Synopsis: A fast-paced story about a youngster who loses everything and everyone he holds dear. Through the only family that still remains with him, his uncle, he gets to choose to dedicate his focus and attention to blacksmithing rather than to fall into depression and street life...
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“Sister is right, Fangzi has received Sister’s teachings and accepts the guidance wholeheartedly!” Gu Fangzi responded with a gentle smile, her domineering attitude seemingly vanished.
“I wouldn’t call it a teaching. I’m only telling you that because if you were to fall ill, I’ll also be at fault! Quickly, why don’t you come in?” Sang Wan smiled and invited.
“Thank you, Sister, for your concern!” Gu Fangzi lowered her gaze as she smiled. Taking a few steps forward, she separated Liu Ya from Sang Wan without a word and intimately held Sang Wan’s arm while going in.
Shi Fengju could not help but observe Gu Fangzi carefully. There was no telling what was going on in her mind!
Ever since Gu Fangzi’s attempt to tempt him by undressing herself, he had lost all feelings for her. Even the string that tied them together as relatives were almost non-existent.
After Sang Wan sat down, Gu Fangzi then officially gave her congratulations and blessings, so much so she might as well give her praise to the Sang family and Second Young Master Sang. Without a choice, Sang Wan rewarded her with an embroidered pouch and smiled at her eloquent words which were supposedly auspicious. Deep down, Sang Wan was even more puzzled than Shi Fengju: Did she ate a wrong medicine?
What she did not know was, Gu Fangzi purposefully did so was for Wang Shi, Shi Yumei, and Shi Fengju to see. She was in disbelief when she heard from a servant serving her dinner that Sang Yufei had become a top escorted examinee. But once she returned from her senses, her heart remained sour!
Sang Wan, Sang Wan, her brother had managed to become a top escorted examinee. In this lifetime, there was no way she could fight with Sang Wan on status now! And if her brother were to become an advanced scholar next year, there would no longer be a day where she could live with her head held high.
After scouring for several news, Lan Xiang returned with description of the liveliness within the household. Gu Fangzi gritted her teeth angrily as she listened, and her dinner was left almost untouched.
After a long while of calming herself down, she instructed Lan Xiang to find out when Shi Fengju and Sang Wan could be leaving Wang Shi’s courtyard as she went to prepare herself. Soon after, Gu Fangzi and Lan Xiang left for the small garden and they waited.
Didn’t Big Cousin always want her to remember her position? Fine then, she shall display that for him to see! That was the only thing she could do now, and her only means to fight.
“Sister truly is fortunate! Only people as outstanding as Sister can get to enjoy such happiness! And even better still, our Shi family gets to enjoy this grace as well!” Gu Fangzi smiled humbly.
“Sister Fangzi’s words are too overly embarrassing! We’re relatives, words like grace would only let others feel embarrassed!” Sang Wan smiled, “The night isn’t young anymore. Sister Fangzi should also return to rest now.”
“Then I shall take my leave, I’ll come again to chat with Sister!” Once Gu Fangzi got up, she wanted to bid farewell to Shi Fengju as well.
Arriving at the small garden, Shi Fengju claimed his head was feeling slightly giddy after a few cups of wine and went to lie in another room.
“The young master is resting in another room. Laonu thinks there is no need for Miss Gu to go in to save the trouble! Later when the young master gets up, laonu will report to him!” Nanny Li said.
“Then thank you, Nanny Li! Sister, I’ll take my leave now! Rest early too!” Gu Fangzi seemed to have lacked the disposition she once had for she nodded towards Nanny Li, and even thanked her with a smile.
“Take care!” Sang Wan smiled.
After giving Sang Wan time to recover from the shock, Nanny Li smiled at her without feeling awry, “Ma’am, just look! In the future ah, Miss Gu won’t be able to act all haughty in front of you anymore! Now that she understands her position, Ma’am can finally be at ease!”
“Nanny! Please check whether the hangover soup is ready and serve a bowl to Sir. I should go and rest soon since tomorrow’s going to be a big day!” Sang Wan smiled. However, she was still feeling puzzled as to why Gu Fangzi would behave in such a way. To believe that Gu Fangzi would retreat tactfully, Sang Wan was inclined to not believe so.
“Ah, laonu must be getting foolish!” Nanny Li laughed, “Laonu shall personally go to the small kitchen to take a look! Oh, laonu will also serve a bowl to Young Master Fenghua and Second Young Master Sang!”
“Yes please!” Sang Wan nodded with a smile.
After Shi Fengju drank the soup, the two went to sleep without a word.
On the next morning; Shi Fengju, Sang Wan, and Sang Yufei bidded farewell to Wang Shi and the rest. Together with Zhan Huan and a handful of servants, they left for Yangliu Town.
The carriage drove smoothly without rest, and they arrived at Yangliu Town nearing noon.
Sang Wan had already explained clearly to Shi Fengju; the moment they arrive at the town, Zhan Huan was to book several standard rooms and a deluxe room in the best inn to rest.
After having lunch in a restaurant, Sang Yufei hired another carriage and left for home soon after, wearing his own cloth hat and robe.
After receiving news that Sang Yufei had rushed home from Hangzhou, Sang Hong and Fang Shi went to welcome him warmly. The two brothers then greeted each other the instant they met.
“The announcement will arrived in a few days time, so why don’t you stay at home at rest? Getting home safely is all I asked for. Even if you didn’t score well this year, there’s still some other time! You’re only nineteen this year; you’re still young! Just treat this time as a practice to gain experience, that’s more than enough!” Sang Hong smiled.
“Your brother’s right ah! The most important thing is you’re back home safely! There’ll surely be a day when you’ll score well, and even if not, there’s always the fields to work on!” Fang Shi also smiled.
“Ai, how could you say that?” Sang Hong guarded unhappily soon after she spoke even though her words were almost aligned with his inner thoughts.
Fang Shi involuntarily returned a glare and said bluntly, “What? Why can’t I? It’s not like my words were wrong ah! We’ve still got to get by in this unkind world until our eyes fully closes! Yufei, don’t you think so?”
It had been long since Sang Yufei heard his brother and his sister-in-law bicker with each other. He felt close and warm with them, and he could not help but smile towards his brother, “Sister-in-law’s just being practical, but she’s right.”
“Heard that?!” Fang Shi said with a snap, “At least Yufei understands!”
Sang Yufei could not help but smile. After pondering for a moment, it would be better to tell his brother and sister-in-law of the good news as soon as possible since they were truly concerned for him. Hiding the news from them would just be inconsiderate of him!
The words in his mouth weighed a thousand times heavier, and after clearing his throat with a few coughs, he cupped his hands and bowed towards his brother and sister-in-law, “Big Brother, Sister-in-law! I’ve passed the township examinations and bring pride to Big Brother and Sister-in-law’s teachings! Many thanks to Big Brother and Sister-in-law for taking care of me all this while!”
Sang Yufei’s eyes became teary as he kneeled in front of them.
The news was a great shock to them and they stared at Sang Yufei blankly.
Seeing that Sang Yufei didn’t seem to be pulling their legs, the two jumped from their seat almost immediately, “Really? Passed? You really passed?”
“Yes, Big Brother! I really passed!” Sang Yufei smiled, his eyes glistening.
“That’s good to hear! That’s good to hear! Burn the incense sticks today to let our Late Father and Mother celebrate with us!” Fang Shi grinned and quickly went to nudge Sang Hong, “Quickly, go and help Yufei up! What are you standing there dumbfounded for!”
“Quickly, get up, get up! You shouldn’t be kneeling on the floor!” Almost as if returning from a dream, Sang Hong’s body shook before he hurriedly went to help Sang Yufei up. A distinguished talent who passed the college examinations has no need to kneel to a government official. Better yet, a person who passed the township examinations would be acknowledged by others and even the country magistrate would have to cup his hands when greeting him.
“Is, is your news accurate? Where did you hear it from? It’s not that I don’t believe you, but, but —” Sang Hong was so happy that his words became incoherent. Because he viewed the examinations of great importance and cared too much for his brother, he found it hard to believe what he had heard.
“It is. I saw it for myself, it’ll definitely be true! I came home right after the scores were released on the board!” Sang Yufei said before moving on to explain how Shi Fengju had arranged his transport as well as his stay in the Shi household the previous night.
Sang Hong and Fang Shi were full of emotions as they listened and were deeply grateful towards Shi Fengju.
“Our Sang family finally is able to taste success! Good, good, that’s good to hear! Yufei, I just knew, you would definitely not let us down…” Sang Hong’s eyes were somewhat distant and a smile escaped on his face. It was a smile that would surely be brighter than if he himself passed.
“Big Brother! This wouldn’t have been possible without Big Brother and Sister-in-law’s support!” Sang Yufei smiled gratefully, “Big Brother, did you know? I came in top!”
“What!” Sang Hong and Fang Shi exclaimed breathlessly as they stared intensely at him with their mouth opened wide enough for their pounding heart to leap out from it.
“Top? A top escorted examinee? You really became a top escorted examinee?” Sang Hong stared nervously at Sang Yufei and asked. He could not help but press on his chest tightly. Oh the heavens, this news is too shocking, it’s really too shocking! If this really was true, he might not be able to contain his excitement! Even if his younger brother was just pulling his leg, it really was a shock to be reckoned with!
“Really, It’s true! There’s no way I’d make a joke of something so important!” Sang Yufei smiled. Glancing right at his big brother, he gently shook his arm, “Big Brother, calm yourself ah. It just so happens…”
“Nonsense!” Sang Hong laughed. Because of Sang Yufei’s words, Sang Hong was brought back to his senses and he patted heavily on Sang Yufei’s shoulder, “Yufei ah, you really are capable, really capable! Our late father can finally be at ease!”
“Yes ah! You’ve finally fought for our family’s glory, I dare say no one would dare mock us anymore!” Fang Shi proudly let out a sigh of relief. A literary family, where the father was only able to pass the college examinations, and a brother who passed the college examinations ten years ago but saw no progress after. And with Sang Yufei participating in the township examinations, who knew how many were eagerly waiting to mock him!
This was just great, this was just great!
“Aiya, oh my!” Fang Shi suddenly slapped her thigh.
“Why did you do that for?” Sang Hong glared at Fang Shi unhappily.
Fang Shi glared back rudely and said to Sang Yufei, “What do we do about Second Uncle and Aunt…”
“Oh yes!” Sang Hong exclaimed as he stood up. With a broad smile, he said, “We’ve got to inform Second Uncle and Aunt of the good news, keke!”
“You, stand still!”
“Wait, Big Brother!”
Fang Shi and Sang Yufei shouted in unison as they pulled Sang Hong back.