Chapter 322 The Result of the Beauty Contest Comes Out
“Okay!” Unexpectedly, Ao Chenyi did not make things difficult before letting her go. Although his eyes still looked thoughtful and serious, they were not as cold as before. He reached out and stroke her head gently which he had rarely done. “Don’t worry. Nobody will bully you after you marry me.”
Ning Xueyan looked up in astonishment, wondering what he meant. However, when she was still savoring his words, he had turned around and strode away.
Not long after she sat back to the futon again, she saw a palace maid coming over.
“Is it Fifth Young Lady of Lord Protector’s Manor?”
“Yes, I am!” Ning Xueyan stood up and answered.
“Fifth Young Lady, please come with me. All the other candidates have gone back to rest and wait for further notice. You can go back as well now,” the palace maid said with a smile.
It turned out that today’s activity had ended. Ning Xueyan stood up with a nod and went to Shuyu Palace following behind the palace maid.
After coming back from the Small Jing’an Temple, Ning Xueyan sat alone quietly in the room and thought about what she had heard about the previous dynasty just now. It was said that the empress was an evil woman who brought calamity to the country. As she provoked the wrath of people, many parties of the country went to the capital city and gathered outside the imperial city. The emperor led the army in person to fight, but unfortunately, he was hit by the arrow shot by a guard of the previous prime minister and died.
Since the emperor had died and the empress had taken her own life in the fire, everyone thought that the prime minister, who was the most powerful at that time would be the ultimate beneficiary. However, when he rushed into the imperial palace and was about to announce himself to be the new emperor, one of his subordinates, a general, was elected as the new leader with the support of the army and became the first emperor of the Chu Kingdom.
But no matter who became the new emperor in the end, it was the prime minister who gave the order to kill the former emperor.
Therefore, in fact, her foe was no other than the prime minister. However, he had been killed when the first emperor of the Chu Kingdom ascended the throne.
“Miss, the result of the Beauty Contest has come out just now. Someone from the front yard informed us that we could come back to our manor.”
Lanning lifted the curtain and said anxiously. Worrying that the slightness carelessness might get her master into trouble, she had been cautious in these days since they came to the imperial palace. Therefore, she was very excited at the good news that they could return and rushed back to tell Ning Xueyan about it.
After all, it was too dangerous in the imperial palace. Third Young Lady had someone to help her, but Fifth young lady had nobody to discuss with here. As she was the only one her master had brought to the imperial palace, Lanning had not slept well these days, worrying that something bad would happen to Ning Xueyan.
Ning Xueyan slowly took a breath and then gently heaved a sigh of relief. After her rebirth, she was clear that no matter how hard people tried, they could not change the result of something. Even if Ning Ziying were still alive, she could not stop the previous dynasty from collapsing, let alone she was already dead.
It had been more than ten years since the establishment of the Chu Kingdom. The legends about the former dynasty were just legends. Both the founding emperor who had died or the present emperor who harbored malicious intentions to Ao Chenyi were kind of enlightened rulers, and on her way to the capital city before, Ning Xueyan had seen the people living in peace and contentment. Therefore, she was sure that none of the Chu people wanted another war in their country.
Moreover, her mother must have wanted to keep her out of trouble for hiding her in the backyard for so many years and had never told her about the incident. “Mom must have worried that those people would find me, so she had been so cautious. Before her death, she even made arrangements to confuse the others on my way to the capital city.”
“Mom had considered everything for me to keep me away from the danger of regime alternation!”
“Lanning, sort out our belongings. We’ll leave soon,” Ning Xueyan said in a low voice after clearing up her thoughts.
Lanning had prepared some of their belongings last night, so they came out of the Shuyu Palace soon. The eunuch, who announced the imperial edict, was stunned when he saw them coming out so soon, but he immediately put on a smile and took them out. As soon as they arrived at the gate, they saw someone coming out, crying.
Although she was full of worries, Ning Xueyan could not help smiling at the sight of the person whose head was wrapped with thick gauze.
Was that the aggressive Ling Xue? She had thick gauze wrapped around her head, with only two eyes exposed. Two maids were supporting her on both sides and one of them was crying, heartbroken. Ning Xueyan knew that Ao Chenyi’s men had never shown mercy in dealing with others. She had seen clearly that Ling Xue had many thorns on her face that day.
It seemed that her whole face was injured. Ning Xueyan could not tell if her injury was serious or not and whether it would leave scars on her face, but she knew that Ling Xue had no opportunity to rise high. Ling Xue and Ning Yuling had always bullied Ning Xueyan before.
When Ling Xue saw Ning Xueyan coming across from her, the grievance and sadness in her eyes immediately turned into resentment. She pushed her maids away and rushed toward Ning Xueyan. She had no guts to vent her anger on Prince Yi, so she tried to get back at Ning Xueyan. If it was not because of this b*tch in front of her, Prince Yi would not have noticed her and made her into trouble.
It never occurred to her that if she had not offended Prince Yi recklessly, she would not have looked so miserable. In fact, if Prince Yi wanted to punish someone, that person would probably die. Therefore, Ling Xue was already lucky enough to stay alive. Since she came to the imperial palace to attend the Beauty Contest, Prince Yi did not kill her for the sake of the emperor.
Watching Ling Xue rushing over with anger, Lanning was about to stop her. Ning Xueyan pulled Lanning behind her and said to Ling Xue with a smile, looking into the latter’s resentful eyes,
“Miss Ling, we’re at the imperial place now. It’s much bigger than the Vice Minister of Justice’s Manor.”
Ling Xue immediately stopped at her words. She stared at Ning Xueyan with anger, malice and jealousy in her eyes, but dared not to take a step further. Although she hated Ning Xueyan to the utmost and even wanted to tear her into pieces, she knew that she could not behave at will in the imperial palace. Biting her teeth, she could only helplessly watch Ning Xueyan walking away.
She swore she would never spare the b*tch, Ning Xueyan.
Ignoring Ling Xue’s hatred gaze that would pierce her from behind, Ning Xueyan followed the eunuch to the imperial palace gate with Lanning.
Many contestants were eliminated this time. None of those who had physical defects advanced through the contest. Although Ning Xueyan looked good at the beginning, worrying that the rashes on her face might recur from time to time, people of the imperial palace dared not to keep her. The disease might be infectious, and if the royal family got infected, that would be a disaster.
People of the imperial palace had notified the families of those Young Ladies who had been eliminated in the contest, so there were carriages waiting outside of the imperial palace. As soon as Ning Xueyan and Lanning walked out of the gate, they saw an older female servant of Madam Dowager waiting outside. At the sight of Ning Xueyan, she immediately came over.
The carriage had been waiting outside for a long time, and it was Ning Huaiyuan who led the team to pick her up. Seeing Ning Xueyan coming over with Lanning, Ning Huaiyuan strode to her in a hurry with a complicated and grim look in his eyes, but immediately, he put on a smile and greeted, “Fifth Sister!”
“Brother Huaiyuan!” Ning Xueyan saluted him gently.
“Fifth Sister, how are you feeling? Do you want me to get a doctor for you?” Ning Huaiyuan learned from people of the imperial palace that Ning Xueyan had rashes on her face, but now he did not see anything wrong with her face apart from the faint redness on her chin.
“Thank you, Brother Huaiyuan! I’m okay now. I don’t know why I had the rashes all of a sudden,” Ning Xueyan said in a soft voice.
Next to them, there were also some people from other manors waiting beside their carriages. Hearing what Ning Xueyan said, they became suspicious. How could she have rashes on her face for no reason? There must be something wrong! Those imperial concubines were most likely to plot against the candidates in the Beauty Contest.
Someone might have meddled in the contest. “Could that be such kind of reason that the Young Lady of our manor was kicked out from the contest?” People from other manors wondered at Ning Xueyan’s words. Since it had something to do with their families’ future prosperity, they must take it seriously.
It was still early when Ning Xueyan returned to the Lord Protector’s Manor. She had planned to offer her greetings to Madam Dowager, but when she just arrived at the gate of the manor, the older female servant Madam Dowager had sent to pick Ning Xueyan up told her that Madam Dowager was not feeling well today, so she could not meet her, and she told her to go back to her own courtyard.
Obviously, she was reluctant to see Ning Xueyan or maybe she wanted to show her authority before her.
She was hinting her dissatisfaction with Ning Xueyan as well. Madam Dowager had been dreaming of taking advantage of Ning Xueyan’s marriage, but now, Ning Xueyan had been eliminated in the contest, so in her opinion, Ning Xueyan was fated not to bond to the imperial family. Of course, she would turn her back to Ning Xueyan. If she was not afraid of being accused by the outsiders, Madam Dowager would not have even sent people to pick her up.
Ning Xueyan understood what Madam Dowager meant, so after saying some polite formulas, she went back to Bright Frost Garden with her maid.
Everyone in Bright Frost Garden was cheerful when they heard that Ning Xueyan had come back. Mother Han, Qingyu and Xinmei were especially excited at the sight of her. As Ning Xueyan’s henchmen, they had been nervous these days when Ning Xueyan was in the imperial palace. Since Third Young Lady, who had never been on good terms with their master, was the favorite of Honored Consort Ya, they thought that it would be easy for her to plot against their master.
After something bad happened to Ning Qingshan which let her kicked out first, they felt a little relieved. It seemed that their master did not suffer losses even in the imperial palace.
Although they were all eliminated, obviously, Third Young Lady came back with bad rumors. When she returned to the manor, rumors about her had spread all over, saying that Third Young Lady was not only poor in playing a musical instrument, but also ill-behaved. It seemed that she wanted to frame Fifth Young Lady.
Some people said that after all, Ning Qingshan was only Lord Protector’s adopted daughter and was not related to him by blood. How could a person who even wanted to frame her sister be filial and loyal? What she had done before just for the sake of fame and money!
After this incident, some of the rumors said that Third Young Lady was in a hurry at that moment and did not see clearly that it was Fifth Young Lady who was in front of her, so she said something improper which she did not mean that. However, since there were so many rumors against her, now very few people believed that Ning Qingshan was really perfect.
Now Ning Xueyan was also eliminated as well, but the reason was quite suspicious. How could a candidate be knocked out just because of the small rashes on her face that suddenly appeared? Besides, the rashes had faded away soon. Everything these Young Ladies who came to the imperial palace to attend the Beauty Contest were given by the people of the imperial palace, so there was anything wrong, it must have something to do with people of the imperial palace.
It seemed that Ning Xueyan had been framed!
Therefore, before Ning Xueyan arrived at the manor, the rumor had spread out. Some of the Young Ladies, who had also been eliminated in the contest even said that it had something to do with some imperial concubine and as they had no special relationship with that imperial concubine, they were kicked out. The rumor changed as it went around and ended up that the Honored Consort Ya was the imperial concubine they were talking about.