The atmosphere in the study was a bit gloomy and this came from Shen Xiao sitting on the master seat behind the writing desk.
It was probably the murderous aura specific to soldiers. Shen Ziqiao unconsciously became more careful and guilty, scared that she might accidentally reveal something and they’d find out that she wasn’t the real Shen Ziqiao.
“...So what happened with Young Master Qi has nothing to do with you?” After hearing how she caused Qi Zheng to faint, Shen Xiao parted his lips and said in a deep voice.
Whenever Qi Zheng was mentioned, Shen Ziqiao felt a burst of anger rising from the bottom of her heart. “Of course it has nothing to do with me. I just lightly beat him up. Father, it’s not like I have immense strength. Qi Zheng is tall and sturdy, so how could he be heavily injured when I just beat him a bit?”
Shen Xiao glanced at his daughter panting in rage and crying out in grievance. A faint smile flickered under his serious eyes. “You are useless, but you just had to hit him and cause him to be heavily injured.”
Heavily injured my butt! Shen Ziqiao thought that she had suffered more grievance than ever. “Why do you guys blame me? If it weren’t for me, Qi Zheng would still be a retard now.”
“Oh? You think that you’re Qi Family’s benefactor?” Shen Xiao lifted her brows and asked.
Of course! Shen Ziqiao pursed her lips. Although she didn’t respond, her expression gave it away.
Shen Zikai chuckled and purposely wore a stiff expression. “When we entered the palace to debrief, we encountered Duke An. It’s fortunate that Qi Zheng had woken up. If he didn’t, you’d be in great trouble.”
“Head to Duke An’s residence with me tomorrow.” Shen Xiao didn’t bother looking at Shen Ziqiao’s change in expression. He said this firmly, stopping her from continuing to argue her way out.
Fine, she’d go. She didn’t believe that Qi Zheng would dare reject her apology.
“Now, let’s talk about the servants in the Liu Yun Village. Jiao Jiao, you really don’t know where they went?” Shen Xiao asked.
Shen Ziqiao replied expressionlessly, “I really don’t know.”
“Father, I know where Lady Meng and them are. This is what I want to talk to you about, actually.” Shen Zikai shifted his expression. The youth’s face revealed a sense of seriousness that didn’t seem compatible with his age. “It’s about mother.”
It has to do with his late wife? A sense of sadness enveloped Shen Xiao’s serious countenance. “What happened to your mother?”
Shen Zikai didn’t tell Shen Xiao his mother’s last words completely. “It’s about mother’s dowry. Does father remember anything about it?’
Back then, the quantity of Pan Madam’s dowry had shook the entire capital. None of the prestigious young misses could compare to her. This led many to be jealous of the Pan Madam. Shen Xiao naturally knew this.
“When mother was approaching her end, she left all her dowry for Jiao Jiao. Now that she has grown up, it’s time to give it back to her.” Shen Zikai’s gaze was gentle, but he seemed to be sizing up his father.
It wasn’t that he didn’t believe in his father, but that father’s love towards their mother was limited since she had passed away for all those years.
“It was because of the dowry that Lady Meng and the rest disappeared?” Shen Xiao obviously knew his son’s thoughts. He gazed sternly at him, understanding what happened in the Liu Yun Village.
Shen Ziqiao said, “If they didn’t leave, they would’ve been silenced in the middle of the night.”
Shen Xiao glared at Shen Ziqiao. “What is this nonsense?”
“I’m not saying any nonsense.” Shen Ziqiao pursed her lips. “I was just fooled when I was young. That’s why I kicked them away.”
“You’re planning on becoming enemies with your grandmother over the dowry?” Shen Xiao asked angrily, “Who let you intervene?”
Shen Ziqiao’s face paled at the words. She said in grievance, “I didn’t ask my grandmother for the dowry. I just didn’t want Lady Meng to be hurt.”
“Father…” Shen Zikai parted his lips to explain for his sister.
“I will talk to your grandmother about this. Don’t intervene. As for Lady Meng and the rest, have them come back.” Shen Ziao said.
Shen Ziqiao revealed a smile, her eyes sparkling. She glanced at Shen Xiao delightfully.
“No matter what, we need to find an excuse. Don’t put your grandmother in an awkward position.” Thinking of his old mother’s personality, Shen Xiao couldn’t help but feel a headache rising.
“Father, this son knows what to do.” Shen Zikai smiled and said.
Shen Xiao nodded and had them go.
Glancing at his children’s rear views, Shen Xiao felt a sense of loneliness. Ruowei...he thought of his late wife. The indifference in his eyes became sorrow. It was all his fault that led his wife to be overly exhausted. Even more, he hadn’t taken care of her nor helped her nurse her body back to health. She ended up dying because time was over for her.
Kai’er and Jiao Jiao both grew up.
He was getting old too.
The next day, Shen Ziqiao followed Shen Xiao to the Qi Family unwillingly. Seeing his sister’s grievance, Shen Zikai smiled and said he’d go along with her.
Duke An personally greeted them.
“...This daughter of mine is normally playful and mischievous. Duke An, please excuse her.” After they greeted each other, Shen Xiao cut straight to the chase.
Duke An glanced at the petite and beautiful young lady behind Shen Xiao.
She seemed shy and bashful, different from the rumors.
“It’s fine if she’s a bit playful.” Duke An didn’t blame Shen Ziqiao. Plus, this was a blessing in disguise. He was actually very comforted. Therefore, he was mostly joking when he complained to Shen Xiao. He smiled and asked about Old Madam Shen, “Has Old Madam been well?”
“My mother has been doing well.” Shen Xiao smiled and answered.
After Shen Zikai and Duke An greeted one another, Shen Zikai mentioned paying respect to Old Madam Qi.
Duke An had the maids lead the siblings to Old Madam Qi’s courtyard.
These years, Old Madam Qi barely left the room. Different from Old Madam Shen’s supremacy, she didn’t intervene in the family matters. She allowed Xiao Gu to take control of the household and rarely walked out of the courtyard.
She heard that Xiao Gu was Old Madam Qi’s maiden family’s niece. However, the mother-in-law and daughter-in-law didn’t have a great relationship. Old Madam Shen had spared Xiao Gu from the morning and evening visits. It seemed like she didn’t want to see her daughter-in-law.
“Elder Brother, you seem to be familiar with the Qi Family.” Seeing Shen Zikai’s calm expression, Shen Ziqiao was suspicious.
“Oh, I came a few times before.” Shen Zikai faintly smiled.
Shen Ziqiao felt strange, but she didn’t know why.
As they went to pay respect to Old Madam Qi, Xiao Gu found out. “That bitch dares to come to the Qi Family?”
“Madam, she’s at the Old Madam’s place.” Mama Gu said in a low voice.
“Let’s go over too.” She didn’t even get to see the old woman, so why would she visit Shen Ziqiao?
Mama Gu hurriedly said, “Madam, you’re going over just like this? Would the Old Madam be unhappy?”
“Whether she’s happy or not has nothing to do with me.” Xiao Gu was skeptical, but wanted to know why Shen Ziqiao came in the end. Therefore, she went to Old Madam Qi’s place.
Shen Xiao just arrived in the capital yesterday and she came to Duke An’s residence today. Something fishy must be going on. She wouldn’t believe it otherwise.