Wang Shi could not help but feel sorry for her own daughter. She pulled Shi Yumei into her arms and sighed, “My good child, it must have been tough for you! When your second brother returns, let him help you!” Wang Shi was extremely furious. Our Shi family helped pay off his debt, gave him good food to eat, and let him have a roof above his head, and yet there he went educating me about etiquette! What a joke! Even if my Shi family is wealthy, that money shouldn’t be spent so wastefully! Feeding the dogs would be better! Wang Shi thought to herself.
“No, don’t!” Shi Yumei panicked and said, “Mother, please don’t tell Second Brother about what happened today. Please don’t tell him!”
“Mother ah!” Shi Yumei smiled as if nothing had happened, “Even I was at fault today. As a man, living in his wife’s parental family would, of course, make him a little uncomfortable and sensitive! I should have spoken nicely and should not have been overtaken by my anger! It is all my fault for making Mother worry about me! I—” Shi Yumei whimpered.
“You ah!” Wang Shi was also feeling somewhat uncomfortable. Watching her daughter be in such a state, she could not even be angry. She sighed, “Really! Forget it, whatever you say, Mother will side by you! Ai, this really—”
Seeing that her mother had promised her, she let out a sigh of relief. But that made her feel even more of a letdown. So after much thought, she said again, “Mother, I think that after Mid-Autumn Festival, have Banana Courtyard readied quickly, and we will move in immediately! That way, it’ll save Mother from any more troubles!”
Wang Shi was reluctant to give up on her own daughter, and she was about to open her mouth to speak otherwise, but the thought of her unreliable son-in-law made her think that not seeing him would be better! She nodded and said, “That’ll also be good! When you two settle down in the courtyard, live your life well! Your husband said he will be participating in the examinations that will be held three years later, right? So just listen to your second brother and have him concentrate in studying in the courtyard. There won’t be anything else for him to worry about!”
“En, thank you, Mother! Only Mother and Second Brother treat me the best!” Shi Yumei smiled gratefully.
The dishes were served back out again. The mother and the daughter sat to eat, but Shi Yumei felt worried for her husband and went to pick a few dishes before having Cui Zhu send them to Ren Zhixian. Wang Shi watched without saying a word.
The next day was the annual Mid-Autumn Festival. The entire Shi household were busy early in the morning as they prepared for the festival. In the small garden, the servants shuttled to trade for preparation items, report upon completing their tasks, or give their opinions. It was extremely lively. Sang Wan, Zhide, and the others were as busy as bees, and Nanny Li brought Liu Ya with her to the kitchen to direct the dinner preparations. This was a major festival, and no mistakes should be made. Only with Nanny Li personally looking over the dinner preparations would Sang Wan not be worried.
Putting that aside, Shi Yumei wandered around the household and ended up arriving near the small garden. As she watched the servants come and go, she thought of the cold and empty Peony Park which made her heart burn with anger. With a sneer, she headed to the small garden with Cui Zhu.
Sang Wan heard from a little servant that the eldest missy had come, and she quickly gave her instructions for Zhide to supervise the preparations before leaving with a few other servants.
“Big Sister! What brings you here!” The moment Sang Wan left the house, Shi Yumei had already gone past the patio and was heading her way.
Shi Yumei was scornful after hearing those words, and she said, either with a mocking intent or not, “My younger sister-in-law, you’re now in control of the household, so what need is there to curry favor with me! What’s wrong? Am I not welcome?”
Where did that come from?
“That’s not it! That’s not it!” Sang Wan hurriedly smiled as she replied, “It is my fault as I should have invited Big Sister over. It’s just that these few days have been very busy for—”
“Ai, having to manage the ins and outs of the household, there’s no way you can’t be busy. I can understand! I mean, what does it matter? I’m just a missy married out from the Shi family. Inviting me in to have a seat isn’t important at all!” Shi Yumei smiled and interrupted her.
“Big Sister, those words really make me feel bad! Although it was due to my negligence, I hope that Big Sister won’t put it to heart! Oh, Big Sister, please have a seat inside!” Sang Wan quickly smiled and invited Shi Yumei into a warm room before the two sat down.
Seeing that Sang Wan was not reacting to her remarks and responding only with a smile, she labeled her as a big-hearted person as she secretly sneered to herself instead, Indeed sinister to the roots. No wonder Cousin Fangzi didn’t dare say anything even though she was obviously suffering!
After some cold introductions, the tea was served. Sang Wan was quite startled when Shi Yumei did not accept the tea. She then had to personally give the cup of tea with a smile. “Big Sister, please have some tea!”
Only then did Shi Yumei receive the cup with a smile. She opened the lid, and a faint tea fragrance rose to her nose. Then, she took a glance at the clean and elegant cup before taking a good look at the clear tea. It was yellowish-green—a beautiful and refreshing color for a tea.
Shi Yumei took a small sip and smiled with praise, “This is good tea! What is this called? I’ve never had this before!”
Sang Wan then smiled to answer, “What you’re drinking is plum tea from Anhui. I, too, think that it is great. If Big Sister likes it, I can have someone send some over to Big Sister later.”
Shi Yumei nodded and responded with an ‘oh’ but quickly spoke again, “Nevermind, there’s no need to! If I were to run out of it while being addicted, that wouldn’t be good. I’ll be much better off not having it in the first place!” With that, she said, again either with a mocking intent or not, “In any case, it doesn’t matter whether the tea is here or at my place, so if ever my mouth itches to have a drink of this good tea, I’ll just come over for some. Sister-in-law, you wouldn’t find me a bother, right?”
Sang Wan could not help but feel somewhat sullen deep down. Just what did I do to offend her? Why do her words always sound so thorny!
“Just listen to what Big Sister said! Why would I dislike Big Sister coming over! It’ll be my pleasure to have Big Sister come over if the days are idle!” Sang Wan could only smile, and she continued, “If Big Sister really likes this tea a lot, I can pass that on to my husband. He has always respected Big Sister, so I’m sure whenever Big Sister wants it, regardless of quantity, he’ll surely do so!”
Shi Yumei was waiting for Sang Wan to say that she would cover it all, so she could come over to collect as much tea as she wanted whenever she wants them. Had she said that, Shi Yumei would have had the opportunity to sneer at her with words like, “She who has wealth speaks louder than others. Nothing less from someone managing the household.” But to think that Sang Wan would actually use Shi Fengju. That gave Shi Yumei no room to play that card.
A shrewd person indeed! Shi Yumei sneered to herself.
“Is that so? Then I’ll take your words for it. In the future, you can’t regret your words if I come here often!” Shi Yumei exclaimed weakly, “Speaking of which, I should really try to please you! After all, I have already been married off from my family, but I’m now lodging here, so how can I not try to please the lady in charge of managing the household! This fact is something that I understand! Don’t you say so, Sister-in-law?”
“Big Sister’s words are too severe!” Sang Wan’s expression changed slightly before gazing at Shi Yumei calmly. “The current lady managing the household is still Mother-in-law. Sang Wan is only helping her to deal with some of the complicated affairs! Sang Wan is unworthy of Big Sister’s words!”
“How are you not worthy of it! The one in charge is the one in power! Besides, all these will be yours in the future, so I don’t think it matters!” Shi Yumei said with a cold sneer, “My mother’s temperament has always been good and would always think for the better of others. When others say some nice words to her, she would think that they are sincere! My dear younger sister-in-law ah, I think the management of this household would be more secure in your hands, or else others might take advantage of the Shi family! Say, don’t you think so!”
Sang Wan tightly squeezed the handkerchief in her hand, and she shook a little. Expressing a sense of realization, Sang Wan quickly smiled and said, “Big Sister indeed has extraordinary insight! I am foolish, like a frog under the well who has never heard of such principle!”
Her honest and straightforward response stunned Shi Yumei, making her at a loss for words. Although secretly annoyed, she clapped her hands and smiled to say, “My younger sister-in-law is indeed an intelligent person to be able to understand so quickly! Having taught you an important principle, are you not going to thank me?”
Just what kind of important “principle” did she teach? Sang Wan almost burst into laughter but she nodded, “Big Sister, is right; I should say my thanks to Big Sister! I—”
“I just knew that my younger sister-in-law is big-hearted!” Shi Yumei interrupted with a smile, “Your big sister isn’t a greedy person. Why don’t you gift your big sister two pieces of jewelry. How about it?”
How about it? Was there something she could do about it? As if she could refuse!
Sang Wan could not help but secretly ponder to herself, Big Sister is, nevertheless, the Shi family’s eldest daughter and is cherished deeply by Mother-in-law. Sir also treats her with respect and is very fond of her, so why have her eyelids sunk so low to the point where she will even speak of words that sounded of daylight robbery!
But since she wants them, I might as well let her have them. In any case, those pieces of jewelry do not belong to me.
Little did Sang Wan know that Shi Yumei’s purpose was to fight for Gu Fangzi’s “justice”! She firmly believed that Sang Wan had plotted against Gu Fangzi and robbed her off her belongings, and so, she had the intention of wanting her to bleed.
“As long as Big Sister isn’t disappointed, please select those which are to your liking!” Sang Wan smiled.
“My younger sister-in-law is indeed generous! Then I shall!” Shi Yumei clapped and let out a laugh.
Sang Wan wanted to have a servant bring out the jewelry, but Shi Yumei claimed that there was no need for the trouble. As such, she went into the chamber with Sang Wan before going in front of the dressing table.
What she saw were plenty of jade jewels, gold headdresses, as well as many other exquisite and finely crafted jewelry. Shi Yumei could not help but secretly marvel at the sight. She was a person who knew her goods, and she knew in a glance how much all these pieces of jewelry were worth. Deep down, she thought to herself, This woman truly is skilled. Just what did she do to bewitch Fengju into such a state! To actually buy so many good things for her!
Of course, she was clear of her brother’s character. If he was unwilling, no one could get anything from his hands! But once he was fond of someone, he would be entirely devoted to that person.
Shi Yumei felt even angrier for Gu Fangzi, and she endured the urge to scold her own brother.
She picked up a necklace strung with 18 large pearls, and each of the pearl was round and had a soft luster. It was heavy and extremely valuable. Shi Yumei clicked her tongue as she gave praise to it before putting it down and picking up a white jade embedded precious vermillion hairpin. She fiddled around with it before taking a good look at it. The entire hairpin was a finger and a half long with a gold tip at the end. There were fine dots of white jade embedded at the top of the hairpin, designed in a way to showcase the jade as the petals of a blooming flower and the pearl as the center of the flower. Surrounding the flower were branches made of jade. It was brilliantly crafted and was extremely delicate on the hand.