Nanny Jiang had been waiting for her to ask, and quickly smiled, “Young Mistress has been properly waiting outside! Would you like this old servant to call her in?”
“Hmph!” Wang Shi sneered and said, “Properly? Who knows whether she’s what she appears to be! Alright, call her in!”
Nanny Jiang understood that Wang Shi was associating her with Gu Fangzi, and knowing that she was no longer rational, she remained silent and went out to call Sang Wan in.
Sang Wan had already made the necessary mental preparation to wait outside for the entire day. As such, even though she stood outside the room for quite a while, she did not feel weary or impatient. When Nanny Jiang came out to deliver the message, she thanked her calmly without expressing any sense of relief on her face. That was something Nanny Jiang admired: Young Mistress’s self-discipline was really exceptional! If it were Eldest Missy in her shoes, she would have complained right away!
“Mother! Your daughter-in-law is here, is there anything Mother needs me for?” Sang Wan went forward and greeted Wang Shi with her hands placed together on the left side of her waist.
Wang Shi squinted her eyes as she examined her daughter-in-law from top to bottom. She was wearing an orange sleeved overcoat, a silvery blue-collared robe buttoned with a ruby shaped like a plum blossom flower at the collar. Beneath, she wore an ivory-white pleated silk skirt with floral embroidery. She had her hair tied up into a neat bun and wore a headdress decorated with ruby and sapphire. She had a slender body and a narrow waist, and her attire was simple and elegant yet rich at the same time. As she stood in front of Wang Shi, it wasn’t hard to tell that she was a gentle and meek beauty.
Just from her attire, no one would think that she was a woman who appeared virtuous while shrewish enough to torment her husband when no one was looking.
How would Sang Wan know what her mother-in-law was thinking? The gaze on her felt uncomfortable, but she did not dare to comment on it. Instead, she stood to the side quietly, hoping that her mother-in-law would be generous and not pick on her faults.
“Wait outside first!” Wang Shi exclaimed all of a sudden.
Sang Wan thought those words were for her and she looked up, only to see Nanny Jiang take her leave. Sang Wan quickly lowered her gaze again and stood up straight.
“Come a little closer, I won’t have to use too much energy that way!” Wang Shi leaned against her bed and said plainly.
“Yes, Mother!” Sang Wan smiled and went forward.
Wang Shi looked at her again and asked, “Have you read “Lessons for Women” at home?”
Wang Shi’s words were no different than a slap on her face; she was questioning her female virtues right to her face. Sang Wan’s face immediately turned red and she lowered her head, “I have, and I have never dared to forget it!”
“That better be so! Then you don’t need me to tell you about the Three Obedience and Four Virtues, do you?” Wang Shi asked again.
“Mother!” Sang Wan went on her knees and cried, “I… Yesterday night wasn’t done on purpose, I know that I was wrong, please forgive me, Mother!”
Wang Shi’s rage was fueled again when she heard Sang Wan mention about the previous night, and she spoke coldly, “Answer me honestly! Has that ever happened before? Answer me! If I ever find anything that refutes your answer, I will be merciless to you then! Our family cannot tolerate a tyrannical daughter-in-law! Is your husband for you to torment?”
“Absolutely never!” Sang Wan quickly answered, “Mother can go ahead and investigate! Last night, I was feeling a little dizzy and almost fell when I got off the carriage, added to the fact that I’ve helped my husband raise his reputation in front of his friends and made him happy, which was why he… Mother, is this daughter-in-law not able to differentiate good from the bad? Do I not know that women should obey their husbands unconditionally? Would I be willing to behave so impertinently in the household? If the servants saw, not only would this daughter-in-law be humiliated, even my husband would too!”
Wang Shi had always been credulous, and she found Sang Wan’s words reasonable as well. She was the Young Mistress of the Shi family; if the servants saw her actions, she would be left with no face as her husband’s wife. Where would she have the stateliness to control the servants? She wasn’t like concubines who were meant to entertain men where making a mistake once or twice was harmless!
“It’s good that you’re clear about it! Otherwise, I would have been favoring you for nothing!” Wang Shi’s face finally eased up and she nodded, “Since this has never happened before, we’ll put it aside! But keep in mind that there should be no more of such behavior in the future, understand? If I ever catch the two of you again, hmph, you should know what will happen then!”
“This daughter-in-law will put Mother-in-law’s words to heart and never dare to do so again!” Sang Wan was secretly relieved.
“Alright, you may go back! Old Mistress Hu won’t be able to be here today so there won’t be any need for you to come back again. Be on your way now! And before I forget, you don’t have to come and greet me so early in the morning tomorrow, go now!” Wang Shi nodded and waved.
“Understood, then this daughter-in-law will take my leave!” Sang Wan curtseyed and left.
Once she was out of the main courtyard, she subconsciously straightened her back and took a deep breath before looking up to the sky. The clouds were floating gracefully in the sky and rays of sunlight shone between the gaps. It was such a bright and enchanting view while she could still feel the cold air with every breath she took in the cold winter.
“Sang Wan, you’re back!” Just when Sang Wan arrived at Ning Garden1Ning GardenSang Wan & Shi Fengju's place of residence, Shi Fengju came out to receive her with a smile. He held her hand and asked softly, “How was it? Mother didn’t make things difficult for you, did she?”
How could Sang Wan not be angry at him? Glancing at him resentfully, she shook her head, “Listen to what you just said! Why would Mother make things difficult for me?” That was called discipline! Which daughter-in-law would not have to be disciplined by her Mother-in-law? Only that this one was more or less undeserved!
Shi Fengju knew that he had spoken incorrectly and smiled as he followed her into the house.
After she took off her coat and went into the warm room, Shi Fengju dismissed the servants before he hugged her while speaking gently, “There’s no one else here, you can vent your anger out on me if you feel unhappy, don’t suppress it inside!”
Sang Wan was still feeling angry with him at first, but she was left speechless after hearing him say so. After letting out a sigh, she said, “What’s done has already been done, I don’t want to talk about it anymore, just don’t make the same mistake again! I feel a little tired now, so don’t disturb me!”
Shi Fengju could tell that she was still somewhat annoyed and felt even more apologetic. When he finally helped her up the warm bed and pulled the blanket over her, he held her again, “Was it because I shot my mouth off which got you into more trouble with my mother? She’s old now, so please bear with her! Ai, I had no idea that it would end up like this as well! And Mother as well, why does she like to poke her nose into our own matters? What made her firmly believe the fact you were bullying me?”
The anger within Sang Wan boiled again, “Could you stop talking about it? Mother is your blood-related mother, did you think she would favor me instead of you? Fengju, I really don’t blame Mother, this matter was my fault from the start. It’s just that, although I was able to coax her quite well, her mood immediately changed to a piece of frozen ice after we went to Jiao Garden to visit your eldest sister! She pushed me away without even looking at me when I tried to help her! I have no idea what Big Sister said to her which made her so angry!”
Even Shi Fengju suspected Shi Yumei after hearing Sang Wan. Not to mention Sang Wan, he was clear that his eldest sister had always disliked Sang Wan which made him feel more guilty and he petted Sang Wan’s shoulders lightly while comforting her.
Sang Wan told him that she had never thought about letting him speak out for her and scold Shi Yumei as that was impossible. Even she would be laughing at herself for being rude if she really had such a thought.
Only that there was no way she could accept being wronged for nothing. She had to tell him about it even though she was not expecting anything from him! All he had to do was be able to understand what she was going through.
“Fengju, I don’t blame you as well. You’re right, which daughter-in-law from large households won’t suffer from injustice? Life would be too difficult if I quibble over everything! It’s alright for me to be wronged, if, and only if it wasn’t by you…” Sang Wan turned around after hearing his light and gentle words comforting her, and she held his hands before saying softly.
“Why would I wrong you?” Shi Fengju’s heart melted and he hugged her gently. He gave her a few gentle kisses on her forehead and her cheeks while saying gently, “Sang Wan, I’m glad that you could think this way, you are truly my good wife! In any case, it was me who implicated you this time, and I will never let that happen again, alright? When the weather gets better in spring, I will bring you out. Let’s go to the country house where we can do whatever we want without anyone making trouble for us! Just like what’s happening right now with just the two of us, I will listen to you as well!” As he said so, he grinned at her with a hint of naughtiness.
Sang Wan was more or less relieved and blushed when she finally understood him. She pushed him gently and laughed, “Stop it already, I’m really tired and I want to rest! Mother said that Old Mistress Hu won’t be coming over today, so I don’t have to go over later!”
“Rest well then!” Shi Fengju smiled and pulled the blanket up for her again. He watched her from right beside. The more he looked at her, the fonder he was and he asked with a smile, “Sang Wan, are you feeling uncomfortable anywhere? Do you need me to massage you?”
Sang Wan had no choice but to open her eyes slightly and say, “Go out and take a walk somewhere, stop staying here and disturbing me!”
Shi Fengju laughed, “There’s nowhere to go outside. Go to sleep, I won’t disturb you anymore. I’ll just watch over you!”
Sang Wan groaned softly and turned away, with her back facing him. Without feeling bothered when he stroked her occasionally, she kept her eyes closed to get a good rest.
By the time Sang Wan got up, it was time for lunch. The two of them were enjoying the view of fresh flowers to help with digestion in the corridor after lunch. Every day, there were servants taking care of those flowers and they would cut away the withered ones and replace the entire flowerpot if all the flowers had withered away. There were rhododendrons, camellias, roses, wintersweets, cyclamens, and many other flowers along the corridors; it was a splendid view of flowers.
“Young Master, Young Mistress, Concubine Fang is here!” A servant suddenly came forward to report.
“Concubine Fang?” Shi Fengju looked at Sang Wan in surprise and asked, “Concubine Fang from the second family? What did she come here for?”
Sang Wan frowned and smiled, “I have no idea as well! Since she’s already here, let’s invite her in then!” As she spoke, the two of them went back inside.
Sang Wan couldn’t help but worry. This Concubine Fang was a persistent one. Ever since she was here the last time, there were two more occasions where Sang Wan had bumped into her ‘by accident’, but Sang Wan did not give her the opportunity to bring up her intentions. Never did she expect her to come again!
Synopsis: Somewhere in the universe, there was an altar. On it, laid a bloody eye as big as the sun itself. It burst with light and bathed the entire star system in red.
"The aura of an ancestral artifact!" Someone's voice rose in surprise.
The Great Galactic Era had begun.