Returning to the Manor for a Physical Examination
Once the old madam heard that, she had a strange look. “What is Buddha’s light?”
Xiao Rou’s heart was resolutely beating and just as she was about to open her mouth, Xiao Yuan quickly said, “It was Fifth Sister, Fifth Sister told me that Da Zhao temple’s incense fire was not as effective as Buddha’s light. If I was sincere, then my wish would come true. What a pity. Little Ninth did not get to see it, but rather lost her footing and fell off the mountain. No one cared about me.”
The old madam asked again, “Then you went by yourself?”
Xiao Yuan shook her head, “Eldest Sister, Fourth Sister as well as Fifth Sister were all there. It was me who lost her footing. I waited more than half the day, but no one came to rescue me.”
Xiao Yuan’s words filled Xiao Ruo and Xiao Ying with apprehension, as they saw the old madam’s complexion grow ever darker.
Xiao Ruo rushed to explain, “Grandmother, please listen to my explanation. It was not like that. When Ninth sister fell, we went to go find people to help but, in the end, we couldn’t find Ninth sister.”
“Oh yes! Didn’t we say to wait at the original location? Ninth sister why did you walk away by yourself?”
Xiao Ying also spoke and with one sentence pushed all the responsibility onto Xiao Yuan.
“I clearly waited for a very long time. If I had waited any longer, it would’ve been dark and the wild animals in the mountains would’ve come out. Would you only have been happy if I had been eaten?”
Xiao Yuan unwillingly yelled at Xiao Ying. Xiao Ying’s complexion changed slightly, clear at one moment and then white at another. As she was in front of so many people, she felt she was being put on the spot. And in her heart, cursed at Xiao Yuan many times.
“Ninth sister, I didn’t mean it like that.” Xiao Ying waved her hands, rushing to explain.
“Little Ninth, don’t be mad. You have your grandmother here to make decisions for you.” The old madam was upset and patted Xiao Yuan’s hand.
Turning her body, the old madam humphed at the two people, “Every year, I go up to the mountain and pray for blessings. It has been this way for many years. So how come I do not know about this matter of Buddha’s light illuminating the mountain?”
Xiao Ying glanced at Xiao Ruo, but quickly diverted her line of sight.
“Granddaughter just heard rumors…” Xiao Ruo responded, bracing herself.
The old madam’s displeasure became even more apparent. “Rumors? When you two came back, you didn’t even say half of a word. What Little Ninth said was all true? You two are her older sisters and you didn’t rescue her, but instead came back on your own?”
The old madam was clearly angry now. Xiao Yuan’s pitiful tears danced and tightly grabbed onto the old madam’s hand, unwilling to let go. Her entire appearance was one of someone who had been terribly scared. The old madam’s anger evidently only steadily increased, as her heart ached even more for Xiao Yuan.
There was a slight flicker in Fan’s expression, Fan turned her body to face the two and reprimanded them to their faces. “What kind of sisters are you two being? Before you left, what did I tell you? I said, you must make sure to watch over little Ninth. But you even dare to tell little Ninth about the rumors you hear? You’re really making me angry.”
“Daughter recognizes she did wrong.” Xiao Ruo and Xiao Ying obediently owned up to their mistake, annoyed and self-blaming at the same time.
Fan was so angry she repeatedly glared at the two. She turned her head and faced the old madam, “Mother, please calm down. This was because daughter-in-law did not teach them well that they’ve hurt Xiao Yuan so pitifully.”
Fan had directly put all the responsibility on herself. Even though the old madam was still angry, there was nothing she could do.
“Where did you go these past few days?” The right Minister suddenly opened his mouth and asked.
Xiao Yuan lifted her eyes and glanced at Aunt Qin. The old madam followed her line of sight and only then did she see there was another person present.
Aunt Qin stepped forward and greeted them, “This old servant is Princess Royal Qing Hua’s constantly accompanying Wet Nurse. I have met the old madam and the right Minister before. It was like this, on that day the princess was passing through and coincidentally saw Ninth Miss and her maid servant had fallen by the road side. So she brought Ninth miss back with her. For many days, Ninth Miss had a high fever that wouldn’t break and it was only this morning that her condition finally improved. Therefore, the princess ordered this servant to bring back Ninth Miss.”
“It was the princess who rescued Ninth little sister?” Xiao Ruo, surprised, blurted out. She didn’t entirely believe her. Her sudden high voice had temporarily made her the center of attention.
Xiao Ruo suddenly became aware of the situation. “I was only surprised. The princess had always liked peace and quiet, why is she suddenly taking action?”
Her tone of voice had a hint of challenge to it. She was suspicious Xiao Yuan was faking things and had found someone to feign this story to purposefully get away with things.
Aunt Qin laughed a bit, and from her bosom took out a gold medal, which had a very large “Decree” carved on its surface and underneath it was a “Qing” character. Qing was the equivalent of Princess Royal Qing Hua’s maiden name.
At the moment the old madam saw it, she let out a sigh of relief and unhappily looked at Xiao Ruo. Xiao Ruo was unable to speak. Unexpectedly, it had been true. She tightly gripped her handkerchief under her sleeve, unhappily sighing about Xiao Yuan’s good luck.
“We’ve let Aunt be ridiculed, we shouldn’t offend Aunt.” The old madam’s face was one of regret. “They rescued you and you still suspect them? If it had been anyone else, who would have been happy?”
Aunt Qin put away her medal, with a small smile, “There was no harm. There is greater merit in saving one life than in building a seven-tier pagoda. Even if it had been someone else, the Princess would have rescued them.”
“Then how did Little Ninth fall to the roadside?” Fan grabbed hold onto this wording and wouldn’t let go, as those words couldn’t help but make people’s imagination roam.
“Ninth Miss had jumped off the mountain and rolled down. Her entire body was tightly covered in snow. At the time, the Princess had thought there was an avalanche. Only when it was opened did we realize it was Ninth Miss,” Aunt Qin chuckled as she explained.
Fan wanted to ask more questions, but she realized that the Right Minister’s eyebrows were raised and for the moment, and swallowed the rest of her words.
When the old madam heard that she had jumped off the mountain, her heart started beating rapidly. Xiao Yuan attached herself to the old madam’s side and quietly murmured in her ear. The old madam’s eyebrows were tightly knitted, showing some displeasure. It was only because of Aunt Qin’s presence that she was prevented from flaring up.
After a good while, the old madam faced Aunt Qin and said, “Thank you for saving a life. The Minister is unable to return the favor. Some day he will absolutely pay a visit and thank you personally.”
Aunt Qin waved her hand, “When the Princess saves someone, it is not for a reward, even if it is related to the Ninth Miss. The Princess asked for this old servant to come just so I can tell you that this was just a small effort and is not worth mentioning.”
Seeing Aunt Qin’s dedication, even if it was just because Princess Royal Qing Hua didn’t wish to be disturbed, the old madam thought it would be for the best that she didn’t force her. She could only nod her head in agreement while saying many words of thanks.
“The Princess is still waiting for this old servant to return. Excuse me, this old servant must withdraw.” Aunt Qin bowed and said goodbye.
The old madam hurriedly said, “Housekeeper Lin, see off this Aunt.”
After Aunt Qin was sent off, the old madam’s face had thoroughly darkened.
Xiao Yuan pitifully bit her lip and looked at the Right Minister. “Father, when your daughter returned, she heard quite a few slanderous rumors concerning your daughter’s innocence as well as Fifth sister’s.”
The Right Minister glanced at Xiao Ruo and Xiao Ruo nervously tightly clenched her fist, uneasily looking at the Right Minister.
“For the matters of rumors, you can call on your father. Father will return to you your innocence.”
Xiao Yuan threw herself into a kneel, face full of conviction. “Even if father believes daughter is innocent, but excluding father and grandmother, the fact daughter has been unaccounted for these few days is true. Daughter does not want to make things difficult for father. I will personally contend for my innocence.”
The Right Minister was startled and his gaze at Xiao Yuan was a complicated one. “You’ve decided then?”
The old madam thought about it and still did not open her mouth. She only felt a deeper sense of pity for Xiao Yuan.
Xiao Yuan staunchly nodded her head. “Yes!”
“Since you want to save face, come then. Invite the midwife to come over. We will make all the young women in the manor come forward, not one will be excluded.”
The old madam spoke out and Wet Nurse Yuan nodded, “Yes, this old servant will go.”
When Xiao Ruo heard this, her face went paper white, so white it scared people, and she couldn’t help but take a step back.