There were five superior-quality rooms in De’an Courtyard. The rooms on the left and right sides were of average quality rooms. The Old Madam’s sleeping chamber was on the left side, the center was used as the drawing room, and the rooms in the back were for maids and mamas.
This was Shen Ziqiao’s third time coming to De’an Courtyard. Unlike the first two times, she was finally in the mood to observe the arrangements around her surroundings.
The first time, she had just returned from the Thousand Buddhas Temple and was terrified that someone might see through her, so she carefully responded to people’s questions. During her second time, she was hit by Shen Ziyang, so why would she be in the mood to admire anything else?
Cui Liu pulled the curtains to the side to let Shen Ziqiao in the room.
There was a faint sandalwood smell filling the room. A gust of shady wind blew in her face, bringing the scent to her. There was a bed under the north window covered with a big red quilt. In the middle of the bed, there was a table with a few books stacked on top.
By the east wall, there was a cushion for the back and a pillow. On the side, there were carved lacquerware, phlegm bowls, tea trays, and other things. There were three weaved chairs paired with cushions. In between each chair, there was a vase of flowers.
The Old Madam’s place was really luxurious and glamorous!
Cough. Sitting upright on the bed was the Old Madam Shen wearing an azure satin gown embroidered with butterfly patterns. On the two sides of her collar there were double layers of brocades with colored patterns. They made her appear high and mighty, astute and serious.
Wrinkles filled the corner of Old Madam Shen’s eyes as she gazed coldly at Shen Ziqiao. She originally thought that the girl would at least fear her, but who knew that since the moment she entered the door, not only wasn’t she scared, but her eyes were darting around. She didn’t even place her in her eyes.
Shen Ziqiao’s attention was pulled back and she smiled at Old Madam Shen. “Grandmother looks spirited today.”
Old Madam Shen barely slept the entire night and her face darkened when she heard this. How did she seem spirited in any way? Last night, she felt a rock weighing on her chest and was unable to sleep at peace. She woke up when it was slightly dawn and then had someone call this brat over. Who knew that she said she wasn’t awake yet, so she would come to pay respects after she woke up.
Old Madam Shen was seething with anger.
“Kneel down!” Old Madam Shen angrily shouted.
“Grandmother, since you’re old, you mustn’t get angry. Otherwise, it’ll be detrimental to your body. You have to maintain a happy mood in order to live a long life.” Shen Ziqiao smiled happily, not caring for the Old Madam’s anger.
Old Madam Shen retorted with a laugh. “I bet you’re wishing for me to die.”
“Grandmother, you’re overthinking. This granddaughter doesn’t dare think so.” Shen Ziqiao smiled and said this. She actually wanted to be a filial granddaughter too, but the elderly didn’t want her, even forced her to oppose them.
Even in the modern world, Shen Ziqiao wasn’t slick. She was selfish and self-centered. Although she was enthusiastic about some things and pretended to be an expert in literature and art, she was a stubborn person. Her body was full of thorns. She would stab whoever dared to hurt her.
Old Madam Shen’s gloomy gaze landed on Shen Ziqiao for a moment. She knew that the girl in front of her wasn’t as easily fooled as she was in the past. If she continued talking, she might end up confusing herself. “Who allowed you to come back?”
“Grandmother, when this granddaughter heard that the Young Master Qi remained unconscious after leaving Liu Yun Village, I was terrified in my heart. I had someone make inquiries, but they couldn’t get any information. Therefore, I personally came back.” Shen Ziqiao said this, feeling guilty as though she was really worried about Qi Zheng’s life.
“You dare to say!” Old Madam Shen shouted angrily, “I had you go to the village to reflect on your actions. Not only didn’t you repent, but you even injured Young Master Qi. Your younger brother and his friends passed by. Instead of offering a place for him to stay, you even kicked him out. Is this something that a young daughter of a prestigious family should do? You’re… You’re…”
Shen Ziqiao said, “What happened with Young Master Qi was an accident. As for Ziyang… Grandmother, he hurt someone in the first place. It isn’t my fault.”
“Heh. Acting as if you’re a fairy descending from heaven. Even a lowly maid is more important than your younger brother. You’re really your father’s good daughter and the Shen Family’s good young miss.” Old Madam Shen mocked, putting on a fake smile.
What was wrong about caring for servants? Weren’t servants people too? Shen Ziqiao wanted to retort, but she knew very well that it was no use saying this. In the so-called masters’ eyes, a servant’s life may not even be as important as a horse’s life.
“Ziyang is already so sinister and cruel at a young age. What will happen when he grows up? Does grandmother think that allowing him to hurt people is the right thing?” Shen Ziqiao asked calmly.
Old Madam Shen glared at Shen Ziqiao. “Even if he is wrong, you just need to scold him. Why did you need to kick and beat him out? How are you going to let him act in front of his friends? You’re making him lose his face.”
Shen Ziqiao snorted. “If he cared about his face, he wouldn’t go around hurting people with those hedonistic sons of rich parents.”
“If he’s shameless, then what about you? Aren’t you afraid of outsiders laughing at the daughter of the Shen Family for not having manners?” Old Madam Shen asked angrily.
“Grandmother, who’s the one without manners?” Shen Ziqiao seemingly smiled and asked. “Is it my problem that the daughter of the Shen Family has no manners?”
Old Madam Shen almost choked on air at that statement. She glanced coldly at the young girl in front of her.
Her hair was tied into a Japanese bun and she wore a faint green muslin paired with a nude-colored silk long dress. She had a delicate and snow-white face without any blush on. She didn’t have bright red lips. She gazed fearlessly at Old Madam Shen with bright eyes and she had a gentle attitude. She was different from the crafty and unruly, arrogant-looking Shen Ziqiao in her memory.
Since when did things start to change? Old Madam Shen was secretly shocked. Did the girl mature unconsciously?
When Mama Li saw Old Madam Shen looking at Shen Ziqiao with an unknown expression, she parted her lips to talk, thinking that Old Madam Shen was furious and couldn’t make out words. “Third Miss, this maid originally shouldn’t say anything, but since it’s come to this point, this maid has to speak. All these years, there are no words to describe how the Old Madam has treated you. You’ve lost your mother at a young age and it was the Old Madam who raised you. You received the best care from the Old Madam. However, Third Miss, you were born with a stubborn personality, so the Old Madam worried over you. Now that you’ve become an adult and matured, how can you go against the Old Madam?”
Shen Ziqiao snorted and then coldly asked, “Since Mama Li doesn’t know how to speak, then why did you speak?”
The Old Madam Shen raised her? The only reason why the original body had a crafty and unruly personality was because Old Madam Shen spoiled her to this point. She wasn’t treating her granddaughter well, but instead, praising her in a way that placed her at a disadvantage.
She purposely raised Shen Ziqiao into a personality that everyone hated, so that the old thing could easily take over the Pan Family’s dowry.
Old Madam Shen snapped out of her trance and her gaze became more and more indifferent. Right now, she just noticed that the young girl in front of her was more and more like her late daughter-in-law.
“You even want to scold the people by my side whenever you wish. Great!" It was unclear whether Old Madam Shen was shaking in fury because of Shen Ziqiao or because she recalled her hatred towards the Pan Madam. Old Madam sneered and then stood up.
“Grandmother…” Shen Ziqiao wanted to continue.
Old Madam Shen asked angrily, “Do you know your mistake?”
“Which one is grandmother referring to?” Shen Ziqiao retorted.
“You harmed the Young Master Qi for no reason and kicked your younger brother. Not only didn’t you reflect on your actions, but you even came back from the village without permission. Since you’re back already, I won’t say anything about it. Yet, you even humiliated your senior in front of the servants…” Old Madam questioned aggressively.
Shen Ziqiao clutched her sleeves tightly. She sneered in her heart, yet she didn’t dare to express this on her face. “It’s my fault for coming back without permission, but as for yesterday when I was blocked outside of the door… It’s not my fault!”