“Mother, you, you’re helping her! You’re siding with her too!” Feeling embarrassed, Shi Yumei was flustered and her eyes reddened.
There was a feeling of compassion in Wang Shi, but she hardened herself and spoke coldly, “I’m not siding with anyone, I’m only speaking objectively! You are being too unreasonable!”
“Fine, fine! You guys are all against me! I will leave, I will leave, okay!” Shi Yumei cried and got up.
“Stop right there!” Wang Shi was so angry that her voice trembled, “Fine! Fine! You’re becoming daring enough to throw a tantrum in front of me, right? You are someone that even I have to worship in this household and follow your wishes! Fine, fine! Leave, just leave!”
Shi Yumei was stunned and her crying stopped abruptly.
Nanny Jiang quickly rushed forward and calmed Wang Shi down at her back, “Mistress, calm down and don’t be angry! Eldest Missy is your daughter. She’ll, of course, have to respect and be filial to you! Mistress, please don’t say such words out of anger! Eldest Missy will feel bad from hearing it!”
“Don’t try to coax me!” Wang Shi wiped her tears and lamented, “If she really respects me and has me in her heart, then she wouldn’t be creating so much trouble for me! It’s obvious that she isn’t going to let me live in peace!”
“That isn’t so! Mistress, you are just thinking too much!” Nanny Jiang coaxed her repeatedly, and looked towards Shi Yumei, “Eldest Missy, please say something! Mistress only wants the best for you!”
“Mother, it was my mistake, I am really sorry, Mother! Don’t be sad and don’t cry anymore!” Shi Yumei followed Nanny Jiang’s cue. She kneeled in front of Wang Shi and tugged her sleeves.
“Why am I sad? Isn’t all because of you!” Wang Shi cried and said, “All I wish is for you sister-in-laws to live in harmony, even Fangzi is respectful towards Sang Wan, so why are you the only one throwing tantrums all over the place? Regardless of what the two of you thought of Sang Wan in the past, she’s now our Shi family’s daughter-in-law. She’s good in every aspect and respects your brother; it feels so good to live through the days peacefully! Must you create conflict every now and then? Sang Wan is a good girl; even though she has never said anything, you can’t keep behaving this way all the time. How long are you going to behave this way! And what can you change even if you behave this way? You’re just creating more trouble for everyone! Yumei, do you know that you’re just making things difficult for your mother and brother!”
“Mother, I won’t anymore, I won’t anymore, okay?” Shi Yumei felt both bitter and sour from her mother’s words. However, she had to concede to and cajole her mother. At the same time, she felt even more indignant in her heart. Sang Wan indeed isn’t simple, even mother is ensnared by her! Hmph, just seeing her true colours yesterday, there’s no way for us to live well together! Even if she can’t wait to deal with me, it’s not yet her turn to do as she pleases in this family! There is also Mother and Brother! If not, there’s no way she would still be polite to me!
“If you can understand me, then you should reflect on my words!” Wang Shi’s tears gradually stopped and she added, “Only then can she take good care of you and Mother can stop worrying too! After all, she’s in charge of this household; even if Mother is around, all of this authority will still be handed over to her in the future. Your brother is also a grown man; the family business is already keeping him busy, how could he be able to handle all the mundane household activities as well? He still has to rely on Sang Wan!
“It’s not as if we will be staying here forever!” Shi Yumei was unhappy, “When my husband finally succeeds and becomes an official, we will leave then!” Behind those words meant that she did not need Sang Wan’s care!
“Only if that really happens!” Wang Shi gave a soft snort.
“Mother!” Shi Yumei immediately felt hurt by her mother words, “Mother, do you really look down on my husband so much? Does my husband really not deserve to succeed forever? I just don’t believe it!”
Wang Shi felt bad for demoralising her daughter. Even though she did not have much faith in Ren Zhixian, she could only sigh as she coaxed her daughter, “Mother did not mean that! After all, the future remains uncertain! It’s always good to have a backup plan!”
“Mother!” Shi Yumei was infuriated, “Doesn’t that still mean the same; you just don’t have faith in him!”
“Enough, enough!” Wang Shi creased her eyebrows and said, “All I meant is that there’s never too much preparation in life. If he so happens not to—— no, we’ll talk if he really succeeds. Right now, aren’t you still staying in the household? Can’t you just treat this as giving me a few light and carefree days? I say, you are the strange one here; Fengju is the one who married Sang Wan so why do you have so much to pick on when he has nothing against it!”
Shi Yumei opened her mouth, and lowered her head, “I just, felt it’s not right for Fangzi ——”
“Quiet!” Wang Shi’s expression darkened, “How could you say that? Fangzi is my niece and she grew up with Fengju since young. She also became a concubine willingly and has received my promise to have an equal status as Sang Wan when she gives birth to a son of her own. What resentment does she have? She hasn’t said anything, do you think it is up to you to be nosy about other people’s’ matters? You should focus more on that vixen living with you! I am warning you, no matter what, Sang Wan is the wife and Fangzi is the concubine. Ever since the beginning of time, the wife and concubine are treated differently. If this rule is flouted, this household will become a mess! Our Shi household cannot allow such things as spoiling the concubine and neglecting the wife to happen!
“But Fangzi and brother are the perfect pair! Sang Wan’s obviously the one being in between them!”
“The marriage between the families was set by your grandfather when he was alive, do you want to go as far as criticizing your grandfather!” Wang Shi glared at Shi Yumei and sighed, “I think I’m at a wrong too! If I had known that Fangzi and Fengju would develop to this level, I wouldn’t have allowed their relationship to develop to such a stage! Sigh, I just thought that it was okay since they were kids then. Who knew ——sigh! Don’t mention this anymore, do you hear me!”
Shi Yumei was suddenly out of words and she answered in disgruntlement, “Yes, Mother!”
Meanwhile, Concubine Fang was serving Second Old Master Shi tea and listening to him gloat about his prized birds and fish.
When he began talking about his newly-acquired canary, Second Old Master Shi grinned, “Speaking of which, I must be blessed by the fame of the first family’s daughter-in-law’s brother. Hehe, if not for him, that old bat with the surname of Jin would not have given it up so readily to me! Hehe, our Shi family will become more famous when that lad passes the court exams next year and becomes a top scorer or whatsoever!”
Finally, the chance had come for Concubine Fang say what she wanted. She took the opportunity to paint Sang Yufei with compliments and said, “Really, the first family’s Ma’am’s appearance, character and attitude are commendable. Who’d have known that her brother would be so outstanding and talented as well? What an exceptional lad! I really wonder which lucky lady will be able to marry him!”
“What?” Second Old Master Shi pinched Concubine Fang’s white cheek and gave an elusive smile, “Are you interested in him now? Should I learn from the first family’s eldest missy’s husband and give away my concubine as a gift!”
“Aiyo, Sir!” Concubine Fang quickly denied. She looked at Second Old Master Shi flirtatiously and moaned, “What are you saying! Naughty!” She giggled and batted her eyes, “Even if I am, will he want me? I’d rather be with you!”
“Heh, at least you have some sense!” Second Old Master Shi laughed and said, “Just look at you, if I’m him, I also wouldn’t want you“
“You!” Concubine Fang puffed, “Sir, at least I gave birth to a daughter for you, do you have to speak about me in such a way?”
“I’m only joking with you, why are you so bothered?” Second Old Master Shi laughed.
“Your joke isn’t funny at all!” Concubine Fang rolled her eyes at him.
“What? Are you angry at me?” Second Old Master Shi smiled as he pinched her again, “You dare to complain to me, but it was you who started with all the compliments!”
“That’s because I’ve something to talk to you about! You’re good so good at making me speak my mind!” Concubine Fang avoided his hand and turned her head around before lamenting coldly.
The second old master’s character is like this; the tactic of retreating as an offense worked best on him. Instead of getting angry, he went ahead to coax Concubine Fang, asking her what she needed to talk to him about.
Fang Concubine waited until his interest was sufficiently piqued before going back to her usual expression. She quickly took the opportunity to act in a coquettish manner and looked at Second Old Master Shi as she sighed, “What can there be? With Sir, I have nothing to worry about. It isn’t me but our daughter who worries me!”
“Ah Rui?” Second Old Master Shi was stunned momentarily, “What’s up with Ah Rui? Did she get into trouble?”
“Sir!” Concubine Fang complained, “Ah Rui is such a docile and obedient girl, what trouble would she cause! Sigh, that girl is getting older by the day, it’s about time for her to find her other half! Of course, this should be decided by Sir and Mistress and not up to this concubine to have any say. But Ah Rui is still my flesh and blood, how can I not want the best for her?”
Second Old Master Shi was initially unhappy when she spoke about this and was about to quote to Concubine Fang that it would be decided by his wife but he quickly stopped when he heard her remaining words. He thought to himself: Ah Rui is her daughter, it’s only normal for a mother to care for her child. And since she still shows respect to Mi Shi, she’s already being courteous!
“I say, you are being too anxious! How old is Ah Rui now? It’s still early for her!” Second Old Master Shi laughed casually.
Concubine Fang quickly replied, “Sir, Ah Rui is twelve this year by the calendar, and turning thirteen next year. She’s not young anymore! This matter should be settled as early as possible so that preparations can be made early! What’s more, with each passing year, all the good ones would already be chosen by the time it’s her turn!”
“Just look at you, being anxious!” Second Old Master Shi laughed and said, “Don’t worry, I’ve doted on Ah Rui since young, I won’t let her settle for anything less! Just bearing our Shi family’s surname, what worry does she have about not finding a good husband? Even if she were to marry tomorrow, I could prepare her dowry in one night, what preparation is there to make? Really, you start to worry about the unimportant things when you’ve too much time on your hands!”
Concubine Fang became even more anxious and she spoke what was in her heart, “I don’t have any other meaning! I was just thinking that since there’s already an ideal person, why not settle it and resolve this worry?”
“An ideal person?” Second Old Master Shi was surprised.