Chapter 97: 杏枝求情
Shi Yumei’s voice was crisp and pleasant, but even though she spoke with a smile, Zhide’s face turned ghastly white, and her body trembled coldly.
The world around her went silent. All she heard was a sharp buzzing sound, and everything else that Shi Yumei said went unheard! Her mind was only sending one message to herself, and that was: The eldest missy’s husband is inviting her to ‘serve’ him!
Only the eldest missy seemed oblivious to how trashy that man was. He was the object of jokes for some brave servants behind her back. By marrying such a man, what future was there to look forward to? In just one glance, he was just a man who lived depending upon others!
Envious? Her sisters* not making a joke out of her was already considered good. As if they’d be envious!
[TLN: not actual sisters but servants who work together with her]
“Aiyo, what’s there to worry about? Lady luck’s finally looking at you, so you should be happy! Come, I’ll bring you and notify my sister-in-law about this. Once you’ve packed your things and kowtowed to her, we’ll go back to Banana Courtyard!”
As she spoke, she got up and pulled Zhide along with her.
Zhide shrugged her hand off before forcing a smile. “Eldest Missy, this, this is all too sudden. Nubi wishes to be alone for a while, will that be okay?” Zhide said before doing a kowtow, “Nubi wishes for Eldest Missy to give nubi some time! Please, Eldest Missy!”
Shi Yumei was startled, but she simply thought that Zhide must be feeling over the clouds after hearing such great news. Thinking that she would have to get along with her in the future, wouldn’t it be better not to make a scene now? Giving Zhide some time to think things through was already a great act of generosity on her part, and she nodded, “Alright then! Just think things through first then! I’m sure you’ll understand how great of a fortune this is. I’m not here to make you suffer! Then tomorrow, I’ll tell your Ma’am before bringing you along with me to Banana Courtyard! Take your time to pack your things, and don’t forget to say your goodbyes to your sisters*!”
Shi Yumei fished out two silvers and squeezed them to Zhide before smiling generously, “Take these and treat your sisters* to a meal! As for any left, you can put them in your savings!”
“Nubi doesn’t dare! Eldest Missy, nubi cannot accept them!” Zhide clenched her fists tightly, not willing to accept.
After several tries of not being able to gift those silvers, Shi Yumei could only smile as she kept them. Deep down, she was feeling even more pleased with Zhide. “What a good lass ah!”
Zhide sent her off without a word before turning to let her tears flow uncontrollably.
She blinked a few times to clear her eyes off the excess tears before letting out a sigh. Only then did she realize that cold sweat had formed in her palms, and she shivered slightly. But upon seeing a little lass coming to pick up some items in the small garden, she quickly calmed her heart and quietly went to handle the task at hand.
Sang Wan returned after she was done. Seeing that Shi Yumei was not around, she let out a sigh of relief. Conveniently, she asked when Shi Yumei had left and after hearing a response from Zhide, she said no more.
As the day progressed, Zhide’s quietness gained some notice from Sang Wan. It was as if she had something deep to think about, but because she didn’t say anything, Sang Wan didn’t go to ask about it. Zhide had always been one to mind her own business and keep herself out of trouble. Although she was hardworking and her character had improved since the day they met, that mindset was still engraved in her bones. As for loyalty and closeness, not mentioning Liu Ya, she couldn’t even be matched with Hong Ye.
In the evening, Shi Fengju returned. The two chatted for a while before having dinner. And after dinner, Shi Fengju went off to his study room. With nothing to do, Sang Wan instructed a servant to brighten up the room while she went to work on her craftsmanship to kill time.
Suddenly, she raised her head. Standing in front of her was Zhide, and she could not help but smile. “Why’s it you? You’ve all worked hard today, so you must be tired. Go and call a small servant in to serve me. You can go back and rest!”
“Nubi isn’t tired.” Zhide forced a smile before handing a cup to tea to Sang Wan. “Ma’am, looking at fine details at night will strain your eyes. Have a cup of tea. Sir would often tell us that Ma’am should not be doing anything taxing at night!”
Sang Wan received it with a smile before taking a few sips. Seeing a face filled with sadness, in addition to the occasional sighs, Sang Wan gently put her tea side before asking, “You have something to say to me?”
Zhide trembled slightly and tears began to fall uncontrollably. She kneeled on the floor and begged, “Ma’am, please save nubi! Nubi has no other path to take!”
“What happened! Quickly, tell me!” Sang Wan was taken aback. She did not expect her words which she had said so casually to actually have so much of an effect.
Zhide swallowed her tears and managed to hold herself after much effort before responding to Sang Wan with a ‘Yes, Ma’am.’ She got up unsteadily and began narrating what happened when she was alone with the eldest missy. Then, she begged, “Ma’am, please help nubi. Nubi just wishes to serve Ma’am well and then marry well a few years later. Nubi will be never greedy and will never yearn for a higher status! Even if nubi doesn’t marry someone, nubi is also willing, willing to serve Ma’am for all nubi’s life! Ma’am, please help nubi!”
A gust of anger formed in Sang Wan. This big sister of hers isn’t taking her too seriously! Whatever Shi Yumei wanted, she gave without a word. But now, she wanted her head servant without even telling her beforehand. That was just too much!
Sang Wan shivered at the thought. If not for Zhide having a mind of her own and not being greedy, she would have happily followed Shi Yumei while she was kept in the dark. Surely, she would have been seen as a huge joke!
The only thing was, helping Zhide might not be so easy. After all, the one who wanted her was Shi Yumei, her mother-in-law’s most doted upon daughter.
“Ma’am, Ma’am! Please help nubi!” Zhide could see the hesitation on Sang Wan’s face, and her body stiffened. Gazing straight at Sang Wan, she sobbed, “Nubi swears, nubi is willing to serve Ma’am throughout her lifetime and will not marry anyone! So Ma’am, please help nubi! In the future, nubi’s life will be yours to keep!”
“You shouldn’t say that!” Sang Wan could not help but sigh, and a look of pity could be seen on her face. She was a victim in her previous life, but who knew how it would end in this! Therefore, she was able to clearly relate to Zhide, and that made her sigh, “Just how did you end up attracting Big Sister’s attention! You’re smart. Even without me telling you, I’m sure you know how difficult this matter will be for me to handle!”
“Nubi understands,” Zhide choked, “Nubi knows this would put Ma’am in a difficult position, but other than Ma’am, no one can save nubi! Please, Ma’am, help this pitiful servant!”
The eldest missy keeps coming to find Ma’am trouble. If she isn’t willing to give even a servant, then who knows what other trouble she might stir up? The mistress would surely help her own daughter, and Sir would surely be on his sister’s side.
The more Zhide thought, the slimmer the possibility of her escaping this fate became. Her face was distraught, and her heart turned to stone. Is death the only way?
But she wasn’t willing! She still wanted to seek favor and marry a good person to live a blissful life! And when she would have a child in the future, she would want him to be successful in life, no longer needing to live the life of a servant! That wasn’t just her dream, it was also her parents’. Could it be that that dream must come to a halt today!
“You really don’t want to?” After some considerations, Sang Wan finally decided to help Zhide. In her previous life, Zhide was married off to another servant in the Shi household, and as for what happened to her after, she wasn’t too sure. But it definitely had nothing to do with Ren Zhixian.
“Nubi doesn’t want to! Nubi isn’t willing!” Zhide’s eyes glistened, and she answered before Sang Wan could ask, “Even if the eldest missy’s husband were to succeed and become an official, nubi will not have any regrets!”
“Okay,” Sang Wan nodded and said, “I can only help you try. Whether or not I can make it, I can’t guarantee! If it doesn’t work, then you can’t blame me!”
Zhide was overjoyed after hearing so, and she quickly kowtowed, “Nubi gives Ma’am her thanks! Nubi understands. No matter the results, nubi will only have gratitude towards Ma’am and will not blame Ma’am!”
Sang Wan nodded. “Don’t cry anymore, dry your eyes and call Nanny Li in!”
This matter happened in the small garden. Regardless what she was going to do, she should first consult Nanny Li.
“Yes,” Zhide fished out her handkerchief and wiped her eyes before going out to invite Nanny Li in.
When Nanny Li arrived, Sang Wan briefly explained to her the matter at hand before complaining, “Nanny, please evaluate for me the way I treat her and the way she treated me! I have to admit to myself that I’ve done my best to treat her the best as I could. When she wanted my things, I gave them away without any hesitation. I even gave her the mutton-fat jade hairpin that Sir gifted to me because she wanted it, and that almost caused Sir to be angry at me for casually giving away the things he gave me! And just today, without even telling me, she came to the small garden wanting to take my servant away. Isn’t, isn’t she outright slapping my face?”
Sang Wan thought hard about her desolated fate and her life full of struggles. Her eyes turned slightly red, and she would once in a while wipe her eyes. “If it was just any other servant, then I wouldn’t be so bothered, but as if I can give Zhide away so easily? She has been serving in the small garden for so many years and is both considerate and familiar with Sir. Wouldn’t her leaving trouble me? But it was good that she understood and did not leave with Big Sister, else, Nanny, I might not be able to manage the household as well as the servants!”
The more Sang Wan said, the angrier she got. With a firm expression, she said, “Whatever the case, I will not give Zhide to her!”
Hearing so, Nanny Li was not only feeling angry. She also thought that Shi Yumei had crossed the line. However, her starting point of thought was different from Sang Wan. She was standing at the angle of the entire Shi family and would look to ensure harmony within the household. At first, she had wanted to persuade Sang Wan, saying that the eldest missy’s character had always been so, even when in front of the mistress, so Ma’am shouldn’t get overly angry! It was just a servant, so she might as well give the servant to her! Then after that, have the young master give her a scolding or two so that she wouldn’t do it ever again!
Unexpectedly, Sang Wan’s words immediately stopped hers and made her speechless. She could not help but sigh, and she could not be angry at Ma’am at all. After all, Ma’am had already put up enough with the eldest missy! But the eldest missy’s requests became more and more unreasonable! Regardless of the type of person, everyone has a limit to their temper, even Ma’am! If she didn’t and if she were an easy pushover, then she should not even be managing the household.