Chapter 36 (V2): The Second Old Master’s State of Mind
He had never involved himself with the business and never had any complaints with the share of silvers he had every year. Of course, as the Shi’s business was extremely large and the income was tremendous, the silvers given to him every year were bountiful.
If his uncle wished to get another concubine, there were so many women under the sun; so why had he come to the idea of hitting on his wife’s personal servant?
“Not just him. You are absurd as well.” Shi Fengju directed it at Sang Wan. If she was not, how could she come up with such a terrible idea?
Before heading over to the study room, Sang Wan had already given much thoughts to the idea. She insisted with her gaze locked directly at Shi Fengju, “Lord, Liu Ya is my servant and I’ll be taking her away when I leave the Shi family. I’ve only got one capable servant by my side, so please Lord, accede to my request! Moreover, even she does not wish to belong to Second Uncle!”
Shi Fengju became tongue-tied all of a sudden. It was true that they had an agreement; Liu Ya belonged to her, and when she leaves in the future, she would no doubt bring Liu Ya with her.
“The matter between us, Liu Ya——”
Sang Wan shook her head, “No need to worry, she doesn’t know about it. Lord, there’s nothing for you to worry as all we’ll be doing is just an act. When we leave for a faraway place, this matter will no doubt gradually subside! Lord, please help us!”
Shi Fengju gave a long and deep sigh; he himself was absurd! To think that he would actually agree to such an absurd idea!
All of a sudden, Shi Fengju felt that there was a side to his wife which he did not know; apart from the gentle side he knew.
But at this moment, Shi Fengju did not have the heart to think as Sang Wan had already called for Liu Ya to enter before instructing her to stay. Once done, she left, leaving two pairs of eyes staring at each other.
Seeing Liu Ya standing at a spot indifferently with no sense of uneasiness, Shi Fengju suddenly felt that he himself truly was——
He could not find any words to describe it! All he could do was mock himself in discretion: This lass truly is down to earth! It was all nothing but just an act, and because that, she doesn’t look embarrassed!
“Just sit at a side!” Shi Fengju waved his hand.
“Yes, Young Master!” Liu Ya immediately answered and went to sit at a side.
A night went by without words. On the next day when Liu Ya came out from Shi Fengju’s study room, news began to spread as if it had legs and almost everyone in the household knew.
Gu Fangzi’s face was extremely ashen. A cold glare shot from behind at Sang Wan and only then did Sang Wan recall that certain person was still around. Regardless, it was Shi Fengju’s problem! Sang Wan thought harshly.
This incident was not considered something major. Other than some concerns voiced out from certain parties, the rest had shown little to no interest. The young master accepting his wife’s maidservant, in fact, should not even be considered as a problem and even Wang Shi was not bothered to question her son.
A righteous daughter-in-law, and an admirable son; as a mother, why would she even be unhappy?
Hearing of the news, Second Old Mistress was secretly happy. She was unahappy about her husband’s behavior of luring people into their house. However, because it was her marrying to him and not the other way around, she dared not voice her opinion on that matter. But not only did she not dare to voice her opinion, she still had to occasionally attend to her husband’s needs; and because of that, she felt extremely sullen.
Hearing that Liu Ya was fully received by Shi Fengju, Second Old Mistress secretly felt lucky, but she displayed a face of sympathy in front of her husband, “If only I had known, I would have talked to my nephew’s wife earlier! To think that Jingyi was of no use and was not able to be count on for something so simple!”
Second Old Master did not like Liu Ya all that much. As for her appearance, whether she was tall, short, plump, or skinny, all those he did not know. But what he did know was that the servant was able to make Xiao Bai listen to her obediently! That was the only thing he fancied about her.
In any case, Xiao Bai truly was clever to even know how to use its own beak to unlock the cage door and escape. Second Old Master thought it would never return and thus felt distressed! But who would have thought that the servant had such an affinity with that bird, for it to fly all the way into her hands?
If that servant belonged to the household, having her transferred into his domain would have been enough, regardless whether he accepted her as his concubine or not. However, she was a personal servant of his nephew’s wife!
The household lacks no servants, as such, he would always have a reasonable excuse to have the servant transferred over to his domain; and his best excuse was because he fancied her. If he were to say so, his nephew’s wife would definitely not be able to refuse.
But the unexpected had happened when Shi Fengju accepted his wife’s personal servant on the previous night!
Even though Second Old Master felt that it was a little regrettable, he dismissed the matter before letting out a deep sigh and scolded Second Old Mistress with one to two sentences for not completing the task successfully but did not pursue the matter any further.
Second Mistress listened earnestly and apologized deeply, but she secretly rolled her eyes and scolded in her heart, “Just who was it that was useless? To even dare to reach your hand out for a maidservant of your nephew’s wife, aren’t you afraid what people might think of you!”
At a side, Concubine Shui was not happy. For many years, Concubine Shui had fought against Concubine Fang and was obvious in recent years that she was at a losing end. What came to her mind was to join forces with the new concubine and trample over Concubine Fang. However, because of the recent event that resulted in Second Old Master not being able to obtain Liu Ya as his concubine, her idea was all for naught.
Feeling frustrated, she deliberately went to find trouble and complained to Second Old Mistress, “Don’t you smell the smelly smell from a far? Mistress, just think about it: First Young Master chose such a day to close the deed with that servant, Liu Ya. Doesn’t that make it clear that he is going against our old master and not wishing for Mistress to request for that servant?”
Second Old Mistress was not foolish, and of course had that thought before. However, she was fine with how things were. Or even, she was happier as to how things turned out. As such, Concubine Shui’s words sounded extremely ear-piercing. Glaring angrily at the concubine, she reprimanded, “Keep your mouth shut! Do not make matters worse! Liu Ya is First Young Mistress’s maidservant; when she wants to give her maidservant to First Young Master has got nothing to do with you! What did you say, about going against my husband? And about not wishing for me to open my mouth? Even Second Young Mistress didn’t raise this topic, then who was it that went about blabbering it?”
Having said that, Second Old Mistress stared at Concubine Shui suspiciously.
“I did not! This concubine absolutely didn’t speak of it!” Concubine Shui panicked and quickly waved her hands.
If it was because word got out that resulted in First Young Mistress to put her guard up and disrupted the old master’s plan, then he would definitely pursue the matter until the end and place all the blame onto his wife’s head.
“Oh?” Second Old Mistress observed, “Since it wasn’t you, why is your tone like that? I’m sure you know who it was that let the word out! Speak, who was it?”
“This concubine doesn’t know, this concubine doesn’t know!” Concubine Shui softly cussed herself under her breath and sweared. If only she knew that all she would be doing was inviting trouble, she would not have opened her mouth.
Second Old Mistress sneered in her heart. For a small concubine like you, how dare you come and provoke me? Joke’s on you then! With that, she severely punished the concubine before letting her go.
Concubine Shui left Second Old Mistress’s place like a defeated rooster. At the corridor, she was met with Concubine Fang who had a face of smile and a faint amount of ridicule. Furious, Concubine Shui stomped off and repeated the same words, which she said to Second Old Mistress, to Second Old Master.
Second Old Master did not actually give much thought about the matter that had already passed, but after listening to Concubine Shui’s words, he became slightly unhappy. Coupled with Concubine Shui’s exaggerations, Second Old Master could not stomach the anger in him and went to file his discontent to Second Old Mistress.
Second Old Mistress immediately knew it was Concubine Shui who spoke out of turn and she developed a sense of hatred towards her behavior but she dared not show that hatred in front of her husband. Smiling, she spoke, “Those words sounded so unpleasant. Didn’t you only wish to have that servant come over to explain how she made Xiao Bai behave? Although not easy, I’ll have our daughter-in-law ask the servant to come over and ask her personally. And then I’ll explain to you what that servant said, how about that?”
Second Old Master’s eyes instantly glistened; not bad! Instead of having to inconvenience himself by presenting himself in front of his nephew’s concubine, having a woman do it for him wouldn’t make much of a difference!
“Then it’s a yes?” Sensing that her husband was slightly moved, she felt somewhat elated.
“With your memory, I doubt you’ll be able to remember anything. Have that servant invited over and bring along Rou’er with you!” Second Old Master gave her a glance and spoke.
Rou’er was Second Old Master’s new favorite.
“Yes, Old Master!” Second Mistress promised unhappily. Her heart still harbors a deep sense of hatred towards Concubine Shui, and once all the matter was taken care of, she was sure to cure that concubine of her stubbornness.
Second Old Mistress knew of her husband’s obsession towards his fish and birds. As such, she dared not drag the task and sent a useful servant to invite Sang Wan over in less than a few days later. Within the message which she asked to be passed, her implied purpose was obvious.
Sang Wan was dumbfounded. Her heart could not help but understood why Second Old Master was so out of control. With five wives who would support him unconditionally, there was nothing for him to scruple about.
Sang Wan knew that dealing with animals was Liu Ya’s field of expertise; and when dealing with animals, there was a unique technique in doing so. As such, she spoke clearly with her and instructed her to teach them with all her heart to avoid any more of such a case from happening again.
Liu Ya was surprised and was a little proud of herself. Never had she given a thought that she’ll have a chance to guide others. Words were not able to leave her mouth and she nodded repeatedly to show her answer.
Within Second Old Master’s domain, there was a very wide yard in front of the living quarter. On each side of the yard, there was a porch, and a quartzite road stretched from one end of the yard and through to the inside.
On both sides of the road sat four large vats, at the height of half a grown man, in an orderly arrangement. Those vats were used to keep Second Old Master’s precious goldfish which he had nurtured for several decades. Each of the goldfish was not the same for their colors and shapes were different; one gaze at the numerous goldfish would fill anyone with awe. Sang Wan was not even sure what their names were.
Sang Wan heard from Nanny Li about Second Old Master’s temperament. That old man purposely had those vats placed in the front yard instead of the back so as to boast to his relatives and guests. Even servants who saw those goldfish could not help but praise him. However, as those fish were delicate, they must not be scared. As such, when walking past the vats, one’s footsteps must be light and their voice must not be loud. Otherwise, the old man would become extremely unhappy. And once the old man becomes unhappy, he would often speak in disgust, calling the guests ‘rough! Vulgar!’ after they left.
Next to each side of the porch planted a magnificent tree. On the trees, different types and sizes of birdcage were hung. Hopping up and down inside the birdcages were the birds which the second old master kept. Thrush, starling, oriole, parrots, and many others, their feathers beautiful and they were chirping mildly. Just imagine when the first ray of sunshine shines through the dense branches and the many different birds will begin chirping to mark the beginning of a day.
Sang Wan and Liu Ya followed the lass from behind as she guided them on the road. The two, master and servant, followed quietly and did not give a single glance at those beautiful goldfish and expensive birds, let alone inquire or marvel at those animals.
At this point, Sang Wan did not wish to show any interest that may result in her suddenly becoming Second Old Master’s ‘friend’. The best ending that could ever happen here was that they would never have to return to this place ever again.