Shen Ziqiao didn’t finish building her snowman as she ended up having a snowball fight with her maids in the end. When she returned to her room, her face was freezing and flushed, and she started yawning.
Mo Zhu brought in warm ginger tea inside and exclaimed, “First Madam, hurry and drink some ginger tea to chase away the cold.”
“Achoo—!” Shen Ziqiao sneezed, feeling her nose tickling.
Qi Zheng grabbed the cup of ginger tea over from Mo Zhu and indicated for the maids to leave as he had Shen Ziqiao sit by his side with a dark face.
Shen Ziqiao moved over feeling guilty. “It’s fine. I just sneezed a bit. It’s no big deal.”
“You’re still acting like a child despite being an adult.” Qi Zheng glared at her and had her drink the ginger tea. He just walked away for a while and she had fallen in the snow several times. She thought this was no big deal? She even started having a snowball fight and caused herself to sweat. Even more, she was drenched in melting snow. If he didn’t force her to come back and take a warm shower, she’d definitely continue to play.
“It’s fine.” Shen Ziqiao received the cup of ginger tea and took small sips.
“You don’t want to go out in the future, right?” Qi Zheng smiled and asked coolly.
Shen Ziqiao smiled dryly. “Don’t be so stingy.”
“You’re not even embarrassed to say this!” Qi Zheng glared at her again.
Unfortunately, Shen Ziqiao wasn’t afraid of this paper tiger. She drank the cup of ginger tea and then laid on Qi Zheng, acting shamelessly. “Ah, my head feels dizzy. You’re still scolding me despite me feeling like this? You’re too excessive~”
She really...Qi Zheng didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. He didn’t bear to pull her away. After all, it was rare for her to hug him first. Of course, he’d take advantage of this. But this girl’s ability to take advantage of a crisis for personal gain had grown.
“Be happy that I didn’t beat you.” Qi Zheng patted her fine butt. He was curious but found this to be hilarious too.
“You hit me?! You’re still hitting me!” Shen Ziqiao rubbed herself against him.
Qi Zheng pressed her down, his eyes smiling. “You’re still acting shameless!”
“So what?” Shen Ziqiao hmphed.
“Bad girl!” Qi Zheng pecked her face several times. “How come I didn’t notice that you like to act cute in the past?”
“I only act cute in front of people I like.” Shen Ziqiao pinched his handsome face. If she didn’t like him, why would she act like a child?
Qi Zheng’s heart thumped. He smiled, his eyes bright. “Jiao Jiao, say it again.”
“Say what again?” Shen Ziqiao knew what he wanted but she tilted her head and refused to look at him.
“Quick! Say it again.” Qi Zheng bit her earlobes, his tongue softly flicking.
Shen Ziqiao bit her lips and stared at him bashfully. She reached over and hugged his neck, saying this in a small voice, “I love you. That’s why I act cute towards you.”
Qi Zheng stared fixated at her with a gentle gaze. He revealed a happy smile on his handsome face.
I love you! It was a simple three words but towards two people truly in love, the words seemed so divine.
“Jiao Jiao…” He was incredibly touched and he couldn’t help but lower his head and capture her lips.
In the beginning, he slowly sucked and kissed her passionately before it turned feverish. Shen Ziqiao felt like she was surrounded by his aura. Within the blink of an eye, she felt the waistband of her skirt loosening before his warm palms were on her skin, caressing.
In the beginning, Shen Ziqiao had struggled a bit before she could only moan in the end.
By the time she woke up, it was already next morning. Shen Ziqiao felt her body going limp. Not only did her nose feel stuffy, her throat also felt itchy and in pain. She didn’t even want to move at all.
“Young miss, how are you?” Hong Yu came in with a bowl of water and walked over to help her freshen up. Seeing how her face was unusually red, she hurried over and asked.
“I think I have a cold.” Shen Ziqiao rubbed her nose. “Pour a cup of water for me.”
“Young miss, you’ve gotten a cold. This maid will go invite the physician over.” Hong Yu poured a cup of warm water for Shen Ziqiao and dismissed Hong Ying to invite the physician over. Shen Ziqiao didn’t even have time to stop her.
Shen Ziqiao looked outside the window. “What time is it now? Where’s the eldest master?”
“In the study. Uncle Qun sent news over.” Hong Yu said.
Ever since Qi Zheng got married, Uncle Qun naturally couldn’t stay by Qi Zheng’s side anymore. Shen Ziqiao lived in the inner courtyard so she rarely got to see Uncle Qun. She heard Qi Zheng talk about Uncle Qun helping him manage some trivial matters.
She wondered what.
Shen Ziqiao drank some water and felt sore everywhere. She leaned against the cushion and slept for a while.
Hong Ying quickly invited the physician over.
While in a daze, Shen Ziqiao seemed to have heard Qi Zheng’s voice. Not long after, she was fed bitter medicine.
“I don’t like drinking it!” Shen Ziqiao complained painfully. She opened her eyes to see Qi Zheng sitting by the bedside.
Qi Zheng brought her into his arms. “You’ve gotten a cold. How can you recover if you don’t drink medicine? Be good. Finish the rest.”
“I just have a cold. That’s it. I can recover from not drinking it too. I can just drink more water.” Shen Ziqiao acted cute, not wanting to drink medicine.
“Be good. After you recover, I’ll bring you up the mountains.” Qi Zheng coaxed patiently. “You can see the entire capital from there. You’ll like it for sure.”
Shen Ziqiao finished the half bowl of medicine under his coaxing.
Sick people were the weakest and most likely to throw tantrums. Seeing her scrunched face, he kissed her lovingly and then fed her sweet lotus.
“Why was Uncle Qun looking for you?” Shen Ziqiao found a comfortable spot in his arms and recalled his subordinate coming to look for him yesterday too. “Did something happen in the city?”
Qi Zheng said, “Some things happened at the Plum Appreciation Banquet.”
Plum Appreciation Banquet? Right. Today was the Plum appreciation Banquet. She wondered if Shen Zixin had entered the palace today. “What happened?”
“Lady Beitang painted during the talent performance. The plum blossoms that she drew were lively and realistic. Even if they placed it next to an actual plum blossom tree, one wouldn’t be able to distinguish between the real and fake tree. The empress bestowed her plum wine but it was unclear why but she felt uncomfortable after drinking it. She then requested to retreat and rest. A palace maid had shrieked in the place that she was resting later on. By the time everyone hurried over, they saw a couple in the tent...the empress was furious.” Qi Zheng told Shen Ziqiao what happened in a low voice.
Shen Ziqiao interrupted his words in shock. “That woman isn’t Beitang Zhenjing right?”
It couldn’t be. She shouldn’t be so weak. Without Sheng Peiyin right now, her opponents shouldn’t be able to successfully replace her.
Wait no, Sheng Peiyin!
Could she be behind this too? This woman is really incredible. Even like this, she was able to mingle into the palace?
“Naturally not. But it’s a palace maid by Imperial Consort Sun’s side. The man was an eunuch…” Qi Zheng’s face turned icy. “The empress was furious and ordered for the two to be beaten to death. On the other side, they found the unconscious Beitang Zhenjing. The crown prince was there and there was also a palace servant who the crown prince ordered to tie.”
Shen Ziqiao was even more shocked. “Crown prince? What exactly happened?”
“On the Plum Appreciation Banquet, the crown prince’s food was drugged. However, the Ninth Prince had changed it in secret. The crown prince already knew about it and decided to beat them at their own game, allowing a palace servant to lead him to the side chamber. On the way there, he encountered Lady Beitang and the drug had already taken effect...That person originally tried to frame Lady Beitang and that eunuch. There was more to her than meets the eye. She actually had the palace maid that led the way to replace her.” Qi Zheng sighed. This type of woman was suitable to become the princess consort, no?
“No, no. This is becoming more confusing. How come I don’t understand? Why was the crown prince with Beitang Zhenjing? And what’s going on with the Ninth Prince? So who exactly drugged the food?” Shen Ziqiao thought that it was simple but after hearing Qi Zheng’s explanation, she felt muddle-headed.
“It’s Sheng Peiyin...It’s unclear how she bribed the palace maids and servants in the palace. This probably has something to do with Imperial Consort Sun. However, we don’t have evidence. Sheng Peiyin originally wanted to ruin Beitang Zhenjing’s reputation and then seduce the crown prince. Even if she was unable to become the princess consort, she would at least be a concubine.”
“She’s a wanted criminal. Even if she succeeded in seducing the crown prince, she’s still a wanted criminal.” It wasn’t like the Sheng Family committed a small crime. They had betrayed the country.
Qi Zheng patted Shen Ziqiao’s head. He motioned for her to calm down. “I had people drive Sheng Peiyin out of the capital and then blocked her escape route. Who knew...she was able to change her face. If the Ninth Prince hadn’t identified her, no one would probably know that she was Sheng Peiyin. Right. She actually recognized the Director of the Board of Rites as her adoptive father. That’s how she was able to enter the palace.”
She has an incredible golden finger!
“The Ninth Prince had identified her?” Wasn’t he hell bent on protecting Sheng Peiyin?
“Right. That was unexpected.” Qi Zheng knew about the Ninth Prince and Sheng Peiyin as well. “The empress had sentenced many people to death today and even announced a decree bestowing marriage. The crown prince will be marrying Beitang Zhenjing in the soon future. As for...the Ninth Prince, he…”
The crown prince was really going to marry Beitang Zhenjing! Without Sheng Peiyin, she wondered if their relationship would be better.
“Then what about Sheng Peiyin?” Qi Zheng was hesitating, not sure whether to tell her about the other matter. Hearing her question, he exclaimed, “She’s been locked up. She probably can’t leave for her entire life.”
The Plum Appreciation Banquet was supposed to be a joyous occasion. Who knew that Sheng Peiyin had schemed them. Everyone was probably distressed.
Unbelievably, the Ninth Prince had actually identified Sheng Peiyin.
Had he given up? No matter which men, they probably won’t be sacrificing time after time like a fool after being used by their beloved woman, right?
Disregarding the rest, the Ninth Prince was an okay man in terms of falling in love with.
“There’s something else…” Qi Zheng said carefully, “The Ninth Prince requested a decree from the emperor, wanting to marry Shen Family’s fourth miss.”
Shen Ziqiao blinked her eyes. “Ah. It’s rare that he finally wants to marry...another woman…”
Shen Family’s fourth miss?
“The Ninth Prince wants to marry Xin’er?” Shen Ziqiao shrieked.