Though the second aunt and uncle couple wasn’t here, it didn’t affect anyone’s mood. Everyone revolved around Shen Ziqiao. With Old Lord Pan as the leader and her male cousins following suit, they started giving her gourmet food and interesting items as if she had come out from a ghetto. The entire night, Shen Ziqiao had been flabbergasted.
The banquet finally ended and Shen Ziqiao was exhausted. She just wanted to lie down and sleep.
Lady Meng and the Hong Sister all carried quite a lot of things in their arms.
After they returned, Shen Ziqiao took a comfortable shower and felt more energetic. She placed all the gifts she received on the bed.
“They’re really sparkling and dazzling…” Glancing at the bed full of gold, Shen Ziqiao sighed. “My eyes are blind from the dazzling.”
Lady Meng had just come in with tea to aid in digestion when she heard Shen Ziqiao saying this. She chuckled and exclaimed, “Look at what the Third Miss is saying. Your uncles are just gifting you these items as a means of affection.”
Shen Ziqiao nodded firmly. “Right, they cherish me a lot.”
They’re quite generous.
“Had I known earlier...I would’ve come to Minyue sooner. I wouldn’t need to face the old woman anymore.” Shen Ziqiao murmured to herself, feeling more and more that the original body must’ve been moronic to cut ties with her mother’s family.
Lady Meng had Shen Ziqiao drink the tea to aid in digestion before asking in a low voice, “Third Miss, what’s your plan now?”
“What plan?” Shen Ziqiao finished the sour and sweet tea in one gulp, not yet processing what Lady Meng meant.
“You have to check on the stores and trading companies that the Madam had left no matter what. You have to take over them.” Lady Meng said. She’d already gotten her dowries back. Naturally, it was better to control the businesses in Minyue as well.
Shen Ziqiao came to a realization and nodded. “Right, I forgot about this. Shopkeeper Zhang and Fang are managing the stores here. Let’s find time to meet them.”
Lady Meng said, “I’ll have someone deliver a message to them tomorrow.”
“It doesn’t have to be that soon. Let’s familiarize ourselves with the surroundings here first.” Shen Ziqiao put each of the head ornaments on the bed back into the small box. She’d already gotten wealthy on her first day in Minyue. It really...feels nice.
Though Pan Madam left her a lot of dowries, who… doesn’t love gold?
Seeing Shen Ziqiao’s happy expression, Lady Meng shook her head, finding this hilarious. “Third Miss, hurry and go get some rest. You must be tired today.”
Shen Ziqiao sighed. Lady Meng and Hong Yu helped her rest and she finally got to sleep.
The next day, she went to pay respect to Old Madam Pan early in the morning.
Pan Jiaxiu came not long later. She held onto Shen Ziqiao’s arms, saying that she’d take her to stroll around the markets of Minyue today.
Shen Ziqiao nodded repeatedly, agreeing eagerly.
“You guys can all go. Jiao Jiao finally gets a chance to go outside today so I’ll spare you guys from your homework.” The first aunt laughed.
The other two cousins’ eyes lit up brightly.
Pan Jiaying pouted as she glanced at Shen Ziqiao’s proud look. She softly hmphed. “Is the capital’s market worse than Minyue’s? Do you need to be so happy?”
Shen Ziqiao smiled. “My cousins aren’t in the capital to be with me.”
“You sure know how to sweet talk!” Pan Jiahong who was the second oldest pinched Shen Ziqiao’s face. The girls all started chuckling and laughing.
They left Pan Jiaying alone, making her feel grievances in her heart.
Old Madam Pan smiled. “The weather is pretty nice today. You guys can go ahead. I won’t be in the way of you youngsters.”
“Grandmother is a veteran beauty. We’ll be even happier if you’re with us.” Shen Ziqiao immediately held onto Old Madam’s arms and acted cute.
“What’s a veteran beauty?” The third aunt asked confusedly.
Shen Ziqiao smiled sweetly and wore a sincere expression. “That means that no one needs to question her beauty, it’s already confirmed.”
Old Madam Pan chuckled.
The first aunt covered her mouth as she laughed. “Then what about me and your third aunt?”
“You guys are young beauties and you’d be veteran beauties in the future.” Shen Ziqiao said. All women loved being praised.
“Okay, you sure know how to talk. It’s just been your first day here and you’ve stolen our grandmother already. I won’t play with you in the future anymore.” Pan Jiaxiu purposely said.
Shen Ziqiao immediately pounced over and grabbed onto Pan Jiaxiu’s arms. “Ah, cousin, don’t be like this. I’ll let you have half of my grandmother then.”
“Then what about us?” The other two cousins were unwilling. The three walked out of the house bantering.
Pan Jiaying pouted and stood there, unmoving.
“Why aren’t you going along?” The first aunt asked.
“What’s fun about that? I’m not going. I’m going to stay and talk to grandmother.” Pan Jiaying exclaimed out of a whim of anger.
The markets in Minyue were a bit different from the capital’s. The streets weren’t as wide as the capital but there were lots of people,and even foreigners from abroad. It might be because the location was near the ocean but the people here weren’t old-fashioned or traditional.
Women on the streets acted elegantly and generously, not feeling reserved or embarrassed at all.
This was the first time the Hong Sister had seen someone with fair skin and blue eyes. They hurriedly hid behind Lady Meng, scared.
This was a normal reaction for outsiders of Minyue. However, in Pan Jiaxiu’s eyes, Shen Ziqiao’s reaction wasn’t so normal.
Was Jiao Jiao not shocked to see foreigners? It felt as if it was normal for her.
“Ah, what are you two doing? They’re just foreigners. What’s there to be scared of? Aren’t they like us? They just have fairer skin than us.” Shen Ziqiao chuckled at the Hong Sisters.
Pan Jiahong asked curiously, “Have you seen them frequently before?”
“Ah? Oh. I’ve seen them in books…” Shen Ziqiao vaguely answered. She didn’t think that foreigners were ever in the capital. “Ah! What’s that? It looks so cute.”
The girls basically visited the entire market and their personal maids each carried lots of things for them.
“Isn’t that first uncle?” After a while, Pan Jiaxiu led Shen Ziqiao to an exquisite-looking private room in a teahouse to rest. Shen Ziqiao leaned against the window and looked at the passersby. With sharp eyes, she noticed Pan Lihui across from them.
“What is that store? It seems very lively. Let’s go check it out later.” Shen Ziqiao said to Pan Jiaxiu.
The girls’ faces flushed. They pulled Shen Ziqiao’s hands and said, “We can’t go there...It’s where my father discusses business at.”
Why couldn’t they go to where her uncle was discussing business? Shen Ziqiao froze slightly before understanding. “Brothel, ah.”
“How could uncle go there to discuss business?” Shen Ziqiao asked.
Pan Jiaxiu responded with a red face, “Those...those merchants like going there. Don’t ask that much.”
Shen Ziqiao thought that Pan Family’s men were so rare. They frequented the brothel and were still able to maintain their pureness, not taking in any concubines or chambermaids.
“Hey, uncle is coming over now.” The third oldest, Pan Jiafang exclaimed.
Shen Ziqiao and the others looked over. As expected, they saw Pan Lihui and a young man walking to the teahouse here.
Pan Jiaxiu pulled Shen Ziqiao back then. “Jiao Jiao, since cousin is going to the northwest, you might as well live in Minyue for the next two years. Wait for cousin to come back before returning to the capital.”
“That’s right, that’s right. That Old Madam of yours is so hard to get along with. Although your two illegitimate sisters are getting married, if uncle marries another woman, life will become rough for you. You might as well live in Minyue.” Pan Jiahong said.
Shen Ziqiao said, feeling moved, “Why don’t I just stay here forever?”
“I wish you would. Find a man in Minyue and get married. That way, us sisters can frequently visit one another.” Pan Jiaxiu smiled.
“What a pity that my brothers are all engaged.” Pan Jiafang covered her mouth and smiled.
Lady Meng watched as Shen Ziqiao got along harmoniously with her cousins. She felt moved and happy for her.
At this time, someone knocked on the door outside.
“Eldest Miss, it’s the Lord’s attendant. He knows that young miss Shen is here and wants her to meet her mother’s old friend.”
Pan Jiaxiu froze before saying to Shen Ziqiao, “My father is looking for you. You…”
Shen Ziqiao stood up and smiled. “I’ll be back.”
Pan Madam’s old friend? Shen Ziqiao was curious inside. She and Lady Meng arrived at the private room a few rooms down from theirs. Besides Pan Lihui, there were two men. One was the young man that just walked in with Pan Lihui and the other was around the same age as him.
“Jiao Jiao, come over. Meet Old Lord He.” Pan Lihui immediately waved at Shen Ziqiao and pointed at the other man, saying, “Old Lord Pan and your mother were frequent business partners. He knew that you came to Minyue and insisted upon meeting you. It just so happens that I encountered him at the teahouse today.”
Old Lord He? Shen Ziqiao froze before greeting him well-behaved. “Hello Old Lord He.”
“You look so similar to Lihua!” Old Lord He sighed with feelings, plucking off a jade pendant by his waist and giving it to Shen Ziqiao as his greeting gift.
It was too valuable...
Shen Ziqiao hesitated, feeling awkward to accept it.
Pan Lihui smiled. “Don’t be courteous with him. Accept the gift.”
Next, she heard Pan Lihui say, “Old He, my sister has another trading company in Minyue, you know this. In the future, if my niece needs help, you can’t just stand by the side and do nothing.”
Old Lord He laughed. “What are you saying? She’s your niece but she’s not mine?”
Pan Lihui pointed at the young man by the side and exclaimed, “This is Old Lord He’s oldest son, He Chen.”
Pft! Shen Ziqiao immediately looked over. The legendary super male supporting lead, He Chen, ahh!
He Chen seemed to be in his late twenties but he had handsome features. He was tall and built, eluding a steady and reserved temperament. He nodded slightly at Shen Ziqiao, “Lady Shen.”
Shen Ziqiao really wanted to shake hands with him.
It was this He Chen that helped Sheng Peiyin become the empress. She was kicked out of the palace by the empress and then she came to Minyue, meeting He Chen due to a coincidence. Then, He Chen used He Family’s wealth to help Sheng Peiyin slowly reach the highest status.
The person that made the most sacrifice was the lovesick male supporting lead.
Shen Ziqiao pondered, wondering if she should brainwash this pitiful elder brother before he encountered Sheng Peiyin.
She had great thoughts but reality was difficult.