In order to prevent Old Madam Shen from having tricks up her sleeves, Shen Xiao stopped her from counting the list of dowries under the excuse that she was feeling unwell. Instant, she had Lady Meng accompany Madam Zhou to count the items with the list of dowries Old Lord Pan gave.
Shen Xiao was infuriated after they counted the dowries, feeling ashamed to even see Old Lord Pan.
Half the dowries were missing! Don’t mention how thousands of acres were sold, but even half of the valuable antiques and jewelry within the storage room were gone. If they added the amount of land sold, it was really...
Shen Xiao was so angry that he couldn’t form any words.
He knew that his mother was greedy and disliked Pan Madam and Jiao Jiao. But he didn’t think his mother would come to this point. How did she act like a dignified Old Madam in any ways? She was no different from a greedy old shrew!
He had no idea if Old Lord Pan would even allow him to compensate the jewelry and valuable antiques with silvers. As well as for the lands… he needed to buy them back.
Shen Xiao went to see Old Lord Pan shamefully.
Old Lord Pan was just eating with his grandchildren. He had been living in Shen Family for two days. Besides the encounter on the first day when he just arrived at the capital, he hadn’t went to see Old Madam Shen since.
It wasn’t that Old Lord Pan was unwilling, but that Old Madam Shen announced that she felt unwell and was unsuitable to receive guests. Old Lord Pan didn’t go to disturb her as a result.
After all, he had two grandchildren accompanying him. He was much more relaxed like this.
“Grandfather, try this sweet fermented steam duck. It’s a speciality from the capital. I like it a lot. Also try this Longjing shrimp. You can’t eat too many of them since you have a high cholesterol. Try this rose tofu, and lotus root…” Shen Ziqiao’s clear and crisp voice rang nonstop. Old Lord Pan didn’t even have time to process her words when the bowl in front of him was stacked with food.
Old Lord Pan glanced at the table full of dishes and shook his head, saying, “What a hidden foodie you are.”
Shen Zikai laughed out loud. “Grandfather, you got it. Jiao Jiao is a foodie. One could always see her in restaurants.”
“What? I normally can’t bear to eat such delicious food. It’s because grandfather’s here that I had someone buy the food. Grandfather, quickly try it out.” Shen Ziqiao kissed up to Old Lord Pan, acting cute.
After getting along for the past two days, Shen Ziqiao had a general understand of Old Lord Pan’s personality.
He was astute and optimistic, an elderly man easy to get along with. Most importantly, he genuinely treated her and her brother nicely.
This was enough. She began to look forward to living in Minyue.
Even if her aunt and uncle were hard to deal with, it was better than staying in Shen Family. She couldn’t bear staying in the family, thinking about what it’d be like after Chen Xueling married into the family.
“The Lord is here.” When Hong Ying saw Shen Xiao walking in from outside, she softly reported.
Shen Ziqiao’s splendid smile faded. She resented Shen Xiao inside, not because he got remarried. After all, she’d be too mean to let a man not yet in his forties stay single for the rest of his life. She just thought that Shen Xiao shouldn’t marry Chen Xueling.
If he really loved Pan Madam and treated his children sincerely, he wouldn’t marry Chen Xueling.
Couldn’t he tell that Old Madam Shen and Madam Zhou specially arranged Chen Xueling to be married to him? Cheng Xueling had already started flaunting Pan Madam’s bracelet before she was even married into the family, and she looked down on the latter’s background. Would she really treat Shen Ziqiao and Shen Zikai nicely in the future?
No. Shen Xiao knew this, but he wanted to be a filial son. He had no choice but to sacrifice his children.
“Shixiu, you came just in time. Have you eaten lunch yet? Come eat with this. This little foodie prepared everything.” Old Lord Pan chuckled.
Shen Xiao sat down and glanced at his children.
The siblings stood up and greeted, “Father.”
Their attitudes were much more distant than in the past.
“Father, I came here… to talk to you about something.” Shen Xiao glanced at Old Lord Pan with a difficult expression. He found it embarrassing to talk about the dowry matter.
Old Lord Pan smiled at him, seeing through what he wanted to say. “You’ve already counted the dowry items?”
Shen Xiao nodded, awkwardly smiling along. “I did, this is the key to the storage room. I’ll give this to Jiao Jiao first.”
“It’s all there?” Old Lord Pan asked. He’d write his surname backwards if they could return everything seeing that the Old Madam had been holding onto it for a decade.
“There are some missing… Father, can I compensate for the missing items with silvers? It’s been a while. Sometimes, the family needs allowance and financial support, so…” Shen Xiao muttered, not able to continue.
Old Lord Pan glanced calmly at his son-in-law. After a while, he said in a deep voice, “Shixiu, you’ve treated my grandchildren quite nicely over the past years, and I’m grateful for that. But you haven’t tried hard enough. Fortunately, Kai’er is going to the military camp with you, but what about Jiao Jiao? How much do you know about your daughter?”
Shen Xiao was at a loss for words. He really seemed to know not much about Jiao Jiao.
“Nevermind, they’ve all grown up now. There’s no point in continuing this conversation. Old Madam Shen has treated my granddaughter badly, but thankfully she hadn’t gone on the wrong path.” Old Lord Pan said faintly, “Just repay the missing dowry items with silvers to Jiao Jiao. My granddaughter must get everything back.”
“Okay!” Shen Xiao replied.
Old Lord Pan glanced at him and said, “Our Pan Family by no means has any right to refuse you of a remarriage. However, let me be frank. If you get remarried, the new madam has no right to decide my two grandchildren’s marriages. Kai’er and Jiao Jiao get to choose who they want to marry in the future. No one can force them to otherwise.”
Shen Xiao immediately agreed, “Yes, father can decide when the time comes.”
“Since you’ve agreed, I don’t have any other issues.” Old Lord Pan said.
Shen Ziqiao glanced at the old man that specially came to the capital for her and suddenly felt her eyes tearing up.
With the protection of this Old Lord, what’s there to worry about?
Shen Xiao compensated for Pan Madam’s dowry items with a whole one-third of Shen Family’s assets.
Shen Ziqiao grabbed the storage room’s key and went with Hong Yu and Lady Meng to count all the items. They were almost blinded by the valuable treasures.
She was a real “Ms Perfect” now.
“Third Miss, you’ve finally got your wish now.” Lady Meng wiped the tears from the corner of her eyes and said emotionally. Madam will definitely feel comforted and gratified seeing this.
They finally obtained the dowries back after much effort. Even if Third Miss didn’t marry anyone this life, she could still live a comfortable life with these dowries.
“I think we also got a few stores on the east street back. Let’s find some time and go check it out.” Shen Ziqiao said.
She already told Shen Xiao yesterday that she wanted to return to Minyue with Old Lord Pan. She wanted to visit her grandmother and personally pay respects.
This was a very valid reason. There was no reason for Shen Xiao to disagree. He just told her to stay well-behaved and listen to her grandmother, and for her to come back soon.
If it weren’t that she hadn’t resolved many matters in the capital, she really didn’t plan on coming back again.
At the very least, she needed to obtain everything that the Pan Madam left for her. She wasn’t going to let that old woman get anything. But she was tight on time and she didn’t have a detailed plan either. Even more, she couldn’t alert anyone else. Therefore, she had to endure this and wait until she became familiar with everything.
“Let’s go on a stroll to the east street and check out how the stores we just got back are doing.” Shen Ziqiao patted her hands and smiled. They were going to inspect the different stores starting tomorrow. Once she inspected the stores and settled down, she’d leave with grandfather.
She returned to Qiao Xin Courtyard to find out that Shen Xiao had been waiting an incense’s worth of time outside the hall.
“Father.” Shen Ziqiao obediently greeted, not walking over to him and acting cute just like how she usually did.
Shen Xiao could feel the distant feeling as well. He felt bitter inside and he couldn’t help but blurt, “You’re unhappy because I’m going to marry Chen Family’s young miss?”
“No, father is in his prime age. It makes sense for you to get remarried.” Shen Ziqiao kept her head down, her tone indifferent.
“It’s not like you don’t know what happened. How could I possibly refuse? You and your elder brother are giving me an attitude just like that as a result?” Shen Xiao’s face darkened, feeling like Shen Ziqiao wasn’t understanding of him.
Shen Ziqiao looked up at him for a while. “Father, elder brother and I don’t dare to give you an attitude. We’re happy for you.”
“You guys just don’t like me marrying Chen Family’s young miss, right?” Shen Xiao asked.
If Shen Xiao was a scumbag father from the start, Shen Ziqiao wouldn’t be willing to talk to him at all. But Shen Xiao was pretty decent in some aspects.
“Father, Chen Xueling is a superficial person. She can’t be compared to my mother in the least bit.” She hoped that Shen Xiao would understand the situation. Once he marries Chen Xueling in the future, she hoped that he wouldn’t be trapped by that woman.
Shen Xiao obviously had an understanding of Chen Xueling, but there was no way for him to refuse.
“You really just want to visit your grandmother in Minyue?” Shen Xiao was suspicious of his daughter's determination to go to Minyue.
Shen Ziqiao nodded in seriousness. “Of course, what else could I do there?”
He glanced at Shen Ziqiao for a while to see her blank and frank expression. Shen Xiao nodded, saying, “I plan on settling marriages for your eldest and second sister. It’d be settled… probably by the time you’re back from Minyue.”
He wanted to marry his daughters out before Chen Xueling got married into the family?
Shen Ziqiao smiled and said nothing.
She refused to get married! She couldn’t bear to give up all her dowries for other people.
The next day, Shen Ziqiao left the residence with Lady Meng and the Hong sisters.
The black horse carriage left the Shen Family and passed the east street. Shen Ziqiao was just listening to Lady Meng report information on the respective stores. She didn’t notice that while passing Shanggpin Teahouse, another horse carriage passed by them.
“That is… Shen Ziqiao?” Sheng Peiyin got out of the horse carriage and glanced at the other horse carriage far in the distance coldly.
She seemed to have seen Shen Ziqiao’s smiling face through the window.
“Third Miss, that’s Shen Family’s horse carriage.” The maidservant by her side replied.
Sheng Peiyin lowered her head, a sinister glint flashing by her eyes.