Qi Zheng glanced at this little lady looking at him confidently, finding it funny. It seemed as though he should feel lucky that she had written everything off in one stroke.
True, Shen Ziqiao thought that.
From the first day she appeared in this dog-blood novel, she seemed to be connected to Qi Zheng by some means. However, she was at a disadvantage, and used by him time after time.
Now, he saved her once. Naturally, they don’t owe each other anything anymore.
Qi Zheng laughed. His sparkling eyes were as good-looking as obsidian.
“Jiao Jiao! Jiao Jiao!” Shen Zikai’s rushed voice rang outside the store.
When Shen Ziqiao turned around, she saw Shen Zikai rolling off the body of the horse skillfully and walking into the store in large strides. His stiff expression only relaxed after seeing her.
“Elder Brother.” Shen Ziqiao’s eyes suddenly teared up when she saw Shen Zikai coming in. Her fears and grievances surged and took over.
“You’re okay, you’re okay!” Shen Zikai wrapped his arms around Shen Ziqiao’s shoulders, gently comforting her like when they were young.
He heard of common people causing a disturbance at the rice store and that the Third Miss was here at the military camp. He was really frightened by the news.
He knew his younger sister’s personality. She was stubborn, and refused to let things go. How could she possibly just tolerate these people purposely framing her and do nothing?
What if she was injured?
Qi Zheng gazed at Shen Ziqiao with his pitch-black eyes. He watched as this ferocious tiger was just fighting those that framed her a moment ago, but was now acting cute in Shen Zikai’s arms well-behaved and obediently like an injured kitten. She allowed herself to be vulnerable in front of him.
He didn’t know why but he felt sour in his heart.
She would always act tough and fight in front of him. She would never act spoiled or show her weakness.
It made sense. He wasn’t her elder brother.
After comforting Shen Ziqiao, Shen Zikai quickly figured out the situation from Shopkeeper Fan and the others.
He then noticed that Qi Zheng was left to the side.
“Brother Qi, thank you for your help today. Otherwise, the consequences are too horrible to contemplate. I will personally thank you later on.” Shen Zikai bowed and saluted Qi Zheng gratefully.
“Young Master Shen, there’s no need to be polite. It’s nothing.” Qi Zheng ignored the strange feeling in his heart and returned the greeting, faintly smiling.
“It may mean nothing to you but you saved Jiao Jiao.” Shen Zikai said.
There was a smile in Qi Zheng’s eyes. He looked at Shen Ziqiao. She had recovered her usual state. She looked down and seemed like she hadn’t heard their words.
The two men looked at each other and in mutual understanding, continued their conversation outside.
It was unclear what they were talking about.
Shen Ziqiao pursed her lips and knitted her brows as she looked at the rice store. She asked Shopkeeper Fan, “Did they smash a lot of things?”
“They stole a few bags of rice…” Shopkeeper Fan was calculating this with the shop assistants.
“Don’t bother with this for now. Go get your wounds bandaged. You’re already bleeding.” Shen Ziqiao said, letting the workers in the store take care of their wounds first.
Shopkeeper Fan looked at Shen Ziqiao, feeling ashamed. “It’s my fault. I didn’t look after the shop assistants in the store.”
There were originally two shop assistants in the store. One was bribed by Li Junjie and the other was missing.
“What does this have to do with you? It’s all Li Junjie’s fault. He was unresigned to this, so he purposely came to cause a racket.” There was an intense glint of anger in Shen Ziqiao’s eyes.
She didn’t believe that Old Madam was ignorant to Li Junjie’s actions.
That old fart! She must be wanting her to die!
It was unclear what Shen Zikai and Qi Zheng had said. By the time Shen Zikai was back, Qi Zheng was gone.
“Jiao Jiao, leave this to Elder Brother. I’ll take you back first.” Shen Zikai didn’t feel comfortable leaving his younger sister here.
“Okay.” Shen Ziqiao didn’t disagree. She didn’t want to show off.
On the way back, instead of riding a horse, Shen Zikai sat in the horse carriage with Shen Ziqiao.
“Elder Brother, no matter whether I can manage the household or not, or whether the store is profiting or not, I need to get mother’s dowry back.” There was no fear in Shen Ziqiao’s expression. She was peaceful and quiet, her tone incomparably determined.
If she still wasn’t able to get back Pan Madam’s dowry at this point, she’d be suffering huge losses.
Shen Zikai patted her head, saying nothing.
Mama Li was on her knees, trembling hard like a sieve. She couldn’t make any words out.
Old Madam Shen had her eyes slightly closed, twisting her prayer beads as if she didn’t know Mama Li was kneeling in front of her.
“Old Madam…” Mama Li cried.
She knew about her nephew. She thought that she could vent for Old Madam by giving Shen Ziqiao a lesson. Who knew that the situation got out of control, and that bastard actually dared to hurt Third Miss.
Now that he angered the Lord and Eldest Master, if Old Madam doesn’t step up, her nephew probably...would die.
“I can’t save you.” Old Madam Shen softly exclaimed.
This had angered the Lord. If she still tried to protect Mama Li and her nephew, her eldest son and grandson would probably be at odds with her.
Mama Li started to cry softly.
Shen Xiao’s tall figure appeared by the door eluding an angry aura.
“Eldest Master…” Mama Li greeted in fear. She was about to beg for mercy when a kick landed right on her chest.
Mama Li spat a mouthful of blood from the kick. She didn’t dare to groan in pain, just begging for mercy.
“Seeing that you’ve done your best to serve Old Madam, I’ll spare your life. However, you can’t stay in Shen Family anymore. Pack your things and get lost!” Shen Xiao’s face darkened, the murderous glint in his eyes. “As for your nephew, don’t think about stepping out of prison ever again. Scram.”
Mama Li clutched Old Madam Shen’s thighs and cried out loud.
Old Madam Shen slightly trembled, about to put in some good words. After all, Mama Li had married over with her and accompanied her for decades. Even if she didn’t contribute much, she had done a lot of hard work. How could she bear to let her be kicked out of Shen Family when she was old?
“I’ve already shown mercy. If you’re still not satisfied, don’t blame me for placing the blame on the entire Li Family.” Shen Xiao said coldly.
Since finding out what Jiao Jiao had experienced on the west street, Shen Xiao had never been so angry, especially finding out Lu Junjie started this. He almost immediately ordered for people to tie up the entire Li Family, and beat them each to death.
After hearing this, Old Madam Shen suddenly opened her eyes and stared straight at her son.
Shen Xiao’s expression didn’t change as he faced her mother’s gaze.
He already hurt his son and daughter too many times for his mother’s face. If he still couldn’t protect them, what face does he have to meet his late wife when he dies?
Old Madam Shen gradually let go of her prayer beads. “Go ahead. We’re over.”
Mama Li cried out loud.
Within three days, Shen Xiao had everyone related to the situation arrested. Besides Li Junjie, the instigator, locked in prison forever, everyone else were all punished by various severity of beatings.
In the three days, Shen Ziqiao didn’t intervene in this. She was ordered by Shen Xiao to stay at home and rest. He thought that she was frightened by what happened at the west street, so he specially made time to talk to her. Shen Zikai even went as far to eat lunch and dinner with her.
Someone had vent anger for her. She was obviously delighted. She didn’t tend to any matters, sleeping and eating all day along instead.
Because of this, Sheng Peiyin who was ignored by Shen Ziqiao appeared in Shen Family again.
Ever since the Ninth Prince and the rest made Qi Zheng lose his face at Shangpin Teahouse, Sheng Peiyin seemed to have forgotten about the cannon fodder. Shen Ziqiao was happy to be neglected. Best, they’d part ways and never see each other. Who knew that within a few days, this heroine came looking for her again.
“Jiao Jiao, what is up with you? I never heard of you being the owner of a rice store before.” Sheng Peiying grabbed Shen Ziqiao’s hands and asked in concern.
Shen Ziqiao smiled and said, “I was just bored, so I decided to open a store to fool around with.”
“Is this something you can fool around with?” Sheng Peiyin scolded her coquettishly. “I heard that...you made a bet with Old Madam Shen because of your mother’s dowry?”
How did she know? Shen Ziqiao was on alert right away. Only a few people in the household knew about it. How did she find out?
“My mother’s dowry is naturally mine. Old Madam is just holding onto it for me right now.” Shen Ziqiao smiled, but started to worry. She wondered if Sheng Peiyin was going to attack Shen Family now.
If she recalled correctly, Sheng Peiyin started her plan after Shen Xiao and Shen Zikai returned to the capital.
How was she going to do this?
Was she going to seduce Shen Zikai? But it seemed like Shen Zikai wasn’t attracted by the heroine right now.
Sheng Peiyin smiled beautifully. “You’re really a child.”
“Sister Sheng, what have you been up to these days?” Since she was treated like a child, Shen Ziqiao naturally acted childish.
“Nothing really, just...doing some embroidery work at home and looking over the account books.” Sheng Peiyin’s gaze flickered. It was unclear what she thought of but her face turned beet red.
Eh? Did she miss some gossip? Shen Ziqiao was curious and dragged her words, “Oh?”
“Jiao Jiao, the Ninth Prince is going to get engaged.” Sheng Peiyin suddenly lowered her voice and said this.
“What? That quick?” Shen Ziqiao shockingly exclaimed. Who was the Ninth Prince, that womanly man, going to marry? Could it be...be that cabinet’s young miss?
Didn’t the Ninth Prince get engaged after Sheng Peiyin entered the palace?
Was Sheng Peiyin already a female official in the palace? Was she working by the Crown Prince’s side?
“Yeah, but the Ninth Prince refuses. I heard that he is missing now. Jiao Jiao, what do you say we should do? Could something have happened to him?” Sheng Peiyin looked at Shen Ziqiao and said sorrowfully.
What does that womanly man have to do with her?
Shen Ziqiao laughed dryly. “Right. What should we do? Sister Sheng, don’t you have a pretty good relationship with the Ninth Prince? How come you don’t know where he went?’
“The Ninth Prince and I are just acquaintances.” Sheng Peiyin said in a low voice.
Acquaintances would get in bed together?...
“Jiao Jiao, don’t you want to look for the Ninth Prince? Maybe he’d look at you in a new light afterwards?” Sheng Peiyin said in an enticing tone. Even now, she thought that Shen Ziqiao still liked the Ninth Prince.
Shen Ziqiao lauhed. “So what if he views me in a new light?”