Sang Wan pretended to not hear her. She sat on the bedside where Gu Fangzi previously sat on instead of finding a chair before asking Shi Lian with a smile, “Your oldest brother asked me to visit you. How are you feeling right now, are you feeling better now? Is the medicine that you’re using alright? Did the wound get infected? Have you been sleeping well at night? Does it hurt a lot?”
Seeing that Sang Wan ignored her, Shi Yumei was furious. She threw a harsh glare at Sang Wan, but not a word could escape her mouth. After all, there was no way she could just repeat what she said to make Sang Wan hear her.
Gu Fangzi remained docile as she stood at the side. She had a timid look and seemed to want nothing to do with the conflict. But deep down, she earnestly wished for Shi Yumei to argue with Sang Wan.
Feeling slightly surprised, Shi Lian’s eyes twitched but she would not embarrass Sang Wan. Since that Sang Wan pretended not to hear, she would do the same as well. She answered Sang Wan’s questions with a smile and show appreciation for her and Shi Fengju.
“Seeing that Third Sister seems fine, I can be at ease now! I will let Mother-in-law and your oldest brother know!” After Sang Wan received her answers, she felt relieved. She returned to her sensed and smiled at Shi Yumei apologetically before saying, “Just now, what did Big Sister say? I’m really sorry, I wasn’t able to hear you clearly…”
“Humph!” Shi Yumei sneered, “Whether or not you heard me clearly, only you will know!”
Hearing that, Sang Wan could only smile.
That angered Shi Yumei further and she sneered as she said, “You are indeed in charge of this household; you’re in a different class from everyone else! Just forget about whether or not you heard me. The words from people like me aren’t important, why would the mistress of the Shi household care at all?”
Sang Wan said with a smile, “I’ve always listened to Big Sister. Big Sister, you’ve wronged me. Big Sister always told me to serve my husband wholeheartedly and treat him as my god. My husband gave quite a lot of instructions to me today so I was afraid that I might leave something out and disappoint my husband. That’s why I was in a hurry to ask Third Sister all the questions! Big Sister was here earlier than me, which means that Big Sister is also concerned about Third Sister, isn’t that right? But who knew that I couldn’t perform multiple tasks at the same time and missed Big Sister’s words! Since we’re all concerned about Third Sister, I hope Big Sister won’t blame me for that, will you?”
When Gu Fangzi heard Sang Wan mention Shi Fengju, she couldn’t help but feel sour and jealous, and raised her gaze to glare at her.
Shi Yumei did not expect her to say something so reasonable and her face turned from red to white in an instant. It was regrettable that she could not refute sarcastically!
“By the way, Big Sister!” Sang Wan said again with a smile, “Since I’ve ended up running into Big Sister here, then I shall take this chance to let Big Sister know so that I can save the need to send a servant to inform you! My husband said that since it’s going to be Lunar New Year soon, Big Sister and Brother-in-law Zhixian might have to spend more, so the allowance for next month will be given to you a month in advance. I’ve already prepared the money. I’ll send someone to deliver it to you in the afternoon!” As she spoke, she stood up and smile, “If Big Sister and Sister Fangzi have the time, please send more time with Third Sister. I have some tasks to handle so I’ll be leaving first! Third Sister, let the servants tell me if there’s anything you need, there’s no need to be courteous! Mother-in-law and your oldest brother have specially instructed so!”
“Thank you, Big Sister Sang Wan. Could Big Sister Sang Wan help me send my thanks over to Mother and my oldest brother? I will pay my visit to them when I recover!” Shi Lian hurriedly said with an apologetic smile while secretly complaining in her heart: Big Sister Sang Wan, please don’t leave! At least until they leave! If you leave now, how am I supposed to handle them!
“There’s no need for Third Sister to be so courteous! Rest well, I will let Mother-in-law and my husband know!” Sang Wan smiled, and left with her servants after giving Shi Yumei and Gu Fangzi a slight nod.
Shi Yumei’s expression did not look too well. Suppressing the anger which engulfed her heart, she stood up gravely before leaving together with Gu Fangzi. She thought to herself: Just who do you think you are? How dare you tell me what to do? Why would I stay just because you said so? Why must I listen to you!
After seeing that they were about to leave, Shi Lian was relieved and hurriedly sent Cai Yun to see them off before letting out a long sigh of relief.
A few days later, when Sang Wan returned from handling some household matters, Nanny Li invited her to a room with a smile on her face. She pointed at something on the hard bed and said, “Young Mistress, look! Young Master has sent someone to bring this back for you!”
The moment Sang Wan entered, she saw a set of clothes that were folded neatly and a jewelry box that was slightly longer than a foot, inlaid with seashells and coated with lacquer, laying on the side of the bed. Just when she was about to ask about it, she quickly changed her mind and smiled, “Hasn’t all the new clothes been given? I’ve burdened him with too much expenses again!”
“It’s because Young Master has only you in mind. Young Mistress, you should just enjoy the gift! Young Master has told us that these were made specially for you to wear during the Lunar New Year when people come and visit. These were all made from newly acquired materials, quickly Young Mistress, have a look!” As Nanny Li spoke, she had Liu Ya and Zhide unfold the clothes for Sang Wan to see.
There was an orange large-sleeved upper garment with an interlocking chrysanthemum pattern and a pleated dress patterned differently but in a lighter orange; a tapestried outer coat with peony and lotus pattern, made with yellow silk, and a pale-blue dress with a design of floral pattern; a red robe patterned with hundreds of butterflies that were so exquisite that it was as if they were real; a green dress patterned hibiscus flowers and sprinkled with gold; not forgetting a lynx fur cloak and a red camlet cloak.
Liu Ya and Zhide held the clothes to show them to Sang Wan. The clothes were extremely gorgeous and luxurious, and everyone started praising, saying that only the young mistress would deserve such luxurious clothes made with such materials. They joked about how no one else could be more important in Shi Fengju’s heart than Sang Wan for they had never seen him take the initiative to prepare new clothes for anyone else!
As Sang Wan listened, she smiled subconsciously. Sometimes, Shi Fengju could be so nice to her, to the extent where she couldn’t tell whether it was real or fake. If she didn’t have the terrible nightmare-like experiences in her previous life, she believed that she would have drowned in his sweetness and would never be able to wake up. However, the nightmares were just like a thorn deep in her heart; whenever she felt happy, the thorn would prick her to remind her of her previous life.
Sang Wan smiled. She instructed Liu Ya to keep them properly and her gaze moved to the jewelry box.
Nanny Li immediately opened it and said happily, “Just by the look of the box’s craftsmanship, the quality of the items inside must be just as superior! Young Mistress, look! Look at how gorgeous this accessory is! These pearls and jades are all done so well!”
Nanny Li was full of praise as she took out a hairpin that had a butterfly and flower, dotted with jade and embedded with pearls. The butterfly feelers were made to sway from any slight movements, and the wings were dotted with jade and embedded with beads which made it look as if it was about to fly. The hairpin felt extremely alive. Nanny Li held the hairpin carefully with both hands and handed it over to Sang Wan before saying with a smile, “Young Mistress, look! This hairpin dotted with jade matches the clothes just right; Young Master has really good taste!”
Liu Ya and Zhide looked at each other in amazement. Wasn’t this jewelry the “Lantian Blue Pearl” that they saw at Qiong Fang Tower the other day?
It was worth a hundred and twenty thousand silvers! How could it not be gorgeous! As Liu Ya murmured to herself, she was happy for Sang Wan.
Sang Wan smiled and received the hairpin. The weight was quite heavy. As the angle and the lighting changed, the color of the dotted jade became more magnificent.
“Young Mistress, this old servant will help you to put it on now!” Nanny Li said gleefully.
“Keep it aside first!” Sang Wan put it back and said with a smile, “I know this is precious with just a glance at it; I’ll wear it during Lunar New Year!”
“That’s a good idea too, else Young Mistress’s hair may have to be redone! In any case, since Young Mistress is so beautiful, anything worn by you would look good!” Nanny Li grinned as she instructed Liu Ya and Zhide to keep everything aside.
Sang Wan smiled and thought to herself: If Shi Yumei ever saw me wearing this now, who knows what she would say! Who would want to listen to her nonsense? If Shi Fengju wasn’t with me, I would never wear them.
Nanny Li continued to praise Shi Fengju without stop and she persuaded Sang Wan to treat him better and care more for him. Sang Wan almost couldn’t withstand her nagging, so she quickly changed the topic when she suddenly recalled something, then gestured for all the servants to leave, “I have something to ask Nanny, is Nanny busy right now?”
“Please, go ahead and ask this old servant anything, this old servant will listen!” Nanny Li said with a smile. She finally stopped praising Shi Fengju as she stood up straight and focused fully on Sang Wan.
Sang Wan thought it over and said carefully, “I heard that Zhide’s mother wants her to receive grace to let her leave the household and get married. Is that true?”
Hearing Sang Wan’s words, Nanny Li’s face changed slightly and she felt somewhat nervous. She smiled and answered hurriedly, “Then I shall not hide this from Young Mistress. Yang Quan’s wife, also Zhide’s mother, did have that in mind. But Zhide is only seventeen this year, she can still serve Young Mistress for another two or three years. This old servant thinks that Zhide is very reliable and is a great help to Young Mistress! This matter isn’t anything important, this old servant will tell Yang Quan’s wife to delay this to the near future.”
Servants in wealthy or influential families normally left the household to get married at the age of twenty. There were some who left at the age of twenty-two to twenty-three. The Yang family was a family who had been serving the household for the past two or three generations and wanted to seek grace for their daughter.
“I don’t wish to stop her.” Sang Wan hurriedly said with a smile, “This all depends on Zhide herself, if she wants to leave, I will allow it as well. She can no longer be considered young anymore so it wouldn’t be good if we force her to stay! The only thing that bothers me is that once she leaves, I would have to trouble Nanny to find me another reliable servant as soon as possible.”
Not too long ago, Sang Wan helped Zhide escape from Ren Zhixian. If Zhide wanted to leave the household and get married just a month or two after the incident, it wouldn’t be hard to tell that she was an ungrateful person who only cared for herself, so she wouldn’t be useful even if she were to stay; it would make Sang Wan uncomfortable instead. It would be better to let her go in order to maintain a good relationship between master and servant.
Moreover, Sang Wan secretly suspected that even though it may be Zhide’s parents who mentioned it first, who knew if it was her who incited it and planned to quickly leave this place? If that was the case, then it would be even more dangerous to have her remain.
Nanny Li kept quiet for a while after hearing Sang Wan’s words. In the end, she nodded her head and said, “Young Mistress is benevolent! Actually, the Yang family was thinking of arranging a marriage for Zhide with the youngest son of Head Servant Jin, the arrangements between both families are mostly settled! Since we are all in this household, the arrangement can be settled on first, there is really no need to rush at this moment. Young Mistress, Zhide has been serving in Ning Garden for many years and is quite knowledgeable about this place. If we were to find someone else, who knows when she will become familiar with all of it! By then, if Young Mistress feels dissatisfied with her, things won’t end up pretty!”