“Good, good!” Wang Shi smiled. Pulling Gu Fangzi’s hand. She patted it a few times before ordering Sang Wan to take a seat and indicating to Gu Fangzi, “Quickly, step forward and give Sang Wan a greeting!”
“Yes!” Gu Fangzi took two steps forward and kneeled in front of Sang Wan, “Cousin Sang Wan!”
Wang Shi laughed and scolded, “What Cousin Sang Wan! It should be ‘Sister’ now! It so happens that Fengju isn’t home, so why don’t you two take the time to get to know each other better!”
Sang Wan could sense the bitterness in her heart, but her mouth had an even more bitter taste. Get to know each other while Shi Fengju’s away? This was the kind of inexplicable words only her mother-in-law could say.
Gu Fengju became even more modest and she gazed at Sang Wan, “Sister Sang Wan! Your younger sister gives you her greeting!”
As their gaze met, Sang Wan could clearly see the thick ridicule and provocation in her eyes.
But she smiled and removed the jade bracelet on her hand before inserting it into Gu Fangzi’s wrist. Smiling softly, she spoke, “Sister Fangzi, no need for too much of a greeting. I have nothing much prepared, but this little thing mustn’t be discarded!”
“Why would I discard Sister Sang Wan’s things? I’ll definitely treat it like a precious instead!” Gu Fangzi giggled.
Seeing that Sang Wan was treating Gu Fangzi kindly, Wang Shi was extremely glad and let out a pleasant laugh at Gu Fangzi, “You’re the one to gain! In the future, you’d better respect Sang Wan properly! If I hear that Sang Wan suffered from any grievance, I’ll definitely not let you off!”
“Aunt Wang, you’re too doting towards Sister Sang Wan!” Gu Fangzi laughed, “How would I dare to make Sister Sang Wan suffer from any grievance? This fact, Fangzi knows very well!” As she spoke of the latter sentence, her voice went a little low.
“I know you won’t! But I’m just telling you!” Seeing so, Wang Shi quickly added.
Gu Fangzi then smiled, “Aunt Wang’s right, Fangzi needs to be taught! Isn’t that so, Cousin Sang Wan? Oh, no, Sister!”
Hearing that, Sang Wan smiled and nodded gently.
Leaving Wang Shi’s place, Sang Wan could not help but looked up into the lofty blue sky. The sun shone through the thin white clouds and the wind blew gently against her face. The green trees gave a wonder shade and the flowers all eagerly competing for brilliance. Sang Wan suddenly felt somewhat in a trance, not knowing whether she was in a dream or reality.
Her posture remained elegant as she walked and only she knew, with every step she took the shallower it became, as if she was stepping on heaps of cotton.
Looking up all of a sudden, she was greeted with the scene of a listless woman in Wanfang Pavilion who had a willow in her hands as she dazedly looked towards the pond. It was Second Young Mistress Shi. Sang Wan then realized that she had, unknowingly, been lured into the flower garden.
After a moment of thought, she took a step forward and headed towards Wanfang Pavilion.
“Sister Sang Wan! What a coincidence!” Second Young Mistress Shi heard a break of silence and looked ahead. Seeing Sang Wan, she quickly got up and welcomed her.
“What are you doing here all by yourself?” Sang Wan smiled, as she entered hand in hand with her.
“What else can I be doing other than dazing listlessly?” Second Young Mistress Shi smiled bitterly without an unspeakable loneliness and listlessness.
Sang Wan did not expect her to be so straightforward, and was startled for a moment.
Second Young Mistress Shi giggled and spoke, “Sister Sang Wan won’t blame me for being rude, right? In this household, the person whom I can speak my heart out to is only you!”
“Wasn’t everything well? What happened?” Sang Wan asked.
“Everything’s well? What’s well?!” Second Young Mistress Shi sneered and spoke softly, “I’ve already secretly had someone sent a letter to my Father and Mother. I wish to go back there to stay for a while.”
Sang Wan’s breathing became sluggish as she felt a moment of sadness. In the Shi household, Second Young Mistress Shi’s life was as bad as hers! But regardless of what happens, she had a home to return to at the very end! As for her? There was no home she could return to! Eldest Brother and Sister-in-law already had it tough; she could not keep adding trouble to them!
Second Young Mistress Shi smiled slightly again, “In the eyes of the public, we were fortunate enough to be able to enter this household! But if we announced our bitterness, who would believe us? Hehe, we’re actually very pitiful! If we tell others about it, no one would believe us and would call us ungrateful!”
Second Young Mistress Shi choked a little and quickly swabbed her eyes, “Really, my request is very simple, to be with my husband and live our everyday lives peacefully! Just that is nothing but a wild wish!”
“Sister!” Sang Wan’s heart was moved and her eyes could not help but become moist as she patted on Second Young Mistress Shi’s shoulder.
Second Young Mistress Shi leaned her head gently to a side and laughed embarrassedly, “I wasn’t myself just now, Sister Sang Wan won’t fault me right?”
Sang Wan shook her head and spoke softly, “You shouldn’t be thinking too much. It’s a day no matter whether you live it happily or not, so why be so hard on yourself? Calm down a little, Second Young Master Shi will surely return! I can’t say for anything else, but since his parents are still here, just how long can he continue without coming back? That vigor of his will gradually begin to dissipate! Just think about it, that kind of woman that is now by his side is not one to keep. I’m sure he has only lost his way!”
Second Young Mistress Shi’s expression relaxed a little and she took a deep breath before smiling gratefully, “Thank you, Sister Sang Wan. I do understand what you mean. Although I may not be a daughter from a literary family, I, a daughter of my Zhou family, has been educated since young! Since I’ve already stepped into the Shi family as a member, whatever happens, I should just let it pass; why brood over it? But,” Second Young Mistress Shi gave a bitter smile, “That mother-in-law of mine——”
Second Young Mistress Shi, in the very end, did not dare to blatantly talk bad about her mother-in-law. All she could do was let out a sigh and remain silent, but without words, it was still fully understood.
“She always takes her anger out at me and blames me for everything, making me suffer either physically or mentally! I really cannot take it anymore! Sister Sang Wan, I really envy you. Even though there’s that Gu Fangzi, but at least your husband and mother-in-law treats you extremely well, and does not take their anger out at you!”
Sang Wan’s face turned pale and she barely forced a smile as she spoke gently, “We each have our own difficulties to face which aren’t worth mentioning!” Envy of her? Hearing so made Sang Wan unsure whether to laugh or to cry. So even she had someone who envies her! But if Second Young Mistress Shi knew that Gu Fangzi would soon be marrying into the Shi family, and if she knew of her and Shi Fengju’s actual relationship, then maybe she would not envy her anymore!
At least, unlike her, Second Young Mistress Shi had something to hope for.
While the two were chatting, a short-haired maidservant wearing a blood red top and a white skirt came rushing over, and she spoke anxiously, “Second Young Mistress, Second Old Mistress asks why you aren’t back yet, please return quickly!”
Second Young Mistress Shi glanced towards the maidservant and spoke weakly with a cold face, “Alright! You may go back first!”
The maidservant hesitated for a moment, but seeing that Second Young Mistress Shi had no intentions to follow her back, she agreed and returned first.
Having seen Second Old Mistress Shi had called for someone to urge Second Young Mistress Shi, Sang Wan sensed that she should take her leave. However, Second Young Mistress Shi held onto her arm and was reluctant to part from her. “Sister Sang Wan, once more, can you stay and talk with me?”
“It’s nothing, just for a little while longer!”
“Alright!” Sang Wan could not bare to refuse Second Young Mistress Shi who was making such a heartfelt request and she nodded her head.
Not long after, Second Old Mistress Shi, along with two or three maidservants, stormed over angrily and shouted, “I’d like to see what you’re doing, to even dare ignore my words! I’ve already called for you three to four times already! In which household did the position of a daughter-in-law rose above a mother-in-law!”
Second Young Mistress Shi quickly took two steps back and hid behind Sang Wan before defending herself, “I was talking with my sister-in-law! What did you want me for?”
Witnessing her hiding behind Sang Wan’s back, Second Old Mistress Shi dared not compete in words, and just screamed angrily at the top of her lungs, “Enough, enough! You, get here now! Am I a tiger who will eat you up!”
Second Young Mistress Shi, nervous and frightened at the same time, came up with several excuses to refuse the order as she held onto Sang Wan’s arm tightly. “Mother, I’ll head back soon, I’ll head back soon! I, I’m not afraid of you, you’re also not a tiger!”
“You!” A gust of anger blew into Second Old Mistress Shi’s mind. The embarrassment fueled her anger and she shouted angrily as she ran forward to seize Second Young Mistress Shi. Second Young Mistress Shi finally let go of Sang Wan and shriek in surprise as she ran to hide numerous times.
Sang Wan’s heart had a faint feeling of something that was about to come, but before she had the time to deeply ponder about it, a scream could be heard which followed by a splash! Second Young Mistress Shi had fallen into the pond!
“Help! Save me!” Second Young Mistress Shi sank and floated as she beat the water frantically, sending water splashing all around her.
“That, that!” Second Old Mistress Shi’s face became pale. Her legs immediately turned jelly and she fell to the ground. The maidservants too, were also startled and they stood rooted to the ground.
“Quickly, quickly call for someone, call for someone!” Sang Wan ordered loudly.
The maidservants finally woke from their daze and one ran shouting for help while the other helped Second Old Mistress Shi up on her feet.
Sang Wan felt helpless, and her face had also turned pale! Watching Second Old Mistress Shi glancing straight at her and moving closer to her, her face could not help but turn even more pale.
“The first family’s daughter-in-law!” Second Old Mistress Shi stared straight into her eyes as a stiff smile squeezed onto her pale face——
Sang Wan’s lips quivered a little and she could not help but take a few steps back.
“Second Aunt, Sister Sang Wan!” a voice could be heard coming from the side of the rockery.
Sang Wan and Second Old Mistress Shi immediately looked towards the direction and saw Shi Lian and a servant standing in a daze. In Shi Lian’s hand were the flowers which she had picked.
“My niece!” Second Old Mistress Shi quickly called out.
But Shi Lian had a horrified look on her face when she looked at her. Giving out a soft cry, she ran off together with the maidservant. “My niece, my niece, come back!” Second Old Mistress Shi frantically called out, but Shi Lian would not listen!
Sang Wan secretly heaved a sigh of relief. With the last of her energy, she leaned herself against a pillar of the pavillion with a back full of cold sweat.
Second Young Mistress Shi was quickly rescued and carried back. The second family was once again turned into chaos and Wang Shi went over to have a look. She called for Second Old Master Shi and the two of them had a long talk. Second Old Master Shi returned and threw his temper at his wife, scolding her severely. The chaos in the house then worsened.
“This servant wasn’t good enough, this servant shouldn’t have left! Thankfully, Young Mistress is alright, otherwise——” In Ning Garden1Ning GardenSang Wan & Shi Fengju's place of residence, Liu Ya spoke with fear.
“It has nothing to do with you, so don’t blame yourself!” Sang Wan shook her head and smiled. It was her who wished to take a walk all by herself, which was why she sent Liu Ya away.
“Thank you, Young Mistress,” Liu Ya gratefully looked into Sang Wan’s eyes, and seeing that her complexion had not recovered, she smiled and supported her, “Young Mistress, you must have been scared, right? Why don’t you lie down and rest while this servant goes and have someone brew a bowl of Anshen soup?”
Sang Wan smiled and nodded before lying on an expensive couch, with an embroidered blanket covering all the way up to her chest.
She was indeed stunned. Second Young Mistress Shi had probably decided to cause trouble on this day a long time ago. It was clear that she had wanted to provoke Second Old Mistress Shi, and coincidentally, Sang Wan had walked by and was thus used to drag her time. However, Sang Wan did not blame her. After all, she did so “conveniently”, and had never plotted to use her in the beginning.