In one of the tents of the military camp in the northwest, Shen Zikai was smiling as he stared at the letter his sister wrote for him.
Qi Zheng walked in wearing a brown martial attire. He appeared more mature and steady after the experiences on the battlefield. His handsome face darkened by a few tones and he eluded a cold aura exclusive to soldiers.
“There seems to be something unusual with the Jin soldiers. Let’s go check out the city wall.” He said to Shen Zikai the moment he came in.
There was still a smile on Shen Zikai’s face. He placed away the letter Shen Ziqiao wrote for him and said, “Oh, okay. Let’s go take a look then.”
“Do the Jin thiefs dare to invade us? Aren’t they afraid of being beaten down?” Shen Zikai and Qi Zheng walked out shoulder to shoulder.
Qi Zheng knitted his dashing brows. “I keep feeling like there’s something off…”
Shen Zikai thought that he was overthinking. He patted Qi Zheng’s shoulders and exclaimed, “Don’t worry, General Du wins almost all of his battles.”
“What were you looking at in the tent? You wore a wide smile back then.” Qi Zheng thought that he might’ve really thought too much. Jin soldiers had quietened down lately because they were afraid of Dazhou’s manpower, not because they had some schemes up their sleeves.
“Oh, my sister wrote me a letter.” A smile floated subconsciously onto Shen Ziqiao’s face. He suddenly thought about probing Qi Zheng when he saw his brows furrowed. “You know Jiao Jiao. She’s lazy and playful. She just made it to Minyue and was enjoying herself. My grandmother likes her a lot and wants to keep her in Minyue.”
Qi Zheng’s brows twitched and his heart couldn’t help but feel heavy. “Stay in Minyue?”
Shen Ziqkai smiled. He looked similar to when Shen Ziqiao was smiling. “My grandmother hopes that she can marry a young handsome man in Minyue. She is setting up blind dates for her right now. I heard that many madamns like Jiao Jiao. You heard of He Family right? He Family’s young master hasn’t married yet. Old Lord He used to do business with my mother…”
Qi Zheng felt as if his heart was boiling in hot water listening to Shen Zikai talk about how smoothly Shen Ziqiao lived in Minyue and how Old Madam Pan had been thinking about finding a husband for her. He was in pain but also ill at ease.
He was also really angry too.
The first time he encountered her in Thousand Buddha Temple, he was still acting like a fool. That lady was schemed by someone and hid in her private room. If she hadn’t cleverly thought of the excuse of bringing him out, she probably wouldn’t just be scolded by her family.
The second time was in a horse carriage in the middle of the world. She was clearly a coward and scaredy-cat but she kept on asking him questions. She was angry but couldn’t do anything to him. Her face was round and puffy like a steamed bun, giving him the urge to pinch her cheeks.
Next, he schemed her and used her to achieve his own goal...
Nothing ever happened when they met. But whenever he met her, he was in a really good mood.
When he figured out that Xiao Gu was thinking of finding him a woman, he was thinking that instead of letting her butt in his marriage, he may as well find someone he liked. He thought of her.
He was anxious knowing that she entered the palace and caused trouble, afraid that she might be implicated in some of the conspiracies within. With her personality and simple mind, there was no way she could compete with those people. She might even lose her life if she wasn’t careful enough.
His feelings for her were slowly accumulated like that.
But he didn’t think that he must have her. Though he requested for her not to marry anyone before leaving, he didn’t know just how much he cared for her.
Up until this point. When he heard that she might marry someone else, Qi Zheng felt an unprecedented anxiousness. He was really afraid, afraid that she might meet a man she liked...
“Qi Zheng? Qi Zheng?” Shen Zikai called him a few times. He was secretly delighted seeing Qi Zheng’s changing expression upon hearing about Jiao Jiao.
Shen Zikai decided he’d tell Jiao Jiao about this for sure once he returned. Qi Zheng’s reaction was really funny. Who knew what Jiao Jiao would think if she found out?
Qi Zheng and Jiao Jiao were a perfect match.
If Qi Zheng was able to make worthy contributions this time, Qi Family would have the confidence to protect Jiao Jiao in the future once he returns back to the capital.
Qi Zheng snapped out of his trance before realizing they were already under the foot of the city wall.
Shen Zikai placed his arms around Qi Zheng’s shoulders and smiled, walking up the stairs. “Say, do you think it’s suitable for Jiao Jiao to marry into He Family with that personality of hers?”
“No.” Qi Zheng said coldly, smacking Shen Zikai’s hands off. If she dared to marry him, he’d knock her out and steal her away.
“That’s what I think too. But my grandmother hasn’t given up. She thought of many different methods in order to keep Jiao Jiao in Minyue. Speaking of, I think I have two cousins who aren’t married yet…” Shen Zikai continued to say as if he hadn’t seen Qi Zheng’s gloomy face.
“Shen Zikai!” Qi Zheng stared at him and stopped him coldly.
“What?” Shen Zikai smiled. It made him feel really accomplished to see the expressionless Qi Zheng unable to control his emotions.
Qi Zheng lowered his voice. His pitch-black eyes were bright like the stars. “Jiao Jiao won’t be marrying anyone. The next time you write her a letter, you better let her give up and not think too much.”
Shen Zikai was unhappy upon hearing this. “Why can’t Jiao Jiao…”
“Careful!” Qi Zheng suddenly shouted and threw Shen Zikai on the ground. A sharp flame arrow shot Qi Zheng’s arm.
At this time, the sound of a bugle horn rang loud and clear.
“Jin soldiers are here!” The soldiers on the city wall shouted loudly.
Bugle horns sounded every now and war cries rang. Not far from here, dense fire lit the place.
Shen Ziqiao was learning needlework, learning how to sew colored lanterns. She suddenly pricked her fingers with a needle, causing her to cry out in pain. She sucked on her fingers.
“Are you okay?” Pan Jiaxiu hurriedly asked and placed the Mudan lantern down, concerned with Shen Ziqiao.
“I’m fine, I’m fine. Let’s continue. Ah, your lantern is so beautiful. I can’t get this little white rabbit right no matter what.” Shen Ziqiao complained.
“Is this a little white rabbit? It’s clearly a dog.” Pan Jiahong chuckled.
Shen Ziqiao’s face flushed as she glared at her. “What’s wrong with creating a little white rabbit lantern that looks like a dog?”
The girls chuckled.
When Old Madam heard Shen Ziqiao’s words, she almost spat out her mouthful of tea.
“This child. What is she saying? What sort of rabbit looks like a dog?” Old Madam Pan chuckled.
“Oh no, oh no!” At this time, the second aunt’s voice rang outside.
This scared both Old Madam Pan and the first aunt.
The sisters sewing designs for their lanterns placed them down upon hearing it.
Old Madam Pan looked seriously at the second aunt, asking, “What? What’s the matter?”
“News coming from the capital said that the crown princess passed away due to sickness and the northwest had lost the battle. The Jin people had conquered two of our cities in a row.” The second aunt replied loudly.
Shen Ziqiao felt her ears buzzing and she almost fell limp. “Second aunt, what did you say? The northwest lost?”
“Isn’t Kai’er in the northwest?” The first aunt shockingly called out.
Old Madam Pan felt absent-minded and she almost fell to the ground. Third aunt actually caught her in time.
The room was in chaos. They hurriedly helped Old Madam onto the bed.
The first aunt immediately ordered, “Xiu’er, have someone fetch your father back quickly. Hong’er, go invite the Old Lord from the study over. Jiao Jiao, stay here with Old Madam…”
Shen Ziqiao felt as if she had stepped into quicksand. Each step was unsteady. She was really nervous and afraid. She had been worried that something might happen to Shen Zikai in the northwest. Who knew only a year passed and the good news had changed into bad news.
Can someone tell her what exactly happened to Shen Zikai?
What about Qi Zheng? Would something happen to him?
Shen Ziqiao felt her heart tightening and a stabbing pain inside.
Old Lord Pan and the first uncle came here quickly. They had heard the news outside. Old Lord Pan even scolded the second aunt. “Why are you making such a ruckus?”
The second aunt found out about this from the county magistrate’s madam. She just wanted everyone to know what happened. She didn’t think that much.
Shen Ziqiao walked to Old Lord Pan, her face paled. She couldn’t control the trembling of her fingers. “Grandfather, is there… there any news about my elder brother?”
Old Lord Pan patted her head and said in a low voice, “I didn’t hear about anything Kai’er...nothing will happen. Nothing. The court also sent soldiers to assist in the situation.”
“What exactly happened? Didn’t the northwest always in? Why did we suddenly lose two cities?” Old Madam Pan asked anxiously.
The first uncle, Pan Lihui said, “There’s a mole in court...Someone sold the nation out and leaked the northwest soldiers army provisions’ route. The Jin soldiers intercepted and attacked Dazhou’s military camp in the middle of the night. Our soldiers drank drugged water...leading the Jin soldiers to invade the city.”
Shen Ziqiao lost the color on her face. Treason!
Treason actually appeared in this plot? Was Sheng Peiyin going to frame Shen Xiao?
Impossible. With Sheng Peiyin’s power right now, how could she possibly frame Shen Xiao? She must be missing something. What happened in the capital?
“The emperor was furious and ordered for a complete investigation. The northwest was threatened by the Jin people and the crown princess just so happens to also pass away due to a sickness. Lots of things happened at once. Soon, the entire Dazhou will become unstable.” Old Lord Pan said.
Old Madam Pan clutched her chest and exclaimed, “I just want my grandson to come back safely.”
“Mother, I already had someone inquire about it. We’ll quickly find out about Kai’er whereabouts.” Pan Lihui said.
“Grandfather, I...I want to return back to the capital.” Shen Ziqiao suddenly said.
“No, it’s too chaotic outside right now. You can’t go back. Stay at home. No matter what happens, grandfather and uncle are here.” Old Lord Pan immediately objected.
Shen Ziqiao just wanted to know whether the lost battle caused by treason had anything to do with Shen Xiao.
Could it be that someone wants to frame the Shen Family?
And the crown princess passed away due to sickness. Then what was Sheng Peiyin doing in the east palace now?