Sang Wan greeted Wang Shi and then Third Old Mistress Shi before sitting in front of them.
Watching as Sang Wan sat down, Third Old Mistress Shi stood up with a smile and said to Wang Shi, “I think you mother-in-law and daughter-in-law have things to talk about. Then Sister Wang, I will head back first and chat with you another day!”
Wang Shi smiled and said, “It’s merely just some mundane talk, there’s nothing special about it, but if Third Sister has things to do then so be it! If you are free on another day, come and have a chat with me!”
“Will do, Sister Wang!” Third Old Mistress Shi smiled and nodded. When she passed Sang Wan, she stopped and raised her eyes to look at her. Her smile was polite yet distanced, “Sang Wan, I have really troubled you so much in the past two days and made you busy. Our matters really aren’t within your duty, so your third uncle and I feel really bad about it! Here’s some silver for you.”
After she finished, she pulled out two silver notes using her fingers before pressing them into Sang Wan’s hand, “Take it! Treat it as a token of gratitude from your third uncle and I for the hard work you put in for the past two days!”
“Third Aunt, what are you doing! I can’t accept these! It is all within my duty! Third Aunt is being too polite!” In front of Wang Shi and so many servants, Sang Wan’s face instantly turned red. A strong sense of shame rose within her and her eyes turned teary.
Third Old Mistress Shi’s words and actions were obviously dealing a blow at Sang Wan’s dignity in front of the servants and her mother-in-law! Sang Wan could not help but feel aggrieved and disappointed. She did not know what she did for her third aunt to humiliate her publicly like this!
“Why not!” Seeing how Sang Wan was, Third Old Mistress Shi laughed to herself as she had finally enacted her revenge. She forced the silver notes into Sang Wan’s hand and smiled, “The servants also had it difficult; use this to reward them then! We aren’t your parents-in-law, hehe, these tasks shouldn’t have been assigned to you, but we are still very thankful to you regardless! Even blood-related siblings don’t owe any debt to one another, am I right? Oh right, I’d like to request a temporary change for one of the rooms to be turned into a small kitchen. I don’t know who I should inform, so I will have to trouble niece-in-law again!”
Sang Wan did not even dare to raise her head. Her face was as pale as wax paper and she was so ashamed that she wished she could find a hole in the ground to hide into.
“Third Aunt,” With great effort, Sang Wan made her voice sound as pleasant as possible. Moving her stiff lips slightly, she said, “Third Aunt, you are too polite! Forgive Sang Wan for not accepting this money… As for the small kitchen, Sang Wan will immediately have someone make the change for you, so please do not worry. Third Aunt, Sang Wan is young and ignorant, if there is anything that isn’t done right, I’d like to seek Third Aunt’s forgiveness!”
“Niece-in-law, what are you saying!” Third Old Mistress Shi completely ignored Sang Wan’s appeal and the smile on her face turned even broader, “Hehe, I am a person who does not like to take advantage of others. It is better to be clear of debt; everyone would be more at peace that way! Sang Wan, Third Aunt really doesn’t have any other meaning! As for the small kitchen, there’s really no need for you to be personally in-charge, really. Later on, I will have someone go to Ning Garden. You just have to inform the servant who to look for! It’s not like I have never been in-charge of a household before, I’m sure I can still handle something this trivial on my own! How can I keep troubling you for everything? Don’t you agree? Alright, I won’t say anymore. Enjoy yourselves, I’ll be taking my leave first!”
Third Old Mistress Shi smiled and she glanced towards Wang Shi before giving a nod. With Ying Xia supporting her by her hand, she left gracefully without turning back.
Sang Wan’s body trembled slightly as her eyes turned red and hot tears fell onto her coat. She blinked away the tears in her eyes frantically before bowing to Wang Shi. With her head lowered and a forced smile, “Mother, it is all Sang Wan’s fault, Sang Wan did not handle this matter well…”
“Enough!” Wang Shi raised her hand to stop her. Her face darkened immediately as she stood up and walked towards another room, “You come with me. The rest of you don’t follow us. You’re all dismissed!”
Sang Wan sighed to herself. The scolding and lesson this time was unavoidable!
For Third Old Mistress Shi to speak such words in front of everyone, it was obvious that she was criticising Sang Wan’s management of the household. For her mother-in-law, who cared so much about dignity, to lose face in front of so many others, it would be a wonder if she could forgive her easily!
However, as it was her own mother-in-law, her attending to her mother-in-law’s needs carefully had come to fruition and her mother-in-law still left her some face. She did not reprimand her right in front of everyone else!
Sang Wan obeyed and followed Wang Shi submissively into the warm room.
“This is ridiculous!” Wang Shi said unhappily as she slammed the table heavily.
Sang Wan’s body stiffened and she instinctively lowered her head, “Mother, Sang Wan really doesn’t know why Third Aunt had such a big temper. Sang Wan will look into it carefully and give Mother and Third Aunt a proper explanation! Please believe Sang Wan! Sang Wan did not deliberately do anything imprudent to Third Aunt!”
Wang Shi raised her gaze to look at Sang Wan once before waving her hand to say, “I’m not angry with you, I have trust in the way you handle your work! Alright, there are no more outsiders here, hurry and take a seat!”
What? Sang Wan was dumbfounded and raised her head to look at Wang Shi in disbelief.
“What? Did you think Mother was angry with you? And would blame it on you?” Wang Shi was feeling both amused and angry, and grunted, “Will I not know my own daughter-in-law? Of course you aren’t that sort of person! Hmph, your third aunt was not an easy person even in the past. After so many years of not seeing her, she’s become even bolder now! Picking on all the minor things as soon as she comes back, hmph, just who is she showing her prowess to!”
Wang Shi became angrier as she spoke, “It isn’t up to her yet to discipline my own daughter-in-law! If she is that capable, then she should give birth to a son, and get herself a daughter-in-law to discipline. Who does she think she is to make a fuss in front of my daughter-in-law!”
Sang Wan finally came to a realization from her initial confusion. Her mother-in-law was furious at her third aunt for going above her head! Her mother-in-law’s words were sharp; if the words about not having a son were made known to third aunt, it would be the same as stabbing her heart with a knife!
“Mother!” Sang Wan let out a sigh of relief to herself and did not know whether to be angry at Third Old Mistress Shi or to thank her. Whatever the case, the punishment from Wang Shi was fortunately avoided this time!
She went forward to massage Wang Shi’s shoulders and back while saying gently, “Please don’t be angry, it is going to be the new year soon. If you damage your health, Fengju and I will be sad! Mother, maybe Third Aunt had a misunderstanding! Sang Wan will have someone to look into it and give you an answer!”
“What more is there to look into,” Wang Shi said angrily, “This is nothing but a person who’s purposely picking bones from an egg and declaring her own status as one of the mistresses in household! Hmph, nobody said they were not! All these years, we’ve never given them a silver less; which year did we not send a huge amount of silver for their disposal! This is just great. As soon as they’re back, they’re displeased about everything! If they were really capable, then don’t come back, it’s not like we need them! Disciplining my daughter in-in-law in front of me, hmph! Does she still see me as her big sister-in-law!”
“Mother!” Sang Wan just treated those words as if they were nothing, and tried to console from the side with a gentle voice. Her mother-in-law words were really vicious, if it were anyone who was overly-sensitive or with a bigger ego, they would definitely be really miserable. What her mother-in-law was angry at was not her, but that her “rights” were being encroached on by others and felt indignant!
After venting it all out, Wang Shi finally felt more calm, but there was still anger in her words, “Since they’ve already made themselves clear, then next time, you don’t have to bother about anything that happens with the third family! They can do whatever they want and let them torment themselves! Since no appreciation will come from doing good deeds for them, then it’s better not to waste your energy and thoughts only to receive anger from them! Hear me?”
Sang Wan saw how Wang Shi was still angry and did not dare to talk back to her. She quickly agreed and consoled again, “Mother, don’t be too angry. Since we no longer have anything to do with them, what’s the point of being angry? It was all Sang Wan’s fault for messing up and causing Mother to become angry!”
Wang Shi waved her hand and held Sang Wan’s hands before patting them, “Don’t say that anymore, this must’ve been hard on you! Sigh, how can I not be clear about the way you handle things? What’s more, with Nanny Li’s help and Fengju’s occasional aid, it is impossible for anything to go wrong! You’re a good girl, don’t think about this anymore and just treat it like a mad dog barking!”
Sang Wan bit her lip and agreed muffledly. She almost burst out laughing when she heard those words and felt a slight warmth in her heart. It felt good when her mother-in-law’s overprotectiveness was for her.
“Alright, you may go back now! Do what you need to do. Heng, don’t worry, I will not let whatever happened today get spread outside! Whoever dares to spout any nonsense will be dealt with by me!” Wang Shi said angrily after she was done venting all her anger.
“Then Mother, please have a good rest. The weather in the afternoon is nice and warm. Going out to have a stroll will be good for the heart and the mood. Sang Wan will head back first!” Sang Wan felt a strong sense of relief and smiled as she left.
“Yes! Go now!” Wang Shi was pleased and nodded, but she did not forget to inform Sang Wan as she left, “Call Nanny Jiang in for me!”
Sang Wan obeyed and called for Nanny Jiang before leaving the main courtyard.
At Ning Garden, while Liu Ya was helping her to take out the thick coat she wore for the winter, she complained unhappily, “What medicine did Third Old Mistress eat today; how could she embarrass our young mistress in front of everyone! This servant feels really bad for Young Mistress! Having spent so much energy and not receiving any appreciation, Young Mistress shouldn’t bother with the third family next time. She can do what she wants, suit herself!”
“Liu Ya!” Sang Wan did not wait for her to finish before stopping her and scolded, “Why does your mouth still speak so carelessly? How could you say that? If word gets outside, even I won’t be able to save you!”
“This is Ning Garden, that’s why this servant said those words. Who would dare to say that outside! Even if I get caught, I’m not afraid!” Liu Ya was also an impulsive person when her temper flared up, “This servant just feels so angry for Young Mistress! What did Young Mistress even do wrong! And even First Old Mistress has never thrown your face away like this! All the more someone who isn’t your parent-in-law!” The words were said as the two went into the warm room in Ning Garden.
“Liu Ya!” Sang Wan’s face turned dark and she reprimanded, “The less I speak, the more you are going at it? How many times have I told you that trouble comes from speaking absentmindedly? How did Nanny Li teach you?”
“Young Mistress…” Liu Ya bit her lip indignantly and looked pitifully at Sang Wan as she felt very hurt. `