“Nanny,” Sang Wan sighed before smiling, “I know you treat me really well and I’m really grateful for that! You may have said so, but there’s still a need to take Sir’s feelings into account when the time comes. If Miss Gu were to complain to him or become erratic in front of mother-in-law, those who don’t know might think the two of us had colluded to bully an orphaned girl!”
Those were exactly what Nanny Li would like to hear and she smiled heartily, “An official wife remains an official wife and a concubine is just a concubine! That has already been decided by the heavens! A mind like Ma’ams is definitely not something a concubine could compete against! Just look at that, laonu hasn’t even thought of that and you’ve already spoken it!”
Sang Wan was startled and she froze.
I’ve only wished to live the rest of my life peacefully and not have him look down on me. I, Sang Wan, is righteous and do not wish to seek revenge!
“Ma’am,” Seeing Sang Wan remaining silent, Nanny Li sighed again, “Listen to Nanny, don’t look so dispirited anymore ah! The young master’s heart, is definitely leaning towards you. At such a crucial time, you shouldn’t treat him so coldly ah! I don’t wish to brag, but he’s someone whom I single-handedly raised; his character, laonu is clearer about it more than he does!”
In the end, isn’t she just wanting me to take the initiative to fawn on him, to take this chance when his feelings are at their weakest?
Sang Wan shook discreetly. Regardless whether it was going to be useful or not, Sang Wan was not one who’d be bothered to do such a thing.
“Nanny,” Sang Wan knew she could not say it bluntly to Nanny Li, so she spoke bitterly, “I really am tired today so I won’t be going!” After brainstorming for a while, she spoke thoughtlessly, “Nanny, why don’t you go ahead! Sir might actually want to see you instead and speak to you! With my current mood and complexion, it might affect Sir’s frame of mind! Nanny, what do you think?”
“Really, Ma’am!” Nanny Li smiled and joked. Thinking yet again that her heart felt comfortable and composed, she smiled, “Alright! Then laonu will head over there! Ma’am, since you’re tired, do go to bed early!”
Sang Wan intended to do so and she smiled gratefully, “I will! Nanny, please go ahead!”
Not long after Nanny Li left, Sang Wan took a bath before getting into bed. Her mood was extremely poor and she did not wish to meet with Shi Fengju.
When Shi Fengju returned quietly on his toes to the small garden, Sang Wan had already gone to bed. It was just like what the maidservants described, and Shi Fengju felt secretly relieved as he took a bath before going into the chamber.
As usual, he quietly took a mattress from the cupboard and carefully lay it on the floor. He glanced at the tightly closed bed curtains for a moment before lying on the mattress gently.
From the moment he came in, Sang Wan could feel his presence and she subconsciously controlled her breathing as she quietly laid in bed. Once everything returned to silence, she gently opened her eyes. It was pitch black, just like her mood at this moment.
The next morning when Sang Wan got up, Shi Fengju had already left. Sang Wan did not ask about it and went for a bath before having her breakfast as per normal.
“Ma’am, laonu has already arranged for the preparations to be done for the Peony Garden. Would Ma’am want to take a look whether it’s appropriate or not? Or if there’s anything to change?” After breakfast, Nanny Li asked.
Nanny Li was never half-hearted in the task at hand, but Sang Wan understood where she was going at; she was thinking for her. Going there would make it seem like she was the one who arranged which she could generously announce to Wang Shi.
“Alright! We’ll go after a few of the maidservants, who’re about to arrive, exchange the tablets!” Sang Wan did not wish to brush aside Nanny Li’s good intentions and smiled as she nodded.
“Yes, Ma’am!” Seeing that she understood, Nanny Li agreed with satisfaction.
After finishing the household affairs for today, Sang Wan, accompanied by Nanny Li, Liu Ya, Zhide and a few other maidservants, went to the Peony Garden.
The bright potted plants that were arranged in front of the yard were all moved away; even the two large blue and white porcelain vase by a pomegranate tree were all replaced with potted cypress with its imposing dark green leaves.
The red lanterns hanging in front of the gate were replaced with white. The vibrant decorations outside were all changed to plain and white ones.
Entering the room, it was like a deserted snow cave. Although it was bright and sunny outside, Sang Wan could not help but feel a sudden chill.
“This, isn’t it too white and plain?” Sang Wan could not help but ask.
“It’s not yet to there, this is already quite mild!” Nanny Li spoke bluntly, “For people who are going through the mourning process, not a single decoration should be kept. Just look, that porcelain vase over there is still there, laonu hasn’t had anyone remove it! The curtains are also not changed to white! Laonu feels this is simple enough to change to mood to display the kind of mood Miss Gu should have at this moment!”
Nanny Li spoke with facts to back the speech which made Sang Wan’s jaw dropped. Increasingly, she realized that she had lived her previous life in vain!
There are thousands of laws governing this world. For an official wife to dispose of a concubine, there were so many she could use so why was she so useless in her past life to get eaten by Gu Fangzi as a whole?
“The bedding and cushions are all with a suitable thickness? Although she may still be mourning, she mustn’t end up freezing in the cold” Sang Wan said lightly. Disciplining her was one thing, but giving others a reason to criticize was not something Sang Wan could afford to bear.
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“Ma’am, rest assured,” Nanny Li laughed confidently, “Everything’s of good quality! Miss Gu is a delicate lady, how could we make her suffer from any grievance!”
Sang Wan smiled and nodded. She knew she was worried for nothing because when had Nanny Li ever done something which would make her get caught by the tail?
“Don’t prepare the clothes first. Wait till when Miss Gu comes and choose the material before preparing it! It’s possible that she must be feeling sad for the loss of a loved one that the measurements she had before are incorrect now!” Sang Wan added.
Nanny Li was startled. From her point of view, Gu Fangzi should have a plain white coat made! But since Sang Wan had already given such instructions, she did not refuse and accepted it.
“The room for Old Master Gu’s tablet is already tidied up. Would Ma’am like to take a look?” Nanny Li asked again.
“En!” Sang Wan answered, almost as if she could not wait to get out of such a chilly room. Without any thought, she took a glance at the west room and saw nothing else in there except for a long table and a thick round mattress on the floor, and atop the table was an incense burner. Nodding her head, she left together with the servants.
“It’ll be the sixth of August in a few days, Nanny, keep your eyes peered and ensure that everything is in order before the ceremony. Another festival will be coming up soon so I’ll be busy with that!” Sang Wan smiled.
“Rest assured, Ma’am! Laonu will not leave anything out!” Nanny Li’s spirit flared.
“Oh yes,” Sang Wan was hesitant for a moment before asking, “Since Miss Gu will be becoming one of our family members, this coming Mid-Autumn dinner… is there anything I should pay any particular attention to?”
Nanny Li made a sound in disdain before laughing, “Mistress loves a lively atmosphere so Ma’am, just prepare it however lively you would want the dinner to be! As for the Gu family, they’ve nothing to do with the Shi family! Ma’am, there’s no need to worry about them!”
“Then I understand!” Sang Wan smiled. Having asked in front of a crowd, it would prevent Gu Fangzi from creating any trouble.
Returning back to the small garden, as Liu Ya helped Sang Wan with her change of clothes, she could not stop her tongue from vomiting out a string of comments, “For a smart lady like Miss Gu, just what was going on in her mind when she decided to become a concubine! Mistress likes her so much, why not let her marry someone else as an official wife instead! Becoming a concubine, and what’s more entering in such a state, really——E, Ma’am, nubi doesn’t have any other meaning!”
Getting to the exciting part, Liu Ya suddenly recalled that Gu Fangzi was to become a concubine right below Sang Wan who was the official wife and she quickly held her tongue.
But Sang Wan smiled lightly, “You’re right! Even I don’t know what she’s thinking!”
Liu Ya shook her head and smiled, “If it were me and I fell into some hole full of riches or something, that kind of life is still not something I can live in!” There was someone who actually died in her previous life due to being driven to a corner by the word ‘regulations’.
Sang Wan pouted at her jokingly, “You shameless lass! To say such things here! Hasten a little, I’ve matters to attend to after! How can you say such nonsense? If others were to hear it, others might laugh at you for having no shame!”
Liu Ya smiled and giggled, “Nubi only said a few words in front of Ma’am only! Nubi’s mouth is otherwise very strict!”
The Shi household’s management team and housekeepers were all familiar with their task at hand from the numerous yearly festivals they had to prepare, and thus, Sang Wan did not really have anything to worry. The most she did was invite Nanny Jiang, who was always by Wang Shi’s side, to discuss with her the type of dishes to prepare and what kind of troupe to reserve before instructing someone to notify the Shi Seconds.
The day passed swiftly and Sang Wan was once again by herself during dinner time. Zhan Huan came to pass a message that the young master had a dinner gathering to attend to with several of his friends within Qingzhou city and will be out late!
Sang Wan did not say anything and answered with only an ‘I understand’. But seeing Nanny Li casting her a glare from the side, she quickly added a few more words. “Serve him carefully, and don’t let him drink too much!”
Sang Wan had already instructed so, Nanny Li appreciated it, and Zhan Huan gleefully agreed, but when Shi Fengju returned, he was utterly drunk and senseless!
Sang Wan was at a loss for words and could not help but feel peeved: Does Sir’s heart not feel contented if he doesn’t annoy me?
Nanny Li was feeling extremely distressed and she quickly ordered someone to bring a pail of water for her to wipe his face before leaving to cook a bowl of hangover soup. The servants became busy for a long while before the activities quieten down.
Watching Shi Fengju’s reddish and sullen eyes, Sang Wan was only left with the option of having someone help him to the bed.
His body smelling of alcohol was something Sang Wan disliked, and she swiftly instructed Liu Ya and Hong Ye, “Clear up the east room and lay a mattress there, I’ll sleep there tonight! You two will have to stay and serve from outside tonight!”
Liu Ya and the rest accepted and was about to leave before Shi Fengju, who was sound asleep, mumbled softly, “Sang Wan! Sang Wan…”
Sang Wan was stunned all of a sudden, and Liu Ya and the rest turned and gazed back.
“Ma’am, the young master’s calling for you!” Seeing Sang Wan remaining motionless, Nanny Li could not help but gave a reminder.
Sang Wan was brought back to her sense and could only step forward and sat on the edge of the bed before gently shoving Shi Fengju, “Sir, you——”
Before she could finish, Shi Fengju suddenly shot his hand out and grabbed hers tightly before saying sluggishly, “Sang Wan, Sang Wan, I’m sorry… Please don’t be angry,… don’t…go…”