Seeing that everything was in order, Shi Fengju smiled at Sang Wan, “Nanny is right, I think we should head back first!”
Sang Wan nodded with a smile, “Alright then! We’ll take a quick look at Han Shuang Pavillion before heading back.”
The couple held each other’s hand as they headed to Han Shuang Pavillion. With no sign of disorder there as well, they went back to Ning Garden.
Upon entering a nearby room, Shi Fengju quickly chased out a maidservant after she served them tea. The two of them sat close to each other as they spoke, and this naturally felt very different from the other days. Shi Fengju was at the peak of his passion, and thought that his wife looked good from every angle. His passionate gaze and playful smirk reflected his incomparable feelings for her, and this put Sang Wan’s heart on cloud nine for the entire day. She barely noticed the time passing quickly.
In the afternoon when the courtyard was thoroughly tidied up and prepared, a final check was made to ensure that nothing was missed before the huge furniture like beds, tables and chairs, to the smaller items like the tea cups and pots were moved. The fireplace was ordered to be lit before the two went to the guest house to invite the Third Shi family.
Nanny Gui had already glanced at the entrance several times, and after seeing them, her heart was finally at ease and she smiled as she greeted them, “Young Master and Young Mistress, you’re finally here! Come in quickly, Third Old Master Shi and Third Old Mistress Shi are waiting inside!”
“Sorry for making Third Uncle and Third Aunt wait!” Shi Fengju and Sang Wan went inside with a smile.
Third Old Mistress Shi had long since packed her entire family’s luggage and placed it in a corner. It seemed they were eager to move out as soon as possible.
Seeing so, Shi Fengju and Sang Wan spoke no further and went to give the instructions to the servants after giving a few words of greeting. The luggage and belongings were carried by ten servants and were to be brought to Ji Cui Tower and Han Shuang Pavillion respectively. The young couple gestured to personally guide Third Old Master Shi and Third Old Mistress Shi while Nanny Li led Shi Yuzhen and her sister to their residence.
Shi Yuzhen and her sister cheered and hurriedly ordered the servants to carry their luggage over while they ran ahead.
“It must’ve been very sudden, sorry to trouble the both of you!” Third Old Master Shi smiled gently.
“Third Uncle, no need to be so polite! After all, this is what we ought to do!” Shi Fengju and Sang Wan smiled and replied.
However, Third Old Mistress Shi asked suspiciously, “Ji Cui Tower? Why —— are we not going back to Qing Hui Garden? Don’t tell me someone is staying in Qing Hui Garden? Or has it been changed to be used for some other purpose?”
“Nothing of that sort,” Shi Fengju quickly replied, “That year when Third Uncle and Third Aunt left, Qing Hui Garden was locked and never occupied. That place is huge and difficult to tidy up in a short period of time so Ji Cui Tower was readied first for Third Uncle and Third Aunt to stay in temporarily. Next year when the temperature becomes warmer, we’ll clean up Qing Hui Garden and Third Uncle and Third Aunt can move in there when the time comes!”
Third Old Mistress Shi agreed softly but looked a little unhappy. Nanny Gui could not help but cut in, “For so many years, Qing Hui Garden was locked and no one was ordered to look after it? That, that——”
For a moment, Shi Fengju did not know how to respond at all. That year, Mother was unhappy with Third Uncle being granted the position of an official. Immediately after they left, she ordered Qing Hui Garden to be locked. Not only was it never maintained, even the locked was never opened before. Surely it must have turned rusty by now!
“Enough, enough! Let’s get moving! I think Ji Cui Tower is pretty good. We’re a family so staying anywhere in the household is fine! There is much to do for the year-end, where would our niece-in-law have the time? Qing Hui Garden can be discussed again next year!” Third Old Master Shi glared once at Nanny Gui.
Third Old Mistress Shi then ordered the servants to begin moving their luggage, but she did not forget to let Shi Fengju and Sang Wan know, “Then next year, we’ll have to trouble you again! The days that we’ll be spending in the household will not be short; I think it will be good for us to stay in a residence we’re more familiar with!”
Shi Fengju and Sang Wan naturally agreed. However, the two secretly sighed to themselves. That is a residence closed off for more than seven years, who knew how tall the weeds have grown, there will be so much work to be done! Even the roof has to be changed.
After arriving at Ji Cui Tower, Third Old Master Shi let Shi Fengju and Sang Wan return first. Seeing the many luggage, it would be inconvenient to remain so the two quickly smiled and took their leave.
“Dear! You are too passive!” Third Old Mistress Shi sat down on the chair and said angrily, “Even if we left home, were we never coming back again? Eldest Sister-in-law must’ve done so on purpose! She purposely left our residence in such a state! A residence locked for seven to eight years, can it even be inhabited! Dear, they must’ve done so on purpose! If you don’t go hard on them, how do we spend our days in this household? Won’t we just be bullied to death!”
Third Old Master Shi gave a slight smile after hearing her and he answered unhurriedly, “Just listen to yourself, listen to yourself, why are you getting angry over nothing? When we aren’t at home, Eldest Sister-in-law not touching our residence is also a form of respect! Anyways, the one who helped the court that year and resolved their problem was Big Brother. The court only gave the position as a reward in return. It was initially Big Brother’s, but Father made the decision for me to have it. It goes without saying that we’re the ones who’ve benefited from Big Brother and Eldest Sister-in-law. It is only natural for her to use that opportunity to vent! If our families were switched, could you still say that you wouldn’t feel any bit of indignance?
Third Old Mistress Shi said immediately after him, “But Big Brother wasn’t against it at that time. He was even very supportive of you! Unless Eldest Sister-in-law doesn’t understand what obeying her husband means? At the very least, she should know that doing business is very different from being an official; not anyone can be one!”
Third Old Master Shi laughed and said, “Oh, are you saying that you know what obeying your husband means? Just look at yourself now, are you even listening to me? I didn’t even say any words of complaint, but you’re the one feeling unhappy! Eldest Sister-in-law being resentful is nothing but normal too!”
“You women are all the same!” Third Old Master Shi wanted to add, but after realizing that it was inappropriate to speak about his eldest sister-in-law, he held it back.
“You!” Third Old Mistress Shi was exasperated.
Third Old Master Shi smiled and said, “Enough! Now that we’re home, stop acting like how you would outside. Who in our family would bully us? Eldest Sister-in-law isn’t that sort of person, and neither is Second Brother nor Second Sister-in-law. Not to mention Fengju and his wife. If they did harbor such thoughts, they would not have tried their best to clean up this house and still thought through everything so thoroughly for us! Everything is done so scrupulously! Just look around you, is there anything you can pick on? Think about it, right now, Fengju and his wife are the ones in-charge of this household. If they really want to give us a difficult time or make us look bad, they could easily have someone do some underhanded actions under a facade while we could only suffer in silence! ”
“You think!” Third Old Mistress Shi quickly harped on his words and said immediately, “Does Ying Fang’s fall not count? Luckily, that maidservant is loyal and pulled me away just in time. Otherwise, I would have been the one with a fracture!”
Third Old Master Shi creased his brows and said, “You are too sensitive! That day when we returned, there were so many things to do in the household; it is only reasonable that our niece-in-law must have neglected a thing or two! Anyways, wasn’t that nanny and the three maidservants punished severely already? And didn’t our niece-in-law also give an answer to you. Look, you made them finish tidying this place up in two days, and they already did it, didn’t they? When we entered, the fireplace was lit and hot tea was served, even our own children might not have done as well as them. Be more thoughtful and look at the good side of others!”
Third Old Mistress Shi took one glance around and saw the silk curtains and pillows all prepared, and the table and chairs were all made from the same redwood. The chairs, cushions, bottles and containers, furnace, art portraits and calligraphy were all placed elegantly with style. There were even two blossoming carmine red apricot flowers in a vase by the window.
The bright red charcoals sizzled softly, and the house was warm and cozy. There really wasn’t anything to pick on.
“Fine! I can never win against you!” Third Old Mistress Shi sighed and started instructing Nanny Gui and their servants to unpack all their luggage. The servants were all waiting, and upon receiving instructions, they scrambled to begin.
The day gradually became dark. Third Old Mistress Shi instructed the servants to light the lanterns up and led them to continue unpacking. Although it was only a resignation and many of their things were already left behind, there were still many things that they had brought along with them. In order to save space, different things were packed together haphazardly without any form of categorization. With every luggage completely packed, unpacking them became troublesome!
“Father! Mother!” A child-like voice came from outside. When the door was pushed aside, it was Shi Yuzhen leading Shi Yulin over with two maidservants.
“You aren’t done here? Why is it so messy!” Shi Yuzhen exclaimed.
“It isn’t that fast! Sit at the side and don’t make trouble for us!” While holding onto a list of items, Third Old Mistress Shi instructed the servants to move the things. After a short while, she suddenly raised her head and asked Shi Yuzhen and her sister, “Both of you stay in Han Shuang Tower right? What do you think? Do you think it’s good?”
The two sisters looked at each other and smiled as they nodded, “Everything was decorated nicely! Not worse than our other house!”
Third Old Master Shi could not help but smile and said, “What rubbish! What do you mean our other house? This is where we’ll be staying now, do you understand me?”
“Okay!” Shi Yulin nodded, not fully understanding her father, while Shi Yuzhen stuck out her tongue quietly.
“Father! Mother! Let’s have dinner first! We are all hungry!” Shi Yuzhen shouted and said, “Nanny Li said that the kitchen will be sending the food over and asked us to come and eat with Father and Mother!”
“Now, listening to Xiao Lin, I really do feel hungry. Then let’s eat first!” Third Old Master Shi quickly said too.
Third Old Mistress Shi massaged her sore back and nodded with a smile, “Time does fly!” After saying so, she instructed the servants to stop and to bring some warm water to wash their hands before asking whether the dishes had arrived.
Nanny Gui hurriedly came forward with a smile, “The kitchen sent the meal boxes over just now. This old servant took them and put them on the table over there!”
Third Old Mistress Shi nodded and ordered for the meal boxes to be brought to the living room before asking if the warm water was ready.
Ying Xia held a bronze basin while a young maidservant holding the warm kettle came forward from behind. Ying Xia smiled and said, “The maidservants were unfamiliar here and took a while to find the basin! This water also had to be heated from the charcoal in the side room. It really is inconvenient without a kitchen nearby!”
Third Old Mistress Shi nodded and looked at Third Old Master Shi subtly, implying that she was not the only one who found this place inconvenient. This simply would not have happened if they were back in Qing Hui Garden. She merely said, “Remember to remind me tomorrow to let Young Mistress know about this and have her arrange a small area in the side room to be turned into a kitchen! It will be more convenient for us!”
Ying Xia hurriedly agreed and went to help her masters wash their hands clean.