Shi Fengju had wanted his mother to help look after his wife, but it was not very nice to say it out as he was worried that it might get onto his mother’s bad side. His mother had always been a little oblivious, but she was unusually alert this time. She could not help but comment angrily with a smile, “I think what your big sister told me has some truth in them. Just what did Sang Wan give you to make you so thoughtful of her!”
Shi Fengju creased his eyebrows and said, “Mother, why do you say that! I’ve my reasons for respecting Sang Wan deeply. Sang Wan keeps the household well-organized, is filial to you, and took care of Big Sister to the best of her abilities. I have no idea what to say if you are unsatisfied with her!”
Wang Shi glanced at him once and sighed, “I know she’s good, but I don’t wish to see my son preferring the new and casting away the old! Ai, forget it, forget it, we’ll talk more about this when you come back! I actually feel that Fangzi and Sang Wan do get along well together, why do you insist on cutting your relationship with Fangzi!”
Shi Fengju said, “Since Mother raised the topic first, then I have something else I wish to tell Mother. When I am not around, let Cousin Fangzi serve by your side, but don’t let her intervene in anything else! Having someone around you will be able to distract you from your boredom!”
Wang Shi felt a little unhappy after what he said and told him unwittingly, “I know. I won’t mistreat your wife, so go back and have a good rest! You don’t have to come here tomorrow morning!”
Shi Fengju got up and bowed three times to Wang Shi to bid farewell before leaving.
At Ning Garden1Ning GardenSang Wan & Shi Fengju's place of residence, Sang Wan immediately ordered Zhide, Liu Ya, and Nanny Li to pack the things needed right after he left to inform Wang Shi. Everyone was shocked to know that their Young Master was going on a long trip the next morning. Seeing how dark the sky was, everyone made haste to pack. Nanny Li grumbled throughout, mostly about how he should not make rash arrangements.
When Shi Fengju came back, he saw that the house was a mess. Nanny Li was grumbling as she packed, but she could not bear to scold him when she saw him. She sighed and said, “This old servant will have a servant prepare the hot water now. Young Master, please take a bath first and have an early rest. This old servant and everyone else will have everything ready for tomorrow morning!”
“Thank you, Nanny!” Shi Fengju smiled and said, “For the days that I won’t be at home, I’ll have to trouble Nanny to take care of Sang Wan. Don’t let her stay indoors for too long and don’t let her get too tired!”
Nanny Li smiled and said, “This doesn’t need Young Master to say, this old servant knows what to do!”
After Shi Fengju took a bath, he ordered a servant to call Sang Wan to rest.
Nanny Li saw how Sang Wan seemed to want to refuse, and she quickly convinced her, “Young Mistress should go and accompany Young Master. This old servant here is enough to watch over this! I’m sure Young Master wishes to speak with you too! Besides, you might end up waking him if you went back while he’s asleep, and that won’t be good!”
Sang Wan, without a choice, could only nod and give some instructions before entering the chamber.
Shi Fengju placed both hands on the back of his head as he laid on the bed. The soft linen robe hung loosely on his body, leaving a fair bit of skin exposed.
Upon seeing Sang Wan, he smiled at her and got up before gesturing to her, “You know that I’m leaving in the morning, so why didn’t you come in earlier to accompany me? I had to send someone to beckon you over! Come here quickly!”
Sang Wan glared at him for a while before going up to him, “And whose fault was it? If I’m not present to watch, some things may get left out and it won’t be convenient for you! And since you’ll be in a hurry, there might not be any time for you to purchase anything that’s left out while you’re on your way!”
Shi Fengju’s heart warmed and he pulled her into his embrace. He hugged her tightly to feel the warmth of her body and lowered his head to say, “I’m not so particular about it. Besides, Nanny is a very conscientious person; she will take care of it well. Sang Wan, I will be away for very long, are you going to miss me, hm?”
He used his rough finger to run across her cheek, chin, and neck gently. Her body weakened from the sensation and she leaned entirely against him. Raising her eyes, she whispered softly, “I will.”
Shi Fengju curled his lips and said roughly, “Sang Wan, I’m suddenly regretting my decision. I shouldn’t have promised Second Uncle and Second Aunt that I’d go over there personally! Sang Wan, how am I supposed to get used to waking up tomorrow without you by my side!”
Sang Wan’s breathing turned to a mess as her heart beat faster. She grabbed his waist with her hands and puffed heavily, “Even if you don’t leave this time, don’t you have to make a few trips each year? I will patiently wait for you here…”
Shi Fengju was startled and he smiled. He kissed her hard on her fair face and said, “You’re right, I wasn’t thinking clearly just now! Sang Wan, we are going to part for nearly two months so you’ll have to obey me tonight…”
Sang Wan’s body tightened and a surge of emotions suddenly gushed from deep within her. Her clear eyes opened slightly and she wrapped herself tightly around his body.
Shi Fengju hummed and lowered his head to kiss her again.
After a night of intimacy, they held each other and fell asleep. Shi Fengju held her even harder than usual as she stuck herself to him. There was a feeling of sadness in her and she rested in his embrace on a whim.
When the day was finally bright again, Shi Fengju woke up. As he gradually opened his eyes, he saw his wife wrapping her arms around him. Her eyelashes were lowered and her eyes were shut tight as she was still sound asleep. He subconsciously curled his lips into a smile. After sleeping together on the same bed for so long, this was the first time she was so dependent on him.
Shi Fengju raised his hand to move her loose hair away from her face, and looked gently at her features. He could not bear to leave her, and he could not help but lower his head to kiss her lightly on her nose.
Sang Wan’s eyelashes fluttered and she opened her eyes slightly to look at Shi Fengju in a daze.
Shi Fengju was humored by her half-awake state and lightly let her go. He caressed her smooth shoulder and said gently, “Rest a little while more, I have to get up now!”
Seeing how Sang Wan wanted to get up, Shi Fengju pressed her down and smiled, “Weren’t you complaining about how tired you were yesterday? Why are you so energetic so early in the morning?”
Sang Wan’s face reddened, and she gave him a glare.
Shi Fengju let out a low laugh and said, “You don’t have to get up now. There’s still a while more before the sky becomes fully bright! I’ll leave after washing my face; you don’t have to see me off.”
“Okay,” Sang Wan nodded and said while looking straight at him, “Please take care while on your way!”
Shi Fengju nodded his head and pulled her blanket for her. Turning around, he took the inner robe that hung at the front of the bed frame and wore it properly before getting off the bed to retrieve a blue outer robe. He looked back at her with a smile and walked away quietly.
Gazing at his back and watching him take gentle steps, Sang Wan suddenly felt a strong sense of attachment. She called out to him, quickly pulling a large pink robe over herself and pushing away the blanket, as she ran towards him barefooted. She hugged him tightly from behind and left no gap between them.
“Fengju… You have to come back quickly…” Sang Wan’s nose was suddenly sour. Without her knowing, she was feeling sad about him leaving. The longing she felt was very sudden and it completely controlled her thoughts. She only knew that if she missed this moment, she did not know when the next time would be.
Shi Fengju was stunned. There were lots of emotions churning inside him. Her body was soft and gentle. His blood instantly boiled as her warmth wrapped around him; only he knew how smooth her skin was!
Shi Fengju wanted to turn and pull her into his embrace, but he could not bear to break the wonderful feeling of her body being close to his, so he raised his hands to hold her hands tightly, and he said with a low voice, “I promise you that I will come back quickly. Be good now and go back to sleep!”
Sang Wan rested her head against his back and shook her head. Her hands only became tighter around his waist, almost as if she would never be able to hold him again if she let go.
“Sang Wan…” She had never acted like a spoiled child, not wanting to part with him. Shi Fengju heart ached, yet he was happy and he could not help but feel dismayed. This bad woman, why was she only like this at this moment? If it were any other day, he would not hesitate to take a day off from work to accompany her.
But right now, he could not!
Shi Fengju let out a sigh and shook his head. He lowered his head and saw her smooth and fair arms wrapped around his waist. He froze, only realizing that she wore a thin robe and ran after him. The wide sleeves slid back and exposed half her arms.
“Sang Wan!” Shi Fengju turned around and lifted her with her legs before carrying her quickly to the bed. He covered her with the blanket before creasing his brows together, “The day is still cold, it won’t be good if you catch a cold! Remember to have the small kitchen boil a bowl of hot ginseng soup for you later. I have to leave now, be good!”
“Fengju!” Sang Wan pushed away the blanket and wrapped her arms around his neck as she gazed at him with her watery eyes. Shi Fengju was taken aback as the red lips closed in to touch his cold lips and give him a kiss.
Shi Fengju remained still and his breathing became rapid. Before he could press her down onto the bed, she had already turned over and pinned him down.
Shi Fengju widened his eyes as he looked dumbfounded at the girl on top of him with an oversized pink robe hung loosely around her and her collarbone half exposed. He could smell the fragrance from her raven-black hair that was slightly disheveled and hung down to her chest while a few strands teased his face.
“Sang Wan…” Shi Fengju’s throat tightened. His eyes suddenly glimmered and he looked straight at her.
“Sang Wan, what are you…” Shi Fengju gritted his teeth as he inhaled sharply and tried to switch their positions. However, a series of knocks came from the outside and Nanny Li’s hoarse voice could be heard from outside, “Young Master, it’s almost time! Are you up yet?”
The two stiffened and remained still.
As his desire slowly subsided, Shi Fengju turned and sat up. He hugged Sang Wan and laid her properly on the bed before covering her with the blanket again. With a smile, he bent forward slightly, “Sang Wan, you’ll owe me this. Remember that. When I’m back, you have to return me with interest.”
The flush on Sang Wan’s face did not subside, and her eyes were bright and watery. Her lips opened to inhale heavily and no words left her mouth.
Shi Fengju let out a soft sigh and lowered his head to kiss her before finally getting up and left.
After the door opened and closed, the room suddenly became quiet as if nothing had happened just then. Sang Wan raised her hands to touch her own face, and she felt the heat on her cheeks.
Recalling how daring she was, she suddenly felt ashamed and had a sense of uncertainty. Worried that he would be mocking her, she gave a self-deprecating laugh and thought that she must have really been possessed to have done so without thinking.
“Young Master, the luggage has been passed to Zhan Huan. This old servant has already ordered him to take care of it. However, because the outside is different from here, you should take care of yourself. And remember not to let that servant take a break! Even though spring is here, this boat you’re taking goes north. I’m afraid it will only get colder as you go northwards. Old Mistress, Young Mistress, and this old servant will miss you dearly! Once you’ve found Second Young Master, please return quickly. If this piece of news isn’t true, arrange for the shopkeepers and servants there to look into it before coming back quickly. Outside will not be as comfortable as at home, and everything there from your lodgings to food is done shabbily, how can it be better than the household!” Nanny Li nagged incessantly.
Shi Fengju rinsed his mouth and groomed himself as he agreed. Once everything was ready, Liu Ya served a large bowl of chicken soup with noodles. Nanny Li pulled Shi Fengju to the table and passed a pair of chopsticks to him, “Young Master, quickly have a seat and eat! The horse carriage has been prepared, you can go as soon as you finish eating. You mustn’t tarry!”
Shi Fengju smiled and took the chopsticks before finishing his food quickly. After he rinsed his mouth again, he drank two mouths of warm tea while Zhide came with a thin cloak to put around him. Liu Ya kneeled in front of him to help him change into a thick pair of shoes.
After which, Nanny Li and the rest sent him to the gate. Other than Nanny Li, Shi Fengju signalled everyone else to leave before saying to her, “Nanny, when I’m not around, please take good care of Sang Wan for me. If she goes through any injustice, you’ve to urge her to hold herself back, and wait for me to return to help her.”
Nanny Li was elated when she heard him. She quickly nodded and smiled, “That is natural, there’s no need for Young Master to tell me to! Ai, but really, there is only one person in this household who can cause Young Mistress to suffer from injustice. Even so, Young Mistress cannot do anything to retaliate at all, I think it will be difficult for Young Master to handle even if you are back!”
Shi Fengju knew that she was referring to Gu Fangzi, and he said, “It’s fine if Cousin Fangzi remains docile and honest, but if she does anything overboard to Sang Wan, you and Sang Wan mustn’t get into a conflict with her. Otherwise, my mother’s face will not look good. Just wait for me to return and I will do something about it! Sang Wan is my wife, of course she’s more important than anyone else!”
“With your words, this old servant isn’t worried anymore!” Nanny Li was suddenly jubilant. As to Shi Fengju’s sudden change of attitude towards Gu Fangzi, Nanny Li was unconcerned. From her perspective, her Young Master was no longer blinded and it was best if he could remain this way!
Nanny Li sighed and said, “For the days you aren’t here, this old servant will look after Young Mistress carefully and improve her health. It’s been quite some time since Young Mistress was married. If she has your flesh and blood, then there will be less trouble in the household!”
Shi Fengju was stunned momentarily, and he nodded with a smile, “Yes, you are right! It’ll be better to answer to my mother if I’ve a son!” After they became intimate, they were loving each other everyday. Of course, Shi Fengju was enjoying himself and did not think about children. But after Nanny Li’s reminder, he was suddenly concerned. He was late in getting married, and it should be about time to have kids. Now that his heart only had Sang Wan, he longed for her to be pregnant with his child. At the thought of a child, his heart unknowingly became happy.
“Listen to what you are saying! What answering! The eldest son from the First family should be from Young Mistress,” Nanny Li smiled.
Shi Fengju smiled as well and gave a few more instructions to Nanny Li before he left in a hurry.
After Shi Fengju left the house, everywhere else was fine except for Ning Garden and Wang Shi’s place. When Sang Wan went to greet Wang Shi in the morning, both of them were not in the right mental state and Wang Shi sent her back after a few words.
Sure enough, Nanny Li busied herself and went out that day. Who knew where she got a large bag of herbs from, and let Sang Wan have a look while she explained to her in detail. The herbs were from the best physician in the city. Drinking it once in the morning and once at night everyday would increase the chance of a woman getting pregnant.
Listening to Nanny Li, Sang Wan was stunned just like Shi Fengju. Although she knew that it would be best if she could have a son, she had never given it much thought.
Having children, a matter that seemed so far away was suddenly brought right in front of her.
Counting the days they were officially together, it had been a few months already.
While Sang Wan remained quiet, Nanny Li thought that she was being shy and smiled, “Young Mistress, having children is important, there’s nothing to be shy about! Right now, Young Master treasures you a lot so you have to take this chance to get pregnant! The best is if you can have two children in three years! If not that vixen will not rest! If you have three or four sons, that vixen won’t be able to overtake you even if she used every means she has!”
Sang Wan remained stunned and stared blankly at Nanny Li. Her lips moved but she did not speak.
Three or four sons? Sang Wan felt tired just thinking about it. She would already be satisfied with just a son and a daughter. Just the thought of having three or four sons was already stressful for her.
Nanny Li seemed to have seen through her thoughts and said firmly, “Three or four isn’t too many at all! Just look at Old Mistress, she has two sons and one daughter, doesn’t she? To go against that vixen, having many children will be good! Who doesn’t dote on their grandson and granddaughter? If you have many children, then you will be regarded highly in the family. Old Mistress will definitely dote on you more! Listen to this old servant and you won’t go wrong! For the rest of the days when Young Master isn’t around, you have to take good care of your health so that you can get pregnant when he comes back!”
Sang Wan’s face heated up and she forced an awkward smile.
Since Sang Wan did not refuse, Nanny Li immediately perked up and smiled energetically, “Don’t worry, this old servant is best at these! Tonight, I will boil a bowl for you!”
That night before Sang Wan went to sleep, Nanny Li really boiled a large bowl of black and smelly medicinal soup.
The strong smell was overpowering and Sang Wan subconsciously covered her mouth to stop herself from breathing.
“Young Mistress, herbal medicines are all like this, but you mustn’t look down on them. Drink it while it’s hot! You will get used to it after awhile!” Nanny Li consoled her and brought the large porcelain bowl to Sang Wan for her to drink.
Sang Wan turned her body slowly and stared at the liquid inside. She creased her eyebrows and drank it all in one breath under the hopeful eyes of Nanny Li.
Satisfied, Nanny Li took the empty bowl from her and Liu Ya passed a cup of water to her. Sang Wan quickly rinsed her mouth to clear away the taste still lingering inside. Nanny Li smiled and said, “You might not be used to drinking it for the first time, but after a while, you will be!”
Sang Wan panted for air and raised her handkerchief to wipe her mouth before she smiled bitterly, “Nanny, could you make a little less next time? This large bowl is too much!”
Nanny Li smiled and agreed. She quickly ordered the people to help Sang Wan wash her face and prepare her for bed.
Once the doors were closed and the curtains were put down, Sang Wan subconsciously looked to her side after wrapping herself with the blanket and she smiled bitterly.
He was only gone for a day and she could not help but think of him already. Who knew where he was now? Was he going to sleep now too? Was he thinking of her too? This was the first time she felt that the bed was so wide without him. She never had this empty feeling in the past when he slept on the mattress while she slept on the bed. But now, the cool feeling of loneliness was slowly spreading in her heart.
Sang Wan sighed soundlessly. It was indeed scary to get used to things. When they first started, she was not used to falling asleep in his embrace, but was afraid of disobeying him. Every so often, he would lock her in his embrace until the next morning, but who knew she’d become so accustomed to it in the end. At present, he would stretch his arms out in bed every night and she would take the initiative to lay in his embrace. Now that he was not here, she felt like she had no one to depend on all of a sudden, and she could not sleep soundly.
At the thought of the next day when Gu Fangzi would finally return from the temple, Sang Wan’s hands tightened. Alas, what is coming, will come.
Sang Wan tossed and turned that night. The next day, she felt very lethargic. After having breakfast and grooming herself, she left to greet Wang Shi. Wang Shi inquired if a horse carriage was sent to pick Gu Fangzi up and Sang Wan nodded. Wang Shi gave a satisfied smile and started to hint at them living harmoniously as sisters, which made Sang Wan feel uncomfortable and agitated inside.
Before noon, Gu Fangzi returned.