The Devious First-Daughter - chapter 389
The two young ladies from the Lord Protector’s Manor respectively became Prince Yi’s and the Third Prince’s concubines. The news spread throughout the capital. The Lord Protector’s Manor had invited relatives and guests for this affair. The road leading to the gate was thronged with visitors.
There were two royal co-consorts from the manor. Since the founding of the country, this was something that had never happened before. Even those relatives who were not closely related to them also came to pay a visit to their house. Those people of the Ning clan who were scattered throughout the capital, were coming in from all directions. Ning Zu’an was not only the Lord Protector, but also the leader of the Ning clan.
Today, they would entertain their relatives and worship their ancestors.
Although it was not the birthplace of the Ning clan, there was a small family temple beside the Lord Protector’s Manor, because Ning Zu’an, the leader of the Ning clan, was here. Since it accounted for only a small courtyard, and it was close to the Lord Protector’s Manor, the gate of the family temple had never been opened. But today, the front door was wide open.
The servants went to decorate the temple and carried sacrificial offerings in, so that Ning Zu’an could worship the ancestors for a while.
As the legitimate son of Ning Zu’an, Ning Huaiyuan was required to attend such a grand event. Ning Zu’an kicked Ning Huaiyuan severely, and then he had fainted once, due to Madam Ling’s matter. He was young and in good health, so he had almost recovered. Although his face seemed to be pale, he still looked quite good.
He was as gentle as he used to be. However, when one looked closer, one could see that there was a hint of darkness in his eyes, when he lowered his head.
As the wife of the clan leader, Madam Ling also got out of the bed, despite her illness. She was seriously ill. Due to Ning Huaiyuan and Ning Yuling’s problems, she was hard hit. She was too thin and her face was greenish pale in color. She was by no means in good health.
Probably because she was too thin, she looked gloomy and her eyes were sunken when she looked at the people . Several madams, who were sitting beside her, felt uncomfortable. However, they had to laugh and chat with her. Although Madam Ling did not look good, she could still force out a smile.
They only talked about trivial household affairs, without a mention about Ning Ziyan and Ning Yuling. Meanwhile, they showed their envy of the Third Young Lady and the Fifth Young Lady of the Lord Protector’s Manor. This was also the glory of the Ning clan.
In the Bright Frost Garden, Ning Xueyan got up early to dress up. Today, she did not need to be well dressed because she had to worship the ancestors. Madam Dowager had prepared line clothes for her. Today, she and Ning Qingshan were the leading actors. So, they would worship their ancestors dressed in rough sackcloth.
“Young Lady, I’ve already made all the preparations in Cloud Reflection Courtyard, according to your instructions,” Xinmei said as she came in. She was a female in the inner courtyard and was skilled in martial arts, so she was the best person for this. Besides, they were near the Cloud Reflection Courtyard. And, the wall that Madam Ling built before, separated the Lord Protector’s Manor from the Cloud Reflection Courtyard.
It facilitated the way for Ning Xueyan and her subordinates to enter the Cloud Reflection Courtyard, without fear of being seen.
Since the haunting in the Cloud Reflection Courtyard, there would be no one coming here. Seeing it from afar, the servants in the mansion avoided approaching the wall. Although the people in the mansion did not dare to gossip, everyone knew that the place was strange. It was said that Young Lady Ning Ziying had died under unusual circumstances there.
But since the masters did not allow them to say anything, they did not dare to gossip, but spread rumors secretly.
It had happened so long ago, and the rumors faded away. No one had gone to the Cloud Reflection Courtyard. Everyone had forgotten about the yard. It was as if there was no such yard in the Lord Protector’s Manor.
Ning Xueyan nodded, as a cold and harsh light flashed through her eyes. She stood up and walked to the window. She breathed a long sigh of relief, as she looked at the Cloud Reflection Courtyard.
In this life, the secrets of the Cloud Reflection Courtyard had been well hidden. No one knew that Ning Ziying had lived in the Lord Protector’s Manor. No one knew that Ning Ziyan had killed her in order to snatch away her marriage. At that time, there was no burial place for her. Instead they only brought two of her clothes and buried her hastily.
No one cried for her, so she would do it herself.
Since she climbed out of hell, she had long been looking forward to such a day when she could bring the grievance of her previous life to light.
She had chosen this road a long time ago. No matter how bloody it would become, she would not retreat.
Mother Han stood at the side and looked at her young lady. She felt both delighted and bitter. This delicate, young lady should be gentle and pure, but she had to bear all the sufferings. If it were not for the Lord Protector’s Manor which was beset with crises, how could she become like this?
Fortunately, the Fifth Young Lady was not blindly kind-hearted, due to Madam Ming’s blessings. Otherwise, she would have already been gnawed to the bones. As a lump came into her throat, she was on the verge of tears. She immediately turned her head to dry her tears.
“Mother Han, did you come here from the Lucky Garden? Did Madam Dowager send word to me?” She calmed down and returned to the dressing table. Her long eyelashes drooped and left two uneven shadows on her pale face. She looked mysterious and peaceful, and there even seemed to be a bit of danger in this tranquility.
“Madam Dowager told me that when you go to the temple to worship and offer incense, you should walk behind the Third Young Lady. After the Third Young Lady finishes her worship, it will be your turn. She said that it has nothing to do with the Third Prince and Prince Yi. Since you are not married yet, you should follow the rules of the Lord Protector’s Manor. The Third Young Lady is the legitimate daughter and the elder sister, so she should do it first. But yesterday, she had agreed that both of you would offer incense and worship together.
Speaking of this, Mother Han was outraged. Both of them were co-consorts. Objectively speaking, her young lady was superior to the Third Young Lady. Why did Madam Dowager say that the Third Young Lady was the real legitimate daughter? If so, Madam Dowager was showing that Madam Ling was the principal wife in the mansion. How could Mother Han not be angry?
In front of the crowds, Madam Dowager once again, said that Madam Ming was a co-wife. How could she say that the Third Young Lady was the legitimate daughter? The Fifth Young Lady was the legal daughter. Was Madam Dowager trying to humiliate Madam Ming?
“Mammy, don’t be angry. No matter who put forward this idea, let them have their way. Anyway, the ceremony of worship will fall into disorder. Let them run riot as they wish!” Ning Xueyan twitched her lips and said this with a cold smile. No matter who put forward this idea, she did not really care now.
When she redressed a grievance for Madam Ming, she would invoke this issue. Madam Dowager repeatedly said that she had a profound affection toward Madam Ming. However, Madam Ming was “inexperienced,” so she took no notice of her, because love beget hate. So, what was going on today?
How could she humiliate Madam Ming in front of the clansmen? How could she not let a dead person off? She would wait and see how Madam Dowager would justify herself.
“Yes, I know. I did not say anything, but came back to report to you.” Mother Han nodded as she suppressed her anger.
“Mother Han, Xinmei, Qingyu, are you all ready? I’ll stay with Lanning here.” Ning Xueyan said calmly.
The feast today was focused on worshiping the ancestors. Most of the guests were people from the Ning clan. So, the feast would naturally be placed behind the worship area. It was still early, so most of the female members of the family found some excuse to hang around the courtyard. Looking at Madam Ling’s sullen face, no one could joke and chat freely.
They felt that even the air was depressing, when they stayed with the Marchioness. They had been informed that the Marchioness was now in disfavor. The Eldest Young Lady and the Second Young Lady had both sunk into scandals. It was said that both of them were Madam Ling’s daughters.
However, the two young ladies who brought honor to the Manor were not Madam Ling’s daughters.
Looking at Madam Ling’s current situation, few people sincerely wanted to be on intimate terms with Madam Ling now. On the grounds of visiting the Lord Protector’s Manor, they wandered around the courtyard. Some of them went to a remote place to seek refuge.
Suddenly, a loud noise came from a certain place in the courtyard. Someone was shouting, which drew the attention of some of the guests. They heard that a child was missing. The lady was very anxious as she was trying to find out where the child had gone. She had heard that the river in the Manor was quite deep. She was afraid that the child might have fallen into the river.
Hearing that, someone said that the child had gone over there and pointed toward a direction. The lady and some enthusiastic husbands went off in that direction. Many people on the road had seen the child, and they confirmed that the child had gone over there. However, they did not find the child along the way.
The lady was so anxious that she started crying. It was said that the child was her only son. If the child had met with an accident, she would not know what to do.
Her acquaintances and some warm-hearted people went along with her to help look for the child.
The further they walked, the closer they went toward the corner. Looking at the direction, the two maids who led the way, were not at ease and slowed down unconsciously.
“Hurry up. Why are you moving so slowly? Don’t you know the urgency?” Someone could not help, but hasten them on.
“Madam, we suddenly recalled that we have not done something the First Madam ordered, so we will not take you there. It is not far away from the courtyard walls.” A tall maid stopped and looked at the distance, timidly. There had once been a wall over there. It appeared out of place, as if a part of a courtyard had been dug out.
However, the crowd was anxious and did not find anything unusual. They were dissatisfied with the maids.
“If we can’t find the child out at the front, you should take us to find him in other places. What is so urgent about the Marchioness’s matter? Is it more important than a child’s life?” A madam put it bluntly. She was Ning Zu’an’s aunt, so she dared to say that.