The atmosphere in the lounge had eased a bit after the crown prince spoke. Qi Zheng received Shen Xiao’s stern and questioning gaze and he looked back just as openly, no sense of guilt on his handsome face.
The corner of Shen Xiao’s lips tilted up and indicated for Qi Zheng to take Shen Ziqiao away first.
Towards Qi Zheng, Shen Xiao had always appreciated and admired him. Don’t mention how his own daughter had punched him before, he even spoke on behalf of his daughter instead of blaming her. He even saved Shen Zikai and Du Jie, bringing hundreds of soldiers over to assist. Because of that, he was known as the terrifying Yama that Jin thieves feared. Shen Xiao was sure that this person would have a beautiful and prosperous future ahead of him.
His future was one thing but whether or not he’d treat Jiao Jiao good was another thing.
When Du Yane was provoking Jiao Jiao, as his father, he had been quiet because he wanted to see if Qi Zheng would offend Du Jie for Jiao Jiao.
Normally, generals wouldn’t want to offend Du Jie, this important general.
Qi Zheng didn’t disappoint him.
He believed that he could start preparing Jiao Jiao’s dowry when he returned to the capital this time. Recalling his daughter’s indifferent attitude towards him, Shen Xiao felt bitter and helpless inside.
“Father, what do you think of Qi Zheng?” Shen Zikai who had taken his seat again quietly asked Shen Xiao, his eyes brightened with pride.
He had told his father that Qi Zheng was a good person and could definitely become the son-in-law of Shen Family. Father was still hesitating but seeing how Qi Zheng had protracted Jiao Jiao, he should be pleased now, right?
“You’re not even married yet and you want your sister to get married already?” Shen Xiao asked moodily.
They had slowly rekindled their relationship. Shen Xiao was quite gratified. As long as he didn’t marry Chen Xueling, his son would treat him like before.
Shen Zikai touched his nose. “We can’t do it like this. Sister Wen’er and the others are all married, no?”
“Your grandmother will be in charge of your marriage once returning to home.” Shen Xiao said. Recalling what his mother said before he left, he felt his temple hurting.
He knew what his mother wanted.
Didn’t she just want a well-behaved granddaughter-in-law to control Kai’er in the future? She didn’t even consider the possibility that Kai’er wouldn’t listen to her arrangements.
Of course, Shen Zikai’s expression changed upon hearing Shen Xiao’s words. He faintly smiled. “Grandmother must’ve forgotten. Didn’t my mother set up a marriage for me?”
Before dying, Pan Madam had told Shen Zikai that she had set up a marriage for him when he was six. Although it was only a promise by words, Pan Madam had given a jade pendant to the other party as a keepsake. However, that lady isn’t of age yet so the hadn’t talked about this marriage.
What the Old Madam wanted was for him to betray the promise and ruin the marriage, and then get married with another woman instead? What was he supposed to do with his mother’s promise?
Shen Xiao said, “I wonder what Zhu Family’s lady is like.”
“No matter what Lady Zhu is like, she’d be better than who the Old Madam wants for sure.” Shen Zikai replied rudely.
“What are you saying?!” Shen Xiao glared at him unhappily.
Shen Zikai didn’t care. As long as he didn’t agree, there was nothing the Old Madam could do.
While the father and son pair were talking here, Du Jie had someone take Du Yane down. Sheng Peiyin smiled before telling the Ninth Prince that she needed to go out for a moment before following Du Yane out.
Du Yane was still angry that she was taken out. She unsheathed her sword and slashed the trees in the garden hard. “Qi Zheng, you bastard! I hate you, hate you so much!”
She had never cared about a man so much. What was so good about Shen Ziqiao?
Just what did Qi Zheng like about her?!
“Ahh—!” Du Yane shrieked.
Sheng Peiyin stared coldly at Du Yane venting. After she calmed down, Sheng Peiyin laughed softly. “Our Dazhou’s valiant and formidable hero only knows to slash the trees here when she suffers grievances? If your enemies find out, wouldn’t they laugh their heads off?”
Du Yane looked back and glared at Sheng Peiyin when she heard an unfamiliar voice. She recognized her to be the woman besides the Ninth Prince. Hmphing, “Who are you?”
“I’m just like you. We both hate Shen Ziqiao.” Sheng Peiyin said. Although she also didn’t like how overbearing Du Yane was, her enemy’s enemy is her friend. She found Du Yane to be much more amiable.
Although Du Yane was reckless, she did have a brain. She cast a sideway glance at Sheng Peiyin, didn’t think that she was here because of a coincidence. “So what?”
Sheng Peiyin brushed the baby hair by her ears. Her smile was bitter and she felt wronged. “When I see you, I think of my past self. It seems like Miss Du doesn’t know who Shen Ziqiao is as a person?”
Although Du Yane was born in the capital, she grew up by the borders. One could count the amount of times that she came to the capital. It was true that she didn’t know who Shen Ziqiao was as a person.
“So you must not know how the young unmarried daughters of influential families in the capital all disdained her. Shen Ziqiao was an expert at pestering people endlessly. Whenever she saw the Ninth Prince in the past, she’d act like a fly seeing… honey. Rules and manners were tossed to the back of her mind. The Ninth Prince was annoyed with her endless pestering and he had stayed at home for a long time because he was afraid of seeing Shen Ziqiao…”
“It was unclear how Eldest Master Qi caught her eyes but then she started doing whatever she can to get him to notice her...I think Eldest Master Qi might not know who she was as a person before which is why he’s treating her that nicely now.”
Du Yane was furious after hearing the words but she didn’t believe her completely. “Are you telling the truth?”
“You can go and make inquiries. Everyone in the capital knows who Shen Ziqiao is as a person. Eldest Master Qi...is really blind.” Sheng Peiyin sighed pitifully.
“Shut up!” Du Yane shouted, refusing to let anyone talk bad about Qi Zheng.
Sheng Peiyin smiled. As expected, she stopped talking.
Du Yane felt anger rising within her. She angrily glared at Sheng Peiyin before turning to leave.
There was a smile within Sheng Peiyin’s eyes as she watched Du Yane walk towards the inner courtyard. She proudly turned around to see the Ninth Prince’s bitter face and his complicated expression.
Qi Zheng held Shen Ziqiao’s hands and they slowly walked back to the inner courtyard.
It was easy for them to sweat when they were holding hands under such hot weather. Shen Ziqiao shook Qi Zheng’s hands off and pursed her lips, saying that it was really warm.
“You’re sad?” Qi Zheng carefully observed her, afraid that she’d be unhappy because of Du Yane.
“Why should I be unhappy?” Shen Ziqiao shook her hands. She thought it was weird for Qi Zheng to ask this question. She stared at him with her bright and clear eyes.
It was unclear where the moon was tonight. The night sky was full of stars and her eyes were as bright as the stars too. Qi Zheng’s heart thumped quickly and his ears were a bit red.
“Um...Du Yane...Aren’t you angry that she’s doing this to you?” Qi Zheng asked in a low voice. He quietly walked a few steps closer to her and lowered his head to look at her tender and lovely lips.
Shen Ziqiao lifted her brows. “Why should I be angry? It’s obvious that she likes you and dislikes me. If I like you and you don’t like me, I’ll obviously hate the woman that you like too.”
Qi Zheng immediately said, “I didn’t say I don’t like you, I like you. I like you a lot.”
His deep and magnetic voice was indescribably sexy within this quiet courtyard. Shen Ziqiao smiled and kissed his cheeks firmly. “I know.”
When Shen Ziqiao’s lips left his face, Qi Zheng pressed the back of her head towards him and he kissed her firmly.
“Mn…” Shen Ziqiao let out a muffle from the pain. Qi Zheng’s nimble tongue already darted in and stole her voice.
He greedily kissed her lips and sucked on her sweetness. But one of his hands was holding the lantern while the other hand was on the back of her head. The girl in his arms was being restless, twisting her body around to push him away. Qi Zheng pressed his hands to her back and kept her soft body towards him, gradually deepening the kiss.
They finally ended this long and lingering kiss when Shen Ziqiao almost couldn’t breathe.
Shen Ziqiao’s face flushed and she glared at him while panting. “What if someone sees?”
Qi Zheng pressed his face to her face and his teeth softly nibbled on her earlobes. He laughed hoarsely. “Why would anyone pass by here at this time?”
“Go away!” Shen Ziqiao shouted.
“Jiao Jiao…” Qi Zheng had a fondness for her faint fragrance. Different from the rouge scent on the other women, he liked her refreshing smell. “Let me kiss you again, okay?”
Shen Ziqiao stared at him coquettishly before kissing his lips. “Watch people be frightened by the way you’re acting.”
“I’ll only let you see me like this.” Qi Zheng smiled and hugged her, reluctant to let go.
“We’re almost there. Let me go back by myself. You still need to return to the banquet.” Shen Ziqiao smiled.
What’s good about the banquet? Qi Zheng was reluctant to let her go and they continued to talk while holding hands.
“Speaking of, what have you done to seduce that lady? Why does she like you so much?” Thinking of Du Yane’s resentful gaze on her, Shen Ziqiao suddenly felt really dangerous.
Qi Zheng pinched her nose. “What is this rubbish?”
Shen Ziqiao held onto his arms. “I don’t care. You have to stay away from other women and don’t be seduced by them.”
“Hahaha—” Qi Zheng laughed out loud and lowered his head to kiss her cheeks a few times. “Little girl!”
“Mhm. If you want to be with me, you can’t have any mistresses or chambermaids. I don’t like that.” After that, she was a bit afraid to see Qi Zheng’s reaction. This was her most basic request. Men were like toothbrushes. She didn’t want to share him with anyone else.
She wouldn’t accept Qi Zheng getting mistresses or concubines.
Qi Zheng smiled and patted her head. “Silly girl, how could I possibly dare to get concubines with you here?”
Sometimes, the joy of having several partners wasn’t really a blessing, just like his father.
Shen Ziqiao hmphed. “You feel bad?”
“I feel bad for you.” Qi Zheng chuckled. There was no space in his heart for any other women, don’t mention getting concubines or mistresses. He wouldn’t even look at them.
“Okay, okay. I’m here. You can go back now.” Shen Ziqiao entered the courtyard but refused to let Qi Zheng inside, pushing him away.
Qi Zheng shook his head and softly chuckled.
“Yes, I know.”