Not long after Shen Ziqiao returned to Qiao Xin Courtyard, Old Madam Shen called her over.
She had Hong Ying help her freshen up before she went to De’an Courtyard. After she entered, she just realized that everyone from the Shen Family was there.
Even Shen Ziyang who had to take part in the imperial examination and had been studying in his room the past days had appeared.
Old Madam Shen and Shen Xiao sat on the master seats. She hadn’t seen Old Madam Shen in a few days and she appeared even older than usual. Her face had already turned sallow and pale white.
This was...Shen Ziqiao was shocked. Was the Old Madam going to die soon?
“Grandmother, father.” Shen Ziqiao obediently greeted but was confused as to why she was called here.
“Let’s congratulate our third miss for being bestowed a marriage by the emperor. You must’ve been blessed in your past lives.” Shen Ziqiao had just recalled having to greet the Second Master Shen and his partner when she heard Madam Zhou’s sour tone.
Shen Ziqiao froze. What was going on? Could it be that she had offended someone by being granted a bestowed marriage?
She glanced at Shen Zixin behind Madam Zhou who seemed to look at her in resentment before lowering her head.
Second Master Shen smiled and exclaimed, “It is indeed Jiao Jiao’s fortune being able to be bestowed with a marriage by the emperor. But it’s also Qi Zheng’s fortune that he was able to marry our Jiao Jiao. He’s a lucky one.”
Madam Zhou pursed her lips. She glared at Shen Ziqiao under her husband’s warning gaze.
“I was originally worrying about your wedding but with the emperor bestowing you a marriage, that’s fine then. Tomorrow, daughter-in-law, personally go to Duke An Residence and set a date.” Old Madam Shen felt muddle-headed. She didn’t want to deal with all these matters anymore. She reluctantly had Madam Zhou manage Shen Ziqiao’s marriage because the emperor had personally bestowed a marriage.
Shen Xiao exclaimed, “Mother, Jiao Jiao’s marriage… I already invited her aunt over. Sister-in-law needs to take care of everything in the household so I don’t think she’ll have time for all of this.”
“It’s best that we have their help.” Second Master Shen exclaimed hurriedly. He didn’t want Madam Zhou to intervene in Shen Ziqiao’s marriage either.
Who knew whether she’d do something?
“Congratulations to the third miss.” Concubine Gao seemed to be saying this genuinely to Shen Ziqiao. The two concubines behind her also said congratulations to Shen Ziqiao.
No matter how shameless Shen Ziqiao was, she was going to get married. Her face still flushed.
In Shen Zikai’s eyes, her awkward attitude made him lament with feelings.
Who knew that his little sister had reached the age of getting married. He thought back to how small she was back then and how she always followed him around, calling him elder brother. He still remembered her innocent and cute look.
She was bright like a shining star...
After a while, Old Madam Shen claimed that she was tired. Therefore, everyone bid farewell before leaving. Shen Ziqiao originally had a lot to say to Shen Xiao but after seeing him, she didn’t know what to say.
She didn’t feel much towards Shen Xiao. In her heart, Shen Xiao was less than Shen Zikai. This was probably because she wasn’t the real Shen Ziqiao. She had serious mysophobia. No matter how people thought Shen Xiao was devoted to Pan Madam and how he didn’t get married even after she died, She thought that Shen Xiao wasn’t that good to Pan Madam anyway.
If he really loved Pan Madam, there wouldn’t be any illegitimate children. If he really loved Pan Madam, how could she have died due to exhaustion?
He shouldn’t be showing love towards her when she died. When she was alive, he had never truly considered for her. So why bother acting devoted after she died?
Especially after what happened with Chen Xueling. She thought that Shen Xiao was really artificial. Wen Pan Madam was alive, he was unable to protect her and give her a comfortable lifestyle. Even when she died, he hadn’t really truly done anything for her.
He was unable to even teach his daughter.
A major reason how Pan Madam had eloped with someone else because of Sheng Peiyin was mainly because of Shen Xiao’s failure as a husband.
But she found out that Shen Xiao had really retired in order to get the emperor to accept her and Qi Zheng...
How could she not be touched?
But she didn’t know how to express herself.
Shen Xiao brought Shen Zikai to his study.
Madam Zhou originally didn’t know what to say. She was taken away by the Second Master Shen. He didn’t let her say a single word.
Shen Ziqiao looked confusedly at them. She walked towards Shen Zixin, “Xin’er…”
“Congratulations.” Shen Zixin exclaimed faintly as if she was really angry.
What was going on? Shen Ziqiao froze and reached over to pull on her hands. “What’s up with you? Did I offend you somehow? Or was it because of your mother?”
Shen Zixin looked unwell and she couldn’t even tell her why she was mad.
“Do you really not know or you’re just pretending? You stole Xin’er’s husband and you’re still here pretending to be nice?” Shen Ziyang’s mockin and sharp voice rang. He looked at Shen Ziqiao in disdain. “You clearly knew that fourth sister likes Qi Zheng. You actually got father to beg the emperor to bestow a marriage with you and Qi Zheng after he had gotten a victory battle. You’re so shameless.”
Huh? Since when did Shen Zixin start liking Qi Zheng?
Shen Ziqiao was shocked. She looked shockingly at Shen Zixin. “You like Qi Zheng?”
Who asks people these questions?! Shen Zixin’s face flushed and she glared at Shen Ziqiao.
She hadn’t seen Qi Zheng before but she heard her mother mention him several times. Plus, who wasn’t discussing the hero that beheaded the Jin people’s supreme khan on the battlefield? Which woman didn’t like heroes?
Mother said that Qi Zheng would be his future husband. She was actually really happy. If she could really marry Qi Zheng, her best friends would all be really jealous of her.
Who knew that while she was secretly delighted, news of the emperor bestowing marriage to Shen Ziqiao and Qi Zheng had been spread.
This entire time, she had treated Shen Ziqiao as her real sister. Who knew that Shen Ziqiao had stolen her man today? Everyone in the family knew about her so how would they view her in the future?
Shen Zixin felt incredibly ashamed.
“Who in the family didn’t know that only the fourth sister is worthy of Qi Zheng? You…” Shen Ziyang glanced at Shen Ziqiao. “How did you deserve this? If it weren’t for father, did you think the emperor would bestow a marriage to you?”
Shen Ziqiao looked coldly at Shen Ziyang. “Shut up! You have no business here. Hurry back and go study. You’ll have something to cry at if you do poorly on the examination.”
“Women have the most poisonous hearts. I’ve been studying every day yet you’re cursing at me to do poorly on the examination. Either way, I’ll still make a man out of myself.” Shen Ziyang said angrily.
Shen Ziqiao left pulling Shen Zixin with her. It was rare that she got to talk to this fool.
Shen Zixin struggled free and asked, “What are you trying to do?”
“I didn’t know that the second aunt wanted you to get married to Qi Zheng. Had I known earlier, I would have you stop your mother.” Shen Ziqiao said seriously. She just returned to the capital and had been thinking about other things so she really hadn’t heard that Madam Zhou fancied Qi Zheng being her son-in-law.
Shen Zixin had misunderstood Shen Ziqiao however. She thought that she was purposely boasting. “Shen Ziqiao, what do you mean? Do you think that I can’t be compared to you? That’s why I have no right to marry Qi Zheng? Don’t forget. If it weren’t for first uncle, how could you possibly get a bestowed marriage from the emperor? Without that, do you think Qi Zheng would take a fancy to you?”
She had gone a bit too far with her words...
Shen Ziqiao thought that Shen Zixin was the only one that truly cared and adored her in the family besides Shen Zikai. Who knew that she would say something like this?
She always looked down on her from the first. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have said that Qi Zheng wouldn’t be interested in her.
She wanted to explain that Qi Zheng and her knew and liked each other. However, she suddenly couldn’t form the words. Shen Ziqiao smiled bitterly and helplessly. “You misunderstood. It’s not how you think. Even if the emperor didn’t bestow a marriage, nothing will change.”
Without the emperor bestowing a marriage, Qi Zheng wouldn’t marry Shen Zixin either.
Unfortunately, Shen Zixin refused to listen to Shen Ziqiao’s explanation. “Right, I don’t have a general as a father. That’s why I lost to you.”
Shen Ziqiao wanted to say something but then stopped. She shook her head and smiled. “Whatever you think.”
“Hmph.” Shen Zixin waved her sleeves and left.
Xiao Gu thought that she was going crazy. She wanted to kill people.
She never thought that her son would be the one getting hurt. Now, not only didn’t she know how to explain to her maiden home, but even Old Madam Qi was startled.
“...Do you do things without thinking? Don’t think that I don’t know what you’re up to. You think that you can still scheme Zheng’er like that? Dai’er is your real niece. What exactly is your heart made up of? You can even do such a shameless thing?” Old Madam Qi was originally really disappointed in Xiao Gu but after finding out what happened in the courtyard, she was even more furious.
Xiao Gu couldn’t even defend herself.
“Don’t think that you’ve escaped because the Lord didn’t settle accounts with you.” Old Madam Qi saw the indifferent glint in Xiao Gu’s eyes. She knew what she was depending on. She hmphed coldly. She hated herself for being blind back then and bringing such trouble home.
“Mother, I’m sorry. I should’ve made sure that someone had kept an eyes on Dai’er. If Dai’er didn’t walk around, this wouldn’t have happened.” Xiao Gu exclaimed.
She refused to admit that there was something wrong with the hangover tea or that she purposely arranged for Dai’er to appear in the courtyard.
“Don’t treat everyone as a fool!” Old Madam Qi exclaimed. “Zheng’er is going to get married. The Lord and I don’t want any bad rumors coming from the family. If that isn’t the case, you think that what happened today will be over just like this?”
“Mother…” Xiao Gu wanted to pretend to act like she was wronged.
“Before Zheng’er gets married, don’t intervene in the family members. Give me the keys to all of the storehouses. Have the housekeeper report to me starting tomorrow.” Old Madam Qi exclaimed in a deep voice. Her gentle and kind expression was now really serious and solemn.
Xiao Gu’s expression changed however. “Mother, you don’t feel well so don’t worry about the matters at home.”
“Do as I say. Are you not going to listen to me anymore?” Old Madam Qi asked.
“No, that’s not it. Mother, I’ll bring the keys over later.” Xiao Gu lowered her head, a sinister glint flickering through her eyes.