With the great idea of brainwashing, Shen Ziqiao treated He Chen really nicely. However, the latter didn’t seem to accept her kind intentions. He faintly greeted her before sitting down and saying nothing.
As expected, without a heroine’s halo, it wasn’t enough to attract the male supporting lead’s attention.
Shen Ziqiao silently backed off while holding the valuable jade pendant in her arms.
She returned to her private room and asked Pan Jiaxiu about He Chen.
“So he was with Uncle He…” Pan Jiaxiu came to a realization. No wonder he wanted Jiao Jiao to go over there. “Have you seen He Chen?”
“I did. How is he as a person?” Shen Ziqiao asked. Only by knowing him will she be able to find an opportunity to brainwash him.
Pan Jiaxiu and Pan Jiahong ended up covering their mouths to chuckle, recalling what they accidentally heard of yesterday.
“Although Jiao Jiao is a bit younger than He Family’s young master, older men usually love young women. As long as we can make Jiao Jiao stay in Minyue in the future. He Chen is a pretty good candidate. Find a chance for them to meet one another. With Old Lord He’s relationship with Jiao Jiao’s mother, he’d definitely like her…”
Who knew that her chance immediately came.
“Hey, why are you laughing?” Shen Ziqiao felt her scalp going numb hearing their laughter, feeling something off.
Pan Jiaxiu smiled. “Everyone knows He Chen in Minyue. The number of young ladies that want to marry him can line up to the city gates. However, for some reason, he wasn’t interested in anyone. He’s already twenty-eight but he isn’t engaged yet.”
That’s because he was waiting for the female lead!
As expected, he was a superb male supporting lead!
Shen Ziqiao said, “He looks pretty good and is somewhat wealthy. However, that can’t be the reason why he’s so popular…”
Pan Jiahong walked over and pinched Shen Ziqiao’s cheeks. “You’ll know in the future.”
Seeing that she couldn’t get anything out of this, Shen Ziqiao dropped the subject. After they rested and had some snacks, they returned back to the residence.
By the time they returned, they found out that their second uncle, Pan Libiao, and second aunt, Madam Chen, were back. They were talking to Old Madam Pan right now. Madam Chen was talking about her father’s sickness. “The physician said that it was a result of inflammation in the liver. He’d be fine after taking some medicine…”
Old Madam Pan softly nodded. “As long as he’s fine. If he needs any medicinal ingredients, just grab them from home.”
Madam Chen softly hummed in agreement and exchanged a look with her husband.
A maid said that several young misses had returned.
Old Madam Pan grinned and looked at the door to see Pan Jiaxiu linking hands with Shen Ziqiao as they talked in. “Grandmother.”
“What sort of good things have you bought? How are they? How’s Minyue compared to the capital?” Old Madam Pan held onto Shen Ziqiao’s hands and asked. These days, she’d been in a great mood because of her granddaughter’s teasing. It washed away her sorrow whenever she thought of her daughter. She loved her granddaughter and wanted to fix a date for her marriage as soon as possible. That way, she could stay in Minyue.
Shen Ziqiao talked to Old Madam Pan about the little items she just bought on the market. “...I really want to bring the entire market room. Grandmother, Minyue is incredible.”
“Then live in Minyue in the future and don’t return to the capital anymore.” Old Madam Pan chuckled.
“If you don’t mind me being wasteful, then I’m going to stay at your place and never leave.” Shen Ziqiao immediately said. She really didn’t want to return to the capital.
Pan Libiao softly coughed and smiled. “You’re Jiao Jiao? I can’t even recognize you. You’re very different from when you were young.”
“Jiao Jiao, meet your second uncle and aunt. You should’ve seen them when you were young before.” Old Madam Pan’s smile faded a bit, unhappy that Pan Libiao interrupted her.
Shen Ziqiao had guessed this couple’s identity when she walked in. Who knew that it was really the second aunt and uncle.
She walked over with her head down and respectfully greeted them. “Hi second uncle, second aunt.”
Madam Chen stared at the well-behaved Shen Ziqiao, unable to connect her to the despicable and unreasonable niece from her memory. All these years, she’d been feeling bad whenever she recalled being kicked out of the Shen Family by an immature girl. Hearing that Shen Ziqiao was going to Minyue, she found an excuse to come back. Who knew that everyone at home liked this brat so much.
No one believed that Shen Ziqiao was a sinister and crafty young miss at all. She was just pretending to be well-behaved right now. They couldn’t believe her.
She came back to expose her.
Madam Chen seemed to see the entire Pan Family being disappointed by Shen Ziqiao and wanting to send her away badly. Her smile suddenly became strange. In indescribable excitement, “Jiao Jiao, do you still remember your second aunt?”
“I don’t.” Shen Ziqiao found the other party’s smile to be discomforting but she couldn’t explain why.
She directly said that she didn’t remember. Madam Chen’s face stiffened. “That’s right. It’s been many years already. You obviously won’t remember me but I remember you clearly.”
Shen Ziqiao looked confusedly at Madam Chen. She wasn’t the original body. Naturally, she didn’t remember this second aunt at all. Plus, it had been a decade ago. Who’d remember things from a decade ago? She asked in a daze, “What does second aunt remember?”
Madam Chen originally just wanted to remind Shen Ziqiao. Don’t think that everyone had forgotten her talking about cutting ties off with Pan Family. Who knew that she pretended to be stupid.
Pan Libiao tugged on his sleeves and said in a deep voice, “Jiao Jiao, I heard that your mother’s dowries were taken by Old Madam Shen.”
“Second uncle, the Old Madam already returned my dowries back to me.” Shen Ziqiao replied.
“I wanted your mother to give her dowry to your uncle to manage but you scolded us back then. What happened as a result? Now you know that your second aunt is doing this for your sake right? We’re unlike some people who would only covet after other people’s things.” Madam Chen said, wanting Shen Ziqiao to understand who was on her side.
Shen Ziqiao chuckled. If she really gave Pan Madam’s dowries to the second aunt and uncle, it was probably no different than giving it to Old Madam Shen.
She’d already seen through them on their first meeting. Her second aunt and uncle were different from her first uncle and the others. They held a lot of opinions towards her. Maybe it was because she kicked them out of Shen Family when she was young but she felt like Madam Chen was really unfriendly towards her.
She seemed like… she really wanted to see her make a mistake.
Old Madam Pan said unhappily, “Don’t mention the past. Jiao Jiao was young back then. What could a three years old girl who just lost her mother know? If you had talked to Old Madam Shen nicely back then, it wouldn’t have caused such a huge ruckus. In the end, you guys were incompetent.”
Madam Chen’s face flushed upon being scolded by Old Madam Pan. She twisted the handkerchief she hid in her sleeves.
“Heh. It’s been awhile so let’s not mention it anymore.” Pan Libiao smiled and helped Madam Chen out of the situation. She picked up an embroidered pouch from her arms. “Here, Jiao Jiao. This is the greeting gift second uncle prepared for you.”
Shen Ziqiao accepted it generously. “Thank you second uncle.”
“It’s rare for Jiao Jiao to come to Minyue so you should live here for at least a month or two right?” Madam Chen quickly recovered and purposely ignored Old Madam’s desire to have Shen Ziqiao live here long-term.
Old Madam Pan glanced at her. “She can live here however long she wants. What? You don’t like that?”
Madam Chen’s smile froze. “Mother, that’s not what this daughter-in-law means.”
“Enough. You two just came back so go back and rest. Let’s talk about this in the future.” Old Madam Pan dismissed the two.
Pan Libiao left with Madam Chen. Her smile faded upon leaving the main room. She tugged on Pan Libiao’s hands and asked, “Did you see that? Did you see that? Mother loves that girl. She treats her just like how she treats that aunt of ours. Say, how come the girl changed so much?”
“It’s been a decade. People all change.” Pan Libiao said.
Madam Chen spat. “How she acts as a child reflects her personality in the future. I don’t believe that brat is actually well-behaved. Don’t you remember how we were humiliated in Shen Family back then? I remember it clearly. I won’t forget even if I die.”
“If you weren’t thinking about my sister’s dowries, she wouldn’t have kicked us out.” Pan Libiao said moodily.
Madam Chen was immediately unhappy. “If you hadn’t gone to gamble, I wouldn’t have done that. You have no conscience and you’re even scolding me. Who was I doing this for? Father gave the trading companies to elder brother and third brother but what did he give you?”
“Enough, stop talking.” Pan Libiao shouted.
“Just watch. Who knows how much Shen Ziqiao will take from our Pan Family.” Madam Chen said enviously.
Countless days passed and Lady Meng finally had someone deliver a message to Shopkeeper Zhang and Fang, saying that Third Miss wanted to meet them. The two shopkeepers immediately put their things down and came to meet Shen Ziqiao.
Shopkeeper Zhang was a fatty with a round body. He smiled like a Bodhisattva. Though he looked fat, his mind was flexible. He was in charge of the trading in the trading company. Different from him, Shopkeeper Zhang was a tall and skinny middle-aged man. He had decent features and appeared very normal. He was the bookkeeper in the trading company.
“Third Miss, we finally got to see you.” The two were really emotional upon seeing Shen Ziqiao. They had waited for a decade. Although they heard some of Third Miss’ rumors, they deeply believed that she wasn’t like what the rumors claimed given their trust in Pan Madam.
They knew that they were right when they found out Old Lord Pan personally went to pick up Third Miss.
“Sorry for all the trouble you guys have to go through all these years.” Shen Ziqiao said very sincerely. She was thanking them on behalf of Pan Madam.
Shopkeeper Zhang sat on the tutor chair with difficulty because of his round body. Hearing Shen Ziqiao saying this, he hurriedly bowed with his hands held in front, “Third Miss, you’re too serious. This is our job.”
There was no “job.” After Pan Madam left, they were still able to guard her assets loyally. With this intention, it was enough for her to sincerely thank them.
“Third Miss, these account books contain the revenues and expenses from trading companies a decade ago. Please take a look.” Shopkeeper Fan personally brought the trading company’s account books over.
Shen Ziqiao froze then smiled. “Shopkeeper Fan, are you scared that we won’t believe you? I’m scared that you won’t believe us instead.”
Shopkeeper Fan wore a serious expression, clearly not able to tell that Shen Ziqiao was joking. “Third Miss, we were supposed to bring the account book to the capital every year for you to take a look but… we were unable to for some reasons…”
It was to guard against the Old Madam Shen and not let her know that Pan Madam still had trading companies and stores in Minyue. Shen Ziqiao knew this.
“I understand, Shopkeeper Fan. I’ll take a look at it.” She believed them but they might not believe that she had the ability to replace Pan Madam. She needed to prove that she was worthy of their trust and loyalty right now.
T/N: Happy New Year! Bless y'all~