Old Lord Pan who sat in front of the horse carriage ordered for the boy servant to slow down. They didn’t need to hurry back and it was fine if they went slowly.
The middle-aged servant by his side smiled and exclaimed, “Old Lord, you’re really nice to young miss.”
“The girl has lost her mother at a young age and her father and elder brother aren’t by her side either. When did she ever have a happy moment in Shen Family these years? With that old woman acting like a thief too. She finally got out so let her be happier. Don’t restrain her.” Old Lord Pan exclaimed with feelings.
The middle-aged servant’s name was Liuhe. He had served upon the Old Lord Pan for half his entire life already. He knew who Old Lord Pan was the most. Hearing his master talk like this, he couldn’t help but laugh. “You never pampered and cherished the young misses and masters at home that much.”
“Can they be compared to Jiao Jiao? They have parents yet they’re still causing trouble every day.” Old Lord Pan hmphed.
Liuhe responded, “The Old Madam will probably pamper the Third Miss more than you when you guys return.”
It was unclear what Old Lord Pan thought of but he suddenly appeared sorrowful.
Shen Ziqiao sitting in the horse carriage behind didn’t know that Old Lord Pan purposely slowed down in order for her to better admire the view outside.
“Third Miss, look there…” Lady Meng pointed at the place with all sorts of colorful flags swaying. “That’s the Twenty-four Businesses. Back then, everyone knew Madam.”
Twenty-Four Businesses were known as the brokers. Each one was in charge of the inland business and overseas taxes. Then, they’d bring the products from overseas and sell them inland. Therefore, the brokers were known as businesses. The majority of the businessmen received generous profits.
“Besides Pan Family, which trading company is the most powerful?” Shen Ziqiao asked.
The Twenty-four Businesses were probably the trading companies of the ancient period.
Lady Meng said, “Naturally He Family. I heard that He Family is already the number one merchant of the entire country. No one dares to take first place if they claim to be second.”
The male supporting lead, He Chen, was naturally from He Family.
She didn’t know if it was possible for Sheng Peiyin to develop a secret affair with He Chen.
Speaking of, she hadn’t heard of the Ninth Prince in a while. Ever since Sheng Peiyin entered the palace, it seemed as if the Ninth Prince had disappeared. She didn’t know where he had gone.
Without the male supporting lead by the side, could this novel still be considered an “erotic novel?” Who else could Sheng Peiyin have an affair with?
Please don’t be the crown prince...
“Third Miss, Third Miss?” Lady Meng called her several times, noticing that Shen Ziqiao was in a daze for some reason.
Shen Ziqiao snapped out of her trance and chased away the bizarre ideas in her mind. “What's the matter?”
“See, the Madam had started this business when she was still unmarried.” Lady Meng pointed at the two vast-looking jewelry stores and said lowly to Shen Ziqiao.
“Really?” Shen Ziqiao’s eyes brightened and hurried over to see the exquisitely renovated jewelry stores. Linglong Pavilion was written on the board beautifully. “My mother had passed away for so many years but Linglong Pavilion is still in business?”
Linglong Pavilion gradually faded in the distance as the carriage drove ahead. Lady Meng took out her handkerchief to wipe away her tears. “The trading companies and businesses in Minyue were given to Shopkeeper Zhang and Fan to handle. With the Old Lord watching behind them, they obviously don’t dare to do anything.”
Shen Ziqiao smiled. “I understand your regard towards my mother.”
Lady Meng looked down, her eyes full of tears. The circumstances had evoked her sorrowful feelings but she was also happy in the sense that she was touched by Shen Ziqiao’s actions.
“Third Miss, we’re here.” A boy servant’s voice rang outside. The horse carriage had slowly come down to a stop.
The horse carriage stopped in front of a luxurious residence. This was Pan Residence. The entire alley belonged to the Pan Family. It occupied a lot of space and made Shen Ziqiao flabbergasted.
Minyue’s buildings were a completely different style from the capital’s. It might be because they were near the sea but the residence appeared to be a bit western-style.
A row of maid servants wearing glamorous clothes stood outside the door. When they saw Shen Ziqiao, they immediately lined up and bowed. “Third Miss has arrived. The Old Madam is waiting for you inside.”
Old Lord Pan smiled. “Jiao Jiao, treat this as your home in the future. Here, let’s go meet your grandmother.”
Shen Ziqiao was escorted in.
After they passed the spirit wall, it was the lounge. The entire Pan Residence was divided into two architecture styles. It was huge and the structure was exquisite. It wasn’t any worse than the capital’s well-known courtyards.
After passing the plaza behind the spirit wall, they saw two celadon bridges. The maids helped Old Lord Pan and Shen Ziqiao up the sedan chairs. Four powerful old women carried the sedan chairs through a long bluestone pathway. Coming out from it was verdant and lush garden.
The cotton trees and Chinese redbuds covered the glaring sunlight. Under this winter afternoon, it appeared very warm and idle.
Shen Ziqiao didn’t know where to start looking from!
Passing through the long hallways in the garden, they arrived at Old Madam Pan’s front courtyard.
Two maids wearing pink outfits were guarding the courtyard door. The moment they saw the maids welcoming the Old Lord and the Third Miss, they hurriedly turned to report to Old Madam Pan.
Not long later, several maids escorted Old Madam Pan wearing a golden silk Mudan robe out of the room.
Shen Ziqiao saw her at first glance.
She had a round face and looked kind and caring. Pan Madam’s features appeared similar to the Old Madam’s.
“My Jiao Jiao…” Before Shen Ziqiao got out of the sedan chair, Old Madam Pan couldn’t help but walk over, her emotions choking. After she got out and was about to greet her, Old Madam Pan had already hugged her. “My Jiao Jiao…”
She couldn’t breathe! Shen Ziqiao’s face was pressed against Old Madam Pan’s chest. She felt as if her nose and mouth were squished together.
“Grandmother…” Shen Ziqiao swung her hands. “I can’t breathe.”
Old Madam Pan hurriedly let her go. While wiping her tears, she exclaimed, “I’m just too happy. Here, let me take a look!”
She pulled Shen Ziqiao’s hands up and observed her, nodding in satisfaction. “You’ve grown up pretty well. At least I didn’t give that old thief treasures for no reason all these years.”
Shen Ziqiao froze. Grandmother had given that old woman some treasures too?
Old Lord Pan waved his hands and said, “Let’s talk inside the room. Why are we standing outside like this?”
Two women behind Old Madam Pan smiled. “The moment mother heard that Jiao Jiao was coming, she didn’t have time to attend to anything else. She wanted to wait outside so badly.”
“Look at you being garrulous!” Old Madam Pan tightly held onto Shen Ziqiao’s hands. “Jiao Jiao, let’s talk inside.”
Shen Ziqiao lifted her head and glanced at the two before lowering her head and acting shy, following Old Madam Pan into the room.
On the way to Minyue, Lady Meng had already told her that she had three uncles in total. They were all from the same mothers. Old Lord Pan didn’t even have a single concubine nor a chambermaid.
Back when Pan Madam passed away, it was her second uncle and aunt that went to visit her.
She wondered if they still held grudges towards her.
They passed a Chinese giant redwood screen. It was a small lounge room. After the lounge was the front yard. There were five top-quality richly ornamented rooms. All of them were exquisite.
There were no kang stove beds in Minyue. In the middle of the room were two sandalwood thrones with pedals that came as a set. There were four tutor chairs by the two sides.
Old Lord Pan and Old Madam sat on the thrones.
Shen Ziqiao just now had the chance to pay Old Lord Pan respect and greet her.
“Good girl, good!” Old Lord Pan hurriedly called her maid over and helped Shen Ziqiao up. Two pure golden little bells bracelets were shoved in Shen Ziqiao’s hands. She also received a pure gold necklace the width of her palm on her neck.
So heavy! Shen Ziqiao felt as if her body had become much heavier.
Old Madam Pan smiled and looked at her granddaughter who she hadn’t seen in decades up and down.
She wore a light yellowish green coat on top paired with a white silky skirt. Her beautiful, thick hair was combed and there was a pearl butterfly embedded in green jade. She wore lilac earrings on her pearl-like ears.
She had great features but she dressed too simply.
Old Madam Pan knitted her brows and said unhappily, “Why are you dressed up so simply? Maid Wu, go give the few sets of jewelry I just obtained to Jiao Jiao.”
Shen Ziqiao jumped. She didn’t want to garner hatred already. She could feel the young ladies shooting lasers behind her back if she accepted the gold.
“Grandmother, I have. Don’t give me. I have a lot. It’s just...too heavy and I don’t feel comfortable wearing them. I like myself like this. I can walk quicker than the others.” Shen Ziqiao hurriedly stopped the maid heading inside and smiled at Old Madam Pan.
Old Madam Pan stared coquettishly at her. “Which young lady doesn’t like to be beautiful? Look at your sisters. Each one of them has more jewelry than you.”
Shen Ziqiao followed where Old Madam Pan was pointing and glanced at the young ladies standing behind the tutor chairs. As expected, each one of them was wearing exquisite jewelry, almost blinding her eyes from the dazzle.
“I like myself like this, just like this.” Shen Ziqiao smiled.
“Mother, so you left all the good things to Jiao Jiao. No wonder you don’t like playing cards with us anymore. You must be scared that you’ll lose your silvers to us and want to keep a stash in secret for Jiao Jiao.” A slightly round woman sitting by the right laughed.
The other one joked, “That’s right. Sister-in-law used to say that mother is biased to me but look clearly right now. Just who is our mother biased towards?”
Old Madam Pan pretended to be angry. “I’ve only given Jiao Jiao barely any things and you guys are already jealous?”
“Grandmother, you’ve never given us that much before.” A young lady around the same age as Shen Ziqiao moved to Old Madam Pan’s side and acted cute. She glanced towards Shen Ziqiao, raising her head as if staring at her in disdain.
Old Madam Pan smiled and patted the young lady’s hand. “You’ve gotten quite a few things from me.”
“Jiao Jiao, that’s your first and third aunt.” Old Lord Pan introduced for Shen Ziqiao. “That’s your Cousin Jiaying. She’s a year older than you.”
Shen Ziqiao respectfully greeted her first and third aunt.
She received a ruby gold necklace and a jade sparkling seawater hairpin.
“Thank you first and third aunt.” Shen Ziqiao generously accepted it.
Old Madam Pan softly hmphed. “Second daughter-in-law, you must’ve done this on purpose. Of all the times to return to your maiden home, you just had to pick this time.”