Chapter 24 (V2): Xiao Que’er’s Harbored Intention
“That is no coincidence. Fangzi caught a cold recently and is unwell. She’s now resting in her chamber! If not, she would definitely have come to greet you!” Wang Shi suppressed her impulsive reaction of darkening her face and hung a smile on her face instead.
Sang Wan’s expression turned dull, but she took a quick glance at Wang Shi upon hearing so. Why did Wang Shi say Gu Fangzi was ill if she was still active and kicking?
However, having said so, it was great that Gu Fangzi was not here. Otherwise, more of Old Mistress Zhuang’s provocative words would definitely come again!
What Sang Wan did not know was that even Gu Fangzi was afraid of Old Mistress Zhuang’s mouth. In fear of not being able to back down with good grace, Gu Fangzi would rather act as if she was ill and let the calamity pass.
Unconvinced, Old Mistress Zhuang discreetly sneered. But with no way to satisfy her disbelief, she smiled faintly, “Ill? Is she alright? In this season when the temperature is neither too hot nor too cold, it truly is easy to catch a cold! Well, since we’re at this, it is fortunate that she was not severely ill; if she were to suffer from a heart disease, then that would be difficult to treat! Keke, that child Fangzi and Young Master Shi are around the same age, no? Now that Young Master Shi is married, shouldn’t Fangzi also consider about getting married? A year comes and a year goes, time waits for no one!”
Watching her own cousin getting married, her life ahead would be filled with dejection before falling ill soon after, depicted as loneliness in other words. Those words also accused Wang Shi of being incompetent as Gu Fangzi’s aunt for not giving some thought to her orphaned niece!
Although Old Mistress Zhuang’s words were harsh, it was a pity for her to have looked too highly upon Wang Shi. The vigilant Sang Wan was able to grasp the meaning behind those words that were high in context but Wang Shi could not. She was only angry at Old Mistress Zhuang for attempting to match Shi Fengju and Gu Fangzi together in front of Sang Wan.
As for that matter, the Shi family had let the Sang family down. And it was also because of this that Wang Shi was furious.
Wang Shi was unable to endure that anger within her and she flew into a rage. She sneered and taunted in a single breath. “Your concern is greatly appreciated! However, it wasn’t anything major but a single cold. She’ll be fine in a day or two! Once she has recovered, I’ll bring her with me to give you her greetings! Sister Zhuang, do provide your finest dishes and some entertainment when that day comes! Oh, but you may be a little too busy settling Young Master Zhuang’s wedding, no? Keke, which family’s girl would he have his eye on with that high expectation of his!”
Young Master Zhuang, whom Wang Shi spoke of, was Old Master Zhuang and Old Mistress Zhuang’s only son, Zhuang Weixian. Zhuang Weixian, like Shi Fengju, was a genius in the business field and manages hundreds of stores at a very young age. However, he was headstrong and had long claimed that he would only consider marriage only if the girl meets his expectations. And even if it were an angel, so long as his expectations were not met, he would not bat an eye! In these past few years, Old Mistress Zhuang had introduced countless young women to him, but none were to his liking. As such, the idea of marriage dragged slowly year after year!
As Old Master Zhuang was anxious to hold a grandson in his arms, Old Mistress Zhuang would naturally become anxious, but nothing could be done. Pressured to a corner, he simply left Qingzhou to expand the business half a year ago and had yet to return.
Wang Shi’s words once again landed another successful hit on Mistress Zhuang’s vulnerable spot, and a wave of dizziness went over her head.
Today, she must have left for the Shi household without looking at the forecast calendar as the tables had turned against her!
“Good! When the time comes, I will hold a feast. Sister Wang, do bring along Sang Wan as well so it will be very lively!” Old Mistress Zhuang laughed but ruthlessly thought of the first thing she had to do once she returned was to settle Xian’er’s marriage! She believed that her son who shared the same bloodline as she would not dare to disobey her.
“Of course! That shall be the case!” Wang Shi laughed. But in her mind, her daughter-in-law’s actions could not be overlooked. It was time to discipline her daughter-in-law!
It was Sang Wan who was careless for forgetting that being the Shi family’s daughter-in-law was more than just attending to her. Her duties span across being around other wealthy ladies and getting along well with them, and being polite to the Shi family’s relatives and friends. As the daughter-in-law, there would be many other events which she would have to attend in the future, but when that time comes, she must be able to conduct herself well and not embarrass the Shi family.
“Then it’s as planned!” Mistress Zhuang stood up to leave while smiling.
Leaving for the Shi household today, she truly had not looked at the forecast calendar! She hurriedly rushed over excitedly but returned with steam over her head. Since when had she been spoken ill of in front of Wang Shi?
After seeing Old Mistress Zhuang off, Wang Shi returned and sat back down. In an instant, her complexion turned gloomy. “What is wrong with you? Did I not make myself clear to have you dress up more grandly? Just look at yourself!”
Sang Wan’s eyes opened in astonishment. In all honesty, when had Xiao Que’er ever passed those words to her? All she heard was her mother-in-law wanting her to hurry over, and nothing else! To think that Xiao Que’er dared to hide such a fact, Sang Wan was about to open her mouth to counter-argue but held back.
Wang Shi was now extremely furious. The best option for her was not to open her mouth. Otherwise, it would cause an ill-effect.
As such, Sang Wan did not counter-argue with Wang Shi. However, she could not blindly accept the injustice. As such, she glared at the nearby Xiao Xue’er who had her head held low; a glare which she did not mind Wang Shi noticing.
She believed that so long as it was noticed by Wang Shi, some doubt would definitely sprout in her heart and she would question a little.
Xiao Que’er did not think that Sang Wan would be so daring enough to glare at her openly in front of Wang Shi. Guiltily, she evaded Sang Wan’s glare and withdrew a little.
Sure enough, Wang Shi noticed Sang Wan’s glare and glimpsed at Xiao Que’er. Not scolding Sang Wan any further, Wang Shi grunted a little before gesturing Sang Wan to excuse herself.
Even though she had managed to gain an inkling to the matter, but as a mother-in-law, there were many words which she could not say in Sang Wan’s face. If her conclusion then and now were truly different, then what was her scolding for? Was she wrong for jumping to conclusions?
“Yes, Sang Wan shall now take her leave! Mother-in-law, please cool off a little. Sang Wan wouldn’t dare repeat the mistake again!” Sang Wan, having seen her prompt received, bowed respectfully.
With no displeasure towards Sang Wan, Wang Shi felt a little relieved and crooned, “Next time? Never repeat this mistake ever again! Enough, you may go!”
“Yes!” Sang Wan bowed again and turned before taking her leave.
“I instructed you to invite our family’s young mistress over, but how did you pass my words to her?” Wang Shi immediately glared at Xiao Que’er coldly.
Xiao Xue’er’s heart screamed bitterly. “This servant, this servant…”
“Speak truthfully!” Wang Shi scolded. “Between you and Sang Wan, it isn’t difficult to tell who’s lying and who’s not! If you dare tell a lie, think first about your future!”
Filled with remorse, Xiao Que’er’s heart trembled. Never had she thought that Sang Wan would be so courageous for the options she had come out with were either Sang Wan enduring the injustice served or arguing with Wang Shi on the spot! But no matter the results, Xiao Que’er was sure that she would be able to avoid the cutting edge. However, that was not the case as of now.
“This servant deserves to die, this servant deserves to die!” Xiao Que’er’s knees immediately landed on the floor and she cried. “This servant was anxious and was afraid to keep Old Mistress Zhuang waiting. Because of that, this servant only told Young Mistress to hurry over and forgot… forgot to pass the words as instructed! This servant deserves to die, this servant deserves to die!”
“So it truly was you, you thoughtless lass!” Wang Shi snapped. “Truly useless to not be able to pass such simple instructions. And there I almost placed Sang Wan in the wrong! Just to keep you——”
“Aunt Wang!” Before Wang Shi could finish, Gu Fangzi swung her handkerchief as she gracefully entered. Swiping a glance, she smiled, “Who is so insensible and made my aunt furious? Oh, so it was this lass! It isn’t easy for Aunt Wang to become so happy, yet what have you done? To have angered my aunt, how dare you!” As she spoke, she gently massaged Wang Shi’s shoulders. “Aunt Wang, please cool off a little. To be angry at a little lass and harm your health isn’t worth it! There’s no need for Aunt Wang to dwell so much into such a small matter! Why don’t Aunt Wang tell me and I’ll be the judge about it?”
The effort Gu Fangzi put into massaging Wang Shi’s shoulders were just enough. Wang Shi could not help but relaxed her body and leaned back to enjoy the service. Together with the gentle persuasion, her anger subsided a little. Giving a soft grunt, she spoke of what had happened and asked, “Tell me, is that reasonable or not? To not be able to pass such a simple instruction, what use is there to let her stay?”
As Gu Fangzi was someone she trusts, there was no need to speak indirectly. Hearing so, Gu Fangzi asked, “Then did Old Mistress Zhuang gain any advantage and said anything else?”
A broad smile slowly emerged on Wang Shi’s face. Gleefully, she shook her head, “Absolutely not! Today sure is a great day! That woman came to pick on me, but today she went back with a belly full of anger! Keke!”
“Qie!” Gu Fangzi let out a sound in disdain but spoke, “She is nothing compared to Aunt Wang! In the past, you didn’t argue with her but she knew not of when to quit while she was ahead! As such, Aunt Wang finally showed her no kindness for her arrogance and taught her a little lesson! Aunt Wang sure is kind!”
Having said so made Wang Shi seemed kind and generous with a thought that she did not argue with Old Mistress Zhuang and let her prevail, like a kite in the wind. But today, she had cut the string and had caused Old Mistress Zhuang to return defeated. At sight, Old Mistress Zhuang truly wasn’t her opponent!
Wang Shi was obviously delightful from those words. She sat up properly and her expression became more gleeful and comfortable.
Taking the opportunity, Gu Fangzi laughed, “This lass is usually very intelligent or Aunt Wang would never have let her pass such important instructions! Even though she was reckless on such a day, it didn’t seem intentional! Aunt Wang, why don’t you show some kindness and let her off this time around!”
As of today, Old Mistress Zhuang did not gain the upper hand. With that, nothing else mattered and Wang Shi surely did not put Xiao Que’er’s actions in mind. In addition to Gu Fangzi’s praise, she would have to once again display her kindness to show that the praise was indeed true. Glaring at Xiao Que’er she scolded, “Hear that? For Miss Gu to plead for your sake, I shall let you off this time around! If there comes a next time, the new debt will be added to the old! Nanny Jiang, remember to tell Lady Wu to cut one month of this lass’s salary! Leave!”
That was considered the lightest of all the punishments. If she were to be assigned to do manual labor, her face would definitely be thrown! Xiao Que’er immediately did a quick kowtow to show gratefulness before standing up hastily and take her leave.
Gu Fangzi continued to accompany Wang Shi, chatting with her and coaxing her for a while before taking her leave. Deep down, Gu Fangzi could not help but be frustrated. Sang Wan truly was not so simple to go against!
Sang Wan left the courtyard uneasily. With the wind blowing against her face, she strolled for a while before her heart calmed down. In any case, she had already expressed her stance and Wang Shi had seen it. As to how Wang Shi would question Xiao Que’er and her impression of her daughter-in-law, Sang Wan understood that it was all out of her control.