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Chapter 1026 A Vist to Ning Xueqing

“You’re too eager for success!” Minister Zhao observed his daughter for quite a while and suddenly remarked, “Before you married, you always kept a big plan in your mind. But now, you’ve lost your mental poise!”

Minister Zhao shook his head and sighed with regret in his eyes. “If only you were a man, I wouldn’t have to worry so much about you!”

If she were a man, she wouldn’t marry into the Marquis Xing’s Mansion in the first place, nor would she fall into the struggle for the title of the heir of a duke in the Marquis Xing’s Mansion.

Women, after all, were more affectionate than men. With Shao Hua’an in her heart, she saw the situation differently.

Watching the accusing look in her father’s eyes, Zhao Xiran took a deep breath and slowly lowered her head. “Yes, father, I’m a little too impatient!”

“In the future, if… you can have everything. Since you have walked into this game, you should be careful. I think in the same way, but you’re not. At present, it’s hard to tell who is right and who is wrong. You should treat the varying situation with some sensitivity at all events!”

Minister Zhao said meaningfully.

After a long silence interval, Zhao Xiran raised her head and looked firmly at Minister Zhao. “Father, I know. I will stay cautious in the future. Never again will I invite you over in a panic and put you in a passive position!”

Minister Zhao was pleased with his daughter’s clear understanding. His face softened a little, and he sighed heavily, his slightly tender eyes on her. “It’s all my fault. More than ten years ago, if it weren’t for me…”

“Father, don’t say that. I understand. It was not your fault. That cunning person is to blame!” Zhao Xiran gritted her teeth and interrupted Minister Zhao.

“Well, you… be careful!” Minister Zhao nodded helplessly!

Shao Wanru got on the carriage, her arched eyebrows slightly creasing.

“My Lady, what’s the annoying matter?” Yujie asked.

“Did you see anyone in the wing room on the other side just now?” Shao Wanru caught a glimpse of the person and wasn’t sure about it.

“Which wing room?” Yujie was stunned.

Qu Le thought for a moment and said, “Our Lady must have been talking about another wing room near the main room. The curtain there has moved. I seem to have seen someone there.”

“Did you also notice that?” Shao Wanru’s shining eyes widened a little. She thought she was wrong because she spotted it at a glance. Anyway, she was not sure if her eyes deceived her.

“I saw it. The curtains moved, and the color of the clothes seemed to be cyan,” added Qu Le.

“Then I was right.” An understanding look emerged in her watery eyes. If so, there was someone in cyan clothes and she knew who it was.

“Clothes in cyan are usually men’s clothes. Is there any man hiding in the First Young Madam’s courtyard?” Yujie came to her senses and asked in surprise.

Ever since First Young Master had the accident, many doctors and servants were coming and going in the courtyard. How could this man dare to stay there? Wasn’t he afraid that others would find him out?

“He just avoided me or didn’t want me to see him. For other people in the mansion, his appearance wouldn’t put First Young Madam into any trouble. Or we can think that it was perfectly justifiable for him to appear in Eldest Brother’s courtyard!”

Shao Wanru analyzed.

“How could any man’s appearance in the First Young Madam’s courtyard be right and proper?” Yujie asked in surprise.

To avert suspicion, males and females above seven years old shouldn’t share a dining table, even if they were relatives.

Shao Wanru said, her eyes looking ahead leisurely, “In such a special period, they might resort to unconventional rules. The man must have come to visit Eldest Brother. At this time, Minister Zhao should be the only one who could go straight into the inner court to visit Eldest Brother!”

Minister Zhao, the minister of the Ministry of Works, appeared in her mind. She did not know much about things in the imperial court but only knew the title of Minister Zhao.

“Does Minister Zhao care about his daughter very much?” Qu Le asked.

Her daughter had married. Even if something terrible happened to his son-in-law, he shouldn’t have been in such a hurry. But shouldn’t it be Madam Zhao who came over to visit their daughter?

“Maybe Minister Zhao regards Zhao Xiran with special concern!” Shao Wanru said meaningfully. After Zhao Xiran married with Shao Hua’an, she had always been tactful when handling people and issues. Anyway, she was bright and likable.

Of course, she took Old Madam’s fancy but not Shao Wanru’s because many of her deeds were inappropriate in Shao Wanru’s eyes.

Well, there was no hurry in figuring out this matter. No matter what Zhao Xiran was up to, as long as she didn’t scheme against her, Shao Wanru could pretend to be a deaf-mute.

However, when she just got married, there seemed to have many barriers between Zhao Xiran and the Marquis Xing’s Mansion. But for the time being, it looked the relationship between them had become harmonious. Zhao Xiran had even learned to think for Shao Hua’an!

“My Lady, let me get out of the carriage at the crossroad in front!” Yujie lifted the curtain to check the surroundings and carefully told Shao Wanru. She had arranged it before she went out.

“Let Qu Le go for it!” Shao Wanru shook her head and said.

“Didn’t we agree that I would go there?” Yujie asked.

“There are fewer people who know Qu Le,” Shao Wanru said. In the past, she often went out with Yujie, so Yujie could spare herself from giving an explanation when she arrived. However, her appearance would make others suspect her.

At this critical moment, better safe than sorry.

When their carriage stopped at a turn in front, Qu Le got off the carriage quietly, and then the carriage continued to move forward.

She was going to the Rui’an Great Elder Princess’s Mansion now, but there was no hurry. Deliberately, she made the carriage move a little slower so she could go sightseeing along the streets.

“My Lady, does Ning Xueqing have anything to do with Secondary Consort Shao?” Yujie saw that Shao Wanru was leisurely enjoying the scenery outside the window, so she tried to hold back her doubts. However, she failed in the end.

Ning Xueqing, who had been in prison, got entangled with Shao Yanru long ago, and they were still in touch! Yujie felt it was incredible because Secondary Consort Shao didn’t live a good life in the Palace.

The Empress didn’t like her, nor did the Emperor dote on her. How did she get people outside of the Palace to spy for her?

“Shao Yanru is never innocent and simple!” Shao Wanru revealed a light smile, and her eyes turned indifferent. “Even in the Palace, she can reach the world outside. Isn’t Qiu Yu one of her tentacles?”

Shao Wanru didn’t believe that Qiu Yu appeared behind the curtains at the religious ceremony by accident and that he did it for Madam Jiang.

When Madam Jiang was living in the Yuhui Nunnery, her ties to the outside world were cut off. Back then, she was unable to keep Nanny Sheng, her trusted maid, let alone others. Besides, she returned to the mansion because of a touchy case. Qiu Yu must be out of his mind to conspire with Madam Jiang. Therefore, Shao Yanru was most likely to be his accomplice.

If it was Shao Yanru, everything would become reasonable.

Qiu Yu had a deep affection for Shao Yanru and didn’t care if Shao Yanru was in the Palace. Perhaps, Lord Qiu considered Shao Yanru a pitiful lady with many saved-up grievances. As a descendant of an aristocratic family, he could fully “comprehend” her “embarrassing” situation in the Palace. Deep down, he must have felt genuine sympathy for her.

If Shao Yanru asked him to provide Madam Jiang with aid, he would readily agree.

“But she is in such an unfavorable situation in the Palace. It is even impossible for her to meet Lord Qiu!” Yujie said. Still, she thought it was impossible even though she had always believed in Princess Chen. Whenever she put herself in Shao Yanru’s miserable place, she realized she couldn’t do anything good, let alone get in touch with the officials.

Unlike Madams living in aristocratic families outside the Palace, the imperial consorts had been living under the watchful eyes of many people. It was not convenient at all for them to meet men.

Shao Yanru was now merely a Secondary Consort out of favor, but she wouldn’t hide anything from all the informers planted by others in the Palace even if she were a consort in her good graces.

“Of course, it’s not just her. She can’t do it alone!” Shao Wanru said with a smile, lazily raising the corners of her rosy and delicate lips. Yujie felt that since her master married Prince Chen, her idle manner looked increasingly similar to Prince Chen’s.

“There must be some people in the Palace to coordinate with and help her. Am I right?”

“Yes, of course. Without any supporters, Shao Yanru couldn’t do this. Since she can get in touch with Qiu Yu, she can certainly contact others.” Shao Wanru’s eyes darkened. She had thought of someone, a very crucial one. Without this person, Shao Yanru would not handle everything with skill and ease in the Palace.

Despite that she was loathed by the Empress and obtained no love from the Emperor, Shao Yanru was still living a good life. Of course, on the surface, she looked pitiable. Because of this, the other imperial consorts in the Palace had always been nice to her. After all, Shao Yanru did not mean to compete for the Emperor’s favor.

Shao Wanru thought if Shao Yanru could use this person, so would she!

When the time was right, she would make use of this person…

“Who are you?” Ning Xueqing looked at Qu Le, who stood outside the cell, and stepped back, her eyes watchful.

Wang Shengxue had been poisoned to death by the food from the mansion. Because of this, she wouldn’t believe anyone now. Anyone who appeared in front of her might kill her.

Wang Shengxue’s death gave her a strong feeling of impending crisis. For the moment, she didn’t dare to ask for anything but just wanted to leave here as soon as possible.

“Madam Ning, don’t you want to leave this place?” Qu Le said, beaming broadly at her while handing over a bag of snacks she bought on the way here.

As soon as the food wrapped up in a paper bag came near, Ning Xueqing could smell the fragrance wafting from it. Her face changed drastically, and she shook her hands vigorously before her and refused it. “I… I’m not hungry. I don’t want to eat anything. Who… Who is your master?

Wang Shengxue died from a poisonous meal. So, Ning Xueqing wouldn’t eat anything sent from outside.

“Madam Ning, rest assured. My master won’t hurt you. Don’t you think I look a little familiar? You must have seen me before!” Qu Le grinned but didn’t press too hard. Without withdrawing her hand, she put up a genial smile.

“You… your master is…” Ning Xueqing put down her hands hesitantly and observed Qu Le’s face carefully.

Every mansion had many servant girls: principal maids, not-so-important maids, and ordinary ones. Ning Xueqing couldn’t recognize all the maids in Wang Shengxue’s manor, not to mention those from the Marquis Xing’s Mansion. In particular, she couldn’t trust any maids from the Marquis Xing’s Mansion at this moment.

Marquis Xing’s Mansion had lots of maids of different ages and ranks. She had met some of them but there were many that she had never seen before. It was impossible for her to know every one of a large number of maids.