“Sang Wan understands that Mother did it out of goodwill, so why would Sang Wan be angry towards Mother?” Sang Wan secretly heaved a sigh a relief.
Gu Fangzi rolled her eyes secretly at Nanny Li but went on adding into the conversation with a smile, “Now, in fact, I should be punished! I should have thought twice before coming up with such an outrageous idea. I mean, your older brother and sister-in-law aren’t the kind of people who would come up to us and seek for money, so how could I have done that? My good intention turned into a wrongdoing! Cousin Sang Wan, Fangzi seeks your forgiveness, so please don’t blame my aunt!”
Sang Wan tightly clutched her hands and discreetly let her steam out in two breaths to maintain an indifferent smile as she spoke. Seeing that Sang Wan was not being oversensitive, only then did Wang Shi set her heart at rest.
“Oh yes, Shi Fengju will be escorting some goods over to the capital after the Double Fifth Festival. These few days, help him prepare his luggage, will you? Nothing compares to the comfort at home, so everything necessary must be packed into his luggage before his trip!” Wang Shi spoke.
Sang Wan was unsure whether she herself was glad to be given the task or that because she was given an opportunity to anger Gu Fangzi, but she felt somewhat happy after hearing Wang Shi leaving the task to her. She stood up and gave a tender sweet smile of virtuousness, “Don’t worry, Mother. Sang Wan shall personally prepare Lord’s luggage so that he’ll feel the comfort of home even when he’s away on his trip!”
“That’s right, Miss, you can most definitely put your heart at rest! Young Mistress is extremely considerate and careful! She has the young master’s needs taken care of very well! Leaving it to her is right!” At a side, Nanny Li smiled and spoke. Deep inside, she was secretly elated.
Seeing the two, master and servant, singing in collaboration, Gu Fangzi’s face eventually went red with anger. “Just you wait!” Nibbling her lips slightly, her heart cursed softly as she coldly watched Wang Shi smile while giving them a nod.
In Sihe Village, the people in the Sang household were very busy preparing the gift to bring along when visiting the Shi household.
Fang Shi even specially went out to the village’s tailor shop to have a new set of clothes made for her family. Even though the fabrics gifted by Sang Wan during the homecoming were excellent, but wearing clothes made from the fabrics gifted by the Shi family during the visit would bring embarrassment to Sang Wan if they were able to identify that the gifted fabrics were used to make the clothes, wouldn’t it?
Also, she bought a few flat-sided silver loop hairpins which were simple and generous, clean and neat. Clearly, it showed the side of a literary family.
Sang Quan and Sang Nuan were excited after hearing that they were going to visit their aunt in Qingzhou and had already been counting down to this very day with their little fingers. They did not know what her aunt’s house looked like but they were excited to visit Qingzhou as it was a huge place to them.
On the fourth day of the fifth month, Li Shi, who had tailed Sang Hong’s family and stopped, once again reappeared in front of the Sang family’s doorstep. The moment she stepped inside, her eyes circled around the house before asking with a broad smile, “My dearest daughter-in-law, tomorrow’s the Double Fifth Festival. How are the preparations of the gifts going for our Shi family’s young master and young mistress?”
Out of all the time in the world, Li Shi had to choose such a time to come. Fang Shi was well aware what she was here for, and her lips curved a little upwards. However, before she was able to respond, Li Shi had already snatched the chance. With a loud laugh, she spoke, “Hehe, Second Aunt was worried for nothing. It seems my oldest niece-in-law is very capable and has already long prepared them! Ai, we’re no longer young and capable or we would have helped you with the preparations too!”
Fang Shi was determined to make her wish turn to dust. As such, she smiled, “Just as what Second Aunt said, but what’s more important than a gift is the thought! Our sister-in-law is an understanding person, she won’t ask for anything lavish! But Second Uncle and Second Aunt should still express yourselves; regardless what and regardless how much, Sister-in-law Sang Wan would certainly be happy! It’s the thoughts that count, no?”
Li Shi was taken aback and cursed Fang Shi secretly for being shameless; to actually dare open her mouth to ask for something! Quickly, Li Shi gave her answer, “At such a time, there’s nothing we can prepare! Next time then, next time then!”
Fang Shi clapped and smiled, “There’s no need to specially prepare anything, ready-made gifts are also fine! I recall seeing two large roosters in Second Aunt’s house; just one should weigh about two to three kilograms!”
“That, that… one likes to roost and the other is vociferous; both are inappropriate to be given as gifts!” Li Shi squeaked before hurriedly asking, “Ai, where are the things that you’ve all prepared? Let me take a look at them quickly to see if they are appropriate! All of you are still young and insensible; our family will definitely become the joke of the people if the gifts you brought were unsuitable!” As Li Shi spoke, she was about to dive into a room to take a look.
However, Fang Shi raised her brows and took a step forward, obstructing her. With a smile that seemed not like a smile, Fang Shi spoke, “No need for Second Aunt to worry! The gift is done and everything that needs to be in there is in there! Although I may be young, but the principle behind ‘courtesy calls for reciprocity’ is not an unfamiliar term to me; unlike some bastards who openly asks to receive but never gives!”
Li Shi felt uneasy and smiled embarrassedly. Forcing herself to remain upright, she asked, “About that, what time will the departure be tomorrow? I think leaving earlier will be better since the route to Qingzhou is far! Is the village’s carriage hired?”
Her words sounded to Fang Shi like their family would be coming along too. In that instant, Fang Shi became angry and spoke coldly, “Leaving first thing in the morning tomorrow. There’s a hired carriage to bring us there from home.”
“Oh,” Li Shi responded after obtaining the information and finally returned home.
Upon arriving home, Li Shi let her face hung and she let out a sigh before venting her frustration at Second Old Master Sang, “You’re too much, having me do the task when even you are unwilling to do so! Yet, you still dared to sit at home and wait for me to return while I was there with my face almost thrown on the ground!”
Second Old Master Sang disregarded her complaint and rolled his eyes at her. How would he not be familiar with his wife’s character? She was not complaining to him because of her wrinkled face that was almost thrown, but because she wanted to.
“Enough, enough. Less of the nonsense!” Second Old Master Sang wave of a hand broke the strings of complaints and he asked, “So how was it? Have they prepared everything? At what time will they be leaving tomorrow? Did they hire a carriage?”
Li Shi contained her anger and passed all the information she heard to Second Old Master Sang. Furious, Second Old Master Sang grumbled, “You did not get the chance to see what they’ve prepared?”
“That has nothing to do with you anyway! What use will there be figuring out what they’ve prepared?” Li Shi snapped, “I was there looking at that person’s cold face for a really long time. Don’t get your hopes up, hmph, they may not even be willing to bring us along!”
“They dare?” Second Old Master Sang grunted, “We’re the elders, they wouldn’t dare to leave without us! Just listen to what others would say about them if they did so!”
Li Shi had wanted to add that it required those people to mind in the first place, but recalling Sang Yufei who was still studying in the academy, she was sure that Sang Hong would definitely mind and thus kept her mouth shut.
The thought of not having the need to have a son to be able to go to Qingzhou, the villagers would definitely look at them with jealousy; the thought of the household which they would be visiting belonged to the sole richest family in Qingzhou; the thought of them being relatives of the Shi family; her heart sizzled in bliss and the edge of her mouth could not help but rose. The frustration that she had after the meeting with Fang Shi immediately vanished.
“Ah,” Li Shi gently touched Second Old Master Sang by the elbow, “That, can I have the gold hairpin and bracelet for a day? If I look impressive, you’ll have a good image and our family will also have a good image, no?”
Second Old Master Sang took a glance at her. A body with no figure, a face with no beauty, and a character that was lacking; nothing more than just an ugly old hag. Flaring his nostrils, he muttered, “No need! That kind of image isn’t needed!” His reason being there was no way of getting them back.
“You scrooge!” Li Shi clenched her teeth and muttered, “Those were mine!”
“Was your name written on it?” Second Old Master Sang snorted, “Those were given to our family. I am the head of this family and their ownership is determined by me! Still, it isn’t that I do not want to give them to you, but because I do not have them anymore.” Second Old Master Sang spread his palms in front of Li Shi, “I sold them! I turned them all into banknotes!”
Furious, Li Shi’s lips quivered as she glared at him dryly.
Once Sang Hong returned home, Fang Shi went straight to telling him about the conversation she had with Li Shi not too long ago. She knew that Sang Hong disliked hearing her speak about the two elder’s ill behavior, so she kept the story short and asked directly, “So what do we do tomorrow? I do not approve having Second Uncle’s family coming along with us!”
Having met with Sang Hong’s hesitant face, Fang Shi went on, “Finish listening to me first. Second Uncle and Second Aunt cannot come! Although I may hate them for being petty and I’m not letting them go because of that but…; don’t stare at me but use your head to think! I’m sure you are familiar with those two elderly’s temper; if they were to make trouble in the Shi family, think of what would happen to Sang Wan in the future? I’m genuinely thinking for you and for Sang Wan. If not, just do whatever you like; me being a person who married into this family has nothing to fear! But don’t blame me if anything goes wrong!”
Fang Shi’s eyes were red as she spoke. Putting her feelings into it, tears almost dropped from her eyes.
Sang Hong gently gripped his wife’s hand and spoke warmly, “I know of your good intentions, and have never blamed you. Truly.”
If she truly were a mean and narrow-minded immoral woman, could he still let her stay in the house?
“That’s good to hear!” Fang Shi’s heart was filled with warmth and her tone turned gentle. However, feeling anxious, she asked, “Then you tell me, what should we do?”
Sang Hong crinkled his forehead and thought for a moment before getting up, “I’ll tell Second Uncle, that, that the carriage we hired isn’t large enough…”
Fang Shi giggled before pulling him back. She looked deep into his eyes and spoke, “Will you believe me if I said that he would scold you for not hiring a larger carriage when knowing that so many people were going?”
Sang Hong scratched his head in distress. Indeed, with Second Uncle Sang’s temper, he would certainly say that.
“Then what do you think we should do?” Sang Hong shrugged, “We can’t just leave sneakily!” Otherwise, Second Uncle Sang and Second Aunt Sang would definitely spread unpleasant words to the entire village.
“You ah!” Fang Shi’s tone was both witty and boastful, but thinking again, she could not help but cover her mouth as she chuckled lightly.
Sang Hong could not help but smile and asked, “It seems you’ve an idea? Why don’t you share it with me?”
Fang Shi leaned her head to a side and laughed, “Idea? I definitely have one, however, it may be somewhat overboard! It’s all up to you if you want to listen or not!”
Just what was it? But after hearing the idea, his forehead creased again, “That, this ——”
Fang Shi got up and spoke, “Take your time to think! Meanwhile, I’ll go wash the vegetables and cook with Nanny Xu! But let me remind you, you’ve got to think for Sang Wan!”
The very next day in the morning, as expected by Fang Shi, the two old couple and Sang Yan were dressed neatly, waiting for the departure. Of course, Sang Rou was not present for all she could do was nibble at her lips and watch the house with envy. The treatment she received was worst than Nanny Xu. Even though Nanny Xu was tasked to watch the house, she was given an additional fifteen copper.
“Second Uncle, Second Aunt, please get in the carriage!” Sang Hong smiled.
Fang Shi reluctantly swept a glance at the clothes they were wearing; all were made from the fabrics given by Sang Wan during the homecoming. However, she kept quiet and the edge of her lips hooked in disdain.
Li Shi heart felt please. Feeling arrogant for taking an undeserved gain for granted, she deliberately faked a smile and said, “Aiyo, Ah Hong ah, I still think we should not; maybe we shouldn’t go at all! Your wife’s face doesn’t look good, maybe she dislikes us tagging along!”
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.