“Mother! I… I did not!” Sang Yan was feeling ashamed. Being put in the spot in front of Sang Wan, she covered her face with her hands and started crying.
“Second Aunt, don’t you know Third Sister’s personality? By scolding her, there’s no way she would feel better.” Sang Wan hurriedly urged before shooting a glance at Liu Ya.
Liu Ya went forward and patted Sang Yan lightly on the back while consoling softly, “Third Missy, please don’t cry. There are servants outside. They will definitely laugh at you if they hear you!”
Sang Yan was stunned and immediately stopped crying.
“Second Aunt, doesn’t Second Uncle only want a concubine? You have been with him for more than half of your lifetime, he will certainly not divorce you. There is no need to be so furious!” Sang Wan continued with a smile, “Have you calmed down a little? Let’s not talk about these anymore! I don’t have any ways to help you even if you tell me!”
Li Shi snorted. “Divorce me? How dare he! I’m just feeling bitter about it. Sang Wan, our household is different from yours! The Shi family is rich and it won’t matter if your husband takes in a lot of concubines. However, a countryside family like ours does not have spare money lying around. Our Ah Yan’s dowry has not been prepared, yet he had already spent nearly a hundred silvers to buy that vixen. Isn’t he intentionally making me mad!”
Sang Wan could not help but be angry upon hearing her. She clenched the embroidered handkerchief in her hands tightly and her hands trembled slightly. Was this something that an elder should say? Why did it sound so ear-piercing!
Liu Ya also had a face full of unhappiness. She lowered her head and glared hatefully at Li Shi. Her Young Master and Young Mistress had good feelings for each other. However, Second Old Mistress Shi still talked about having concubines. Liu Ya personally did not like the idea of having concubines and felt those who did were unimpressive! Li Shi’s way of thinking was completely uncalled for!
While Li Shi was complaining endlessly, she suddenly became aware of the dull atmosphere. She looked at Sang Wan and then at Liu Ya. Her voice unconsciously grew softer and she gradually stopped.
She was a bit baffled. No matter how foolish she was, she could sense that Sang Wan and Liu Ya were angry. However, she did not know why.
Although Li Shi was frustrated, she had to keep her anger under control since she had to request something from Sang Wan. She chuckled and spoke, “Sang Wan, Second Aunt is bad with words. If I have said anything wrong, please don’t put them to heart! Forget it, let’s not talk about it anymore! There isn’t any point in talking so much about it! Second Aunt only wanted to grumble. Just as you have said, I do feel much better now so I’ll stop, I’ll stop.”
Sang Wan forced a smile and looked at her before lowering her head to take a few sips of tea without uttering a word. She quietly said to herself: I’m sure you’re feeling much better, but you have made the people around you unhappy. Does your family have something against the Shi family? Or is it because you cannot bear to see us living well every time we meet?
Sang Wan could not help but shake it off as she thought to herself: It isn’t like I don’t know what sort of person she is, so why be bothered about what she said? Silly me!
“It’s getting late now. Second Aunt must be feeling hungry, right? Liu Ya, send someone to take a look in the kitchen. Serve the dishes onto the table if they’re done!”
“Yes, Young Mistress!” Liu Ya answered before taking her leave.
When Li Shi finally saw the smile on Sang Wan’s face, she assumed Sang Wan did not mean to be angry with her. Thus, she was relieved and quickly said with a smile, “Alright, alright. We’ll eat first!”
The food was already prepared. After the food had been served, she sent the servants away. She then went over to invite Sang Wan, Li Shi, and Sang Yan to eat.
Liu Ya then stood by the side to serve them..
Upon seeing a table full of fine, nice-looking, and fragrant dishes, Li Shi, who was initially not very hungry, could not help widening her eyes as her mouth watered.
After Sang Wan invited them to take a seat, Li Shi, who was praising the food without end, quickly pulled her daughter to sit and could not wait to start eating.
Sang Yan secretly took a glance at Sang Wan. When she saw her being relaxed and calm, unlike her mother who was like a hungry tiger that came down the mountains, Sang Yan smiled bitterly to herself: In any case, our family had long been disgraceful. It’s no different this time.
Li Shi kept singing praise while she ate. At the same time, she repeatedly asked Liu Ya what dishes they were and how to make them. Liu Ya could only answer her half-heartedly.
In the middle of their meal, Li Shi’s chopsticks suddenly stopped moving and she lifted her head to look at Sang Wan strangely before asking, “Sang Wan, aren’t there any other servants to serve us? Why is it always only Liu Ya?”
Liu Ya took a glimpse at Li Shi and said to herself: How can the other people endure your attitude? If they were to see that, who knows how much they would laugh at you tomorrow? Even Young Mistress would be laughed at! Some nerve for you to ask!
Upon seeing the table wet with soup; bones, fishbones, ginger pieces, garlic skins, and other things on the floor, Liu Ya could not help but become frustrated. She would have to do the initial tidy up first before letting the servants in to clean the place.
“The other servants are tired after a day of work, so I told them to take a rest. Besides, I’m used to Liu Ya serving me,” Sang Wan replied with a smile.
“Right,” Li Shi nodded her head as if she was being very serious. “Liu Ya is considerate and knows her place! Most servants from rich households have ill thoughts which can result in a conflict of interest between them and their masters if they are not careful! Especially for someone like you who comes from a small and poor household, I’m afraid that they may look down on you! Nevertheless, it’s good that you have Liu Ya!”
“Second Old Mistress!” Liu Ya could no longer hold herself back and said with a sullen face, “Don’t you know that you shouldn’t let your tongue loose at your age? It may cause unnecessary trouble! If someone were to hear you, what would they think of our Young Mistress? How is Young Mistress going to conduct herself”
“How dare you lecture me!” Li Shi was so angry that she pointed her chopsticks at Liu Ya. She then turned to Sang Wan, “Sang Wan, just look at that. How dare she talk to me in this way!”
Sang Wan clenched her teeth in hatred. She hated being the junior. How she wished she could express her unhappiness! If a servant had heard what was said, it would be like what Liu Ya had mentioned. How exactly would others think of her?
“Second Aunt, those are not kind words. Besides, our family isn’t that complicated. You think too much! You should eat first! Both of you must be tired today. Please have an early rest after eating!” Sang Wan said faintly without even glancing at Li Shi.
“Mother, Sister Sang Wan’s family matters aren’t something we should be concerned about. Let’s not talk anymore and eat!” After stepping into the Shi household, Sang Yan had finally spoken smoothly for the first time. Sang Wan’s expression wasn’t pleasant just now, which completely surprised her.
Li Shi was discontented when Sang Wan did not stand up for her. However, she could also feel Sang Wan’s anger and quickly chuckled. “I’m only showing my concern for Sang Wan. I couldn’t help but speak. Sang Wan, please don’t be oversensitive about it! Let’s eat and not talk about it anymore!”
With much difficulty, the food on the table was finished and Sang Wan led the two of them back to the warm room. Nanny Li had already sent the rest of the servants out and left only Zhide and herself, as well as two other sincere and earnest servants.
They lifted up the curtains and guided their masters into the warm room before serving them tea to rinse their mouths.
Li Shi thought they were tea to drink. After releasing a loud burp, she gestured with her hand while saying, “I’m full from eating just now, so I don’t want any tea yet. You don’t have to put any here!”
The servant pursed her lips and smiled before saying, “Second Old Mistress Sang, this is tea to rinse your mouth, not to drink.”
“Is that so? Your family is very tasteful indeed!” Li Shi chuckled and looked at Sang Wan. She held the cup and did what she was told.
“Young Mistress, I’ve already instructed the servants to prepare the guest room. There is hot water in the kitchen as well. When they would like to go back and rest, I will have the hot water sent over to them,” Nanny Li stepped forward and said with a smile.
“It’s been hard on you, Nanny Li. I had completely forgotten about it!” Sang Wan replied with a smile before saying again after some thought, “Tidy up this room instead of the guest room and let Second Aunt and Sister Sang Yan stay here tonight. Nanny Li, you can go and rest. You’ve been busy the entire day. There are still Liu Ya and Zhide!”
“Understood. Then I will be taking my leave first!” Nanny Li bowed before leaving.
Li Shi did not have a very good impression of Nanny Li. When she saw her leave, as if implying something, she was even more displeased and said to Sang Wan, “That old servant is your husband’s nanny? How can a nanny from a large household be so haughty, almost as if she is his real mother! Sang Wan, you really are good natured, to even treat her…”
“Second Aunt!” Sang Wan’s voice grew stern as she glared at Li Shi, “Nanny Li is my husband’s nanny and has painstakingly served and taken care of him. In front of my mother-in-law, he respects her a lot. Second Aunt, please do not say such things again!”
Li Shi opened her mouth and stared at Sang Wan without a word.
She had wanted to tell Sang Wan about what happened today to have her teach Nanny Li a lesson on her behalf. Who knew that Sang Wan shielded Nanny Li instead! Li Shi could not help but be frustrated. Without a choice, she could only let out a few coughs before lowering her head to drink her tea.
Sang Wan felt that bickering over it would simply be asking for trouble, so she asked, “Second Aunt, tell me why you’ve come here. After you are done, you can go back to your room and have some rest! I have already sent someone to prepare the carriage to send Second Aunt back early tomorrow morning! If you don’t go back, can you really be assured about your family? Are you really not worried that the concubine will influence Second Uncle to do something?”
Li Shi could only remain quiet. She had wanted to stay for a few days but could not say it. When Sang Yan heard that, she was silently relieved. If they were to stay in the Shi household for a few more days, with her mother’s character, only Heaven will know how she would be laughed at. It was truly uncomfortable to follow her here today.
“Mother, Sister Sang Wan is right. You should hurry up and tell her. She will help you think of a way! How can you leave the house with so many things still left to settle? It’s the busy farming season, we have to hurry home tomorrow!” Sang Yan quickly persuaded her mother.
“Fine, that will do.” Li Shi quickly answered and then responded with a smile, “Sang Wan, after the busy farming season, I will bring Ah Yan here again to visit you!”
Sang Wan vaguely replied, “Second Aunt, before coming the next time, ask someone to send a letter over to inform me first. Come after I write back. Otherwise, won’t it become a bad situation like today? Luckily, Liu Ya did not follow me out today.”
Li Shi hurriedly answered with a smile, “I met your cousin-in-law today on the way here. She seems nice and even invited me over to her place! Sang Wan, you have to tell her on my behalf tomorrow that I will visit her after I come back…”
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