Handling the Servant Girl
Xiao Yuan abruptly came to a realization. She placed a hand over her mouth and her face turned bright red.
The Right Minister walked around the table and came to her side. “Little Ninth?”
Xiao Yuan was initially distracted but when she came to she was both embarrassed and angry. “Father, daughter has something to do so I’ll be leaving first.”
Xiao Yuan left as if she was fleeing from a disaster. The Right Minister was silent. Regardless of how intelligent he was, he still couldn’t figure out what these two people were planning.
Xiao Yuan ran the entire way back to the Ling Long Pavilion. She looked into the mirror and saw her face had turned as bright red as an over ripened tomato.
She took out the jade pendant from under her pillow. A purple colored jade was exceptionally rare, and on top of that, it was very lustrous and that only made it more rare. It was smooth and round as well as somewhat transparent.
As she remembered the words she said last night, she was filled with an urge to bite off her tongue. Really! She was so ashamed she could die!
She could only blame her own stupidity. As she thought about it, she realized that the person they were talking about had been him all along. Someone as wealthy as he was had both of the two princes trying to get on his good side so naturally why would he be afraid of them?
Xiao Yuan stared dumbly at the mirror. She had never felt so embarrassed before.
Hong Xiu walked in. Xiao Yuan promptly put away the jade pendant and recovered her composure.
“What’s the matter?”
“Just now when Hong Luan went outside, the madam saw her accidentally step on the Lord Minister’s favorite orchid so she got hit ten times with a board. But then Hong Luan’s dirty mouth said…”
Hong Xiu paused. Xiao Yuan raised her eyebrow, “What did she say?”
“Hong Luan talked back to the madam’s wet nurse in front of everyone. She brought up that she’s your servant girl and that you wouldn’t let anyone touch her. Right now, she’s still caught in a standoff in the garden. Quite a few elderly maidservants have gone over to watch the excitement. The madam is beyond furious.”
Hong Xiu was so anxious that she was even stamping her feet. Hong Luan was really remarkably stupid. How could she publically drag the miss’s name through the mud?
Xiao Yuan smiled coldly. “Let’s go take a look.”
When Xiao Yuan rushed over to the garden, she immediately saw Hong Luan and her outstretched neck. She looked as haughty as a peacock. Fan, who was standing at the side, was clearly enraged. She angrily pointed at Hong Luan.
“Madam, Miss Ninth has arrived.” Wet Nurse Qin, who was standing next to Fan, quietly said.
Fan followed her line of sight over and before she could open her mouth, Hong Luan pushed aside the crowd of people to stand behind Xiao Yuan. She pitifully spoke.
“Miss, this servant girl didn’t mean to do it.”
At the sight of Xiao Yuan, Hong Luan’s expression changed completely and she looked not even half as imposing as she had just a moment ago. In her past life, she had also been like this. Xiao Yuan was a straightforward person and she never looked beneath the surface of things. She would just rush headlong into situations and be deaf to all advice, stubbornly doing things her own way. However, it meant she had become a gullible lady who her subordinates’ could always fall back on.
However, the current Xiao Yuan was no longer like the Xiao Yuan in the past. She gave Hong Luan an indifferent look and glanced at the Kaffir lily that had been stomped into the ground. In the Right Minister’s spare time, when he had nothing to attend to, he would occasionally plant flowers. Of those flowers, he would most often plant kaffir lilies.
And just like that, a pot of top-notch kaffir lillies had been destroyed. Xiao Yuan’s expression turned even colder.
“What’s the matter?”
A shiver ran down Hong Luan’s body. The Ninth Miss had a bad temper, a stern look abruptly flashed across her eyes. Despite being so young, she already had a very imposing manner and, in that regard, she greatly resembled the Right Minister.
“Miss, it was not this servant girl’s mistake. It was Cai Ju. Cai Ju purposefully scared this servant girl so I accidentally stepped on the flowers.”
As Hong Luan spoke, she wiped away tears, acting just like she had been bullied by someone and looked truly pitiful.
Cai Ju was taken aback and rushed forward while waving her hands to explain, “It wasn’t like that, Madam. This servant girl really didn’t do that. While Hong Luan was walking absentmindedly, she misstepped and fell over. Out of the goodness of my heart, I went over to help you up. How can you drag me into this and try to tarnish my name?”
“You’re lying!” Hong Luan became more anxious as she listened to Cai Ju talk. She would never be able to take the responsibility for crushing the Lord Minister’s flowers.
Xiao Yuan’s brows furrowed. She walked over to look at the kaffir lily. The stems were all in a disarray and some petals were torn up while some had fallen onto the ground, been crushed into the dirt and were stained with mud. It was really quite a pity.
Xiao Yuan stood up and faced Fan while she spoke, “Mother, family affairs are under your purview. Regardless of right or wrong, the fact that father’s beloved flowers were crushed is a fact and someone must bear the blame. As for this careless servant girl who doesn’t even know to repent, Little Ninth cannot bear the sight of her. Little Ninth will pass the responsibility of dealing with this person to mother then.”
“Miss! It really wasn’t this servant girl’s fault. Miss, regardless of what happened this servant girl has served you for many years.”
Hong Luan didn’t dare to trust her own ears. She had never imagined that Xiao Yuan would actually cast her aside without a second thought.
Xiao Yuan, clearly displeased, furrowed her brows and raised a corner of her red lips. “What is it? Do you think just because you’ve served me for a few years that you can break the rules now? You clearly knew the kaffir lilies were here, but still insisted on walking over here. If we don’t punish you, then who do we punish?”
Hong Luan was speechless. She had made a name for herself by being a troublemaker that didn’t listen to reason. However, just this once Hong Luan found herself unable to offer a single word in retort.
That was right. The path had been so wide so how did she manage to trip?
Fan gave Xiao Yuan a look. She chuckled appreciatively. “Just knowing that you empathize with mother’s dilemma makes me content. However, in the end, this maid servant did serve you for many years and you’ve become used to relying on her. If you rashly dispatch her, I fear that you won’t be accustomed to her sudden absence.”
Hong Luan also wasn’t stupid. These past few days Xiao Yuan had been acting differently towards her and her treatment had been very lukewarm. Even if she entered the same room, Xiao Yuan would avoid her. Hong Luan was positive that Xiao Yuan was serious about getting rid of her.
Hong Luan collapsed into a kneeling position in front of Xiao Yuan. “Miss, this maid servant realizes she made a mistake. I beg miss to punish me.”
Xiao Yuan sneered, “Nothing can be accomplished without rules and orders. How about this? You endure thirty hits by a board and then, after today, you will be demoted to the position of a third rank maidservant. After that, we can consider this matter settled.”
“Miss!” Hong Luan was shocked. If she had to endure thirty strikes, that would mean she’d be on bedrest for at least two months and to also be demoted to a third-ranked maid servant meant she wouldn’t be able to hold her head up high again in the Ling Long pavilion.