A handsome and built young man walked in from outside wearing a sapphire blue rounded embroidery design silk robe. He exuded a vigorous and thriving temperament. He even wore a candid smile on his face.
It seemed like he just came back from outside.
“Elder brother, what’s gotten you so happy?” Shen Ziqiao welcomed him, smiling.
Shen Zikai held two oil paper bags and delivered it to Hong Yu. “Sauce knuckles. It’s for Third Miss’ dinner.”
“Elder brother is so nice to me.” Shen Ziqiao rubbed against his shoulders lovingly. “Where did elder brother come from? Why did you bring me sauce knuckles?”
“I went to drink with Qi Zheng. That guy has a high capacity for liquor.” Shen Zikai smiled, clearly very happy that he got to drink with Qi Zheng.
Shen Ziqiao muttered in a low voice, “Why did you go drink with him? Don’t be too close to him.”
“What does a young lady like you know?” Shen Zikai flicked Shne Ziqiao’s forehead. “Qi Zheng is worth getting to know. Plus, he had great skills. I must spar with him next time.”
Shen Zikai was too naive! Either he was used by Sheng Peiyin or he was deceived by Qi Zheng.
Shen Ziqiao said seriously, “Elder brother, we have no clue what Qi Zheng is thinking. Let’s not mention how he pretended to be stupid and useless in the past. But he even lost when he fought previously. How come you think that he has great martial arts skills? Look. Don’t you think this doesn’t make sense?”
“Really? He was pretending to be stupid?” Shen Zikai was really shocked. He had seen Qi Zheng in the past, but he couldn’t tell that he was acting dumb. “You could tell?”
“Yes, yes.” Shen Ziqiao nodded firmly. She must protect Shen Zikai and prevent him from sleeping with Sheng Peiyin. Besides that, she must make sure he isn’t used by Qi Zheng as well.
Shen Zikai softly laughed. He glanced at his sister and said, “I couldn’t tell but you did? Jiao Jiao, do you hate Qi Zheng that much? So what if he was acting stupid? If he doesn’t act that way, how could he survive until now? Everyone needs to choose a way to survive.”
Like him. If he didn’t choose to go to the military and suffer the hardships with the troops under intense weather and strict training, what would he have become now?
He could never forget about the year when he lost his mother and wandered on the streets, beating up a bastard half to death. Not only did the Old Madam not scold him, she praised him for beating him. She said that he was Shen Family’s eldest son and no one could bully him. Only he got to beat people up and the others couldn’t.
Back then, he thought that her words were right until he took a look at the person he had beaten up...Don’t mention how his face was bruised, but even his lower legs were fractured. He was shocked by how harsh he was.
Old Madam’s words were wrong.
No matter whose son he was, he had no right to hit someone without a reason. No one owed him anything.
He wanted to tell Old Madam that when he heard her words that made him shook and angry, deciding to leave the family as a result.
Old Madam told the second aunt, “...Pan Madam, that cheap woman, finally died. I feel much better now. You need to work hard and raise the two seconds well. Without Pan Madam and with Kai’er father out on the battlefield frequently, there’s no way he’d become accomplished in the future. He wouldn’t be able to carry the burdens of the Shen Family. I’d need to depend on you in the future...as for Pan Madam’s dowry, didn’t she refuse to help you guys? Humph, I’ll give her dowry to Xin’er…”
Hearing that, Shen Zikai told Shen Xiao that he wanted to enlist in the military the next day.
Shen Xiao didn’t refuse.
It was because he was in a similar situation like Qi Zheng that he was able to understand why he chose to do that, and his hardships too.
Shen Ziqiao knew that he couldn’t convince Shen Zikai in a short period of time, so she decided to talk to Qi Zheng later on. If that guy plans on hurting Shen Zikai at all, she’d definitely expose the fact that he was pretending to be stupid.
“Where did elder brother and Qi Zheng go to drink?” Shen Ziqiao asked despite knowing the answer. She wasn’t sure if Qi Zheng will use Shen Zikai or not, but she believed that her elder brother wasn’t stupid.
The main issue was that he might be enchanted by a beauty.
“We went to Shangpin Teahouse and encountered Third Miss Sheng as well.” Shen Zikai woke up from his chance, smiling. He didn’t want to recall what he had forgotten.
Shen Ziqiao’s heart raced. He encountered the heroine! “You...you encountered Sheng Peiyin? Then… what do you think about her?”
“Third Miss Sheng is amiable and gentle, and she is also very talented and reasonable. Jiao Jiao, you should learn from her.” Shen Zikai said in an admirable tone.
He only admired her. It wasn’t to the extent of infatuation.
However, this made Shen Ziqiao very worried already. She carefully said, “Elder brother, actually...when I was at the Thousand Buddha Temple last time, Sheng Peiyin was the one that brought me there. Don’t you think she is a bit…”
Shen Zikai knitted his brows. “Didn’t you beg for her to take you?”
It was the original body… it had nothing to do with her.
“I don’t like her.” Shen Ziqiao humphed. “If she was doing it for my sake, she shouldn’t have brought me to the Thousand Buddha Temple. She didn’t tell me that was Qi Zheng’s room either. She should’ve advised me to not meet a man in private. When I was insensible, not only didn’t she advise me, but she helped me instead. Elder brother, do you think she’s doing this for my sake?”
Shen Zikai didn’t expect the words to come from his sister. He stared at her shockingly, “You also know that you’re at fault?”
“I didn’t know in the past, but I do now.” Only a moronic girl would do something like that. “That’s why I think Sheng Peiyin might not be genuinely nice to me.”
“Then you...still talk to her?” Shen Zikai noticed that he suddenly didn’t understand his sister’s thoughts.
“It’s one thing to keep in contact with her, but I don’t believe her as much anymore.” Shen Ziqiao smiled, hoping that Shen Zikai would try to escape that evil woman’s clutches.
“Jiao Jiao, you’ve suffered when elder brother wasn’t at home.” Shen Zikai sighed. He knew that the sister he had been protecting has grown up now. She was not his childish and unruly sister anymore.
Shen Ziqiao didn’t know whether saying this would help or not. However, she could only try now.
As long as Shen Zikai stayed away from Sheng Peiyin, the Shen Family wouldn’t be in ruins because of Sheng Peiyin.
“Right, elder brother, I also want to ask for your help.” Shen Ziqiao didn’t speak that badly about Sheng Peiyin, afraid it’d give the opposite effect. As long as it left a seed in Shen Zikai’s heart, it was fine. There was no need to overdo it. She started speaking about the other matter.
Right now, Shen Zikai wasn’t touched by Sheng Peiyin. He purely admired that unique woman. After hearing that his sister didn’t like her, he had no thoughts about her. “What’s the matter?”
“I want to search for mother’s people as well as Shopkeeper Zhang and Fan in Minyue.” Shen Ziqiao said.
“That’s simple. I know where Pan Duosan is. As for Liang Jianhai, don’t use that person anymore. I’ll handle Minyue’s side.”
“Thank you elder brother.” It was great to have an elder brother.
After Old Madam Shen finished listening to Mama Cui’s report, her originally great mood dimmed. Her face was ashened and the wrinkles by the corner of her eyes seemed to be deeper.
“Concubine Gao is really stupid!” Old Madam Shen harshly scolded. “Does she lack the fabric? It’s only the first day and she’s causing trouble. Does she want to slap my face or find trouble for that girl?”
Mama Cui didn’t dare respond, keeping her head down.
Old Madam cursed Concubine Gao out before calming down a bit. “Third Miss really said that? She wants me to pay the fee to give everyone extra clothes?”
“Yes.” Mama Cui responded in a low voice.
Only Third Miss could actually say that.
Old Madam Shen laughed. She turned around to say to Mama Li, “Look at her. Where did she learn to act shamelessly? Doesn’t she act just like the Pan Madam?”
How dare Mama Li respond? She just nodded.
“Shen Ziqiao is worthy of being her daughter.” Old Madam Shen humphed. “She wants me to pay up? I’ll do so. I’ll also pay up for the banquet for my birthday too!”
Mama Cui and Li were shocked, knowing that Old Madam Shen was really angry this time. “Old Madam, you don’t need to do this to yourself. If the Lord finds out, he definitely won’t let Third Miss go on about this.”
“You guys temporarily don’t need to let the Lord know.” There was an angry glint in Old Madam Shen’s eyes. “Let me know the type of daughter he has.”
She was planning on using her birthday to make Third Miss lose her face completely.
Mama Cui and Li were delighted in her heart. It’d be best if it made Third Miss afraid of managing the household from then on.
“The Third Miss went to investigate today?” The gloomy expression on Old Madam Shen faded. The faint smile made her look very friendly and kindly.
Mama Li responded, “Third Miss went to east street’s store, but not the west street’s. It seems like she had backed out of the awkward situation.”
The shopkeeper of the east street had already ran off. That girl is probably scared now.
Old Madam Shen picked up a candied fruit and placed it into her mouth, slowly chewing on it. She revealed a smile of satisfaction. “Let us see what she exactly wants to do for now.”
Mama Li said in a low voice, “Old Madam, that Liang Jianhai wants to see you.”
“Liang Jianhai?” Old Madam Shen knitted her brows, unable to recall who he was. After careful thinking, she remembered that he belonged to the Pan Madam. “What’s the matter with him?”
“I heard there’s news in Minyue.” Mama Li glanced at Mama Cui, knowing that they won’t easily reveal the secret. Thus, she said this in Old Madam’s ears first.
Old Madam Shen’s eyes brightened. “For real?”
“Yes, but this mama asked him about it. He refused to say anything, saying that he’d only talk after seeing you.” Mama Li responded.
“Let me come see me.” Old Madam Shen responded faintly.
She was long suspicious that Pan Madam didn’t just leave the dowries that she had possession of. Maybe she had other assets too.
Mama Li nodded.
“Don’t let the Lord and Eldest Master know.” Old Madam Shen added. If they found out, they won’t allow her to continue managing the Pan Madam’s assets.
After that, Old Madam expressionlessly picked up the teacup, remaining unmoved.
If it weren’t for Shen Ziqiao who suddenly wanted to take back Pan Madam’s dowry, she didn’t need to be that anxious.
Who told her about the things the Pan Madam left?
It must be those cheap servants...