Nanny Gu gave the edible bird’s nest and the flower maw to Old Madam Qi. She had been waiting for Old Madam Qi to roar in anger. The New Year festival was almost over, yet there was no movement with the Old Madam.
“Could there be nothing wrong with the edible bird’s nest and flower maw?” Nanny Gu discussed this with Shen Ziqiao who came over to visit Gu Daiqin. She only trusted Shen Ziqiao the most in the Qi Family now because only she truly cared about Gu Daiqin.
If there was really nothing wrong, Old Madam Qi wouldn’t keep silent. It seems like something was off. That’s why she hadn’t said or done anything. After all, Xiao Gu was the duke’s madam. Without actual evidence, the Old Madam couldn’t really do anything.
“If Old Madam didn’t plan on doing anything, she wouldn’t have swapped the cooking maid that madam had sent over. Nanny Gu, don’t think about anything now. Just take good care of Concubine Qin.” Shen Ziqiao said.
Nanny Gu thought that she couldn’t compete against Xiao Gu. Even First Madam had been avoiding her so don’t mention herself. As long as Concubine Qin successfully gave birth to a child, her days in the Qi Family would get better.
Xiao Gu didn’t know about Gu Daiqin’s situation. After New Year’s, she started to worry about Qi Zheng’s marriage. They haven’t decided on the person becoming the next heir. Many influential families were unwilling to marry their daughters to Qi Feng who might not be anything. Meanwhile, Xiao Gu wasn’t interested in families with a less formidable background. She was relying on the other party to help Qi Feng obtain the heir’s position.
It was the Lantern Festival holiday now.
After recuperating, Gu Daiqin had become healthy once again. The physician checked over her and said that she could go on walks more often. It’d be better for her when she has to give birth.
Whenever it was the Lantern Festival, there were colored lanterns to admire. Shen Ziqiao had talked to Qi Zheng about this already. He must take her.
Even until today, she had never gone to see the Lantern Festival in the capital yet.
Gu Daiqin wanted to follow along as well. Shen Ziqiao rejected without even considering the opportunity. Don’t mention how she had bled in the past but she didn’t dare to take a pregnant woman to such a crowded place. What if she accidentally fell or slipped?
Thankfully, Old Madam had intervened and gotten rid of Gu Daiqin’s desire to go outside to play.
“Sister-in-law said that my elder brother made her a lantern.” Qi Zheng held Shen Ziqiao’s hands and there were stalls selling lanterns on both sides of them. There was a little tiger. Though it was really pretty, she was jealous of people telling her that Shen Zikai personally made a lantern for Nee Zhu.
Probably every girl enjoyed receiving a really special gift.
Qi Zheng squeezed her palm and chuckled lowly, “How’s your elder brother’s craftsmanship?”
“It’s not so good.” Shen Ziqiao recalled his work. Shen Zikai had made her a lantern as well. She really didn’t dare to praise his craftsmanship but that was his thought! His thoughts! “Even if it looks ugly, that’s his thought for sister-in-law. Then what about you?”
“Be good. I’ll personally make one for you next year. It’d be better looking than your elder brother’s for sure.” Qi Zheng coaxed in a soft voice but was roasting Shen Zikai inside his heart. He knew that he had bad craftsmanship, yet he still went forth with making a lantern. Now, Shen Ziqiao had become fussy with him.
Since he had ‘recovered,’ he had been busy. Where was he going to make the time to make a lantern?
Shen Ziqiao hmphed and expressed her displeasure.
Qi Zheng laughed bitterly and then coaxed her even more gently.
Gu Daiqin sat by Old Madam’s side in resentment. Seeing the maid by the side making her a lantern, she was unhappy. She thought it was more fun to go outside.
Why didn’t they let her go outside? In the past years, she could always go outside with her brothers. Her mother would never stop her. She didn’t like this place at all. She liked her mother and brothers most.
“Aunty, I’m not sick anymore.” Gu Daiqin stared at Old Madam with her pair of black eyes, reminding her that she recovered from her sickness and could go play outside. She didn’t need to lie in bed every day.
Old Madam Qi took her expression to heart. She smiled and shook her head. She was still a child. She didn’t know that she was already pregnant and needed to be careful no matter what. She thought that she was still sick.
“Even if you recovered, you can’t leave. You have to wait a while longer.” Old Madam smiled.
Gu Daiqin pouted, feeling wronged. When was she considered ‘recovered?’
“The second master is here.” Someone reported.
Old Madam Qi thought about it before letting Qi Feng inside.
“Grandmother.” Qi Feng respectfully greeted Old Madam Qi but looked towards Gu Daiqin. Seeing her pouting expression, he couldn’t help but freeze.
“Something’s the matter?” Old Madam Qi asked faintly.
Qi Feng looked at Gu Daiqin and looked down, bowing, “Grandmother, today is the Lantern Festival. This grandson, this grandson...wants to take Qin’er to admire the lanterns.”
“You know that she’s pregnant but you still want to take her out?” Old Madam Qi knitted her brows, looking at Qi Feng unhappily. She knew that he cared about Gu Daiqin but she was disappointed in his immature attitude.
“No, that’s not it. We’re just admiring the lanterns inside the courtyard. We don’t need to go outside.” Qi Feng hurriedly said.
Old Madam Qi hesitated for a moment before finally nodding. “Nanny Gu, look after Qin’er closely.”
“Thank you grandmother.” Qi Zheng was delighted and looked at Gu Daiqin with a bright gaze.
Gu Daiqin still wore a confused expression on her beautiful face.
“Qin’er, come. Let me take you to admire the lanterns.” Qi Feng was already used to her innocent look under her beautiful face. He extended his hand at her.
“Okay, okay! When Gu Daiqin heard that she could watch the lanterns, she immediately placed her hand in Qi Zheng’s palm.
Nanny Gu smiled and hurried out.
Qi Feng hung lanterns all over his courtyard. There were many different shapes and sizes of lanterns. Gu Daiqin was attracted by these lanterns right away.
“Don’t run around!” Qi Feng hugged her and sat her down. “Which one do you like? I’ll bring it over for you.”
“That! That!” Gu Daiqin pointed at the lanter in the shape of a little white rabbit.
Qi Feng hurriedly brought the lantern down from the tree and exclaimed, “You’re going to become a mother soon. You can’t jump around in the future.”
Gu Daiqin held the lantern and smiled, nodding.
“Come here. I had someone make some plum cake for you.” Qi Zheng smiled.
He actually disliked Gu Daiqin a lot in the beginning. He never thought about marrying a fool as his concubine. He looked forward to a life where he married a woman he loved. Though this silly girl had a beautiful appearance no men could ever say no to. He thought that since she was going to be his concubine, it would be unfortunate if he didn’t take this opportunity for his share of fun. But gradually, he thought that this silly girl was much cuter than women with scheming plans.
Every day, he had to listen to his mother teach him how to improve and please his father, and then win Qi Zheng. She taught him what to do and what not to do. He was like his mother’s puppet. He lost his own thoughts. Only in front of Gu Daiqin would he feel relaxed because she wouldn’t tell her what to do and what not to do. He was happy with her by his side.
He had never felt purely needed.
Knowing that Gu Daiqin was pregnant with his child, he was beaming with joy. But he knew that his mother wouldn’t be happy so he could only hide his happiness inside his heart and stay away from her. He had to act indifferent. Whenever he saw her feeling wronged, he felt as if his heart had been slashed.
That day, he froze when he heard that she had bled. His heart tightened in pain. He just realized how much he cared for the silly girl then.
If...if that silly girl hadn’t become like this due to a sickness, she definitely wouldn’t marry him with her beauty.
He didn’t want to experience that pain again.
“Don’t choke. Drink some water.” Qi Feng heard some coughing and snapped out of his trance to see this silly girl shoving her mouth with plum cake. He hurriedly delivered water for her to drink.
Nanny Gu stared at them standing not far, tears in her eyes. She silently took a few steps, not wanting to disturb this moment of rare peace.
“It’s yummy!” Gu Daiqin drank some water and calmed down, smiling at Qi Feng.
Her smile was beautiful like the blooming of a plum flower. Qi Feng became absent-minded. “Look at you. Your entire mouth is covered in cake.”
Gu Daiqin reached over and wiped her mouth.
As if prompted by sudden urge, Qi Feng hugged her and captured her lips.
Gu Daiqin blinked her eyes and extended her tongue to lick him.
“Qin’er!” Qi Feng’s breathing became labored. He had missed her for so long and he finally couldn’t resist the urge to hug her tightly and kiss her. His hands searched under her clothes and removed her belt.
Sob. Gu Daiqin moaned in pain, tears forming in her eyes.
Qi Feng pushed her against the bed.
Gu Daiqin had trouble breathing due to the kiss. Although Qi Feng had tried his best to avoid her stomach, she felt unwell. Could it be that she ate too many plum cakes?
Qi Feng didn’t notice that Gu Daiqin’s face paled even more as he was too immersed in his feelings. His finger squeezed inside her and he suddenly felt something wet.
How could it be...
Qi Feng lowered his head in shock. The fresh red blood dyed Gu Daiqin’s dress. His face paled. “Qin’er!”
Gu Daiqin’s face paled and she scrunched her face, moaning in pain.
“Someone! Someone come here quickly!” Qi Feng exclaimed out loud.
Shen Ziqiao and Qi Feng returned home to find out that Gu Daiqin had gotten into an incident. Duke An was furious and he was scolding the second master right now. The two hurried to Old Madam Qi’s side.
In the lounge, Duke An paced around angrily. Qi Feng knitted his brows and he made eye contact with Shen Ziqiao. She went to the west room without another word.
The moment she entered the room, she smelled a strong metallic blood scent. Shen Ziqiao felt disgusted and almost vomited right then. It took much effort for her to suppress the disgusting feeling.
Old Madam Qi sat on the master seat as Xiao Gu stood by the side with an unwell expression. There were maids walking out carrying bowls of blood water. Shen Ziqiao knew what happened immediately.
“Grandmother!” She walked over and ignored Xiao Gu. “Qin’er, she…”
“She lost her child.” Old Madam Qi’s voice was deep and one couldn’t hear any feelings but they felt a cold aura behind their backs.
Shen Ziqiao couldn’t bear the news. “How did this happen?”
A cold glint flickered past Old Madam Qi’s eyes. She cursed out sternly, “It’s all because of that impetuous and naive bastard!”
Xiao Gu’s face turned worse. “Mother, Zheng’er did nothing.”
“Did nothing? Then how did Qin’er lose her child?” Old Madam Qi asked furiously.
Shen Ziqiao understood what Old Madam meant. She was so shocked that she didn’t know what to say. Qi Feng...Qi Feng actually did that?
After she greeted Old Madam Qi, she pulled the curtains to the side and walked inside.
A physician was performing acupuncture on Gu Daiqin while Nanny Gu was crying, her eyes swollen, and on her knees by the side. Qi Feng sat on the bed and held onto Gu Daiqin’s hands tightly.
Shen Ziqiao watched as Gu Daiqin’s face was pale and looked transparent, and then she recalled the bowl of blood water from before. Anger surged in her heart and she walked over, slapping Qi Feng. “You bastard!”
“First Madam!” Nanny Su who had been inside the room, called out angrily.
Who gave this woman the right to hit the second master?
Qi Feng was unmoved and stared at Gu Daiqin, frozen.
The physician who had been performing acupuncture stared at Shen Ziqiao before continuing his actions.
Xiao Gu rushed in upon hearing movement. She stared furiously at Shen Ziqiao after seeing the slap on Qi Feng’s face. “You bitch. How dare you hit my son?”
Shen Ziqiao looked coldly at him. “I’m just beating this bastard up. What?”
“You…” Xiao Gu was indignant. She had enough of that old woman’s attitude outside and now Shen Ziqiao had to talk back to her. She wanted to tear her apart.
“Out!” The physician performing acupuncture exclaimed unhappily.
Hatred flickered through Xiao Gu’s eyes but she didn’t dare be impolite towards the physician. She glared harshly at Shen Ziqiao and then wanted to pull Qi Feng away and leave with her.
Unfortunately, Qi Feng didn’t even move, refusing to leave Gu Daiqin’s side.
“You...you unfilial son!” Xiao Gu stamped on her feet and left angrily.
Shen Ziqiao was afraid that she might not be able to hold in the urge to continue to punch Qi Feng if she continued to stay. She glanced at Nanny Gu before leaving as well.
About an hour later, the physician came out slowly.
Nanny Gu and Nanny Su followed behind. Qi Feng was still inside with Gu Daiqin.
“Imperial Physician Dou, how is she?” Old Madam Qi hurriedly asked.
He was an imperial physician! Shen Ziqiao looked at the old man wearing a simple outfit in shock. He was the well-known Imperial Physician Dou. She heard that he was an expert in gynecology. Almost all of the imperial concubines in the palace all wanted him to diagnose them.
The Old Madam actually invited him over to treat Gu Daiqin.
With Imperial Physician Dou’s assistance, even if Gu Daiqin lost her child, she won’t be in danger anymore.
“Why is she so muddleheaded?” Imperial Physician Dou sighed. “She’s fine but she hurt her body and then she also touched musk which she shouldn’t have. She probably has to recuperate for some time before she could get pregnant again.”
Ah, such a beautiful woman, yet she had to encounter this kind of trouble. One felt bad just thinking about it.
Xiao Gu’s expression stiffened when she heard Imperial Physician Dou talk about musk.
Nanny Gu cried. “It’s all this maid’s fault. If this maid had watched over them, second master wouldn’t have...Old Madam, beat this maid to death please.”
Imperial Physician Dou looked at the maid confusedly. Why was everyone taking out their anger on that young man? “Could it be that your second master fed his woman safflower? Impossible. That’s such an inhumane thing to do!”
Safflower? Shen Ziqiao froze. “Imperial Physician Dou, you said that Qin’er lost her child because she ate safflower?”
“That’s right. Ah, who was the one taking care of her? Not only has she gotten into contact with musk, she did with safflower as well. You’re killing her! You guys don’t know how to treasure such a beautiful lady.” Imperial Physician Dou shook his head and sighed.
What was this? Shen Ziqiao noticed that Imperial Physician Dou’s words didn’t make sense but this wasn’t the main point. The main point was the safflower!
“How could Qin’er have eaten safflower?” Shen Ziqiao looked at Nanny Gu. Didn’t she have her pay attention to the food?
“This maid had personally tested everything that Concubine Qin ate today…” Nanny Gu said trembling. She had been really careful already. How could..? “...Plum cake! Second master fed Concubine Qin some plum cake!”
Old Madam Qi asked in a stern voice, “Then what about the plum cake?”
Xiao Gu fisted her hands that she hid under her sleeves. Luckily, she had buried the plum cakes into the dirt already.
Nanny Gu said, “Second master rewarded this maid two pieces, and this maid hasn’t touched them yet. This maid will bring them over now.”
Shen Ziqiao noticed that Xiao Gu’s expression changed after Nanny Gu said this.
Not long later, Nanny Gu walked over with plum cakes and handed it to Imperial Physician Dou to check. As expected, there were safflowers inside, and a lot.
Qi Feng appeared by the door, stumbling. His eyes were red as he stared fixated at the two plum cakes.
“Where did the plum cakes come from?” Old Madam Qi asked. She naturally didn’t suspect Qi Feng wanting to hurt Gu Daiqin. She knew his feelings towards Gu Daiqin were genuine when she saw how dazed he was.
“Mother…” Qi Feng looked at Xiao Gu confusedly.
He got these plum cakes from the little kitchen. The cooking maid said that the madam had someone make this for Gu Daiqin.
Old Madam Qi glanced at Xiao Gu icily.
Imperial Physician Dou chuckled and exclaimed that it was getting late and he was going to head back to rest. He gave the prescription to Nanny Gu and then taught how to cook the medicine before leaving.
Old Madam specially sent Imperial Physician Dou to the courtyard door while Shen Ziqiao was behind them.
“Old Madam Qi, no need to see me out.” Imperial Physician Dou smiled and looked at Shen Ziqiao. He squinted his eyes and exclaimed, “This young madam should get her pulse checked too.”
Shen Ziqiao was confused while a bright glint flickered through Old Madam Qi’s eyes as if thinking about something.
They left Nanny Gu and two maids in the west room to take care of Gu Daiqin while Old Madam Qi went back to the main lounge holding onto Shen Ziqiao.
Duke An and Qi Zheng found it incredulous that Gu Daiqin had lost her child because she ate plum cakes that contained safflowers. They wondered who was so brazen and dared to hurt Qi Family’s child!
Even if Gu Daiqin was just a concubine, the child in her stomach would become a master one day.
“Zheng’er, let me ask you. Where did you get the plum cake from?” Old Madam Qi glanced coldly at Qi Feng on his knees in the center of the lounge.
“The main household’s...kitchen.” He said in a daze, absent-minded.
Xiao Gu hurriedly said, “I had someone make some plum cakes but I didn’t add safflowers. Old Madam, Lord, you have to believe me. Someone must’ve done this to frame me!”
Xiao Gu didn’t expect Qi Feng to take the plate of plum cakes. She originally planned on stopping herself. She thought that since Gu Daiqin had already hurt her body in the past, the baby probably wouldn’t be able to live for long even if she gave birth to the child. But who knew that Qi Feng would care about Gu Daiqin that much? Now that unmarried ladies knew Qi Feng had a beautiful concubine who was also pregnant, why would even any of them want to marry him?
That’s why she wanted to secretly get rid of Gu Daiqin’s child. She didn’t expect she did so through Qi Feng...
She hated herself for going out to watch some stupid Lantern Festival!
Otherwise, Qi Feng wouldn’t have gotten the plate of plum cakes!
She knew that Xiao Gu would defend herself so Old Madam Qi brought out the flower maw and edible bird’s nest that Nanny Gu had brought over earlier. She even explained the reason behind Gu Daiqin’s bleeding last time.
“Sister-in-law brought these things over. I didn’t even touch them!” Xiao Gu said immediately.
Duke An looked at Xiao Gu like she was a stranger. She wasn’t even embarrassed to say this! Could it be that Madam Gu was ruthless to the point of hurting her own daughter?
“From today on, you can’t leave the courtyard. I will find out who drugged Qin’er!” Old Madam Qi didn’t want to hear Xiao Gu’s retort. Since bringing out the edible bird’s nest and flower maw, she had never thought about showing evidence.
Everyone knew whether Xiao Gu had done it or not.
“Feng’er, believe in this mother. How could mother do this?” Xiao Gu was a bit nervous seeing that Qi Feng had her head down and didn’t even look at her. She hurriedly wanted to explain.
“Mother, you’ve never done it before?” Qi Feng laughed sarcastically. He thought back to how he had been trying to fight for the heir’s position with Qi Zheng all this time but it was clearly a joke now.
He couldn’t even protect his woman so how could he protect the entire Qi Family?
Up until everyone returned to the courtyard, it was in the middle of the night and Shen Ziqiao leaned silently in Qi Zheng’s arms as she recalled what happened tonight.
“Qi Zheng, what’s with Xiao Gu’s mind? That’s her grandson.” Shen Ziqiao couldn’t understand Xiao Gu’s thoughts. It was too much.
“You could never guess how sinister a person can be.” Qi Feng didn’t find this surprising. Xiao Gu only considered herself.
Shen Ziqiao sighed. “Poor Qin’er…”
Qi Zheng patted her shoulders. “Sleep now.”
It was supposed to be a happy holiday but no one expected that to happen.
The couple went to rest while the main household was bound to have a sleepless night.
Xiao Gu didn’t sigh in belief because she was just put on house arrest. She knew Old Madam Qi too well. The more peaceful and calm the punishment was, the more fearful she actually was.
“Why were the plum cakes given to the second master? Can’t you do your job?” Xiao Gu surged in anger. If it weren’t for the damned plum cakes, this wouldn’t have happened.
Nanny Su’s face paled as well. She never thought that the second master would take the plum cakes.
“Madam, what should we do now?” Nanny Su was just worried that Old Madam Qi wouldn’t let them go. The flower maws and edible bird’s nest were just even more evidence against them. After what happened tonight, who would believe in Xiao Gu’s innocence?
Though Xiao Gu was indeed guilty.
“We can only react as we go, though that old woman probably doesn’t have the time to deal with me yet. I’ll take this time to find a solution.” Xiao Gu clenched her teeth. She finally made her way to today so she wouldn’t allow herself to be beaten down that easily.
A few days later, Gu Daiqin gradually recovered. Qi Feng had been taking care of her endlessly. He had become skinny as a result. Despite Old Madam Qi being displeased with him, her heart couldn’t help but soften seeing him like this.
At this time, news of Nee Hu getting a cold had spread from the village. They requested Old Madam inviting a physician over to check on Nee Hu. She had taken medicine for days but she hadn’t improved at all.
Without another word, Old Madam Qi had Nanny Tian invite a famous physician from the capital to check on Nee Hu. While she was at it, she told Qi Bi that her marriage had been settled. She was going to marry Lucheng’s Qian Family.
Although they weren’t from a prestigious background, with Qi Bi’s status as a mistress’ daughter, it was a really good marriage.
Nee Hu was really happy. She thought that her trip back to the capital was the correct decision. Not only did her daughter marry someone good, even she finally entered the Qi Family.
Qi Bi felt like it wasn’t so simple though. Even more, she thought there was something off with Nee Hu’s sickness. Though after taking the medicine prescribed by the famous physician Nanny Tian brought over, Nee Hu’s cold had gotten much better.
Old Madam Qi had someone bring Qi Bi back into the residence and had people prepare her wedding.
Of course, Qi Bi wasn’t considered a daughter of the Qi Family so her wedding was simple. But compared to ordinary families’ weddings, it was very grand and magnificent.
Old Madam Qi wasn’t worried about Qi Bis marriage but rather what Imperial Physician Dou had said before leaving the other day.
She had Nanny Tian invite Physician Wu over and personally accompanied Shen Ziqiao to get her pulse checked on.
Shen Ziqiao had been feeling unwell the past two days anyway. She hadn’t thought much into it. But when she saw Physician Wu, she suddenly thought of something...Her period hadn’t come in a while.
Physician Wu smiled as he removed his hand on her wrist. “Congratulations Old Madam. You’re going to become a great-grandmother. Congratulations young madam.”
She was really pregnant...Imperial Physician Dou was awesome. He didn’t even check on her pulse and he could tell that she was pregnant.
Old Madam Qi couldn’t contain her smile. “Physician Wu, are you sure?”
“Old Madam don’t worry. This physician doesn’t make the wrong diagnosis. However, she hasn’t hit the third month yet. She has to be careful.” Physician Wu said.
“Naturally.” Old Madam Qi had Nanny Tian prepare a thick embroidered pouch for Physician Wu as payment fee.
After sending Physician Wu away, Old Madam Qi turned to see Shen Ziqiao still stunned and in a daze. Old Madam Qi’s expression turned serious suddenly and then glanced at the delighted maids in the room. “Don’t you dare tell anyone about the First Madam’s pregnancy. She hasn’t hit her first trimester yet so you guys have to be careful. Do you guys understand?”
“Right, Old Madam.” The maids in the room felt fearful after recalling Gu Daiqin losing her child not too long ago. They understood that Old Madam Qi was trying to prevent people with ulterior motives.
“Jiao Jiao, you’re going to become a mother.” Old Madam Qi exclaimed to Shen Ziqiao meaningfully and deeply.
Shen Ziqiao felt a bit strange. She caressed her lower abdomen with her hands. She was pregnant...with her and Qi Zheng’s child? This happened too quickly and she wasn’t ready for it.
“Grandmother, I….what should I do?” She had no experience in this and she heard that pregnant women seemed to have some taboos.
“I’ll have Nanny Tian select two experienced nannies to come and serve you. Just go on about your days and stay happy.” Old Madam Qi smiled.
Shen Ziqiao nodded softly. She suddenly wanted to see Qi Zheng soon.
But life was always variable. Before Qi Zheng had come, Shen Family had sent someone over in order to announce Old Madam Shen’s death. She had died last night.
Hearing this news, Shen Ziqiao wasn’t too sorrowful. Since she had become Shen Ziqiao, she had been opposing Old Madam Shen. She didn’t feel much towards her. But she still pretended to wipe her eyes when the person came to report her death and then acted sad.
Qi Zheng had been so busy that she rarely got to see him. Qi Family had sent someone over to let him know that Old Madam Shen had passed away after he came out from the palace. They wanted him to represent the First Madam and go to the Shen Family.
Qi Zheng hadn’t thought so much either. He went to the Shen Family to burn incense.
He returned to the Qianlin Courtyard to see everyone wearing delighted expressions as if something great was going to happen. He was confused. Though Old Madam Shen and Shen Ziqiao weren’t close, Shen Ziqiao wouldn’t have gone so far as to feel happy for her death.
He walked inside in large strides and Shen Ziqiao was just drinking tocolytic medicine.
“What happened to you?” Qi Zheng was shocked when he smelled medicine. He thought that Shen Ziqiao was unwell.
Shen Ziqiao wore a simple white dress and pulled her hair up simply with just a silver hairpin. She looked simple but elegant like a white orchid.
“It tastes really bad.” Shen Ziqiao said with her bunched up. “Tell grandmother that I have a great body. I don’t need to drink tocolytic medicine.”
“It may taste bitter but it’s good for you. How are you going to recover if you don’t drink…” Qi Zheng coaxed her out of habit but then his expression froze. He seemed to have heard something. Tocolytic medicine?
Shen Ziqiao smiled at her and her eyes were sparkling like glowing stars.
“Toco...tocolytic medicine?” Qi Zheng asked again, uncertain. His voice hoarse.
“Right. The physician said I’m almost three months pregnant. Grandmother was worried that the journey back to Minyue was bumpy so she had Nanny Tian personally cook some tocolytic medicine for me.”
She was pregnant before going to Minyue.
Qi Zheng stared straight at Shen Ziqiao’s abdomen.
Jiao Jiao! Baby!
“Hey, what’s that reaction of yours?” Shen Ziqiao poked his arm unhappily. “Why aren’t you happy at all?”
“I…” Qi Zheng opened his mouth, his voice choking. He didn’t know what to say.
“Silly!” Shen Ziqiao smiled softly and rubbed herself against him. She hugged him and chuckled lowly in his ears. “Qi Zheng, I’m so happy. This is our child. I’m going to be a mother and you’re going to be a father.”
Qi Zheng didn’t know what to do. He wanted to hug her tightly but was scared that he might not be able to control himself and might hurt her.
She had his child!
Shen Ziqiao held onto his hands and gently placed it on her abdomen. “In another month or so, you’ll be able to feel him.”
“Jiao Jiao…” Qi Zheng choked again. He thought that he would never fall in love with a woman and be beaming with joy that she had his child. If he didn’t know her...he might’ve gone on another path in life.
He thanked heaven for bringing her to his side.
Shen Ziqiao smiled and kissed him.
Shen Ziqiao was unable to offer her condolences at the Shen Family and soon, news of her pregnancy had spread.
Duke An couldn’t contain his smile and discussed with the Old Madam Qi to choose an heir.
Xiao Gu accidentally smashed a valuable white jade porcelain after hearing that Shen Ziqiao was pregnant. Even now, she was still put on house arrest. She couldn’t do anything. Thinking of this, she decided she had to quickly settle down a marriage for Feng’er.
Qi Feng had been taking care of Gu Daiqin and once she recovered pretty much, he had gone to talk to Qi Zheng.
“Elder brother, can you help me with something?” Qi Feng looked at Qi Zheng with a sallow expression. He had lost his arrogance. Because of Gu Daiqin, he had understood a lot of things. His arrogance was beaten away and this made him much more mature and reserved.
“What?” Qi Zheng didn’t agree. Seeing that Qi Feng hadn’t abandoned Gu Daiqin, his attitude towards his stepbrother had improved a bit.
Qi Feng said in a low voice, “I want to be appointed to a post outside of the capital…”
Qi Feng held a post in Imperial Hanlin Academy. Though the post didn’t look so good, he was set for a great future. Xiao Gu was depending on him to be conferred a title.
“Are you sure?” A flicker of surprise flashed by Qi Zheng’s eyes. He observed Qi Feng, wanting to gauge the validity of his words.
Qi Feng smiled faintly. “Elder brother, please help me.”
He used to look down on Qi Zheng, thinking that he was just a laughing stock and fool. He never thought that the fool would become the hero in Dazhou’s common people’s hearts. Even more, he didn’t think Qi Zheng would become the crown prince’s most trusted aide.
Sun Family and Imperial Concubine Ma were utterly defeated. Qi Feng understood that Qi Zheng was somehow involved in this. He was able to scheme even Prime Minister Sun, a formidable figure, so don’t mention obtaining the position of heir. Qi Zheng just disdained being an heir.
Qi Feng wasn’t that innocent to think that Qi Zheng had become normal after being beaten by Shen Ziqiao.
Qi Feng wasn’t able to pretend to be stupid for decades like Qi Zheng. He knew that he couldn’t compare to him. This was the truth.
He had recognized reality right now. He didn’t want to know whether his mother could distinguish the truth or not.
He wanted to leave the Qi Family with Gu Daiqin, and the capital as well. He didn’t mind being a county magistrate at any place. A place with him and Qin’er alone was much better than in the Qi Family.
“I know.” Qi Zheng nodded, agreeing.
After Qi Feng left, Qi Zheng returned to his room too and told this to Shen Ziqiao.
“He didn’t look for father and instead came for you?” Shen Ziqiao was stunned. “Is he trying to express goodwill?”
“Why would I need anyone to express goodwill to me?” Qi Zheng hmphed but was thinking that Linjiang City happened to lack a county magistrate so he could have Qi Feng go there.
Shen Ziqiao threw herself into his arms and joked, “I’m expressing goodwill to you.”
“Be careful! You’re an adult and you still love to play around!” Qi Zheng scolded but gently brought her into his arms.
Ever since Shen Ziqiao was pregnant, she enjoyed sticking to his side more and more often and joking around too. Of course, he enjoyed their intimate moments.
Two days later, it was confirmed that Qi Feng was going to be appointed to a post outside the capital. The news quickly spread to Xiao Gu’s ears.
Xiao Gu felt like she had been drained. She had placed all her hope on Qi Feng. She had already made plans for the elders of her maiden family to come and force Qi Silin to make Qi Feng the heir. Who knew that he was going to be appointed to a post outside of the capital. There was no way he’d make it back home in less than three to five years.
“...I heard that eldest master had mediated the situation.” Xiao Gu heard this and immediately started shrieking. It must be Qi Zheng. He purposely did this! He did this to chase Qi Feng out of the capital!
“I’m going to reason with the Old Madam!” Xiao Gu said furiously. Who gave Qi Zheng the right to chase her son away?
Xiao Gu angrily ran out of her room but was stopped by the two women guarding the door. They exclaimed that she was put on house arrest so she couldn’t go anywhere.
“Damned servant, you dare to stop me!” Xiao Gu gave each one a slap. No one dared to trample on her prestige in the Qi Family. Today however, she was stopped by two lowly servants. How could she allow this?
The women that she hit were Old Madam Qi’s people. They knew better than anyone else that the Qi Family had gone through a huge change. Xiao Gu could never dominate the household anymore. First Madam was the one in power of the Qi Family!
Nanny Su had fought with the two women in order to protect Xiao Gu.
The maids’ shrieks rang inside the courtyard.
Old Madam and Shen Ziqiao were in the garden admiring the flowers when they heard movement and hurried over to check on the situation.
Xiao Gu’s hair was scattered all over her and she lost her noble and elegant image. She looked like a mad woman. Her eyes were blazing in danger. Seeing Shen Ziqiao by Old Madam Qi’s side, hatred surged inside her heart and she screamed as she charged a her.
Shen Ziqiao’s face darkened and she moved back a few steps.
Meanwhile, Hong Ying who was behind Shen Ziqiao quickly ran over and charged at Xiao Gu as well.
“Capture this insane woman!” Old Madam Qi roared at the women besides her.
Shen Ziqiao was protected behind Hong Yu and Mo Zhu. Everyone sighed. Xiao Gu clearly was aiming at First Madam’s stomach.
“Let me go. You lowly maids. How can you do this to me?!” Xiao Gu screamed out loud.
“Lock her in the dō behind here!” Old Madam Qi ordered with a dark face. “Madam has gone insane. She probably can’t be cured…”
Nanny Su’s face paled immediately. What did the Old Madam mean?
“You old fart! Why are you doing this to me? I’m your niece, your niece!” Xiao Gu cried.
Old Madam Qi stared coldly at her. “It’s because you’re my niece that I tolerated you all these years.”
“Take her away!”
Duke An came back to Xiao Gu’s howling.
He heard that Xiao Gu wanted to hurt Shen Ziqiao and was furious. Even more, he regretted being seduced by a woman like this back then, and married her. Not only did he drag his children down, he almost hurt Shen Ziqiao too.
Xiao Gu was locked in the dō as if she was possessed. Duke An forbidded anyone from visiting her.
Within two months, news of Xiao Gu shaving her head and devoting herself to spiritual development had spread.
Qii Feng brought Gu Daiqin and started their journey to Linjiang City.
Although Qi Rui and Qi Yun thought something was suspicious about Xiao Gu becoming a nun, they didn’t dare to raise any questions. They listened obediently to Old Madam Qi arranging marriages for them.
News of Nee Hu passing away due to sickness also spread from the village.
The family felt much more quieter suddenly. Shen Ziqiao lazily leaned in Qi Zheng’s arms and ate the peach he fed her. “It seems like...we can’t move out.”
“If you don’t like it here, we can still move out.” Qi Zheng said.
“Don’t, I think it’s pretty nice here. But we can’t go to Minyue.” Xiao Gu probably wouldn’t be able to make it out this life. Without Xiao Gu eying them covetously, Shen Ziqiao thought this was hers and Qi Zheng’s home.
“When our daughter is born, let’s go to Minyue.” Qi Zheng kissed her pouty lips and smiled.
Shen ziqiao hmphed. “How do you know it’s a daughter? I think it’s a son.”
“I like both!” Qi Zheng licked her peach flavored lips. He’d treasure their child, no matter the gender.
“Qi Zheng…” Shen Ziqiao panted from the kiss and could clearly feel the change on his body.
Ever since he knew that she was pregnant, they didn’t have intercourse anymore. But he slept by her side every day. How could she not know how hard he had been holding this in for?
“I’ll go to the study.” Qi Zheng didn’t expect him to lose control just from a kiss. He pushed her away with difficulty. He was scared that if he continued to kiss her, things would go out of hand.
Shen Ziqiao wrapped her arms around his shoulders and kissed his neck, her face flushed. She said bashfully, “You don’t want me? Are you trying to satisfy your need by going to a maid? Hold your urge in.”
It wasn’t like no maids had tried seducing Qi Zheng when she was pregnant. Shen Ziqiao had also been worried that he might not be able to withstand the urge but he didn’t disappoint her.
“Jiao Jiao, you...you’re pregnant…” Qi Zheng panted from the kiss and felt the blood in his body rushing to a certain private part, his erection swelling.
“It’s already been three months. You just need to be more careful…” Shen Ziqiao said this as she pulled his hands to her well-rounded globes.
Qi Zheng’s hands seemed to have their own consciousness. He couldn’t help but squeeze them.
Shen Ziqiao moaned. “I asked Imperial Physician Dou.”
He finally collapsed and carried Shen Ziqiao to the bed, lowering his head and kissing her intensely.
One could only hear the man’s groaning and the woman’s moaning. The maids outside the room all lowered their heads and ran off.
The next day, Shen Ziqiao woke up in Qi Zheng’s arms and she looked up to see a pair of bright eyes.
“You’re not going to sleep for a while longer?” Qi Zheng was a bit nervous. He seemed to have lost control yesterday. He wondered if she was a bit uncomfortable.
“No, let’s go out for a walk.” Shen Ziqao smiled. “Leave quickly. I need to wear clothes.”
She was bare under the blanket and her face flushed. She was unwilling to wear her clothes in front of Qi Zheng.
Qi Zheng chuckled. “I’ve seen you already.”
Shen Ziqiao pushed him. “I don’t care. Leave!”
“I’ll help you wear your undergarment.” Qi Zheng refused to leave. He hugged her and chuckled.
“Don’t!” Shen Ziqiao shook his head determined and pushed him away, clutching her undergarment in her hands tightly. Although they had gone through really intimate moments, she was still really shy and embarrassed.
Qi Zheng laughed out loud. “Jiao Jiao…”
Suddenly, the sound of a clock had rung. This came from the imperial palace and it could be heard across the entire capital. The solemn ringing rang seven times and it expressed an indescribable sorrow.
Shen Ziqiao felt that Qi Zheng’s mood immediately dampened. She knew that something bad happened. “What’s going on?”
Qi Zheng looked at her. “The emperor has died.”
The emperor died which meant that it was the end to Sheng Peiyin’s favoring. The empress claimed that the emperor loved Imperial Consort Ma the most when he was alive and bestowed her to be buried with the late emperor.
The empress hated Sheng Peiyin to the bones. She personally watched as Sheng Peiyin was locked inside the late emperor’s tomb and confirmed that she would never appear in this world anymore before she could truly rest in peace.
The crown prince ascended the throne and became the emperor. He bestowed Qi Zheng as Duke Jing while Shen Ziqiao as madame lady.
Shen Ziqiao felt steady holding the decree.
Sheng Peiyin died...
The crown prince ascended the throne and she had kicked the female lead off her pedestal and got her wish granted, changing the ending of the novel.
It seems...like she was dreaming.
Old Madam Qi ordered Nanny Tian to have the kitchen prepare food for a banquet tonight.
Shen Ziqiao returned to Qianlin Courtyard. Right now, she was beaming with joy and felt like she was completely unrestrained. She was free. Bubbles surrounded her.
In the evening, Qi Zheng came back. Shen Ziqiao stood in the courtyard and glanced at the man walking towards her with his back to the sun. The sunshine shone on him and painted a layer of glow on him. She never thought he was as handsome as he was right now and she realized just how much she loved him.
Qi Zheng walked closer and closer to her, his handsome face wearing a faint smile. “Jiao Jiao, I’m back.”
Shen Ziqiao cuddled in his arms. “Qi Zheng, did I tell you that I love you a lot?”
“Yes, I know.” Qi Zheng’s gaze softened and he never felt so satisfied as he was now.
Countless months later, Shen Ziqiao gave birth to a boy.
Qi Zheng carried his son who looked extremely similar to him and smiled. He said, “It seems like I need to work harder so you can give birth to a girl next time…”
Shen Ziqiao was so tired that she didn’t want to talk. She faintly smiled and closed her eyes to sleep. She’d have sons and daughters for sure!
Her happiness had just started!
And that's the end to this novel! What did you guys think? Was it a satisfying ending or nah? Thank you all for sticking around and supporting me to the end! <3 Please check out my other novel: Sinister Ex-Girlfriend if you're looking for something to read!