Shi Yumei then sighed, “Oh please! You’re his better half. Our Shi family’s business will have to rely on the both of you to manage it in the future!”
Gu Fangzi’s eyes glistened. That’s right! A married woman can only venture about within the household. How vast the outside is, what does a frog in a well know? Can I even be of help to Big Cousin when it comes to handling business?
Once her mourning period was over, she could immediately join hands with Big Cousin to manage the Shi business. That was better than handling the trivial affairs within the household! When that time came, Big Cousin would eventually know marrying whom would be the best for him!
Just so long as she grabbed onto Big Cousin tightly, what could that Sang Wan do regardless how capable she was? And who cared about a concubine replacing a wife?
“Cousin Yumei is right, but Fangzi isn’t worthy of such words ah! Cousin Yumei, you jest!” Gu Fangzi’s expression loosened a little and she smiled modestly.
“If not you, then who else is worthy of such words!” Shi Yumei smiled before sighing again, “It sure is unfortunate that you’re facing such circumstances the moment I got home! Otherwise, we could have so much fun together! Tomorrow, we’ll be eating crabs at Qiufang Pavilion. It’s a pity you can’t go!”
Gu Fangzi’s heart was instantly pierced by such straightforwardness, but she quickly sighed, “That isn’t true. The heavens have their own way of doing things, but who knew it would end up as such!”
“ I know right? This ah, is what people call as good things happening during one’s suffering!” Shi Yumei gently patted Gu Fangzi’s hand before consoling her, “Half a year will pass very quickly! When that day comes, everything will definitely be better!”
Gu Fangzi nodded gratefully and asked conveniently, “This season is the best to have crabs. Was it Big Cousin’s idea to hold this treat?”
“Nope,” Shi Yumei said, “It’s that Sang lass!” And then, she sighed again, “But I had to initiate it, else she wouldn’t have arranged it! But at least she still has some conscience by treating us to some crabs! Today, I saw the crabs that were delivered here from the country house. They were as large as a bowl, and maybe around 0.3kg!” She then moved on to say how unfortunate it was that she wouldn’t be able to join them.
Gu Fangzi’s expression had seemed to change a few times before she smiled and asked, “Then she sure has some conscience! Ah yes, Cousin Yumei, how do you know it was sent from a country house? Our family’s country house?”
“Yes ah! I saw it myself and heard it myself, so how can I be wrong? Oh, she also knows how to use an abacus!” Shi Yumei recalled, “Doing them a favor after taking the crabs! Yesterday, you should’ve seen how happy my mother was when she brought it up! My mother praised her for being very filial!”
Gu Fangzi’s heart sank, but she forced a smile, “You shouldn’t say it like that. It was she who did all the arrangements after all! And there’s a bill when the country houses send things over. Otherwise, how can the country houses even earn their living!”
Shi Yumei smiled after hearing her so. “So you understand! And you’re even helping her speak!”
Gu Fangzi smiled dryly, but her heart was shaken.
She was clear that the Shi family had 3 large country houses and 5 small country houses in Qingzhou. Among the 3 large country houses, 2 had fertile land and were suitable for farming, and the other was located in a forest which spanned 667 hectares. But those three did not raise crabs. Even the 5 small country houses did not. At least, not the kind of crabs which Shi Yumei had just described.
She only knew that Shi Fengju’s personal country house raised crabs as she remembered going there with him. Without a doubt, this feast might have Sang Wan taking the limelight, but Shi Fengju was helping her behind!
How could he help her! She even needed help for something this simple! Does she not even have a single silver on hand? Can’t she prepare this herself?
Gu Fangzi was feeling sour and uneasy. Recalling the way Shi Fengju treated her the yesterday, her anger and uneasiness multiplied by a few folds.
As expected, a man’s heart was the most unreliable! Since they had been very much in love since young, their bond shouldn’t have been broken this easily. But his feelings had changed! He had been snatched away by that vixen!
Although hurt, Gu Fangzi did not falter. Instead, her will to fight grew even stronger. She believed that if he could change this time around, then he could still change back so long as she did not give up!
“Oh right, Cousin Yumei, have you gotten used to staying in Banana Courtyard? How did the decorations and arrangements go?” Gu Fangzi smiled. “That sister of mine is a most pure-hearted and elegant person, so I’m sure that the way she decorated the courtyard will be elegant and comfortable for you!”
Shi Yumei sneered, “Let’s not talk about her anymore! As if I still dare to have her do anything for me! Shi Fengju would always be present to help her out with the things i asked her to do, so much so that even my heart ached for him! She knows nothing about caring for her own husband!” Shi Yumei said before telling Gu Fangzi about how Shi Fengju was present during the day they were deciding on the decorations and the layout, and then about how the selected bonsais were picked by him instead of Sang Wan!
Hearing these, Gu Fangzi also felt infuriated.
But she quickly changed her expression and gave Shi Yumei an explanation while affirming herself at the same time, “Cousin Yumei, you should be happy instead! It means that Big Cousin looks up to you a lot and will not be at ease unless he handles them personally!”
“I also thought the same way!” Shi Yumei smiled at her. Otherwise, she would have already gone to give Sang Wan trouble.
“Cousin Yumei only brought Cui Zhu back, but are there enough servants in Banana Courtyard to serve?” Gu Fangzi asked casually.
Shi Yumei smiled and nodded. “Mother gave me two lasses, Xiao Shuang and XIao He, as well as two other senior servants. As for the servant serving at the study room, Shi Fengju has already assigned one to your brother-in-law. Occasionally, some servants will come over to tidy the courtyard, so there are enough!”
Gu Fangzi lamented, “Aunt is so thoughtful! But hereI thought it was Sister who was supposed to arrange so!”
Shi Yumei spoke in disdain, “As if anyone she assigns will be useful. I’m not so foolish; she’s sure to put a pair of eyes in my courtyard!”
“Cousin Yumei, you’re quite incorrect! Sister’s servants are extremely capable! Also, you’re the eldest daughter of the family, so which servant would dare to go to such an extreme to be her eyes!”
Seeing as to how Gu Fangzi kept singing praises for Sang Wan, Shi Yumei just sighed and praised her for being broadminded.
Unfortunately, although Shi Yumei disliked the servants in the small garden, Ren Zhixian was thinking otherwise.
When Shi Fengju sent a servant boy to serve him in his study room, the phrase “studying accompanied by a beauty at night” was instantly shattered.
After suffering in Shi Fengju’s hands a few times, he did not dare to provoke him. And so, he used an indirect method, venting all his frustrations on Shi Yumei and keeping an angry expression on his face.
Shi Yumei could not endure any longer, and she exclaimed, “Just live with it, this is my mother’s house, not ours! Touch your heart and ask yourself, ever since we have arrived, when had they ever shortchanged us? Just what do you want!”
Ren Zhixian sneered, “Yes, they did not shortchange us! Those meals are being offered in pity mixed with contempt! They’re just giving alms!” His face was filled with disdain when saw the blank look on Shi Yumei’s face. “You probably don’t understand that, so let me give an analogy. Let’s say we went to a poor family, and that poor family only has one last piece of pork belly, but they serve it all to us; then we go to a wealthy family. They have plenty of grain and livestock, but they only slaughter one chicken to welcome us. Let me ask you, who is more generous?”
Shi Yumei still could not understand, and she said, “What poor what rich, what pork belly and slaughtered chicken? All I know is that my mother and brother have treated us well enough! Else where should we go, to your friend’s place? Who would want you?”
“You’re just too short-sighted!” Too lazy to argue with her, Ren Zhixian shook his head and grunted, “Don’t think of your mother and your brother as great people! Hmph, I’m a scholar; if not for the achievements I can obtain in the future, do you think they would still keep us? Wake up, will you? If your brother truly did care for us, will we still be in such a state?”
Shi Yumei understood those words. She was feeling both anxious and furious, but she couldn’t find words to refute him. “Why do you keep saying that again and again! I’ve already been married off. If I don’t rely on them, then who else can I rely on? You? Do you not know how we lost all our family’s assets? Do you need me to say it out loud? It’s all because you spent it all so recklessly! Even my dowry was exchanged, and my other servants were sold off! You’re in no position to say that!”
Shi Yumei became emotional, and her tears began falling.
Ren Zhixian remained haughty as ever and said, “What does a short-sighted lady even know! I spent it all recklessly? Those were to build relations with friends, do you understand! If I don’t do so, how else can I enhance my learning! You won’t understand even if I tell you this!”
“Yes ah, I don’t understand, I’m not as great as you!” Shi Yumei sneered, “I’ll be waiting, waiting for the day you can clear us from this line of poverty, then I’ll salute you! But I’m afraid that might not even be possible in this lifetime!”
Ren Zhixian was so furious that his face turned white. He pointed angrily at her, “You, you, don’t you dare look down on me! ‘Only women and villains are difficult to live with!’ It seems the saying of a sage is indeed true!” With that, he smiled coldly as he said, “All you can think of is wanting me to clear us off this line of poverty? Without a servant to serve and the need to worry about all the minor things, as if I can study! I think you’re right, there’s no use in studying!”
Shi Yumei was taken aback. “Isn’t Shi Ming serving you in the study room? Or is he bullying you?”
Ren Zhixian grunted coldly, “A servant that cannot help me is shameful to say! Although honest, he is clumsy and useless!”
Shi Yumei was, after all, someone who understood him. She finally understood why his face was dark these few days and she sighed, “Useless? Then why couldn’t you just say so? If you don’t, how would we know?”
Ren Zhixian grunted. Say? What use is saying? And ‘we’? Just which family do you belong to!
Shi Yumei cared a lot for her husband’s promising future since the journey ahead depended greatly upon him! There was no way she could stay in her parental house for her entire life!
Changing her tone to a gentler one, she quickly said, “I’ll find my younger brother today and tell him to change the servant who’s serving you!”