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Chapter 861 The Situation in the Palace
Shao Wanru got up a little earlier this morning and had not listened to any news from her servant girls yet.
“The two servant girls of Eldest Young Madam did once leave the bridal room yesterday. I heard that they have come to our mansion several times before to add decorations for the bridal chamber. They are quite familiar with our mansion,” Yujie reported.
“Who did they go to meet?” Shao Wanru asked, playing the handkerchief in her hands with her slender fingers.
“Nothing important! It seemed that they went to ask the kitchen staff for some food because Eldest Young Madam was hungry. But it took them about an hour from leaving to coming back. I have inquired that they knew the way. With such a long time, they could even visit many places in the mansion, not to mention the kitchen!” Yujie said after thinking for a moment.
She had inquired the people of the kitchen and confirmed that they had indeed been there. The servants guarding outside the bridal chamber also proved that they had once left. But she didn’t get the proof to show which way they had taken, because they had visited the mansion several times and didn’t need anyone to lead them. It was very free for them to come and go.
“Did the two servant girls leave together?” Shao Wanru asked after thinking for a second.
“No, I heard that one of them left first, but she didn’t come back after a long while. So Eldest Young Madam sent the other. But they came back together!” Yujie sorted out the information she had gathered.
“How long?” Shao Wanru frowned slightly and asked again.
“Around an hour. It’s quite long,” Yujie was sure and said. “Even if Eldest Young Madam did want to eat something, why not send the servants in the mansion to the kitchen? There is no need to send even two of her private servant girls out,” Yujie murmured to herself.
She really didn’t understand why Eldest Young Madam did that.
There were many servants in Marquis Xing’s Mansion. Lots of them were arranged to work in the yard and outside the main room. If the master needed anything, they could just give an order. More importantly, here was Marquis Xing’s Mansion. No matter how familiar the two servant girls were with it, they could not be as familiar as the servants living in it. There was really no need for them to go there in person.
Shao Wanru, however, fell silent and paused. The two servant girls must be Zhao Xiran’s henchmen. Such henchmen should not have left Zhao Xiran for such a long time yesterday, but they did! Shao Wanru didn’t believe that they just went to the kitchen for food.
Zhao Xiran was a patient person who was very good at enduring. The evidence was that she could still smile at everyone even though she was grieved this morning at the flower hall. So, even if she was really hungry, she was least the type of person who would ask the kitchen for food. In addition, even if she did not bring some food from her home, there must be some in the room that could fill her up.
Brides always took great care over their manners. Afraid of leaving an impression of a greedy woman on their husbands’ family, many of them would not ask the kitchen for food even if they were indeed hungry.
But if they didn’t go to get food, what did the two servant girls do there? Shao Wanru couldn’t figure it out at the moment. She felt that there was a mystery in it, which made her unable to see it clearly or figure it out.
It seemed to have something to do with her, but she didn’t know where to start the investigation after she had thought about it carefully.
“Keep an eye on her two servant girls!” Shao Wanru instructed after thinking. That she couldn’t figure out anything now didn’t mean that there was nothing. Zhao Xiran seemed to be a key figure, but she didn’t know exactly what the key point was. She just had an intuition that she would definitely get something if she went on keeping an eye on Zhao Xiran…
Marquis Xing’s Mansion became the heated debate topic once again.
On the day when Minister Zhao’s eldest legitimate daughter married Duke Xing’s eldest legitimate son, something unpleasant had happened and it had humiliated the royal family. It was said that two princes were conpired and the Emperor vented his anger on Duke Xing. Then Duke Xing’s Mansion was degraded to be Marquis Xing’s Mansion. The plaque of Duke Xing’s Mansion was also removed.
When the news had just come out, few people believed it and thought it was nonsense.
However, as more and more people talked about it, they became more and more convinced. Some people even came over to take a look at the plaque on the gate of Marquis Xing’s Mansion, and they said that the plaque of Duke Xing’s Mansion, which had been hanging up for a long time, was indeed taken down. For a time, more and more people were talking about it.
Demotion! Was it demoted? Not only the civilians were gossiping about it, but also the n.o.bles felt uneasy because of it. What did the Emperor mean? Was he going to demote everyone? Or was he going to reclaim the t.i.tle that had been given out?
The country hadn’t been established for long, so many aristocratic families had just had the t.i.tle of n.o.bility for one generation. But they had several generations of descendants. It was a big deal if they were demoted at this time!
Such punishment as demotion was too severe!
But no matter what the truth was, it could be seen that Marquis Xing’s Mansion had declined, and it was unlikely for the Shao family to regain its former glory.
Some felt sorry for them, some took pleasure from it, and some decided to be the pa.s.sers-by with indifference. Marquis Xing’s Mansion, where it was lively and noisy yesterday, was deserted. There were merely a group of people in the distance pointing at the gate of the mansion and talking about the gossip of it.
At this moment, a team of carriages showing tremendous momentum arrived at the gate of Marquis Xing’s Mansion. Some sharp-eyed people could tell at a glance that there was the seal of Prince Chen’s Mansion on them. They were the carriages of Prince Chen’s Mansion. That was to say, Prince Chen did not blame Fifth Miss Shao, who was about to marry him. Look, he sent gifts to her!
After the carriages stopped, several servant girls got off and walked into the mansion with various exquisite boxes in their hands. Seeing this, the idle people nearby became more curious and their gossip more heated.
They all said that Fifth Miss Shao was a lucky woman. Even though Marquis Xing’s Mansion had fallen, Prince Chen’s att.i.tude to her remained the same. It seemed that he was fond of her character instead of her family background.
Hearing that gifts from Prince Chen arrived, Shao Wanru asked Nanny Yu to receive them. Then she met Xiao Xuanzi, who came to deliver the gifts this time.
“Fifth Miss, my master asked whether you want anything or not. Just tell me if you do,” Xiao Xuanzi came over and greeted her with a smile. He had been in a good mood recently. There would be a new master in the mansion soon, and his master’s health was getting better and better. Xiao Xuanzi felt that he was getting more and more energetic.
Shao Wanru shook her head with a smile, then she rolled her eyes and asked, “What’s the situation in the palace?”
“There’s nothing wrong. Master said you could rest a.s.sured!” Actually, Xiao Xuanzi was sent to rea.s.sure Shao Wanru today. The gift-giving was just a formality.
“How are the servants sent to the palace?” Shao Wanru’s long eyelashes fluttered. She indeed wanted to ask Xiao Xuanzi something, and it was the best time for her to do so.
“Nothing influential could be got from them. They just said that the drink from Third Madam was served to the princes. My master was in poor health, so he didn’t drink it. The other two princes only drank a little, but they got drunk! It might be caused by the fact that they didn’t drink that type of spirits often. In addition, the two princes were vexed at that time, so they…”
Xiao Xuanzi kept half of his words, but Shao Wanru understood them all.
At this point, the royal family was not going to pursue the matter. On the one hand, they couldn’t figure out anything more. Though Marquis Xing’s Mansion was to blame, they just sent a pot of spirits, which was not bad. On the other hand, the two princes had once fought against each other in the palace before, so it was no surprise that they did it again by means of Dutch courage!
Perhaps the two princes did it on purpose because they might have a grudge against each other, which was caused by Shao Yanru. When they were in Marquis Xing’s Mansion that day, they wanted to vent their discontent anyway, and it was the best way to do that with the excuse that they were drunk.
Shao Wanru gently hooked the handkerchief with her index finger and smoothed it a few times. Then she raised her eyebrows and asked again, “Was the drink drugged?”
“The scene was in chaos at that time so that many things were broken, not to mention the drink in the pots. So nothing could be dug out from it. But the two princes said that they fainted after a cup and had no awareness of what happened later. They didn’t wake up until they were forced to drink two bowls of cold water by my master!”
Xiao Xuanzi answered in full detail with a smile.
So now no one could be sure whether there were drugs in the drink or not. However, whatever the two princes claimed was always right. Therefore, Marquis Xing’s Mansion was charged with disgracing the two princes in front of others and even their t.i.tle of n.o.bility was degraded. Honestly speaking, Marquis Xing’s Mansion was quite wronged in the matter.
But in terms of everything they had done, Marquis Xing’s Mansion was not wronged at all. The scandal that Shao Yanru hooked up with the two princes was enough to directly remove its t.i.tle.
“So your master wants to say…?” After thinking it through, Shao Wanru felt more and more relieved. There was a lazy smile in her eyes and she looked more relaxed.
“Master wants you to know that you don’t have to worry about anything. Just wait until the wedding. Master will deal with everything. There won’t be anything important in the palace. But if you are in need, Master will help you!” Xiao Xuanzi said with a little pride.
Everyone thought that his master wouldn’t be able to live long, not to mention having power and strength. But in fact, his master disdained to get involved. When he wanted to cut in, how could he be manipulated by others?
Shao Wanru felt warm in her heart. She blinked her watery eyes and said softly, “Tell your master that I’m fine.”
“I’ll definitely tell him when I get back! If there’s nothing else, Fifth Miss, I am leaving. My master is still waiting for me in the palace!” Xiao Xuanzi said with a smile and in a good mood.
Shao Wanru nodded and motioned for him to leave. After he left, she opened a delicate jewelry box in front of her. This was the gift that Xiao Xuanzi brought to her just now.
That was a very exquisite jewelry box. She saw an exquisite headwear inside after opening it. The phoenix wings were decorated with layers of luxurious gems, but they didn’t look unwieldy. It was very beautiful. The sunlight shone through the window on it and made shimmer that dazzled everyone in the room. Shao Wanru’s hand stopped at the edge of the jewelry box. She had an inexplicable familiarity with this headwear…
“Is Fifth Miss here?” A gentle voice came from outside the courtyard.