Chapter 61 (V2): Everything Has to Follow the Customs
Ushering Sang Yufei to Ning Garden, Sang Wan smiled. But before she could begin the conversation by talking about the weather, her second brother’s face darkened a little and he questioned her, “Sang Wan, is there something you’re hiding from us?”
Sang Wan was taken aback. She knew that the ‘us’ he was referring to were him, Big Brother, and Sister-in-law.
“Second Brother, what are you saying? Aren’t I looking fine?” Sang Wan smiled.
That, however, made Sang Yufei more sure of his thought. Under the silent confrontation between the two, Sang Wan gave up in the end and lowered her eyes slightly.
She forced out a laugh and asked awkwardly, “Second Brother, what do you wish to tell me?”
As of now, the Sang family had not gotten wind of the news that Gu Fangzi will be marrying into the Shi family yet. Wang Shi had been avoiding the topic because she feared the Sang family would come over to create a ruckus. If that happens, it would be difficult for her to handle. As such, she wanted to wait until Shi Fengju returned before letting Sang Wan pass the news. When that comes, at least her son would be present to handle the situation.
“I just feel that something’s a little off,” Sang Yufei spoke with a faint smile. “For a servant at the Second Gate to dare to be insincere and look down on you who’s the young mistress of the household, Sang Wan, just what is going on?”
Sang Wan smiled bitterly. Her second brother was not like her big brother who could be fooled easily. Thinking back, when Liu Ya told her sister-in-law about the Double Fifth Festival, her sister-in-law might have been quick with her mouth and told her second brother about it.
Sang Wan murmured, “As of now, the household is managed by my mother-in-law’s niece so all the household affairs are handled by her. Because of that, some servants might be foolishly ignorant towards me. As for that servant, I’ve already punished her severely!” With that, she explained the punishment she gave. “I may be quite passive by nature, but who knew others would end up taking advantage of it, and thus something like that happened today!”
Sang Yufei thought for a moment. He placed some trust in those words and smiled, “I see, so that’s the case! Then my mind can be at rest.”
Sang Wan smiled, “I’m already this old, what can you be worrying about? If, if I still need to make my two brothers and my sister-in-law worry, then I, really——”
Thinking that her two brothers and sister-in-law worry for her, Sang Wan could not help but feel touched in her heart and her eyes turned moist.
“Silly lass,” Sang Yufei laughed, “Father and Mother aren’t around anymore. Your brothers and sister-in-law worrying for you is something we ought to, don’t you think? If you don’t marry well, then how can we face our parents in heaven?”
Recalling the blissful moments she had with her brothers in the past when she was still young, even though they weren’t rich, but that was the time when the environment around her was the most pleasant!
Sang Wan felt a warmth in her heart and she smiled. A smile that was soft and gentle on her white face, and the glisten on her black eyes that was like glass.
In her past life, she had actually ignored such precious feelings! In this lifetime, she had to be happy because her happiness was not just for herself, but also for those of her beloved ones who were close with her!
“Second Brother, thank you. Thank you, Second Brother, Big Brother, and Sister-in-law! I’ll be alright and not let all of you worry!” Sang Wan broke into a smile.
Sang Yufei laughed before letting out a sigh, “Our Sang Wan really have grown! To actually know how to say ‘Thank you’ now!”
Sang Wan felt a little embarrassed by his words and wanted to deny shyly, only to hear her brother let out another gentle sigh, “It’s a pity that the older we get, the more foolish we become, just like your brother here!”
“Second Brother!” Sang Wan was startled and felt even more embarrassed! Both the brother and sister laughed right after.
Sang Yufei felt that there was something really wrong with that Miss Gu person, but as a man, it would inconvenience him to reproach someone else’s missy behind their back. As such, he could only sideswipe to Sang Wan and let it pass. Sang Wan smiled in response but was somewhat anxious deep inside. As the days passed one after another, it became harder to tell him!
Sang Yufei stayed in the Shi household for three days. It so happened that there was a large ship heading for Hangzhou. As such, Sang Wan ordered a servant to book a fine cabin before letting Sang Yufei leave. Before Sang Yufei could refuse, Sang Wan already arranged for two well-built servants who knew how to swim to follow him and see to him until he reaches Hangzhou safely by using her mother-in-law’s name. In secret, she gave them an ultimate order to follow Second Young Master Sang closely and never to listen to his order but never to displease him in any other way! Of course, a huge reward was added.
Sang Yufei didn’t understand why she was being so tensed and took it that she was being too concerned about his exams. From the immense amount of pressure, he could not help but also feel the warmth from it . The pressure turned into motivation for him in the battle ahead and he said, “Sang Wan, don’t worry, Second Brother will surely bring back the top title! I’ll not disappoint all of you!”
Sang Wan hurriedly spoke, “As long as Second Brother returns peacefully, there’re still many more opportunities to get the title!”
Sang Yufei could not understand her thoughts for saying so, and took it that she was trying to comfort him and he nodded with a smile. “Don’t worry!” He laughed and left.
After Sang Yufei left, Sang Wan’s heart tightened. Lots of uncontrollable thoughts came to her head, and only when she thought of the other two servants who were accompanying him, her heart calmed down a little. Until three days later when the two servants return to report that Second Young Master Sang had safely reached Hangzhou and was staying in an inn was she then finally relieved.
Gu Fangzi also could no longer drag any longer. Reluctantly, she completed the tasks which she needed to finish and left on a carriage with Lan Xiang away from the Shi household.
But before she left, she could not help but look back at the high-rise walls around the household and the captivating huge courtyard of the Shi household which gave her a feeling of ease.
Very soon, she will return! And when that time comes, this entire place shall belong entirely to her! Entirely to her, Gu Fangzi!
Sang Wan pulled herself together. She familiarized herself with the affairs within the household while also urging the renovation of Peony Park and the other necessary preparations.
For the renovation, Sang Wan actually did not have to take the trouble to manage it as Nanny Li had already been waiting for this moment to harshly deal a blow at Gu Fangzi. As such, Sang Wan just assigned the responsibility to her to let her do as she please.
After getting Sang Wan’s word and making her idea clear to Wang Shi, she went and began the preparations needed to be done on Peony Park. The fine porcelains and jade decorations were all kept in the warehouse and switched with ordinary crafts, and the set of yellow pear furniture was replaced with ordinary wooden furniture. The only thing that remained unchanged was the canopy bed with the inlaid landscape pictures——because Shi Fengju would also have to sleep on that bed, and so it was left untouched. Everything else from curtains to tablecloths, chairs to tables, and whatever that was bright red was replaced with dull pink or white! Of course, the quality of the items were lower than before.
Nanny Li claimed that was how a concubine should be treated. She also said that if the concubine was not Miss Gu, there was no way a concubine should be living in such a huge courtyard like Peony Garden! Implying that she was already being extraordinarily generous towards her!
As for the part about inviting guests over for the banquet, Nanny Li stated that the Shi family had already held a joyous event in the year already and would not be acceptable to invite the guests again for another event such as welcoming in a concubine. There isn’t anyone from the Gu family to invite anyway, and even if there were, there wouldn’t be many! Having three to five tables where one for the masters and the rest for the management servants, Nannies, and guests. The courtyard servants can prepare a few tables for themselves and the other servants, and that would be enough.
Wang Shi had a weird little feeling in her heart when she heard about the arrangement and smiled, “That sounds reasonable, but, but it seems a little unsatisfactory for Fangzi!”
“Unsatisfactory?” Nanny Li quickly smiled, “Which household doesn’t do this when welcoming in a concubine! Missy, don’t forget, she is no longer your niece, but the young master’s concubine! Our Shi family is one who follows the custom. If a concubine doesn’t act her part, then the Shi family would really lose face! If someone were to say something like the Shi family favoring the concubine and doing away with the wife, don’t say anybody else, but Old Mistress Zhuang would definitely make a fuss over it!”
She then strengthened her words with another sentence, “Miss Gu has always been knowledgeable and sensible. I’m sure she would also agree to this! This is after all for the reputation of the family!”
Absolutely intolerable to be belittled by Old Mistress Zhuang! Wang Shi’s face changed and she said flatly, “Alright! Our Shi family is one that follows the custom and shall never drift away from it!”
“That’s right, Missy! Then, this old servant shall go about with the preparations!” Nanny Li grinned.
“En, Sister, you’ve worked hard!”
“It’s nothing, it’s nothing! Missy is giving this old servant too much credit!”
The master and servant both smiled.
Previously, Shi Fengju had sent a letter saying he would be back by late July, but who knew he would have something unexpected to take care of and would only be back early August. Wang Shi could not help but become anxious. Since it was already time, there was no need to wait for her daughter-in-law to bring the good news to her son. As such, she sent a servant to report the news to urge him to return before August the 6th!
As for the Sang family, the news could not be dragged any longer. Wang Shi had no choice but to instruct Sang Wan to go over and tell Sang Hong and Fang Shi.
Sang Wan, without a choice, followed suit.
Once Sang Hong and Fang Shi heard the news, their expression changed. Sang Hong could not believe what he heard was true, and as for Fang Shi, the shock slowly turned into a cold sneer, “Sure enough, I’ve guessed it right! So it really happened!”
Following Fang Shi’s idea, the Sang family should head over to the Shi family and have this matter settled once and for all. This would let the Shi family know that the Sang family is not one to tolerate such bullying! However, Sang Hong was against shooting the rat in fear of breaking the vase, he was afraid Sang Wan’s days in the Shi family would become unbearable after and he stopped Fang Shi.
Fang Shi was fuming with anger. Looking at her husband and her sister-in-law who had no intentions to make any fuss, her anger turned into ice and she sneered, “I see! You earnest members of the Sang family aren’t even anxious, so why am I the one being anxious! Just do what you all like! To be bullied to such a state and you’re all still enduring it. The Sang family sure are saints!”
With that, she swung her hand and left.
Tears flowed from Sang Wan’s eyes and she went after her. “Sister-in-law!” She called out and quickly grabbed Fang Shi’s arm tightly before sobbing, “I know Sister-in-law is doing so for my own good, and I’m extremely grateful! But, but Gu Fangzi and Young Master Shi already had feelings before. It’s just a matter of time before this matter happens! I ——”
Sang Wan stubbornly pulled Fang Shi to a seat and briefly mentioned about the relationship between Gu Fangzi and Shi Fengju. Sang Hong and Fang Shi become stunned and turned even more furious.
“It’s all Big Brother’s fault! If I had known this sooner, I would have never let the arranged marriage happen!” Sang Hong regretted morosely.