"I heard that what happened was because Miss Jun laughed which angered Yanyan and others in front of the teahouse, and then both sides engaged in mutual cursing."
When she heard Ning Yunzhao say this, Ning Yunyan got to her feet.
"What," she said angrily, "that was because she stuck out her leg and tripped Lanfang…"
"The seventh young miss of the Hu Family," Eldest Madam Ning explained to Ning Yunzhao.
Surprise emerged in Ning Yunzhao's eyes.
"I know that there was a young lady who fell, which made Miss Jun laugh, but you're saying that Miss Jun tripped her?" he asked.
Ning Yunyan snorted.
"She would do something like that," she spat. "Playing sneaky tricks. Other people wouldn't see, but how could the person who tripped not? She doesn't even want to admit it."
Although Big Brother hadn't met with Jun Zhenzhen, he had heard some talk about her, especially from last mid-autumn. She had written a nonsensical, stupid poem and blurted it out for all of Yangcheng. She had been the butt of the joke for many people.
From this, it was obvious what kind of a crazy, uncouth girl she was.
However, Ning Yunyan did not see Ning Yunzhao's surprise or contempt. Instead, he was looking pensive.
"So it was like that," he said, brows furrowing in concentration. "She tripped that young miss, and nobody was paying attention?"
"When she was exiting the door, we were about to enter. We weren't bothering with her. Someone must have seen, and anyone would know that she had such a black heart," Ning Yunyan said, eyes flashing dangerously, concealing the fact that the Hu Family's young miss wanted to hit Fang Yuxiu first.
Anyways, she hadn't hit her; it was an unrelated issue.
Ning Yunzhao naturally saw her reaction and smiled.
"So she laughed?" He did not, however, pursue the topic but moved on with the questioning.
Ning Yunyan nodded.
"But other people didn't know; they only saw Miss Jun laugh and that you would not allow her to laugh," Ning Yunzhao continued.
"She was laughing because Lanfang had fallen. Of course we wouldn't want her to laugh," Ning Yunyan said.
Ning Yunzhao rapped his fingers on the table top.
"You said she tripped the young miss from the Hu Family. Was it intentional? Or was it an accident?" he muttered to himself.
"Of course it was intentional," huffed Ning Yunyan. She couldn't help but add, "Big Brother, why are you protecting her?"
NIng Yunzhao shook his head.
"I'm not asking whether or not it was intentional for that purpose." He looked at his little sister. "I definitely would not protect her."
Saying this, he turned to look at Eldest Madam Ning and his two aunts.
"This matter needs to be a quarrel between girls. Mother and aunts, as adults you definitely cannot interfere. If not…"
When they heard him say this, Eldest Madam Ning's eyes flashed with a hint of surpise, and Third Madam Ning's eyebrows shot up.
"If not, what then?" she said.
"If not, it won't just be a children's quarrel," said Ning Yunzhao.
Fourth Madam Ning wasn't smiling.
Ning Yunyan even stamped her feet.
"Big Brother, this was never a children's quarrel," she shouted.
Third Madam Ning stood up again, waving an arm at Ning Yunzhao.
"Tenth Brother, there is no need for you to worry about this. This is a women's matter. You men have no need to come out. We women have a way of dealing with it. We wouldn't want outsiders to say that the men of the Ning Family bully women and children," she said.
Ning Yunzhao also hurried to get to his feet.
"Third Aunt, this is not a women's matter. If this matter escalates, it will become a lawsuit," he said with a solemn countenance. "This will be a lawsuit involving the Jinyiwei."
Everyone at the scene was dumbfounded.
"Can her Fang Family persuade the Jinyiwei?" Third Madam Ning laughed coldly. "I would like to see how they could influence the Jinyiwei. Are they going to use money?"
"They don't need money," said Ning Yunzhao. "They only need to say that Yanyan did not permit Miss Jun to laugh, that our Ning Family wanted her to apologize and make reparations for laughing."
What sort of logic was this?
The people listening felt confused.
"This has nothing to do with logic. To be precise, it could be called a coincidence," said Ning Yunzhao, looking at them. "Before Little Sister and Miss Jun met, the Jinyiwei ordered a storyteller in the teahouse to announce Lu Yunqi and Princess Jiuli's marriage."
Lu Yunqi and Princess Jiuli's marriage. The madams of the Ning Family obviously already knew about the news and were similarly speechless that the emperor would give such favor and importance to Lu Yunqi. Although they sighed about the evil among officials being hard to get rid of, it was taboo to say such to the Jinyiwei.
They hadn't imagined that here in Yangcheng, the Jinyiwei would actually cause such a big stir.
"In order to promote Lu Yunqi, strengthen their own positions, as well as to echo the emperor's favor, they expressed such happiness for the heavenly favor bestowed," said Ning Yunzhao.
That is to say, they made such a fuss. The emperor would at most scold them for frivolity, but in reality, he would not be unhappy.
It was said that this Lu Yunqi was of lowly origin, though his father was a platoon commander in the Jinyiwei. After he had died of sickness, Lu Yunqi had followed his father into the Jinyiwei.
Though the Jinyiwei were very fierce and every person was afraid of them, not just any Jinyiwei could strut around arrogantly. The low, low ranks of the Jinyiwei would even be assigned to guard main roads without a shift change. They couldn't even dream of bullying and intimidating others.
Lu Yunqi was the kind of underling that couldn't be found if thrown into a pile of normal people.
But suddenly he obtained the emperor's favor and rapidly climbed up in the world. He even married two princesses, though the statuses of those two princesses weren't very high and were also avoided by some people, but the two women were still princesses.
The Ning Family madams were all absent-minded for a moment before they recovered.
"But what does that have to do with this?" asked Fourth Madam Ning with a frown.
"At that time, the Jinyiwei demanded the people present to congratulate them, and to laugh from happiness," said Ning Yunzhao, his gaze sweeping over the madams and Ning Yunyan. "Miss Jun was there."
"So what if she was there," blurted Ning Yunyan. "What does these Jinyiwei have to do with her?"
Ning Yunzhao looked at her.
"Their relationship is that she laughed because she heard the Jinyiwei say that she should be happy for the marriage of the princess and Thousand-Man Commander Lu," he explained. "And you dared to criticize her laughing, showing that you are displeased or even angry with the princess and Thousand-Man Commander Lu's marriage."
The room fell into shock.
"Big Brother, she laughed because she tripped Lanfang," Ning Yunyan said, glaring. "What are you saying?"
Eldest Madam Ning, Third Madam Ning, and Fourth Madam Ning were not saying anything, their expressions grave.
"Little Sister, didn't you say that you didn't see her trip anyone? If you didn't see it, then the people around you didn't see it, either," Ning Yunzhao said, still patient.
"Then if she said she didn't that means she didn't? Lanfang said it, how could she not have done it?" Ning Yunyan said angrily, again stomping her feet.
"She could have done it, technically whatever you say could have happened," said Ning Yunzhao. "But the crux of the matter is though you can say whatever you want, other people can also hear whatever they want. They can think whatever they want, and usually that would be fine, but this time it involves the Jinyiwei. If the Jinyiwei think the wrong thing, it would not be too good."
The Jinyiwei were very suspicious people, so nothing could be said about them.
Ning Yunyan suddenly didn't know what to say and felt her head was in a mess.
"Big Brother, I don't really understand," she said. "How does it get to here? How does it involve the Jinyiwei?"
"As I said, this is a coincidence," said Ning Yunzhao. "Coincidentally, the Jinyiwei stirred up the citizens to celebrate. Coincidentally, she was there, and coincidentally, she met you when she went out. The bigger coincidence is that you fought about laughing."
When he said this, he paused.
"The reason for the laughter, you and her know it very well, but the masses don't. Yanyan, when I asked around Yangcheng, everyone said that it was Miss Jun's laugh that had angered you."
Ning Yunyan's lip quivered, but Ning Yunzhao did not give her the chance to speak.
"That's right. If you ask carefully, people will say that it was because Miss Hu fell that Miss Jun laughed, but no one knew that it was she who tripped Miss Hu in the first place," he added on.
Eldest Madam Ning let go of her teacup.
"Yunzhao, what you mean to say is that she can say she laughed not because Miss Hu fell, but because of Lu Yunqi and the princess's marriage?"
"Then Yanyan scolded her and told her she wasn't allowed to laugh, like she was berating the Jinyiwei for forcing the people to be joyous?" Third Madam Ning asked in surprise.
"Or that she was angry about the princess and Thousand-Man Commander Lu's marriage?" Fourth Madam Ning murmured.
Ning Yunyan grew even more dumbfounded.
"But isn't that all nonsense? I never had such intention. I didn't know that the Jinyiwei had gone to the teahouse. Whether the Jinyiwei made her laugh or cry had nothing to do with me," she said anxiously.
Fourth Madam Ning's expression changed irregularly.
"Yunzhao, are you overthinking things?" she asked.
Could that Jun Zhenzhen think of this much?
"Fourth Aunt, I am not overthinking anything. Fear is fear. If we go to the Fang Family to argue, someone from the Fang Family may overthink this way," he said. "If I can think of this, then the Fang Family can think of this. If it comes to a fight and it is decided that she laughed in congratulations and joy, then it may be seen that our Ning Family criticized her because we were dissatisfied with the Jinyiwei's actions, or even because we are not satisfied that the emperor has bestowed a marriage with a princess to Thousand-Man Commander Lu."
Criticized her because they were unsatisfied with the Jinyiwei's actions, not satisifed that the emperor bestowed a marriage with a princess to Thousand-man Commander Lu.
This time, not just the three madams of the Ning Family, but even the vacant Ning Yunyan's countenance had turned pale.
Ning Yunzhao watched them and spoke in a level tone.
"Mother, Aunts, you think it over, whether or not this is just an argument between girls or not."