There were four or five noble looking young men who hurried through the courtyard doors. They each brought their own servant and blocked the space at the entrance.
"Where are you rascals from? How dare you speak like that to my mistress?" Mo Jin saw that the situation was taking a turn for the worse and hurried to stand in front of Mo Xuemin.
"If we are rascals, then your mistress is no virtuous woman. Didn’t they say that noble young ladies shouldn’t leave their rooms or their doors? Oh, so are the rules in the Mo Manor different? She can even come out to meet a man in secret!" The man standing right in front was Brother Ling and he glanced at Mo Xuetong in disdain.
"Nonsense. My First Miss has something to ask His Excellency. Furthermore, First Miss has observed etiquette and not entered the room." Mo Jin defended her loudly.
"Your First Miss is really close with the Zhenguo Duke’s son. She sent a pouch when we were drinking with him yesterday. And she even personally came to visit when she heard that he was injured. Oh, are they not lovers then?" The other man, who was Brother He said with a cold smile. He still had a bandage wrapped around his head. He felt furious whenever he thought about the senseless beating he received.
"I knew that the Zhenguo Duke’s son had close dealings with the Mo Manor. So this is the reason why!"
"I didn’t expect the First Miss of the Mo family who has a good reputation to be someone who doesn’t follow etiquette."
"Earlier, my Father wanted me to marry the reputable First Miss Mo. But this is all fake..."
"I’ve really learnt a lot today. This young lady might have already... with His Excellency..."
Mo Xuemin almost could not bear the horrible words. She forced herself to calm down after a while and pushed Mo Jin away, gritting her teeth. She glared at the two people in front and said sternly, "When have I ever given His Excellency a pouch. Don’t talk nonsense."
"No? The maid beside you is the one who sent the pouch to His Excellency yesterday. We were not the only ones who saw it. Miss Mo, do you want us to get someone to identify this person? Her coquettish behavior is not one an ordinary person can do." Brother He said loudly as he pointed at Shuang Xue, who was trying to hide.
Mo Xuetong turned to look at Shuang Ye and was so angry she felt dizzy. She remembered that in order to allow someone to discover Mo Xuetong sending Sima Lingyun a pouch, she had deliberately sent someone who would behave in a flashy manner.
"Nonsense. I only arrived at the temple this morning. How would I know what happened yesterday." She must not admit to anything at this time. Mo Xuemin gritted her teeth and said, "This maid came up the mountains with my Third Sister yesterday." She had not forgotten to ruin Mo Xuetong’s reputation at a time like this.
"Then, Miss Mo, how can you explain this pouch? We got this off His Excellency. It can’t be your Third Sister’s too as well?" Brother Ling took out a pouch, pleased as a punch, and gave it to the others around him.
"Miss, your pouch..." Mo Jin made a sound of surprise and looked at Mo Xuetong’s waist. Her pouch had already been long gone.
She wanted to say something but Mo Xuemin glared at her viciously. She remembered what was in front of her and hurriedly shut up. Her hand, which was holding Mo Xuemin’s shook slightly.
"Look, even your maid has admitted it’s you. What can you do? Miss Mo, you’re really good. You pretend to be as virtuous as a fair outside, but you meet lovers in secret. You even... with a man..." The crowd jeered.
"So the gentleness and graciousness of the First Miss of the Mo family are all fake. She’s indeed good."
"She doesn’t look like it. She’s so beautiful and gentle, but her behavior in private is as such. The Mo Manor’s reputation is disgraced." Another person said, shaking his head.
Mo Xuemin was enraged when she heard that. She was so angry she almost fainted. However, she knew that she could not faint now.
She bit the tip of her tongue forcefully until she drew blood. She used the sharp pain to regain her wits and said to the men sharply, "You’ve soiled my reputation today and used some unknown method to say that the pouch you found belongs to me and forced me to my wit’s end. Alright, alright. Then I will do as you wish. I’ll die for you all to see. Don’t forget that my father will investigate what happened today. You and your families will not be able to escape the law."
Then, she waved her sleeves over her head and rushed up to a tree beside her, slamming into it.
She had no defense and could only insist that they were ruining her reputation. It was a fact that she had not entered Sima Lingyun’s room. A maid and a pouch would not be able to determine her sins. She did not believe that those people would force her to her death. She had already looked at them and saw that there was no true nobility amongst the men. Most of them were children of officials and their fathers’ ranks were not high either. They were not from the same social circle as her. They were also impolite and did not speak like true nobility.
She was betting that they would not force her.
She only had to force them to let her go...
"Miss, Mi..." Mo Jin and Shuang Ye grew anxious when they saw that she was going to kill herself. They tried to stop her and put themselves in front of her. They were worried that she might really kill herself.
The group of people also grew flustered. Catching the adulterous pair was one matter. But if they forced the daughter of a Fifth Rank Capital Officer to death, then the matter would be huge!
Most of the people present were from wealthy families and some of them were sons of lower ranked officials. They were all well informed and knew that the Mo Manor was close to the Emperor. If they really offend the Mo Manor, they might implicate their whole family. No one wanted that to happen to them.
"Brother He, could we be mistaken? There isn’t a name on the pouch." A man holding the pouch pushed it into Brother Ling’s hand hurriedly. He intentionally ignored the "Min" on the pouch.
"It is not impolite to ask about His Excellency at the corridor."
"That maid doesn’t look like a good one. She might be the one in a tryst with the duke’s son!"
"That must be it. Look at how she looks, she’s not a good one." Everyone spoke up to ease the tension.
Brother He and Brother Ling were flustered at that. They glanced at each other and did not dare to insist that the pouch belonged to Mo Xuemin. They had stolen it and if the matter was investigated, they would not be able to bear the consequences. The thief’s mouth was hard to shut.
The two of them glanced at each other and immediately stopped pursuing the incident. Their attitudes softened.
"Oh, that might be true." Brother He said in an odd tone.
"Miss Mo, since it is something your maid did, then you should discipline her well in the future. Don’t let her come out and flirt. Those who don’t know will think that it is you..." Brother Ling waved his hand and sniggered. The pouch flew out and landed on the floor. Mo Jin hurried to pick it up.
His words were very disrespectful and Mo Xuemin was so angry that she trembled in rage.
Shuang Ye was anxious when she saw that everyone had gone. She thought of how First Miss had always been a vicious person in private and knelt down forcefully. She called out anxiously, "Miss..."
"Shut up. I’ll deal with you when we go back." Mo Xuemin’s face was pale as if she had survived a great disaster. Her clothes were soaked in sweat. She yelled sharply when she saw that Shuang Ye was about to say something else. Then, she turned around, squared her back, and left the courtyard with Mo Jin. She must not show any signs of guilt right now.
Shuang Ye must be defending herself right now, so how could she allow her to finish speaking. She would not be responsible for this mess.
The furore had created a huge ruckus and someone was already at the door.
When she saw the sharp and furious expression on Mo Xuemin’s beautiful face, Shuang Ye did not dare to say anything else. She stood up and followed behind Mo Xuemin fearfully and left the courtyard.
When they returned to their courtyard, Mo Xuetong was standing at the corridor. She said with a gentle and concerned smile, "Eldest Sister, what happened?"
"Nothing. I’m going home now." Mo Xuemin gritted her teeth. She wanted to tear the smile off Mo Xuetong’s face. The smile seemed to be mocking her failure. She could not stay any longer. She felt that Mo Xuetong was behind all of this!
"Then let’s go back together. Mo Lan, quick go and pack up." Mo Xuetong turned to say.
"Yes, Miss." I thought that the manor would send someone to pick you up. So Mo Yu and I have already packed up." Mo Lan replied.
"Eldest Sister, then let’s go." Mo Xuetong said, holding on to Mo Ye’s hand. Her face was pale. Mo Yu was holding Mo Xuetong’s other hand so she could stand steadily.
Mo Xuemin was not in the mood to fight Mo Xuetong. She turned to leave with Mo Jin. Shuang Ye followed behind. She looked left and right and did not know who to follow. She suddenly saw Mo Xuetong’s cold glance and shuddered. She immediately went to follow Mo Xuemin.
It was already late when they returned to the Mo Manor. Mo Xuemin did not bid Mo Xuetong goodbye and just left the carriage with Mo Jin. The handkerchief in her hands was almost torn by her wringing. She had to think clearly whose ploy she had fallen for today. Shuang Ye followed her but was kicked viciously. She hit the door heavily and cried out in pain but did not dare to follow.
A few maids helped Mo Xuetong struggle back to Qingwei Garden. Mother Xu welcomed her at the door. There was a fuss before they helped Mo Xuetong lie down. Mother Xu brought her ginseng tea which she took a few sips of before she finally regained some strength.
"Miss is so ill, why did you all let her leave the mountain? How am I going to answer to Madam if anything happens?" Mother Xu looked at Mo Xuetong’s pale face and rebuked Mo Lan and the others.
"Mother, something happened there and Miss had to leave the mountain." Mo Yu went to guard at the door. Mo Lan pointed at Mo Xuemin’s Fuqing Garden.
"First Miss?" Mother Xu paused and then lowered her voice. "It has nothing to do with Miss, right?" She was only concerned with the safety of her mistress.
"Miss is fine, but she got a scare." Mo Lan answered with a smile. She did not tell Mother Xu everything that happened. It was not that she did not trust Mother Xu. Her mistress had once said that Mother Xu was old and some things should not be told to her or she would worry for them.
"That’s good then, that’s good then. Buddha has watched over you all." Mother Xu muttered and then got Mo Lan to take care of Mo Xuetong carefully. Then, Mo Yu and the others coaxed her back to sleep.
The doors of the room shut gently. Mo Lan remained to keep watch overnight. She adjusted the candle flame to be dimmer.
"Mo Lan, you should go to rest early. You didn’t rest well last night." Mo Xuetong opened her eyes slightly and said gently. Mo Lan must be the one who had fed her water last night.
"Miss, it’s alright. I fell asleep for some reason last night. It was already daytime when I woke up." Mo Lan thought that it was odd when she mentioned it. She had fallen asleep for no reason and it was lucky that her mistress was alright when she woke up. Otherwise, she would feel very guilty.
"Oh, don’t tell Mother Xu anything."
Mo Lan lowered the candlelight and bit her lips. She could not resist but to turn around and ask, "Miss, what was written on the paper? Why were the two men so certain that it was First Miss?"
The words on the sheet of paper? A cold smile appeared on Mo Xuetong’s lips. Mo Xuemin would never imagine that it was the sheet of paper that had gotten her into trouble!
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