By the time they arrived at De’an Courtyard, they realized that Shen Family’s second madam, Madam Zhou, returned.
Besides Shen Xiao, everyone else was at Old Madam Shen’s. Madam Zhou had a round figure with smooth skin. She had a proper appearance, and looked a bit similar to Old Madam Shen. There was a glint of sternness in her eyes, making it seem hard to approach her.
Old Madam Shen leaned against the bed weakly, her face pale, and seemed dispirited. She even talked weakly.
Woah. When did Old Madam fall sick? They actually knew nothing.
“Grandmother.” Shen Zikai and Shen Ziqiao greeted each other, and then at Madam Zhou. “Second Aunt.”
“When did Second Aunt come back?” Shen Zikai raised his head and asked gently.
Madam Zhou slightly lifted her head and glanced at them sternly.
“Old Madam had already fallen sick, but as her grandchildren, none of you guys came to serve upon her?” Madam Zhou’s voice was really soft, but there was a deep reprimanding tone inside.
Shen Zikai looked at him expressionlessly. “It’s our fault for neglecting her.”
Neglecting her my ass! When they went to pay respects to Old Madam Shen yesterday, she was quite spirited. How was she sick in any way? Yet, she acted like she had been sick for a good half month or so already. What is this? She must’ve done this on purpose!
“Old Madam managed this household and endured bitter hardships for the family. Not only didn’t you guys understand her, you even made Old Madam unhappy. If the public knows about it, they’d only saw that Shen Family’s grandchildren are unfilial. Do you guys not want your reputations anymore?” Madam Zhou’s voice wasn’t loud, but it was unpleasant to the ears.
Shen Ziqiao was too lazy to act guilty and filial. She stared at Madam Zhou indifferently.
Madam Zhou looked at her. “What? Jiao Jiao, am I wrong to say that?”
“Whatever you say is right.” Shen Ziqiao pursed her lips as if saying let me hear you bullshit your way through.
“Presumptuous!” Madam Zhou shouted sternly. “I just haven’t seen you in a while, and you’ve become even more disobedient. Is this the way you should talk to your elders? Before I left the capital, what did you promise me”
Madam Zhou stared straight at Shen Ziqiao, already detecting her difference. Although this motherless girl was crafty and unruly, she didn’t dare to take her and Old Madam headstrong. She didn’t even dare to talk back, only murmuring behind their backs.
It was because she was scared that Old Madam and her would restrict her freedom and allowance. However, Shen Ziqiao seemed fearless now.
She thought that by having Shen Xiao and Shen Zikai as her backers, there was nothing to be afraid of?
“I really forgot. Second Aunt, why don’t you remind me what I promised you?” Shen Ziqiao disliked Madam Zhou, disliked her a lot. She didn’t know whether Madam Zhou was a good or bad person, but based on her feelings, she felt like she wouldn’t be nice to her.
What a pity that when she was reading the novel, she didn’t see much about Madam Zhou’s description. The author mostly vaguely described her. Otherwise, she would’ve gotten a better understanding of her.
“Jiao Jiao.” Shen Zikai softly called out, not wanting his sister to fight with Second Aunt right now.
Madam Zhou smiled. “Our Third Miss is really amazing. Not only did you anger Old Madam to the point she had fallen sick, you didn’t even recognize your mistake. Even more, you dared to question your elders.”
“Second Aunt, I don’t understand this. How did I anger Old Madam to the point she had fallen sick? What did I do?” Shen Ziqiao tch’ed. She thinks that she’s easily bullied, so that she could casually shift the blame on her?
“Don’t you know what you’ve done?” Madam Zhou found it strange. She thought that this Shen Ziqiao was really unfamiliar.
This wasn’t the Jiao Jiao that kept quiet despite being angry at her, nor was she simple-minded. She didn’t just shout and bring wrath on people just because they offended her.
How long has it been?...She became completely different.
“I need to think about this. What have I done recently? Ah. I went to ask Old Madam for my mother’s dowry back, so she had fallen sick due to anger? Or was it because Old Madam was angry that I kicked the wicked servants away? I know. It must be because Mama Li and her nephew had instigated people to steal the rice in the store, and to harm me while they were at it. Old Madam was disappointed that I didn’t die, thus falling sick, right?” Shen Ziqiao pretended to be naive and ignorant. Watching as Old Madam Shen’s face turned darker and darker, she was in a better mood.
Everyone’s expressions changed when they heard her say that.
Especially Shen Xiao’s three concubines. They all knew that Old Madam had taken Pan Madam’s dowry for ehr own, but they didn’t know that Shen Ziqiao knew about it and asked Old Madam for it back.
How could Old Madam possibly give the dowry back? They all knew her personality too well.
“Shut up!” Madam Zhou hollered at her, her face turning pale.
She originally wanted to control Shen Ziqiao when she returned to prevent her from being too arrogant. The entire time, Shen Ziqiao had been very scared of her. Who knew that not only wasn’t Shen Ziqiao scared of her, she also dared to contradict her elders. She also lost control.
“Was it not because of this? Then I don’t know how I made Old Madam unhappy. Maybe she found my existence to be an irksome presence. Why don’t you just kick me out? That way, Old Madam will naturally recover.” Shen Ziqiao mocked Madam Zhou. Don’t take her to be an idiot, and think that she’d submit defeat after being scolded.
“Not only weren’t you grateful towards Old Madam for her managing the dowry for you all these years, you even opposed her. Who taught you this? Was this how the Pan Madam taught her daughter?” Madam Zhou stood up and glared at Shen Ziqiao angrily.
Towards the Pan Madam, Madam Zhou and Old Madam Shen both didn’t like her.
She was jealous of Pan Madam.
Shen Ziqiao returned the cold gaze. “Second Aunt, don’t you know that my mother has died for many years?”
“Second Aunt, please respect the deceased.” Shen Zikai said faintly, pulling Shen Ziqiao behind him. “Jiao Jiao and I only found out that grandmother had fallen sick together. For the past few months, Jiao Jiao had become much more respectful and obedient. Second Aunt, you must’ve mistaken.”
Mistaken what? This old woman was clearly targeting her! Shen Ziqiao humphed in her heart.
Madam Zhou knew that she had said the wrong words. She sat back down after tucking the blankets in for Old Madam Shen, and exchanged a gaze with her.
She came back this time to prevent Shen Ziqiao from getting the dowry back. She originally thought that she could stun Shen Ziqiao and naturally let this girl back out of this awkward situation. It seemed quite difficult now.
Old Madam Shen panted weakly. “It’s not the girl’s fault. I just have a weak body. You guys can go back. I’m a bit tired.”
“Grandmother, then rest well. We’ll be heading back now.” A young girl standing by Old Madam Shen’s side gently said.
Shen Ziqiao just noticed this unfamiliar girl in the room.
“Okay.” Old Madam Shen glanced at her kindly and nodded.
“Grandmother, rest well. This grandson will come and visit you again later.” Shen Zikai pulled Shen Ziqiao’s hands and they left De’an Courtyard.
“Elder Brother, what’s with the Second Aunt? Is she here to help Old Madam?” After Shen Ziqiao left De’an Courtyard, she tugged on Shen Zikai’s hands and asked. She was really unhappy. How could they seize their assets that confidently and justly?
Shen Zikai sighed. “Old Madam values the Second Aunt a lot…”
“I don’t care who she values. I think she just wants to give my dowry to the Second Aunt.” She had seen many biased people, but never a shameless and biased person.
“Jiao Jiao, they’re our elders after all. You’re their junior. Even if you have grievances, you have to endure it. Grandfather is coming. He’d help you get back your dowry. Please don’t be headstrong.” Shen Zikai advised in a low voice. “Don’t let them get information to use against you.”
Shen Ziqiao thought carefully, agreeing with Shen Zikai’s words. She’d be the one to suffer if she went against her elders. She may as well wait for grandfather to come, and get the dowry back from the old woman.
“Elder Brother, I understand. No matter what the Old Madam says, I’ll endure it.” Shen Ziqiao said.
“Good.” Shen Zikai patted her head, feeling helpless inside. If their mother was still alive… who dared to bully his sister in Shen Family?
Shen Ziqiao and Shen Zikai parted ways after they left the courtyard. She returned to Qiao Xin Courtyard and prepared to ask Lady Meng to make inquiries about Madam Zhou when a maid came to report Fourth Miss’ presence.
Fourth Miss? That’s Madam Zhou’s daughter.
She recalled the exquisite and cute-looking little girl in the Old Madam’s room. That should be Madam Zhou’s daughter.
As she was thinking about this, the curtains slightly moved to the side. Shen Zixin walked in wearing a vermilion flowery dress. She looked a bit similar to Madam Zhou, but her features were much more beautiful and exquisite than hers. She had smooth and fair skin. A faint smile floated on her lips, faint dimples appearing.
“Jiao Jiao.” The moment she walked in, she greeted amiably. Before Shen Ziqiao said anything, she already sat down.
That enthusiastic? Did she have a great relationship with the original body? Shen Ziqiao felt like everyone was trying to harm her. She was scared that everyone she met had ulterior motives.
It was all because of Sheng Peiyin!
“Xin’er…” She smiled and parted her lips, “Why didn’t you go back to rest?”
Shen Zixin knitted her brows and observed Shen Ziqiao seriously. She touched her chin and said, “Jiao Jiao, why do I feel like you’re really different?”
“Different how? Did I become more beautiful?” Shen Ziqiao giggled.
“You dare to talk back to my mother. I’ve gained a whole new level of respect for you now. You don’t know, but I’ve heard about the things you’ve done and it has made me doubt whether you’re still my cousin or not.” Shen Zixin said excitedly.
Shen Ziqiao didn’t know how to face her cousin. She and Madam Zhou held two different attitudes to her. She was confused whether Shen Zixin was a friend or foe to her.
Shen Zixin didn’t detect Shen Ziqiao’s strangeness. She tugged on Shen Ziqiao’s hands and lowered her voice, asking, “Are you really going to take back the dowry left by your mother?”
“Of course.” Shen Ziqiao said positively. Was she here to get information from her?
“Grandmother gave my mother some items of good quality. I think those belong to your mother’s dowry. You have to make note of it. Don’t be fooled.”
Girl, which side are you on? Shen Ziqiao froze.