Chapter 321 Who Is the Real Princess of the Previous Dynasty?
“Ning Ziying is the princess of the former dynasty,” Senior Nun Jing Kong said in a low voice with sadness and anger in her eyes.
“I was the princess of the previous dynasty in my previous life?” As if being struck by lightning, Ning Xueyan felt like her body almost went stiff.
She had imagined thousands of possibilities, but not this one. If she was the princess of the previous dynasty, what was the real identity of the noble Ning Qingshan?
Taking a deep breath, Ning Xueyan could not help but protest in spite of her composure, “Master Jing Kong, you must get it wrong!”
“Fifth Young Lady, since you’re close to the princess and she also left the last words to you, you must have found she was kind of different from ordinary people.” Since she had revealed Ning Ziying’s real identity, Senior Nun Jing Kong did not intend to keep anything from Ning Xueyan.
It was said that the imperial harem was on fire when the former dynasty collapsed. That extremely beautiful empress threw herself into the fire and turned into ashes with the imperial palace. Was the fire in her dreams the same fire burnt in the imperial palace?
Was that why Ning Ziying had no wet nurse before she was three years old and her mother had always tried to hide her from the outsiders? Besides, her mother had made arrangements to confuse the others before she died on Ning Ziying’s way to the capital city. After arriving at the Lord Protector’s Manor, Ning Ziying seldom went out as per her mother’s last wishes and most time, she would wear a curtain hat even if she went out with Xia Yuhang.
“Who is Ye? Who is Tong?” She could not help clenching her fists tightly when she suddenly recalled the blood-stained words in the book of family names.
“The empress of the previous dynasty was called Han Suye. Since the former dynasty belonged to Xuanyuan Clan, its emperor was Xuanyuan Tong.”
For the same reason, all the emperors’ surname of the previous dynasty was Xuanyuan. The last emperor’s given name was Tong. Therefore, Ye and Tong represented Ning Ziying’s biological parents.
“Neither of them… escaped the disaster, right?” Although Ning Xueyan managed to make herself sound calm, her voice was hollow, like floating in the air. She felt as if she was in the ice-house, and if it were not her great self-control, she would have been trembling all over. However, even she tried to keep calm, her face was still as pale as snow, and her fingers could not help but tremble slightly.
She was clear that it was meaningless to ask such a question, but she just blurted it out anxiously.
Everyone knew that the emperor died in the war and the empress was burnt to ashes in the fire with the imperial palace when the former dynasty fell. Though the former dynasty had been replaced, rumors about them were still spreading among people.
It was said that the emperor doted on the empress alone which led to the ruin of his country and his death.
Someone said that the empress with stunning beauty was a sign of the fall of the country. Moreover, the emperor of the previous country gave all his love to her and left all the other women of the harem alone, so it was inevitable for his dynasty being overthrown.
Other people said that the empress had a cruel heart beneath her beautiful face and countless imperial concubines died because of her. When the rebels captured the imperial palace and asked the emperor to turn over his empress, he would rather die than do this.
Someone said that the empress was the evildoer who was born to bring calamity to the former dynasty.
There were so many rumors about the previous emperor and empress. Ning Xueyan had heard many of them, but she only took them as legends and never thought that these had anything to do with her.
“It’s said the empress was heartbroken at the news that the emperor was killed. She wanted to commit suicide at the beginning, but… was persuaded to change her mind. It was one of her palace maid who died for her. Other people thought that the woman in gorgeous clothes who leaped into the fire was the empress and didn’t know that she had sneaked out of the imperial palace with her daughter through a secret passage.”
At the moment, Senior Nun Jing Kong had calmed down. She looked at Ning Xueyan with a complicated expression.
Ning Xueyan loosened her clenched lip while grabbing Senior Nun Jing Kong’s hand. “Then… where is… she?” she asked excitedly with a trace of blood on her pale lip as she bit it too hard just now.
“Everything was in a mess and everyone was running for their lives at that moment. The princess and her later adoptive mother got separated from the empress and lost contact with her since then. The princess’ adoptive mother was a noble lady of the former dynasty and the empress’ bosom friend as well. Her husband was an upright man. He was still a government official after the change of dynasties. The couple made the princess suddenly appear in their front yard and adopted her as their daughter in the name of a child lost in the tumult of war.”
“Since then, the princess’ adoptive mother became even more reclusive. As she and the empress had never shown their relationship in public, other people didn’t know they were close to each other. Besides, she had been living in the region south of the Yangtze River, no one suspected her. As for the princess, she became her daughter Ning Ziying…”
Ning Xueyan did not remember anything that Senior Nun Jing Kong told her later except for knowing that she seemed to have said something before leaving. Being in a trance, she sat there, cold all over. She neither shed tears nor felt confused, but only looked at the amiable Buddha statue on the platform blankly.
She had no idea how long she had been sitting like this. She felt like she might sit all the time until she became a sculpture with the lotus-shaped Buddha platform.
“What’s wrong with you? Do you think you have become a Buddha or an immortal?” With a mocking voice ringing out beside her, someone pinched her chin with his slim fingers. He applied more strength to her chin and forced her head to turn to him. She then caught sight of an extremely handsome face in front of her. She made no response, but stared at the man blankly.
“What happened?” The smile faded away from the man’s handsome face and was replaced by a grim look. He narrowed his eyes and looked at Ning Xueyan with his hand on her shoulder.
It took Ning Xueyan quite a while before realizing it was Ao Chenyi in front of her. Her stiff body relaxed a little. “Nothing!” She felt exhausted after spitting out this word. She wanted to smile at him, but the smile on her face was even no better than crying. Shivering all over, she found that it was hard to smile naturally.
“Who bullied you?” Ao Chenyi narrowed his eyes with a grim expression. He had never seen such an uneasy look on Ning Xueyan’s face. Even he had said that he was going to kill her by the gate of the Cold Mountain Temple, she was still lively and vigorous. But now, although she was smiling, he could not see the vigor in her eyes like before, instead, he found deep sadness and heartrending pain in them.
How could a vigorous little wild cat show such a helpless look?
It upset Ao Chenyi and he felt his heart beat wildly. Managing to calm himself down, he wrapped around Ning Xueyan with his arms, his chin pressing against her cold forehead. Traces of warmth spread to her body from her forehead slowly along with his breathes.
Trembling slightly, she felt like her stiff body relaxed slowly. She leaned against the strong and warm arms feebly with tearful eyes. Her tears dropped on his clothes which made him feel like they were dripping silently onto his heart through his black robe.
At this moment, nothing was on his mind apart from hugging her.
”Don’t worry. It’s okay. I’m here. Everything will be fine,” he comforted her in a soft voice, stroking her beautiful hair and back with his slim fingers gently.
After quite a while, Ning Xueyan recovered from her loss, confusion and grief. She raised her head and struggled to piece up the figure in front of her. Now her watery eyes had regained its brightness and she wanted to push away Ao Chenyi when she realized that she was in his arms. However, Ao Chenyi had no intention of letting go of her, but hugged her more tightly.
“Prince Yi, what are you doing here?” Ning Xueyan asked, sounded tired. Anyone who just knew who their own parents were would find it difficult to calm down if they were either dead or missing.
Ao Chenyi lowered his head and sized up her, puzzled, as if he had just met her. He looked at her so long time that Ning Xueyan had totally come to her sense. “Since my woman is here, of course I should come.”
He stared at Ning Xueyan passionately with his dark and thoughtful eyes. Calm as he was, he had been a little flustered just now!
“Prince Yi, I’m fine. I just, just thought of something sad,” Ning Xueyan said softly and pushed away Ao Chenyi’s hands gently. “Prince Yi, we’re at the imperial palace. Other people will gossip if they see us together.”
“No worries. No one will know it,” Ao Chenyi stared at her and said coldly.
“Prince Yi…” Ning Xueyan bit her lips and said in a low voice expressionlessly. “Can you let me go back to rest?”
Since she had only dipped a little bit water at that time, the scars on her chin and wrist had become so faint now that they were almost invisible except for slight redness and swelling. She did not care if someone in the imperial palace tried to stop her from continue playing. As long as she would not be kicked out disgracefully, it would be okay for her whenever she was declared defeated in the Beauty Contest.
She was sure that Ao Chenyi would find a way to marry her finally.
“Okay.” Ao Chenyi suddenly stood up with her in his arms.
Ning Xueyan was stunned. She looked up at his handsome face in confusion, grabbing his clothes subconsciously. There was a hint of helplessness in her charming eyes under her feathery eyelashes when she looked at him silently, like a lost child who could not find a way out and only hoped that the person in front of him could show her the way.
Ao Chenyi did not move but stared at her like this with his dark and cold eyes. Then his thin lips curved up into a charming smile. “Can’t I even hold my wife?”
With that, he strode outward. Ning Xueyan was in a panic and struggled to break free from his arms when she realized that he meant to go out with her. Even if she would marry Prince Yi in the future, her reputation would be ruined if she was found in his arms like this in public. What was more, she was also the candidate of the Beauty Contest.
“Prince Yi, put me down!” She slightly pursed her lips with a trace of anger in her jet-black eyes, struggling desperately to free herself from Ao Chenyi’s arms.
Seeing the glow on her face because of anger, Ao Chenyi suddenly cheered up. He stopped and looked at her lazily as he asked, “Are you sure you can walk on your own?”
“Prince Yi, I’m sure. Thank you for your kindness.” Ning Xueyan answered with certainty while gesturing Ao Chenyi to put her down. She was reluctant to be carried out of the Buddha Hall of the Small Jing’an Temple by Ao Chenyi and became the focus of everyone’s attention at the moment.