Pan Jiaying staying by Old Lord Pan’s side was from the second household. Hearing the Old Madam complaining about her mother, she hurriedly explained, “Grandmother, that’s because my grandfather suddenly felt unwell. Mother and father hurried back to visit him as a result.”
Could it be that this Shen Ziqiao was more important than her grandfather? She just had to let the entire family wait here for her.
Thinking of how the Old Madam had been pondering why Jiao Jiao wasn’t here yet and the things she liked to eat and use, how could the most pampered Pan Jiaying not feel jealous? Every day, all she’d heard of was Jiao Jiao. The Old Madam even left her granddaughters and grandsons to the side. Why would she welcome Shen Ziqiao’s arrival then?
Old Madam Pan softly hmphed. If she didn’t know that the father of his daughter-in-law was sick, she wouldn’t let this go easily.
“Mother, look at Jiao Jiao. She looks more and more like great aunt.” Seeing that Shen Ziqiao looked a bit embarrassed, the first aunt, Madam Fang, smiled and shifted the Old Madam’s attention.
Third Aunt, Madam Yuan, understood. She made eye contact with the first aunt and smiled. “I know right. She does look really similar to great aunt.”
Old Madam Pan felt sorrowful when her unlucky daughter was mentioned. She pulled Jiao Jiao into her arms. “Your mother was unfortunate. She didn’t get to watch you grow up…”
The first and third aunt secretly wiped their tears as well. Lady Meng was already weeping silently.
Old Lord Pan couldn’t bear to see all the women in the room crying so he made up the excuse that he needed to handle things in his study. He waved his hands and then left.
Shen Ziqiao took out her handkerchief and helped Old Madam Pan wipe her tears. “Grandmother, don’t be upset. My mother wasn’t filial and had long ascended heaven to live a happy and prosperous afterlife. I will be filial to you on behalf of my mother. Don’t cry.”
She actually started coaxing the Old Madam like a child.
Pan Jiaying pshed inside. So much for being the daughter of a noble house.
Old Madam Pan burst into laughter and patted Shen Ziqiao’s hands. “You’re playful just like your mother.”
Shen Ziqiao smiled. “I’m actually really noble and elegant. I’m just acting like this to amuse you.”
The entire room burst into laughter.
Pan Jiaying secretly called her shameless inside her heart.
“Guys, come over and meet your sister.” Old Madam Pan pointed at the three ladies standing behind the first aunt. “They’re your cousins. Don’t be courteous. Just treat them like your real sisters.”
“Guys, look. Ever since grandmother got Jiao Jiao, her treasure, we’re worthless to her.” The oldest seemed to be a fifteen years old girl. She wore a lake-green coat and her smooth and fair oval face contained two dimples. She smiled sweetly and cutely, looking at Shen Ziqiao sincerely and gently.
Old Madam Pan smiled in Shen Ziqiao’s ears. “That’s your second cousin, Jiaxiu. She got quite a few good things from grandmother. Help grandmother steal them back.”
Shen Ziqiao nodded solemnly. “Grandmother, don’t worry. I’ll do my best to complete the mission.”
Pan Jiaxiu stomped and walked over, pulling Shen Ziqiao up and flicking her forehead. “You should be on our side. Grandmother has lots of good things.”
“Jiao Jiao, I heard that you love gourmet food. Come quickly. We found the best gourmet food in the entire Minyue for you!” Another young lady smiled.
Shen Ziqiao felt black lines falling down her forehead. “Who sold me out? I’m not a foodie.”
Everyone burst into laughter again with her comment.
Seeing that everyone seemed to like Shen Ziqiao a lot, Pan Jiaying felt incredibly moody, her face darkened as she said nothing.
“Take Jiao Jiao to rest. You can meet your other cousins later tonight.” Old Madam Pan said.
The first aunt followed along, “Your first cousin and his wife are also coming back today. Your second cousin is at a trading company and we’ve already had someone call him back. Your second cousin’s wife is still recuperating from giving birth and can’t come outside. Your other cousins aren’t at home and won’t be back until later.”
“Great grandmother, I’m back. I’m back.” At this time, a childish voice rang. Right after, two little boys ran in one after the other, bumping straight into Old Madam Pan’s arms. “Where’s Aunty Jiaozi?”
“It’s Aunty Jiao Jiao. Mischievous little thing.” Seeing her two great grandsons, Old Madam Pan was in a great mood.
Shen Ziqiao glanced at the two exact same looking four years old ish boys. They both had round faces and looked adorable, giving people the urge to pinch their cheeks.
“This is elder brother’s children, Yan’er and Han’er.” Pan Jiaxiu said in Shen Ziqiao’s ears.
The two boys respectfully greeted Old Madam Pan and then turned to the first aunt, childishly greeting, “Grandmother, third aunt, first aunt…”
They pretended to be like adults, bowing with their hands held in front. Everyone chuckled at the sight.
When they saw Shen Ziqiao, the two tilted their hands at the same time and stared at her with their pitch-black eyes.
“Aunty Jiao JIao.” The two greeted crisply.
Shen Ziqiao smiled and lowered her head to give them each an embroidered pouch with a little goldfish.
Then, she couldn’t help but give them each a kiss. They were too adorable.
“Ah, Aunty Jiaozi, men and women have to maintain their distance.” One of their faces flushed and they grabbed their embroidered pouch with both hands. They pouted and pretended to be serious.
“You’re a child. Don’t be afraid.” Shen Ziqiao smiled and ignored the “jiaozi.” (dumpling in Chinese)
Everyone chattered and fooled around for a while before Pan Jiaxiu brought Shen Ziqiao to the building next door.
Seeing that her other sisters all crowded around Shen Ziqiao and no one paid attention to her, Pan Jiaying felt grievances inside her heart. In the end, Old Madam Pan pushed her a few times before she reluctantly followed them.
Old Madam Pan and the two daughter-in-laws were left in the end.
“I think Jiao Jiao looks quite well-behaved. She doesn’t seem unruly and impolite as the second daughter-in-law claims.” Madam Fang walked to Old Madam Pan’s side and massaged her shoulders for her.
Madam Yuan nodded in approval. “She has a pretty good personality too. Yan’er and Han’er both like her.”
Old Madam Pan took a sip of honey tea and exclaimed, “That’s right. It’s quite rare. She lost her mother and has such an unreliable grandmother. It’s rare that she somehow hadn’t been raised the wrong way. This is her first time here so you guys have to pamper her more. Back then, you guys and Sister Hua’er were both close friends. Her daughter… You guys…”
“Mother, do you still need to tell us this? We’ll treat Jiao Jiao like our own daughter. Don’t worry.” Madam Fang smiled.
Madam Yuan said, “Mother, look, Jiao Jiao is about to be of age too. How about… we find someone for her in Minyue. That way, we can look after her too. Who’d dare to bully her then?”
Old Madam Pan happily called out, “Ah, that’s a great idea. That’s it then. What a pity that her cousins have all gotten engaged…”
There were two single ones but they all belonged to the second household. Old Madam Pan wasn’t willing to let Jiao Jiao become Madam Chen’s daughter-in-law.
Madam Chen and Yuan were willing to let Jiao Jiao become their daughter-in-law, but a pity that...
Shen Ziqiao thought that since she’d come to Minyue, things have gone smoothly for her.
Don’t mention all sorts of gourmet food there were. Besides Pan Jiaying who occasionally made some sarcastic comments, the others were all very enthusiastic towards her. Her cousins all fought to live with her. In the end, it was the Old Madam who talked about arranging a residence for her, letting Shen Ziqiao live in her mother’s courtyard. This stopped her cousins’ argument.
Besides Shen Zikai, this was the first time Shen Ziqiao felt it was nice to have relatives and family.
After eating lunch with the Old Madam, the latter had Madam Fang take Shen Ziqiao to rest. She had been travel-worn for the past half month and she didn’t even get to rest after coming here before she was dragged to talk to the others. Now, she looked considerately exhausted already.
Madam Fang linked Shen Ziqiao’s hands with hers as they walked out of the front room. She said while smiling, “Your mother’s courtyard is still the same as it is. The Old Madam refused to let anyone touch it. Even your fourth cousin wasn’t allowed to live there.”
Her fourth cousin was Pan Jiaying.
“My mother must be grateful for you guys in heaven.” Shen Ziqiao said.
However, she couldn’t help but feel pity towards the original body for looking down on the Pan Family. Had she obtained Pan Family’s protection, she wouldn’t have gotten such a bad ending.
She wouldn’t have been led by the nose by Sheng Peiyin.
Shen Ziqiao lived in Huayuan Courtyard. One could tell that Pan Madam personally wrote the name of the courtyard on the board.
Lady Meng sighed with feelings, her eyes teary.
“If you need anything, just tell a maid and have them grab it for you. Treat this as your own home.” Madam Fang smiled.
Shen Ziqiao nodded firmly. “Thank you first aunt.”
“You don’t have to thank me. Rest well. I’m going back now. We’ll be eating at Old Madam’s place tonight. By that time, your other cousins should be back.” Madam Fang said.
“Okay.” Shen Ziqiao answered.
Madam Fang didn’t stay for too long before she left. Shen Ziqiao took a walk around Huayuan Courtyard before lying on the soft bed. By the time she woke up, it was already dusk.
Hong Yu brushed her hair for her. “Old Madam had come to check on you a few times. She wants you to go and eat dinner at her place. However, she knew that you were sleeping so she didn’t want us to disturb you.”
“Ah, uncle might be back then.” Shen Ziqiao said.
By the time Shen Ziqiao finished freshening up and arrived at the main room, everyone was there as expected. Even the Old Lord was back.
“Come here quickly. Meet your first and third uncle.” Old Madam Pan happily waved at Shen Ziqiao. “Have you slept well? If you’re not used to anything, you have to tell your first aunt.”
“Grandmother, I think everything’s good. You’re the best.” Shen Ziqiao smiled and greeted the two elderlys. Shen Ziqiao then respectfully paid respects to her two uncles.
“Hello first and third uncle.” She properly greeted and wore a sweet smile.
Her first uncle was Pan Lihui and already past his prime age. He was slightly old but looked at Shen Ziqiao amiably as if he was looking at his sister that he cherished dearly in the past. m
Her third uncle was Pan Lize. At first, he looked like Shen Zikai when he grew older. The saying that nephews look like their uncles wasn’t wrong.
Shen Zikai looked most like his third uncle.
“Get up quickly. It’s cold on the ground.” Pan Lihui had Shen Ziqiao stand up and delivered a small box on the table to her.
It was a whole set of pure gold head ornaments. It was extremely heavy for her to hold.
“Too...too heavy…” Damnit. Do golds not cost any money? Everyone gave her valuable presents during their first meeting. Shen Ziqiao was about to drop the gifts in fear of how valuable they were.
Likewise, Pan Lize also delivered a small box. It was a bit smaller than Pan Lihui’s.
It was also a set of head ornaments.
Shen Ziqiao quietly received them.