Shen Ziqiao saw Qi Zheng’s pale expression behind Old Madam Qi. Although she knew that his injury wasn’t serious, she was still startled. How did she do this? It was too magical. She just left for a moment and he was able to do this to himself. When she left the door, he was still wearing a splendid smile and she couldn’t tell that he was injured at all.
Old Madam Qi wiped her tears and wanted to hug Qi Zheng but was scared of touching his wound. It felt like someone snatched her heart. “What exactly happened?”
Qi Zheng held onto Old Madam Qi’s hands weakly. In a weak tone, “Grandmother, don’t worry. I’m fine.”
“How could you be fine when you’re like this?” Duke An looked at his eldest son in distress. “Who? Who hurt you? What do they take our Duke An residence to be?”
“I...I had to pick up grandfather under the order of the empress.” Qi Zheng said in a low voice.
He went to bring Old Lord Lu back and then got chased! What did this mean? Everyone could tell. Who opposed the empress and the Lu Family right now? Who wouldn’t want Old Lord Lu back in the capital the most? The answer was out.
Xiao Gu and Imperial Consort Sun were cousins. Hearing Qi Zheng’s words, she pursed her lips and exclaimed, “Did you offend someone you shouldn’t have?”
“We can’t even offend the Sun Family now?” Old Madam Qi roared furiously. “Tell the Sun Family that we’re not letting this go.
“Mother…” What did she say wrong? Why must it be the Sun Family that caused Qi Zheng’s injury?
“Shut up!” Duke An glared at her.
Xiao Gu pursed her lips and didn’t dare to express any more opinions.
It was as if Qi Zheng didn’t see Xiao Gu. After all, there weren’t many days left for her. He didn’t need to bother with her right now.
Duke An patted Qi Zheng’s hands and said in a deep voice, “Just take care of yourself. You don’t need to worry about the matters outside.”
Qi Zheng didn’t even have the energy to say anything.
Shen Ziqiao weeped. “Grandmother, father, I want to accompany husband to the village as he recuperates.”
“Why the village? Can’t you recuperate at home?” Old Madam Qi asked unhappily. Was the village better than at home?
Qi Zheng said weakly, “Grandmother, I wanted to go to the village. It’s safer there…”
In other words, the house wasn’t safe? Xiao Gu’s face turned ashen from anger right then.
He was clearly talking about her! Could it be that while he was recuperating at home, she’d hurt him?
Old Madam Qi and Duke An knew what he was talking about. They recalled back to when Qi Zheng was almost poisoned. Their faces were worse than Xiao Gu.
Shen Ziqiao held onto Qi Zheng’s hands fearfully but she was determined.
“Jiao Jiao, it’s reasonable that Zheng’er gets a good rest after suffering such a serious injury. If his wound is split open…” Old Madam Qi knew that she couldn’t persuade Qi Zheng so she wanted to persuade Shen Ziqiao to change his mind.
“Husband?” Shen Ziqiao looked nervously at Qi Zheng. “Grandmother is right. Why don’t…”
“Grandmother, I want to recuperate in the village.” Qi Zheng closed his eyes and still refused to change his mind. His expression was as though he lost hope in the family. He didn’t want to give anyone a chance to hurt him and his wife.
Old Madam Qi was so worried that she couldn’t form her words. “You...right, okay. I’ll go to the village with you!”
“Grandmother, I just need Jiao Jiao.” Qi Zheng froze. What could he do if the Old Madam followed him? He held onto Old Madam Qi’s hands and squeezed it hard. “Grandmother, the physician said that as long as we’re careful enough, nothing will happen.”
“But…” Old Madam Qi looked at Qi Zheng’s hands in hesitation.
Duke An narrowed his eyes at Qi Zheng and Shen Ziqiao. “Okay, I’ll have someone send you guys to the village.”
It was hard to conceal the disappointment in Xiao Gu’s eyes. She finally got an opportunity and it got wasted just like that.
With Duke An and Old Madam Qi’s support, Qi Zheng and Shen Ziqiao quickly left the city. After getting in the horse carriage, Qi Zheng, this injured patient, automatically recovered.
Shen Ziqiao and Qi Zheng parted ways on the government road. Although they were reluctant to part, the situation didn’t allow them to hesitate.
“Be careful no matter what. Stay calm if you encounter a situation. Don’t do anything dangerous.” Qi Zheng kissed her face and reminded in a low voice.
“I will protect myself.” Shen Ziqiao hugged him and kissed him, pleasing him.
Qi Zheng kissed her harder and only let her go after she couldn’t breathe anymore. “Be careful on your way.”
Shen Ziqiao softly caressed his handsome face. “You too. Don’t get injured again.”
“Go ahead!” Qi Zheng smiled.
Besides Uncle Qun and four guards, as well as Hong Yu and Hong Ying, Shen Ziqiao also brought Liang Jianhai to Minyue.
“Young madam, if we want to get there through the waterway, we need to go through Bei Jin. But looking at the weather right now, going by the waterway may not be any quicker either.” After walking on the government road for a while, Uncle Qun came to talk to Shen Ziqiao expressionlessly while they stopped halfway to rest.
“Then let’s not go through the waterway.” Shen Ziqiao said. “As long as we can quickly get to Minyue.”
Uncle Qun cupped his hands and then retreated to arrange the journey.
Hong Ying muttered, “Young madam, that Uncle Qun is clearly taking advantage of his seniority. He doesn’t respect you in the least bit.”
Shen Ziqiao smiled. She thought back to how Uncle Qun threatened him to stay away from Qi Zheng. He was unhappy because he wanted to protect Qi Zheng and not accompany her to Minyue.
In his eyes, he probably thought that she was being unruly because she decided to go to Minyue instead of staying by Qi Zheng’s side to take care of him.
She respected Uncle Qun. If it weren’t for him, there was no way Qi Zheng would’ve been able to grow up peacefully.
In the next few days, Shen Ziqiao and the others were on their way to Minyue. At night, they would rest in taverns. Not only did Shen Ziqiao have Uncle Qun get information on Minyue but also the capital.
She heard that the emperor valued the third prince more and more. Even more, the emperor was furious that the cat Imperial Consort Sun raised almost injured the little grandson with a bite...
The empress probably started to sort out Imperial Consort Sun and Sheng Peiyin.
In the past, the empress was immersed in the emperor’s change in temperament. That’s why she hadn’t done anything to deal with Imperial Consort Sun and the rest. But now...she probably gave up on the emperor. She needed to start to protect her son and her grandson. She naturally couldn’t take the Imperial Consort Sun and Sheng Peiyin to continue to bounce around in front of her.
“Young madam, Shopkeeper Liang requests your presence.” Hong Yu came inside.
She brought Liang Jianhai to Minyue so that he could help to handle Ma Junfeng. Shen Ziqiao hurriedly let him in after hearing that he was looking for her. He probably had to do something.
“Third miss.” Liang Jianhai lowered his head and bowed at Shen Ziqiao.
“Shopkeeper Liang, what do you need?” Shen Ziqiao asked. They wouldn’t be able to make it to Minyue until another few days. She was more and more worried for grandfather.
She heard that Yixing Company was still sealed.
“Third miss, I noticed that there are way too many merchants on their ways to Minyue. It’s unusual in comparison to the numbers of past years.” Liang Jianhai knitted his thick brows. He had been observing the merchants on the roads and noticed that they were all headed for Minyue.
It was nearly the end of the year. Normally, there shouldn’t be much business in Minyue.
“What’s going on?” Shen Ziqiao had lived in Minyue for two years so she naturally understood what Liang Jianhai meant by unusual. Instead of returning home to celebrate the New Year’s, why were merchants going to Minyue?
Liang Jianhai said, “I carefully made inquiries. These merchants are all transporting cotton to Minyue. I heard that Henghui has been purchasing cotton in large amounts.”
“Isn’t Henghui Company, Ma Junfeng’s trading company?” Shen Ziqiao asked in shock. Why were they buying cotton now? To store it?
“I heard that this year, the cottons in Gore have been disaster-stricken. They need to buy it from other places in large amounts. Yixing Company had been purchasing cotton but who knew…” Liang Jianhai said.
This was Liang Jianhai’s strength. Even if there was just a bit of news, he could figure out the entire situation.
“What’s the price of cotton?” Shen Ziqiao asked.
“It used to be really low, about fifty silvers for a bag of cotton. But now that Henghui Company has been buying it in large amounts, the price has been raised to one hundred fifty silvers per bag.” Liang Jianhai had already found out the cost of the cotton.
“That’s why these merchants are all transporting cotton to Minyue to sell to Henghui Company?” Shen Ziqiao smiled and asked.
Liang Jianhai nodded. In a low voice, “If they successfully purchase all these cottons, then…”
Then Henghui Company will most likely take over Yixing Company.
“Where is Gore? Is there a map?” Shen Ziqiao remained silent for a moment. She was really curious about Gore.
Liang Jianhai said, “I’ll go check on it tomorrow.”
They were still on the way there so it wasn’t hard to find a map including the borders of Dazhou.
The next day, Liang Jianhai had Uncle Qun help find a map as well as the different spots outside the borders.
Shen Ziqiao spent the entire day and night to finish reading the map. Then he ordered Liang Jianhai to purchase the cottons from the hands of merchants they encountered. Even more, they rushed to tell Shopkeeper Fan to purchase cotton in high profile.
She even wrote a letter to He Chen, asking him to help purchase cotton.
“Third miss, you’re...purposely raising the price?” Liang Jianhai didn’t know why Shen Ziqiao made this move. If they raised the price of cotton too high, then it may not end well later on.
“That’s right. Yixing Company had purchased at least five hundred if not a thousand bags of cottons in the past. Plus, with the stocks we have in the capital’s storage, there are at least two thousand bags. Since Ma Junfeng wants to purchase cotton, let’s make some money off of him.” Shen Ziqiao smiled.
Liang Jianhai thought that Shen Ziqiao didn’t want to just earn money off of Ma Junfeng.
His gaze landed on the map on Shen Ziqiao’s hands.
She smiled and let him look. Liang Jianhai glanced at it for a while before revealing a delighted expression. “Third miss?”
“We have to raise the cotton price high.” A sneer floated on Shen Ziqiao’s face.
“But make sure the price is also reasonable, otherwise Ma Junfeng may not purchase it.” Liang Jianhai said.
“Within three hundred silvers.” Shen Ziqiao said.
Liang Jianhai smiled. “I know what to do.”