“You!” Ren Zhixian said hatefully, “Don’t think you are all that amazing just because of some stinky money! When I become an official in the future, I will make all of you kneel in front of me and beg!”
Shi Fengju smiled mockingly, “It’s not too late for Big Brother-in-law to act arrogant when that happens! What’s the point of saying that now? Where is my big sister?”
Ren Zhixian was fuming with anger but he could not do anything about Shi Fengju. Hearing him ask about Shi Yumei, Ren Zhixian replied coldly, “How should I know? What? Didn’t she go accompany her mother?”
Shi Fengju said, “She went back, but who knows which bast*rd had the guts to lock the gate and not let her in! Heng, please enlighten me on why my big sister cannot even return to her own house! Big Brother-in-law, shouldn’t you give me an answer for this?”
So it’s because of that! Ren Zhixian felt a twinge of regret. Of course he could not admit that he was the one who gave the ultimatum not to open to the gate, and he answered, “How should I know why that gate isn’t open? The servants must’ve thought that she was going to spend the night there and wasn’t coming back! What’s wrong with locking the gate? Heng, doesn’t she know how to call out!”
“Oh, so that’s the reason!” Shi Fengju replied coldly, “So this wasn’t instructed by Big Brother-in-law?”
“Definitely not!” Ren Zhixian did not give any thought when denying. Who was he kidding? Shi Fengju looked like he could gobble him up at anytime, as if he would dare to admit it! He thought to himself: If I don’t admit it, what can you do about it?
“That’s good,” If he doesn’t admit, Shi Fengju really could not do anything about him. And so, Shi Fengju said stoically, “Then the servants are the ones at fault! Go, call up all the servants in Jiao Garden and stand in the courtyard!” He gave a chilly glare at the fragile-looking Cui Bao and said, “And you, go to the courtyard as well!”
Before Cui Bao could speak, Ren Zhixian had already yelled out, “What has this got to do with Cui Bao!”
Shi Fengju said indifferently, “She is also a servant! If the servants are disobedient, they need to be taught a lesson! Go or not, you decide yourself!” His last words were for Cui Bao.
Cui Bao’s expression changed immediately and she answered, “This servant will go, this servant will go!” After that, she quickly put on her clothes. As if she would dare to not go? She had long known that in the Shi household, Ren Zhixian would not be able to protect her!
Seeing how Cui Bao “yielded” and not give him any face, he became speechless with anger.
Shi Fengju gave another cutting glance at him before turning his back to leave. In Jiao Garden, the servants were already standing in the pavillion, trembling in fear. Being ordered to come out from their warm blankets on such a cold day, everyone complained in their hearts, but nobody dared to voice it out. There was only fear in their hearts.
Seeing Cui Bao, who was the favorite, running out in a disheveled manner, everyone’s hearts tightened once more.
Shi Fengju glanced across them coldly and reprimanded, “I don’t have to say anything more about what happened tonight! I see that all of you must have enjoyed too many comfortable days that you’ve all become unruly. How dare you decide on your own and do something so disrespectful! If I don’t teach you a lesson, then what will become of the Shi Household?” Shi Fengju said loudly, “All of you, kneel! You’ll all kneel until the next morning when someone I ordered says it’s enough! Kneel now!”
Everyone drew in a sharp breath collectively. Some reacted quickly and said, “Young Master, us servants are accused wrongly. It was all Young Master Ren’s instructions!”
“Yes, Young Master Ren was angry, so we servants did not dare to disobey!”
“Young Master, please have mercy on us, we dare not do it again!”
Shi Fengju looked at them coldly and did not speak until the crowd was done explaining, begging, and admitting their wrongs. He turned towards Ren Zhixian, whose face was already turning from green to white, and smiled, “Big Brother-in-law did you hear that? They said they were all following your instructions, this can’t be true, right?”
Ren Zhixian guiltily turned his head away while trying to hold onto his facade as he gave a low sneer. Of course he could not admit! A person as well-read as him couldn’t possibly do such a thing? But if he were to deny it in front of everyone, it would also be a slap to his face!
Shi Fengju smiled coldly and glared at the crowd as he commanded, “Why aren’t you kneeling! All of you really have no respect for your masters, how dare you still malign Young Master Ren! You’re all really out of control! Anyone who speaks anymore will add another thirty spanks tomorrow!”
Everyone was frightened, and those who wanted to voice out held onto their tongues for their dear lives. They looked at one another and kneeled without a choice. They resented Ren Zhixian in their hearts! If they knew this would happen, they shouldn’t have listened to him! A few of the servants also reproached themselves for being foolish; how could they have forgotten that this was the Shi household! When had it become someone who was not surnamed ‘Shi’ to be in charge?
Shi Fengju’s action was without a doubt a hard slap on his face. He was so mad that no noise could escape from his mouth! If he remained quiet, then it would imply that his servants do not respect him and had tried to slander him. It was only justifiable for Shi Fengju to teach them a lesson, and he could do nothing; not even plea leniency for them.
“Whoever dares to take a break from this should take a good look at your own worth beforehand!” Shi Fengju threw one final sentence before walking away with the servants from Ning Garden1.
Ren Zhixian was furious to a state of no return!
“Cui Bao, come and help me change and prepare my bed!” Ren Zhixian reckoned that Shi Fengju must have already walked a distance and ordered Cui Bao again with his usual air.
All the other servants were useless, they dared to betray him in front of Shi Fengju, and complained about him! Even if they had to kneel for three days and three nights, he would not bat an eye. But Cui Bao was different, Cui Bao had him in her heart. She truly cared for him, so how would he have the heart to watch her suffer?
Ren Zhixian’s words garnered rage from the rest of the servants, however, they did not dare to confront him. Instead, all their sharp glares turned to Cui Bao, almost as if they could cut her. All of them thought collectively in their hearts: If she dared to get up, then I’ll definitely tell on her tomorrow!”
Cui Bao was tactful, there was no way she would dare to get up. She lowered her head and whispered, “This servant, this servant now guilty of an offense, this servant does not dare! Lord, please order Sister Cui Zhu instead!”
In this whole courtyard, Cui Zhu was the only one exempted from the punishment.
“What? You aren’t going to listen to your lord’s words now?” Ren Zhixian sneered under his breath and went forward to pull Cui Bao up.
Cui Bao had wanted to yield after making a small show of resistance before following Ren Zhixian, but at the thought of the servants who were glaring at her like a predator, as well as Shi Fengju’s icy cold expression, she quickly snatched her hand back and begged desperately, “Lord, this servant deserves to be punished. Please do not make things difficult for this servant!”
One after another, all of them are no longer listening to me now! Shi Fengju, that rascal, is he trying to cut me off from everyone else! Ren Zhixian tutted hatefully and stomped his feet as he left.
He went to the door of the warm room and called out to Cui Zhu loudly. At this moment, Shi Yumei and Cui Zhu were already in bed. Cui Zhu got up in a shock and looked at Shi Yumei beggingly. She knew that if she went out now, she would become an object for Ren Zhixian to vent on, and who knew how he would torture her! But she was only a servant, if the master called for her, what else could she do?
Shi Yumei could not bear seeing her expression and sighed softly, “Ignore him, let’s go back to sleep!”
“Thank you, Eldest Missy!” Cui Zhu’s pale expression recovered and she went back to lie down gently.
In Ning Garden, how could Sang Wan fall asleep? When Shi Fengju pushed the door to enter, she immediately got up and looked at him, “You’re back!”
“En,” Shi Fengju smiled and removed his outer robe before placing it on the hanger at the side, “Why aren’t you sleeping yet?”
Sang Wan blurted out without any thought, “If you aren’t back, how can I sleep!” But that sounded too intimate, as if she was not used to sleeping without him. Sang Wan blushed subconsciously and asked with a smile, “How did it go? Is everything alright now?”
“Everything’s alright now!” Shi Fengju smiled. His anger had already disappeared by half. He climbed up the bed and pulled her into his embrace, “You were saying that you can’t sleep when I am not around?”
Sang Wan rolled her eyes at him and said, “I’m just worried! How can I sleep with something on my mind!”
“Oh!” Shi Fengju answered faintly and was somewhat disappointed.
Sang Wan bursted out laughing and said gently, “Quickly go to sleep. I’m afraid we will have to get up very soon!”
Shi Fengju still remained quiet without saying a word.
Really, this person! Sang Wan sighed helplessly. She took the initiative to put her arms around his waist and lie in his embrace as she fidgeted slightly.
Seeing how she was as obedient as a kitten, his gloomy mood was instantly lifted and he hugged her tightly, “You must be tired, go to sleep quickly!”
“Right,” Sang Wan smiled at him and found a comfortable spot in his embrace and closed her eyes. She instantly felt a little indignant: Hearing indirectly from Nanny Li, when he was close to Gu Fangzi in the past, he would always listen to her. Now, although it was her turn to be close to him, it was her who had to listen to him! Sure enough, different people have different predicaments!
They were up until late last night. The next morning, they were tardy and that made Sang Wan panic. It was the day of the New Year, Wang Shi only rolled her eyes but did not speak of it! Sang Wan only let out a huge sigh of relief and felt that it was largely because she was only late by a little.
Nanny Jiang smiled and helped Sang Wan say a few words, “I think Young Mistress must’ve been tired from everything that’s happening in the past few days! Everything within the household had to be managed by her after all!”
“Yes, Mother!” Shi Fengju quickly agreed. He wanted to say that initially, but he was afraid that it would make his mother angrier.
Although that was it, Wang Shi gave him a glare, “What’s so tiring about it? Which daughter-in-law who manages the household did not have to go through this? Don’t tell me that I still have to give out instructions even until this day? Even I had to go through this in the past!”
Nanny Jiang and Shi Fengju did not dare to speak after hearing so. After awhile, Second Old Mistress Shi, and Third Old Mistress Shi arrived. Only then did Wang Shi stop talking about it.
On the next day, Sang Wan was to return to her parents’ home to pay a visit. In the afternoon, she returned to Ning Garden to begin the preparations.
“Those can be handled by Nanny and Liu Ya, you should lie down and rest for a while!” Shi Fengju smiled and said.
Sang Wan said, “During broad daylight, how can I go to bed and rest? What’s more, today’s the first day after the New Year, others will definitely gossip about it if I do!”
Shi Fengju laughed and said, “Then just lie down on the heated bed in the warm room for a while, otherwise, where will you get the energy for tomorrow? If your big brother and sister-in-law see you, they will surely blame me for not taking good care of you!”
Sang Wan laughed and tilted her head, “Big Brother and Big Sister-in-law only sing praises of you, why would they blame you?”
Shi Fengju laughed and said, “That’s only because I always took good care of you! When we went back previously, I had personally made a promise with your big brother.”