Chapter 662 Could This Poem Not Be Yours?
Nearly everyone was looking at Ning Xueyan. Not even her status as the Crown Princess stopped them from giving her mocking looks. How could a person of her caliber become the Crown Princess and the future Empress, the Mother of the Nation? What a joke!
“Your Highness, look…” Commandery Princess Muling turned around and looked at Ning Xueyan with a conflicted expression.
“Your Highness, should I go there and shut him up? How could he criticize the Crown Princess as he pleased?” Ya Moqin said angrily, looking indignant on Ning Xueyan’s behalf.
Emotion rippled in Ning Xueyan’s eyes. She was quite speechless at their performance. “Eldest Young Lady Ya, let him criticize as he pleases. I don’t know what does this has to do with me.”
In Commandery Princess Muling’s opinion, if Ning Xueyan was clever, she would have said the maid took the wrong paper instead of refusing to admit that it was hers. Even though no one wrote their names down, every paper was marked accordingly. Ning Xueyan couldn’t just say that the poem was written by someone else. However, the more she refused to admit it now, the more embarrassed she would become later.
“Your Highness, isn’t this poem yours?” Ya Moqin was so smug that she immediately rebutted Ning Xueyan after hearing the latter’s reply.
She was certain that the poem belonged to Ning Xueyan.
She spoke so loudly and boldly that she attracted everyone’s attention. Even the three famous scholars and their counterparts some distance away were staring in Ning Xueyan’s direction.
Ning Xueyan remained composed under everyone’s gazes. She smiled and said calmly, “How do you know that the poem is mine, Eldest Young Lady Ya? Did you see me write it?”
Her words shifted everyone’s attention to Ya Moqin. Ya Moqin’s face turned red after seeing so many people stare at her. She couldn’t believe that Ning Xueyan was still refusing to admit her mistake. Ning Xueyan truly didn’t know what was good for her.
“Your Highness, you’re the only one here who can produce such disgraceful work.” Ya Moqin had always been domineering and conceited. With Grand Tutor Ya’s Manor and Ao Mingyu backing her up, she was so arrogant that she might not even show the princesses in the palace respect.
Most importantly, she had always disliked Ning Xueyan. Even though Ning Xueyan had become the Crown Princess, she felt that Ning Xueyan was inferior to her. She tried to be polite and soft-spoken with Ning Xueyan because of the latter’s status, but after Ning Xueyan provoked her, she couldn’t hold back her anger anymore.
This was especially true because she was in public. If she continued to stay silent, she feared that she would cough up blood.
“Disgraceful work? Eldest Young Lady Ya, did you see me write the poem, or did you know what I have written? How could you know everything so well when I didn’t even know who the scholar had criticized?” Ning Xueyan seemed tranquil. Under her long lashes, her eyes were tinted with cold mirth as she looked at Ya Moqin’s red face.
“You’re the only one here who has never received formal education as a child!” Ya Moqin retorted loudly.
Her words drew the secret acknowledgment of many people. The women present were all more or less cultured. Even those who weren’t that well-learned had the basics down. The Crown Princess was the only exception. It was said that the Crown Princess and her mother lost the Lord Protector’s favor when she was young, resulting in her lack of education. It was very likely that she was the owner of that terribly-written, terribly-composed poem.
“Does not having a formal education mean I can’t be well-educated? If that’s the case, let’s have the scholar bring the poem here so we can all look at it. We’ll see if you’re framing me or if I’m really the writer of the poem.” Ning Xueyan sneered, looking sharp and fierce.
Her momentum shocked several of the young ladies who were whispering among themselves because of Ya Moqin’s words. They immediately fell silent.
It was only now that they realized that this was no longer the Fifth Young Lady Ning, who was said to be so cowardly that she wouldn’t even dare to complain about being bullied. She was the Crown Princess and Princess Yi. She was the wife of the powerful Prince Yi. No one could afford the responsibility of offending her and provoking Prince Yi.
Besides, Prince Yi had become the rightful Crown Prince.
It wasn’t difficult for him to exterminate a family or an entire clan.
He had already done so when he was just a prince. It would only be easier for him now.
Ning Xueyan’s irreverent attitude drove Ya Moqin mad with anger. She didn’t realize that everyone was beginning to backtrack. She waved her hand at a nearby maid and said angrily, “Fine. Servants, bring the poem here. Show everyone here the Crown Princess’ great work.”
The poem in question hadn’t been presented yet. The famous scholar was just voicing his unrelenting criticism of the work earlier. His words were so sharp that everyone felt ashamed.
The maid went up to the scholar, took the paper, and returned to Ya Moqin’s side. Ya Moqin grabbed the paper and looked at the poem. She immediately sneered loudly and gave Ning Xueyan a provocative look. She deliberately held the paper up high and said, “Everyone, come and read this. Can you stomach the Crown Princess’ poem?”
The few words scribbled on the white paper were uniform but the strokes were weak. One could even see brush streaks in several areas. It didn’t look like the writing of a noble lady who had been educated since young.
The poem was even worse than the handwriting. It was mediocre. Not only was it plain and boring, but some verses didn’t even rhyme. It was barely even a poem.
“Look, Your Highness. Is this your poem? I was right beside you. I saw you write this with my eyes. Or do you not have the courage to acknowledge a poem that you so courageously wrote?”
Ya Moqin spoke with much satisfaction. She had never seen such a poem and such handwriting. The women here were more or less reputable. They couldn’t have produced such a work. That meant Ning Xueyan was the only one capable of this. This emboldened Ya Moqin to speak even more.
She even said that she saw Ning Xueyan write the poem herself.
Ning Xueyan smiled at her. “You saw me write this poem, Eldest Young Lady Ya?”
“Of course. We were so close to each other, so I took a look. I was quite impressed when I saw how quickly you wrote, but I have to admit that your education has been quite extraordinary.”
“So, you saw me use the brush and write this poem. Your eyes sure are sharp, Eldest Young Lady Ya. But what if this isn’t my poem? Does this mean that you’re trying to ruin my reputation?” Ning Xueyan asked calmly.
The conversation had reached a point of no return. To make herself seem even more credible, Ya Moqin had no choice but to continue with gritted teeth. She sneered and said, “Your Highness, you’re being unreasonable. There’s no conflict of interest between us. Why would I ruin your reputation? How would that benefit me?”
Of course, this would benefit her! She wanted her cousin to realize how worthless and vulgar this woman was. How could her cousin fall for such a woman, to the point of longing for her? Whenever she thought about this, she would feel as uncomfortable as if a fire was burning inside her.
A trace of resentment and jealousy appeared in her eyes. She swore that she would reduce Ning Xueyan’s reputation to dust today.
“Are you upset at our Crown Princess because of what happened at Prince Xiang’s Manor? But Prince Xiang’s concubine wasn’t our Crown Princess’ biological sister. Moreover, she tried to hurt our Crown Princess too. She never treated our Crown Princess like a sister. Eldest Young Lady Ya, you shouldn’t direct your anger at our Crown Princess.”
Linglong took two steps forward so that she was standing beside Ning Xueyan. She sneered and spoke to Ya Moqin.
Her words were intriguing indeed.
There had been no conclusion about the engagement between Ya Moqin and Ao Mingyu even now. Ao Mingwan never said anything either.
Regardless, it was a fact that Ya Moqin had been betrothed to Ao Mingwan and she couldn’t be with Ao Mingyu anymore. It was inappropriate for her to get into a conflict because of Ning Qingshan, and even more inappropriate for her to hold a grudge against Ning Xueyan because of Ning Qingshan.
Linglong’s words immediately reminded everyone of Ya Moqin’s shameful situation. Many began to look skeptically at Ya Moqin. After all, quite a lot of people knew how much Ya Moqin had pestered Ao Mingyu in the past.
Was this all because of Ya Moqin’s jealousy? Was she deliberately embarrassing the Crown Princess because of Ao Mingyu’s concubine, Third Young Lady Ning?
Thinking about it now, Ya Moqin was truly shameless. She had some audacity to appear in public after getting into such a scandal. The matter hadn’t even settled. The Emperor might be furious about her, but couldn’t be bothered to deal with her because of his illness.
Still, whether or not the Emperor dealt with her, her scandal was a fact.
Hearing those words, Ya Moqin felt as if she had been slapped several times by Ning Xueyan’s maid in front of everyone. How could she endure this? Her face turned a frightening shade of red as she pointed at Linglong. “Where did you come from?” she said angrily. “How could you interrupt when your master hadn’t said anything? Servants! What are you waiting for? Drag this girl out and give her a good beating!”
Ya Moqin had never been challenged at home. Due to his plans for her, Grand Tutor Ya had always turned a blind eye to her occasional malicious act of beating a maid to death. He didn’t pay much attention, thinking that Ya Moqin couldn’t be kind when she was in the harem anyway.
Hearing Ya Moqin’s order, several maids behind her were ready to jump into action.
Ning Xueyan slammed her hand hard on the table. “Who dares to touch someone from the Crown Prince’s Manor!”
Her words put everyone in shocked silence. Ya Moqin’s maids, who had been as arrogant as their master, realized at this very moment that they were facing the Crown Princess and the future Empress. They would be dead if they really charged at her! They turned pale at the thought of the terrifying Prince Yi. Some even began to shake in fear.