Qi Zheng stayed silent momentarily before furrowing his brows and asking, “Did the crown prince agree?”
Shen Zikai placed a hand on Qi Zheng’s shoulders, hesitating. “A few officials are thinking this but they haven’t told the empress and the crown prince yet.”
So he wanted him to convince the empress and the crown prince?
Qi Zheng said, “I’ll go to the palace tomorrow to meet the empress. If the empress doesn’t agree, even if we really...it’d be to no avail. We might even be inviting trouble and be used by others.”
Prime Minister Sun had brought the daoist to the emperor so he naturally was part of the Sun Family. By then, if they were up to no good, not just they would be implicated, but also the empress and crown prince would be framed too.
“What sort of person is the daoist? Have you investigated?” Qi Zheng asked in a deep voice.
A flicker of disgust flashed by Shen Xiao’s eyes. “That stupid daoist’s surname is Zhou. He's the founder of a sect near Tianxuan Mountain. He is regarded highly by the local people and people there call him Spiritual Master Zhou. They even said that he’d become a deity soon.”
Normally, the daoists in temples would spend money in order to spread good words about their reputation so that they would be regarded highly. It was due to this that they were able to attract followers and worshippers to the temple. Qi Zheng didn’t believe in the so-called Spiritual Master Zhou.
“The emperor really listens to just Spiritual Master Zhou right now!” Shen Zikai said unhappily.
Qi Zheng didn’t expect for the situation to be so grave. No matter what, he must enter the palace and meet the empress tomorrow before deciding on what to do.
The brothers talked for a bit while Shen Ziqiao had someone bring them food. Subconsciously, it was already afternoon.
A while later, Lu Jiasheng came.
Lu Jiasheng used to be Du Ji’s military counselor. After Du Ji was killed, the soldiers disbanded. In order to avenge him, Lu Jiasheng worked with Shen Xiao. After that, the latter retired and Qi Zheng personally invited Lu Jiasheng to work for the crown prince.
“It’s best if we resolve the situation quickly and not drag this on, otherwise we’ll lose the opportunity…” Lu Jiasheng and Shen Xiao had come to a consensus already.
Since they had no idea what was going on, they should quickly resolve the issue and achieve their goals.
“I’m going to visit the crown prince right now.” Qi Zheng said.
Lu Jiasheng said, “Let me come with you.”
Because Lu Jiasheng didn’t know what Qi Zheng thought in the past, he didn’t dare mention this to the crown prince. Now, since Qi Zheng had agreed, it wouldn’t be difficult to convince the crown prince.
Qi Zheng had someone tell Shen Ziqiao that they had urgent matters to attend to before leaving with Lu Jiasheng first.
Shen Ziqiao was a bit shocked. Wasn’t Qi Zheng still on vacation? What was so urgent? She went to look for Shen Zikai but he was being vague. He wouldn’t tell her the situation. It seemed like things weren’t as simple as it seems.
She stopped pressing, thinking about asking Qi Zheng carefully tonight.
Not long later, she and Shen Xiao bid farewell before returning to the Qi Family.
The sunshine was bright and warm in the winter afternoon. It made people feel drowsy and sleepy. Shen Ziqiao leaned against the bed and excitedly called Mo Zhu and Lu Zhu over, telling them that someone was going to come over for the maids in Qianlin Courtyard.
“First Madam is magical as expected.” Mo Zhu smiled. “You just left and the third master came. Not only did he have Ying Tao and Ying Mei leave with him in broad daylight, he even ordered us maids to not tell you about it as if he was the head of the household. About four hours later, Ying Tao and Ying Mei came back beaming in joy, different from their mellow feelings from before…”
Lu Zhu continued, “The two bitches requested changing rooms to Lady Meng, wanting to live in single rooms. They said that they aren’t third-grade maids and we have to treat them as if they were first-grade maids. They looked as if they could become masters in a few days.”
Shen Ziqiao laughed out loud, regretting not being able to see the two maids’ arrogant expressions after being coaxed by Qi Rui.
“First Madam, you’re still laughing. This third master is really something. He actually...actually extended his hands to his own sister-in-law’s maids. Isn’t he afraid of being a laughing stock if news of this spread?” Hong Yu said moodily.
“Besides the Old Madam and the duke in the Qi Family, no one treats Qi Zheng as the actual legal and eldest master. In the past...those blind servants treated the second master as the legal and eldest master. The eldest master had suffered a lot.” Mo Zhu recalled how Qi Rui used to bully Qianlin Courtyard without regard and wanted badly to reason with him.
Shen Ziqiao hurriedly comforted Mo Zhu. “Don’t be angry. No one can bully your eldest master. Since the third master had kept Ying Tao and Ying Mei by him for a while, it’s clear that the two maids don’t listen to me. Then let them learn their lessons and have them kneel in the courtyard. Open the doors.”
“First Madam, after all, the madam sent them over…” Hong Yu was afraid that they might be slapping Xiao Gu’s face by punishing them like this.
But Shen Ziqiao was doing so for the exact reason. “Don’t worry. If I don't do this, the madam will continue to send people over.”
Mo Zhu and Lu Zhu looked at each other. They didn’t expect Shen Ziqiao to brazenly go against Xiao Gu.
Even if they offended the madam...ah, no. After all, the madam never liked them anyway. So they might as well add onto the hatred.
“This maid will have them go and take their punishments.” Mo Zhu responded in a crisp voice. She finally understood why she ordered her to tell Qianlin Courtyard’s maids to stay in the courtyard at all times and not leave casually, and to tell Lady Meng if they needed to go.
Ying Tao and Ying Mei treated themselves as treasures and looked down on servants of their kind. Therefore, why would they lower their status when facing Lady Meng?
“Young miss…” Hong Yu looked at her worriedly.
Hong Ying was excited however. “Young miss, this maid will go take a look.”
Shen Ziqiao lowered her head and took a sip of the Tieguanyin tea. It was great tea.
Not long later, Ying Tao and Ying Mei’s flustered and exasperated voices rang. Their tones seemed a bit sharp. “Mo Zhu, you bitch. How dare you treat us like this? Let go. Don’t you know where we’re from? We belong to the third master.”
“This is Qianlin Courtyard, eldest master and the First Madam’s place. Why are you involving the third master?” Mo Zhu sneered. “Quickly kneel down and take your punishment!”
Ying Mei puffed her chest and refused to kneel down, looking at Mo Zhu in disdain. “Don’t forget who is in charge of the household. The third master has a noble status so how could he be compared to other people? I’m advising you guys to be tactful and not find trouble for yourselves!”
She didn’t bother to hide her voice, clearly not putting Shen Ziqiao in her eyes.
Don’t blame these maids for not putting the eldest master in their eyes but Qi Zheng had never formed his prestige in the Qi Family all these years. He had been a fool for two decades or so and his status was only slightly better than a housekeeper’s. Then, he wasn’t stupid anymore. Not long later, he went to the northwest. The servants in the family still didn’t realize that Qi Zheng seemed to be different from the past. They still thought that he didn’t dare to fight against the two young masters and the madam.
They were maids sent over by the madam. By doing this, she was slapping the madam’s face.
Ying Tao hmphed and patted the non-existent sweat on her forehead using a handkerchief pampering. “The sun is too bright. If we get a tan because of this, the third master won’t let you go!”
Mo Zhu laughed. “Why are you guys still standing there? Force the maids to get on their knees already!”
“Tch. What a delicate body you have. You’re afraid of melting just by standing under the sun? You two act like you’re more delicate than the masters. Don’t forget what the First Madam had said yesterday. You guys know what you guys did today. Don’t think that we must worship you guys just because you bring the madam out.”
Ying Mei spat. “Have you asked the eldest master before punishing us? Don’t…”
Smack! There was a fingerprint on Ying Mei’s fair and delicate face. She was bewildered right then.
“What? The First Madam needs to be apprehensive of your statuses? What are your statuses? Masters in the family? Nobles? Screaming and whatnot, how are you following the rules in the household?” Hong Ying was the one that smacked Ying Mei, wanting to watch a show. Seeing that the two maids looked down on Shen Ziqiao and didn’t treat third miss as the First Madam at all, Hong Ying couldn’t control her anger anymore.
Mo Zhu clapped inside. She wanted to do that a long time ago!
“You bitch. You dare to hit me!” Ying Mei shrieked, wanting to pounce over and fight Hong Ying.
The third master cherished her and Ying Tao because they were beautiful. Even the madam never scolded them before. Yet, she was humiliated by an idiot she looked down on.
Xiao Gu’s spies were already driven away from the Qianlin Courtyard before Qi Zheng got married. Besides Ying Tao and Ying Mei, the others were all trusted aides of Qi Zheng. Seeing that the First Madam finally made a move, they weren’t afraid anymore. They pushed Ying Tao and Ying Mei on the ground, hitting them in inconspicuous places.
Ying Mei and Ying Tao shrieked in pain.
Mo Zhu looked back inside the room. She thought that Shen Ziqiao would be afraid of Xiao Gu but it seems like this First Madam was quite different.
No wonder the eldest master treated her like treasure.
Lu Zhu looked at her. The two faintly smiled and felt happy for the eldest master because he finally wasn’t alone.
“Nee Shen, who the heck do you think you are? You dare to do this to us! The third master won’t let you go.” Ying Tao exclaimed.
Mo Zhu’s expression darkened and ordered a woman by the side, “Slap her!”
The woman immediately listened and Ying Tao’s face was quickly swollen.
“Stop! Stop! What are you guys doing? How can you guys just hit people?” A man wearing a white robe walked over in large strides and shouted at the woman hitting the maids. He came over and kicked them.
The woman got kicked by the thigh and she suddenly fell back on the ground.