Status, status, again and again! A mere status was firmly trapping her. That, was only a stepping stone in her life! Gu Fangzi could not imagine herself to be like Concubine Shui or Concubine Fang, living their lives revolving around the Second Shi Family’s Old Mistress’ mood. Her life should not be like that.
Sang Wan, it is still too early for you to be happy! The grudge between us, has not been settled!
“Missy, why not we, go back… The sky is getting dark…” Lan Xiang saw a few curious glances from passersby and could not help but hold onto Gu Fangzi while whispering softly.
Lan Xiang was already prepared for her missy to vent all the anger on her, but who knew that Gu Fangzi only turned her head towards her and smiled with a nod, “Let’s go, let’s go back.”
Lan Xiang exhaled and hurriedly consoled her, “Missy, Young Master’s heart still has you! If not, he won’t have been so angry!”
“Oh? You think so?” Gu Fangzi raised her eyebrows and was a little startled.
“Yes,” Lan Xiang was suddenly more eager and she quickly added, “Missy think about it, Young Master was so angry because you wanted to have Old Mistress help you say a few good words! However, because you didn’t go directly to Young Master, Young Master must have thought that you distanced yourself from him, and thus felt angry! Missy, if there is anything in the future, why not tell Young Master directly? This maidservant believes that Young Master will be very happy.”
Finally, something pleasing to her ears. Gu Fangzi’s eyes brightened and she felt a little better in her heart. “You aren’t wrong, looks like that’s the case! This time, I really didn’t think about it thoroughly and that’s why the plan did not go smoothly!”
“Missy, there will still be chances in the future, don’t be disappointed!”
“You’re right, let’s talk about it after awhile!” Gu Fangzi was depressed again. The man she had almost caught with her hands had flown off again, who knows when the next suitable chance will be.
At first, Shi Fengju wanted to return to the study room, but he unknowingly walked to the entrance of Ning Garden. He subconsciously raised his legs and was about to enter. Suddenly, he realized what he was doing and quickly took a step back. Outside, he shuffled back and forth in front of the entrance.
To enter, or not to enter? He was rather unsure on what he was to do.
The young maidservants did not dare to go up to greet him for fear of landing into trouble. But already, there were already a few hurrying to inform Sang Wan. The remaining did not dare to stand in Ning Garden’s courtyard to play a staring game with their master and all scurried away, acting as if they had not seen him.
Everyone else could do so, but Sang Wan naturally could not. She brought Liu Ya and Zhide, and went to welcome him in a docile manner “Lord, why aren’t you coming in?”
Shi Fengju looked up. A woman with a gentle, feminine face and a calm composure, came into his view. In the eyes of others, Sang Wan would definitely be praised as a polite and well-mannered woman. But in Shi Fengju’s eyes, there was a clear sense of coldness and isolation around her that could not be dispelled. There was an invisible gulf between them that could never be crossed.
Shi Fengu felt a sense of frustration. He had rather she was angry at him and venting all her anger out on him, than to see her acting in such a way towards him.
Shi Fengju’s expression sank and he said coldly, “There is no need! Mistress can do whatever she pleases!” He turned away and left without looking back.
“Mistress, why is Master so polite today!” Liu Ya was a little perplexed.
Sang Wan said lightly, “Lord is a gentleman, he is always polite to people! You brat, what are you saying without reserve!”
Liu Ya stuck out her tongue and said nothing more.
Shi Fengju returned to the study room grudgingly. He would be spending another night there again. He tried to console himself: the study room isn’t so bad. At least, there’s a bed to sleep in and I don’t have to put a mattress on the floor!
However, it was going to be a sleepless night for him. He was a little lost at what to do. She wasthe woman he really wanted to spend his entire life with, but do they have a future together? If she didn’t have him in his heart and remained as cold as ice, what use was there in forcing her to stay by his side? But if he just let her go, he was unwilling to even think about it. She was his wife in the first place, wasn’t that the case!
Sang Wan was not having an easy time on her side as well. When Nanny Li knew that Shi Fengju stood outside Ning Garden’s entrance but did not enter and left instead while Sang Wan did not take the initiative to hold him back, she had no lack of advice for Sang Wan even though she did not criticise her. She was so long-winded that Sang Wan almost could not stand it.
But what was even more troubling was that she did not know what was wrong with Shi Yumei. The next morning, when Sang Wan greeted Wang Shi, she actually proposed for Sang Wan to accompany her to shop.
“It seems I haven’t been out shopping after returning to Qingzhou for such a long time? Sister-in-law Sang Wan won’t reject such a small offer of mine, right?” Shi Yumei seemed polite, but her tone was domineering.
“Is there something Big Sister needs? Won’t it be more convenient to ask the manager from our own shop, why don’t ——”
“I am bored of the things from our family, I want to shop in other shops! Sister-in-law Sang Wan, are you meaning to say that you don’t want to accompany me?” Shi Yumei was a little angry when she spoke.
“Sang Wan, accompany your big sister!” Wang Shi also wanted her daughter-in-law and daughter to have more interaction in order to improve their relationship. She smiled and said, “Speaking of which, you have been married into our family for almost a year now, but you haven’t been out on the streets much!”
“You see, Mother dotes on you so much!” Shi Yumei gave smile that did not seem like a smile.
Sang Wan turned speechless, and could only smile and agree after a short while. “Oh right. Mother, how about asking Third Sister to come along too? It would be more fun with more of us!”
Sang Wan was really not willing to be out alone with Shi Yumei. At least with someone else with them, the situation would be less awkward.
“That’s fine too, ask her to join if she has nothing else to do!” Wang Shi gave an indifferent smile.
“Then we’ll leave now! Sister-in-law!” Shi Yumei spoke again.
“Big Sister, please wait a moment while I ask for someone to prepare the carriage. When the carriage is prepared, I will request for the person to inform Big Sister.” Sang Wan smiled and said.
“Okay,” Shi Yumei nodded, “Then hurry up, I don’t have the patience!”
“Yumei!” Wang Shi tutted at her.
“Mother! I’ve always been direct with my words, isn’t everyone used to it all these years!” Shi Yumei spoke to her mother like a spoiled child.
“Big Sister says what she thinks; a straightforward person!” Sang Wan smiled and said.
“Hmph, that’s right. I really hate those who are indirect and play word games. If someone offends me, they can’t blame me for not giving them any chance!”
Sang Wan laughed but did not reply. She bade farewell before leaving to give the instruction. After all, she and Shi Yumei had never clicked well together and she had already stopped expecting it to happen.
Sang Wan instructed Zhide to prepare a carriage, while she returned to Ning Garden to have a change of clothes. After putting on a pink fur coat and combing her hair, she inserted two bright jade hairpins and wore her head accessory before tying a red mantle embroidered with lotus flowers.
“Check how much money we have left,” Sang Wan instructed Liu Ya. That was the most important thing.
Liu Ya took a small box over, and her expression seemed a little upset. She smiled bitterly and said, “Mistress, this is all we have. There only four hundred silvers!”
Sang Wan head immediately ached.
After seeing the extent of the Shi family’s wealth, even Liu Ya used the word “only” when speaking about four hundred silvers, let alone Shi Yumei. With this little money, it might not be enough for the things Shi Yumei was going to choose.
However, Sang Wan only had that much silver on hand. Every month, she would receive twenty silvers, but she had to spend about eleven or twelve silvers on rewarding the servants. That left her with seven to eight silvers to save. Her servants, the headservants, and nannies sometimes came to pay respects to her, but none would give her any money. After all, there was no way their amount of money would be more than the Shi family’s. It might well be peanuts in their young mistress’ eyes! Who would have the face to give her money? Thus, they expressed their gratitude by gifting everything else other than money.
As a result, she had plenty of fresh fruits, desserts, dishes, perfume, makeup, embroidery, and handmade shoes and socks. She could not possibly exchange them for money, people would laugh their teeth out if she really did that!
Consequently, the poorest in the entire household might actually be Sang Wan, the Shi family’s Young MIstress. Luckily, Shi Fengju would sometimes give her some allowance, and that was how she was able to save a few hundred silvers.
Now, what should she do?
If they were out shopping, Shi Yumei definitely would not use her own money— even if she did want to, Sang Wan simply could not let her do so. Otherwise, her mother-in-law would definitely not be happy if she knew about it!
Both the master and servant were deeply troubled.
“Oh, Young Mistress, what’s wrong?” Amused at the sight of them, Nanny Li asked curiously.
“Eldest Missy asked Mistress to accompany her out to shop. Mistress is worried about the money!” Liu Ya said without any thought.
Sang Wan could not stop her in time and could only smile. She said in embarrassment, “Who knew that I’d be so poor. Big Sister will surely laugh at me if I cannot afford something decent for her!”
She was more afraid that Shi Yumei would not believe her and thought of her as a miser.
“What’s there to worry about!” Nanny Li laughed and said, “Young Mistress, you’re thinking too much! You are the Young Mistress of our Shi family; which shopkeeper would dare to take your money? Regardless what caught her eye, there’s no need for you to worry. Just ask the shopkeeper to put it on the Shi family’s tab. The servants from the shop will bring the bill directly to Young Master themselves!”
Nanny Li smiled again and said, “In this old servant’s opinion, Young Mistress is too down-to-earth! If Young Mistress has no money, why not ask from Young Master? It is an indisputable logic for you to use Young Master’s money!”
“…” Sang Wan just ignored that last sentence and smiled, “Then I really don’t have to worry!”
Liu Ya also let out a huge sigh of relief. She closed the box and said, “Then this maidservant will put this back properly. There won’t be any need to bring this around anymore!”
“Bringing it along will be better!” Sang Wan quickly added, “Just in case we have to use it!”
“Then, bringing half will do,” Liu Ya was still very careful with her mistress’ money. She said painstakingly, “This is all of Young Mistress’ savings, it shouldn’t be emptied just like this! Not talking about anything else, but Young Mistress will have to give out big red packets too during the new year!”
When that was mentioned, Nanny Li and Sang Wan both laughed out loud.
After the carriage was ready and was about to set off, Shi Yumei did not forget to add a few sentences like “Why are you so slow!”, “I’ve waited for a long while already!”. Sang Wan just let the words pass by without feeling offended. With this sister-in-law whose star clashed with hers, she felt that she could not afford to be angry.
Shi Lian had a good temper and was smiling the whole time. She had a demure composure and there was no trace of anger on her.
Shi Yumei felt it was no longer interesting after grumbling a few more sentences, and shut her mouth unhappily. She rested against the wall of the carriage and secretly regretted not asking Gu Fangzi to come along.