Third Old Mistress Shi was stunned in that instant before her face turned red from feeling ashamed. How she wished she could hide herself.
“Is, is that for real?” Third Old Mistress Shi said hesitantly with a sour voice.
“Would I lie to you?” Third Old Master Shi nodded slowly before sighing softly. “In the future, don’t overthink too much! Fengju is an honest child and Sang Wan has already done enough. Even if there were one or two areas that were unsatisfactory, for Fengju’s sake, we should not be too particular! I heard that you went and threw Sang Wan’s face in front of Big Sister-in-law; I’m afraid what you did would have only irked her! It’s not as if you don’t know how protective Big Sister-in-law is of her own people!”
Third Old Mistress Shi’s thoughts were instantly put in turmoil and she spoke in a huff, “I, I just can’t get over it! First was Ying Fang who got a fracture, then Nanny Gui twisted her waist. These mishaps happened one after another, who wouldn’t be angry?”
“Here you go again!” Third Old Master Shi creased his eyebrows and said, “They were two different and unconnected matters, so why are you putting them together? It was the servants’ carelessness that caused Ying Fang to fall, and Sang Wan already gave us an explanation for it! As for the matter with Nanny Gui, about that, it was because we missed the time to eat which caused it to happen, what did it have to do with Sang Wan? Again with the words I always say, touch your heart and think, in which area had Sang Wan not thought things through thoroughly? Is there anyone who can do better?
Third Old Mistress Shi was at a loss for words for a moment. After some thought, she sighed and said, “I’m not the unreasonable sort that likes to find trouble for others. It’s just that we returned not too long ago; if we don’t establish our place, won’t we end up living like slaves? Lord, I’m sure you won’t want that as well! Sang Wan did do well, but not amazingly enough. Fangzi was comparable to her.”
“As long as you understand!” Third Old Master Shi’s face sank, and continued, “We are masters of this household, is there any need to establish our place? Which servant will dare disrespect us? If there are, just sack them! I don’t believe that with the rules within the household, Sang Wan and Fengju would disregard the elders and side with the servants? If that really is the case, then I will do something about it myself! About Fangzi, it’ll be better for you to have less contact with her. She is now Fengju’s concubine, it won’t be good for you to have too much interaction with her!”
“What!” Third Old Mistress Shi’s attention was immediately captured by her husband’s words. Her eyes widened and said in shock, “What did you say? Fangzi is —— Fengju’s concubine?”
“You didn’t know!” This time, it was Third Old Master Shi’s turn to be shocked.
“How did that happen!” Third Old Mistress Shi sighed. She was sure that her husband would not joke around about such a matter, “How could Big Sister-in-law do that? Letting her blood-related niece to be her son’s concubine, this really is ——”
“Don’t speak such nonsense!” Third Old Master Shi’s eyebrows frowned again, “This had nothing to do with Big Sister-in-law. Do you still remember that Fangzi stayed in our household since young? I’m not very clear about this myself, but you can ask around next time when you are free to find out for yourself.”
Third Old Master Shi was conscious of his own position. He naturally would not gossip about his nephew’s flings, but his wife’s heart ended up being tickled with curiosity. Third Old Mistress Shi was not giving up until she got to the heart of the matter, and even though Third Old Master Shi kept his lips sealed, her persistence made him unseal his lips and reveal everything that he had accidentally overheard.
“The past half a year was so eventful!” Third Old Mistress Shi sighed in revelation, and was regretful about missing out on what happened!
Third Old Mistress Shi could not resist commenting, “From the way I see it, Fengju really loves Sang Wan. Fangzi sure is pitiful, she’s in for a difficult life ahead!” She glanced once at Third Old Master Shi and whispered in a low voice, “So it’s true that a man’s heart is fickle! They change anytime they want!”
Shi Third Old Master grumbled, “The marriage between Fengju and Sang Wan was settled a long time ago; who in this household doesn’t know? Fengju already knew that he has a wife, so it’s only a given for him to be nice; what you said about Sang Wan is unfair! Talking about inappropriateness, Gu Fangzi already knew about the engagement Fengju had so she should have avoided having unnecessary contact with him to avoid a scene. Instead, she ended up creating so much trouble. I feel that the one suffering from all these is Sang Wan!”
Third Old Mistress Shi was indignant, “Your words aren’t fair either. Maybe it was Fengju who approached her first?”
“Fengju does not seem like that sort of person,” Third Old Master Shi said, “Anyway, even if Shi Fengju approached her first, if she were well-mannered, she should have avoided him! Marrying into the household during her period of mourning, I don’t think such a woman is appropriate in any way. You shouldn’t get too close with her in the future; and our two daughters as well, don’t let them get too close with her too!”
Third Old Mistress Shi just remained silent.
On the next day, Nanny Li brought along a few servants to Ji Cui Tower and asked for opinions from Third Old Mistress Shi on where to change into a small kitchen as they could begin at this very moment. “Young Mistress and Young Master have been busy checking the new year gifts for each household to see whether they are suitable. The new year gifts for you will be sent over in the next two days. Young Mistress said that after the two busy days, she will come over to greet Third Old Mistress. Young Mistress also instructed this old servant to ask Third Old Mistress and Third Old Master whether there are any other relatives to send gifts to. The household has only sent gifts to Third Old Mistress’s parental family in the past and has never sent to any other relatives. Since Third Mistress is back, should we make some preparations? If there are any to send, please make a list and gifts for Young Mistress and she will have the servants prepare them for you!”
“I didn’t even think about this, Sang Wan is so detailed!” Third Old Mistress Shi was deeply ashamed of herself and she supported her forehead as she smiled, “I will make the list for you now; then I’ll have to trouble Sang Wan! The small kitchen isn’t an urgent matter, I was thinking that there isn’t any need for the rush. Changing it next year is fine too! Nanny Li, you should do other things that are urgent first!”
“This old servant has already found the people to do it. It’s a matter than can be completed in one or two days time, it’s no trouble at all!” Nanny Li smiled and said, “In such cold weather, it will be more convenient to have a small kitchen nearby even if it is just for brewing a cup of hot tea, isn’t it?”
Third Old Mistress Shi sighed and said with a smile, “Indeed. Alright then, I will lead all of you there! Sang Wan truly has the heart, I will have to remember to thank her in the future!”
Third Old Mistress Shi got up and led Nanny Li towards the side room. Nanny Li followed behind and smiled as she said, “Third Mistress, you are too polite. Our young mistress is not too particular about such!”
Third Old Mistress Shi smiled. Recalling her husband’s words, she felt even more guilty,
At Ning Garden1Ning GardenSang Wan & Shi Fengju's place of residence, Sang Wan and Shi Fengu looked through every gift request to every relative and friend. The two servants from the household department who were in charge stood beside the couple and answered all their questions. The two servants also wrote down all of the amendments, and after a long day of changing it twice, they were finally done.
After awhile, Zhan Huan requested to meet from the outside, saying that the things his young master bought had arrived. Shi Fengju hurriedly ordered Liu Ya to bring along a few young maidservants to pick them up. He then turned to Sang Wan and smiled, “I asked Zhan Huan to prepare them a few days ago. They’re presents for you, you’ll definitely like them!”
Sang Wan smiled and said, “Didn’t you just give me clothes and accessories a few days ago? From where did you manage to get more presents again?”
Shi Fengju chuckled, “You will know when you see them, I guarantee that you will like them!”
After a while, Liu Ya and two young maidservants, each carrying a wooden box that was two feet long in breadth and one feet long in height. There was also another palm-sized brocade box. Shi Fengju instructed for the boxes to be put on the bed before ordering everyone else to leave.
Shi Fengju hugged his wife from the back and pouted his lips, “Guess what’s inside?”
Sang Wan giggled and gave him a backward glance before asking, “So what if I guessed correctly? Or if I guessed wrongly?”
Shi Fengju’s hands lingered on her waist before giving a light pinch. She let out a slight moan and slapped away his hand in return. He rested his chin on her shoulder and rubbed against her face and loose hair as he laughed in a low voice, “They are yours regardless of whether you guessed correctly or not. If you guessed correctly, there’ll be a reward for you tonight. If you guessed wrongly, then there’ll be a punishment…”
This made Sang Wan blush and she softly complained, “No matter what, I’ll follow your wish.”
Shi Fengju laughed and said intimately, “How is it you following my wish? From the way I see it, you seem to be enjoying yourself——”
Sang Wan became even more embarrassed and struggled to push herself away from him. But Shi Fengju would not allow it. He laughed at the sight of how meekly and half-inviting she was behaving and his heart shook. He held her face in one swoop and kissed her passionately until the both of them were out of breath before letting her go.
“You. The sky isn’t dark yet, so don’t act so recklessly!” Sang Wan panted. Her face was as red as the sunset and her eyes were brighter than usual.
Shi Fengju knew that her skin was thin and was afraid that she would get mad again so he did not tease her any further. His finger gently caressed her delicate lips and he whispered, “Okay, the sky isn’t dark yet so I won’t mess around with you!” Seeing his wife’s bashful and alluring face, how he wished he could bring her into the chamber and give her some love at that very instant.
His words are getting more and more inappropriate! Sang Wan’s heart wavered and before the blush could go away, her face turned even redder. The gentlemanly image of him in her heart was completely tarnished.
“Just what are they? Really, why are you acting all mysterious!” Sang Wan felt that it would be better to go back to the topic.
“Try and guess!” Shi Fengju was still smiling and teasing her. He gave her a measuring look while keeping a smile as if he was wondering whether she would be rewarded or punished.
Sang Wan saw the suggestive look on his face and instantly blushed again while avoiding his stare nervously. She started making wild guesses, such as makeup, accessories, jade hairpins, flower hairpins, earrings, bracelets, foundation, powder, perfume, and so on. Of all the items she tried, none of them were correct. Shi Fengju just smiled and shook his head at every attempt.
“I’m not guessing anymore!” Sang Wan could not help but feel a little disappointed, “I have not the slightest clue and my throat is getting dry from all the guessing. I am not guessing anymore!”
Shi Fengju laughed and grabbed a warm tea cup that was by the side from the side and opened its lid before bringing close to Sang Wan’s lips. While she was taking a few sips, she heard him say, “So do you admit that you’ve lost? Then you’ll have to listen to me at night…”
Sang Wan’s face turned hot, and she avoided the question by asking, “Just what are they, really!” In her heart, no matter whether she won or lost, when had she not listen to him when in bed? So long as you don’t have too many embarrassing positions under your sleeves…
Thinking about it, she was embarrassed herself. This person was actually a wolf beneath his facade, waiting for any chance to strip her bare and swallow her entirely.