“I didn’t tell my sister-in-law!” Shi Yumei raised her voice before saying coldly, “Lord, please wake up. This is the Shi Household, not Ren. Those worthless friends of yours——”
“How dare you!” Ren Zhixian exclaimed, interrupting her words as he pointed at her and scolded, “Are you lecturing me? Is this how your family raised you? How dare you talk back to your husband as a wife!”
“You asked and I replied, how is that talking back?” Shi Yumei got angry too.
“Just listen to yourself, if that’s not the case, then what is!” Ren Zhixian slammed the table angrily and coldly said, “Don’t give me all that nonsense! In the end, all of you are just looking down on me with your snobbish eyes. All of you despise me because I’m poor, huh! Wait until I am successful, I will be waiting to see all your faces! Don’t think you’re amazing just because you’ve got some stinky money! If you hate to part with your money, then I won’t demand any from you! Hmph, I’ll go and buy them myself!”
“Lord!” Shi Yumei said angrily, “Which one of them treated you as a friend? If they did, would any of them not know that you are currently lodging with your in-laws? We are already broke; if they truly are your friends, then would they really be concerned about receiving New Year gifts from us?”
Hearing the word “lodging” greatly hurt his pride. It made him feel a sense of inferiority from having to lodge under someone else’s roof and he had a great urge to shout at Shi Yumei with confidence! However, no matter how firm or strong-willed he might be, he was indeed “lodging” at someone else’s house!
And because of that, the shame fueled Ren Zhixian’s anger further. Holding himself back as he disregarded those words, he said, “What do you know? When did I say that my friends are concerned about my New Year gifts? Shouldn’t friends send gifts to one another from time to time? What we are sending are our best regards and not about whether they are expecting gifts or not! This is the relationship among friends! So what’s the meaning behind your family’s intention? Do they hope for me to be cut off from others and not have a single friend?”
Only with those ‘friends’’’ flatteries and fawning did he feel like he was a man and had retrieved a little of his pride as a man, so how could he lose them easily? The more dire the situation he was in——he definitely would not admit his present state. He wanted to put on a strong front to let them remember his good side!
If he were to realize that the only reason why others were fawning over him was because he was foolish and easy to swindle, as well as him being part of the wealthy Shi family, his rage would only become boundless!
“You are one to talk!” Shi Yumei was angry too. She sneered and said, “You always criticize my family without reason. In what way did my family offend you? What you eat, what you wear, what you use, and where you stay, even your books and the concubine who serves you, which of them weren’t provided by my family? How dare you put on airs when you’re enjoying what my family can provide! Let me tell you, since you are so capable, you can take care of your friends yourself. Who are you to instruct my brother? Did you take my brother as your errand boy!”
Shi Yumei glared angrily at him as she let out everything within her heart to her heart’s content. After which, her melancholy vanished and she felt entirely pleasant!
She knew that her husband was a prideful person and ever since returning to the Shi household, she had been following his orders carefully and coaxing him in fear of hurting his pride. She had endured all his whining and complaining about her family and helped fulfil any of his unreasonable requests! But now, she realized that it was all in vain! He would never be considerate towards her intentions. Rather, he became more demanding and harsh! Did he think about how difficult it would be for her who was stuck in between? Even if he was not considerate towards her, she was still his wife, and she did not dare to complain. However, her mother and second brother were innocent, why should they be dragged into his complaints!
“You, you! How dare you!” Ren Zhixian was startled. His face was pale and his fingers trembled as he pointed at Shi Yumei, but no words came out from his mouth.
“Do you and your family think that you are all amazing just because of some stinky money? What a joke!” Ren Zhixian sneered.
“It’s not really anything amazing!” Shi Yumei sneered and said, “But are you not using them?”
“You!” Shi Yumei words shot right at his heart! In his mind, there were only three words swirling inside: How dare her!
“Lord, Eldest Young Mistress! If there’s anything, why not discuss it peacefully? Please don’t fight anymore! It’s inauspicious to do so near the New Year!” Cui Bao took advantage of the fact that she was favored by Ren Zhixian and stepped in to interrupt them when he was cornered by Shi Yumei.
Ren Zhixian snorted. Finally a way out! He brushed his sleeves before throwing one last sentence at Shi Yumei, “I can’t be bothered to argue with you!” He then pulled Cui Bao before storming angrily into his study room.
Shi Yumei’s face turned grave as she stared at the sight of their backs without saying a word.
“Eldest Missy, please calm down!” Cui Zhu signalled for the servants to retreat as she poured a cup of tea and offered it to Shi Yumei.
“Cui Zhu,” Tears dropped unknowingly from Shi Yumei’s eyes as she looked at Cui Zhu and said, “You’ve always been the best to me and we’ve always been the closest! You once begged me not to make you a concubine to the same husband as me, and I promised you. But in the end, I failed to fulfil that! Cui Zhu, I have let you down!”
Shi Yumei could not help but shed tears as she whimpered.
“Eldest Missy!” Cui Zhu’s face was pale and tears gathered in her eyes without any warning. She quickly blinked her tears away before smiling, “Eldest Missy, what are you saying! It’s all in the past now! Besides, Eldest Missy has always been good to this servant. It’s already a blessing that I can serve you for the rest of my life!”
“I have let you down, I’ve really let you down!” Shi Yumei felt even more miserable when she heard Cui Zhu say that. She wiped her tears and said, “I shouldn’t have been lenient! I——”
“Eldest Missy, please don’t say anymore!” Cui Zhu gently shook her head as a faint amount of tears gathered in her eyes.
Shi Yumei let out a long sigh as she held Cui Zhu’s slightly cold hands and said, “Wait until after the New Year, I will speak with Lord and ask him to promote you ****! That way——”
“Eldest Missy!” Cui Zhu’s expression changed. Both her knees weakened and she knelt in front of Shi Yumei, “Eldest Missy, please no! This servant begs of you, this servant does not want that!”
“Why!” Shi Yumei was puzzled. Cui Zhu now belonged to Ren Zhixian, promoting her would surely increase her authority. How could she be so foolish!
Shi Yumei spoke gently, “Don’t be embarrassed, I really mean it from the bottom of my heart! That way, we can be considered sisters, and in the future when you give birth to a child, your position will not be any different from me! Cui Zhu, I really want to compensate you properly!”
“This servant does not want that, this servant would rather serve Eldest Missy like this forever!” Cui Zhu became worried. Her face was pale and started kowtowing towards Shi Yumei while she pleaded.
Shi Yumei was greatly taken aback, but she tried to comfort her, “Cui Zhu, I really wish to compensate you! I have always been frank and outspoken; this is definitely not to test you! At present, this is the best thing I can do for you!”
Cui Zhu was on the brink of crying out loud, and she pleaded, “Eldest Young Mistress, this servant does not need any compensation. This servant begs of you, this servant just wishes for things to stay as it is! This servant begs of you!”
Seeing that Cui Zhu was determined to refuse, Shi Yumei’s heart was touched by her loyalty but also disappointed for letting her down. She sighed and said, “If you are really unwilling, I will not force it on you, but you have to think carefully about it! It is easy to settle with him now since he’s still not an official yet, but if he becomes one in the future, it will be difficult to change the decision you’re making now!”
Cui Zhu said without any hesitation, “This servant has thought it through. This servant just wants to serve Eldest Missy wholeheartedly! This is this servant’s heartfelt words with no pretense!”
“Foolish girl!” Shi Yumei sighed again, “Fine then, since you do not want it, I will not force you! You foolish girl, why are you so foolish? I feel like I am letting you down more and more!”
“Please don’t say that, Eldest Missy!” Cui Zhu shook her head and said, “You treat me like a real sister, I am able to feel it! This servant will serve you well and not leave your side!”
“Don’t say anymore, hurry up and rise!” Shi Yumei’s heart ached and she helped her up.
Shi Yumei raised her head, only to see Cui Bao standing at the door with an expression of whether or not she should enter. Gripping tightly onto the shelf by her side, Shi Yumei’s expression dulled and she said, “Why are you here and not serving Lord in his study room? Speak! What’s the matter?”
“Eldest Young Mistress!” Cui Bao gracefully moved forward and greeted Shi Yumei with a smile, “It was Lord who asked this servant to come… he has something to ask Eldest Young Mistress.”
“Speak!” Shi Yumei grunted.
“Right,” Cui Bao braced herself as she smiled and said, “Lord wanted to ask Eldest Young Mistress about how much of the monthly allowance is left? He asked this servant to take it and pass it to him…”
“What!” Shi Yumei was so angry that she choked then scolded, “What does he want with the money? Did he mention it?
Cui Bao seemed to be mumbling to herself as she was stuck between the choice of whether to tell or not. But being an impatient person, where would Shi Yumei find the patience to wait? She exclaimed angrily, “Speak!”
Cui Bao was startled and hurriedly answered, “Lord said that he wanted to go out to the streets to buy some New Year gifts for his friends in Mengxian…”
Cui Bao only conveyed Ren Zhixian’s intention and did not dare to mention the unpleasant words that Ren Zhixian had said about her. The Eldest Missy of the Shi family today was not the same as before; she did not want to dig her own grave and ask for a scolding by telling her that!
“What!” Even though it was merely Cui Bao passing his intention, Shi Yumei’s face had already became ashen. Her palms trembled slightly as she stared at Cui Bao coldly, “Did he really… say that?”
This is my husband, this is my husband! Shi Yumei was both angry and bitter as she kept repeating these words in her heart.
“Yes…” Cui Bao subconsciously withdrew her shoulder as she replied softly.
Shi Yumei’s face was extremely ashen, and she shouted at Cui Zhu, “You, go and fetch that small box over!”
“Yes, Eldest Missy.” Cui Zhu acknowledged as she turned and entered the chamber. Not long after, she returned with a half-foot long wooden box and stood beside Shi Yumei.
“Pass it to her!” Shi Yumei didn’t have the slightest inclination to look and directly asked her to pass it to Cui Bao, “The rest of the money from the monthly allowance is all here, tell him to do as he deems fit!”
Cui Bao did not dare to speak out of turn. She accepted the box and left promptly.
Shi Yumei let out a long sigh as she waved her hand lethargically and said, “You can go now! I want to be left alone for a while!”
Cui Zhu looked at her worriedly but left quietly.