“Second Aunt Li…” Sang Wan’s face was stiff, but like Shi Fengju’s situation not long before, it would’ve been rude to vigorously shake off the hands that were holding on to hers. As such, she was dragged first into the house.
From the corner of her eyes, she glanced in the direction of Shi Fengju, as if praying, and gave him a bitter smile. Having experienced it already, Shi Fengju immediately avoided the affectionate eyes of Sang Pingliang and looked at Sang Wan. He pursed his lips as if wanting to laugh, but held back and gave Sang Wan a few nods.
“Come, come, come! Sit, sit!” Sang Pingliang urged Shi Fengju and Sang Wan in as he warmly greeted them. At the same time, he pushed Sang Hong abruptly to the side. Fortunately, Sang Hong was used to the way the old couple behaved and did not pursue the matter. Quietly, he followed behind.
“Cousin-in-law, Sister Ah Wan, have some tea!” Once seated, Sang Yan shyly served the tea. There were, however, only two cups of tea on the platter.
Seeing so, Liu Ya hastily received the cups and handed one to Shi Fengju and the other to Sang Wan.
Sang Wan’s eyes gently swept over the room and found her oldest brother sitting in a corner of the room beside a small bench. Sang Wan’s anger boiled; their actions may not be overly significant, but what did they take her for?
“Take this to my big brother; I’m not thirsty. Have him also come and have a seat here!” Sang Wan said gently, as she cast a glance at Liu Ya.
“Yes, Young Mistress!” Liu Ya answered crisply before turning and heading towards Sang Hong.
Sang Pingliang and Li Shi exchanged glances with one another. As if gaining enlightenment, they suddenly remembered that Sang Hong had also come together with Shi Fengju and Sang Wan!
“You careless lass. How could you forget about your cousin, Sang Hong? Quickly pour a cup of tea for him!” Sang Pingliang glared at his daughter before turning to smile at Sang Hong. “Come, come, come my oldest nephew, have a seat! You, ah, we’re a family so why do you still need your uncle to invite you to have a seat here? Quickly come!”
“No, no need!” Sang Hong hurriedly stood up and frantically waved the invitation away. Hearing how Sang Pingliang had crafted those words, Sang Hong felt a little guilty, as if he’d rejected the kindness of his uncle and hurt his uncle’s feelings.
“Uh, anyway, I’ll be returning first. Enjoy your chat, keke! Second Uncle Sang, Second Aunt Li, please come over to our house later for lunch. It’s a rare occasion for Ah Wan to return, so let us gather together to enjoy!” Sang Hong smiled as he bid farewell.
“That’s true, that’s true! We’re a family! Well, you go your way first. We’ll head over there later.” Sang Pingliang smiled affectionately and nodded.
Sang Hong glanced at Shi Fengju and nodded before leaving. It was almost as if he was abandoning the scene and fleeing home.
“Come, Ah Wan, let us go into my room and have our heart to heart conversation! Your second aunt has many words she’d like to speak to you with! It has been a long time since your younger sister, Ah Yan, has seen you too so she might also have some words for you!” Li Shi smiled as she dragged Sang Wan up.
Sang Wan could somehow foresee what the vile woman wanted to say. It would be nothing more than inquiring about the wealth of the Shi family, her treatment in the Shi family, imploring her to never forget her second aunt, to remember them, so on and so forth. Those words, Sang Wan wanted to hear nothing of them! Hearing so would only make her feel disgusted.
“It seems that the time isn’t early anymore. Sister-in-law Fang might have already prepared the lunch already. It would be best if we have our lunch first. It isn’t too late for those words to wait until after the meal. After all, we shouldn’t make Big Brother and Sister-in-law Fang wait!” Sang Wan said softly.
“That is so. Let us be on our way then.” Shi Fengju quickly agreed.
Sang Pingliang and Li Shi might have been able to display their authoritative power over Sang Wan, but they were powerless in front of Shi Fengju. Any words said by Shi Fengju were like an imperial verdict. Upon hearing his decision, the two immediately agreed and smiled. “You two go ahead first. We’ll arrive soon after!”
Not forgetting about Sang Yan, Li Shi said, “Ah Yan, go and accompany your cousin, and talk with her as she heads back. You and your cousin should forge a good relationship!”
Hiding in the shadows, Sang Rou peeked out anxiously. She gazed at Sang Wan helplessly, in hopes that seeing Sang Yan would remind her of her other cousin. So long as Sang Wan raised that question, her stepmother could do nothing to refuse her presence at the gathering.
Sang Wan’s eyebrow rose a little and her lips pursed slightly. Indeed, she was reminded of Sang Rou and was about to ask about her whereabouts. However, she held herself back. In the past, she had not been close with Sang Rou and well, she was not that good of a person to get along with anyway. Still, since this was not her problem, why be nosy?
Seeing Sang Wan leave with a group of others, Sang Rou was disappointed and couldn’t help but give a few points of hate to Sang Wan. She softly cursed to herself and returned quietly back to her room. Reminiscing about her late mother, she could not help but lay on her bed and weep.
The moment Sang Wan and the group left, Sang Pingliang and Li Shi began to indulge themselves in the gifts given to them.
Seeing so many colorful gifts, soft and silky fabric, and gold jewelry, Li Shi grinned from ear to ear. She could not believe what was in front of her, pinching herself to affirm that she was not dreaming. Her hands slowly glided across a layer of the silk fabric.
“Just look at this gold hairpin, it’s embedded with a gem! Zézé, the design and the weight of this… this may even be unique in this village! It’s probably better than the one Village Head Chen’s wife has!” Li Shi grinned as she wore the gold hairpin.
Going through all the gifts with her hands, she saw the list of gifts and handed it over to Sang Pingliang. “Read it out to me! There’re so many that my eyes might actually turn blind from reading them!”
Sang Pingliang cleared his throat and began to read the list out loud. As the gifts were mentioned one by one, Li Shi’s heart gradually did a few flips and the edges of Sang Pingliang’s mouth rose the more he read.
Hearing that there was also a hundred silver included among the gifts, the couple flipped through all of the gifts in search of it.
“I’ve found it; it’s here! Aiyo, it’s a banknote, ai!” Li Shi found a red envelope and opened it before waving it in the air.
“Give it to me!” Sang Pingliang’s eyes glistened and he pounced forward to snatch it away. Li Shi involuntarily avoided his movement.
“What are you doing? Give that to me!” Sang Pingliang glared at Li Shi.
Li Shi wasn’t a pushover but she dared not go against her husband. Seeing his face flip to a nasty one as he gave her a glare, she reluctantly handed the envelope over.
Sang Pingliang frantically grabbed it. “I’ll save it up, lest you go around spending it! Also, do not touch the jewelry. I’ll have it kept once we return!”
“But was given to me by my niece!” Li Shi refused.
“If you want jewelry, just buy it in the village. It’ll bring a lot of attention if you wear this out. What if you get robbed? And what do you mean by your niece? That is our Sang family’s lass; she is my niece! Aiai, will you take that pin off quickly! Don’t you have any shame, wearing this for lunch?” Sang Pingliang said ruthlessly.
Li Shi felt as if someone had poured cold water on her. Her heart was at first joyous, but that joy did not last.
Her husband was well-known for hiding all of the valuables that he got his hands on. As for the valuables, they were never to be seen again! How much of those private possessions he had kept, even she did not know. When he was not home, she and her youngest daughter went around searching every corner of the house and even under the bed numerous times. However, not a single valuable could be found. The silvers and gold jewelry, she could only crave them. Surely, there would be none for her!
“Yes, ah, she’s your niece!” Li Shi sneered and said sourly, “I’m not sure if she did this to give you face or because she was sincere! Remember that big carriage full of gifts? All that was brought here was just this little number of gifts. Hei! Even though you’re their elder, our hundred silvers here might be just a small fraction of what Sang Hong and his family have gotten!”
Sang Pingliang, who was matching the gifts to the list, hesitated for a moment. His heart suddenly felt a little unjust.
Li Shi was right. He had personally seen that large carriage filled with gifts. However, the gifts that were now in his house were just a fraction of it! And as for the silvers, Sang Hong’s family might have even gotten thousands!
Sang Pingliang began to feel more and more begrudging. Glaring at Li Shi, he scolded, “And you have the right to say that? Who was it that treated her so badly? If it weren’t for an obstacle like you, she would have treated us better! My good name has been tarnished by you! Be thankful that she sent gifts to us! Now roll along to a corner!”
Li Shi’s heart flared. Who would’ve known that such a rich family like the Shi family would let a poor lass marry into their family! What’s more, weren’t you the same? Have you ever treated her well? Among all these good words you’ve said, not even half of them are real!
Li Shi discreetly released her anger but dared not talk back to her husband. “Still, we’re their elders. That fact remains true even if the sky were to fall!”
Sang Pingliang snorted but said nothing. However, deep down, he plotted that once the obstacles were gone, he would go and ask for more from Sang Hong. There were things he could still gain!
Sang Pingliang entered his room and hid the jewelry temporarily before heading out with Li Shi for Sang Hong’s house to have lunch.
There, the dishes had already been prepared and served. Fang Shi was coaxing Sang Nuan and Sang Quan to show hospitality to the guests, as children were normally not allowed at the table.
She raised her head to see Sang Pingliang and his wife enter, one with an unsatisfied face and the other with a listless face. She cared not for them. Turning her head, she deduced that most of the members had already arrived and she smiled towards them, saying, “Second Uncle Sang, Second Aunt Li, you’re here! Quickly, they’re waiting for you inside the house!”
On a normal day, Fang Shi would not speak so gleefully towards the two, and thus, the two had never been able to tame her. However, for her to be smiling towards them, the couple felt extremely unhappy. For sure, if this Fang Shi was acting this way, the family must have received quite a large number of gifts!
They snorted and entered the house. Fang Shi sneered from behind them.
“Second Uncle Sang, Second Aunt Li, you’re both here! Quickly, have a seat!” Sang Hong hurriedly went to welcome them. Shi Fengju and Sang Wan immediately stood from their seats. Sang Yan sighed heavily; there was nothing she and Sang Wan could talk about! Just sitting beside her made Sang Yan feel uncomfortable.
“Keke please sit, sit! Sorry to have kept our nephew-in-law waiting!” Sang Pingliang said apologetically towards Shi Fengju before smiling.
With that, everyone took a seat. Seeing the table filled neatly with many dishes, from chicken and duck meat to a pot of good wine, the old couple’s face brightened up a little.
During the meal, Sang Pingliang toasted Shi Fengju numerous of times, making him feel miserable and awkward. Hurriedly, he worked his fingers with the chopsticks before announcing that he was full and went to a corner to sip tea. Seeing that Shi Fengju had left the table, Shi Pingliang and Li Shi were no longer polite and let their wild stomachs loose, eating almost everything left in an instant.