Ning Yunyan leaned against the stove-bed and sobbed.
"What are you crying about? The one who was insulted wasn't you, nor were you the one who made the mistake."
Third Madam Ning, who was seated in a chair, spoke crossly.
Of course, she wasn't cross because of Ning Yunyan.
"I'm crying because I even got Elder Brother involved, and he was humiliated," lamented Ning Yunyan, raising her head. When she thought about it again, her tears poured down with renewed vigor.
Third Madam Ning and Fourth Madam Ning's facial expressions grew uglier.
"She compared Tenth Brother to a prostitute. Is she saying our Ning Family is a brothel?" said Fourth Madam Ning. "Who raised that kind of child? She has such a dirty mouth."
Eldest Madam Ning sat on the stove-bed, neither angry nor irritated. With a slight frown, she looked at Ning Yunyan and shook her head.
"When you went into the city, I warned you many times to not provoke her. Her marriage with our family did not go through, so she is unhappy. If she saw you, she would definitely vent her anger out on you. You were supposed to avoid her, but you didn't listen. If I had known earlier, I would have not let you go," she said.
Hearing her mother's long-winded grumbling, Ning Yunyan's crying grew even more intense. Third Madam Ning and Fourth Madam Ning also shifted uneasily where they sat.
"Eldest Sister-in-law, why do we have to avoid her," asked Third Madam Ning, displeased.
"Mother, I was trying to avoid her, but I couldn't help it when she provoked me," Ning Yunyan shouted angrily. "Yangcheng is so big so I didn't think I would meet her. Who would have thought that she would take a walk when she was about to get married. I wanted to avoid her when I met her at the doorway, but she deliberately provoked me."
When she thought about what had happened then, Ning Yunyan was once again close to crying out in anger and resentment.
"I just hate that she ran away so soon, otherwise I wouldn't have this reputation of fighting with her in the middle of the street," she said.
Fourth Madam Ning gathered her up in her arms and patted her soothingly.
"My child, how could you be the same as her," she consoled.
"You aren't allowed to go out from now on," said Eldest Madam Ning.
Third Madam Ning was already standing up.
"No, we can't just let things go like this," she said. "If the Fang Family won't teach that child, then we must do it for them."
So they were going to seek out the Fang Family. Ning Yunyan happily sat up while Eldest Madam Ning frowned.
"That's no good because then we'll be seen as stirring up trouble for a marriage," she said.
As her voice dropped, the sound of a servant's footsteps could be heard outside.
"Madams, it's not good, Old Madam knows. She's calling people to prepare the carriage for Yangcheng," she said anxiously.
The sisters-in-law immediately panicked.
"Who blabbed to Old Madam?"
"Hurry up and stop her."
"Who could stop Old Madam's temper!"
"Quickly go find the old masters and call them back."
The room was in an uproar as the madams hurried to stand up and get out. Ning Yunyan was left sitting on the stove-bed, but she was no longer crying.
Grandmother was one of the top old madams in Yangcheng, never past her prime. When she heard that her grandson was compared to a prostitute, it'd be strange if she didn't go tear into the people who said such things.
An alert to grandmother would definitely alert Father and Uncles. In addition, it was some lowly trash girl saying such insults. No one would believe that this family would just let her go.
Now, an invitation would been sent to the front door of the Fang Family. Let's just see what they could do about it.
Ning Yunyan coughed once, watching Eldest Madam Ning waiting for people outside of the room when a male voice came from the courtyard.
"Mother, Aunts, where are you going?"
This made Ning Yunyan sit up straight up, throwing herself over to the windowside. Through the glass, she could see a young man walk into the courtyard.
The young man was carrying his cloak in his hand. He wore a grey-green robe that showed off his slender body, tapered waist, and wide shoulders. His facial features were handsome. When he walked in, all the madams smiled. The sunlight was making him dazzling.
"Elder Brother!" yelled Ning Yunyan, turning to hurry off the stove-bed. The madams by the doorway to the room had their mood improved considerably.
"Why did you come back?"
"How come you didn't say anything?"
"Only you? What about Second-sister-in-law and them?"
Several people were asking questions at once.
Ning Yunyan had squeezed out there, then grabbed onto Ning Yunzhao's sleeve and cried.
"Big Brother, I let you down," she sobbed.
Ning Yunzhao smiled and rubbed Ning Yunyan's head.
"Child," rebuked Eldest Madam Ning, pulling her away.
Third Madam Ning and Fourth Madam Ning thought of something.
"Yunzhao, you go in and rest first. We have a matter to attend to and will be back in a moment," they said, giving Eldest Madam Ning a look.
Ning Yunzhao had just returned home, so they should stop him from finding out about certain things. It would best if he took a rest for a moment.
Eldest Madam Ning understood, and without changing her facial expression at all, she smiled and nodded.
"You go hurry up and finish then, give Yunzhao a minute to go pay his respects to his uncles," she said.
Ning Yunzhao smiled.
"Third Aunt, Fourth Aunt, you should go see Grandmother," he said.
Third Madam Ning and Fourth Madam Ning were still thinking about concealing it. Ning Yunzhao smiled again.
"I came here with Eleventh, and we already persuaded Grandmother not to go out. Eleventh is with Grandmother playing mahjong," he said. "Third Aunt, Fourth Aunt, should also go and play a round."
Eleventh Noble Son Ning, second son of Ning Yunzhao's uncle.
When they heard him say this, the madams and Ning Yunyan were all shocked.
"Yunzhao, you already know about what happened?" asked Eldest Madam Ning.
Ning Yunzhao smiled and nodded.
"I already heard some people from outside say as much, and then right, when I came back, I heard the family members talking about it," he said.
Ning Yunyan looked at Ning Yunzhao's bright face and once again broke into tears.
The atmosphere in the room was gloomy. Worry was written across Eldest Madam Ning's face, while anger was on Third Madam Ning's and Fourth Madam Ning's. Ning Yunyan stuck close to Ning Yunzhao and would occasionally wipe her tears.
Ning Yunzhao heard people outside talk of it. Obviously, it has spread throughout Yangcheng.
Ning Yunzhao had always been a famous person in Yangcheng. Now that he had been insulted, it would definitely be a topic of conversation among the masses.
"I heard that some people said that Miss Jun extorted our Ning Family's silver," said Ning Yunzhao calmly.
Compared to the response of the other people in the room, the person who was actually compared to a prostitute in worth had the tone of a spectator.
"She did extort us," said Ning Yunyan angrily. "She doesn't want to admit it."
"Yes, as Yanyan said, she actually said our family owed her and that when it was time to pay her grandfather for treating his illness, the Old Master did not pay her." Third Madam Ning smiled coldly. "It is all nonsense. It's her loss for saying that. Don't tell me you think that anyone would believe her?"
Eldest Madam Ning sighed, but did not say anything.
"No matter if it's real or fake, we should not speak of this anymore," said Ning Yunzhao.
The people in the room were stunned.
"Big Brother, the ones in the wrong aren't us," blurted out Ning Yunyan.
As she said this, she felt unhappy. Was Big Brother not letting them speak ill of that woman because he wanted to protect her?
Ning Yunzhao laughed.
"This is not a matter about who was wrong or not wrong," he said. "At the end of the day, everybody does not care about this, but about my worth."
The people in the room went blank once more and then in the next moment, erupted into anger.
That's right, Jun Zhenzhen's insult. Tenth Noble Son Ning had been popular for so long, so this insult would be around for much longer.
After all, for the masses, the truth about the situation didn't matter. They preferred to see the people up high in a tough situation.
From now on, as long as someone mentioned how Jun Zhenzhen extorted five thousand taels of silver from the Ning Family, the first thing that everybody would talk about will definitely not be whether or not it's true, but whether or not Tenth Noble Son Ning is worth five thousand taels.
When they thought about this, they could almost see the gossipers' laughing faces.
Third Madam Ning almost wanted to pick up a table and shake it.
When they first had spread that rumor, they had wanted to humiliate Jun Zhenzhen. They never thought that it would be them who were humiliated.
They were the ones to spread it outside, but right now, they could not think of how to tamp it back down.
This really was…
This was the effect that scoundrel wanted.
Eldest Madam Ning gripped tight the teacup in her hand.
"No, we can't just let things go like this." Third Madam Ning stood up. "Insulting someone is never right, even more so when the insult is that ugly. If we just let things go, then what will our Ning Family have become. I will go to the Fang Family and ask about how their family educates their children."
Ning Yunyan nodded vigorously.
Ning Yunzhao coughed lightly.
"Third Aunt, um, you cannot go," he said.
Why did he want to stop her?
Ning Yunyan couldn't help but bite her lip and stare at Ning Yunzhao.
Again? Was he protecting Jun Zhenzhen?
"Aunt, this is a quarrel between girls; adults should not meddle."
Ning Yunzhao's voice was soft and husky, consoling.
Eldest Madam Ning nodded too.
"So you told this to grandmother," she said.
"Mother, Grandmother is already old, but she isn't confused," said Ning Yunyan. "What sort of measly squabble would involve such ugly words."
Third Madam Ning shook her head.
"This isn't a child's argument, this is riding over our Ning Family and sh*tting on us..." she said.
She even said such vulgarities that only boys would say in their childhood.
Fourth Madam Ning could not help but make a sound of alarm.
Ning Yunzhao did not seem to care at all.
"Aunts, listen to what I have to say," he said.
He spoke gently, neither urgently nor impatiently, sending the seniors and his little sister into silence.