Even if she wasn’t getting the dowry back for the owner of the body, seeing how much the Pan Madam adored her daughter, Shen Ziqiao believed that she needed to do something. Even more, it wasn’t like the Pan Family only prepared a bit of dowry for her. Instead, it was a shocking amount of lands and all sorts of jewelry. How could she let the old woman in the Shen Family take advantage of this?
“Lady Meng, tell me more about the things my mother left for me back then. How much did the Old Madam take from me? Although I’m young and I don’t know much, I’m not ignorant. You guys weren’t the only ones personally serving upon my mother. Where are the rest of the people?” Shen Ziqiao sat up straight and revealed a serious expression.
“Third Miss, you finally thought this through. That’s right. The Madam didn't just have useless trusted aides like us.” Lady Meng wiped her tears and sat down on a round wooden stool. She started to talk about the past that Shen Ziqiao didn’t know about in a low voice, “Before Madam got married, the Old Lord loved to teach her about business. Madam was talented in this aspect and she knew what types of stores would earn the most money at a young age. She knew how to profit from business as well… If the Madam hadn't been a woman, the Old Lord might’ve let her be in charge of the Pan Family’s business.”
So the Madam was that intelligent and amazing! It was a real pity that she passed away at a young age. If she was still alive, how could Shen Ziqiao land herself in this state? From this, she learned that having an amazing and fierce mother was a blissful thing.
Lady Meng didn’t know what Shen Ziqiao was thinking in her heart. She continued, “When the Madam got married, she personally chose four people to accompany her. They were all shopkeepers or co-shopkeepers in the Pan Family’s stores. The Old Madam laughed and said that the Madam wanted to empty out the Pan Family like this.” She softly smiled and then continued, “After the Madam married into the Shen Family, she handed the stores and businesses over to Shopkeeper Zhang and Fang. In a short few years, the profit had doubled. The Madam probably had more assets and properties than the entire Shen Family.”
That amazing? Shen Ziqiao was shocked. “The old woman claimed possession over all that?”
When Lady Meng heard Shen Ziqiao addressing her own grandmother as an old woman, she felt a sense of triumph. “The Old Madam claimed possession of the Third Miss’s dowry, so there probably isn’t even half left over.”
At the very least, there was probably only one-third left over. This increased Shen Ziqiao’s hate towards the old woman. She stole her own granddaughter’s things and even dared to give her attitude. She was too excessive.
“Did Mother have a backup plan?” Shen Ziqiao asked.
Lady Meng said, “The Madam guessed that the Old Madam would covet over the dowry she left for you, so she called Shopkeeper Zhang and Fang with her last breath over to give them 100,000 silvers to leave the place. In reality, she wanted them to hide from the Shen Family’s spies and go to Minyue to manage the properties and businesses that the Madam left over there.”
“The Old Madam doesn’t know?” Shen Ziqiao asked shockingly. It had been countless years already. Who knew whether the two shopkeepers had run away with the money already? Wasn’t the Pan Madam’s decision a bit too rash and bold back then?
“She only knows how much dowry the Madam had back down. She had no idea that her dowry amount had doubled and tripled after marrying into the Shen Family.” Lady Meng took the tea that Hong Yu brought over and sipped it. Then, she continued, “All these years, Shopkeeper Zhang and Fang haven't contacted you, so the Old Madam probably found out about them. She must’ve found an excuse to take over your assets.”
“Then… Do my Father and Elder Brother know?” Shen Ziqiao stammered as she asked. She found it hard to process how she suddenly became a rich person.
Lady Meng said, “The Lord doesn’t know, but the Eldest Master knows. As to why he didn’t tell you this yet, this servant girl doesn’t want to make an assumption.”
Shen Ziqiao tried her best to process Lady Meng’s words in her mind. “You said that Shopkeeper Zhang and Fang went to Minyue, so the Pan Family must’ve known about this, right?”
“The Old Lord and Madam know.” Lady Meng nodded. “But with what happened back then… They cut off any contact with the Shen Family. They couldn’t find it in themselves to be harsh with the Eldest Master and the Third Miss, so they naturally ordered people to make inquiries about. If it weren’t for this, how could Shopkeeper Zhang and Fang gain a foothold without the Pan Family’s support?”
“My Grandfather and Grandmother didn’t look for me all these years because they thought I was raised by the Old Madam Shen to become an ill-mannered and bad influence. They thought that since I won’t unite with them, they’ll leave the things that Mother left for me for my Elder Brother, right?” Shen Ziqiao thought of how the Pan Family wasn’t mentioned in the novel before nor did it mention anything about the dowry. Therefore, this was probably the Pan Family’s intention.
Old Madam Shen didn’t know that the Pan Madam had other properties outside, nor did Shen Xiao know either. The only one that knew was Shen Zikai. Maybe he really loved his Younger Sister dearly. At that time, he was already enchanted by the heroine, Sheng Peiyin, so where did he have the thought to take care of his Younger Sister?
Could the reason why Sheng Peiyin got close to Shen Zikai be because she wanted the properties left by the Pan Madam? Shen Ziqiao’s heart was moved and suddenly felt that this was a big possibility.
As to how Sheng Peiyin knew about the dowry, only the Heavens knew.
Lady Meng didn’t think that Shen Ziqiao would think of the most crucial point. She was stunned momentarily before she said, “If they knew how reasonable, sensible, and virtuous Third Miss is right now, they would definitely be comforted and feel at ease.”
Shen Ziqiao was embarrassed to say that she wasn’t actually Shen Family’s Third Miss. Even more, she didn’t have anything to do with being virtuous. She asked, “Didn’t you say four people? Where are the other two?”
“Besides Shopkeeper Zhang and Fang, there are also Pan Sanduo and Liang Jianhai. They were both businessmen in Pan Family’s trading company. After they came to the capital with the Madam, they started to help Madam manage a few shops.” Lady Meng said.
“Ah?” How could it be so simple? Shen Ziqiao smiled at Lady Meng and waited for her to continue.
Lady Meng didn’t think that Shen Ziqiao wasn’t that easily fooled, so she said the truth. “The Madam was scared that the Shen Family would mistreat you, so she left them in the Shen Family, so they could at least protect you.”
Shen Ziqiao rubbed her eyebrows and said, “How long has it been since you last contacted them? Are you sure they could still stay at the Shen Family?”
“This… With the Eldest Master protecting them, nothing should happen.” Lady Meng hesitated for a bit. A year ago, she personally went to find them and they were still shopkeepers in stores. She thought that the Old Madam wouldn’t dare to do anything to the Madam’s people.
“My Father is supposed to protect me, but look at how the Old Madam treats me.” Shen Ziqiao mocked herself. “We can’t be sure. Have someone contact them first.”
According to the experiences Shen Ziqiao gathered from reading these types of novels, it wasn’t as simple as what Lady Meng expected it to be.
What Lady Meng knew was from ten years ago. No one dared to say what could’ve happened within the decade. Lady Meng and Lin as well as a few others had been kicked here for a while. Everything they knew came from making secret inquiries. That was different from the reality.
Shopkeeper Zhang and Fang who were in Minyue were ok. With the Pan Family there, they wouldn’t dare betray the Pan Madam. But they weren’t sure for the people in the capital. Shen Zikai wasn’t an expert in business and the Old Madam Shen coveted her daughter-in-law’s dowry. Was it possible that the two servants didn’t have any other thoughts?
“Right. We need to think of a way to get back Third Miss’s things from the Old Madam.” Lady Meng noticed that she was unable to confirm whether everything was developing in the direction the Madam wanted when she was alive. She needed to get an understanding of the situation first.