Real Empress from a Noble Family is a Webnovel made by 繁朵, Fan Duo.
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Chapter 104 Diversion. Pull the Plug (4)
At noon, in the middle room of the back yard of the Ding Family.
Madame Xue was rubbing her temples. “Ge? What’s she coming for?” said she.
The maid replying to her knew Madame Xue did not like Ge. Ge was always c.o.c.ky because she considered herself the most favorite one of Prince. The maid replied frighteningly, “Ge told me it’s about Qingyan. She got an idea but was not sure of it. She came here for your suggestion.”
“We have discussed it. We have no choice but to let Ding Qingyan marry that girl. Ge is only a mistress. I can’t believe she can propose any good idea,” said Madame Xue coldly.
Madame Xue knew her grandson, Ding Qingyan well. Because he himself thought that he was born in a powerful family and handsome, he liked to woo young girls.
Ding Qingyan’s father, the second son of Madame Xue had died long ago. Meanwhile, Ding Qingyan was good at flattering, which made Madame Xue favor him more than others. Ding Hanlin, Ding Qingyan’s uncle, wanted to give him a lesson but Madame Xue often stopped him. For these reasons, Ding Qingyan became increasingly reckless. He was tired of the girls from the brothels or ordinary families. Now he targeted the girls from powerful families.
Among the girls from powerful families, Yang Yishi was not the only one who suffered from his callous disregard. But they did not stand out to uncover the scandals while Yang Yishi did. They often reached a consensus with the Ding Family in private. He, as a boy with scandals gossiped about by others, certainly would not be trusted by others.
Seeing Madame Xue was angry, the maid stood quietly. She was planning to walk out of the room and tell Ge to go back while Mrs. Nan stopped her.
“Madame, as you already woke up,” Mrs. Nan suggested. “why not ask her to come in and listen to her suggestion? She might have a good idea to solve the problem, and Ding Qingyan may not marry that easy girl. If she couldn’t give a good idea, Madame might denounce her and give her a lesson, telling her not to do the things which may tarnish the family’s reputation.”
She was sure of a “tool” for venting resentment and anger.
Hearing Mrs. Nan’s words, Madame Xue nodded, saying, “Okay, then. Send her in!”
In a second, Ge came into the room. She was in her 20s. Her standing pose seemed to accentuate her fragile beauty and the slenderness of her graceful figure. She gave a sweet salutation to Madame Xue and realized that she was not a welcome person. So, she got right to the points, “Qingyan had fallen for the Yang Family’s trap this time. If he followed the Yang family’s plan and married Miss Yang, he would be a cause for concern in the future.”
In the first place, Madame Xue planned to use Ge as her vent for resentment. But Ge spoke for her most favorite grandson. Madame Xue turned to be less angry, “You said you have a good idea?”
“It’s Yang Yishi who has been deceiving Qingyan.” Ge said with a nod. “Qingyan thought Yishi was a maid working in the Yang Family. So, it was Yishi who deceive Qingyan in the first place. Why should Qingyan suffer the consequence of marrying her? If the Yang Family insisted, it would be okay but she must be a concubine!”
Madame Xue glanced at Mrs. Nan. Both said nothing. After a while, Madame Xue said, “But when the Yang Family discovered Qingyan, he admitted that he had known her ident.i.ty.”
“I remembered that Yang Yiyong hit Qingyan?” Ge said with confidence. “We could accuse the Yang Family of plotting to take Qingyan to bear the crime for them. Qingyan had to confess to false charges under torture because he was alone and scared!”
Madame Xue thought for a long time and said, “All right. Your suggestion has been noted. You can go now.”
Ge said yes and walked out of the room slowly.
When she was about to step out of the door, Madame Xue said suddenly, “Who told you this?”
“n.o.body told me this!” Ge immediately responded, “I thought it out myself!”
Madame Xue smiled coldly, “You used to let him alone and never cared about him? Why did you care about him this time?”
After denying of Madame Xue’s accusation, Ge said to herself that the man bribed her was so canny. Madame Xue did cast doubt on her finally.
She had been reminded of the uncertainty before, so she behaved calmly when Madame Xue asked her. She turned to Madame Xue and knelt on the ground, saying frighteningly, “In the past, I did not care about Qingyan because he was old enough and I am not his aunt. I am afraid that some malicious people might gossip about our relationship. That is the reason I did not care about him. As I got married, I became a member of the Ding Family. I must care about everyone in the family now.”
Madame Xue stared at her for a moment, grunting, “Wow, good words! I give you another chance- tell me the truth or not?”
“… I… I…” Ge estimated the situation, showing fear, “I heard that our master wanted to get a concubine of late….”
“So, do you think you’ll be the first branch for you’ve been acting in charge for Lu?” Madame Xue did not doubt her anymore. She said coldly, “You should focus on your own business. Every woman in the Ding Family is virtuous. If you didn’t start trouble, n.o.body would give you a concubine any trouble.”
Realizing what Madame Xue said was a promise to her, Ge felt relieved and happy. As long as she did not start trouble, Madame Xue might protect her after Ding Hanlin got another concubine. Thinking of this, she said, “Thank you for your tips, Madame! I will remember every word you told me today!”
That was impossible! I would pay somebody by my private money to discourage the new concubine from entering the door!
Staring at the gifts and money in the hall, Ruan Qingyan did not know whether he should laugh or cry. The gifts sent back unopened contained not only the ones he sent to Ge but also other silvers and golds. After hearing Ge’s request, he said, “Why did she come and ask me? She should go and ask for Young Lady He.”
Dongran smiled, “Young Lady He is not the girl she can ask for. Ge is afraid of being known by others she was asking for help. As you know, Madame Xue dislikes her very much. If Madame noticed that she harbors something evil, she would be kicked out of the family finally. For these reasons, she dares not to do it. But we initiated a relationship with her this time which was not noticed by Madame, or she dared not to have bad ideas.”
“She is a decisive woman.” said Ruan Qingyan with a smile. “When the Ding Family and the Yang Family are fighting against each other, we send those stuff to Young Lady He as a favor we do for her. Whether Young Lady He accepts it or not, it’s up to Ge’s fate.”
They did the favor the next day — If the Ding Family could accept Yang Yishi as a man just like Ding Hanlin said, Yang Yishi’s status, in fact, did match Ding Qingyan. In honest, Ding Hanlin disliked Ding Qingyan. The boy spoiled by Madame Xue desperately. He thought that it was Yang Yishi who had to suffer a lot from the marriage, given what Ding Qingyan did in the past.
But Madame Xue firmly disagreed with the wedding. “If Qingyan confessed that he had an affair with Yang Yishi and we allowed him to marry this girl. There would be no place for him to hide in the capital due to the scandal. He did nothing great for the country, nor was he an officer. Do you want him to be a low-level officer? If not, he has to stay in our hometown which is thousands of miles away from here? You really don’t concern his safety over there?”
“I will send some reliable servants for him.” said Ding Hanlin discreetly.
“Then what about me?” screamed Madame Xue. “I’m old now. I may die at any moment! I like him. You know that! If he leaves the capital, and then I want to see him before I am dying, but he is not here. And then you are happy?”
“Mother, you are well! Don’t say that!” said Ding Hanlin, giving a perfunctory smile.
“All right. Forget it. Any girl who wants to be my granddaughter-in-law must be a good girl! But Yang Yishi, she even couldn’t reject Qingyan’s seduction when she was a girl. How can we ensure that she won’t cheat on Qingyan after getting married?” said Madame Xue. “And I watched him grow to be a man. I can’t bear to see he leaves me! I definitely disagree with the marriage!”
“But Yang Yishi is pregnant. If Qingyan didn’t marry her, she might die of gossip. At that time, the Yang Family will not let go,” said Ding Hanlin. “That’s the last thing I want to see.”
Madame Xue glared at him, saying, “It is the Yang Family who did not discipline their girl! It’s none of our business. Why were there no other girls having s.e.x with my Qingyan? Anyway, I disagree with their marriage. You must solve it — You are allowed to give the Yang Family more money, or you can speak for the Yang Family in the court or to your uncle. I definitely won’t agree with the marriage!”
Knowing that Ding Hanlin was a kind man and might succ.u.mb to the coercion or begging, Madame Xue emphasized, “If you agreed with the marriage, I would die in front of you when the girl enters my door.”
A threat coming from one’s mother would be like spanking for a kid. It hurt a lot and it couldn’t be avoided. Ding Hanlin had to persuade the Yang Family to accept the fact although he sympathized with them — Anyway, it was the world where respecting the elders was the first.
Ding Hanlin’s refusal of the marriage meant a poison to the Yang Family.
At this exact time, Ding Hanlin got a message. The day before he met the Yang Family, the girls in line four and seven in the Yang Family went and met Yang Yishi, who was the fourth girl of the family. They drank the tea prepared in advance by Yang Yishi and then began spitting blood. The people from the third branch heard the news and hurried to handle the emergency. They doubted that Yang Yishi poisoned the girls because Yang Yishi was jealous of the girls as her reputation was ruined. The people of the third branch was quarreling with the first branch about it. The third branch wanted to split from the family and live alone.
After knowing the whole fighting, Ding Hanlin, who initially was forced to persuade the Yang Family, thought that Yang Yishi was a wicked girl not suitable for his nephew.
When the Ding Family had a heated debate with the Yang Family, the relieved Ruan Qingyan invited his friend, Lian Ding to go to the Prince’s Mansion of Xihe with dowry lists in their hands.
“Dowry?” asked Qiu Mengmin and his wife with a shock. “Relax, relax. We know that Yelan is still in her mourning period and not allowed to go outside. You guys think that we will not give her enough money when she is free from the period? We will give her the stuff belonging to her. Surely enough. Thank you two for your consideration!”
Lian Ding knew that he was not as canny as Ruan Qingyan. And he had told Ruan Qingyan on their way here that Ruan Qingyan would do the talking and he would do the listening. So, hearing Qiu Mengming’s explanation, he said nothing but to drink tea.
Ruan Qingyan knew they would not give up the stuff easily. He said coldly, “We, originally, wouldn’t have suspected you and Princess. Or we won’t wait so long to meet you. A few days ago, Young Earl Ling bought a chicken type pot with dots around the neck pa.s.sed down from the former dynasty at a high price. I occasionally talked about the pot with my housekeeper, Ruan An. He reminded me that when my aunt got married, she had a pot just like the one I described in her dowry. So, I checked with Young Earl Ling and he asked the vendor where the pot had come from. The vendor told us it was from your family. That is the reason why I invited Lian Chen to come over for an answer. We are just wondering if you took Qiu Yelan’s stuff by mistake?”
“Dear, what happened?” Qiu Mengmin asked his wife angrily.
“There were too many things to deal with for Hongzhi and it’s his first time to be in charge of everything. It must be the servant who stole it and sold it in the market.” explained Princess Yang. Knowing that Qiu Mengmin had sold her out instead of defending her, Princess Yang was angry at her husband who made himself no responsibility for it at all. So, she mentioned Qiu Hongzhi as a scapegoat.
“It must be like this.” said Qiu Mengmin with a frown. “Hongzhi used to focus on his books and rarely care about what’s going on in the house. Not long ago, Princess and I were ill lying on the bed and we a.s.signed him to be in charge. He is too young to put everything in control. What’s more, Hongzhi is not as capable as Ruan Qingyan. Hope you two excuse him for his incompetency….”
He stopped speaking for a while and proceeded, “How much did Young Earl Ling pay for the pot? As you guys think it is Yelan’s stuff. We should repurchase it and return it to Yelan.”
The t.i.tle of Ruan Qingyan at the time was a copy editor at Hanlin Academy. His rank is level seven. As all officials working at Hanlin Academy were n.o.ble, no matter his level was or the occasion was formal or informal, the outsider would call anyone from the Hanlin with the family name followed if the head of the Academy was absent. At first blush, it seemed that Ruan Qingyan was the head of the Academy just like the real one Ding Yiming.
“No need to rush.” said Ruan Qingyan with a careless smile. “After Young Earl Ling realized that the pot is remains left by aunt for Yelan, he had given it to me. But…” said Ruan Qingyan slowly. “I heard that the vendor bought it long ago. It was the beginning of this year! If I did not remember it wrong, by then, you and Princess were well enough.”
“Oh, at that time, I was busy in the affairs of the Imperial Court a.s.sembly. My wife and I were concerned about the events. It’s my fault. Sorry!”
“But why was the phonetic head hairpin also sold in the market? It was one of the stuff in the dowry too.” questioned Ruan Qingyan. Lian Ding put down the teacup while hearing his words. He took a beautiful and precious hairpin out of his pocket, complaining, “This was a gift given by the former emperor to my grandpa. As my aunt married into your family, my grandpa sent it to her as the most important gift… But now, it was caught on a prost.i.tute’s head.”
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