Shi Fengju’s face turned turned expressionless as he said in a low voice, “Husband and wife in name? Just like before?”
“Do you not like that?” Sang Wan raised a brow slightly in amazement, “You don’t seem against it! I don’t like to scheme against others, and neither do I have any tricks up my sleeves nor the heart to devise one. Even if you gave me your word, saying that you love me, but what about Gu Fangzi? Tell me, who doesn’t know how much she loves you? I’m also sure you are well familiar with her character compared to mine? Surely, you wouldn’t wish for this household to be in a turmoil!”
Shi Fengju understood her meaning and said plainly, “Then what do you want to be done?”
“Make her leave the Shi household!” Sang Wan said without any hesitation, “So long as she’s here, she will just be like a thorn in my heart, making me uneasy. I can’t stop you from having concubines, but she’s different; she’s the only one I cannot accept! If you were in my shoes, I’m sure that you would not be able to accept her. If she is no longer important to you, then make her leave! If you want her, I will grant your wish! But if you want both of us to stay, you’ll have to forgive me because I won’t be able to do that. I will return the authority of this household to her and request Mother to let me move to the country house to stay a while.”
“I’ll never allow it!” Upon hearing that she was intending to leave, Shi Fengju felt frustrated. He clenched his teeth and said, “I will never allow you to leave, and you will never be able to leave me!”
Sang Wan said plainly, “Mother actually dotes on me and she is very easy to speak to. As for Gu Fangzi, she probably can’t wait for me to leave. I just need to mention it and I’m sure she will prepare a carriage for me immediately. As for you, you can’t always be at home right? When you are far away from home, would you be able to stop me?”
Shi Fengju was speechless.
He had always been clever and he understood things without having to be told twice. If he did not allow her to leave, she naturally could not leave. However, her treatment towards him could not be controlled by him! Now that her footing in the household had strengthened and her second brother was the top escorted examinee, even if he did not make it through the next examination this time, who knew if he would succeed on his next try? Even if he decided to stop taking the examinations, he could settle to be a magistrate. Just by that alone, the Shi family could not do anything to her! Besides, he could not harden his heart to do anything that would harm Sang Wan!
If he were to force her to stay, what would remain would be her body. Even if she remained gentle or virtuous, it would all be on the surface only. However, he loved her so much that he did not want just her body. He loved to see her gentle smile; he loved to have small talks with her as he listened to her soft and gentle voice; he loved her contented smile which would warm his heart. All of which could be gotten only with her by his side.
Shi Fengju finally gave in and sighed, “If she had not entered the household, everything would’ve been easy to handle. But now that she had entered, asking her to leave,” Shi Fengju shook his head, “Mother will never allow it!” And the person herself would definitely refuse!
Sang Wan said, “Her marriage with you was not made public, and only a handful of others know of it. With the Shi family’s financial power, arranging another marriage for her would not be a trouble! Mother has always doted you and felt that letting her be a concubine was not fair for her. Only you can handle this properly, and I’m sure Mother won’t say otherwise!”
Shi Fengju went silent. He agreed with what Sang Wan said, but she had missed the key person and that was Gu Fangzi herself! If Gu Fangzi did not want to leave, he could not force her to. If she were to make a scene, Mother would definitely feel guilty to her and would be more likely to let her stay. It wasn’t that he wanted her to stay, he just wasn’t all too confident about it.
Sang Wan felt disappointed, but she had already expected him not to give an immediate reply too. Otherwise, she would feel uneasy as well!
She gently pried his hands away and said with a forced smile, “It’s getting late now, I have to go to Third Aunt’s place and then check on both Ji Cui Tower and Han Shuang Pavilion afterwards!” She turned and left. Shi Fengju heard her instruct Hong Ye, “Watch over the house properly and take care of your young master. Remember to direct any messengers to Ji Cui Tower!”
From the gentle sound of footsteps, she had left with a servant.
Hong Ye gently slid open the door and entered to serve her young master, but he waved his hands to signal her out, which she promptly did so.
Even though the house was silent, Shi Fengju’s mind was a mess. He understood Sang Wan’s concerns. Her soft outer appearance and strong stubbornness made him love her even more, but he was at a loss of what to do. However, he was sure of one thing. If it’s about letting her go, he would never agree to that!
He had already done something that made him regret, and that was allowing his cousin to stay. Now, he could not afford to make another mistake that would cause him to regret —— letting her leave!
Shi Fengju did not come up with a plan after much thought. He suddenly felt that the house was stuffy and unbearable, which made him annoyed and irritated. He got up and left without saying a word.
Sang Wan reached Wang Shi’s place calmly and reported to her about the conclusion, which Wang Shi nodded in agreement. Sang Wan then went to Third Shi Family’s Old Mistress’s place and apologized to her again before letting her know about the punishments given to the servants. Third Shi Family’s Old Mistress was never a kind-hearted person when it came to dealing with servants and felt that Sang Wan was not being harsh enough. In her eyes, a servant without respect for their master was the most detestable and should be beaten to death!
On a second thought, it might be because New Year was approaching and it was inappropriate to give harsh punishment that would end up cutting their blessings. Her face did not show any displeasure as she smiled at Sang Wan while saying courteous words like “You have worked hard”.
Sang Wan felt relieved seeing that this incident was somewhat resolved and she hurriedly smiled, “Third Aunt, please do not worry. In the future, I will properly manage every aspect of this household and not let a similar incident happen again! Oh right, the latest Third Aunt and Third Uncle can move in is tomorrow evening. When that time comes, I will order a few servants to guide you there! The time given was short, so if there’s anything still lacking, please let me know in the future!”
Third Shi Family’s Old Mistress was elated. She smiled and said, “Sang Wan is no doubt capable! It’s already fine that we can move in tomorrow, we aren’t too particular!”
Sang Wan smiled. Afterwards, she said her goodbyes as she left for Ji Cui Tower and Han Shuang Pavilion to check on their progress.
At Peony Park, Lan Xiang brought back the news of Sang Wan being scolded by Wang Shi early in the morning which delighted Gu Fangzi. She said with a sneer, “No matter who, it must feel unpleasant to receive a show of authority after returning to the household after so many years? Besides, Third Aunt was never easy to deal with, I can’t wait to see how Sang Wan will handle this!”
“That’s right, with so many enemies in the household, her life from now won’t be easy!” Lan Xiang agreed happily. After receiving Gu Fangzi’s orders, she left to carefully inquire about any movements.
Unexpectedly, the incident was resolved with only harsh punishments for the three servants and the nanny. Third Shi Family’s Old Mistress did not pursue the incident any further and even Wang Shi did not punish Sang Wan harshly.
“When did Aunt become so magnanimous? Her reputation has always been important to her, so how was this incident resolved so simply?” Gu Fangzi could not believe what she heard and stared at Lan Xiang before asking, “Is what you heard accurate?”
Lan Xiang did not dare to answer. But after a brief moment, she toughened herself up and replied, “The young master… he somehow helped to put some nice words for Young Mistress in front of Old Mistress. That’s why——”
“Just who does that b*tch think she is! That damned vixen!” Gu Fangzi spat harshly as her expression quickly turned furious, “I thought so. With Aunt Wang’s temper, she wouldn’t have let this matter rest so easily! Big Cousin, Big Cousin, once again he protected her!”
The one he should be protecting was her, Gu Fangzi! Since when did he throw her aside and not show any concern for her!
Gu Fangzi thought to herself with jealousy and hatred: Sang Wan, don’t be so pleased with yourself. Men fall in love with every other woman they see. He may be protecting you now, but there will come a day when you will be in the same situation as me… abandoned like a pair of old shoes!
“Missy, do you think… that Nanny Zhang will tell on me…” Lan Xiang asked timidly. The reactions from the three servants were unexpected, but Lan Xiang was clearly involved in the incident with the carpet. If that nanny were to even mention a single word about her, Sang Wan would definitely be suspicious of her.
Seeing her make use of the opportunity to think about herself, Gu Fangzi couldn’t help but loathe as she glared at Lan Xiang while saying unhappily, “You just rest your worrying heart! In this household, there aren’t a lot of stupid servants like those three. Nanny Zhang definitely knew the more she spoke, the more fault she would be in! Hmph, if she did mention you, do you think that you will still be standing here now? You would have already been dragged to Ning Garden for interrogation!”
With such a great opportunity to bring her under control, why would the people from Ning Garden let it slide?
“Next time, be a little more clever when handling your tasks!” Gu Fangzi instructed.
“Yes missy!” Lan Xiang finally rested her heart.
Having spoken the words in her mind before leaving Ning Garden, Sang Wan became nervous and did not know how she should face Shi Fengju. Luckily, she made use of the excuse of being the overseer and refused to leave Ji Cui Tower. Nanny Li was concerned for her; many a times she had asked her to leave without worries but she refused and insisted on staying. Nanny Lee had no choice but to let her have her way.
Once it was time for dinner, Nanny Li persuaded with a smile, “Young Mistress, the sky is getting dark. You should hurry and return to have dinner with Young Master! The servants have to eat soon before returning to work for a little while more so there won’t be any need for you to come back after dinner! Don’t worry, this old servant will keep a tight watch over them!”
Sang Wan felt hesitant at first but said with a smile, “If that’s the case, then let’s all call it a day. Nanny, let’s go back together and discuss after dinner!”
With more people around, Sang Wan felt that it would reduce the awkwardness between her and Shi Fengju.
Who knew that Nanny Li would shake her head and say, “That won’t do. This old servant will have some rice and soup in the nearby kitchen with the rest of the servants. Getting the job done is most important now! Young Mistress, there’s no need for you to worry about something as trivial as this. Hurry back to Ning Garden! Young Master must still be waiting for you! There’s this old servant here, so there’s no need for you to worry!”
Sang Wan ran out of excuses and could only agree with a smile as she returned with heavy steps.
Fortunately, Shi Fengju had sent word that he would not be having dinner tonight with her and would eating with his two uncles.
Sang Wan felt relieved as the weight in her heart finally vanished. She hurriedly ordered the servants to bring in dinner. Once she had her dinner, she rested for a while and wash herself up before going to bed.
The moment she laid down, rather than feeling more relaxed, her heart felt even more tensed as she began to worry.