Qi Zheng stiffened upon mentioning the memory he didn’t want to recall the most. Although he was only five at that time, a lot of memories were carved in his mind.
“I don’t know where she and her daughter went.” Qi Zheng said.
“Then continued. After the mistress left, when did Xiao Gu marry in? And how did she treat you afterwards?” Shen Ziqiao hurriedly inquired.
Qi Zheng softly laughed and brought her into his arms. He took in her fragrance and his stiff muscles gradually relaxed. “Not even three months after my mother passed away, Xiao Gu married inside. Nine months later, Qi Feng was born. I’ve only seen him for the first time at my grandmother’s place on his one-month old birthday. Father had me carry him but he started crying first...There was an unknown bruise on his thigh…”
“Then everyone thought you did it?” Shen Ziqiao asked shockingly. No matter what, she didn’t believe Qi Zheng would hurt a child that was only a month old.
“I got a beating and then was forced to move out to live in the outer courtyard by myself.” Qi Zheng said calmly. He didn’t mention how he felt to be accused or the beating at all.
Normally, boys would move out of the outer courtyard when they were twelve or thirteen.
He was only five when he was forced to move to the outer courtyard. Plus, he just lost his mother. Did Duke An not consider how his son would’ve felt?
Shen Ziqiao held onto his hands, feeling bad. She linked their hands together.
“It was then that you started to act stupid?” Shen Ziqiao asked. Why else? To attract more attention?
Qi Zheng said, “After I was almost poisoned...If not for master, I probably would’ve died already.”
Shen Ziqiao looked shockingly at him and asked unbelievably, “Poisoned?”
“The pickled plum soup that the kitchen brought over. I normally don’t like sour thing so I gave the soup to master…” Qi Zheng lowered his voice and a flicker of sadness passed by in his eyes.
To him, master was more like a father than Duke An.
However, master died due to poison because of him.
“Then?” Shen Ziqiao felt bitterness in her mouth. She had no idea what to say now. Compared to Qi Zheng, her days in Shen Family were a blessing.
“I beat them at their own game and pretended to be poisoned too. However, it wasn’t as serious as master so I became stupid.” Qi Zheng said.
Shen Ziqiao lowered her head and rubbed her face against the back of his hand. “So pitiful. If not for your master, you might really become a fool. Who poisoned you?”
Therefore, he had been really grateful of his master. Qi Zheng caressed her face. “I found out when I was ten. It was someone by Xiao Gu’s side. Who else would want me dead besides her?”
“Your father didn’t know about Xiao Gu’s personality all this time?” Shen Ziqiao patted his hand. She was wondering if she really married him, wouldn’t she have to live her days facing a woman like Xiao Gu who was much more powerful than Old Madam Shen? Oh my, even thinking about it made her tired. She felt like she couldn’t love him.
Qi Zheng said, “I don’t know. He has nothing to do with me. I don’t plan on staying in Qi Family in the future either.”
That’s good, that’s good! Shen Ziqiao revealed a smile and sighed in relief.
“Are you scared?” Qi Zheng lowered his head, his tanned face calm but he was actually really nervous.
Shen Ziqiao nodded truthfully. The most she had experienced was the old woman stealing her dowry and refusing to feed her. She really had no experience with people trying to poison others. If she really became enemies with Xiao Gu, she might die quickly...
The corner of Qi Zheng’s eyes twitched. She dared to nod?
He scooped her into his arms. “What are you scared of? You still have me. I won’t let anyone bully you.”
“You can protect me for now but you can’t protect me forever.” Shen Ziqiao said the truth. It’d be best if it was just the two of them.
No, no. She hadn’t even agreed to marrying him yet. Why was she thinking so ahead?
“Jiao Jiao!” Qi Zheng nervously cupped her face and stared at her with a burning gaze. “We don’t need to be afraid and you don’t need to serve upon her either. She can live her life while we can live our lives. When the time comes, we can move out of the place, okay?”
Shen Ziqiao nodded swiftly. “Okay! But what if my father doesn’t want me to marry you?”
Qi Zheng obtained her promise and he was delighted and felt like there were fireworks exploding in the sky. He didn’t even listen to her next sentence, already lowering his head to kiss her.
They sat on the grass by the brook. Shen Ziqiao was on Qi Zheng’s thigh and her entire body was in his arms.
His warm lips covered her lips and he gently sucked and bit on it until she couldn’t help but part her lips. His tongue nimbly slid inside and played with her tongue, forcing her to respond to his kiss.
Shen Ziqiao twisted her body around, her hands on his chest, wanting to push him away.
Their bodies were tightly glued to each other. She could feel his boiling temperature. It was unsure how but Shen Ziqiao’s body also felt extremely warm like a cooked shrimp.
“Let go!” Shen Ziqiao struggled, feeling that his kiss was different from the last two times. She was a bit afraid.
Qi Zheng’s breath became heavy. He didn’t want to let her go so he hugged her tightly. He lowered his head and kissed her tender collarbone and licked it firmly.
“Mn…” Shen Ziqiao felt her body burning up and her breath became a bit labored. She didn’t know what to do with the hardness between her thighs.
“Jiao Jiao, let me kiss you. Just once!” Qi Zheng’s hands slipped under her clothes and cupped her well developed globes, passionately kneading them.
Shen Ziqiao’s whole body trembled and she bit on the skin in front of his chest. “No, Qi Zheng! Here...We can’t do it here!”
Qi Zheng groaned from the pain and he raised his head. His pitch-black eyes were covered by strong desire and he stared intensely at her.
“Look clearly where we are!” Shen Ziqiao smacked his shoulders moodily but she didn’t dare to move anymore, in case he became rash again.
“I can’t hold it in. Jiao Jiao, I’ve been thinking about you daily for the past two years…” He hugged her firmly, wanting them to become one.
Shen Ziqiao pinched his waist and said moodily, “What have you been thinking about every day? Aren’t you here to fight a war?!”
Qi Zheng held her hands and sucked on her earlobes. “I think about it when I go to sleep.”
“Think about what?! Don’t you dare!” Shen Ziqiao exclaimed with a flushed face.
Glancing at her flushed face, Qi Zheng felt that the desire he just suppressed had risen again. He reached down and bit on her lips.
“Elder brother!” Shen Ziqiao shouted.
Qi Zheng hurriedly let go of her and turned to see no one.
Shen Ziqiao laughed out loud and slipped away.
“You little bad thing!” Qi Zheng stared at her and stood up to grab her.
“You’re the guilty one! If my elder brother sees you like this, hmph. He’ll kill you!” Shen Ziqiao made a gesture as if slitting his throat.
Qi Zheng smiled and grabbed her. “Going to kill me, hm?”
“Ah, it hurts so much. You’re hurting my hand!” Shen Ziqiao cried out loud.
“Where? Let me take a look.” Qi Zheng was frightened and hurriedly let go to see if he had applied too much pressure and hurt her.
Shen Ziqiao chuckled and pinched his face firmly. “I was kidding.”
Qi Zheng froze and chuckled, shaking his head. He glanced at the lady pampering, unsure when she had captured his heart. But he felt satisfied for the first time ever.
“It’s getting dark. Let’s go back.” Qi Zheng held her hands and the two walked back.
After two days of rest, His Highness crown prince hosted the banquet and invited the caravan from Minyue over. It was a late banquet however.
As one of the owners of a trading company, Shen Ziqiao was obviously on the list to be invited to the banquet.
After arriving at Gaonan City, Shen Ziqiao had forgotten that the Ninth Prince even existed up until she saw the paled face him on the banquet. It was then that he remembered he suffered a heavy injury.
Serves him right! Shen Ziqiao didn’t even pity him. If he wasn’t being stupid and ignorant, wanting to be a hero, all those people wouldn’t have died because of him. Serves him right for being hurt!
As for Sheng Peiyin, Shen Ziqiao actually saw her sitting by the Ninth Prince’s side with her head down and being well behaved. She didn’t even bat her eyelashes at His Highness crown prince who was sitting on the master seat. It was unusual.
But no matter what that stupid fool wants to do, has nothing to do with her.
Compared to Shen Ziqiao’s indifferent attitude, the Ninth Prince wasn’t so calm when seeing her.
He felt complicated.
Not only did he recall Sheng Peiyin almost killing Shen Ziqiao, he also recalled the day the latter cursed him out in front of everyone.
No one had dared to curse him out before!
Shen Ziqiao also cursed him out to her heart’s content, completely different to how she’d always appear in front of him with a red face. Like she said, she didn’t feel anything for him anymore.
The Ninth Prince hmphed a bit moodily.
“What?” Hearing his voice, Sheng Peiyin asked confusedly.
“Nothing.” The Ninth Prince revealed a slightly smile and then shifted his gaze from Shen Ziqiao.
Sheng Peiyin looked at Shen Ziqiao.
Shen Ziqiao sat by Shen Zikai’s side. It was unclear what the siblings were talking about but she disliked Shen Ziqiao’s splendid and bright smile.
He Chen sat across from Shen Ziqiao. He remained calm on the surface but there was an indescribable sense of sadness.
That day...He saw her coming back from the back door with Qi Zheng. She also wore a smile but it was different from today. In front of Qi Zheng, she smiled more sweetly and Qi Zheng’s gaze towards her was also carved deep inside his mind.
He glanced at her with an endlessly pampering look as if he’d do whatever Shen Ziqiao wanted. In his eyes, she was the best.
It was clear that he adored her. No matter what she did, he’d probably like a lot.
But in He Chen’s heart, he thought that no matter what Shen Ziqiao had done, he’d...like her too.
“Eldest Master He?” Pan Lize tugged on He Chen’s sleeves.
He Chen snapped out of his trance and hid the bitterness in his eyes. “What?”
“His Highness is talking to you!” Pan Lize said and his gaze swept over Shen Ziqiao, sighing inside.