Xiao Gu hadn’t slept or eaten well lately as she entered the palace more and more often due to Qi Zheng.

As a result, her hatred became stronger. Consequently, she also hated Shen Ziqiao, who had apparently treated Qi Zheng, to the bones.

Today, seeing that all influential women within the capital were here, she purposely said that Shen Ziqiao was a jinx. She originally wanted to make Shen Ziqiao’s reputation worse and notorious. She wanted Shen Ziqiao to be unable to marry anyone, so she could only stay in the Shen Family and live a lonely life. Only then could she vent her anger.

Who knew that Princess Nihong was that biased and protective towards Shen Ziqiao? Didn’t people say that after then Pan Madam died that Princess Nihong and Shen Family didn’t interact that often anymore?

Xiao Gu hated Shen Ziqiao’s sharp tongue the most! She dared to taunt her in public.

If it weren’t that Princess Nihong decided to step in and had Shen Ziqiao leave, she definitely wouldn’t have let that bitch off easily.

Luo Zhaohua pulled Shen Ziqiao to another table and sat down. The table was full of young ladies. Sheng Peiyin and Beitang Zhen Jing were both here.

“Are you okay?” After Shen Ziqiao sat down, Sheng Peiyin asked in concern. In reality, she was secretly happy. She wanted Xiao Gu to scold Shen Ziqiao some more.

Xiao Gu hated Shen Ziqiao that badly so there’s no way she’d let Shen Ziqiao be her daughter-in-law.

Shen Ziqiao nodded expressionlessly, not answering her.

Beitang Zhen Jing pressed the handkerchief against the corner of her lips and softly said, “In the past, Young Master Qi was muddle-headed. Madam Qi didn’t really bother or care about him. But it’s different now. The heir...is probably going to be Young Master Qi. You got in her way, so no wonder she’d scold you in front of everyone.”

“What does whether Qi Zheng is stupid or not have anything to do with me? I don’t owe them anything.” Shen Ziqiao clenched her teeth tightly. Qi Zheng, don’t let me see you.

Whenever she encountered him, nothing good happened.

Luo Zhaohua patted the back of Shen Ziqiao’s hand and said, “Don’t be angry. No matter what Madam Qi says, no one will believe it.”

“Xiao Hua, you’re a kind person.” Xiao Gu had said that she was a jinx in front of so many people, so how could they pretend like they didn’t hear anything?

“Endure this for now and everything will be fine. It’s no benefit in getting revenge. You’re just being foolish.” Luo Zhaohua softly pinched Shen Ziqiao under the table and said in a low voice, “You should’ve acted pitiful before and started crying, telling my mother to bring justice to you. That way, you can garner sympathy. Fighting with Xiao Gu in front of everyone would only make you seem overly powerful.”

Damn! Why didn’t I think of this? She should’ve acted like an innocent and weak girl. Ugh...she miscalculated this.

“Xiao Hua, you’re too black-bellied.” Shen Ziqiao’s eyes brightened as she stared at Luo Zhaohua. Sister, are you from my hometown?

“Black-bellied what?” Luo Zhaohua asked confusedly.

Shen Ziqiao chuckled and said, “I’m saying that you’re smart.”

Luo Zhaohua stared at her coquettishly. “I learned this from being in the palace. You don’t know, but the imperial concubines there are all crafty and sophisticated women. Each of them are cruel and sinister.”

“When are you going to bring me to witness this?” Shen Ziqiao said.

“Sure, but we need my mother’s permission first…”

The two ladies whispered in each other’s ears while Beitang Zhen Jing and Sheng Peiyin glared at each other as though their gazes were spitting out knives. The other ladies sitting at the same table couldn’t sit still anymore.

“Don’t talk while eating.” Beitang Zhen Jing said faintly.

Luo Zhaohua and Shen Ziqiao glanced at each other before lowering their heads to eat.

Sheng Peiyin pursed her lips, glancing at Xiao Gu who was talking to Princess Nihong.

After they scattered off, Luo Zhaohua told Shen Ziqiao to come visit her often to play. After obtaining her approval, Luo Zhaohua walked her to her horse carriage.

Beitang Zhen Jing and Madam Beitang had already left.

“Jiao Jiao, why don’t we walk together?” Sheng Peiyin followed Shen Ziqiao to her horse carriage.

She smiled and said, “My servants said that my horse carriage got into a crash on the way here.”

Was there only one horse carriage in the Sheng Family?...

Shen Ziqiao was leaning against the couch, squinting her eyes, tired. “Sister Sheng’s home doesn’t seem to be in the same direction as mine.”

“I’m going to the Shangpin Establishment.” Sheng Peiyin replied.

Shen Ziqiao didn’t respond. She knew that Sheng Peiyin wanted her badly to say that she’d come with her.

A long while later, Sheng Peiyin still didn’t hear Shen Ziqiao say that she’d come with her. She secretly hated Shen Ziqiao, but spoke with a gentle smile, “A new chef was hired in the Shangpin Establishment. They make great braised pork knuckles. Lots of customers say their cooking skills could be compared to the imperial kitchen.”

“You can casually eat the braised pork knuckles from the imperial kitchen?” Shen Ziqiao asked shockingly. Otherwise, how did Sheng Peiyin know that the food tastes about the same?

Sheng Peiyin said moodily, “I’m just making an analogy.”

Shen Ziqiao said ‘oh.’

After a moment, Sheng Peiyin seemed to carelessly mention, “Qi Zheng seemed to be at Marquis Luo’s place. The Ninth Prince is there too.”

Shen Ziqiao suddenly sat up straight and became on alert. She had to stay on guard to prevent Sheng Peiyin trying to probe some information from her again. “So what if the Young Master Qi and the Ninth Prince were at the Luo Family?”

Sheng Peiyin sighed. “Aren’t you afraid that the Ninth Prince will find out that you met Young Master Qi in the village?”

“So what if the Ninth Prince finds out?” Shen Ziqiao asked curiously. Who was he to her? So what if she meets him? Why does it matter to him?

“You strawbag! What if the Ninth Prince misunderstands?”

Shen Ziqiao looked towards the window in despair and sorrow. “I don’t care anymore.”

Seeing her expression, Sheng Peiyin was satisfied. As long as Shen Ziqiao still had the Ninth Prince in her heart, she could control this straw bag.

They quickly arrived at Shangpin Established. Customers wearing glamorous clothes traveled back and forth; business seemed to be prosperous.

“I’ll have the shopkeeper prepare braised pork knuckles for you to take home later on.” Sheng Peiyin laughed and said.

Since she was enthusiastically offering it, Shen Ziqiao agreed. She got out of the horse carriage, wanting to see what Sheng Peiyin was planning.

They arrived at the so-called VIP section. Sheng Peiyin’s smile became more gentle as she talked in a soft voice. She walked gracefully, making Shen Ziqiao shiver at the sight.

“Third Miss Sheng, I didn’t expect to see you here.” Walking over from the other side, a young man wearing sapphire blue robes with dark purple embroidery came. The man’s appearance wasn’t remarkable, yet one would have a deep impression of him because of the vulgar and perverted way he glanced at Sheng Peiyin.

“Second Young Master Wang, why are you here?” Sheng Peiyin smiled and replied.

“I accompanied the Ninth Prince here. Oh, they’re coming out now.” Second Young Master Wang pointed at the private room next to the garden. Countless glamorous-looking young men walked out. The Ninth Prince was the leader.

Shen Ziqiao’s gaze flickered. She watched as Qi Zheng stood in the center of those people, seemingly in a difficult situation.

Sheng Peiyin also saw Qi Zheng behind the Ninth Prince. She looked back at Shen Ziqiao and purposely said worriedly, “Ah, why is the Ninth Prince with Young Master Qi? I wonder if Young Master Qi had said something to the Ninth Prince.”

What were they doing there? Shen Ziqiao furrowed her brows. In Sheng Peiyin’s eyes, however, she thought that Shen Ziqiao was worried that Qi Zheng might’ve said something to the Ninth Prince about them in the village.

Second Young Master Wang called loudly, “Ninth Prince, the Third Miss Sheng is also here.”

Hearing Second Master Wang’s voice, the corner of the Ninth Prince’s lips curled up. He glanced at Sheng Peiyin with a sparkling gaze, not concealing the happiness and adoration in his eyes. But seeing Shen Ziqiao behind his beloved woman, his handsome face immediately darkened.

She’s not a devil or a monster. Why did he need to look at her like this? Shen Ziqiao thought unhappily in her heart.

Sheng Peiyin held Shen Ziqiao’s hands and they walked over together. She smiled and curtsied at the Ninth Prince and the others. “Ninth Prince, you seem to be in a good mood today. Haven’t you drank enough at Marquis Luo’s place?”

The Ninth Prince looked greedily at her beautiful face, not even sparing a glance to Shen Ziqiao. However, the latter didn’t bother with him either. She lifted her brows at Qi Zheng.

Coincidentally, Qi Zheng was also looking at her with his deep and black eyes.

Someone teased and said, “We heard that Young Master Qi is no longer dumb anymore. We’re here to congratulate and celebrate this with him. Young Master Zhu Liu heard that Young Master Qi knew some martial arts, so he invited him to spar with him.”

Second Young Master Wang said lightly, “That’s because Young Master Qi doesn’t recognize any words. Therefore, we can’t have a literary competition.”

Shen Ziqiao understood. These people were purposely poking fun at Qi Zheng.

They didn’t believe that Qi Zheng recovered at all. Therefore, they were finding ways to test him when in fact, they were just finding pleasure for themselves.

A flicker of disdain flashed by Shen Ziqiao’s eyes when she glanced at these hedonistic sons of aristocratic families.

Qi Zheng saw her disdainful gaze, a smile floating inconspicuously on his lips. As expected, this young girl was different from the rumors.

She hadn’t even looked at the Ninth Prince at all.

If she really loved the Ninth Prince, why would her attention be on someone else?

“Young Master Qi, let’s spar.” Young Master Zhu Liu was a bit drunk, his face flushed. He rolled his sleeves up and got restless, wanting to make a move at Qi Zheng.

Qi Zheng stood in front of everyone tall and straight. He wore a sapphire blue robe with embroidered plum flower designs. His bun was held up using a hairpin made from suet. He was handsome and mature, but not noble. Those hedonistic sons of aristocratic families couldn’t be compared to him.

Shen Ziqiao suppressed her emotions, eager to see Qi Zheng beat the group of people into a pulp.

She also wanted him to beat up the Ninth Prince, bruising him badly.

However…

Shen Ziqiao was dumbstruck, watching as the Young Master Zhu Liu beated Qi Zheng up.

What is this joke?! She had seen Qi Zheng appearing in her horse carriage out of nowhere. Yet, he couldn’t beat this dumbo up?

“Are-are you okay?!” Seeing that no one went to help Qi Zheng up, she hurriedly walked over to check up on him. Don’t be beaten into a retard again.

The Ninth Prince walked over with a dark face, scolding the Young Master Zhu Liu “Zhu Liu, how could you beat him so hard? Young Master Qi finally recovered, so you should’ve watched yourself and been lenient on him.”

Sheng Peiyin’s gaze transformed from passion to indifference towards Qi Zheng. She only liked Qi Zheng because he was handsome, but he was actually useless.

“That’s right. Don’t beat Young Master Qi up and make him a retard again.” It was unclear who started laughing.

Shen Ziqiao glanced quietly at Qi Zheng who lowered his head and said nothing. She didn’t know what he was thinking.

Sheng Peiyin ignored Qi Zheng and smiled, inviting the Ninth Prince and the others into the private room to drink.