Chapter 27: Framed: Foolish Fifth Concubine
Nyoi-Bo Studio Nyoi-Bo Studio
“Cousin, do you really think I don’t want to capture the Crown Prince’s heart? Lately, he’s been blowing hot and cold, and I can’t figure out what he is thinking.”
Whenever Ye Shanshan broached this topic, she looked hurt. In the past, the Crown Prince had behaved towards her like a considerate gentleman. He had been a totally different person compared to who he was now.
“He’s been busier than usual lately,” Su Junqing fabricated a lie that he could not even convince himself to believe.
Actually, the Crown Prince had changed his attitude towards Ye Shanshan because she had, in a moment of recklessness, pushed Ye Jiuge into the Wanzhang Depths. Although Ye Shanshan would rather die than admit her own evil deed, people in the capital were very perceptive. No one would be unaware of the Ye Clan’s dirty laundry.
If the Crown Prince continued to interact intimately with Ye Shanshan, it would further cement the public’s opinion that he had conspired with someone to murder his fiancée—this was the real reason he had estranged himself from Ye Shanshan.
“Cousin, you don’t need to comfort me. I know all about the Crown Prince’s worries. Why don’t I concede the position of the Crown Princess Consort to Eldest Sister? As long as I can stay by the Crown Prince’s side, I am perfectly willing to be his Second Princess Consort.”
Her mother had proposed this idea to her. At first, Ye Shanshan had felt that if she agreed, her position would be inferior to Ye Jiuge’s, so she had been reluctant. However, now it seemed that she had no choice but to resort to such measures.
“You have the right mindset.” Su Junqing nodded approvingly before saying, “Ye Jiuge has undergone a significant personality change since experiencing a period of tribulation. If you want to bring her to her knees, it will be difficult. You can only allow her to do what she wants and treat her well. If she lets her guard down, you must strike with a fatal blow when she least expects it. This is exactly how you should do it.”
“Just like how we dealt with Fifth Concubine?” Ye Shanshan smiled knowingly.
“That’s right.” Su Junqing nodded. Then, he instructed her in a hushed voice, “You better hurry up when it comes to Ye Ruyi. You need to settle the matter before my paternal aunt’s husband returns.”
“Cousin, rest assured. I know what to do.” Ye Shanshan nodded, a flash of malice flitting past her eyes.
Meanwhile, at the Zhilin Residence…
Qing Mama was reporting the information she had acquired to Ye Jiuge: “Eldest Miss, the Su Clan’s Eldest Son stayed briefly at the Shuimo Garden then left. After Madame was released from the confines of her residence, she asked her personal maid, Zhi Hua, to send a large number of top-notch supplements and medicinal ingredients over to the Qiu Shui Residence. When Fifth Concubine received them, she was delighted. Not only that, she rewarded Zhi Hua with a sizeable purse. I heard that it was stuffed with ten silver taels.”
“When you sent over Qing Hu and Qing Liu, did Fifth Concubine tip you?” Ye Jiuge asked.
“She did.” Qing Mama showed Ye Jiuge her purse without being asked, then said, “She also gave me ten silver taels.”
“Fifth Concubine is really generous,” Ye Jiuge chuckled.
In the past, when she lived at that dilapidated residence, Fifth Concubine had not even had any copper coins to reward the servants with. Now, she was splashing out silver taels. It seemed that Ye Yuxuan was truly treating her well.
“Now, Old Master has allotted fifty wenyin grade silver taels monthly to Fourth Miss and Fifth Concubine. I heard that he has also gifted them many fine goods,” Qing Mama said.
“No wonder Fifth Concubine is giving money away so extravagantly. By the way, other than making an appeal on Madame’s behalf, what else did the Crown Prince say?”
Knowing the Crown Prince’s personality, he would not have been so keen to visit the Ye Residence just for Su Yufeng’s sake. He must have dropped by to discuss some official matters before pretending to mention Su Yufeng unintentionally.
“I heard that an aristocratic family’s young son has fallen sick. The Crown Prince wished to invite Old Master to their residence to produce medicinal elixirs personally for their young son,” Qing Mama explained.
“Which aristocratic family?” Ye Jiuge raised her eyebrow. If they were influential enough to convince Ye Yuxuan, who had always thought so highly of himself, to visit their residence and produce medicinal elixirs for them, this aristocratic family must be remarkable.
“I am ashamed to say that I failed to find out.” Although Qing Mama had recently expanded her social circle, she had not yet groomed any capable allies at the main residence. Therefore, this was the extent of the limited information she was able to learn.
“You do not need to feel rushed. Just keep it in mind and ask someone in the future. Right now, the vital thing to focus on is helping Qing Hu and Qing Liu establish themselves firmly at the Qiu Shui Residence as soon as possible. Regardless of any new developments, they must report to us promptly,” Ye Jiuge ordered gravely.
Lately, events were too uncanny for her to dismiss them as mere coincidences. She suspected that something fishy was going on.
“Eldest Miss, you do not need to worry. Qing Liu and Qing Hu are very bright; they will definitely help you closely monitor the Qiu Shui Residence.”
Qing Mama was extremely confident about the maids, whom she had personally trained. It would have never occurred to her that a terrible incident was going to take place just a few days after Qing Hu and Qing Liu were installed at the Qiu Shui Residence.
Zhen Zhu walked in, she looked flustered. “Eldest Miss, things are not looking good. Qiu Mama has claimed that Qing Hu and Qing Liu have stolen. She is sending them to the Torture Chamber right now,” she said.
“Eldest Miss, Qiu Mama must have set them up. Qing Hu and Qing Liu would never do such a thing,” Qing Mama quickly defended the girls.
“We shall head there now and look into the situation at once.”
Ye Jiuge took Qing Mama to the Qiu Shui Residence. As soon as they arrived, they found Qing Hu and Qing Liu sobbing uncontrollably as they knelt in the middle of the room. Qing Liu cradled her eye, and there was a red palm print on her cheek. One side of her dainty face was swollen.
“You have not been condemned yet. Who asked you to kneel?” After Ye Jiuge assessed the situation, she became angry. She interrogated Qing Liu, “Who slapped you?”
Qing Liu looked at Qiu Mama timidly.
“Eldest Miss, this is the Qiu Shui Residence’s internal household matter. Out of respect for Fifth Concubine and Fourth Miss, please do not interfere with matters that are not your concern,” Qiu Mama said without emotion, bowing from the sidelines.
“Fifth Concubine, do you also consider this to be an internal household matter?” Ye Jiuge narrowed her eyes towards Fifth Concubine.
Immediately, Fifth Concubine felt the awkwardness of her position. She looked at Qiu Mama and spoke as if negotiating, “Why don’t we let these two maids stand up first before we continue our conversation?”
“Fifth Concubine, everyone should abide by the rules. Otherwise, disorder will follow. These two maids committed theft shortly after they came to our residence. If you do not punish them severely, I am afraid that the other servants will become undisciplined,” lamented Qiu Mama.
“Qiu Mama, you speak with such audacity. Someone ignorant of the situation would assume that you are the mistress of the Qiu Shui Residence,” Ye Jiuge said, smiling coldly.
“Eldest Miss, your words are too unkind. I can hardly bear them.” Qiu Mama curtseyed fearfully before continuing boldly, “Old Master stationed me at the Qiu Shui Residence to help Fifth Concubine manage the household. Therefore, I must perform my duties to the best of my abilities. Eldest Miss, if you are dissatisfied with me, do not hesitate to take it up with Old Master,” Qiu Mama retorted vehemently, repeatedly mentioning Ye Yuxuan’s name as an excuse.
Fifth Concubine sat awkwardly to one side. Throughout the entire exchange, she had neither uttered a single word nor come to Qing Hu and Qing Liu’s defense.
Ye Jiuge was extremely disappointed with Fifth Concubine’s attitude. Although the Fifth Concubine could be resolute, once she was determined to do something in the face of adversity, her unyielding character vanished utterly—especially when Ye Yuxuan sweet-talked her.
Ye Yuxuan had merely given her a bit of sop, and she had entirely forgotten about all the suffering and hatred that she had experienced in the past. To remain in his good books, she would not even dare cross Qiu Mama. She really had regressed.
Since Fifth Concubine was so foolish, Ye Jiuge no longer needed to treat her with dignity. She turned her head towards Qing Liu and Qing Hu and said, “Stand up and tell me, what did they accuse you of stealing?”
When Qing Hu and Qing Liu heard Ye Jiuge’s words, they stood up right away and spoke as they wept, “Eldest Miss, we have been wronged. We are completely unaware of how Elder Sister’s Xing Hua’s golden butterfly hairpin appeared in our chest.”