“See, even Fangzi says so too! Only Fangzi understands me, while the rest of you just blame me for everything! In any case, if you want me to act all submissive like a slave and suck up to her with a smile on my face, I won’t be able to do that,” Shi Yumei quickly added.
“Enough, enough! You! It is all my fault for spoiling you, when will you finally hit a brick wall and learn!” Wang Shi glared at her. This daughter of hers quarreling with her really made her mad, but Shi Yumei had become a lot more restrained in the past few days and everyone seemed to be getting along well on the surface! Just let it go and let her be! Wang Shi thought to herself.
Before Wang Shi could open her mouth to call Sang Wan over, Gu Fangzi quickly smiled and said, “Aunt Wang is just protective over Cousin Yumei. Which mother doesn’t love their daughter and would want to let their daughter suffer! But some of Cousin Yumei’s words may sound a little too extreme; Sister Sang Wan is always very meticulous, and takes care of Big Cousin wholeheartedly. I’m sure it isn’t possible that she did not take good care of Big Cousin——”
“Hey! How could you side with her when she bullies you!” Shi Yumei almost jumped from her seat and blurted out, interrupting Gu Fangzi.
Gu Fangzi disliked others interrupting her when she spoke. Although she was a little unhappy on the inside, she did not dare to say otherwise to Shi Yumei and smiled docilely, “Cousin Yumei, don’t put it that way. Sister Sang Wan has never mistreated me, how would she——”
“How did she not, you said so clearly ——” Shi Yumei blurted out again. She was about to add that it was Gu Fangzi who said so clearly and wanted to mention a few examples as well.
However, that made Gu Fangzi anxious and she quickly interrupted Shi Yumei, “No, that’s not true. There’s no way Aunt Wang would not stand up for me and let her bully me!’
Aunt Wang, Aunt Wang! Gu Fangzi emphasised those words while signalling to Shi Yumei with her eyes.
Shi Yumei finally realized the signal. Right, we cannot let Mother know. Otherwise, she will definitely become angry and that will be bad for her body. Cousin Fangzi’s effort in keeping it from Mother should not be wasted because of me!
Shi Yumei forced herself to hold back herself and said grudgingly, “I suppose so!”
“Look at you! Sang Wan had always behaved appropriately, unlike you!” Wang Shi rolled her eyes at Shi Yumei.
Gu Fangzi could only laugh, “Cousin Yumei was just concerned for me. I am also at fault for making her worry. Aunt Wang, please don’t blame Cousin Yumei!”
“Fangzi, you are becoming more sensible these days!” Wang Shi smiled and complimented.
“This is all because of Aunt Wang’s guidance,” Gu Fangzi gave a humble smile before adding on, “Maybe it’s nearing the end of the year when there’s much to handle in the business and so many finance accounts to check. Big Cousin must be tired! During the same period last year, he had to busy himself for quite awhile!”
“That is true! How could I have forgotten about it!” Wang Shi felt even more sorry for her son and sighed, “Still, what can be done? Other than Fengju, no one can help him there! Sigh, it must be hard for him!” Wang Shi quickly instructed Nanny Jiang, “Tell the kitchen chefs to make a little more of nutritious and delicious food for the Young Master every night. Also, I still have about a kilogram of bird nest; send it over to Ning Garden later! If there are still some high-quality old ginseng around, find two good ones and send it over together as well!”
Nanny Jiang quickly answered with a bow.
“Aunt Wang loves Big Cousin dearly! No wonder Big Cousin is so filial!” Gu Fangzi smiled as she complimented.
“Ha, which mother doesn’t love their son!” Wang Shi smiled casually while she shook her hands, but she felt good upon hearing those words.
Gu Fangzi quickly went on, “Oh right, Aunt Wang, I’m quite free these days. Maybe I can help share some of Big Cousin’s burden, I don’t know if ——”
Shi Yumei eyes glimmered and she quickly clapped, “Yes, I think that’ll be for the best! Since you’ve helped him with the finances last year, I’m sure you’ll be able to help him this year as well! Fengju won’t be so tired with you helping him!”
Wang Shi also felt that it was a good idea, but quickly said, “Only that—— do you really have the time?”
Gu Fangzi quickly smiled and said, “It’s about sincerity when it comes to mourning; if the sincerity is there, I have done my duty as a child in mourning for my father. Everyday, I light up three joss sticks, chant, and pay respects during regular hours. I believe that my father would have felt my sincerity from above. Anyway, father had instructed me to repay the favor to the Shi family. Me doing something for the Shi family and sharing the burden will also be following his wishes. That is the greatest thing I can do for my father!”
“Fangzi’s right, Mother, Fangzi is very right!” Shi Yumei nodded repeatedly in agreement before joking, “Anyway, Fangzi is already considered a member of our family, won’t it be normal for her to share some of our family’s burden?”
“That’s true!” Of course, Wang Shi doted on her son as well and was glad that Gu Fangzi could share some of her son’s burden. She smiled, “Go ahead and let Fengju know tonight!”
“Aunt Wang,” Gu Fangzi hesitated a little, and smiled, “Will it possible for Aunt Wang to tell Big Cousin about this instead? I’m afraid——”
“Right, Mother!” Shi Yumei chipped in, “If not, others might think that Fangzi is vying for Fengju’s attention and spread some false rumors; like how disrespectful it is during her mourning period. Won’t that damage Fangzi’s reputation? That will turn her goodwill into something bad!”
Wang Shi simply skipped over Shi Yumei’s words and nodded, “Alright then, I’ll let him know when he’s back!”
“Thank you, Aunt Wang,” Gu Fangzi was so happy that she got up to give her thanks before giving an appreciative look to Shi Yumei. The two looked at each other and smiled.
Gu Fangzi was now gloating as her wish finally came true. As for Shi Yumei, she could not wait to see Shi Fengju neglect Sang Wan and would be elated to see that outcome. From their objectives, their alliance was unbreakable.
Gu Fangzi quickly took her leave when her objective was completed. After accompanying Wang Shi to speak a few more sentences, she obediently excused herself to “mourn”, and Wang Shi nodded with a smile.
In the evening, thinking that Shi Fengju was about to return, Gu Fangzi went to Wang Shi’s place. Initially, she had wanted to be more restrained, and wait in Peony Park for Shi Fengju to come up to her to invite her. But the more she thought about it, the more a sense of uneasiness crept into her heart: Big Cousin is now ensnared by Sang Wan that vixen so he isn’t as rational and won’t treat me as well as before. With me present, I might be able to sway his decision. Even if he is unhappy, I can still explain myself. If that isn’t enough, Aunt Wang is easily influenced; in two or three sentences, Big Cousin’s decision may sway.
However, Gu Fangzi had failed to notice that her heart had already understood the fact that Shi Fengju’s heart was no longer with her, which was why she had to resort to such desperate tactics.
“Hehe, you, child, are too anxious! Fengju hasn’t returned yet. Don’t worry, when he’s back, I’ll definitely tell him about it!” Wang Shi saw her come over and smiled as she joked.
“Mother, Fangzi is just concerned about Fengju!” Fangzi did not have to open her mouth; Shi Yumei had already helped her to explain, “If not, she would already be so happy while she waited in Peony Park!”
Gu Fangzi quickly said, “Big Cousin is the head of the family and also my only pillar of strength; it is only natural for me to be concerned about Big Cousin.”
“Child, you’re too considerate!” Wang Shi could not help but to feel touched by Gu Fangzi. She ordered Xiu Chun to watch the second gate and to report back as soon as Shi Fengju returned.
Shi Fengju knew his mother’s tendency to overreact from hearsay, and knowing that Gu Fangzi was also present, he felt a little uncomfortable. After hearing from Xiu Chun, he remained calm and returned to the study room first to groom himself before heading over to his mother’s place.
As soon as he entered, Wang Shi stared at his complexion. Shi Fengju found it weird and raised his hand to touch his face, and smiled, “Mother, is there something on my face, or do you not recognize me? Why are you staring at me like that!”
“Quit joking around!” Wang Shi gave him a glare and pulled him to sit for a chat. While she ordered the maidservants to serve a cup of old ginseng tea with wolfberries, she sighed to Shi Yumei and Gu Fangzi, “Indeed, he looks a little skinnier and more lethargic!”
Shi Fengju opened the tea cover to take a glimpse and creased his eyebrows before leaving the tea where it was. He ordered a maidservant, “Change this to Longjing Tea or Pi Luo Chun Tea!”
“Stop!” Wang Shi interjected, “Mother specially instructed them to prepare this tea for you to improve your health. Why change something that’s fine? Quickly, now, drink it all up!”
“Mother!” Shi Fengju was exasperated, “My body is in good health, what’s there to nourish! I don’t like drinking this!”
“What? So you’re not going to listen to your mother?” Wang Shi was both unhappy and concerned, “Mother is doing this for your own good. Look at you, your complexion is so pale these days, how is that good! Xiu Chun, put that tea right in front of him!”
“Yes, Old Mistress!” Xiu Chun brought the same cup of tea to him “Young Master, please drink it!”
Shi Fengju knew that his mother would do it herself if he continued to insist on not drinking. Not wanting that to happen, he drank two mouthful to pacify his mother.
“Now, that’s much better!” Satisfied, Wang Shi smiled and reminded, “It’s almost the end of the year. Even though there are a lot of business matters to settle, you should put your health ahead of our family’s business! Otherwise, I will be worried!”
“That’s right!” Shi Yumei also added, “Compared to everything else, your health is most important, even more than money! Spending money at the cost of your health will make us all uneasy!”
It is still my family that cares for me! Shi Fengju felt warm inside and smiled, “Mother, Big Sister, don’t worry. I know what to do! Anyway, I am still young, I can handle this bit of load!”
Gu fangzi added in concern, “Big Cousin, you shouldn’t say that. You should be more careful when you are young. What if problems start to appear when you grow older because you didn’t take care of yourself when young?”
Wang Shi’s heart went “Ba-thump”. Was that the case? If that’s so , she must find someone who can help him! As for the choice of the person, Gu Fangzi is without doubt the most suitable.
Wang Shi gave a slight cough and said to Shi Fengju, “Fangzi is very right! You always make Mother worry! I understand that some decisions cannot be made by the manager or the other workers and must be decided by members from our household! How about letting Gu Fangzi share some of your burden. It has always been like that before! Then it’s settled. Tonight discuss with Fangzi properly and let her help you tomorrow.”
Gu Fangzi threw a gentle look at Shi Fengju and her lips curled into a soft smile, “Big Cousin won’t find Fangzi nosy, right?”