The Pan Family was an important merchant of the Minyue. Facing the sea in the east, it was the only port for sea trade in the great Zhou Dynasty.
There were 24 lines of businesses within the Minyue and they were known as The Brokers. Each line was responsible for payment of taxes and going out to sea then bringing the goods back to inland for business. Therefore, those lines of businesses were official and the majority of the merchants obtained quite a bit of profit from it.
Minyue almost bore the entire Zhou Dynasty’s economy. The Pan Family was a merchant within the 24 line of businesses. Although it wasn’t as wealthy and powerful as the He Family, it wasn’t to be underestimated. The Pan Family was the second in rank amongst the line of businesses, while the He Family was the leader and the richest family within the Zhou Dynasty.
Xiao Pan was the only daughter of the Pan Family and the head of the family, Pan Shichang, viewed his daughter as a treasure. When Xiao Pan was married, along with her were ten boxes of splendid clothes and countless more boxes as her dowry. One couldn’t even count the number of boxes she brought along in her dowry.
This was why Old Madam Shen didn’t cause trouble for her despite being displeased when Xiao Pan was married into the family.
A woman’s confidence laid within their dowry.
After Xiao Pan passed away because of sickness, ⅓ of the dowry was given to the eldest, Shen Zikai. The rest, whether it was rare treasure or residences, was given to Shen Ziqiao as dowry.
Now, the lands and businesses were looked after by Old Madam Shen. The other treasured precious stones, painting and calligraphy were kept in the warehouse. Although the Shen Family was well-known, there was no shortage of household expenses. The amount of profit Xiao Pan made from her lands annually and such made many jealous.
If Old Madam Shen had to give Shen Family’s properties to Shen Ziqiao, it was the same as slicing off her skin.
Shen Ziqiao probably didn't even know the amount of dowry she has. Since Xiao Pan had married to the Shen Family, everything she owed reasonably belonged to the Shen Family. Naturally, the elders could decide how much dowry the Shen Family was going to give Shen Ziqiao.
Thinking of this, Old Madam Shen felt better in her heart.
“The Lord will be coming back, so we must not allow the third lady to stay in the capital. Otherwise, she might play some trick.” Before resting, Old Madam Shen ordered Mama Li in a low voice.
“Yes.” Mama Li answered casually.
The transmigrated Shen Ziqiao clearly didn’t know how much dowry she owned as she didn’t even know Xiao Pan’s background, let alone anything else.
Lately, Shen Ziqiao had been practicing her calligraphy and she quickly used up all the ink and writing paper available. She had Hong Yu request more from the housekeeper, but the latter said the Third Miss had finished up her amount. If she wanted more, she had to wait for the next month.
They were only a good half month in.
“There is a limited amount per month?” Shen Ziqiao found this strange. After all, she was the legal young miss, so why were servants making things difficult for her?
Because Hong Yu was unable to obtain what the Third Miss needed, she felt incredibly guilty. She kept her head down and said, “There is a limited amount per month, but Third Miss had not gone to collect her amount for a good half year, so they should be returning that amount back.”
“Who is the housekeeper?” Shen Ziqiao understood. Another person was treating her unfairly.
“It is Mama Feng.” Hong Yu replied, “She is the Old Madam’s personal mama.”
Shen Ziqiao didn’t immediately go to find Mama Li, but rather obtained information on the roles of the Shen Family. “So, the people in charge of the important duties within the family all serve the Old Madam? It is not strange that they are making things difficult for me, then.”
“Speaking of which, I normally do not spend money. Do I not use the public expenses? Where is my money, then?” Shen Ziqiao asked.
Hong Yu was stunned before saying, “Third Miss, you do not know where your silvers are?”
“This servant girl just recently started to serve you, so we do not know where you hid your silvers. Sister Cui Ping should know.” Hong Ying said.
Shen Ziqiao started to rummage through the drawers to find. “Normally, why would I care about the silvers? Come and help me find it. Maybe I hid it in some sort of hidden trap.”
Watching Shen Ziqiao lying on the floor and touching here and there, Hong Ying was surprised and didn’t know what to say.
“Third Miss, look. Is this it?” Hong Yu pointed at a painted small box on the wooden dressing table. It wasn’t even locked and there were quite a few ingots and broken pieces of silvers.
This doesn’t make sense. How could she have placed the silvers that carelessly?
Shen Ziqiao originally planned to move the vases around or something hoping to find a little trapdoor on the wall. She walked over and grabbed the small box, embarrassed. “How many silvers are there?”
“We will find out after weighing it.” Hong Ying smiled and said.
Shen Ziqiao thought of how these silvers weren’t enough for her to do anything. If she got kicked out of the house by Old Madam Shen, how was she going to survive?
She needed to come up with a backup plan.
“Place the silvers away and let us go find Mama Feng.” Shen Ziqiao said.
She would take back her deserved wages all at once this time.
Mama Li was cracking the seeds between her teeth, sitting on the steps of the warehouse. Seeing Shen Ziqiao coming over, she tossed the shells in her hands on the floor and stood up lazily, patting her clothes. “Third Miss, you are here. Is there anything you need?”
Shen Ziqiao glanced at her, seeing Mama Li wearing indigo blue plain cotton clothes along with a cyan-colored long sleeveless garment. She was fierce-looking but from a glance, Shen Ziqiao knew that Mama Li was an old lady who preyed on the weak and feared the strong.
“I heard you will not let me take writing papers and ink?” Although Shen Ziqiao was small in size, she raised her head up to glance at Mama Li and she was not lacking in imposing manner.
Mama Feng smiled and said, “Third Miss took quite a bit a few days ago. There is a limited amount…”
“But I have not gone to take some in the past. Why did you not have someone bring my monthly amount over?” Shen Ziqiao’s voice was loud and clear, not letting Mama Li off at all. “Since I had obtained this month’s amount, why did you not bring my past portions over?”
“Third Miss, why do you need so much writing papers and ink?” Mama Feng asked.
Shen Ziqiao smiled and said, “Do I need to report to you my every action?”
Mama Feng smiled with resentment. “There is no need. This mama does not dare, but what if the Old Madam asks… This mama does not know how to respond.”
“Respond to what? Do I need to tell the Old Madam that I am taking something that belongs to me?” Shen Ziqiao asked coldly. This past physical self was just too brainless, which is why she had been suppressed by servants and not treated as a master.
She refused to live such a life. She would enjoy herself and do whatever she wanted!
Mama Feng’s expression changed and she said in a peculiar tone, “This mama does not have Third Miss’s items.”
A young woman opened the door to the warehouse and walked out. Hearing Mama Feng’s words, she looked shockingly at Shen Ziqiao, but when she detected the latter’s gaze, she hurriedly looked down and left.
Shen Ziqiao didn’t place that young woman in her heart, and she smiled as she shifted her gaze back on Mama Feng. “Mama Feng, it is just miscellaneous items like writing papers and ink. There is no need for me to command you like a master, right?”
Writing papers and ink were much more expensive than silvers. How could those be miscellaneous items? Is she not treating herself like a master by interrogating me? Mama Feng criticized in her heart, but she didn’t expect Third Miss to act so strangely nowadays. She even dared to slap Mama Li, never mind her.
“Third Miss, wait for a while.” Mama Feng said.
She originally didn’t believe that Third Miss had changed as a person, but who knew it was the truth?
In the past, even if she didn’t give Third Miss her items, she never came looking for her. After all, she had apprehensions about her being the Old Madam’s personal mama, right?
Shen Ziqiao didn’t belong here, so she naturally didn’t know writing papers and ink were incredibly expensive items. Peasants weren’t even able to afford writing papers.