Pan Jiaxiu got married half a year ago. She married the Feng Family from Minyue. Although the Feng Family’s trading companies couldn’t compare to He or Pan Family, it was also well-known in Minyue. Pan Jiaxiu married the second master of the Feng Family. The two were a lovey-dovey couple. Second Master Feng was gentle and polite. Shen Ziqiao had met him once and thought he was pretty good.
“Winter bamboo shoots and duck soup, wild mushroom and chicken soup, stir-fried mugworts...woah, they’re all my favorites. Sister Xiu, you know me so well.” Shen Ziqiao entered the private room to see that Pan Jiaxiu already ordered the dishes. She eagerly sat down and already started wolfing down food.
Pan Jiaxiu teased, “You foodie. All them are your favorite dishes, no?”
“Don’t say it like that. There are some dishes that I dislike.” Shen Ziqiao’s face was stuffed like a bun and she muttered.
“Eat slowly. No one’s stealing from you.” Pan Jiaxiu glared at her moodily. She didn’t need to worry about her own sister but she always worried for her cousin.
Shen Ziqiao took a sip of soup and sighed in satisfaction. “Life is only meaningful like this. Sister Xiu, how did you reserve this room? I’ve asked people to reserve it several times but failed.”
“Your cousin’s husband knows the owner of Jinxiu Restaurants. That’s how I reserved it. I heard that the owner here wants to start a trading company in Twenty-four Streets.” Pan Jiaxiu said.
“Who’s the owner here?” Shen Ziqiao asked curiously. It probably wasn’t that easy to start a trading company in Twenty-four Streets. She just started managing the trading companies and it was then that she realized it required a lot of efforts to sustain it and keep it from going bankrupt.
Not only did she need to observe the market prices, she also needed to maintain a good relationship with foreign businessmen. She needed to know about all sorts of trends overseas just like how foreign merchants really liked Dazhou’s tea. Therefore, she had someone go to Fujian to acquire stock from tea merchants. It was almost two years. Though she wasn’t as intelligent and capable as Pan Madam, she could feel that Shopkeeper Zhang and Fan didn’t doubt her no more. This was enough for her.
She didn’t have any ambitions either. As long as Tianbao Company didn’t go bankrupt, it was enough.
“People address him as Ninth Sir. I haven’t heard anything about who he is.” Pan Jiaxiu said.
Shen Ziqiao hummed, not in the mood to ask anymore. She casually chatted with Pan Jiaixu. The latter looked less child-like and more charming in between her brows. She smiled. “Jiao Jiao, it’s your coming of age ceremony in a few days. You’re going to become an adult.”
“Don’t be up to no good. I don’t want to go see any of your relatives and let them point fingers at me.” Shen Ziqiao immediately knew what she was up to. Lately, Old Madam Pan had been obsessed over finding a husband for her. Shen Ziqiao just wanted to escape from the situation.
Pan Jiaxiu smiled and said, “I’ve already gotten engaged when I turned of age.”
“That’s you but I don’t want that for me.” Shne Ziqiao said. Qi Zheng’s handsome and domineering face floated in her mind and her face subconsciously flushed.
Pan Jiaxiu didn’t continue. After all, this wasn’t up to the girl. Old Madam and mother naturally would organize everything for Jiao Jiao.
The sisters ate and afterwards, Shen Ziqiao wanted to go to Tianbao Company. The two walked out of the private room to see two young men walking from across the corridor. One wore a sapphire blue silk robe and looked handsome and tall. Who else could it be except He Chen? As for the other man, he wore a lotus-colored silk robe….Shen Ziqiao felt black lines falling down her forehead and noticed that he was the missing Ninth Prince.
He Chen probably didn’t expect to see Shen Ziqiao again. He looked at her with a complicated gaze. Meanwhile, Ninth Prince glanced at her in disgust as if scared that Shen Ziqiao might pounce on him.
They both weren’t good people! Shen Ziqiao pursed her lips and looked to the side pretending to not see them.
Pan Jiaxiu didn’t recognize the Ninth Prince but she knew He Chen. Since they met each other, they had to greet one another. “Eldest Master He.”
He Chen greeted Pan Jiaxiu but looked towards Shen Ziqiao. “Second Madam Feng, what a coincidence.”
Shen Ziqiao glanced at the other side.
Though she and He Chen didn’t have enmity, she wouldn’t kiss up to him when he clearly disliked her. In the beginning, he thought that she was an unruly and incompetent young miss that only knew to waste Pan Madam’s kindness for others. Then, after she started to get in touch with Tianbao Company’s business, he thought that she didn’t attend to her proper duties. After all, whenever they met, he always mocked her. Shen Ziqiao had lost her interest in the male supporting lead. Don’t mention saving him from Sheng Peiyin. He should just do whatever he wants.
Right now, He Chen was really conflicted.
Before meeting Shen Ziqiao, he had heard his father tell him that he was going to marry her in the future. This was because Old Lord Pan almost got with Pan Madam but Shen Xiao came out of nowhere. He could only harbor a grudge until now. Hearing that Pan Madam’s daughter came to Minyue, Old Lord He thought about joining hands through marriage. After the meeting in the teahouse, Old Lord He was even more determined.
Otherwise, how could He Chen not be married at this age?
Before meeting Shen Ziqiao, He Chen had already inquired about her personality. She was notorious for her misdeeds. He was disgusted just thinking about being with a woman like this in the future. With this first impression, it was naturally hard for him to change his mind about Shen Ziqiao.
He thought that she was just half-interested in Tianbao Company. Therefore, she wouldn’t mind Shopkeeper Zhang and Fan coming to his He Family’s trading company to work. Who knew that she cared about Tianbao Company that much.
It was almost two years. He didn’t really hear any bad rumors about her. When the trading companies’ owners in Twenty-four Streets mentioned her, they’d wear smiles as if everyone liked her very much.
He heard that even Pan Madam from back then didn’t have as good of relations with people as she did.
Did he misunderstand her?
“Third Miss Shen…” He Chen greeted lowly. “I hope to talk to you about your distinguished trading company admitting to the donations and purchasing rice.”
Shen Ziqiao looked over reluctantly. “Just talk to Shopkeeper Zhang about it. I’m just an useless woman who doesn’t understand anything.”
A year ago, after He Chen found out Shen Ziqiao had a hand in Tianbao Company’s business, he called her useless and for her not to drag the company down. The stingy Shen Ziqiao held a grudge until now.
“After all, you’re the owner of Tianbao Company. It’s better to talk to you about it.” He Chen said.
Shen Ziqiao finally shifted her gaze to the gloomy-looking Ninth Prince. Half smiling, she asked, “Eldest Master He, you’re not planning on talking to me about this now, are you?”
He Chen just recalled the Ninth Prince. “I’ll talk to you about it another day.”
“Then let’s talk another day.” Shen Ziqiao held Pan Jiaxiu’s hands and prepared to leave. “Please suit yourself, Eldest Master He.”
Ninth Prince felt his heart tightening. The moment he saw Shen Ziqiao, he thought that she purposely appeared in order to see him. After hearing their conversation, he realized that it was just his one-sided opinion.
She didn’t look at him at all.
She was different from the past whose face always flushed when she saw him, acting excited.
It felt as if she completely changed. She didn’t place him in his eyes at all. This made Ninth Prince really unhappy. He was going to mock her but that wasn’t needed now.
Shen Ziqiao and Pan Jiaxiu left Jinxiu Restaurant.
“I think the man standing next to He Chen is Ninth Sir.” Pan Jiaxiu said.
“Huh?” Shen Ziqiao widened her eyes in shock. “It can’t be. Why did he start a trading company? And even Jinxiu Restaurant…”
Pan Jiaxiu glanced at her. Seeing that she seemed to know the Ninth Prince, she asked, “Did you meet him in the capital? I heard he came from the capital.”
Shen Ziqiao rolled her eyes. “He’s the Ninth Prince!”
The Ninth Prince opened a restaurant in Minyue and started a trading company?
Even fools knew who he was doing this for! Old Lord Pan had been pressuring the stores and businesses Sheng Peiyin had in the capital. She couldn’t hold on for much. The Ninth Prince, this love-sick cannon fodder, came to Minyue to help pave the way for Sheng Peiyin. It seemed like she was in Minyue already.
She wondered if Sheng Peiyin encountered He Chen yet.
She wanted to ignore Sheng Peiyin but if she let her alone, Shen Ziqiao felt as if she’d forever be a cannon fodder. She had someone inquire Sheng Peiyin to see what she was doing right now.
The next day, Shen Ziqiao went to Tianbao Company to read the account books. Before she could finish, she heard from her shop assistant that Eldest Master He was here.
It seemed as if He Chen was going to talk to her about the rice price.
“Let him come in.” Shen Ziqiao was too lazy to go and welcome him. She placed her account books down and eat her rose cake and drank honey tea while waiting.
He Chen came in soon. He walked in to see Shen Ziqiao sighing while cupping a cup of tea in satisfaction. “If only there’s a movie to watch on this beautiful afternoon.”
“Third Miss Shen.” He said in a low voice, staring at her.
As expected, Shen Ziqiao’s splendid smile faded upon seeing him.
“Eldest Master He, what a special guest.” Shen Ziqiao greeted with a fake smile.
He Chen sat across from her. His handsome face wore a serious expression. He looked at Shen Ziqiao and said, “Third Miss Shen, what do you think about the rice price in Minyue right now?”
“What’s the decision of the business association?” Shen Ziqiao asked. Dazhou’s rice merchants purposely let out news that the northwest had lost the battle, causing the rice prices to rise. Although the business association intervened and kept the rice prices normal in Minyue, the rice prices in other places were still rising. It affected Minyue more or less.
At that time, in order to control the rice prices, Minyue’s business association had the Twenty-four Trading Companies each donate 20,000 silvers to get large quantities of rice from overseas in case Minyue’s rice prices rose again. By then, the common people would have difficult lives.
He and Pan family led the way and each gave 100,000 silvers. Shen Ziqiao also donated 20,000 silvers to purchase rice.
Rice had been transported to Minyue a few days ago but the rice prices had already decreased half a month ago. The rice price in Dazhou right now was lower than before. If they sold the rice according to the price they bought them at, they’d be losing money instead of earning.
He and Pan Family could both suffer the loss but it’d be a bit difficult for the other trading companies.
As the head of the business association, He Chen naturally needed to ask Shen Ziqiao. He didn’t want her Tianbao Company to suffer loss anyway.