Listening to him speak about the past, Sang Wan turned a little flustered and she lowered her gaze with a smile, “Really? Why didn’t I know about it…”
Shi Fengju smiled, “You were not there at that time. But see, haven’t I done it now?”
Sang Wan’s face blushed and she gave a soft tut without speaking further.
Shi Fengju chuckled and pulled her into the warm room before ordering the servants to leave. He then yanked her to lie down. Sang Wan was indeed feeling a little tired and did not resist any further. She took off her outer robe and pulled the blanket over her chest and fell into a deep sleep after saying a few words. Shi Fengju sat by the side with a book in his hands to chase away the boredom, but no content went into his head. He caressed her shoulders softly and his eyes were filled with gentleness. Just being with her, even if it was just looking at her, he would feel a faint comfort spread in his heart, making him feel extremely at ease. She was the only one who could provide him this quiet and warm feeling of bliss.
Third Old Mistress Shi had not returned to visit her family for many years. She would be going back with Third Old Master Shi and their two daughters tomorrow as well. After having dumplings at Wang Shi’s place, she sat for a little longer before returning to prepare.
Second Old Mistress Shi did not express anything at Wang Shi’s place, but after returning to her house, she was feeling sulky. Nanny Lin went up to pacify her with a smile, “Thinking about it, Old Mistress hasn’t gone back for the past two years. Why don’t we prepare a little and do the same for tomorrow?”
“We’re not going!” Second Old Mistress Shi said grudgingly, “My son is yet to be found and my daughter-in-law failed to live up to my expectations! What’s the point of going back? I will only be mocked by others! ”
Thinking about her son, her heart could not help but ache even more.
Nanny Lin’s expression changed slightly. Feeling slightly embarrassed, she did not dare utter another word.
Jiao Garden’s cold war still continued. All the servants knelt for an entire night and almost everyone felt as cold as an icicle the next day! In the morning, Shi Fengju sent a servant with an order to allow them to get up. All of them felt immense relief and gave their thanks while getting up with great difficulty before returning to their house have a change of clothes and a hot beverage. Being in the cold for a long period, their loud sneezes could be heard from the heavens above.
Ren Zhixian was distressed at the sight of Cui Bao’s red cheeks that were freezing cold and her purple lips that were trembling uncontrollably. He quickly used a thick coat to wrap around her and pulled her back into the chamber before ordering Cui Zhu to prepare hot water for her to take a bath.
Almost every servant in Jiao Garden caught a cold, and Cui Zhu was the only one who remained mobile. Without a choice, she had to ask the kitchen for some hot water, and then the storehouse for some medication before brewing a large pot to be shared with everyone.
“Finding trouble for everyone again!” Ren Zhixian glared at Shi Yumei spitefully and coldly said, “Everyone in Jiao Garden is sick. Are you happy now? What good does doing this get you!”
Shi Yumei glared at him incredulously and said, “You’re blaming me for this? Did you not think that I might end up being the one falling sick because you had someone lock me outside? Can what you speak even match up to your conscience?”
Ren Zhixian mocked, “Weren’t you concerned about your mother? You disappeared late last night, so how would I know if you are coming back? Anyway, isn’t this your Shi household? Is there no other place for the eldest daughter to stay! So of course you’re to blame!” Ren Zhixian gnashed his teeth, “You purposely wanted me to lose face, so you called Shi Fengju over to make a ruckus! I’m sure you know, right? Shi Fengju, that bast*rd, woke me up from my sleep by throwing a huge basin of cold water on me! Nothing less from a scheming businessman! ”
Shi Yumei received a huge shock. She didn’t think that Shi Fengju would be so ruthless. However, Shi Fengju was standing up for her so she certainly would not speak badly of him. She laughed coldly, “Well, you were the first in the wrong, so you deserved it!”
Ren Zhixian fumed, “Right, so I deserved it. I deserved to be subjected to such indignity since your entire family has their eyes on top of their heads!” Ren Zhixian felt that if this conversation were to continue with his disobedient wife, his anger would definitely exceed his limit. He stormed off in a huff and went to have a look at Cui Bao.
Cui Bao lay in the warm bed of his study room that was separated by a partition. She was feeling terrible with a throbbing headache and a blocked nose. Seeing him arrive, her eyes turned red and she called out to him tearily before going silent.
“All because I was useless, you’ve ended up suffering!” Ren Zhixian felt so sorry for her, and he caressed Cui Bao’s face lightly. In front of Cui Bao, seeing her rely on him made him feel like a real man, a man with an indomitable spirit.
“Lord, you mustn’t say that!” Cui Bao’s strained her throat and struggled to get up but was forced to remain lying down by Ren Zhixian. Her eyes darkened and she let out a few coughs before she spoke with a low voice, “Lord had suffered a lot as well, let alone a servant like myself!”
Her words immediately hit Ren Zhixian in the heart, and he sighed, “What can we do! In any case, this is the Shi household!” He gritted his teeth indignantly as he thought to himself: If not, they wouldn’t have acted so brazenly!
Cui Bao’s eyes sparkled, “Has Lord never thought of going back to Mengxian?”
“Go back?” Ren Zhixian was taken aback. He had never really thought of going back. What’s more, he had nothing left in Mengxian, not even a house. Going back there, what would they eat or drink!
“Yes!” Cui Bao answered, “Going back is still better than living here, only to be at someone else’s disposal! Lord, just think about it. Young Mistress is the eldest missy of the Shi household, the Shi household would never not care about her welfare!”
Ren Zhixian’s eyes brightened, and he rubbed his hands, “Not bad, why didn’t I think about that!”
If he were to return to Mengxian, Shi Yumei would have to follow too. If he had no food to eat, and no roof over his head, Shi Yumei would have to suffer the same! He did not believe that Shi Fengju would watch Shi Yumei live in poverty on the streets!
“Then it’s settled. I am done with the days of living under someone else’s roof. Let’s go back after a few days once you’ve recovered!” Ren Zhixian said decisively
Cui Bao cheered and she quickly added, “Lord is wise. When we arrive at Mengxian, won’t you be able to have your way? Nobody would dare to show you any displeasure!”
Recalling how everyone in Mengxian would fawn over him, Ren Zhixian finally smiled with satisfaction and was excited about returning!
How foolish he had been, he should have thought of it sooner! Mengxian was definitely a thousand and million times better than here! So long as Shi Yumei was around, what was there for him to be afraid of?
Cui Bao was also naturally happy too. Once they leave the Shi household, she would belong to the Ren family. With Ren Zhixian loving her so dearly, no one would find trouble for her from then on!
“Lord!” Cui Bao glanced around, “All these valuable decorations and furniture are all available to us. Why don’t we bring them back to decorate the house? It would be so much better than buying anew from the market!”
“Right, right!” Since those were things he had used, it goes without saying that they now belonged to him. Cui Bao’s words made an absolute sense!
Cui Bao then added, “Still, I worry that Young Master Shi will not permit us to do so. Lord, you’ve seen how he was like yesterday…”
“Heng!” Ren Zhixian was unhappy and his expression turned sullen, “As if he would still argue with me over this!”
“That will be difficult to say. After all, this is the Shi household, there’s no way we can win against so many of them!”
“Then what do you think we should do?” Ren Zhixian asked.
That was just what Cui Bao was waiting for. She smiled and said, “This will be simple! Since no one will pay attention to us during the next few days, why don’t we move all those small items out of this household and hide them elsewhere? Do you think it’ll be plausible?”
Ren Zhixian did not seem to think that it was wrong at all. In fact, he nodded a couple of times and agreed with her. He smiled and even complimented Cui Bao. “You’re smart to have come up with such a brilliant idea!”
Having settled on the decision, he stopped having a war of words with Shi Yumei while harboring threatening thoughts towards her: You wait and see. Once we return back to Mengxian, I’ll have to change that bad habit of yours! You’ve been very rebellious ever since we came here!”
Shi Yumei was entirely oblivious about his plan. Seeing that he had stopped giving her trouble, she certainly would not go and find trouble for herself.
On the next morning, Sang Wan and Shi Fengju boarded a horse carriage and headed for Yangliu Town’s Sihe Village.
Just like before, there were two carriages. Liu Ya and two other servants shared a carriage full of gifts, while Shi Fengju and Sang Wan shared the other.
However, the atmosphere of the journey this time around was different. After getting into the carriage and settling down, Shi Fengju’s eyes were fixated on his wife and he had a gleeful smile on his face. He was feeling both restless and excited.
Under his brazen gaze, Sang Wan’s face blushed. She wanted to avoid him, but there was only that much space within the carriage.
“Sang Wan,” Shi Fengju extended his arm to pull her close to him and he smiled, “We are husband and wife, so why are you sitting so far away from me?”
Sang Wan rolled her eyes at him and thought in her heart: we were husband and wife too in the past, but weren’t you the one who sat far away from me?
Shi Fengju saw her lovely face full of grievance that seemed so innocent, and his heart fluttered. He could not help but lower his head to kiss her lightly on her forehead and nose, “Sang Wan, this is our first time going out together after being together!”
“Don’t do anything out of line inside the carriage. How do you expect me to meet with others if my clothes and hair become messy!” Sang Wan smiled and pushed him away.
“Don’t worry, I know how to stay in line.” Shi Fengju smiled and looked outside the window through the veil. Mountains were at a distance, and the beautiful scenery went by them as the carriage continued forward. Including the time when he went to receive her for the marriage ceremony, this was his third time going by this road. However, this might be the first time he had ever felt this happy and comfortable. After all was said and done, he did not let her go. Perhaps fate had it from the day they were married, that she was destined to be his, however, it was he who took so long to realize. His heart shook a little and he simply hugged her close to him and carried her onto his lap.
“Fengju!” Sang Wan received a huge surprise. Even in their house, he had never hugged her like this. Not having the courage to remain in such a position lest she lost face if her servants were to see her like that unintentionally, she struggled to stand.
“Don’t,” Shi Fengju hugged her even more tightly, and smiled stubbornly, “Let me hold you dearly in my arms! Nobody will see us!”
Sang Wan glanced towards the closed carriage doors, and felt more at ease. She spoke no further and leaned towards his embrace.
Shi Fengju was happy and became more intimate with her. During the entire journey, they spoke sweet words to each other and the atmosphere was very dreamy.
Sang Hong and Fang Shi knew that they were coming today and had already prepared the spread of food since a while ago. “The horse carriages are here! The horse carriages are here!” In the afternoon, they heard the village’s young children running and shouting. Sang Hong and Fang Shi brought their children out to welcome the guests.
Shi Fengju helped Sang Wan to tidy her hair before getting off the carriage. He offered his hand to her and helped her down. Sang Hong and Fang Shi both smiled and went forward, “We have waited half a day, you’re finally here!”
The two children, Sang Quan and Sang Nuan, were in a new set of clothes. They ran forward and greeted, “Auntie, Uncle.”
Sang Wan answered them and held their hands while smiling towards her brother and sister-in-law, “Aren’t we all looking forward to this day. There was snow during the past few days so the road became a little difficult to travel on. If not, we would have arrived earlier!”