Immediately after hearing what Mi Shi said, Wang Shi looked at Sang Wan, only to see that her head was lowered slightly and she was smiling modestly at Mi Shi. Her calm face showed no signs of dismay; as if nothing indecent had been said at all. Wang Shi could not help but exhale softly before glaring at Mi Shi. With a mind to give Mi Shi a scolding or two afterward, Wang Shi rolled her eyes.
As a person who disliked bickering with others, Wang Shi held back her anger and let it slowly seeped back into her heart. With that, Wang Shi snorted.
Gu Fangzi gave a hoarse laugh and said with a smile, “My new cousin-in-law may be good, however, Aunt Mi shouldn’t be so envious of Aunt Wang! You’re fortunate too, otherwise, your son wouldn’t have married such a good wife either!”
The wife Gu Fangzi was referring to was the wife of Second Uncle Shi and Mi Shi’s son, Shi Fengming. Two years ago, Shi Fengming had been obsessed with the most popular girl working in a tavern, Su Qing’er, and insisted on marrying her! Such a disastrous event enraged both Second Uncle Shi and Mi Shi, resulting in an unpleasant family argument between parents and son.
Mi Shi concluded that her son must have been deceived by that female fox demon. To make him forget about the tavern girl, Mi Shi believed that having him marry someone else would do the trick. Thus, without her son’s consent, she hastily arranged an engagement for him, resulting in the Shi family’s second son to get married ahead of the eldest son.
Surprisingly, the second son did not falter. Instead, he begun to aggressively display his love for Su Qing’er. In the end, Mi Shi had to threaten Su Qing’er’s life to force Shi Fengming into entering the bridal chamber. However, not long after his marriage, he seized the chance to escape and eloped with the beautiful tavern girl, leaving his newlywed wife, Zhou Jingyi, and never returned.
That incident had scarred Mi Shi’s heart deeply and Gu Fangzi invoked it with ill intentions.
Sure enough, Mi Shi’s face immediately turned pale white. Vexed, her body puffed with anger. With wide eyes, Mi Shi glared at Gu Fangzi, “What did you just say? I dare you to say it again!”
At that moment, Wang Shi, who was feeling joyous, felt a little sorry for Mi Shi. For Gu Fangzi to craft such sarcastic sentences to mock Mi Shi, Wang Shi inevitably felt annoyed. Nevertheless, she was more inclined to protecting Gu Fangzi, and said coldly, “What do you mean? Gu Fangzi spoke the truth! Jingyi is a good child and is also a good daughter-in-law! You acting the way you are now is a disgrace to the family!”
“Older sister… how could you! Dear, look ——” Mi Shi became vexed and her eyes started to get teary. She struggled to get words out of her mouth at the thought of her son who was still wandering out there.
Shi Fengju frowned. Never did he think that something so trivial would lead to this! Before he could open his mouth to speak, Gu Fangzi interrupted with a smile on her face, “My bad. Because of my clumsy mouth, the praise sounded so hostile and made Aunt Mi oversensitive. I should receive my punishment. I should really receive my punishment! Aunt Mi, I’m really sorry. Do spare me! Not for my sake, but for the joyous ceremony of welcoming my newlywed cousin-in-law into the Shi family! My cousin-in-law, don’t you think so?” As she spoke, Gu Fangzi stole a few glances at Mi Shi.
Sang Wan remained silent. Gu Fangzi even wanted to drag her into the commotion! The question thrown out by Gu Fangzi, how was she supposed to answer? By agreeing, it would seem as if her position as the wife of the Shi family son was greater than the Shi elders, and that her mother-in-law was wrong about her opinion on Jingyi. If she disagreed, she would be bluntly stating that Mi Shi was in the wrong, and again would be going against the elders.
Neither option would be any good for her! Sang Wan smiled bitterly. In the past, she had definitely been oblivious, and had acted as if Gu Fangzi was a good person! A good person would never have said those words!
Sang Wan simply hesitated and, cowardly looked at Shi Fengju. Being newly wedded into the Shi family and having little knowledge of the Shi family’s internal affairs should be enough reason for her to ask her husband for help.
Seeing his wife in distress, Shi Fengju could not stand by and watch. Sighing softly, he said to Mi Shi, “Aunt Mi, rest assured that cousin is fine. I’ll definitely bring him back safely!” Those words might seem disjointed, however, they were effective in appeasing Mi Shi’s heart.
“I hope you won’t go back on your words! Fengju, ah, Aunt Mi will be counting on you!” Not even looking at Gu Fangzi, Mi Shi gazed directly at Shi Fengju as tears flowed down her cheeks. Sure enough, everyone present in the courtyard had their eyes on Shi Fengju.
From Second Uncle Shi’s perspective, all he saw was Mi Shi fussing over something very trivial and extending the duration of the ceremony. Already half-full of anger from having to attend the ceremony, hearing his useless son being mentioned filled his anger to full.
Second Uncle Shi gave a soft grunt and said, “What’s the point in finding him? Don’t you dare find him! I’d like to see how long he’ll be able to stay away from home. If he has the ability to stay outside for his entire life, I’ll take my hat off! I’ve got a disloyal and unfilial son! I’ve raised that son in vain!”
“How could you say that?” Mi Shi trembled with anger, and scolded, “He is also my son! What gives you the right to stop me from looking for him? Yes, of course you aren’t worried; you have another son, of course you aren’t worried! I know how much you resent the both of us, mother and son, you sociopath!”
“Forget it, forget it. What nonsense are you spouting? What’s more, in front of so many people! You and I have nothing more to discuss and that’s final!” Second Uncle Shi quickly got up and mouthed ‘disgraceful,’ before biding Wang Shi farewell. With that, he left.
Angry, Mi Shi gave a few loud shrieks as she tried to prove who was right in the heated argument a moment ago. Growing ashamed when she looked around, Mi Shi angrily stomped off towards where Second Uncle Shi had headed, leaving the people in the courtyard speechless.
“Well, that is it for today. The rest of you may leave. My son, please escort your wife back to her chamber. And Sang Wan, my daughter-in-law, yesterday must have been a tiring day for you. Do go back and have a good rest. When dinner is ready, I’ll have a maidservant call for the both of you.” Wang Shi massaged her tired shoulders as she spoke to the both of them.
“Yes, Mother!” Sang Wan curtsied as she replied, before gazing at Shi Fengju eagerly. In her past life, there was no argument between the two elders. Because of the incident that had happened during the ceremony, both her mother-in-law and her husband were displeased with her. Worse still, right after the ceremony, Shi Fengju had excused himself and left, leaving Sang Wan to walk back to her chamber by herself while the maidservants eyed her strangely.
Upon reaching Ning Garden1Ning GardenSang Wan & Shi Fengju's place of residence, she hid in a secluded area outside her chamber before letting her tears course down her cheeks. However, in this life, everything would be different. She would never allow herself to be in the spot she was in the past, let alone experience it all over again.
That chaotic life; once was enough!
Shi Fengju subconsciously gazed at Gu Fangzi before quickly retracting his gaze. Nodding, he accompanied Sang Wan as she left.
Upon leaving the courtyard, Shi Fengju slowed down his pace, “I…”
“Please…” Without giving him a chance to finish, Sang Wan gently called at him, and her gaze was so weak and pitiful. The meaning behind her unfinished sentence was definitely something that could be easily understood. She wanted him to accompany her back to her chamber.
Startled, Shi Fengju, without a choice, left his unfinished words to disappear. Sighing silently, he said, “Let’s go, I… we, together.”
“En!” Sang Wan nodded in compliance. Secretly, she felt relieved. She knew what Shi Fengju wanted to do. When Shi Fengju and Gu Fangzi parted at the courtyard, both their eyes met. The people in the courtyard may not have seen it, but Sang Wan saw it clearly. He must have been very anxious to return to Gu Fangzi’s side to talk to her privately.
Them being lovey-dovey when no one was around was none of her business, and was of no importance to her. However, it would definitely be embarrassing for her if he left her here to meet Gu Fangzi. Even worse, her life in this house would be over and it would be no different than her past life!
One by one, the crowd started to leave in the direction of her chamber. Shi Fengju’s pace was rather fast and the sound of his footsteps was rather soft as if he were flying. His current actions absent-mindedly displayed his anxiety.
Sang Wan silently followed closely behind him. Seeing her ‘husband’ place so much attention on the woman whom he had given his heart to, Sang Wan couldn’t help but wonder how it would feel if she were the one to receive it instead of Gu Fangzi.
Still, compared to her past life, this was so much better!
Paranoid after having thought about her past life, she suddenly thought that the faces of the maidservants had flashed with a faint sense of ridicule. A shiver ran down her spine.
“Ouch!” She accidentally twisted her ankle.
“What’s wrong?” Shi Fengju, who was walking a few steps in front of Sang Wan, immediately stopped in his tracks. Seeing Sang Wan on the ground, he immediately extended his hand but the intended recipient did not extend hers. Hesitantly, he ended up having to help her up by her arm. “Have you twisted your ankle?”
“I’m fine. I didn’t notice a loose pebble on the ground and tripped over it. I’m alright!” Sang Wan smiled apologetically.
“What are you waiting for? Help support her!” Shi Fengju nodded and retracted his helping hand before yelling at Liu Ya, who was behind Sang Wan.
“Yes, sir!” Liu Ya immediately stepped forward to support Sang Wan. Sang Wan didn’t blame Liu Ya for not taking the initiative. Back at the Sang family house, Sang Wan often had to help with the house chores. Being independent, there was no need to have someone support her.
Seeing how protective the young master was towards his wife, another maidservant quickly stepped forward to help support Sang Wan. Sang Wan had seen her before. She was Hong Ye, a maidservant who was second-in-charge of Ning Garden.
Shi Fengju’s pace was no longer as fast as before. Slowly, he accompanied Sang Wan back to her chamber.
Seeing that the newly wedded couple was back, the maidservants quickly went to greet them. A cup of warm tea and a change of clothes were already prepared for them.
Before Shi Fengju could say anything, Sang Wan chuckled, “These two days have really worn me out. I’d like to have some rest. You’ve matters at hand so please take your leave. I shall familiarize myself with the staff in this household… Oh well, meeting with them later shouldn’t be too late I think.”
Rather than have him open his mouth, doing him the favor would definitely save her own face. Anyway, his actions now looked like a cat finding a surface to scratch on: he was eager to leave the chamber.
Shi Fengju was thinking only of Gu Fangzi, and upon hearing those cleverly crafted words from Sang Wan, he nodded and smiled, “Have some rest, I’ll take my leave first! Have your lunch without me. I’ll see you before dinner! Nanny Li isn’t present, so if you want to familiarize yourself with the staff managing this garden, just send someone to call them in for you.” With that, Shi Fengju, without drinking his tea, left in the blink of an eye.
After he had left the chamber, Sang Wan’s gaze swept across the interior of the chamber before asking, “Who is Ning Garden’s housekeeper?”
All of the maidservants in the chamber had their heads bowed and there was an awkward moment of silence.
“Young Mistress, it is Nanny Li,” someone finally answered. Sang Wan glanced in the direction where the answer came from.
It was Xing Zhide, the eldest among the maidservants in the chamber. She was even-tempered and was practical in the work she does. Most importantly, she had no intentions of climbing to a higher position. Sang Wan remembered that in her past life, Zhide seemed to have married to a butler in the Shi household.
Of course, she did not have much interaction with Zhide in her past life. However, that life had given her some useful information about the maidservant. Not only was Zhide even-tempered and practical, she was also a loyal person who would never sell others out. That could be seen as her being indifferent or just remaining safe. However, in this household, knowing when to keep one’s mouth shut was easier said than done. Therefore, whatever her reason was for keeping her mouth shut, she was clever to do so.