Edited by Tnyhy
Chapter 135: Nightmare (Part 1)
“It was me that sent you the invitation, Qing Yi.”
Chang Zai Qing was startled for a moment and asked somewhat puzzled, “Fifth Young Lady, this is?”
“The previous time Qing Yi came and went hurriedly so I did not have a good chat with Qing Yi. Qing Yi mentioned that one will come visit again, but I had waited for quite some time but did not see Qing Yi, so one had to send over an invite first. Fearing that my seal was not appropriate, my Mother’s seal was used. Qing Yi will not blame me right?”
Chang Zai Qing looked at the young female in front of her. She was quietly speaking with a smile and was not at all embarrassed. If one were to continue to press on it, it would seem that Chang Zai Qing was too calculative. Chang Zai Qing smiled on the spot, “How can it be? It is Zai Qing’s fortune to be invited by Fifth Young Lady.” As she was speaking, she was sizing Shen Miao up quietly. The previous time in the Shen mansion, even though Shen Miao was not indifferent to her, she was definitely not warm and there were a few times of rudeness. To be suddenly invited unfathomably, it had already set off a warning in Chang Zai Qing’s heart.
“The main hall is very cold. It is better that Qing Yi come to my room to sit.” Shen Miao stood up with a smile, “It is not far from here. I really cannot stand this cold wind.”
Chang Zai Qing amenably complied. When reaching Shen Miao’s room, Shen Miao instructed the maid to serve tea and cakes. The fire brazier was burning and the window was opened with a small slit before the door was closed. The room was very warm but was not stuffy.
Shen Miao pushed the tea in front of Chang Zai Qing. Chang Zai Qing smiled as she picked the cup up to take a sip, before her expression became somewhat weird.
“This is Zhu Dan Tea. It taste very bitter and rough, but smell fragrant. Qing Yi most likely is not used to drinking it.” Shen Miao explained with a smile.
Chang Zai Qing’s expression paused for a moment, as she was made somewhat puzzled with this move of Shen Miao’s. With the way of hospitality, one would naturally bring out the best tea leaves, so upon using this poor grade of tea, was it to humiliate her? But based on Shen Miao’s expression, it did not seemed to be the case.
“Even though this tea is bitter, it is extremely good for the body. When one drinks it during winter, it would drive the cold away and maintain warmth. My Father and Older Brother are all people who practices martial arts, thus will naturally drink Zhu Dan Tea during winter. Later even the entire residence all drank this kind of tea.” Shen Miao looked at Chang Zai Qing, “Qing Yi is from a scholarly family and most likely do not like to drink this kind of tea, but as we are a military family, we are not particular.”
Chang Zai Qing waved as she laughed, “Fifth Young lady is joking. The Chang family is an ordinary family. Even though this Zhu Dan Tea is bitter, it is good for one’s health so one will not find it rough after drinking for a long time.”
Shen Miao shook her head, “It is easy to constrain oneself for a period of time, but it is difficult to constrain oneself in one’s entire lifetime.”
Chang Zai Qing was surprised for a moment and felt that there were hidden meanings in Shen Miao’s words, thus she could not help but look at Shen Miao.
Shen Miao smiled, “Speaking of which, one heard that Qing Yi is currently residing in the Shen residence. Is the people of the Shen residence treating Qing Yi well?”
“Very well.” Chang Zai Qing smiled, “They take great care of me.”
“You have similar interests with Third Shen, so one would think that both of you will be able to hit it off.” Shen Miao smiled, “Third Shen all along liked to indulge in literary skills, and Third Shu originally respected her a lot because of it. Most likely you have also seen that Third Shu treats Third Shen very well. In the entire Third Household, there is only Third Shen, one matriarch.” She then sighed after speaking, “It is a pity that Third Shen does not have a Di son. If there is a Di son, she would not need to be so worried.”
Chang Zai Qing had been in the Shen residence for a long time, thus she naturally knew about the matter of the lack of heirs in the Third Household. Chen Rou Qiu and Old Shen Furen got into conflicts about it almost daily. It was just that she did not expect that Shen Miao would actually talk to her about the matter. Shen Miao was after all an unmarried young lady, so it would be somewhat awkward to mention about matters in the Third Household. However Shen Miao spoke those words naturally as if this was a matter not worth mentioning, making Chang Zai Qing unable to differentiate if Shen Miao was naïve or prematurely wise.
“With Third Furen’s kindness, sons and grandsons will pervade the hall.” Chang Zai Qing went along with Shen Miao’s words.
“Naturally one would like to compare the First and Third Household.” Shen Miao picked up the tea cup and blew at the tea leaves floating on the surface before smiling, “One civil, one military. Both courtyards only have one matriarch but fortunately our residence is better as we still have our Eldest Brother. He is also reaching the age to marry. After some time, one would help to pick a good marriage in the Ding capital. With a SaoSao and later a nephew, this house would be bustling.” Shen Miao seemed to be somewhat pleased, “But the Third Household is not as lively as our Eldest Household.”
Chang Zai Qing initially thought that Shen Miao was being childish and sulky with the Third Household but after listening to everything, she seemed to have suddenly thought about something and her facial expression changed.
Correct. In Shen Xin’s residence, Luo Xue Yan is stupid, straightforward and was not oversensitive. The inner courtyard was clean so it was not difficult to put things in order. But she had forgotten that there was still one Shen Qiu. He was Luo Xue Yan’s Di eldest son and was young and promising. In addition to marrying a wife of a strong family, even if she did not contend or vie, she would still be suppressed.
Shen Miao saw the changes in Chang Zai Qing’s face and her eyes became cold.
In the previous life, when Chang Zai Qing finally stayed in Shen Xin’s inner courtyard, Shen Qiu was no longer around, and Shen Miao was already married into Prince Ding’s residence. There was no threat for Chang Zai Qing in the entire inner courtyard at all. With such a smooth sailing route, how would Chang Zai Qing not grab on such a good opportunity?
But it was not the same now as Shen Qiu was perfectly well. With a living and healthy Di eldest son here, the possibility of Chang Zai Qing being the wife would forever not come true.
What kind of route would this female, who love to scheme and weigh the pros and cons clearly, choose?
Shen Miao twirled the cakes on the table and smiled, “It is a real pity for Third Shu. Originally when ZhuFu (aka Grandfather) was still around, he apparently said that Third Shu was the most intelligent in the Shen family. He was dignified and scholarly, if he had a son, he would be as smart as him. Unfortunately the Third household only have Second Older Sister, a daughter. Now that Second Older Sister almost reached the age to get married, when she does, there would only be Third Shu and Third Shen, two people in the Third household. It would be too lonely.”
Chang Zai Qing was originally listening absent-mindedly, but her heart moved upon hearing Shen Miao’s words.
Speaking of which, Shen Xin’s and Shen Wan’s inner courtyard were almost similar. Both only had one woman and both were so called sentimental. And speaking of that, Shen Yue was also two years older than Shen Miao and would be married off soon and since there were no sons in the Third household, it was even hard to come by.
“Qing Yi’s and Third Shen’s temperament is similar and there are some small differences in demeanour. Both speak gently and have knowledge of many literary pursuits. If one did not know, one would thought that both of you are a pair of sisters.” Shen Miao looked at Chang Zai Qing with a probing gaze and spoke unhurriedly, “But in my opinion, Qing Yi is more outstanding than Third Shen because Qing Yi is younger.”
Chang Zai Qing’s lips unconscious hooked up. She was well aware that the people in the Shen residence compared her with Chen Rou Qiu since they were alike, both delicate and scholarly talented females. But what Shen Miao said was correct, no matter how beautify a female was, even if one has great talent, once age caught up, the colour would also wither. In comparison Chang Zai Qing was much more appealing with her youth. Moreover Chen Rou Qiu considered herself as a noble family Di daughter and her actions were somewhat aloof, whereas Chang Zai Qing grew up in an ordinary home and knew how to compromise, to bow her head when it was time to bow, and read other’s faces so everyone praises her.
Chang Zai Qing’s eyes were filled with thoughts. She was better than Chen Rou Qiu.
Shen Miao picked up the teacup to drink, and the tea that entered her mouth was bitter but she drank it like it was as sweet as honey, and revealed a gentle smile.
Chang Zai Qing was already twenty six and in the Ding capital, for females at such an age to discuss about marriage, most would become concubines for others, or become a stepmother and raise children that did not crawl out of their wombs. Moreover the Chang family was a small family, even if one relied on the Shen family, it was still difficult to marry into a higher family.
This Chang Zai Qing was one who tossed her husband and abandoned her son to find a better life, so how would she be easily satisfied. It was just that she originally did not notice Shen Wan. Since Chang Zai Qing was best at weighing pros and cons, Shen Miao then directly talked about the empty house of the Third household to Chang Zai Qing, so that she could choose herself.
Chang Zai Qing’s expression kept shifting like clouds, as her heart was in a mess. Shen Miao had evoked another thought in her heart, something that she had not noticed before.
Correct, since Shen Wan liked Chen Rou Qiu kind of character and she was better than Chen Rou Qiu in all ways, so how would one not be able to handle what Shen Wan’s likes? Compared to Shen Xin, a military man, Shen Wan was a modest nobleman, with a graceful disposition and after all, she felt more at ease with this kind of person.
But how did the matter today suddenly became like this? She originally wanted to listen to Chen Rou Qiu to feel out Shen Xin and she originally also fancy him, but at the end how did it turn around and became dealing with Chen Rou Qiu? It was because Shen Miao kept on talking of unrelated matters and distracted her. It was Shen Miao.
Chang Zai Qing looked abruptly at Shen Miao.
The purple clad young female sat in front of the window. One did not know when did the snow outside stopped falling and the sun came out, shining on half of her jade like fair face. Her neck was slender as she held the cup of tea and slowly sip it to enjoy.
But there was an untraceable prestige.
Chang Zai Qing felt a cold sweat. It was as if she only realised now that from the start to the present, she was the person that was led by the nose by Shen Miao. Shen Miao hammered in the east and battered in the west, seemingly casually talking about unrelated matters, but the few words had directly turned the arrow towards Chen Rou Qiu. Shen Miao’s every words were telling Chang Zai Qing to think towards the Third Household.
This young female was by no means stupid or naïve, but on the contrary was like a monster.
Chang Zai Qing thought about the time when she first came to the Shen mansion, Shen Miao had been rude for several times and her heart jumped nonstop. Could it be that at that time Shen Miao already knew what kind of intention she had? So her rude incidents and even the deliberate invitation today was also because of it?
Shen Miao looked at her and smiled gently, “Why has Qing Yi started to perspire? Is it that the room is hot?”
Chang Zai Qing suddenly recovered herself, and paid full attention as she looked at Shen Miao before saying with a smile, “Most probably.”
Shen Miao said lightly, “This room would be as uncomfortable as a cocoon that one spin around oneself when the windows are too closed up. It is better to open the window since it is much cooler outside.” She instructed Jing Zhe to open the windows before looking at Chang Zai Qing again, “Qing Yi, am I right?”
“Fifth Young Lady is correct.” Chang Zai Qing forced a smile but she was a little more frightened as she looked at Shen Miao’s smile. Her thoughts were hidden so deep, but Shen Miao was able to understand her intention with only a meeting. This kind of person was a monster with graceful bearing. It was fortunate that Chang Zai Qing discovered it early, else if she were to really enter Shen Xin’s inner courtyard, Chang Zai Qing had no confidence to deal with such monster.
Shen Miao gave a smile without caring at all.
She had plainly and clearly told Chang Zai Qing, ‘If you want to enter my Father’s courtyard, one have to see if you are able to deal with me first. If you cannot, then you deserve to die here. One fear that even on the road back one will be shot dead, hoist by one’s own petard.’
Chang Zai Qing would not take unwarranted risks. She always found the most favourable and safest way for herself.
Sure enough, Chan Zai Qing not long after speaking with Shen Miao, bid her farewell. Shen Miao naturally did not retain her and after Chang Zai Qing left, Gu Yu said curiously, “Why is that Chang family Young Lady so strange? She seemed to be hiding from someone. Who had scared her?”
Shen Miao said, “Go and instruct the servants not to mention about today’s matters to anyone. Chang Zai Qing had not come to the Shen mansion. Remember that.”
The two maids complied and left. Even though they did not understand why Shen Miao was so concerned about Chang Zai Qing, they knew that Shen Miao had her own intention behind her actions, so the maids did not comment on it.
When everyone left, Shen Miao then sit in front of the table and was somewhat lost in thoughts as she looked at the bronze mirror.
Because Chen Rou Qiu was too hateful and had bounced around for far too long, thus she let Chang Zai Qing wreck Chen Rou Qiu. In the past life, the marriage contract between Chang Zai Qing and Shen Xin was ‘accidentally’ found by Chen Rou Qiu. It was her who kept on saying not to wrong Chang Zai Qing and wanted to speak for Chang Zai Qing. As Shen Miao thought, she feared that in the previous life Chang Zai Qing had focused on Shen Xin, and most probably it was Chen Rou Qiu fuelling this.
Since they were two identical sisters and considered each other as good sisters, then might as well put them together at a corner to fight. Let us watch who Shen Wan actually like. Shen Miao’s gaze got cold. Naturally she would be happy to throw Chen Rou Qiu to Chang Zai Qing to settle. But Chang Zai Qing would not let it go easily.
Shen Miao only frowned. What exactly Chang Zai Qing did that resulted in Luo Xue Yan’s death? Till now, it was still a mystery.