“What martial arts? I’ve only seen too many of the guards sparring and picked up a few moves!” Murong Xue causally said, her eyes flashing uncomfortably.
Being reborn is too unbelievable a story. If it had not happened to her, she definitely would not believe either, not to mention Murong Ye who was only fourteen years of age. If she had told him the truth, Murong Ye might think that she had been bewitched. She had better keep that secret to herself.
“Really?” Murong Ye frowned, obviously not believing a single word she had said.
“Of course, why should I lie to you?” Seeing that Murong Ye wanted to further pursue the topic, Murong Xue quickly said, “It’s getting late. I’m going to take the Tibetan mastiff for a bath. It’s so dirty that it is definitely uncomfortable.”
Upon hearing the two words – Tibetan mastiff – he immediately forgot about his suspicions and looked towards the Tibetan mastiff, eyes shining, “Since you are not feeling too well, sister, you shouldn’t work too hard. Leave this type of manual labor to me.”
Murong Xue smiled, “I’m going to ask the maids to wash it, not do it myself, what hard work can there possibly be?”
Murong Ye shook his head disagreeing, “The mastiff’s fur is so matted that you can’t even tell what the original color is. It must have utterly soiled. Those maids in your house are all so skinny, they wouldn’t have enough strength; they probably wouldn’t even be able to wash it out before dark. You had better pass the dog to me and I’ll ask the male servants to wash it clean before giving it back to you.”
Since his sister treated the Tibetan mastiff so preciously, and refused to lend it to him, he’ll establish a good relationship with the dog. And then when his sister doesn’t notice, he’ll take it out on the sly; that would be enough to build his reputation.
“Alright then!” Murong Xue ‘reluctantly’ nodded, and ‘reluctantly’ put the Tibetan mastiff into Murong Ye’s arms and carefully instructed him, “Its fur has knotted so tell the servants to be careful when they are washing it. Don’t pull on the fur…”
“I know, I know!” Murong Ye nodded his head and quickly walked the dog away; the Tibetan mastiff is a rare and powerful dog and his future God of Wealth. Of course he will instruct the servants to be careful.
After walking for a bit, he halted and turned around to look at Murong Xue. Under her curious gaze, he asked tentatively, “Sister, I didn’t ask for your opinion before I decided to annul your engagement. You don’t blame me, do you?”
In this year, he had been spending less and less time at home, and had only seen his sister a handful of times. But he knew well that his sister really liked Ye Yichen.
“Of course not,” Murong Xue laughed softly and carelessly said, “When Ye Yichen demoted me to concubine during the welcome feast, I had already raised the annulment. His Majesty was not against it and actually ordered Old Prince Jing to come to the Capital to discuss matters regarding the annulment…
“Really?” Murong Ye’s eyes brightened, “You don’t like Ye Yichen anymore?”
Murong Xue sniffed, “Such a terrible person is not deserving of my affections.”
“That’s exactly right!” Murong Ye nodded in agreement, “Ye Yichen does not have you in his heart and eyes. He is not the best person for you. It is absolutely correct to have taken the initiative to annul the engagement and cleanly break your ties off with him!”
“Woof woof woof!” The little Tibetan mastiff saw that the two persons were conversing without a care for anyone else and couldn’t help but bark.
Murong Ye looked at it delightfully and said, “Impatient, aren’t you? Let’s go, I’ll bring you to get a bath!”
Watching Murong Ye disappear around the corner, Murong Xue followed the bluestone path and leisurely walked. From far, she heard a laughter like tinkling bells. She raised her eyebrows and followed the sound towards the main courtyard.
Stepping into the courtyard, she saw a group of maids and housekeepers standing in front of the west wing. Each of them held a delicate ebony wood box. In the boxes were sapphire hairpins, ruby earrings, jasper bangles and other varieties of elegant jewelry; each one of them extremely valuable.
A young girl in pink skirt was fluttering here and there between the delicate jewelry, wearing this and that. Her smile was brighter than the flowers.
Murong Xue smirked and slowly walked towards them, “What are you all doing?”
Upon hearing the cold voice, the maids and housekeepers turned around and casually bowed, “Young Mistress!”
The girl in pink, Song Qingyan, gave her a glance and carelessly said, “Cousin is back. Grandmother saw that I wearing too plainly so she has decided to gift me some jewelry and is letting me choose.”
The Grandmother that she mentioned is not Murong Xue’s real grandmother, but her step-grandmother. She had given birth to a pair of brother and sister, Murong Jian and Murong Rou. The original Marquis Murong Yue was given birth to by the original wife.
Song Qingyan is the wife-born eldest daughter of Wu An Marquis’ Household and is Murong Rou’s only daughter. Thus she was extremely pampered by the Marquis’ dowager. Everytime she visited the Mansion, she would dress plainly and when she went back, she would be well adorned and full of delicate jewelry.
Murong Xue sneered internally and slowly said, “If Grandmother is gifting you things, you should be picking from Grandmother’s treasury. Why are you picking from my mother’s dowry?”
Song Qingyan froze midway while putting on an earring and frowned. Previously, when she had visited the Mansion, she had always taken jewelry from here and Murong Xue had never said anything. Today, she actually mercilessly questioned her, what’s wrong with her? “Your mother is my aunt. It’s not too much for her to gift me a few pieces of jewelry right?”
“If my mother had personally said that she’s giving it to you, that’s called gifting. Taking the jewelry without my mother’s permission is called thieving and robbing.
On the last few words, Murong Xue’s voice grew heavy and her tone turned into a merciless sneer. Song Qingyan reddened and glared at her, “Your mother has been dead for ten years, how am I supposed to speak to her? Murong Xue, enough is enough, don’t be too much.”
Murong Xue’s face darkened and she coldly said, “My mother’s jewelry is being stolen by others. I’ve only asked a question and that’s considered too much? Then isn’t it worse that you as a noble’s daughter is stooping to steal others’ jewelry?”
“I am not stealing anything,” Song Qingyan said fiercely, “I took the key and opened the lock and openly took out the jewelry.”
Murong Xue’s mouth curled slightly – she was just waiting for her to say that. “Who is the keeper of the treasury keys?”
“It’s me!” A thirty-plus year-old old maid stood out, not a single piece of her hair out of place. Her face was clean but gaze was dark; one look and one would be able to tell that her was a sharp woman.
“Somebody, drag her away and hit her a hundred times with the paddles, then sell her!” Murong Xue ordered harshly.
The old maid was shocked and shouted in surprise, “Young Mistress, what have I done wrong?” Murong Xue is very gentle and has never been angry at the servants. Why is she so fierce today, and even wants to punish her and sell her?
“When my mother had passed you the keys, it was to ask you to guard the items within the treasury, not to give you the treasury. You did not ask the masters’ permission before privately opening the treasury. That’s considered ‘bullying the masters’. Shouldn’t you be sold off?”
The original person was kind, resulting in some opportunistic servants forgetting who was the real owner of this treasury. She doesn’t mind helping to remind them.
Song Qingyan’s face turned white. The old maid had opened the treasury resulting in Murong Xue ordering the punishment by paddles and being sold off. Murong Xue looks like she’s punishing the old maid but in actual is giving her a slap.
Like ‘killing the chicken to warn the monkeys’, and giving oblique accusations, she has lost and yet she can’t find a reason to rebuke. Murong Xue’s ploy is really masterful and hateful.
The old maid looked around for help only to see the other maids and housekeepers keeping their heads down, afraid to even breath too loudly for fear of angering Murong Xue.
Since no one dared to help her, she can only save herself. The old maid gritted her teeth and loudly proclaimed, “I wish to inform the Young Mistress that I was obeying the Dowager Lady’s orders to open the treasury…”
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