Xiao Gu almost spat a mouthful of blood out.
She knew that the old woman had an ulterior motive. She had her come and pay respects every day. It wasn’t that she suddenly decided to forgive her or that she admitted her as her daughter-in-law. It was so that she had a chance to snatch away her power.
She really didn’t expect for Shen Ziqiao to have such power. She only married into the family for a few days and she was able to coax the unapproachable old woman to help her to this great extent!
Xiao Gu wanted to continue saying something when she heard Old Madam Qi say, “Jiao Jiao, tomorrow, follow the housekeepers around and learn how to manage the household. If you don’t understand anything...your mother-in-law is too busy to teach you so you can come and find me. I’ll tell you what to do.
Shen Ziqiao was great at observing the situation so she nodded.
“Okay. Didn’t you just recover from a cold? Hurry back and rest.” Old Madam Qi smiled.
Seeing that Shen Ziqiao seemed to be exhausted, Qi Zheng pulled her over and bid farewell with Old Madam Qi before they went back to Qianlin Courtyard. They ignored Xiao Gu who was furious by the moment.
Qi Zheng had everyone leave after they returned to the courtyard. He held Shen Ziqiao who had taken off the head ornament in his arms. “Although there aren’t that many people at home, it’s difficult to manage the household. Aren’t you afraid of tiring yourself out?”
He didn’t want her to manage the household. After all, they were going to leave sooner or later. Qi Family’s matters had nothing to do with them.
“It’s Xiao Gu’s fault for making me feel bad. I want to upset her too.” Shen Ziqiao hmphed. “Plus, I can arrange the two maids to make matters worse.”
Qi Zheng was interested. “What do you plan on doing?”
“I’m not telling you.” Shen Ziqiao giggled. “I need to go to the Shen Family tomorrow. Do you want to come with me?”
“I have to talk to your elder brother about some things so let’s go.” Qi Zheng smiled.
The couple talked for a while before Duke An sent someone over for Qi Zheng. Shen Ziqiao was thinking about Xiao Gu’s retaliation.
She obviously won’t let this go.
“Third miss.” Hong Yu and Hong Ying walked in. They were used to calling her third miss and they haven’t adjusted to Shen Ziqiao’s new status in the Qi Family.
“Where’s Ying Tao?” Shen Ziqiao picked up a book that Qi Zheng had been reading. It was mostly art of wars and stratagems. Her head felt dizzy at the sight.
Hong Yu said, “She’s locked in the back room. Lady Meng has someone monitoring her.”
“Let her go. Make sure no one speaks of this matter today.” Shen Ziqiao said casually.
“Third miss, why? If we leave the two minx-like maids, something is bound to happen sooner or later.” Hong Ying said hurriedly.
Shen Ziqiao smiled. “What could happen? Afraid that they’ll seduce the eldest master? It takes two to tango. If your eldest master wants to take in concubines, even if I dismiss all the maids, he’ll still have his way. Of course, he won’t do that.”
Hong Yu and Hong Ying felt as if they were on a roller coaster.
“Third miss, then...then what should we do? Ying Tao had just been punished and Ying Mei is inquiring about the eldest master’s whereabouts now.” She was really a fox.
“Oh, then let them go ahead and make inquiries.” Shen Ziqiao smiled. “Oh, right. Third master and the eldest master are back. I don’t know what their preferences are so go and make inquiries.”
Hong Yu and Hong Ying answered softly.
“You guys can go for now. I’m going to rest for a bit. Call me up when the eldest master is back.” Shen Ziqiao said.
She had been in the horse carriage for the past half day. She just recovered and she didn’t feel too good still. She laid down and fell into a deep slumber.
After Xiao Gu brought her children back to her room, the anger she had been suppressing exploded. She flipped the table by the east side of the bed over and then smashed the hand warmers as well as chinawares too.
Qi Feng and the others were startled.
“Mother, don’t be angry. No matter how much the Old Madam tries to help Shen Ziqiao, it will be to no avail. What can that idiot do? Maybe you’re going to have to clean up after her mess.” Qi Yun hurriedly comforted Xiao Gu, indicating for Nanny Su to hurry and clean up the mess.
Xiao Gu’s hands trembled and her face turned pale. “Don’t be angry? How? How does that old woman treat me? She refuses to even see me once all these years. Shen Ziqiao just married into the family and she wants me to pay respects to her every day and for her to manage the household with me. She wants Shen Ziqiao to help me? More like she’s forcing me to hand over the power of the household to her!”
“Even if you do, there’s nothing she can do.” Qi Yun hmphed. “Mother, don't worry. Second brother will be heir for sure. By then, Qi Zheng and Shen Ziqiao will be moving out of the residence and you won’t need to see them anymore.”
“Heir...with the elder brother here, how could I be the heir?” Qi Feng said discouraged.
Xiao Gu replied unhappily, “Why wouldn’t it be you? What can Qi Zheng do? Even if he isn’t a fool now, how can he compare to your talent?”
Qi Feng said in a low voice, “Father sought me out before…”
“What did he say?” Xiao Gu hurriedly asked. She didn’t know that Qi Silin had looked for Feng’er before.
“He wants me to not fight with elder brother anymore.” The meaning behind this was obvious. Father wants to make Qi Zheng the heir.
Xiao Gu couldn’t form any words due to anger.
“I won’t let Qi Zheng have his way!” Since she could force Nee Lu to give up her position as the legal wife, she could make it so that Qi Zheng couldn’t fight for the position as heir with Feng’er as well.
Qi Rui who had been quiet suddenly said, “Mother, how come I haven’t seen Ying Tao and Ying Mei?”
Xiao Gu glared at him harshly. “All you care about are those two bitches. You’re the third master of the Duke An residence. How does it make sense for you to mingle with those lowly maids every day?”
Qi Zheng hurriedly siad, “Mother, they recognize a few words so why don’t you give them to this child? While I’m reading in the study, they can serve upon me by the side.”
“Shut up!” Xiao Gu exclaimed moodily, “They’re serving your elder brother in Qianlin Courtyard right now. Don’t you dare keep thinking about them.”
Because Ying Tao and Ying Mei had been thinking about seducing Qi Rui all day long, Xiao Gu had sent them over to Qianlin Courtyard.
Hopefully the two maids could drive a wedge in the couple’s relationship. That way, she could get two birds with one stone.
“What?” Qi Rui shouted. “Mother, how could you send them away?”
“Shut up! Are you trying to anger me to death for those two bitches?” Xiao Gu asked furiously. “Since you’re back, starting tomorrow, go study in class with the teacher. Learn after your second brother and score well in the imperial civil service examination as well.”
Qi Rui nodded dispirited. He didn’t dare to ask Xiao Gu for Ying Tao and Ying Mei.
After leaving here, Qi Rui still didn’t give up. He sent a maid from his courtyard to check on Ying Tao and Ying Mei, afraid that Shen Ziqiao might beat the two down because of their beautiful appearances.
In Qi Rui’s eyes, Qi Zheng was no different from the fool back then. Not only did he act inconspicuous in the Qi Family, even if he married now, he still needed to act according to people’s attitudes. Therefore, he didn’t think there was anything wrong with having a maid come over to check on Ying Tao and Ying Mei.
He thought that Qianlin Courtyard was just like everywhere else except where Old Madam lived. He could do whatever he wanted.
Qi Zheng hadn’t come back when Shen Ziqiao woke up. However, she heard from Mo Zhu that Qi Rui had sent a maid to inquire about Ying Tao and Ying Mei’s situation.
“Oh? I didn’t take the third master to cherish the maids.” Shen Ziqiao was interested. “What did you say to the maid?”
Mo Zhu smiled. “Lu Zhu responded to them, saying that Ying Tao and Ying Mei were disliked by you. You almost beat them to death. She made them seem as pitiful as they could be.”
Shen Ziqiao lifted her brows hearing this.
“First Madam, did this maid do something wrong?” Seeing Shen Ziqiao’s reaction, Mo Zhu froze, thinking that Shen Ziqiao was blaming them for making decisions on their own and tarnishing her reputation.
“No, you guys did a good job.” Shen Ziqiao waved her hands and exclaimed, “Who knows? Maybe Qi Rui will come back tomorrow and visit them. Don’t let people follow them. Let them complain to Qi Rui.”
“If that’s the case, won’t the First Madam’s reputation be tarnished? What if everyone thinks that the First Madam is narrow-minded and can’t accept anyone more beautiful than her?”
Although Ying Tao and Ying Mei aren’t as beautiful as the First Madam.
Shen Ziqiao smiled. “Who knows whether it’s my reputation or his that’ll be tarnished.”
When Qi Zheng came back, he saw her delighted expression. He couldn’t help but laugh too. “Did something good happen?”
“Of course.” Shen Ziqiao smiled but she didn’t plan on telling Qi Zheng about this. She’ll wait until Qi Rui comes over tomorrow. “My elder brother is getting married. I wonder how my future sister-in-law is as a person.”
“Zhu Family is from a literary family. Your future sister-in-law will naturally be a gentle and refined woman.” Qi Zheng said, knowing that she was afraid Zhu Family’s young miss might not be a good match for Shen Zikai.
Shen Ziqiao nodded. “My elder brother is a good person so he’ll get a good wife for sure.”
Qi Zheng bit her earlobes ambiguously. “So am I a good or bad person?”
“You’re a bastard!” Shen Ziqiao said moodily and pushed him away. “Why was father looking for you? Why did you guys talk for a long time?”
“We went to talk about the crown prince’s marriage.” Qi Zheng never thought about hiding things from Shen Ziqiao. “The crown prince refuses to marry a Lady of Excellence. He said that he wants to wait until a year after he gets married. The empress wanted him to marry a crown princess and two Lady of Excellences at the same time seeing that he has barely any children.”
Shen Ziqiao half smiled. “That way, the crown prince will be known as someone that values his family."
The empress must’ve done this on purpose. She knew that the crown prince wouldn’t take in Lady of Excellences at the same time which is why she created this opportunity.
“He’s obviously going to respect his legally married wife.” Qi Zheng said in a proper manner.