Chapter 45 Aunt Xiang’s Surprise
Seeing that the Honored Consort Ya going into the inner room to have a bath, the 30-year-old woman left the house.
“Aunt Xiang, it’s late, where are you going?” Seeing Aunt Xiang came out, the eunuch who guarded the door asked with a smile.
“I heard that there is a sole chrysanthemum outside our yard. I’ll go and see it first. If Honored Consort Ya asks about it tomorrow, I can tell her.” Aunt Xiang answered with a faint smile. She was Honored Consort Ya’s servant and in charge of the flowers and plants in Honored Consort Ya’s palace for her. She was good at growing flowers and plants, so the flowers in Honored Consort Ya’s palace bloomed better than that of anywhere else and even was praised by the emperor.
Since these flowers could attract the emperor for Honored Consort Ya, Aunt Xiang was not an ordinary servant anymore. Everyone respectfully called her Aunt Xiang. Aunt Xiang came into the palace with Honored Consort Ya and was Honored Consort Ya’s dowry. Naturally, she was Honored Consort Ya’s henchman. So these eunuchs smiled and let her go when she went out at this time.
Aunt Xiang went out of the courtyard and observed for a while, then she went to the left. The chrysanthemum was specially planted by the monks in Cold Mountain Temple for the guests to enjoy. The flowers were elegant when bloomed. But people seldom enjoyed it at night. The eunuchs who guarded the door didn’t know that, but Aunt Xiang was very clear about that.
Aunt Xiang walked along the path and passed the chrysanthemum. She didn’t see the chrysanthemum at all but went to the pavilion on the side. Under the moonlight, there was a beauty sitting on the stone bench. She poured a cup of tea and slowly drank. Her delicate face, together with her inky jade-liked eyes, made her alone in the night.
Aunt Xiang could hardly believe it. She stared at Ning Xueyan’s white face in excitement. The huge impact almost made her unable to believe what she saw for a moment. She rubbed her eyes and looked at the young girl in the pavilion again. She could say nothing due to great amazement.
She had seen almost identical inky jade-liked eyes. Though the two faces were not very similar, both were beautiful. The face in front of her was too pale so that people couldn’t realize its beauty at one. The childish gaze was also familiar to Aunt Xiang. She almost thought that the girl she saw was the beautiful and graceful woman…
Aunt Xiang’s lips trembled and her eyes became red because of sadness. “No, it could not be her.” Aunt Xiang had seen her jumped into the fire in person. The flames burned her skirts, reflecting her beautiful face. Then she was covered by the fire and smoke…
“Aunt Xiang?” Ning Xueyan stood up leisurely. The moonlight shone on her little face, making it a little blurred. Her glittering eyes were full of smile. She looked calm and gentle. It seemed that she encountered Aunt Xiang by chance instead flicking a note and it fell to Aunt Xiang when Honored Consort Ya walked by her with Aunt Xiang. The note said she wanted to have a meeting with Aunt Xiang at night.
Aunt Xiang came to the imperial palace with Honored Consort Ya when Honored Consort Ya married the emperor. She had visited Madam Ming in private with Honored Consort Ya. It seemed that Honored Consort Ya wanted to leave Aunt Xiang to Madam Ming, but Madam Ming refused. The former Ning Xueyan didn’t know who Aunt Xiang was, but now Ning Xueyan knew.
The real Ning Xueyan had died. The soul of the present Ning Xueyan was Ning Ziying. Ning Ziying’s mother knew how to make spices and also knew how to make poisons with spices. She said that the invisible poison was made up of several kinds of spices. But Ning Ziying’s mother said she wasn’t good at that and mentioned Aunt Xiang, saying Aunt Xiang was a master who knew all kinds of poisons made up of spices and also knew how to make poisons.
If there was such a person to help Madam Ming, the competition and poison wouldn’t be a problem for Madam Ming.
Madam Ming was poisoned to death. But actually, that poison was not difficult. One could found it as long as he or she knew a little bit about poison. Unfortunately, Madam Ming refused the goodwill of Honored Consort Ya, which puzzled Ning Xueyan. On that day, Aunt Xiang kowtowed to Madam Ming. From that, Ning Xueyan speculated that the relationship between Aunt Xiang and Madam Ming was unusual. So she invited Aunt Xiang to come here in the name of Madam Ming’s daughter.
She was in great need of help now. If there was an expert like Aunt Xiang who knew poison well, she didn’t have to worry about being poisoned by Madam Ling. Maybe she also could fight back in some respects. With Aunt Xiang’s help, she could revenge with more courage. That was why she risked meeting Aunt Xiang.
Aunt Xiang came as what she expected.
“You… you’re Madam Ming’s daughter, the Fifth Young Lady of the Lord Protector’s Manor?” Aunt Xiang finally controlled her mood and calmed down. She walked slowly and scrutinized Ning Xueyan. She was a little excited and confused. When she went to the Lord Protector’s Manor last time, she only saw Madam Ming and didn’t saw Ning Xueyan.
“Yes, please sit down, Aunt Xiang.” Ning Xueyan smiled and invited her to sit. Then she sat down on the stone bench leisurely, poured two cups of tea, and pushed one to Aunt Xiang.
“Fifth Young Lady, why did you want to see me?” Aunt Xiang did not sit down, looking at Ning Xueyan on alert.
“Aunt Xiang almost followed my mother before. I wonder if Aunt Xiang would like to follow me now if there’s a chance.” Seeing Aunt Xiang didn’t sit down, Ning Xueyan didn’t invite again. She gently buckled the teacup, lifted her watery eyes, and lifted the hair on her face casually, asking directly.
On that day, the Honored Consort Ya came to see Madam Ming in person in order to leave Aunt Xiang to Madam Ming, but Madam Ming refused for some unknown reason!
“You want me to help you?” Aunt Xiang was shocked. She didn’t expect gentle Ning Xueyan to say that directly.
“Yes, Aunt Xiang. How can you leave Honored Consort Ya?” Ning Xueyan asked with a smile.
Although she hid at that time, she still saw that Aunt Xiang left reluctantly while crying. She must want to stay with Madam Ming.
“I can’t leave Honored Consort Ya!” Aunt Xiang refused.
“Why? Didn’t you wish to stay with my mother before?” Ning Xueyan wasn’t very surprised, because she knew that Aunt Xiang wouldn’t help her easily.
“That was just my wish. Madam Ming didn’t want me to stay with her.” Aunt Xiang said with sadness but didn’t speak out the meaning directly.
“So, my mother died. Aunt Xiang, do you want me to die my mother?” Ning Xueyan smiled slightly as if she were talking about other people’s affairs, only hatred in her eyes. Madam Ming died because of Madam Ling’s plot. But the whole Lord Protector’s Manor didn’t give her an explanation. Only several servants were punished. Ning Zu’an really ignored her completely!
“Your mother has been sick for a long time, so…” Aunt Xiang’s face became pale. After a while, she answered in difficulty.
“She had been sick for a long time? Aunt Xiang, you’re wrong. She died of poisoning. There was a light fragrance of peach blossom after her death. The imperial physician brought by Prince Yi diagnosed in the mourning hall. But they only punished several servants. I don’t know when I’ll die like my mother.” Ning Xueyan smiled, picked up the tea cup on the table and took a sip.
It seemed as if she were talking about other people’s life and death.
Aunt Xiang shocked violently, and her calm eyes were full of rage. One could see that she was very angry. She couldn’t be indifferent to Madam Ming’s death and Ning Xueyan.
“Aunt Xiang, the Lord Protector’s Manor isn’t the right place for my mother and me. My mother was too confident to fall into such a situation, but I don’t want to die in the backyard of Lord Protector’s Manor so silently.” Something fierce flashed in Ning Xueyan’s dark eyes and she smiled coldly.
Ning Xueyan didn’t know why Madam Ming refused such a big helper. Now she only wanted to revenge herself, Madam Ming and Ning Ziying. She would never let them succeed again and again. “Aunt Xiang, if you still remember the relationship with my mother, please help me.”
Ning Xueyan stood up and remembered the despair when she was pressed tightly into the water, holding her fingers tightly. No matter when, she would not give up. Of course, she couldn’t persuade Aunt Xiang to help her so easily. Aunt Xiang was Honored Consort Ya’s henchman and it was not an easy thing that she came to Ning Xueyan. This Aunt Xiang didn’t seem to be impulsive. She must think about it carefully.
And she just needed Aunt Xiang’s help.
“Fifth Young Lady, did you ever feel uncomfortable?” Aunt Xiang stood by the roadside, frowning and meditating. When Ning Xueyan passed by her, she suddenly widened her eyes and grabbed Ning Xueyan’s hand, asking in a hurry.
“Aunt Xiang, what’s wrong?” Ning Xueyan stood still and asked softly, but she was not surprised at all.
Aunt Xiang pulled Ning Xueyan and looked at her face under the moonlight. Then she picked up her hand again and felt her pulse. In the end, she asked with a trembling voice, “Fifth Young Lady, do you always feel uncomfortable? Do you often feel sleepy but can’t sleep at night, and sometimes feel epigastric pain?”
“Yes. How could I sleep well when I think about mother’s death?” Ning Xueyan said indifferently. She seemed to have no surprise about her discomfort at all.
“Are you taking medicine?” Aunt Xiang looked pale.
“Yes, I have been taking all the time. My mother asked people to nurse my health when she was alive. Now Madam Dowager asks people to take care of my health.” Ning Xueyan said with a smile. She was calm and not surprise at all when she said that, but her gaze was cold. “No matter what medicine I take, there’s always a light fragrance of osmanthus. It’s not easy for others to notice that when it’s mixed with the medicine. But I have a keen sense of smell!”
After listening to Ning Xueyan’s words, Aunt Xiang was sure what was mixed with the medicine. She bit her teeth and said with hatred, “Fifth Young Lady, don’t take that medicine again. This… this is used to make woman infertility and kill people. I checked for you just now. If you take more of it, I’m afraid you won’t…”
This kind of thing only happened in the backyard when women competed for husband’s favor. Ning Xueyan was only a child. But Madam Ling should poisoned her. Before that, Aunt Xiang was still hesitant. At this time, she had made a decision in an instant.