Nanny Li remained silent as she cast a glance at Zhide who was sobbing silently at a side. A horse can be led to a body of water, but it cannot be forced to drink, Nanny Li thought to herself. Since Ma'am is frustrated and Zhide isn't willing to go, then it'll be best not to force her, or else things won't end well.
"Then, what does Ma'am plan to do?" Nanny Li smiled and asked.
Sang Wan sighed softly and said, "This problem is difficult to handle, and that's why I called you over to seek your opinions! In any case, she is my sister-in-law, and I don't wish to cause a scene that would make her lose her face because both Mother and Sir will not be too happy about it. But she has crossed the line this time! Zhide is like my arm, and I cannot just turn a blind eye!"
However, before Nanny Li could speak, Shi Fengju had lifted the curtains and barged in unexpectedly. He questioned, "What happened? What about my big sister? And what does it have to do with Zhide?"
The facial expressions of the three who were present changed instantly. Zhide was the most startled, and her eyes almost dropped onto the floor. Oh no! Not only was she unable to avoid jumping into the fire pit, she had even pulled her ma'am with her!
Sang Wan was also taken aback, and her mind quickly drifted. How could she have been so careless! They should have had Liu Ya keep an eye outside the door! They didn't know to which extent had he heard their conversation, so he might even think that they were scheming against her sister!
Nanny Li's mouth hung wide open as she was not sure what she should say. Afraid that Shi Fengju might jump into conclusions and fault Sang Wan, she quickly smiled and answered, "Young Master is here. It'll be best for him to make the decision instead! Ma'am, why don't you let the young master in on the situation!"
One side was his sister, and the other was his wife. This matter ah, it would be best to let him handle this heck of a headache! Nanny Li thought so before eyeing Zhide. With a bow, she dragged Zhide out with her.
Sang Wan had finally calmed down, and she smiled. "Yes, something did indeed happen. Sir, please have a seat while I explain it to you slowly."
After inviting him to take a seat, Sang Wan personally poured him a cup of tea before taking a seat and explaining to him the details.
There was no need to speak in a roundabout manner like she did to Nanny Li when the one listening was Shi Fengju. She spoke objectively and straightforwardly before adding, “Zhide refused to go and came crying to me to help her, but your big sister has yet to mention it to me, so it’ll be inconvenient for me to take the initiative to bring it up! That is why I called for Nanny Li to discuss with her, and that is when you suddenly came in!”
After a brief moment of pause, she continued, "Big Sister said that Zhide is intelligent and that she would like to have her serve her husband, so that he can study peacefully. But Zhide is one who doesn't speak much but has many thoughts in her head. Since she has already openly told me about her situation, forcing her to go would not be a good idea!"
Shi Fengju's face darkened slightly, and he fumed, "That man sure is difficult to satisfy! To think he did have his eyes on the servants in the small garden! How very courageous of him!" He said to Sang Wan, "You don't have to handle this. Let me instead!"
And then he added with a sneer, "Even if Zhide wants to go, as her master, she'll first have to go through me!" At the thought of his servant, who had served him for many years, being tainted by a bast*rd like Ren Zhixian, Shi Fengju felt even more disgusted.
That's all? It was this easy? Sang Wan was so surprised that she could not believe what she heard.
Brooding over this and then troubling Nanny Li were all for naught? It was all handled so easily just from the movement of his mouth?
"What's wrong? Amazed?" Seeing her in such a state, Shi Fengju found her expression amusing, and he could not help but wave his hand in front of her eyes.
"Then I'll let Zhide in to give her thanks!" Sang Wan smiled. "Since Sir has already said so, then I don't have to worry anymore!"
Shi Fengju cast a meaningful glance at her and smiled. "Relax, I know what I should say to my big sister. Since she hasn't told you about it, then you should act as if you have never caught wind of this news at all!"
Sang Wan found those words agreeable, and her expression immediately lightened up. With a grin, she nodded. "En."
Shi Fengju then went on, "Let's push that aside for a moment. You're now the household's Ma'am, so those servants directly under you shouldn't be given away so easily! That point is something I can completely understand!"
Sang Wan was immediately taken aback, and she dodged his gaze in that brief moment before mumbling, "Then, I'll invite Zhide in to kowtow to Sir. That'll surely ease her worries!" Without waiting for Shi Fengju to respond, she called out to Zhide.
Sang Wan's heart was fluttering intensely. His treatment towards her seemed to be somewhat different than before! He had changed—but she could not quite describe his change. It wasn't frustrating, and it wasn't a feeling she disliked!
But her heart let out a sigh, So what if you're treating me well? Gu Fangzi, Concubine Gu is still within this household! With her still around, there was no way she would remain even if she were to deceive herself.
Zhide came in. Seeing her anxious expression, Sang Wan smiled and assured, "Your sir has spoken. He said that even if you want to go, he won't let you! The servants in the small garden cannot be easily given away to others! With this, there's no need for you to worry anymore."
Indeed, Zhide's face instantly changed into a smile, and her eyes became lively again. She quickly kowtowed to Shi Fengju, "Nubi gives thanks to Sir! Nubi gives thanks to Ma'am! In the future, nubi will be sure to serve Sir and Ma'am even better than before!"
"Enough, you may leave! In the future, your Ma'am's burden is yours to share too. Don't let her worries go in vain!" Shi Fengju smiled.
"Yes, nubi understands and will obey Sir's very words!" Zhide kowtowed again before getting up and taking her leave.
Sure enough, Sang Wan acted as if the matter did not reach her ears. On the next day, Shi Fengju went to find his big sister. Although there was no way to find out what he had said to her, she no longer came to find Sang Wan about Zhide. Then, the next day came, and an agent arrived at the household along with a few well-behaved servants for Ren Zhixian and Shi Yumei to pick.
Even though Ren Zhixian was reluctant to give up on Zhide, he did not dare to aggravate Shi Fengju. Without making any objections, he went to select one who had a beautiful face and a clever vibe. Shi Yumei named her Cui Bao and placed her to serve at the study room. Shi Fengju then took Shi Ming back with him.
Shi Ming felt completely relieved. He assigned some simple matters before leaving Banana Courtyard without turning his head to give it one last look.
On that day, the weather was just about right, and Shi Fengju decided to bring Sang Wan to greet his mother before bringing her out of the city to a country house for two days to let her catch a breather.
Coincidentally, Shi Yumei was present and was having a conversation with Wang Shi. When she saw Sang Wan in a crimson and silver coat and vermilion dress while sporting a hairpin with embedded jewels in her hair, she looked completely like a rich and beautiful lady. She was dressed excellently, and standing by Shi Fengju who wore a moon white robe, they were like a perfect match.
At the thought of the woman in Peony Park who wore plain clothes, a sense of displeasure covered her heart completely and she sneered, "Second Younger Brother, you sure dote on your wife a lot! How can you only bring her out without inviting your own sister! But speaking of which, that brother-in-law of yours should go out for some fresh air instead of studying the entire day!"
Sang Wan's hands tightened. If they were to follow along, instead of having any idle time as well as some fresh air, she wouldn't have any air to breathe in from all the worrying she would be facing.
But Shi Fengju chuckled and joked, "Big Sis, I think you should just remain and take care of Big Brother-in-law as well as accompany Mother! Next time, I'll be sure to invite Big Sis. And Big Sis, you're right that Big brother-in-law should actually leave the house and have some breather, but I'm afraid that with my characteristics and my lack of elegance, he wouldn't even want to come along with me, let alone speak with me!"
"Oh you jest!" Shi Yumei smiled, but she somewhat agreed with him. The look of dislike that her husband often had towards the Shi family was something she was entirely clear of.
Shi Yumei suddenly felt somewhat uncomfortable, and she smiled. "Your big sis is only joking with you! We aren't really going to go along with you, of course, unless I'm frustrated! Second Brother ah, it's one thing to go, but don't forget about the old after having someone new! There's this saying that 'everything's better when new, but not for relationships!"
"Yumei! There you go again!" Wang Shi smiled at her before directing it to Sang Wan. "Your big sister just likes to joke around. Enough, enough, the two of you should be on your way!"
Wang Shi smiled and nodded. She did not bother thinking too much about Shi Yumei's words, but Shi Fengju took the initiative, "Big Sis, you're right! Big Sis ah, you have to keep a close eye on Big Brother-in-law, or else he might end up keeping the new and forget the old ah! If that time comes, there won't even be a place for you to cry!"
On the day Cui Bao entered the household, she was immediately taken into the chamber by Ren Zhixian and was serving closely by his side these few days. News like this couldn't escape Shi Fengju's ears if he wanted to know.
"You, how could you say that! You're turning more and more rude as the day passes by!" Shi Yumei was furious and embarrassed as she glared at Shi Fengju.
Wang Shi smiled and said, "You shouldn't be angry at him! Aren't you the one who started it?" Then, she added, "I can't guarantee anything else, but I am sure that my son-in-law is not someone who will step over the line and do something like doting the concubine and neglecting the wife!"
"Yes, yes, of course!" Shi Yumei grunted, "All she is worth is just a play thing that needs feeding, just like a domestic pet! As if I need to bat an eye on her! Doing so will mean losing to her!"
"Then I'll take it that Big Sis understands," Shi Fengju smiled. "A wife is a wife, and a concubine is just a concubine; there will always be a gap! It has nothing to do with new or old!" With that, he cast a glance at Sang Wan before smiling at his sister. "If he dares to do something as immoral as neglecting you, I'll definitely not spare him!"
"You ah!" Shi Yumei wasn't too sure whether she should be happy or not, and she let out a sigh, "Enough, enough, there's no way I can win you in terms of speech! You two should be on your way! Don't be an eyesore here!"
Everyone laughed upon hearing her so. Shi Fengju smiled and pulled Sang Wan along.
The two of them got in the carriage. Slowly, it traveled out of the eastern gate of the city.
Through the thin curtains that had a fresh scent, the sunlight shone brightly, letting rays of light into the carriage. Gazing out of the window, the sky was high up above, and the mountains looked far away. Sang Wan’s heart finally felt at ease, and the edges of her lips rose slightly.
Although this might sound pathetic, other than going back to her parental house, this was her first time leaving the Shi household.