Sheng Peiyin actually still came to look for her! Shen Ziqiao really felt that the heroine had a strong mental state.
Back when they were at the east palace, Sheng Peiyin looked at her as if she was going to rip her apart. Yet, she was able to act like nothing was wrong today. She smiled happily as she showed up in front of the Shen Residence. This was the first time Shen Ziqiao admired this woman.
“Sister Sheng.” Since Sheng Peiyin could act like nothing was wrong, Shen Ziqiao thought she could too. She wore a sweet smile on her face and welcomed Sheng Peiyin.
“Jiao Jiao.” A flicker of disgust flashed deep inside Sheng Peiyin’s eyes, but the smile on her face grew more gentle and amiable. “Sorry for troubling you today.”
Shen Ziqiao smiled and replied, “What do you mean? I’m grateful that you guys are able to come and congratulate our Old Madam. Why would I find this troubling?”
Everyone knew how to talk politely. It depended on whether they were willing or not however.
There were many that came to congratulate the Old Madam today. They were all either influential officials or noble ladies from the capital. Old Madam Shen had never felt as proud as she did before.
Although she was Shen Family’s Old Madam, the noble ladies from the capital disdained her maiden home. As a result, they rarely got along with her. They even talked behind her back, saying that she was stingy and couldn’t handle big situations. What made her most angry was that when Pan Madam was alive, those ladies were close and intimate with her. They didn’t mean her background as a businessman’s daughter at all.
Old Madam Shen was unwilling to attend dinner banquets for a long time because of this different treatment.
It was different now. Pan Madam was dead. Shen Xiao was a well-known general. Those ignorant ladies finally knew what was best for them and knew who to flatter.
Madam Zhou brought Shen Zixin everywhere, wanting everyone to know badly that she had a beautiful and virtuous daughter, different from a certain person’s tainted reputation.
There were many people from the Shen Family that thought Shen Ziqiao would lose her face today because Old Madam Shen and Madam Zhou wouldn’t give her face.
Yet, there was no way that wind would always blow in the same direction in this world.
Today, many of the guests that came to congratulate Old Madam Shen were personally invited by Shen Ziqiao. They came for Shen Ziqiao, not Old Madam Shen.
At first, Old Madam Shen was happy to hear these people compliment and flatter her. While she was floating in heaven, she suddenly heard people start talking about Shen Ziqiao. “...Third Miss Shen is really an extraordinary person. Even the empress and princess consort praised her for being clever and lovable, cute and lively. She must be an intelligent person. I really need to take a look for myself today.”
“Speaking of, I heard that Third Miss is an advocate for justice. I haven’t seen her personally however.”
“There are some people who dislike others being in a good state. There were even some people who said that Third Miss Shen is totally illiterate. If she was illiterate, how could she save little imperial grandson?”
Princess Nihong held her cup of tea as she sat next to Old Madam Shen, listening happily to their discussion. Old Madam Shen and Madam Zhou’s expressions both turned green.
“Old Madam, Old Madam, someone came from the palace.” At this time, Mama Li ran in happily, purposely raising her voice and calling out loud.
Old Madam Shen hurriedly sat up straight. “Someone came from the palace?”
Mama Li smiled and exclaimed, “Her Majesty and the princess consort sent people over to congratulate you.”
When the people at the lounge heard this, they looked at Old Madam Shen in envy.
It was unclear who suddenly said, “Third Miss Shen is really auspicious. She just entered the palace once and Her Majesty and princess consort both pampered her greatly. They even sent people over to Old Madam’s birthday banquet to congratulate her. Who in the capital would have this honor?”
Before Old Madam Shen could reveal a proud smile, she heard the clear voice resounding through the entire lounge. Her words got stuck in her mouth and she almost fainted from anger.
It was because of that cheap girl again!
So it turns out all her glory today was due to that girl? They were all blind. With that girl’s morality and conduct, could Her Majesty and the princess consort really like her?
It was all because of the Shen Family!
At the same time, Sheng Peiyin also felt stuffy.
She had never dreamed of the possibility that Shen Ziqiao would receive the empress’ favor in this life. Even more, she didn’t expect for the little imperial grandson to be saved. She recalled that he wouldn’t be able to live for long in the past life.
Could it be because of her rebirth that Shen Ziqiao’s role also changed unknowingly?
Then would fate continue like it did last life? If she recalled correctly, her father and Shen Ziqiao would be on opposing sides now.
She would never give Shen Xiao the chance to frame the Sheng Family.
But Shen Ziqiao was in the spotlight right now. Even if she wanted to do something to Shen Ziqiao in order to make Shen Xiao suffer, it was impossible. What should she do then?
Jiao Jiao, don’t blame me for having a harsh heart. For my Sheng Family’s dozen lives, I must make a move first.
Sheng Peiyin watched as Shen Ziqiao walked in and a harsh glint flashed by her eyes.
Shen Ziqiao had walked in with two female officials from the palace.
“Department Head He, Department Head Ning.” Old Madam Shen suppressed her unhappiness. Department Head He was the empress’ favorite. Department Head Ning was a young woman and the princess consort’s trusted aide. She couldn’t offend the two easily.
“Old Madam Shen, we are under Her Majesty’s decree order to bring you peaches of immortality. Old Madam is kind and warm, managing the household greatly...May you live a long and happy life.” Department Head He said neither servilely nor overbearingly, flattering the Old Madam. The latter who was originally in a bad mood felt like she had ascended to heaven.
“This old woman thanks Her Majesty for the rewards.” Old Madam Shen hurriedly stood up and bowed towards the direction of the imperial palace, her smile blooming like a chrysanthemum.
Department Head Ning bowed and exclaimed, “Old Madam Shen, under the princess consort’s orders, this servant brings you eighteen sandalwood prayer beads and wishes you a healthy life.”
Old Madam Shen thanked the princess consort as well and then hurriedly had servants bring over two tutor chairs, inviting the two department heads to sit down.
Sheng Peiyin kept her head down and walked over to Department Head He, well-behaved.
When Department Head He saw her complacent discipline, a smile floated in her eyes.
Shen Ziqiao was about to go to Department Head Ning’s side when she saw their interaction, so seh stopped. She stood by the corner and continued to watch as people showered Old Madam Shen with affection.
Watching as the crowd enjoyed themselves talking, Shen Ziqiao retreated silently. She still needed to check on the preparations of the banquet.
Today, she had done lots of strenuous and unrewarding things. Even if she meticulously planned the banquet for the old woman, the latter would think this was a matter of a fact and wouldn’t be understanding.
“Jiao Jiao.” It was unclear when Shen Zixin had followed her out. She walked over quickly and caught up. “Let me help you out with the banquet. Look at how sweaty you are from bustling around.”
“You’re worthy of being my sister!” Shen Ziqiao wrapped her arms around Shen Zixin’s shoulders in gratitude. Thankfully, Shen Zixin was different from her bizarre mother. Otherwise, her days would definitely be harder.
Shen Zixin was different from Shen Ziwen and the others. The latter didn’t like them but they didn’t dare to oppose her in public. This was because they were illegitimate daughters. The contrast and difference was huge as Shen Ziqiao was a legal daughter.
It quickly hit the peak of the afternoon. The banquet was about to begin and Shen Ziqiao could finally sigh.
Department Head He had already returned to the palace. Department Head Ning stayed however, giving Old Madam Shen enough face. Shen Ziqiao searched for a while before she found her.
“Department Head Ning.” She smiled and moved closer to her. While she was in the east palace for the past few days, Shen Ziqiao had gotten to know quite a few palace maids, especially Department Head Ning.
Department Head Ning was Ning Xi. She was only in her twenties this year and princess consort’s trusted aide. Back then, Shen Ziqiao was busy tending to the little imperial grandson’s fever and it was Ning Xi that helped her look after him when she was extremely exhausted, giving Shen Ziqiao some time to rest.
“You must be tired today, hm?” Department Head Ning smiled and exclaimed. Because the little imperial grandson had safely overcomed the fever, the entire east palace was grateful towards Shen Ziqiao. Even more, this girl wasn’t arrogant or anything. After she saved the little imperial grandson, she didn’t even bother to take credit for her contribution. Instead, she gave the credit to the people around her, making her seem like she was just helping them.
Shen Ziqiao nodded firmly. “I’m tired like a dog.”
Ning Xi softly smiled. What a little girl. “Xiao Yu had me bring this. She said that she promised to give you this last time.”
It was an almond-yellow colored plum embroidered spice bag. Xiao Yu had outstanding embroidery skills. The bag was exquisite and cute. Shen Ziqiao smiled, adoring the spice bag. “Help me thank her.”
Xiao Yu was a palace maid by the princess consort’s side. She was the best at embroidery within the entire easy palace. She promised to give Shen Ziqiao a spice bag.
Ning Xi smiled as she shook her head. “She wants you to practice embroidery. After all, what happens when you get married?”
“No worries. I’ll enter the palace and beg the princess consort for her to give me Xiao Yu.” Shen Ziqiao said smiling.
“What a lazy thing!” Ning Xi scolded teasingly.
Shen Ziqiao brought the spice bag into her arms treating it like a treasure. She never expected to make friends in the east palace, but Ning Xi and Xiao Yu… she had deep impressions of them.
After the princess consort passed away, Sheng Peiyin rapidly dragged the two figures down. If it weren't for the empress, they probably would’ve been murdered to ensure silence. Later on, it was unclear how Ning Xi had done it but she became Beitang Zhenjing’s first department head.
Good people weren’t supposed to be hurt. Shen Ziqiao didn’t want Ning Xi and Xiao Yu to be framed by Sheng Peiyin.
The banquet ended in high spirits. Now, the crowd was to move to the stage to watch a show. Shen Ziqiao had been keeping an eye on Chen Xueling by the Old Madam’s side. She noticed that although Chen Xueling had the intention of improving her relationship with the Old Madam, the old woman didn’t seem too enthusiastic.
She rarely talked to Chen Xueling and didn’t even look at her.
Ah, it must be because Chen Xueling looks so similar to Pan Madam, right? That’s why she didn’t want to see her?
This was interesting. She wanted to find an obedient daughter-in-law, but she didn’t want to see Chen Xueling whose appearance was similar to Pan Madam. The Old Madam must be conflicted.
They listened to a few consecutive plays before the guests left successively.
Shen Ziqiao thought that she could finally get a good night’s rest.
But she didn’t get to sleep for long before Hong Ying shook her awake. “Third Miss, get up quickly. The Old Madam is making a fuss.”
“With who?” It’d be abnormal if the old woman didn’t make a fuss.
“With the Lord… and Young Miss Chen.” Hong Ying said in a low voice. She already carried a bowl of water over for Shen Ziqiao to rinse.
The moment Shen Ziqiao heard that this had to do with Shen Xiao, she immediately snapped out of her trance and sat up straight. “What? Why is she making a fuss with my father?”
“I heard that she is forcing the Lord to marry Young Miss Chen…”