“So you know!” Fang Shi murmured, but loud enough for Li Shi to hear.
“Nevermind that! We’re a family; Second Aunt, please don’t say that!” Sang Hong quickly smiled and gave Fang Shi a warning look.
“From the looks of it, Second Aunt’s face doesn’t seem too well, is it because your body isn’t feeling too well? If you can’t go, there’s no need to push yourself! I’m sure our Sang Wan wouldn’t blame Second Aunt for it!” Fang Shi just acted as if she did not see Sang Hong’s expression and purposely spoke.
“Enough, enough. Get into the carriage quickly! What are you lot chattering so much nonsense for?” Second Old Master Sang gave a cold glare which was aimed either at his own wife or his niece-in-law.
Li Shi’s words of course did not mean that she did not want to go, but was all to purposely annoy Fang Shi. Regardless whether Fang Shi opposed for them to tag along, she did not care! Besides, if Fang Shi did not oppose, then something was definitely wrong!
“Just thinking about visiting our Sang Wan today, I was so excited that I couldn’t sleep the night before. Maybe that’s why my face doesn’t look too well. But no worries, I’ll just take a quick nap later on during the ride there! Ai, my niece-in-law, come, help me a little, will you?”
Fang Shi sneered and shifted her glance to Sang Yan who was only bothered admiring her own clothes instead of moving to help her mother.
“Ah Xian.” Sang Hong softly signalled.
Only then did Fang Shi unwillingly walked up to give Li Shi a hand.
Li Shi grinned from ear to ear and immediately seeked for the best seat before planting her bottom onto it. Comfortably, she let out a sigh, “Ah Yan, what are you standing there for? Get in here now!”
Sang Yan, who was admiring her clothes, went in together with Second Old Master Sang.
“Get up and sit here!” The spot where Li Shi sat caught Second Old Master Sang’s eye and he pointed at the seat beside.
Li Shi rolled her eyes and pouted to show her unwillingness to move her bottom, but in the end, it was for the best to let the seat to him.
Sang Hong carried Sang Quan and Sang Nuan up into the carriage, and was about to help Fang Shi up, but his ears were greeted with Li Shi sharp voice from behind, “Aiyo, what use is bringing such young kids for? Don’t go, don’t go, there won’t be enough space for us all!”
Second Old Master Sang frowned and scolded, “The two of you are so careless! These kids are still immature; if something were to happen there, it’ll ruin our Sang’s reputation! Isn’t Nanny Xu at home? Quickly, carry them down, carry them down!”
Sang Quan and Sang Nuan were looking forward to this day for a very long time. But hearing their second grand uncle and auntie telling them not to go, the edges of their lips sunk and they cried.
Furious, Fang Shi immediately jumped into the carriage and pulled her two children towards her before speaking, “Our Sang Wan said before that she wants to see our Xiao Quan and Xiao Nuan so I’ll definitely be bringing them along! When we reach auntie’s house, remember to listen to your father and I; and be on your best behavior. Understood?”
Sang Quan and Sang Nuan quickly nodded their head and spoke in unison, “We’ll listen to Mother! We’ll listen to Father!”
“Ah Xian and I will take care of them. Nothing bad will happen there, Second Uncle and Second Aunt, please do not worry! It’s about time we leave, let us depart!” Sang Hong got into the carriage and spoke.
Second Old Master Sang flared his nostrils and grunted, “Up to you! If things turn ugly, don’t blame me for not warning the two of you!” Leaning back, the old man shut his eyes.
Fang Shi’s heart was fuming with anger but she contained it inside. Giving a comforting nod, the coachman got onto the carriage.
Returning a response, the coachman whisk his whip and whistled before the sound of the horseshoe trotting on the ground could be heard. As the wheels of the carriage rolled, it shook and soon travelled a distance.
Sang Rou came out from her house and her eyes full of resentment followed the carriage until it was out of sight. Spitting on the ground, she turned and went back into the house. “Peng!” The main door was vigorously closed.
“There’s still a long way to go, why don’t we fill our stomach with something first?” Upon arriving at the town, most of the shops had already opened and the streets gradually bustled with people. The warm aroma of the food from the various stalls slowly began to float in the air.
Now, towards Sang Hong’s suggestion, Second Old Master Sang and Li Shi were without a doubt extremely eager.
Second Old Master Sang got off the carriage and stretched his back before rubbing his hands together. Looking all around him, he pointed his finger out to the most decent looking restaurant in his view and said, “I think we should all go there and grab a bite!”
But before Fang Shi could say anything, Sang Hong quickly nodded and smiled, “Alright, then we’ll all have it there!” Once said, he pulled Fang Shi, and together with his son and daughter, along and followed his second uncle’s family from behind.
Second Old Master Sang and Li Shi did not hold back from Sang Hong’s generosity, ordering a large bowl of beef noodles, several steamed pork dumplings and deep-fried glutinous rice, and some deep-fried shortbread. Next, they went overboard with their orders by ordering a plate of sliced goose and duck meat, a plate of shredded goat tripe, a plate of crispy small river fish, a plate of crisp bamboo shoots, and several other small vegetable side dishes.
The sight immediately made Fang Shi’s heart in distressed and she whispered softly, “This breakfast might even be as expensive as hiring the carriage!”
Li Shi grinned as she stuffed herself with food, “This is nothing! Nothing as good as what’ll be served at our Sang Wan’s house! My dear nephew and niece-in-law, no need to feel bad!” With that, she turned to Sang Yan and urged, “Eat more, we’ll only reach your sister’s house late in the afternoon!”
“I’ll distribute the soup!” Fang Shi took a glimpse at her and said nothing more.
“Put more chopped green onions and sesame seeds into mine!” Li Shi jerked her head and said. The soup and the seasonings in the restaurant were all free.
After their stomach were satisfied, the group returned into the carriage.
But no more than half an hour went by and Second Old Master Sang suddenly frowned and intuitively covered his tummy. His face turned ash white and he shouted when he could endure no longer. “Stop the carriage! Stop the carriage! I can’t hold it any longer, I need to go relief myself first!”
“Oh, my dear, your face doesn’t look too good!” Li Shi was a little shocked.
“Did you stuff yourself too much?” Worried, Sang Yan spoke quickly.
“Rubbish!” Second Old Master Sang glared at his daughter. Stuffed too much? Her words sounded as if he had never eaten anything good before and spoiled his stomach upon feasting them.
However, his heart actually suspected a little that that might have been the case.
Second Old Master Sang hurriedly jumped off the carriage and flew straight into the dense forest. A moment later, he was seen dragging himself back. Weakly, he climbed aboard the carriage and waved, “Move along!”
Less than two minutes later, Second Old Master Sang’s face turned strange again and he shouted for the carriage to stop before he speedily ran into a nearby bush.
In less than an hour’s time, Second Old Master Sang had intermittently made four trips. His face was pale and his legs felt heavy; there was no energy left for him to even open his mouth to speak. It wasn’t just his face that looked unpleasant, his new clothes were stained with patches of mud and debris here and there, and parts of his robe stabbed by barbs from the bushes; his appearance was unpleasant as well.
“Second Uncle, are you alright?” Sang Hong asked worriedly.
“No more! I can’t take it anymore!” Second Old Master Sang looked down at his own unpleasant appearance and shook his head, “I’ll not follow anymore, I’ll not follow anymore!” It wasn’t just his appearance that did not permit him to go, but also his physical condition. His face would be thrown if he entered someone else’s home in such a state. A dignified person like him could not afford to embarrass himself in front of others.
“Then, then what do we do? Should we send you back to town first? Then maybe you can hire another carriage to send yourself back?” Li Shi’s face immediately took a change; a bad feeling was itching on her skin.
“We’ve already been delayed enough. If we return and head out again, the sky will definitely be dark by then! If our Shi relatives become angry saying how our Sang family is impudent, then——” Fang Shi said deliberately.
The two old couple cared not whether Sang Wan was angry, but if their nephew-in-law and his mother were to have any poor impressions of them, then the seriousness was on another level altogether as they had hoped to have the Shi family help introduce their daughter to a well-to-do family.
“The rest of you, go! Go!” Second Old Master Sang stared at Li Shi and ordered, “You, get down! I see a residential area down at the east, we’ll go there and rest. When you all return, remember to fetch us! What are you staring blankly at for? Come down now!”
Second Old Master Sang roared and glared at his wife.
“Coming! Coming!” Li Shi hurriedly got off the carriage.
“I’ll not go too, I’ll not go too!” Heavily dependent on Li Shi, Sang Yan had received lots of her parents’ affection and less of their scoldings. For someone like her who did not know how to stand up for herself, her temperament was thus very weak and dared not imagine what it would be like leaving from her mother’s side. Not to mention that her mother and Fang Shi were never on the right terms and she was never close to Sang Wan to begin with.
“You useless lass, you want to see the death of me? Go, why are you not going with them?” Li Shi ground her teeth and a burst of anger erupted from her tummy. With that sudden burst of anger, she stomped forward and forcefully pushed her finger on Sang Yan’s forehead several times while cursing without an end.
In front of everyone who did not climb down the carriage, she cried and whined as she refused to go along.
“I think Ah Yan should accompany you too. We’ve to take care of our two children and might not have enough hands to take care of her too.” In a difficult position, Sang Hong suggested.
That was what Sang Yan was afraid of. For a country girl like her who did not have a backbone, her cousin may find her irksome and not like her. If she followed along, she’ll just be a joke over there!
“Father! I want to stay and take care of Father!” Sang Yan rushed over and clutched Second Old Master Sang’s arm before looking into his eyes in hopes of him letting her stay.
“Enough, enough! Just let her stay, let her stay!” Second Old Master Sang’s legs trembled as his stomach began acting up again. The pain was so unbearable that all he wanted to do was quickly find a place to lie down and rest comfortably before asking someone to bring a doctor over. Other than that, what else would be more important?
There was no other choice and all Li Shi could do was give Sang Yan a glare and scold her a few more times before turning back to Sang Hong and giving a sigh, “Oh, but what about our lunch later, and the fees for a doctor to see to my dear husband? We were in a hurry when leaving the house and didn’t bring any money with us!”
Sang Hong generously fished out two silvers and handed it over to Li Shi with a smile, “Second Aunt, I’ll let you have this money to use first.”
Li Shi quickly received them and stroke them before sighing again, “Although they’re not much, but it’ll all be over soon! Ai, let’s not chat anymore, you all have to hurry there! Remember to help greet our nephew-in-law and his mother, and our niece for us too!”
Li Shi took a glance at the carriage and let out a third sigh. Giving a self-comforting thought to herself to remind her that there was always a next time as the Shi family would not run away. Heng, the Shi family would definitely not close their doors and reject them as their relatives!
With such a thought, Li Shi’s mood turned slightly better. But when the thought of her not being able to take a good look inside the Shi household surfaced in her mind, her anger once again returned and she secretly rolled her eyes and cursed a few times at Second Old Master Sang.
Inside the carriage, Fang Shi could not help but celebrate their victory.
“Nothing will happen to Second Uncle, right?” Sang Hong was a little worried and he asked.
“Relax! Nothing will happen to him.” Fang Shi laughed. The dose was very light; Second Old Master Sang just had to lie down for a while and he would be fine.
Sang Hong sighed helplessly. If not for him worrying about leaving a poor impression to the Shi family on their first visit, he would never have agreed.