Chapter 18 The Beauty’s Face
To a beauty, what mattered most was the face. This time, Qin Yunzhuang must be very mad.
It did not take long before Dou Qing’e rushed into the yard. Hong Luan stood behind her, with her face swollen, as if she had been slapped.
“Where’s Yunzhuang?” Although Dong Qing’e maintained her demeanor as the head woman of the family, her unease face had betrayed her real feelings.
“Dr. Zhang is treating sister Yunzhuang in the room,” said Qin Yuwan, who was a honey-mouthed person, just like her mother, Concubine Liu. “Relax, mother. Sister Yunzhuang’s face will be fine.” Unfortunately, she was also as thoughtless as her mother.
Not surprisingly, Qin Yuwan observed the scornful look of Dou Qing’e. But then, her hatred was replaced by sadness when Zhang Ruting pushed the door open and came out. Zhang Ruting greeted Dou Qing’e first and then began to talk about the condition of Qin Yunzhuang.
“From now on, please pay special attention to her diet and articles for daily use. It is easy to get allergic in the spring. If she did not get medical treatment in time, the wounds on her face would have become scars.” Zhang Ruting said coherently. And the face of Dou Qing’e darkened after he finished speaking.
“Do you…do you mean that Yunzhuang had eaten something bad?” Dou Qing’e said in a drawl. Her voice was cold and chilly, like the peaceful lull before the storm started.
“Maybe it was not the food she ate. The daily essentials of Grand Miss, like incense, tea and cosmetics, could also make her wounds itchy if they interacted with her body. You’d better pay more attention,” Zhang Ruting said and frowned.
It sounded like she had not taken care of that! The veins on Dou Qing’e’s forehead stood out slightly.
Inside the room, the sobbing sound of Qin Yunzhuang lingered on incessantly, and the heart of Dou Qing’e was also in turmoil. After ordering Xiu Gu to see Zhang Ruting off, Dou Qing’e stood on the steps with a stern face, thinking about the ins and outs of this thing.
“Mother.” Qin Yuwan intended to comfort Dou Qing’e to show her phony affection, but Dou Qing’e slapped her hands away in a sudden and violent reaction that almost pushed Qin Yuwan down the stairs. Thankfully, she was supported by Qin Yunuan who stood behind her.
Finally, Dou Qing’e stopped putting on her gentle and elegant look as usual. Glaring at Qin Yuwan, she thought of the legal son of the Shangguan family. He had proposed to take Qin Yuwan as his concubine but was refused by her. It was said that Qin Yuwan had a good cry for this. Thinking of this, Dou Qing’e was now quite annoyed with her suddenly. That b*tch must be craving for Yunzhuang’s disfigurement and hoping that she could not marry into royalty.
When Qin Yunuan saw the glaring eyes of Dou Qing’e that were about to kill, she tried to persuade her at once. “Don’t worry, mother. At present, Sister Yunzhuang may not be emotionally stable. If we come to see her rashly, she might be more disturbed.”
Dou Qing’e cast a sidelong glance at Qin Yunuan. Having no way to give vent to her fury, Dou Qing’e waved to Hong Luan, who had been waiting aside and retracting her head. “What did you say when I asked you? You told me that Yunzhuang had been taking medicine exactly as the prescription said. But what is going on now? Why should I let you, a maidservant who failed to take care of your miss and let someone else fiddle with her stuff, stay here any longer?” Dou Qing’e reproached her while giving order to the nannies at the bottom of the steps, “Servants! Exercise the rod punishment right now. Do not stop until she tells the truth. Find out who had served food to Grand Miss, and who had sent things to the Caizhi Courtyard recently.”
Qin Yunuan’s heart thumped when she heard this. Since her big sister Yunzhuang was ill, she had been sending the best things to her under Concubine Liu’s urging. Her mother told her that her marriage was dependent on Yunzhuang, the legal daughter in the family. So, much as she wanted Qin Yunzhuang to be disfigured, she did not do any harm to her in any way. However, if Dou Qing’e wanted to make things difficult for her, she would get what she wanted anyway. How many times had she created groundless rumors and crimes on the sly?
“Mother, mother.” Anxiously, Qin Yuwan tried to grab the sleeves of Dou Qing’e, but Dou Qing’e flicked her sleeves unexpectedly and shouted at the nannies sternly. “Why are you still standing here? Do you hear me? Start searching, right now. ”
Suddenly, Qin Yuwan was mentally disturbed. What she sent was all right, but what about the thing she asked her to take to Qin Yunzhuang? No, no way. Anyway, she was the daughter of an influential family and would never take cheap shots like this.
“Sister, sister Yuwan, is there anything wrong?” Qin Yunuan asked gently with a quiet smile. “Why do you look a little bit flustered? Are you worried about Grand Sister?”
“Yeah… Yes.” Qin Yuwan nodded. She pretended to be calm and pulled her hemline awkwardly. “Well, I got something to do in my courtyard. I have to leave.” It was not too late to discuss countermeasures with mother right now.
“Yunuan, Yuwan and Yuzhao,” Dou Qing’e called their name slowly. “Go to the wing-room for some rest.” It was clear that she would not let anyone leave.
A raging search was soon in full swing. After Qin Yunzhuang became ill, people in the mansion had sent quite a few things to her. So, before Qin Yunuan finished half a cup of her tea, Concubine Chang, Concubine Liu and even Su Chenghai were all driven to the small wing-room.
Earlier this day, Concubine Liu had been told that her daughter was driven there by a servant girl. Now, when she saw the fearful look on Qin Yuwan’s face, she thought that her daughter was treated unfairly. Without a second thought, she made a crack to Dou Qing’e. “Oh, my dear sister! What’s the big deal again? Why is everybody here?”
Sitting right in the middle, Dou Qing’e looked solemn. Having heard what Concubine Liu said, she just turned around slowly and tidied her dress, not taking her seriously. Her indulgence in the past really spoiled her. But she would not let off anyone who harmed her daughter.
Qin Yunuan had been sitting aside all the time. After adjusting the cup lid with her finger, she examined Su Chenghai who sat right opposite through the mist of hot tea.
His thin lips that were pursed slightly were on the white porcelain lid, and his long fingers were fixed on the blue and white porcelain teacup, as if he had been focusing on the tea only. Occasionally, when Dou Qing’e said something, he looked up and glanced at all people present with indifferent eyes, not showing support or disapproval. His actions were as gentle as a scholar, but his eyes and bearing were as cold as a warrior who had just returned from the battlefield.
Such feelings were a little bit strange for Qin Yunuan. In her impression, Su Chenghai seemed to be a different person. But somehow, he also looked familiar, like they had met somewhere before.
After a while, Xiu Gu came in and reported their findings.
“We have checked everything. There’s nothing wrong.” Dou Qing’e’s face darkened as soon as Xiu Gu stopped speaking. It would be better if they could find something, because at least, it could prove that things were still under her control. But now, the situation was trickier than she had expected.
“Check again.” Dou Qing’e clenched her fists, unwilling to give up.
“Wait a minute,” Qin Yunuan stood up suddenly. It took great courage to say something at this moment. Dou Qing’e peered at Qin Yunuan. She wanted to see how courageous the girl was. “Mother, have you changed your incense recently?”
Just an irrelevant question!
“Humph, aren’t you all clear about what my incense is?” Dou Qing’e raised her eyebrows and sent Xiu Gu out again.
“Yes,” Qin Yunuan had a careful sniff around and said, “I thought mother fell in love with Ningxianglu as well. I heard that many madams in the capital city loved to use it recently. This kind of incense has a good aroma when it is properly used. But if it is excessively used, it will make the skin itch fiercely and even ulcerate. I was just about to warn you, mother.”
“I do not have those evil things.” Dou Qing’e said arrogantly. Ningxianglu had a sweet smell, but it could also be a kind of philter if it was used internally. Those who used it properly would enjoy nights of sexual bliss every day. Some of her intimate friends had been using Ningxianglu to win the favor of their husbands from beauties. She disdained to do such contemptible things, so slowly, she was not in close touch with them.
“Oh, well then, I’m relieved.” Qin Yunuan patted her chest, and the anxious look in her eyes faded away slowly, like she really cared about the health of Dou Qing’e.
Dou Qing’e just waved her sleeves, and suddenly, her eyes became cold. “Bring me the incense burner of Yunzhuang,” she said to Xiu Gu. She had never used such incense. If there was some strange smell, then it should come from Yunzhuang’s room when she comforted her there.
The wing-room was not far from Qin Yunzhuang’s room. So, it did not take a long time before Xiu Gu came back, holding the incense burner. She poked the residue in it with a small bronze spoon and then showed it to several old nannies. They all came to the same conclusion: It was the Ningxianglu indeed.
“So much Ningxianglu!” said an old nanny. “Burning such a large amount of Ningxianglu will be harmful to health.”
“How dare you!” Dou Qing’e whacked the table. Her anger could not be restrained.
That was exactly what Qin Yunuan wanted. She peered at the clenched hands of Qin Yuwan with cold eyes and could almost feel the sweating on her forehead. In her previous life, Concubine Liu and her daughter were solid allies of Dou Qing’e on framing her and Baochuan. Now, it would be more beneficial to Baochuan and herself if they were alienated. Besides, she was clear that the bad-mouthed Qin Yuwan had spoken ill of her and Baochuan many times.
“This is definitely not Yunzhuang’s own incense. Find out who had mixed it into her stuff.” Dou Qing’e said decisively. She knew all the stuff in her daughter’s room because every little bit of those things was collected by herself. Her daughter was going to marry the prince, so she had to be careful.
“Ma’am, Hong Luan had confessed everything.” A round-faced servant girl called outside. She came in, knelt down and then said, “Hong Luan said that on the day when Grand Miss returned, Second Miss came to her and gave her a pack of incense, asking her to give it to Grand Miss privately.”