The Shen family banquet was held two days later.
The banquet was suggested by Old Shen Furen herself, the previous annual family banquets were always single-handedly arranged by Ren Wan Yun, but this year it was handled by Chen Rou Qiu. Now that the management power of the Shen family landed onto Chen Rou Qiu's hands, Old Shen Furen naturally felt that this was giving Chen Rou Qiu a big face but did not know that behind the glorious appearance, it made one miserable.
In Qiu Shui Yuan, Chen Rou Qiu was sitting in front of a table holding an accounting book in one hand and the other hand was awkwardly calculating on the abacus. The two maids standing behind spoke out, "Furen, you have been calculating for an entire afternoon, it is better to take a break."
"The money just cannot seem to tally." Chen Rou Qiu shook her head in distress, "Tomorrow's entire account to Liang has to come out from my own pocket." As she spoke, a trace of anger appeared on her face.
Chen Rou Qiu had flaunted herself as a noble female from a scholarly family, and thus was proud and aloof and could not bear the smell of money. In the beginning, when Old Shen Furen handled the household power to Ren Wan Yun, it was not that she was not jealous inside but she could not bring her face down to fight, thus at the end, there was a knot of it in her heart. After so many years of troubles, she became the matriarch of the Shen family but it was only now she found out that this management power was not easy to grasp.
Ren Wan Yun was from a wealthy merchant family and normally when Old Shen Furen wanted to spend more money, Ren Wan Yun could subtract it from her own dowry since she did not lack money. But the Chen family were only civil officials, if one were to speak positively, it was that breeze flowed into their sleeves (aka unsoiled by corrupt practices) but if one were to speak negatively, it was that they were poor, thus how could they be able to fork out more money to make up for it. Chen Rou Qiu thought that by taking over the management power, she would be able to divert money to subsidize her family expenses. But now looking at the situation, Ren Wan Yun had been fishing a lot for so many years that the money in the accounting books did not tally at all. Now that the family banquet was approaching, there was not enough silver.
It was still alright previously as Shen Xin would receive a generous reward from the Palace every year. But now that Shen Xin and the Shen family relationship was in a deadlock, there was no opportunity for the public funds to subsidize, thus Chen Rou Qiu felt some headache.
"Obviously knowing that there was not enough money in the public fund, Old Furen still want to hold the family banquet at this time. This is bullying Furen." Chen Rou Qiu's maid felt indignant for her.
"Eldest Master also intend to do nothing to save one from ruin. Since Furen's money is not enough, why not ask Master for some?" Hua Yi also said.
"What nonsense are you saying." Chen Rou Qiu said, "Master's salary is not enough to bribe in the official circles, how can one ask him to fork out money?" She continued, "Let me think of what to do." Shen Wan set his heart to climb up in his official career but Shen Gui was different. Shen Gui bit off more than one could chew and he did not have any ability thus could only fawn and curry favor to keep up appearances. Shen Wan was climbing up a step at a time and even though his steps were slower, he was much more practical than Shen Gui.
Chen Rou Qiu always knew that because she was unable to give birth to a son, the only thing she could rely on the Second household was Shen Wan's love for her. Thus in order to control Shen Wan, she was gentle and soft but if she was unable to resolve the small amount of money in the household then would it not be troublesome for Shen Wan? With Shen Wan's qualification, there were lots of females who were willing to enter the Second household so why would she put herself at a disadvantage.
"Moreover, this little money will not be spent in vain." Chen Rou Qiu's eyes flashed, "If there are profits to be harvested than it is worth to spend."
"Furen's intention is…"
Chen Rou Qiu smiled, "It is strange that Old TaiTai did not hold the family banquet earlier or later but at this time. Moreover, I had heard that in previous days that SuZhou Biao Young Lady likes to head to the Western Courtyard…" Chen Rou Qiu's eyes showed a trace of disgust as she spoke, "Old TaiTai's action is really low level but… it is suitable. I also do not like Shen Qiu."
Chen Rou Qiu did not like Shen Yuan and similarly did not like Shen Qiu. If one were to say that she was a bit fearful of Shen Yuan but about Shen Qiu, she really looked down upon him. She herself could not give birth to a son so she could not see other people's son being outstanding. Towards Shen Qiu, Chen Rou Qiu only felt that he was a coarse person who only knows about swords and knives, for what reason he could gain so many praises from so many people. People would want to destroy things that they were unable to gain, and she dare not take action on Shen Yuan as he had deep thoughts but Shen Qiu was straightforward and honest. Moreover, he had not grown up in the inner courtyard so he was much easier to deal with. The most important thing was that she did not even need to do it herself, as this time the person who took action was Old Shen Furen and she only needs to sit back and watch the show.
"I will go back and write a few more invitations." Chen Rou Qiu said, "Go and find people to send the invitations to the various Furens' residences." It would be even better when more people come to watch.
Two days later at the Shen residence's family banquet.
Ever since Ren Wan Yun went crazy, those noble Furens had broken the exchanges with her. After all, it was not a glorious thing for one to have a young lady who got pregnant before marriage. Even though one did not know what happened to Ren Wan Yun when the tree topples the monkeys scatters so no one asked about Ren Wan Yun.
And those Furens that originally had a good relationship with Ren Wan Yun gradually got closer with Chen Rou Qiu. Even though one could not keep dealing with Ren Wan Yun but the relationship with the Shen residence still had to be maintained. There was not only one Furen in the Shen residence, but as compared to the rough and always not in the Ding capital Luo Xue Yan, Chen Rou Qiu who was from a scholarly family and was much better to fawn over.
Yi Furen and Jiang Furen had long came over and Jiang Xiao Xuan and Yi Pei Lan pulled Shen Yue to speak, "One can only go back to Guang Wen Tang after the end of the year. It is really boring to be lock in the residence."
They had totally forgotten about the death of Shen Qing as they chatted, and also forgotten that just not long ago they were good friends of Shen Qing. The friendship between the Ding capital noble females was that thin, as friendship could not be compared against benefits. Getting along with another was not just because of a person but the forces present behind the person.
Shen Yue also smiled at their response, as if the few of them had an understanding with the rest to invariably forget about Shen Qing's matter. It was Bai Wei who looked at a distant figure and said, "Oh? Who is that? Is that the Biao Young Lady that you all were talking about?"
She pointed with her chin to the young female standing not far away, who was wearing a simple apricot colored dress talking to a servant by her side.
"That is Third Younger Sister, Shen Dong Ling." Shen Yue said with a smile, "She is born from a YiNiang and previously was sick so she did not come out. It is natural for you all not to see her before." She deliberately focused on the word 'YiNiang'.
Hearing this, Jiang Xiao Xuan's and the rest's eyes suddenly filled with disdain. Yi Pei Lan said, "What sickness? She still… she still came out. Those who are raised by a YiNiang all have hidden intentions. You must not be swindled by her."
Shen Yue smiled, "Third Younger Sister does not really come out of the courtyard. Look at that, that is my Biao Older Sister."
As Shen Yue was speaking, she saw Jing Chu Chu walking over. Most likely she did not see Shen Yue and the three of them so she did not come to greet. It was Bai Wei's sharp eyes that asked in puzzlement, "Did not you mention that your that Biao Older Sister is from SuZhou? Why do I just see that her clothes and jewelry seemed to be very expensive? Look at the bracelet she is wearing, it is better than the one you are wearing."
Bai Wen said it unintentionally but Shen Yue's face paled and she barely forced a smile, "I also do not know. Most probably it was gifted by ZhuMu."
"What is there to see." Jiang Xiao Xuan said, "Could it be that someone from SuZhou can be better compared to us, young ladies in the Ding capital? Jewelry and clothes are just a pretense but exposure and temperament are not. You see that delicate and timid look, how can this be shown in public?"
Shen Yue shook her head, "You should not say that of Biao Older Sister."
"You are just too kind." Yi Pei Lan felt resentful of iron not becoming steel, "You get close with everyone. Even that idiot from your residence that you also defended previously. Now people have grown up and do not place any importance to you. Speaking of which, why have one not seen that idiot?"
The 'idiot' she was speaking about was naturally Shen Miao. After she had the dispute with Shen Miao in Guang Wen Tang, Yi Pei Lan has viewed Shen Miao as her number one enemy and could not wait to step on her.
And the Shen Miao she was speaking about was at the moment in a room in the Western courtyard, drinking tea with Shen Qiu.
"What is with ZhuMu?" Shen Qiu frowned as he spoke, "Why invite so many female guests over? No matter where one walk, there is so much twittering. So noisy."
"Most likely one had invited all Third Shen's friends over." Shen Miao poured some tea for Shen Qiu, "Perhaps they are here to admire your Deputy General's elegant bearing."
"Younger Sister, spare me." Shen Qiu waved his hands, "One is already tough to deal with, much less so many females. Even the battlefield is not this terrible."
Shen Miao felt somewhat amused. The appearance of Shen Qiu seeing females like a fierce beast and severe floods was really funny but thinking about it, it was expected. Most females around Shen Qiu had ulterior motives and the Shen residence's females were all not easy to deal with this with his straightforward attitude, it was like a nest of demons.
"How could it be that difficult?" Shen Miao tried to appease him, "In the future, once you meet a young lady of your liking, you will not think that anymore."
Shen Qiu did not speak and stared at her like he had seen a ghost. After a moment he then shook his head and said, "Younger Sister, the words you just said and that expression really looks like Mother."
Shen Miao, "…" Thinking about that, she felt that she really treated Shen Qiu like he was Fe Ming.
Just as she was about to speak, suddenly there was some noise outside. She and Shen Qiu exchanged a look and both of them walked out and saw someone shouting at the courtyard door, "What is with you all? I am here to see Shen Miao, let me in!"
Shen Miao was startled, "Feng An Ning?"
When that person heard Shen Miao's voice, she waved her hands even though she was blocked by the guards, "It is me, Shen Miao, quickly ask them to let go of me!"
"Let her go." Shen Miao said, "She is the Young Lady of the Feng family."
After Feng An Ning was released by the two guards, she then patted the dust on her clothes bad temperedly and said angrily, "What is the matter with you? Why are there so many guards in your own courtyard? I thought that you were in trouble and when coming in I was stopped by the people outside. Shen Miao, are you crazy?"
It was probably the first time Feng An Ning was stopped by someone and her bossy young lady attitude came out and she lashed out at Shen Miao. But coincidently she stepped onto Shen Qiu's foot. Shen Qiu stood forward and said in a cold voice, "Who are you? To shout that loud in someone else's house, do you know what is etiquette!"
Shen Miao, "…" For Shen Qiu to say one did not know any etiquette, it was really thoroughly provoking.
After being lectured, Feng An Ning wanted to refute when she looked up, but after seeing Shen Qiu she could not help but be slightly surprised for a moment. Shen Qiu had a handsome appearance and was different from the weak and delicate gentlemen of the Ding capital. Normally he had a smile on which made him look innocent but when his face was cold, he became the reputed Deputy General of the battlefield and had some predatory air.
Feng An Ning immediately curbed her arrogance and softly asked, "Who are you?"
"This is my Eldest Brother." Shen Miao said.
Shen Qiu has a little reputation in the Ding capital. Southern Xie, Northern Xin. One would often compare the Little Marquis of the Xie family and the Deputy General of the Shen family, but it was a pity that Xie Jing Xing was not willing to enter officialdom else both of them would be the most outstanding Generals of this generation.
"What are you here for?" Seeing that Feng An Ning was somewhat embarrassed, Shen Miao asked.
Once Feng An Ning heard this she complained, "I come to look for you to chat. You also know after those people from Guang Wen Tang knew that my relationship with you is not bad, they also excluded me. Who cares about that. So I came over to look for you."
After Shen Qiu heard this, his facial expression became a little at ease. He knew that Shen Miao was somewhat snubbed but unfortunately because he was not around most of the year, he could not always protect Shen Miao. Seeing that Shen Miao had a friend, even though she had an arrogant temperament and did not know about etiquette but… one made do with it.
Of course, he and Feng An Ning also did not know that the 'not bad relationship' was something that Feng An Ning felt herself, as Shen Miao really did not have the heart to make friends with others.
"Since your friend came over, then you all should chat." Shen Qiu softly coughed, "I will go out and speak to Father about some things."
Shen Miao complied and after Shen Qiu walked away Feng An Ning then softly said, "Why is your Eldest so fierce and vicious? I was scared to death just now."
Fierce and vicious… Shen Miao was too lazy to explain so she said, "Yes, he kills people like cutting beancurd."
Feng An Ning quickly patted her chest and said, "Fortunately I admitted my fault early and next time I would not dare to just rush in anymore."
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