Chapter 8: A Misunderstanding
Sang Wan was already on the bed, quietly looking at him as he hurriedly lay a mattress on the floor. Upon seeing him gaze directly at her with an unenergetic face, she felt uncomfortable and her face flushed slightly. Luckily, the lights were dim; Shi Fengju was not able to see her expression clearly.
“I…I do not usually wake up in the middle of the night to use the washroom…” Sang Wan said shyly.
If she were to wake up in the middle of the night to use the washroom, it would bound to have the maidservants wanting to help her in any way they can. But if they were to happen to have a glimpse inside the chamber, her life would crumble!
Shi Fengju felt a little self-conscious after hearing what Sang Wan said. Dropping his head and nodding a few times, he murmured, “if you ever wake up in the middle of the night, just give me a nudge.” That would provide him with enough time to return the mattress into the cupboard.
“En!” Sang Wan whispered softly. Gently, she pulled the bed curtain down before lying on the bed.
After hearing the rustling sound of the bed curtain, Shi Fengju followed and lie on his mattress.
At the corner of the chamber was a crimson red oil lamp, emitting a dim orange light. The chamber is now quiet and at peace…
In actual fact, such a life is still great. Sang Wan tightly wrapped her body under the warm brocade blanket. A touch of fragrance filled her nose, and before she knew it, she fell into a deep sleep.
Shi Fengju woke up early the next morning, and naturally, Sang Wan could not remain in bed. Once she heard Shi Fengju getting up, Sang Wan followed and sat upright on the bed. Snatching a gown from the edge of her bed, she dressed herself up casually before getting out of bed. With a smile, she greeted him, “Sir, good morning!”
“En, morning!” Shi Fengju was caught off guard and was slow to react.
“Young Master! Ma’am!” Zhide’s voice could be heard outside, followed by the faint sound of the maidservants’ light footsteps.
Zhide has served the Shi Family for many years, and is familiar with Shi Fengju’s daily routine. She guessed that Shi Fengju should be awake by now, and thus she knocked the door gently to gain entry into the chamber to serve.
Panicky, both Shi Fengju and Sang Wan cried out at the same time.
On the floor, the mattress stood out easily. If they were to barge into the chamber, the mattress is not something that can be turned a blind eye to. When that happens, no words can reason for it.
Shi Fengju retrieved the quilt frantically and messily tugged it inside the cupboard. Seeing the messy state the quilt is inside the cupboard, Sang Wan signaled him to stop and whispered, “I’ll do it!”. With that, she got busy. Grabbing the quilt, she jerk it a little to make it straight before using her palm to flatten and fold it. She then place the quilt neatly inside the cupboard before moving on to the mattress.
The mattress was rolled and placed inside the cupboard, but only God knows whether a maidservant would even bother opening the cupboard to see the mattress and quilt not in the position they once were!
He knows how to do lay the mattress, but not how to do the opposite? Even though she was taught since young to be independent, such labor is not what most women from other families are willing to do.
Once Shi Fengju saw her clear the mattress away neatly, he nodded towards her and smiled to show his gratitude. Immediately after that, the couple searched high and low. Finding no fault in the scene, their mind were finally free from anxiety.
“Come in!’ Shi Fengju shouted faintly.
“Yes, Sir.” Zhide replied softly and gave the door a light push.
The atmosphere inside the chamber was somewhat strange this morning; once in awhile, the maidservants would steal glances at her and Shi Fengju, and giggle amongst themselves.
Catching wind of the strange atmosphere but unsure of its origin, both Sang Wan and Shi Fengju felt uneasy.
Only after everyone left, when Liu Ya was unable to contain her curiosity and asked Sang Wan enthusiastically, did Sang Wan understood the cause of the strange atmosphere she experienced just then.
To her surprise, the maidservants were actually very shocked when the couple chorused and their thoughts drifted; as if they were doing something indecent!
With mixed feelings, Sang Wan was speechless and unable to express her emotions accurately.
This day, a man from the Shi business house rushed in and brought the helpless Shi Fengju away. And once he went, he returned when the day was young no longer. It was as if his act yesterday was used to compensate for today; leaving his newlywed wife and indulge himself in his own personal life. Well, at least the maidservants did not, because of this, ridicule her behind her back. After greeting her mother-in-law, she returned and slowly enjoyed the breakfast prepared for her. Strolling in the small garden and gossiping with the maidservants, her day was passed leisurely. Her position in the Shi family can now be considered stable.
Compared to before, can this not be considered as such? On this very day in her past life, Shi Fengju too did not accompany her but blatantly left her alone at a complete loss with no one to depend on…
“Ma’am, I’ll need someone to go down with me to the Treasury to do a check on your dowry. Once the check is done, your dowry will be delivered here!” A young married maidservant entered the small garden with a smile.
Sang Wan did not have any other maidservants who accompanied her into the Shi family, except Liu Ya. And since her dowry needs to be checked, she had only Liu Ya to send.
Upon hearing the maidservant’s request, Sang Wan nodded gently. She called for Liu Ya and gave her a few instructions before handing a dowry list to her for her to compare with the dowry in the Treasury. Though the dowry may not be much nor valuable, her sister-in-law prepared them with all her heart.
Liu Ya agreed, and smiled at the maidservant, “Sister, please lead the way!”
The maidservant however, stood motionlessly. With her eyes, she scrutinize Liu Ya carefully from head to toe before awkwardly smiling at Sang Wan and said, “Ma’am, it’ll be better to send someone with experience. What’s more, this…this is to check your dowry!” Suggesting that the maidservant herself does not believe that a small girl like Liu Ya will be able to accomplish the task.
Liu Ya was white with rage. If she were to hear this in the past, she would have immediately bickered with those who offended her. But after recalling Sang Wan’s words yesterday, she firmly suppress that anger and did not respond.
Beneath, Sang Wang felt a little uncomfortable. But with a smile, she reaffirmed, “Just let her follow you. You can rest assured that Liu Ya knows how to read and will not make a mistake. Moreover, she will definitely not deter you from completing your errand!”
The maidservant’s face became flushed and forced a smile, “Well, if Ma’am says so! Nubi* asked in vain! The Sang family, truly is a literary family. Geez even the little girl knows how to read.”
*Polite way for a maidservant to address oneself.
It sounded neither like a praise nor criticism. Her palms tightened but she kept her smile and voiced, “hurry along! The earlier you leave, the earlier your errand will be completed.”
In the midst of her sentence, she gave Liu Ya a wink. Liu Ya grunted before taking a deep breath and extinguishing the hatred within her. Forcing a smile on her face, she took two strides forward and gestured the maidservant to lead the way. “Sister, please!”
The maidservant remained silent and bowed as she withdraws away from Sang Wan before leading Liu Ya to the Treasury.
Gazing at their back as they left, Sang Wan’s eyes flashed with anger. If there were neither any support nor authority behind, a maidservant would never dare to openly make any thoughtless remarks no matter how courageous she may be. And in the end, Liu Ya’s ability might have been a little too shallow.
Besides, as Liu Ya followed the maidservant to the Treasury, the maidservant did not provide any breathing space for the poor girl; asking as many questions as she could. How old are you? How many people in the family? How did you end up in the Sang family? How long have you served Ma’am? Slowly, the questions that rained down upon Liu Ya started to move into questions about the Sang family and Sang Wan. How many people are there in the Sang family? What are each of their temperament? How many hectares of land does that family have? How many rooms? What is the atmosphere in that family every day? How does Ma’am spend her time every day? And so on… The maidservant might have as well studied about the eight generations of the Sang family.
Liu Ya was a girl of many words. With a mouth that never closes; she was the best person, to obtain important information from, and to spread gossips. If not for Sang Wan’s lecture yesterday, at that moment when someone made the first move to question her about some personal information, she would have spilled all the beans. However, keeping in mind of Sang Wan’s words, how could Liu Ya not remain alert and embrace the conversation? Liu Ya discreetly guided the path of the conversation into her hands, obtaining various important information from the maidservant.
The maidservant was suddenly taken aback and felt something amiss. She abruptly stopped her mouth and bitterly glared at Liu Ya before clearing her throat. She continued, “Enough of the useless gossiping. Let’s quicken our pace! Lady Zhang is waiting for us at the Treasury! And I’ve got other errands to run!”
“Ai, Sister Ning!” Liu Ya agreed. That expression on Sister Ning’s face is not something that can be seen every so often, and with that, Liu Ya smiled broadly to herself.
Seeing Sister Ning suppressing the unhappiness on her face, Liu Ya was secretly elated. Deep down, she mocked, “Serves you right! Liu Ya is not so gullible!”
Seeing that the one who came to do the inspection of the dowry was a little girl, Lady Zhang was taken aback. She frowned and went to have a few words with Sister Ning, but questioned no further after receiving Sister Ning’s confirmation. One by one, she had Liu Ya check the dowry.
Soon, Lady Zhang became very comfortable with Liu Ya. She couldn’t help but have a favorable impression of her, a girl at such a young age who recognizes quite a number of words; has a brilliant smile; and has a mouth that knows flattery. Very quickly, the instructions for the delivery of the dowry was settled with ease.
The Sang family truly is a literary family! When signing her initials, Lady Zhang saw Liu Ya’s admirable calligraphy and once again praised her. Hearing the praise, Liu Ya smiled modestly. After receiving Liu Ya’s signature, Lady Zhang, along with Sister Ning, left the Treasury. All alone, Liu Ya went to the outer courtyard and called in twenty manservants and a group of burly maidservants to lift the items, and carry them to the small garden.
The task was simple, but who would have thought that a while after Liu Ya left with the maidservant, another maidservant came rushing into the small garden and anxiously reported, “Ma’am! Ma’am! There is a problem! Sister Liu Ya and someone had a quarrel and are about to fight! Quickly, Ma’am, go and take a look! Sister Liu Ya might be at a disadvantage!”
Sang Wan was surprised. Not good! What could have caused it?
The maidservant hesitated before continuing, “Nubi…Nubi did not really hear much. Nubi only saw someone drop one of Ma’am dowry. And because of the dowry, Sister Liu Ya had a quarrel. Nubi does not know what happened after that, but Sister Liu Ya was crying!”
Sang Wan suddenly felt a surge of dizziness. That Liu Ya ah, she really knows how to find trouble. Already reminded her over and over again, but there she went, back to her usual self. This is the Shi family, not the Sang family! If the incident were to blow up, their life in Shi family will no longer be smooth flowing!
In the end, Liu Ya is still part of the Sang family; Sang Wan cannot sit on the fence. Together with Zhide, Hong Ye and a few other maidservants, they rushed over to where Liu Ya is.
The moment when Sang Wan arrived, Li Mama, the maidservant who serves directly under Wang Shi, was already there giving out instructions. Anxiously, the group hastened their pace.
“Yō! Ma’am also came!” Once Li Mama spotted Sang Wan, she immediately went to to greet her. As she did so, her gaze swept across the group of maidservants behind Sang Wan, as if trying to find the meddler who alerted Sang Wan.