Xiao Bojian had assumed that Chu Lian’s personal maidservants were all on his side. Since the letter had been received by one of her handmaidens, he assumed the letter would definitely reach Chu Lian’s hands.
When Wenqing returned and found that the letter had disappeared, she was scared out of her wits. She rummaged through the entire room, but couldn’t find it. After her bout of panic, she eventually fell sick and couldn’t get out of bed for a few days.
While recovering from her illness, Wenqing could only console herself by thinking that she must have accidentally dropped it somewhere. Even if she had dropped it within Songtao Court, only Chu Lian’s personal maidservants knew how to read. Since the incident had already happened, Wenqing didn’t dare to report it to Wenlan or Senior Servant Zhong, and simply let it pass.
Once Chu Lian had returned to her bedroom in Songtao Court, she ordered Xiyan to bring out the box of accessories.
The moment the pear blossom wood box was opened, the dazzling glow of treasure inside was revealed. Senior Servant Gui, Senior Servant Zhong, Wenlan, and the rest who hadn’t gone to the Dingyuan Estate were blinded by the sight.
What? Had Third Young Madam gone shopping at a jewellery store instead of attending Old Marquis Dingyuan’s longevity feast today?
When Chu Lian looked up and noticed the shock on everyone’s faces, she smiled mischievously. She took out Imperial Princess Leyao’s ‘gracious’ contribution to the pot, the exquisite little golden qilin statue, and showed it off to them. “What do you think? Isn’t it pretty?”
How could it possibly not be pretty? That was something that the empress had ordered a special craftsmen’s guild to make by hand!
Senior Servant Gui and Senior Servant Zhong nodded in a daze.
It was Senior Servant Gui who recovered first. “Third… Third Young Madam, where did you get all this jewellery from?”
Those couldn’t possibly be visiting gifts from the Dingyuan Estate. If the Dingyuan Estate gave away things like that to their visitors, their doorstep would have been flattened by the crowds flocking there.
Chu Lian shook the box of accessories while grinning from ear to ear. These were all top-quality goods, except for a few more normal-looking golden hairpins and bangles. However, even if their quality was just average, they were still worth a hefty sum.
The best items of the lot were Lady Yang’s red coral bracelet, Madam Huang’s pink pearl bracelet, Royal Princess Duanjia’s white jade ring, and Imperial Princess Leyao’s golden qilin statue.
Chu Lian shot a look at Xiyan before looking down into the box and picking out accessories to play with.
Xiyan understood Chu Lian’s hint, and explained everything that had happened at the Dingyuan Estate to the rest.
Senior Servants Gui and Zhong were shocked; they hadn’t expected Third Young Madam to run head-first into a plot like that just by visiting the Dingyuan Estate.
However, after they had recovered from their fright, admiration blossomed in their hearts for their young madam. There must have been plenty of high-ranking officials’ wives at the feast. Chu Lian was only fifteen years old, yet she had managed to deal with the situation with calm and poise. It must have been tough on her.
Senior Servant Gui frowned upon looking at the various expensive accessories placed on the table. When she thought about the noble madams whom the accessories belonged to, she couldn’t help but break out into cold sweat. Turning to look at her young madam, she saw that Chu Lian was happily playing with her spoils of war without a care. Senior Servant Gui started worrying about her naivete.
Wasn’t her master… a little too innocent…?
Senior Servant Gui didn’t want to speak of it in front of Senior Servant Zhong; she wanted to wait until everyone had been dismissed before reminding Chu Lian of the consequences of taking things from those high-ranking noble madams.
However, she didn’t expect Chu Lian to pass two sets of solid golden hairpins and bangles to her. “Momo, take these and melt them into gold, then change them into banknotes.”
“Ah?” Senior Servant Gui couldn’t decide whether to receive the accessories or not.
Instead, she decided to tactfully remind her of their origin. “Third Young Madam, these accessories belong to those noble madams.”
It wouldn’t be too good if she took other people’s precious jewellery to melt, right?
“They’re all mine now. Momo, don’t worry about it; I know what I’m doing. Take them. Right, remember that list I gave you the other time? Follow the instructions there and have the items made before you bring them back.”
Since Chu Lian had already spoken, Senior Servant Gui could only accept the accessories.
Although Senior Servant Zhong didn’t say a word, she made a mental note to question Wenqing thoroughly later on.