“Can't you use your brain?! I told you to question her, but you actually locked her outside the door! No matter how much I dislike her, she is still the legal daughter of the Shen Family! Who are you showing off to?! The Eldest Master is back. If he finds out that you locked the Third Miss outside, you think that he’ll still give you face just because you’re on my side?” Old Madam Shen scolded Mama Li. Her instinct was that if she couldn’t beat Shen Ziqiao down today, it would be even more difficult in the future.
Mama Li felt extremely wronged, but she couldn’t say a single word. When the Old Madam told her to beat the Third Miss down, she said to make sure that she couldn’t enter the residence until she admitted her mistake. How come things were different now?
“You have decades more experience than her, yet you can’t even handle a little girl. You think that the servants will treat you with respect later on? Normally, you are great at teaching the maids a lesson. How come you don’t know what to say after encountering someone who is much harsher than you?” Old Madam Shen didn’t give Mama Li a chance to explain herself. She started scolding her and only stopped after she felt better.
Mama Li’s face was red from the scolding and she wanted to die from the humiliation. When she walked back from the inner courtyard, she saw the maids looking at her in disdain and mockery. She had completely lost her face in the Shen Family after all these years.
“Old Madam…” Mama Li cried and kneeled over, carrying tea.
Old Madam Shen took a sip of the fruit tea to relieve her throat, glanced coldly at Mama Li, then let her stand up. “She really said that in front of everyone?”
Mama Li wiped her tears using her handkerchief and clenched her teeth, swallowing her grievance. She repeated the words that Shen Ziqiao said outside the door and then said, “... The servants all heard it. Not only didn’t she repent, but she didn’t even place you in her eyes. Old Madam, she probably knows everything.”
“She really thinks that she has the confidence to say that?” Old Madam Shen’s face ashened after hearing Mama Li's words.
“Old Madam, what should we do?” Mama Li said in a rushed tone. All these years, she had been handling the Pan Family’s dowry for the Old Madam outside. Obviously, she took some benefits. If this got out of hand, she’d be done for.
Old Madam Shen wasn’t talented or smart. She was able to walk to where she was today because of her courage. She wasn’t scared of anything and dared to do anything. After all, Shen Ziqiao wasn’t married yet, so she should be the one hiding from the public. If people deemed her as a woman unfilial to her seniors, then Shen Ziqiao would never be able to marry a good person.
“Call her over.” Old Madam Shen decided to personally make a move.
Mama Li immediately became high-spirited. She quickly ordered a maid to call Shen Ziqiao over.
Not long later, the maid came back and reported, “Third Miss said that she’s tired and she’s going to sleep now. If you want to say something to her, say it tomorrow. If the Old Madam wants to punish her, punish her tomorrow.”
Old Madam Shen’s heart was hurting from all the anger.
Mama Li said angrily, “Old Madam, look at this. Is she even assuming the role as a junior? Don’t mention how she came back without permission and how she didn’t bother to pay respects to you, but she even dared to say that she was going to sleep even though you didn’t even sleep yet.”
“She’s noble.” Old Madam Shen spit the words out coldly. The corner of her eyes were wrinkled and her deep gaze made her originally unfriendly face appear even more sinister and gloomy.
“Old Madam, the people from the village… What should we do?” Mama Li wasn’t worried that Shen Ziqiao would cause trouble in the Shen Family. The priority was to keep the Madam’s maids from the Lord, otherwise there would be a huge problem.
Old Madam Shen faintly said, “Find a few people and go over there. Do whatever they have to do.”
In short, they couldn’t keep them anymore.
After she arranged everything, Old Madam Shen finally went to bed. However, she rolled back and forth, unable to sleep. She felt as though a rock was weighing on her heart. She couldn’t sleep no matter what. Vaguely, she seemed to have seen the Pan Madam appearing in front of her, wearing a disdainful expression. Next, the Pan Madam’s face transformed into Shen Ziqiao’s.
Old Madam Shen suddenly opened her eyes and breathed heavily, trying to calm down.
Cui Liu, who was guarding outside the room, heard her movements and hurried in. “Old Madam, you want to drink water?”
“Where’s Mama Li? Call her over.” Old Madam Shen said.
Seeing Old Madam’s unwell expression, Cui Liu didn’t dare to neglect. She turned around right away and left. She just walked to the door when she heard the Old Madam stop her. “Nevermind. You don’t need to go.”
Even though she was confused, Cui Liu didn’t dare to ask. She turned around and helped the Old Madam back to sleep.
Different from Old Madam Shen’s insomnia, after Shen Ziqiao was done eating and drinking to her heart’s content, she sprawled on the bed and went to sleep. She wanted to sigh at how comfortable she was.
Hong Yu stood by the side worriedly, “Third Miss, you should go pay respects to the Old Madam no matter what. This… If you don’t go, then reason won’t be on your side.”
Shen Ziqiao shook her head in disdain. “If I go over right now, I’ll probably be kicked back to the village right away.”
“Then are we going to avoid her?” Tomorrow the Old Madam would definitely call the Third Miss over to scold her.
“Let me think of a solution, so we can handle the devils and witches tomorrow.” Shen Ziqiao rolled over, her back against Hong Yu. She said faintly, “Hong Yu, no matter how I please the Old Madam, she won’t like me. I don’t need to rely on her to live. If she wants to say that I’m unfilial, then so be it.”
However, Hong Yu felt like Shen Ziqiao was downhearted. She felt bad and said, “Third Miss, the Lord hasn’t married anyone else, so the Old Madam is the head of the family. When you pick a husband in the future, the Old Madam will be in charge. Why must you cut off all your backup routes? You already offended her when you were outside the door. If you don’t go to pay respects, then…”
Shen Ziqiao softly laughed. The people that endured the grievances of the world naturally had something they wanted, making them apprehensive of their actions. However, what did she want? Why did she need to endure this?
She didn’t even want to marry anyone. After all, there was no way she could marry someone she wanted to. As for now, she wanted… Her only desire was to get back the dowry for the original body, get a heavy sum of silvers, then find an enchanting place to live with Lady Meng and the rest happily for life. It was much better than scheming and plotting against one another in the capital.
That old woman just needed to give the dowry back. She didn’t care whether the old woman liked or hated her.
She would never try to kiss up to someone that didn’t like her.
“Hong Yu, you think that the Old Madam had Mama Li scold me by the door because I came back home without permission? She wants to scare me, so that I wouldn’t dare to mention my mother’s dowry to her.” Thinking of the hard work the Pan Madam had done for her daughter which was ruined by this old woman, she was furious. Even more, she wasn’t guilty in the least bit. Not only didn’t she teach her granddaughter, but she also allowed her to be unrestrained, going around to cause trouble. Was she worthy of being someone’s grandmother?
“But how can the Third Miss go against the Old Madam…?” Hong Yu said in a soft voice. The Old Madam had control of the household. Besides the two sisters, the Third Miss had no one else to rely on.
“No matter what, I need to see Qi Zheng again.” Shen Ziqiao said.