Hong Ye quickly reported, “Nanny Zhang, who is in charge of placing the carpet, has been summoned and is waiting for Young Mistress’s questioning! Also, the three servants, who were sweeping at that time and offended Third Old Mistress, are here as well! Would Young Mistress want to question them now?”
Sang Wan thought for a while and replied, “Bring Nanny Zhang in, I will question her personally. I can’t be bothered to meet with the three servants! Go out and tell the one in charge of them from the household department that these three servants disrespected their master; punish them with thirty flogging and cut their pay for three months. Cast them out at once and let the Tian Family who grow flowers use them. Remember to warn them that if they do not want to be sold, they’d better shut their mouths and not spread any false rumors.”
Third Old Mistress’s intention was clear; Sang Wan definitely had to punish those three servants severely. If not, how would her anger subside? She was hurt, her servant was heavily wounded, but those three servants just stood by the side and even talked back to Nanny Gui. Those three servants deserved it.
This was the most severe punishment Sang Wan had given ever since she took on the responsibility of managing the household. Hong Ye couldn’t help but shudder. She quickly agreed and went to pass on her words. She warned the three servants and ordered two other servants to escort them out.
The three servants did not expect that just by standing at the side and not offering their help, it would get them into such a huge trouble. Their faces turned pale and they kneeled down together, pulling on Hong Ye’s skirt and begging her for mercy while swearing to the sky and ground, “We dare not again!”
Hong Ye coldly replied, “You all should know very well! You laughed at a master’s misery and talked back to her aide; not selling all of you is already considered merciful! Young Mistress has been busy for the past few days. Despite that, all of you went and caused her trouble; you dug your own graves!”
One of them shift her knees forward and hugged Hong Ye’s legs as she pleaded, “Sister, please let us see Young Mistress! Young Mistress has always been merciful so she will definitely forgive us! We know our mistakes. Sister, please, please give us another chance!”
“Yes, Young Mistress would never do something so merciless. Sister, I beg of you!”
“Even if we have to leave, we should still kowtow to Young Mistress! Please fulfil our wish, Sister!”
The three servants pleaded pitifully as they pulled on Hong Ye, their faces full of tears. It was a heart-rending sight!
Hong Ye had never been in such a situation before. Even though their status were not comparable to hers, but fundamentally, they were all servants. She could not help but sympathize with them. The three servants saw that gleam of hope, and they begged more painstakingly, as though it was their last chance.
Hong Ye could not hold herself back any longer and sighed, “Alright, alright. Follow me in to give Young Mistress a kowtow! Remember, do not speak irresponsibly!”
The three servants’ faces brightened up and they frantically kowtowed to Hong Ye to give their thanks before getting up from the floor.
Hong Ye glanced at them and frowned slightly, “Tidy up your clothes and clean up your face! How can you go in to see Young Mistress in this state?”
“Yes, Sister!”, “Thank you for your advice, Sister!” The three tidied themselves before looking at Hong Ye anxiously and timidly. Knowing this was their only chance, the three of them were very nervous.
“Follow me then!” Hong Ye said as she led them inside.
Inside the house, before Hong Ye could even speak, the three servants plunged to the floor and kowtowed for mercy. One after another, they begged, “Young Mistress, please forgive us”, “Young Mistress, please spare our lives”. That gave Sang Wan a shock.
“Silence!” Sang Wan was shocked and shouted. She glared coldly at Hong Ye and asked, “What is this?”
“Young Mistress!” Hong Ye hurriedly moved forward and explained the situation briefly.
“Young Mistress, please spare us. We will not dare to do it again! We will go and apologize to Third Old Mistress at once!” The three servants pleaded as they cried.
Sang Wan was already feeling vexed so how could she still take this nonsense? Her face turned dark and she glared at Hong Ye as she bellowed furiously, “What did I instruct you to do? Did you not hear me clearly?”
As a matter of fact, Hong Ye dared to act on her own accord to bring them in partly because she sympathized with those servants, but not forgetting that it was also because she knew Sang Wan had a good temper. However, she did not expect this would enrage her.
Hong Ye’s face reddened from embarrassment. Her lips moved but she did not dare to speak.
“Someone!” Sang Wan shouted, “Bring them out!”
The three servants were only tasked to sweep the ground; they had never served closely beside a master and thus were not familiar with the set of rules, only knowing that this was their final chance and that their destiny was within their young mistress’ palm. In the heat of the moment, they rushed towards Sang Wan while on their knees, hugging her legs and pulling on her skirt as they begged pitifully, just like how they pleaded to Hong Ye previously.
“How dare you! Let go of me!” Sang Wan was feeling both embarrassed and angry, but it was not a good idea to shake herself from them; if by any chance her clothes got torn in the midst, it would be even more embarrassing!
“Brazen!” Hong Ye and the rest of the servants, who answered to Sang Wan’s call, were shocked at the sight and they shouted while trying to pull the three servants away.
Would the three servants let go of their grip on Sang Wan’s clothes so easily? Seeing that Sang Wan did not push them away, they were unsure whether it was because Sang Wan did not want to lower her status to argue with them, but decided to believe it was because she had softened her stance. As such, they were unwilling to let go and they clutched her skirt tightly as they cried out for mercy! This caused the servants around them to become anxious and hateful towards them. It also frustrated Hong Ye greatly!
“What is happening here!” Shi Fengju witnessed this ridiculous scene the moment he stepped into the house. Seeing that a bunch of servants were pulling on Sang Wan’s clothes with no regard to the rules, he could not help but feel angry.
Shi Fengju’s words shocked everyone, but making use of the moment, one of the three servants was finally pulled away. Returning to their senses, the other two servants continued to grab onto Sang Wan’s clothes tightly and pleaded, ”Young Mistress, please have mercy on us! We beg of you!”
“Impudent!” Shi Fengju came forward and kicked one of the servants as he said coldly, “Are you still not letting go? What is your status compared to your young mistress. How dare you be disrespectful towards her! If you are not letting go this instance, I’ll have all of you dragged out and beaten to death!”
The face of the two servants turned pale and they loosened their grip unknowingly. Soon after, they were pulled away and escorted out to be dealt with later.
Silence was left inside the house, no one dared to make a sound.
Sang Wan was beyond furious as she glared at Hong Ye and questioned. “ Why are you still here? Are you not going to convey my orders, or do you need me to do it personally?” Among the servants, Hong Ye was the down-to-earth. Often, Sang Wan felt that honest people had their own merits; at least they would not slack off and thus, she had never reprimanded Hong Ye much. However, such a person was too naive! It was alright for Hong Ye to complete simple tasks, however, that was not the case if it involved others. It was no wonder that Nanny Li seldom had her complete such tasks by herself.
“Yes, Young Mistress!” Hong Ye’s face turned pale and she left hurriedly.
“How are you feeling? Are you alright?” Shi Fengju asked in concern as he waved his hand to order the rest of the servants to leave before moving closer to hold Sang Wan’s hand.
His change in attitude was too quick and caused Sang Wan to be dazed for a moment. She smiled and answered, “I’m fine, why are you back?”
“Well, so long as you’re fine!” Shi Fengju prompted her to sit before replying, “I was at Second Uncle’s place having a chat with him and Third Uncle. But I was afraid that you might encounter trouble which was why I came back. Those three must be the three from this morning’s incident, right? You too, why would you meet with them? It would have concluded if you just passed your orders down to them through a servant!”
Sang Wan gently withdrew her hand and laughed without a change in expression, “Why would I meet with them? This was all because of Hong Ye’s muddling!”
Shi Fengju blanked out for a moment before smiling, “No wonder you were so fierce to her just now! Hong Ye is too down-to-earth, it’s no wonder that she couldn’t ignore their pleas.”
Sang Wan glared at him, “That’s right, I’m the one that’s heartless; no matter how they begged me, it didn’t work for them!”
Shi Fengju laughed, “What are you saying! That isn’t what I meant! You are fine this way. In my opinion, you’re still not heartless enough. If not, Hong Ye would not have misbehaved!”
Sang Wan shrugged and said, “What can I do? Third Aunt is eager to move in. Nanny Li and Zhide are busy handling it. If they didn’t, my heart will feel uneasy!” She let out a soft sigh.
Shi Fengju anxiously asked how the conversation with Third Aunt went, so Sang Wan told him about what had happened there when she met with Third Shi Family’s Old Mistress.
“It must’ve been tough on you!” Shi Fengju closed in on her and spoke gently, “Sang Wan, don’t take what Mother and Third Aunt said to heart, just endure these few days! I know that this incident was not your fault. If you are unhappy,” he said with a smile, “You can come at me!”
Sang Wan’s face flushed. She hurriedly avoided his gaze and said with a slight smile on her face, “Actually, I don’t blame Mother and Third Aunt. This incident was largely due to my negligence. I am the one who gave the orders and not getting things done is naturally my responsibility. Mother did not wrong me!”
Originally, Shi Fengju was worried that she would feel wronged, but after listening to her words, he was relieved and said with a smile, “It’s great that you think this way! But then again, there were so many things to take care of in the past few days, there’s no way for you to handle everything perfectly all by yourself. Mother and Third Aunt should be more understanding! How about we go to my country house and enjoy two days all to ourselves after things quiet down?”
Sang Wan was shocked and quickly replied with a smile, “It’s almost New Year, there’s no time for leisure! We have to prepare and send out New Year’s gifts in these few days, receive our relatives and friends, and prepare the incense, candle, joss paper and more for our ancestors!”
“You are right, after the New Year then! Our family has a country house where the plum blossom flowers bloom the best. When that time comes, I’ll take you for flower viewing!” Shi Fengju smiled.
Even though they were not gazing at each other, Sang Wan could feel his fiery gaze and was pressured to her limit. Her heart was frantic and if she were to reject him, who knew what he would say next. So she nodded her head and agreed with a smile. Seeing that he had more to say, Sang Wan quickly added, “That Nanny Zhang is still waiting to be questioned, I have to hurry and give Third Aunt an answer!”
Shi Fengju nodded his head and said, “You’re right, then let’s call her in!”
That Nanny Zhang was not evasive. She answered what she was asked and kowtowed for forgiveness. “It’s all because of my forgetfulness. Yesterday, this old servant had already laid out the carpet, but it got dirty and Third Old Mistress’s servant asked me it to change to a new one. At that time, it was getting dark and this old servant took the dirty carpet but forgot to replace it with a new one. Who would have thought that this would happen the next morning! I deserve death! I deserve death!”