem. “Did you do something just now to attract the attention of Childe Yueming?”
He could not help asking.
“That’s impossible. Take it easy, Second Brother. I was just standing there in a proper manner. Maybe I’m too well-behaved, which made him suspicious!” Ning Xueyan raised her head and let out a laugh. She would not tell him that she and Hua Yunheng had looked at each other.
There was too much involvement in this matter, so it was impossible for her to say it out.
“Do you still want to listen to it now?” Ning Huaijing asked. They had heard a lot of gossips all the way here. Now they were listening carefully. They heard the Lord Protector’s Manor name being mentioned several times in the teahouse, accompanied by bursts of loud laughter. It could be seen that they were all talking about this matter.
“Let’s listen a little longer. It’s rare that we can come out.” Without any outsiders around, Ning Xueyan certainly would not make herself uncomfortable. She sat down in the chair opposite Ning Huaijing. This was where Hua Yunheng sat.
“Hey, what’s this?” Before she sat down, she saw a sachet there. The sachet was very old and looked like it had been used for many years. The patterns on it had faded. The embroidery was not exquisite and even a little crude, but it was evident that it belonged to a woman. And the most important thing was that it looked a bit familiar.
She reached out to pick it up. She tried hard to suppress the fear in her heart. She had applied ointment on her injured hand, and it was wrapped with a layer of bandage. She did not feel any pain, while her hands were hanging at her sides. However, when she picked up the sachet, she could not hold on to it, and it almost dropped.
“Did Childe Yueming lose something?” Ning Huaijing was stunned. Then, he understood and took the sachet that dropped from Ning Xueyan’s hand. He turned it over, and found the embroidered “Yun Heng” at the corner of the sachet. Obviously, it was a man’s name.
“Let me see if he is still here?” This time, Ning Huaijing needed no answer. He picked up the sachet in his hand and looked out of the window to see if he could see Hua Yunheng.
Ning Xueyan’s hands trembled slightly. She tried hard to suppress the excitement in her heart. How could she not recognize this sachet? Because she was the one who made it. She had picked out the cloth herself. She sewed it, stitch by stitch. At that time, she had just learned how to do needlework, and she was very proud of herself. She had made so many shapeless items and gave them to others.
She had sent sachets to her father and her mother. Meanwhile, she had sent one to Brother Hua, who had always cared about her.
However, it was not well-made. When she was more skilled at stitchwork, she even asked for it back from Hua Yunheng. But Hua Yunheng said that it had disappeared. She did not care about it at that time. But she did not expect that after a long time, the sachet was still there. How could Ning Xueyan not be excited?
“I didn’t see anyone. I’ll go down and have a look.” Ning Huaijing looked from the window, but he did not see anyone. He took the sachet and was about to leave.
“Second Brother, you don’t have to go downstairs. He already left in the carriage. Let’s leave it here. It won’t be too late to give it back to him next time we meet Childe Yueming.” Ning Xueyan took a deep breath to suppress the shock in her heart. When she looked up again, she was calm and relaxed. She stopped him with a smile.
Since Brother Hua had left a token for the next time, she could not ruin his intent. No matter what his purpose of making friends with Ning Huaijing was, Ning Xueyan felt that he was not malicious toward her. She always treated Brother Hua as her family member, in the depths of her heart. Now, she had a strong feeling that Brother Hua was here with an underlying motive.
Some things changed in subtle ways. Now, Brother Yan, who mentioned Xia Yuhang, knew about Ning Huaijing’s situation in the manor. He also knew that Ning Huaijing could not do business with him. Therefore, the sachet must have been left behind with an ulterior motive in mind.
“That’s okay!” Ning Huaijing nodded. Anyway, he wanted to make friends with Childe Yueming. Brother Yan also said that Childe Yueming was now living in his house.
“Second Brother, let’s go back now. We have done what we were sent out to do.” At this time, Ning Xueyan was not in the mood to listen to gossip. She turned around and walked out, thinking about Hua Yunheng’s purpose.
Because she was absent-minded, she walked around the screen and lost her balance. She felt as if she had been hit by something. Before she could speak, darkness overcame her, and she fell instantly.