From afar, the setting sun hid under the western mountain, only leaving a glimpse of rose-tinted clouds that were reluctant to leave the sky.
Shen Ziqiao wore a ginger-colored thin muslin embroidered with orchids paired with a soft satin long skirt. Her pitch-black hair was loosely pulled up into a bun with a bamboo hairpin. She stood in the hallway and leaned against the wall, her round face looking skinnier than it was in the capital. She stared ahead with her bright eyes.
Hong Ying led a young lady wearing a beautiful purple dress over. That lady had thin eyebrows and almond-shaped eyes. She was extremely charming and the ruby hairpins on her head were sparkling bright, almost making Shen Ziqiao cry at the sight of the precious items.
Sheng Peiyin, what are you doing here?
“Jiao Jiao!” When Sheng Peiyin saw Shen Ziqiao, she revealed a happy smile on her delicate and smooth face, hurrying over.
“Sister Sheng, why are you here?” Shen Ziqiao walked down the steps and smiled while asking her.
Sheng Peiyin held onto Shen Ziqiao’s hands and said in a pitiful tone, “I heard that you came here. I was originally going to come stay with you a few days earlier but who knew I encountered some trouble? I got delayed and I just arrived. What’s the matter with you? Why did you come here so suddenly?”
Shen Ziqiao sighed, feeling resentful. “Let’s talk inside. Sister Sheng hurried here from the capital, so you must be tired. Hong Yu, hurry and prepare some pickled plum soup to help Sister Sheng relieve her thirst.”
The two girls linked hands as they walked inside the room. Seeing the simple design and arrangement of the room, Sheng Peiyin thought that she didn’t seem to be here on vacation. She couldn’t help but lightly knit her eyebrows. “Jiao Jiao, did you anger the Old Madam again?”
“I punched my brother.” Shen Ziqiao simply explained why she was kicked here, but she glanced at Sheng Peiyin from the corner of her eyes. She was wondering why this heroine went this far to find her. It definitely wasn’t as simple as being concerned for her. Maybe she thought of some scheme to plot against her again.
“Why bother? Why do you have to argue with your brother?” Sheng Peiyin said in displeasure. With her bright eyes, she was really a rare beauty.
Shen Ziqiao smiled and then sighed. Heroines sure were different. No matter what, they were beautiful.
“I don’t want to argue with kids either, but he was being too excessive and bullying others.” Shen Ziqiao curled into a ball in her lounge chair and said, “Troubling Sister Sheng to specially come visit me.”
Sheng Peiyin sat down on the other lounge chair and glanced at Shen Ziqiao carefully. Who knew that she hadn’t seen the girl for half a month and she became graceful and beautiful. The soft and immature features on her face disappeared and she became more charming and lovable.
“I see that you’re quite happy here.” Sheng Peiyin smiled and said.
“I naturally like it better than living in the capital.” Shen Ziqiao said. She actually wanted to ask about Qi Zheng’s situation, but she didn’t know Sheng Peiyin’s motive for coming to the village. Therefore, she held in her urge to not ask anything.
Sheng Peiyin asked, “Who else came to visit you besides me?”
Shen Ziqiao propped her chin up and said in a low voice, “Who else would come to this worn-down place?”
“Bad girl. You won’t even tell me the truth. No one came? Then how come the Young Master Qi got in an accident at your place?” Sheng Peiyin poked her forehead and pretended to be angry.
“What happened to that guy?” Shen Ziqiao anxiously asked. Please don’t die. Otherwise, she’ll become a cannon fodder.
Sheng Peiying smiled, but the smile didn’t reach her eyes. “Look at how worried you are. I originally thought that you didn’t like Young Master Qi, but who knew you already knew him? You even kept this from me. You’re really something.”
Sheng Peiyin almost snapped the pearl hairpin worth a thousand silver that the Ninth Prince gifted her after finding out that Shen Ziqiao knew Qi Zheng. From her past memory, there was no way that those two knew each other. They didn’t even get a chance to meet each other. How come it was different in this life?
Could something have happened that she didn’t know?
No! She must not let the same thing happen again. She couldn’t let Shen Ziqiao have a chance to turn the tables around. The Shen Family had to be punished.
“What do you mean by that I know him? I only met him once in the Thousand Buddhas Temple and he was here to pray and fast. I coincidentally met him and let him stay the night at the village out of kind intention. Who knew that guy was so annoying and a fool? I only said a few sentences to him and he fainted.” When Shen Ziqiao mentioned Qi Zheng, she really hated him badly. She shouldn’t have allowed him to stay back then.
Sheng Peiyin asked, half believing and half confusedly, “Is that really so?”
“What else could’ve happened? If something really happened to him, I might be dragged down too.” Shen Ziqiao clenched her teeth.
“You don’t seem worried. When I left the capital, I heard that Young Master Qi already woke up and he was cured of his retardness…”
Shen Ziqiao suddenly stood up and her eyes widened. “What did you say? Qi Zheng recovered? And he’s not stupid anymore?”
“Right. Speaking of this, it’s quite strange and bizarre. So many imperial physicians couldn’t cure him but he ended up recovering by himself.” Sheng Peiyin felt secretly fortunate that his and Shen Ziqiao’s marriage didn’t work out. Otherwise, if the Duke An Residence and the Shen Family became relatives by marriage, it would be harder for her to defeat the Shen Family.
“That goddamned bastard!” Shen Ziqiao shrieked angrily.
She was used by him again!
Outside the window, the moonlight was clear as water. Inside the room, the candle flame lit up the whole room.
Duke An’s elegant and refined face had tears streaming down his cheeks. He was nervous and excited, wanting to say something but his words choked. He could only watch Qi Zheng who was leaning against the pillow as he wiped his tears emotionally.
“Father…” Qi Zheng bitterly laughed at him. Ever since he woke up, his father couldn’t calm down and wanted to keep talking to him. However, he didn’t know what to say.
Duke An nodded. “Zheng’er, your father is happy. You don’t know how long I have been waiting for this day. You finally recovered. I… In the future, if I die and go to the underworld, I won’t feel too guilty towards your mother.”
A glimpse of mockery flashed by in Qi Zheng’s eyes. “I’ve let you worry about me all these years, sorry.”
“As long as you recover, nothing matters.” Duke An said. He was extremely happy when he heard that Zheng’er was awake. Who knew that after he came back, he noticed that Zheng’er eyes weren’t dull and lifeless anymore. He was able to talk to the imperial physicians in a clear voice. Towards Xiao Gu, he knew when to advance and retreat. He was completely different from his dull state from before. It was as though he had completely changed. The imperial physicians couldn’t explain why, only vaguely saying that he was triggered and this activated his will to fight, thus becoming normal.
No matter the reason, as long as Zheng’er was fine, it was ok.
“I heard that father went to the Shen Family?” Qi Zheng asked in a low voice.
Duke An’s face darkened. “How could I not get justice for you when Shen Ziqiao had gotten you into this state?”
“Father, you’ve mistaken. If it weren’t for the Third Miss Shen, how could I get better? It was actually due to the Third Miss’s help that I was able to recover. We need to thank her.” Qi Zheng said in seriousness.
When the expressionless Uncle Qun heard Qi Zheng’s words, he softly coughed and looked out of the window.
Glancing at his handsome son, Duke An suddenly felt a sense of proudness rising in his heart. “I know, but the old shrew of the Shen Family… The Old Madam won’t let her back and this father can’t thank her.”
Qi Zheng wore a tired expression and he said weakly, “We’ll get a chance sooner or later.”
Duke An didn’t want to disturb his son’s rest, so he told him to rest well before leaving despite not wanting to.
Uncle Qun shook his head and said towards the indifferent Qi Zheng who sat up, “Young Master, with Third Miss Shen’s personality, she’ll immediately come find you when she finds out in the future.”
It was rare, but Qi Zheng’s eyes seemed to be smiling. “I’ll wait for her.”