The next day, Shen Ziqiao and Qi Zheng got ready to head to the Shen Family.
Qi Zheng had a hunch as to why Shen Ziqiao wanted to go to the Shen Family. She wanted to advise Shen Zixin to consider her marriage with the Ninth Prince. So what if she did advise her? It would change nothing.
“Jiao Jiao. Are you planning to tell the fourth aunt about the Ninth Prince and Sheng Peiyin?” Qi Zheng brought her slightly cold hands into his palm, staring at her smooth face with a burning gaze.
Shen Ziqiao pursed her lips and said, unresigned, “I think Xin’er has the right to know the kind of person the Ninth Prince used to be in the past. Even if she couldn’t choose her marriage, she could at least get to know her future husband. But I also know that if I tell her, Xin’er might feel bad. If they’ve already had issues before they got married...this will be worse for Xin’er future days.”
It was good that she had thought this far. Qi Zheng smiled at her. “Jiao Jiao is such a considerate lady.”
“I know that you don’t want me to tell her either, hmph!” Shen Ziqiao looked over at the scenery outside. Then she won’t tell her. If they had issues, there is no such thing as harmony for the couple.
Qi Zheng laughed out loud and placed his arms around her, coaxing.
When they arrived at the Shen Family, Qi Zheng and Shen Ziqiao went to De’an Courtyard to pay respects to the Old Madam Shen first.
Although Old Madam Shen didn’t like Shen Ziqiao, Qi Zheng was the eldest master of the duke residence and the future heir. No matter how old she was, she couldn’t give Qi Zheng an attitude.
When Madam Zhou saw Shen Ziqiao, she eagerly spoke of the emperor bestowing marriage to the Ninth Prince and Shen Zixin. She wanted to see a jealous expression on Shen Ziqiao’s face. Ninth Prince, a true royal prince. He was much more noble than Qi Zheng. In the future, Shen Ziqiao would have to greet Xin’er. Thinking of this, Madam Zhou was incredibly delighted.
Their second household could finally beat down on the main household. When Xin’er becomes the Ninth Princess Consort, she’d be able to promote her two elder brothers!
Shen Xiao had no military power right now so he basically spent his days idle at home. Shen Family would probably need to rely on the second household in the future.
Madam Zhou couldn’t help but laugh out loud thinking of this.
“What are you laughing at?” Old Madam Shen was talking to Qi Zheng about Old Mada Qi when she suddenly heard Madam Zhou laughing. She furrowed her brows.
Shen Ziqiao sat by the side quietly and observed Old Madam Shen from the corner of her eyes. When she saw her last time, she was almost on her deathbed. Who knew that she looked better the past two days.
At the very least, her face wasn’t so pale anymore.
Madam Zhou coughed softly and sat up. “Mother, I was thinking about how Kai’er is going to get married soon and I’m happy for him.”
Old Madam Shen ignored her and turned to say to Qi Zheng, “I haven’t seen your grandmother all these years. Once I get better, I’ll go ask her for a cup of tea.”
Qi Zheng smiled faintly. “Old Madam, please get better soon.”
Then they chatted for a bit before Shen Zikai dragged Qi Zheng away. It seemed like they needed to talk about an urgent matter.
Old Madam Shen didn’t have anyone else to talk to now so she wanted to see if Shen Ziqiao had something to say to her. Madam Zhou would only talk about Xin’er every day and she had gotten tired of listening to her. Seeing that Madam Zhou was restless and wanting to brag in front of Shen Ziqiao again, Old Madam Shen waved her hands impatiently. “I’m tired. You guys can go now.”
She was waiting on this! A smile floated on Shen Ziqiao’s face. She stood up and exclaimed, “Grandmother, then I’ll be going now.”
Shen Ziqiao came out from De’an Courtyard and went to Shen Zixin’s.
The girl was embroidering her own wedding clothes. The color was really vibrant and it contrasted her flushed face too. Shen Ziqiao sighed seeing this.
“Xin’er!” She exclaimed by the door.
Shen Zixin just noticed Shen Ziqiao standing by the door. She immediately revealed a happy smile. “When did you come?”
“I’ve been here for a while. Seeing how you were concentrated on embroidering the wedding clothes, I didn’t dare to stop you.” Shen Ziqiao smiled. The two seemed to have returned to the past and the unpleasant moments that happened earlier vanished.
“Don’t laugh at me. I don’t want to embroider this but my mother won’t let me go then.” Shen Zixin said, her expression happy, different from how she was half a month ago.
Shen Ziqiao held her hands. “I heard about it when I was in the village. The emperor had bestowed marriage to you and the Ninth Prince. Congratulations. You’re going to be the Ninth Princess Consort in the future. Not long later, I can’t even act presumptuous towards you.”
“What is this nonsense? I’m going to ignore you if you keep saying things like this.” Shen Zixin’s face flushed but there was a smile in her eyes.
“Ah, I’ll stop, I’ll stop!” Shen Ziqiao smiled. She dragged Shen Zixin to sit down with her. “Right, have you seen the Ninth Prince yet?”
Shen Ziqiao nodded bashfully. “I saw him a while ago at the Huguo Temple. She heard others mention his name and it was then that she found out he was the Ninth Prince.
Shen Zixin’s expression changed. She and her best friend had gone to the Huguo Temple and coincidentally encountered the Ninth Prince who was talking to the abbot in the back garden.
As expected, he used to be the most handsome man in the capital.
“I heard that Third Miss Shen used to be infatuated with the Ninth Prince…”
It was unclear who said that but they realized Shen Zixin’s status and then swallowed their words.
Could it be that Jiao Jiao knew the Ninth Prince in the past too? Shen Zixin was a bit confused.
Shen Ziqiao observed Shen Zixin’s expression and knew what she was wondering. In the past, the original body loved the Ninth Prince and it was no secret that she pestered him endlessly. It had only been a while but everyone lost interest in this topic now. But once someone purposely mentioned it again, people would say unpleasant words again.
Instead of letting Shen Zixin hear it from someone else, she might as well confess.
“When I heard the Ninth prince requesting a decree to bestow marriage to us two, I was really startled. In the past, I was young and ignorant. I thought that the Ninth Prince looked handsome so he was the best in the world. I made a joke out of myself. Back then, you weren’t in the capital. If only you were. You would’ve advised me to not be so reckless. There wouldn’t be so many rumors about me. Even more, the Ninth Prince wouldn’t be hating me…” Shen Ziqiao laughed bitterly. The original body had done all of that because she didn’t have an elder to teach her. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have been pursuing a guy without a care in the world.
Speaking of, this was caused because Old Madam Shen neglected her eldest legal granddaughter.
“Then I got to know Qi Zheng and it was then that I realized I didn’t actually like the Ninth Prince. I was just infatuated with him...I just like pursuing beautiful things. If I had a mother, this might not happen.” Shen Ziqiao said and lowered her head, wiping her tears.
She seemed to regret her childish actions back then.
Shen Zixin pitied her. She knew how unruly Jiao Jiao used to be. It might be because of the Ninth Prince that Jiao Jiao suddenly realized how crafty her actions were in the past.
“How can you be blamed because of this? Grandmother...grandmother is just biased and neglected you. Auntie also passed away early on. As your sister, I hadn’t really cared enough. It’s my fault.” Shen Zixin said.
“I’m just worried that you’d mind the past…” Shen Ziqiao said worriedly.
“What are you saying? You think that I don’t know you? If you don’t like Qi Zheng, why would you marry him?” Shen Zixin stared at her coquettishly, saying in an eager tone. “No matter how the Ninth Prince was in the past, as long as we can treat each well and respectfully after we get married, that’s enough.”
She believed that she’d be able to get along with the Ninth Prince peacefully.
Shen Ziqiao looked at her deeply and then swallowed ehr words.
Maybe it was best if she didn’t tell Shen Zixin about Sheng Peiyin.
“Xin’er, as long as you don’t mind…”
Shen Zikai followed Qi Zheng to the study. Shen Xiao was already there waiting for them.
“You’re here.” Shen Xiao looked at Qi Zheng with a solemn expression. “Do you know about that?”
Qi Zheng said deeply, “I’ve heard about it. I thought that the emperor was just joking but I didn’t think he took it seriously. I went to seek the crown prince out and asked him to advise his majesty.”
“The empress had kneeled outside Qianqing Palace Hall the entire day and night but the emperor still didn’t change his mind.” Shen Zikai shook his head and sighed. “The crown prince may not be able to persuade the emperor.”
Half a month ago, it was unclear where Prime Minister Sun had found the founder of Tianxuan Sect and brought him to see the emperor. Since then, the emperor had been enchanted by refining pills to cultivate into a deity. Two days ago, the daoist said that on the Xuanwu Mountain in the east, there was a deity cave dwelling. If they were able to absorb spiritual influence there, it would be really to the cultivation foundation. When the emperor heard this, he wanted to go there immediately. He even placed court matters to the side.
Qi Zheng had just gotten married so he hadn’t been in the palace for some days. He just heard that the emperor lost himself in cultivating and refining pills but he didn’t expect it to be so serious.
“The officials in the court didn’t advise the emperor?” Qi Zheng asked.
“The emperor hadn’t been to court for two days. Government Minister Lu tried to advise the emperor but then he was punished to kneel in the Imperial Study for four hours.” Shen Xiao said helplessly. If they were able to, they would have advised him long ago. Yet, the emperor only listened to the daoist and no one else.
He didn’t just neglect the court matters now...
“Father-in-law, do you have a solution?” Qi Zheng lowered his voice and exclaimed in a solemn tone.
“The crown prince is getting married next month. Now, he can handle things alone and he’s also steady. Why not…” The next words could sentence him to death so Shen Xiao didn’t say it out loud.
Qi Zheng lifted his brows. He understood.
Shen Xiao probably wasn’t the only one thinking about this either. Many of the officials in court probably thought so too. The crown prince had been the heir apparent to the throne for so many years. No matter his character or ability, he was better than the other princes and definitely could handle the throne.
They wanted the emperor to step down and pass the throne to the crown prince before finding the cave dwelling.
But if they didn’t handle the situation delicately, they’d be forcing a rebellion.