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Yun Qingqiao popped a small piece of meat into her mouth and complimented, "The dishes Father sent are delicious. While they might not resemble the authentic Chuzhou cuisine, they're quite close. Madam Su, you should try some, too!"

As she spoke, Yun Qingqiao playfully stuffed a piece of meat into Madam Su's open mouth, leaving her cheeks puffed out, unable to speak or swallow.

Chunan and Yi'an covered their mouths, trying to suppress their laughter, while Jingyu shook her head at the playful scene. Youzhu, trying not to laugh, distributed chopsticks to everyone.

Seeing Madam Su with her mouth full, Yun Qingqiao said with satisfaction, "Everyone, sit down. Keep your ears open while eating. If there's any noise outside, we'll react accordingly. Madam Su, sit down, please. That's an order!"

Youzhu finally burst into laughter, earning a stern look from Madam Su.

After dinner and a round of conversation, Yun Qingqiao learned, as she had suspected, that Auntie Zhou had already started making moves, denying the servants their meals from the central kitchen. However, Yun Qingqiao wasn't overly concerned about these petty tactics.

The maids were visibly upset. Youzhu expressed her frustration, "If it weren't for the food sent by the master, we would have gone hungry. How dare the main kitchen neglect to send meals to us, especially when we serve the legitimate daughter of the house?"

Yun Qingqiao calmly reassured them, "Don't worry. Let's see how long they can keep up their antics. I'll find an opportunity to discuss this with my father and get our kitchen operational. Once father instructs the steward responsible for food delivery personally, Auntie Zhou won’t be able to interfere. For the next few days, we'll manage as we are. If they send food, I'll personally check for tampering. If not, Jingyu, use some funds to buy provisions."

She was not concerned about money, as Jingyu managed the day-to-day expenses. Thinking about her mother’s health, Yun Qingqiao wondered if it might be connected to the food issue, deciding to check her mother's condition.

Suddenly, a series of firm knocks sounded at the courtyard door. Yi'an went to open it and found a second-class maid standing there, her demeanor rather haughty. 

She glanced around dismissively, and upon seeing Yun Qingqiao, she didn't bother with formalities, merely stating, "Miss Yun, the Elder Lady requests your presence," before turning and leaving briskly.

The maids exchanged surprised looks, clearly taken aback.

Yun Qingqiao smiled slightly and said, "What was bound to happen has come. I can't avoid it today."

Yi'an cautiously asked, "Miss, is the Elder Lady difficult to deal with?"

Yun Qingqiao snorted, "Don't call her 'Elder Lady.' Just refer to her as 'Old Madam.' In my memories, she never favored my brother and me. She only liked her other grandchildren. They say children's memories are short, but I vividly remember how much the Old Madam disliked me. She never gave me red envelopes during New Year, saying I was too young. She even falsely accused me of stealing snacks, blaming me for what other children ate, even though their mouths were still stained with crumbs."

"Don't be sad, Miss. You're the best," Chunan comforted her. 

In the Marquis's mansion, Yun Qingqiao was adored by the Marquis, his wife, and the other family members. They never let her feel slighted, a stark contrast to her less pleasant early years.

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"I'm not upset," Yun Qingqiao mused, "but these seemingly small matters can greatly affect a young child." 

She reflected on the original host's unhappy childhood, her heart aching in sympathy. In her past, she had been cherished by her family, a stark contrast to the original host's experience. She resolved to reclaim everything that rightfully belonged to the original host.

Yun Qingqiao thought about the uncanny similarities between herself and the original host – same name, same appearance, nearly indistinguishable but for their different attire. 

"Could this be fate's design, bringing me back to a past life?" she wondered.

"Miss, let me accompany you," suggested Madam Su, concerned about potential difficulties from the Old Madam.

"No need, Madam Su. If I act disrespectfully, they can't blame you. And bringing more people might make them think I'm planning something. Just Youzhu and Jingyu will accompany me; they're capable in their ways," Yun Qingqiao decided, choosing the maids for their complementary strengths.

Reluctantly, Madam Su agreed, "Be careful then. Youzhu, Jingyu, stay alert!"

The trio set off, needing a guide halfway to find the Old Madam's quarters. The maid who had delivered the message had seemed haughty, carelessly leaving despite knowing Yun Qingqiao was unfamiliar with the estate. More challenges awaited them at the Old Madam's.

Inside Old Madam Yun's Nianzhi Hall, Second Aunt Zou and her daughter, Third Miss Yun Qifei, Fifth Aunt Lin and her daughter, Fourth Miss Yun Qirong, were engaged in lively conversation with the Old Madam.

"Old Madam, look at your granddaughters, such thoughtful girls. They've brought you this calming soup, perfect for soothing the throat in this dry weather," Aunt Zou said, buttering up the Old Madam with a flattering smile.

"Indeed," Aunt Lin chimed in, feigning sincerity. 

"They've been busy in the kitchen all afternoon. They know how to care for you, Old Madam."

Third Miss Yun Qifei added sweetly, "Grandmother, you're so good to us. It's only right for us to do these little things for you."

Aunt Zou sneered, "But the newly returned legitimate daughter doesn’t seem to think that way. Old Madam is the most respected elder in our house, yet she hasn’t even come to pay her respects. Only she would dare to ignore such duties."

"That's true. We even sent a maid to invite her, and she still hasn’t arrived," complained Madam Huang, Old Madam Yun's attendant, with evident displeasure.

Aunt Lin dabbed her mouth with a handkerchief, staying silent but revealing a sinister smile. Yun Qirong also remained quiet, watching intently to see what would unfold next.

Old Madam Yun's fingers sped up their movement on her prayer beads. Already displeased with Yun Qingqiao because of her mother, Ye Heyi, her irritation grew as the girl failed to appear despite repeated summonings. 

Her expression darkened noticeably as she snapped, "Someone go and hurry her up!"

Just as her words fell, an announcement came from the doorway, "Miss Yun Qingqiao has arrived!"

All eyes turned to see a young woman wearing a veil, accompanied by two good-looking maids, gracefully entering the room. Yun Qingqiao offered a curt bow and said coolly, "Greetings to Old Madam."

Aunt Zou's voice, tinged with sarcasm, rang out, "Oh, look who’s finally graced us with her presence!"

Yun Qingqiao ignored the comment and stood straight, seeing that the Old Madam remained silent.

Old Madam Yun's initially furrowed brows relaxed slightly as she observed Yun Qingqiao. Despite the veil, the young woman's composure and bearing spoke of someone accustomed to the world. 

In a more even tone, Old Madam Yun asked, "Was your journey back to the capital alright?”

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