Sang Wan was already on the bed, and she had been quietly looking at him as he hurriedly laid a mattress on the floor. Upon seeing him gaze directly at her with an unenergetic face, she suddenly felt uncomfortable and her face flushed slightly. Luckily, the lights were dim; Shi Fengju was not able to see her expression clearly.
“I… I do not usually wake up in the middle of the night to use the washroom…” Sang Wan said shyly.
If she were to wake up in the middle of the night to use the washroom, the maidservants were bound to want to help her in any way they could. If they happen to have a glimpse inside the chamber, her life would crumble!
Shi Fengju felt a little self-conscious after hearing what Sang Wan said. Lowering his head and nodding a few times, he murmured, “If you ever wake up in the middle of the night, just give me a nudge.” That would provide him with enough time to return the mattress into the cupboard.
“En!” Sang Wan whispered softly. Gently, she pulled the bed curtains before lying on the bed.
After hearing the rustling sound of the bed curtains, Shi Fengju followed and lay on his mattress.
At the corner of the chamber was a crimson red oil lamp, emitting dim orange light. The chamber was now quiet and at peace…
In actual fact, such a life was still great. Sang Wan tightly wrapped her body in the warm brocade blanket. A touch of fragrance filled her nose, and before she knew it, she had fallen into a deep sleep.
Shi Fengju woke up early the next morning, and naturally, Sang Wan could not remain in bed. Once she heard Shi Fengju getting up, Sang Wan followed and sat upright on the bed. Snatching a gown from the edge of her bed, she dressed casually before getting out of bed. With a smile, she greeted him, “Good morning!”
“En, morning!” Shi Fengju was caught off guard and was slow to react.
“Young Master! Young Mistress!” Zhide’s voice was heard outside, followed by the faint sound of the maidservants’ light footsteps.
Zhide had served the Shi Family for many years and was familiar with Shi Fengju’s daily routine. She had guessed that Shi Fengju would be awake by now, and thus knocked on the door gently to gain entry into the chamber to begin her tasks.
“Wait! Wait!” Panicky, both Shi Fengju and Sang Wan cried out at the same time.
On the floor, the mattress stood out. If they were to barge into the chamber, the mattress was not something that could be turned a blind eye to. When that happens, no words could reason it out.
Shi Fengju retrieved the quilt frantically and messily pushed it into the cupboard. Seeing the messy state of the quilt in the cupboard, Sang Wan signaled him to stop and whispered, “I’ll do it!”
With that, she got busy. Grabbing the quilt, she jerked it a little to make it straight before using her palm to flatten and fold it. She then placed the quilt neatly inside the cupboard before moving on to the mattress.
The mattress was rolled and placed inside the cupboard, but only God knew if a maidservant would open the cupboard to see the mattress and quilt not in the position they once were!
He knew how to lay the mattress, but not how to do the opposite? Even though she had been taught since young to be independent, such labor was not what most women from other families were willing to do.
Once Shi Fengju saw her clear the mattress away neatly, he nodded towards her and smiled to show his gratitude. Immediately after that, the couple searched high and low. Finding no fault in the scene, their minds finally relaxed.
“Come in!” Shi Fengju shouted faintly.
“Yes, Young Master,” Zhide replied softly and gave the door a light push.
The atmosphere inside the chamber was somewhat strange this morning. Once in a while, the maidservants stole glances at her and Shi Fengju and giggled amongst themselves.
Catching wind of the strange atmosphere but unsure of its origin, both Sang Wan and Shi Fengju felt uneasy.
Only after everyone left, when Liu Ya was unable to contain her curiosity and asked Sang Wan enthusiastically, did Sang Wan understand the cause of the strange atmosphere she had experienced just then.
To her surprise, the maidservants were shocked when the couple chorused a denial together and their thoughts drifted; they had thought Sang Wan and Shi Fengju were doing something indecent inside!
With mixed feelings, Sang Wan was speechless and unable to express her emotions accurately.
This day, a man from the Shi family’s business rushed in and took the helpless Shi Fengju away. Once he had left, he would only return when the day was no longer young. It was as if his act yesterday was to compensate for today; he had left his newlywed wife and indulged himself in his own personal life. Well, at least the maidservants did not ridicule her behind her back because of this.
After greeting her mother-in-law, she returned and slowly enjoyed the breakfast prepared for her. Strolling in Ning Garden1Ning GardenSang Wan & Shi Fengju's place of residence and gossiping with the maidservants, her day passed leisurely. Her position in the Shi family was now considered somewhat stable.
Compared to before, could this not be considered much better? On this very day in her past life, Shi Fengju had not accompanied her but had instead blatantly left her alone with no one to depend on.
“Young Mistress, I need someone to go down with me to the treasury to check on your dowry. Once the check is done, your dowry will be delivered here!” A young married maidservant entered Ning Garden with a smile.
Sang Wan did not have any maidservants who accompanied her into the Shi family aside from Liu Ya. Since her dowry needed to be checked, she only had Liu Ya to send.
Upon hearing the maidservant’s request, Sang Wan nodded gently. She called for Liu Ya and gave her a few instructions before handing a dowry list to her for her to compare with the dowry in the treasury. Although the dowry may not be much or valuable, her sister-in-law had prepared it with all her heart.
Liu Ya agreed and smiled at the maidservant. “Sister, please lead the way!”
The maidservant, however, stood motionlessly. With her eyes, she scrutinized Liu Ya carefully from head to toe before awkwardly smiling at Sang Wan and said, “Young Mistress, it would be better to send someone with experience. What’s more, this… this is to check your dowry!” This suggested that the maidservant herself did not believe that a young girl like Liu Ya would be able to accomplish the task.
Liu Ya was white with rage. If she had heard this in the past, she would have immediately bickered with those who had offended her. But after recalling Sang Wan’s words yesterday, she firmly suppressed that anger and did not respond.
Secretly, Sang Wang felt a little uncomfortable. But with a smile, she reaffirmed, “Let her follow you. You can rest assured that Liu Ya knows how to read and will not make a mistake. Moreover, she will definitely not deter you from completing your errand!”
The maidservant’s face became flushed and forced a smile, “Well, if Young Mistress says so, then this servant has asked in vain! The Sang family truly is a literary family. Geez, even a little girl knows how to read.”
It sounded neither like praise nor criticism. Sang Wan’s palms tightened but she kept her smile and continued. “Hurry along! The earlier you leave, the earlier your errand will be completed.”
In the midst of her sentence, she gave Liu Ya a wink. Liu Ya grunted before taking a deep breath and extinguishing the hatred within her. Forcing a smile on her face, she took two strides forward and gestured the maidservant to lead the way. “Sister, please!”
The maidservant remained silent and bowed as she withdrew from Sang Wan before leading Liu Ya to the treasury.
Gazing at their backs as they left, Sang Wan’s eyes flashed with anger. If they did not have support or authority behind them, a maidservant would never dare to openly make any thoughtless remarks no matter how courageous she may be. In the end, Liu Ya’s ability might be a little too shallow.
Besides, as Liu Ya followed the maidservant to the treasury, the maidservant did not provide any breathing space for the poor girl; she asked as many questions as she could. How old are you? How many people in the family? How did you end up in the Sang family? How long have you served Young Mistress?
Slowly, the questions that rained down upon Liu Ya started to move into questions about the Sang family and Sang Wan. How many people are there in the Sang family? What are their temperaments? How many hectares of land does that family have? How many rooms? What is the atmosphere in the family every day? How does Young Mistress spend her time every day? And so on… The maidservant may as well study the eight generations of the Sang family.
Liu Ya was a girl of many words. With a mouth that never closes, she was the best person to obtain important information from and to spread gossip. If not for Sang Wan’s lecture yesterday, when someone had made the first move to question her about some personal information, she would have spilled all the beans. However, keeping in mind Sang Wan’s words, how could Liu Ya not remain alert and take over the conversation? Liu Ya discreetly guided the path of the conversation into her hands, obtaining various important information from the maidservant.
The maidservant was suddenly taken aback and felt something amiss. She abruptly stopped her mouth and bitterly glared at Liu Ya before clearing her throat. She continued, “Enough of the useless gossiping. Let’s quicken our pace! Sister Zhang is waiting for us at the treasury! And I’ve got other errands to run!”
“Yes, Sister Ning!” Liu Ya agreed. That expression on Sister Ning’s face was not something that could be seen very often, and with that, Liu Ya smiled broadly to herself.
Seeing Sister Ning suppressing the unhappiness on her face, Liu Ya was secretly elated. Deep down, she mocked: Serves you right! Liu Ya is not so gullible!
Seeing that the one who came to do the inspection of the dowry was a little girl, Sister Zhang was taken aback. She frowned and went to have a few words with Sister Ning, but questioned no further after receiving Sister Ning’s confirmation. One by one, she had Liu Ya check the dowry.
Soon, Sister Zhang became very comfortable with Liu Ya. She couldn’t help but have a favorable impression of her. She was a girl who recognized quite a number of words at a young age, had a brilliant smile, and had a mouth that knows flattery. Very quickly, the instructions for the delivery of the dowry were settled with ease.
The Sang family truly was a literary family! When signing her initials, Sister Zhang witnessed Liu Ya’s admirable calligraphy and once again praised her. Hearing the praise, Liu Ya smiled modestly.
After receiving Liu Ya’s signature, Sister Zhang, along with Sister Ning, left the treasury. All alone, Liu Ya went to the outer courtyard and called in twenty manservants and a group of burly maidservants to lift the items and carry them to Ning Garden.
The task was simple, but who would have thought that a while after Liu Ya left with the maidservant, another maidservant came rushing into Ning Garden and anxiously reported, “Young Mistress! Young Mistress! There is a problem! Sister Liu Ya and someone had a quarrel and are about to fight! Quickly, Young Mistress, go and take a look! Sister Liu Ya might be at a disadvantage!”
Sang Wan was surprised. Not good! What could have caused it?
The maidservant hesitated before continuing, “This servant… this servant didn’t hear much. This servant only saw someone drop one of Young Mistress’s dowry chests. Because of the dowry, Sister Liu Ya had a quarrel. This servant doesn’t know what happened after that, but Sister Liu Ya ended up crying!”
Sang Wan suddenly felt a surge of dizziness. That Liu Ya, ah, she really knew how to find trouble. Sang Wan had reminded her over and over again, but there she went, back to her usual self. This was the Shi family, not the Sang family! If the incident were to blow up, their life in the Shi family would no longer be smooth sailing!
In the end, Liu Ya was still part of the Sang family. Sang Wan could not sit on the fence. Together with Zhide, Hong Ye and a few other maidservants, they rushed over to where Liu Ya was.
But before Sang Wan could reach them, Nanny Jiang, the maidservant who served Wang Shi, had already arrived and was giving out instructions. Anxiously, the group hastened their pace.
“Oh! Young Mistress has also come!” Once Nanny Jiang spotted Sang Wan, she immediately went to greet her. As she did so, her gaze swept across the group of maidservants behind Sang Wan, as if trying to find the meddler who had alerted Sang Wan.