Shen Ziqiao picked up the hem of her dress and ran to her first uncle’s study angrily. As expected, she saw He Chen sitting on the tutor chair. After she greeted the first uncle, she glared at He Chen and interrogated, “Why can’t I go to the northwest?”
“The northwest is too dangerous. Why is a lady like you going there?” He Chen furrowed his brows and asked.
“What does this have to do with you?!” She swallowed the word ‘damn’ inside. She finally convinced Old Madam Pan to go with her but this He Chen actually jumped out to disrupt everything. She really wanted to spit a mouthful of tea on him!
He chen’s expression darkened. Why didn’t this woman know to be reserved? What’s good about going to the northwest with so many men?
“Okay, I can’t go because I’m a woman, right? Then what about Sheng Peiyin from Longchang Company? Isn’t she a woman?” Shen Ziqiao was really upset about this news.
After she came back yesterday, she started talking to Old Lord Pan about the Ninth Prince opening a restaurant in Minyue. Old Lord quickly had people investigate it and found out that the Ninth Prince came to Minyue with Sheng Peiyin. The owner behind Longchang Company that opened not too long ago was Sheng Peiyin.
Not long after she woke up in the morning, she heard that Sheng Peiyin might go to the northwest with the Ninth Prince. At that time, she even thought about choking them to death.
He Chen knitted his brows and asked, “Who is Sheng Peiyin?”
Hm? He didn’t know who Sheng Peiyin is? Shen Ziqiao looked at him shockingly. “You don’t know who Sheng Peiyin is? Didn’t you see the Ninth Prince before? Don’t you know who the owner of Longchang Company is?”
“Longcheng Company just so happens has to go to Gaonan City to buy some medicinal ingredients. That’s why we’re going together.” He Chen said. He was thinking that whether Sheng Peiyin was going or not had nothing to do with him. He just didn’t want Shen Ziqiao to follow along. After all...after all, Pan and He Family were long time friends. He couldn’t watch her take the risk.
Pah! What sort of medicinal ingredients require Sheng Peiyin to personally step in? Shen Ziqiao said, “I don’t care, I want to go to the northwest.”
He Chen glared at her. The first uncle laughed just before the latter was going to scold her. He said, “Nephew He, just let her have her way. Even our Old Madam agreed. Who else could change her mind? After all, her third uncle will watch over her. Nothing will happen.”
Pan Family’s elders all agreed so it didn’t seem like He Chen had any standpoints to object. He pursed his lips. He originally didn’t plan on going to the northwest but hearing that Shen Ziqiao was going too, he felt a need to go, scared that the girl may cause some trouble.
“Right, let me rearrange everything again.” He Chen said to the first uncle helplessly.
Shen Ziqiao pursed her lips and said, “Hey, I don’t want to be with that Sheng Peiyin. Don’t put us together.”
He Chen glanced at her, unhappy with how she purposely made things difficult for him.
Who was Sheng Peiyin? Why does Shen Ziqiao dislike her? He Chen was curious.
However, he was only curious.
Why was Sheng Peiyin going to northwest’s Gaonan City? Only she knew the answer to the question.
Because the crown prince was in the northwest.
Although the Ninth Prince knew what she was thinking, he didn’t expose her. He thought that she would be his Ninth Princess Consort two years ago but who knew that she entered the palace. The emperor bestowed marriage to him but she was unconcerned.
He knew what this meant. She didn’t love him.
She did like him but she didn’t love him enough. He could tell.
Not long after she entered the palace, she’d always mention the crown prince when they met. Her face would lit up and she’d talk about how gentle and kind he was. She’d wear a yearning expression...
She fell in love with the crown prince which is why she didn’t care about the emperor bestowing him marriage.
But he just couldn’t forget about her. When she was kicked out of the palace and standing there helplessly, he couldn’t help but carry her into the horse carriage.
She found it difficult to keep her stores and restaurant running in the capital because of the competing stores and restaurants going against hers. The empress had announced a decree reprimanding the Sheng Family for not teaching their daughter manners, causing her to be unable to stay at home either. She wanted to go to Minyue so he brought her here.
She wanted to go to Gaonan City now; he still agreed.
He couldn’t help but be tolerant and lenient towards her, maybe because she had done things for him regardless of everything.
“Shen Ziqiao is going to the northwest too?” Sheng Peiyin couldn’t help but call out in shock upon hearing the Ninth Prince’s words. “Why is she going there?”
She thought that whatever she was doing would fail whenever she was near Shen Ziqiao. This was the reason why she didn’t want to reveal herself in Minyue and avoided her.
“She’s going to visit Shen Zikai. There’s nothing strange.” The Ninth Prince said. He looked at her and said, “Peiyin, why don’t I go to Gaonan City instead? You don’t need to go.”
Sheng Peiyin suppressed her resentment to Shen Ziqiao and smiled. “The medicinal merchant, Liu Sir of Gaonan City, had encountered trouble back then and I helped him. That’s the reason why he is willing to lend me some medicinal ingredients. How can I not go there personally?”
The Ninth Prince sighed. So what if he let her go to Gaonan City? Did she think that she could meet the prince? So what if she met him? If he felt something for her, why would he kick her out of the palace?
He kept the words inside his heart however.
“Let me go with you.” The Ninth Prince said. He was worried letting her go alone.
“It’s fine. You need to stay in Minyue to look after the trading companies and Jinxiu Restaurant.” Sheng Peiyin smiled.
The Ninth Prince’s face darkened. “The shopkeepers can look after the trading companies and Jinxiu Restaurant. How can this prince let you go to the northwest by yourself?”
Sheng Peiyin smiled. “Then okay.”
They finally head onto the northwest after a few days past. Shen Ziqiao happily made preparations. In order not to attract any attention, she kept only Hong Ying by her side.
Lady Meng and Hong Yu urged her to be careful. They were afraid that she might be muddle-headed and bullied by others.
Shen Ziqiao nodded seriously and promised to be careful and act transparent. She won’t intervene and meddle in other people’s businesses. She’d let the third uncle be in charge and wouldn’t fight with He Chen either.
She finally got in the horse carriage after everyone’s urging. She rushed the servant to drive the carriage in case Old Madam Pan changed her mind and didn’t want her to go to the northwest.
Shen Ziqiao started rolling around while hugging her cushion when the horse carriage left the city gates and onto the government road. “Ah, I can finally go to the northwest now.”
Hong Ying smiled. “Third Miss, just who are you going to see in the northwest?”
“Do you need to ask? My elder brother of course!” Shen Ziqiao said resolutely. She decided to go to the northwest because of Shen Zikai, nothing else.
“Then...are you going to visit Eldest Master Qi? Didn’t he injure himself in order to save the eldest master? Young Miss, you’re not worried for him in the least bit?” Hong Ying smiled teasingly. As Shen Ziqiao’s personal maid, how could she not guess Shen Ziqiao’s thoughts? Third Miss wanted to see the eldest master but also Qi Zheng too.
Shen Ziqiao glared harshly at her. “What’s wrong with coincidentally meeting him in the northwest?”
Hong Ying covered her mouth as she chuckled. “There’s no problem of course.”
Hmph! Shen Ziqiao buried her face in the soft cushion. Fine, she was a bit worried for Qi Zheng but she really planned on going to the northwest for Shen Zikai, not him.
It was unclear how much time passed but it was already afternoon. In order to make it to the next city, they found a cool spot and sat down to eat their lunches which included some rations and pastries.
Lady Meng prepared a lot of pastries and braised pork, worried that Shen Ziqiao may not eat well on the way there.
Shen Ziqiao carried some braised pork over to find third uncle.
He Chen and the third uncle were eating meat buns right now when they saw Shen Ziqiao coming over. Third uncle’s eyes lit up. “Jiao Jiao, did you bring something good?”
Shen Ziqiao didn’t expect He Chen to be here either. She pursed her lips before walking to her third uncle. “Lady Meng prepared some braised pork for me. Third uncle, have some.”
“Lady Meng has fantastic culinary skills. Eldest Master He, have some too. Don’t be so polite.” Third uncle greeted He Chen.
“Many thanks to Third Miss Shen then.” He Chen faintly smiled.
Shen Ziqiao had no choice but to take out braised pork from her box and give him some. She glared at He Chen and said, “It’s better for you to be courteous.”
She didn’t prepare his portion at all!
There was a smile in He Chen’s eyes. He looked warmly at her.
Not long later, the Ninth Prince and Sheng Peiyin walked over. They faintly smiled and greeted He Chen and her third uncle.
Shen Ziqiao suppressed her urge to roll her eyes. She stood by her third uncle pretending to be transparent. However, she couldn’t help but look at He Chen.
This was the first time He Chen saw Sheng Peiyin.
“Jiao Jiao, we meet again.” Sheng Peiyin smiled at Shen Ziqiao and affectionately walked over, holding her hands.
“Right.” She was everywhere. Shen Ziqiao’s attitude was indifferent. They clearly fell out but Sheng Peiyin had to pretend like they were close. What was she up to?
He Chen looked at Sheng Peiyin. He thought that the woman was composed, generous and gentle. He didn’t understand why Shen Ziqiao didn’t like her.
Sheng Peiyin didn’t mind Shen Ziqiao’s indifference. She let go of Shen Ziqiao. “I personally made some scented tea for everyone to drink. It’d help you guys to stay awake. Everyone, try some.”
Third uncle politely apologized and asked the Ninth Prince to eat with them.
Sheng Peiyin personally poured a cup for He Chen. “Many thanks to Eldest Master He and Third Sir Pan for taking care of us. Sorry for the trouble.”
Shen Ziqiao stood by her third uncle’s side and pretended to be invisible completely.
Sheng Peiyin talked to He Chen and the Ninth Prince easily. Her voice was gentle and in He Chen’s ears, he thought that she was a real young unmarried daughter of a noble house. As for Shen Ziqiao...how was she anywhere like Sheng Peiyin?
Detecting He Chen’s gaze, Shen Ziqiao shifted her gaze, too lazy to bother with him.
After lunch, everyone continued on the journey up until it was almost dark did they finally enter the city. They stored the rice safely before they decided to spend the night at a tavern.
“Ah, we can finally rest now.” After the bumpy ride on the horse carriage, she felt as if she was going to collapse.
“Jiao Jiao…” Sheng Peiyin stopped her.