“Not from gossip, and neither does it have anything to do with Sang Wan. It is solely my idea. Mother, if you are not against it, then please tell Cousin Fangzi for me!” Shi Fengju said.
“You want me to tell her for you?” Wang Shi could not help but crease her eyebrows and speak without deliberation, “Have you really thought through it? Can you really bear to? For her, you have quarreled with me so many times. For you to suddenly give her up, it really is out of the blue!”
Shi Fengju sighed and said, “Mother, why do you keep bringing up the past! Just take it that I’m going back on my words, okay?” There were many things that he could not tell his mother! Not just his mother, even Sang Wan, he found it difficult to speak about it as well. An example would be during the mourning period when Gu Fangzi tried to seduce him into consummating their marriage by taking off her clothes…
“What nonsense are you saying!” There was no way Wang Shi could bear to insult her son. Upon hearing him, she exclaimed, “I didn’t mean that. If she hadn’t married into the household, it will still be possible to go back on words. But right now, the fact is that she is already considered part of our family. Asking her to marry another man in such a haphazard manner… this… How do you want me to mention this to her!”
“Mother, take it as doing your son a favor,” Shi Fengju smiled and said, “Mother, I know you’ve always felt that making Cousin Fangzi my concubine is shortchanging her. If we marry her grandly into another family, won’t that be better! To put it simply, I don’t want to have a concubine anymore.”
Wang Shi sighed softly, “Since you’ve already put it that way, I will try to talk to her about it! But you have to find someone reliable for her, and give her a grand marriage!”
“I will!” Shi Fengju nodded.
Watching as her son left the room joyfully, Wang Shi suddenly did not know whether to be happy for him or disappointed. Her son was not as submissive to Gu Fangzi as she had presumed. She should be elated, but Gu Fangzi had accompanied her for so many years, and had served her wholeheartedly. It was impossible to say that she did not care for her!
Now, knowing that Gu Fangzi would be married off, Wang Shi was suddenly reluctant to part with her. Furthermore, she subconsciously felt that even though Gu Fangzi had used her son behind her back, she nevertheless liked her son. If not, she would not have insisted on getting married during her mourning period. Telling her to remarry into another family, she would most likely refuse!
“Nanny Jiang, what do you think? Is this really his idea, or maybe Sang Wan was the one who instigated him?” Wang Shi voiced out her thoughts.
Could Nanny Jiang simply agree with her view? She quickly smiled and replied, “Maybe that might not be the case? Young Master has always acted upon his own decisions, and everyone in this household knows about his relationship with Miss Gu. Considering Young Mistress’ personality, I’m afraid that she would shun anything that has to do with Miss Gu. So why would she even initiate such an idea to Young Master?”
Wang Shi thought so too and she agreed. Sang Wan was not foolish. Knowing full well that Gu Fangzi was her husband’s childhood sweetheart, would she not rather avoid the matter entirely instead of mentioning it without end to her husband? Otherwise, it would be the same as asking to be disliked!
“You’re right! Sang Wan has a gentle and sweet-tempered, she doesn’t look like the petty sort!” Wang Shi sighed lightly, and waved her hand, “Since this is so, then let’s not wait any longer. Invite Gu Fangzi over right this instant!”
“Understood, Old Mistress!” Nanny Jiang agreed and went off to assign the task.
When Gu Fangzi heard that her aunt was calling for her, she was curious and quickly smiled to ask Xiu Li, who was here to inform her. Xiu Li did not know, and even if she did, she would not dare to talk about it. So she smiled and answered that she did not know. Seeing so, Gu Fangzi was unhappy and she thought to herself: Great, it hasn’t even been long and all of you are already so sure that I won’t get my authority back. How dare all of you treat me so impudently! Hmph, just wait until after my mourning period, I’ll get back my authority to manage the household, and see how I’ll punish all of you!
“Aunt Wang! You’ve called for Fang’er? Fang’er is here to greet you!” Gu Fangzi smiled and went up to greet her.
In the past, Wang Shi’s face would light up upon seeing her obedient face. But today when she saw her behavior, her mind immediately thought about how bossy she was in front of Shi Fengju, and her brows creased together. She nodded her head and smiled, “Have a seat!”
Gu Fangzi had long understood Wang Shi like the back of her hand, and her heart skipped a beat. She quickly accepted and sat down docilely.
This time, Nanny Jiang smiled and said to Lan Xiang, “Lan Xiang, please follow me outside, there is an embroidery work that I would like you to help me have a look at!”
Lan Xiang understood that her old mistress had something important to speak to her missy about, and agreed to leave with Nanny Jiang.
“Aunt Wang, did something happen? Aunt Wang can go ahead to tell Fang’er, Fang’er is willing to share part of your burden!” Gu Fangzi asked with concern.
In front of me, she really is an obedient child! Wang Shi could not help but sigh to herself. She was so much more compelling than her daughter.
“Fang’er, am I right to say that your mourning period ends next month?” Wang Shi sighed softly and asked.
So it was about that! Gu Fangzi was feeling jubilant, but her face sank and she lowered her eyes as she nodded, “Yes, in a blink of an eye, half a year has passed! Luckily, Aunt Wang and Big Cousin were there to look after me. If not, if not, Fang’er wouldn’t know how to get by! When the mourning period ends, Fang’er will serve Aunt Wang and Big Cousin wholeheartedly, and repay all of you!”
Wang Shi would naturally be happy if she said that in the past. However, no matter how Wang Shi listened and interpreted it, she simply could not swallow it. Repay all of their good? Her ordering Shi Fengju around, throwing tantrums, and giving him a difficult time, were those how she was going to repay them?
“Cough,” Wang Shi coughed and sighed, “Aunt Wang here has given this much thought. Fang’er, you are a decent girl, and also my blood-related niece who I took care of since young. It wouldn’t be fair for you to be a concubine!”
Gu Fangzi was so happy hearing that that her heart bloomed brightly. Unfair for her to be a concubine? Then that would mean her aunt was going to change her status into that of a wife? Great, that was really great! That was what she had wanted!
In the end, she is my aunt. All the many years of fawning over her had not gone to waste, she still remembers my good points!
There was a flash of gratification in her eyes, and she lowered her eyes to say softly, “Fang’er does not feel she is being treated unfairly. As long as I can stay by Aunt Wang and Big Cousin’s side, Fang’er does not feel unjustly treated! In Fang’er’s heart, Aunt Wang is Fang’er’s second mother. Fang’er will let Aunt Wang make all the decisions!”
Of course Gu Fangzi would not refuse such a good opportunity. If Wang Shi was willing to promote her status, of course she would go with her choice! All the servants in the household would finally open their eyes wide to observe where the side of authority was leaning towards!
Wang Shi smiled and said, “Fang’er, Aunt Wang and your big cousin are always your family. If you have any grievances from now on, come and tell us, we will stand up for you!”
That sounded unsettling to Gu Fangzi. She suddenly had a bad premonition but she nodded with a smile, “Fang’er has always known that Aunt Wang and Big Cousin are good to Fang’er, and won’t let me suffer! But in this household, no one will give Fang’er any grievances!”
Hearing her, Wang Shi was clear that she could no longer beat about the bush and said, “Fang’er, Aunt Wang feels that it will be better to arrange another marriage for you and make you into a proper wife. What do you think?”
One of the most prominent traits of Wang Shi was how she could draw a large circle when beating about the bush, and then catch others by surprise when she went straight to her point.
That was how Gu Fangzi felt at this exact moment. She was caught entirely by surprise and could not wrap her mind over what Wang Shi had mentioned.
“Aunt Wang, what, what, what are you saying?” Gu Fangzi spoke in disbelief, “You want to arrange another marriage for me? Aunt Wang, but I am already married into the Shi household. I already belong to the Shi family, so how can I get married again!”
Gu Fangzi’s expression became extremely devastated and pitiful.
Her mind was in a mess!
Her aunt actually wanted to arrange another marriage for her? No, that must not happen! No matter how good the marriage was, there was no way it could compare to the Shi household, or her big cousin. Not only that, if that really were to happen, then what was all her effort in the past for? Wouldn’t it all go to waste?
No matter what, she could not accept such an ending!
“Aunt Wang!” Gu Fangzi immediately kneeled in front of Wang Shi and tugged the corner of her robe as she begged in tears, “Aunt Wang, please don’t chase Fang’er away. Fang’er’s mother passed away early and my father was ill-disciplined. Fang’er had no one to teach me when I was young. Luckily, I had Aunt Wang take care of me all these years. If Fang’er did anything wrong, please tell Fang’er. Fang’er will change! So Aunt Wang, please don’t chase Fang’er away. Fang’er can’t bear to leave you and Big Cousin! Fang’er just want to stay by your side and pass the days happily together! Aunt Wang!”
Gu Fangzi sobbed and begged. Wang Shi was someone with a soft heart. Let alone the fact that Gu Fangzi poked at all of her sore spots, Wang Shi could not help but recall all the moments she shared with Gu Fangzi over the years. In the past when she first arrived, she was still a very small girl with a skinny stature. She had a pair of large eyes, a cowardly expression, and did not dare to speak or play with anyone. She just stuck herself to her, and followed her everywhere. Even when Wang Shi was taking a bath, she would bring a small stool over and wait outside the bathroom, not willing to leave.
Year after year went by and that little girl grew up into a mature young woman as beautiful as a flower. Even though she no longer followed her everywhere like when she was young, she still treated her with much respect, and was as considerate as if she was her own daughter! Seeing her break down into tears, Wang Shi’s heart could not bear to remain firm with her stance. After all, her heart was not made of steel!
“Fang’er, get up quickly!” Wang Shi bent her back to help her up and chided, “What are you doing! Don’t do this, hurry up and get up. Listen to me first!”
After helping her up, she made her sit beside her before taking out a handkerchief to wipe away her tears. “Fang’er, listen carefully to what Aunt Wang is telling you. Aunt Wang is doing this for your own good! Your big cousin already has Sang Wan, and you are such a decent girl, why would you put yourself in such a position? Ai, I am the one in the wrong here, if I had known, then I should not have—— ai, it’s too late to say anything now! Fang’er, there’s nothing to worry about. When you get married, Aunt Wang will not let you down!”
“No, no!” Gu Fangzi said with tears eyes, “Aunt Wang, I only wish to be by Big Cousin and your side. Aunt Wang, I don’t feel it’s unfair to me. I beg you, please let me stay by your side, please!”
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