After exchanging a few words, Gu Fangzi could somewhat understand what kind of person Li Shi was . She chuckled to herself . How could she let this opportunity go? She hurriedly said with a smile, “Second Old Mistress Sang, you flatter me . Miss Gu this, Miss Gu that, don’t you find that too distant? My name is Gu Fangzi . If you don’t mind, you can just call me Fangzi! Please be merciful and forgive my servant!” She then gave another round of praise again .
“Alright, alright . Then I won’t be polite! Fangzi, hehe! This is much better . We sound more like relatives now! You don’t have to call me Second Old Mistress Sang as well . Just call me Aunt-in-law Sang!” When Gu Fangzi spoke highly of her, her body was itching with joy and it felt so light that she could fly to the sky .
Gu Fangzi grinned with her lips closed lightly and replied, “Aunt-in-law Sang still doesn’t sound intimate enough! I’ll call you Aunt Sang instead! And this is——”
“That will be good too!” Since Li Shi had lost herself in joy, why would she refuse? She felt that Gu Fangzi was simply a good person . When she saw her looking at Sang Yan, she hurriedly pushed Sang Yan forward and said with a smile, “This is my daughter, Sang Yan . She’s also the Young Mistress’s cousin! Ah Yan, quickly greet your cousin!”
Sang Yan had long been at a loss of what to do from being flustered . In front of Gu Fangzi who was resplendent, she felt a sense of inferiority and her hands and legs were stumped . When she was pushed forward by her mother, she became even more flustered and she fidgeted for a long while before greeting her cousin as softly as a mosquito .
Li Shi was unsatisfied with Sang Yan’s performance as she felt that she was simply disgraceful for being overcautious . As a result, Li Shi frowned and pinched Sang Yan’s wrist . Sang Yan clenched her teeth and tightened her fists in pain, and her eyes turned red from grievance as well .
“It’s fine!” Gu Fangzi smiled and held Sang Yan’s hand . She then observed her from head to toe before saying, “You don’t have to be nervous . I get along well with your cousin, so I’ll definitely get along well with you too! You look lovely and dotable . Since our first meeting came so suddenly, I wasn’t able to prepare anything nice for you . So please, accept this golden hibiscus hairpin . It’s a little gift from me!”
Once that was said, she took down her hairpin which was made of gold, the petals made of ruby, and the stamen made of pearls . She then intimately helped Sang Yan put it on .
Sang Yan wanted to refuse but no words could leave her mouth . Her body was stiff and she let Gu Fangzi put it on for her .
Li Shi’s eyes flickered at the sight of the sparkling golden hairpin . Its gems were flawless, bright and beautiful . She quietly guessed that the golden hairpin must be made with at least 50g of gold and wondered how much it must be worth . Since it was worn by Gu Fangzi, Li Shi was certain it wasn’t cheap!
Her smile was like a blooming flower and she repeatedly blurted how undeserving she was before she poked Sang Yan on the forehead using her finger . “What a silly girl . Quickly say your thanks!”
Sang Yan was deeply embarrassed and wished she could turn around and run off immediately . She hung her head and said timidly, “Thank you…”
“Aunt Sang and Sister Sang Yan, you don’t have to be so courteous!” Gu Fangzi said with a smile, “Since Aunt Sang seldom makes a trip here, it’s a pity that Sang Wan has gone out with my aunt to be a guest in another household . Who knows when they’ll be back! If Aunt Sang doesn’t mind, why don’t you come over to my place? Oh, right, has Aunt Sang had anything to eat yet?”
Li Shi accepted the invitation without a second thought . When Gu Fangzi asked whether she had eaten, she suddenly realized how hungry she was and promptly replied, “I was in a hurry and left early in the morning without having the time to eat yet!”
“I can’t possibly let Aunt Sang and Sister Sang Yan go hungry! Let’s hurry then . I’ll ask someone to prepare the food!” Gu Fangzi said as she went to hold onto Li Shi’s arm .
“Fangzi, what a nice person you are! Then we’ll be troubling you!”
“We’re relatives, there’s no trouble at all!” Gu Fangzi pursed her lips and smiled .
Gu Fangzi and Li Shi got along well so quickly that Liu Ya could not find any opportunity to interrupt them . Now that Gu Fangzi wanted to take Li Shi away, Liu Ya became anxious .
One was unscrupulous while the other was devious . If Gu Fangzi brought Li Shi to Peony Park2, who knew what they would talk about!
Liu Ya could not care less about her own image anymore . She hurried forth to stop them and said with a smile, “Second Old Mistress, Young Mistress might return soon . It’s best for you to follow me back to Ning Garden1 to wait for her!”
Li Shi never had a good impression of Liu Ya . Not only Liu Ya, even Gu Fangzi whom she fawned over as well . She envied and hated her . That ironic feeling of hers was unexplainable . She had met a rich young woman who respected and flattered her, and her vanity finally hit its peak . She loved and enjoyed such a feeling very much! How could she be willing to let it rest? As such, she replied, “Sang Wan still isn’t back yet, right? Since Fangzi has invited me, I’ll go over to her place for a while . Tell Sang Wan to fetch us when she’s back!”
Li Shi deliberately wanted to display her power as Sang Wan’s elder before Gu Fangzi and she immediately ordered Liu Ya loftily .
Gu Fangzi wanted to laugh until her tummy hurt . She said with a smile and nodded her head, “That’s right, Liu Ya . won’t it be good for Aunt Sang to go over to my place and chat? Since Sister Sang Wan isn’t back yet, won’t she be bored if she went to Ning Garden to wait? What’s wrong? Are you worried that I might disrespect her?”
“No, no! Fangzi, you’re already so thoughtful to me, why would I ever think that way?” Li Shi hurriedly waved her hands .
“Miss Gu,” Liu Ya said to Gu Fangzi without letting Li Shi go, “There is also a small kitchen in Ning Garden . I won’t want to trouble you with Young Mistress’ relatives! The servants and I will serve her, otherwise, Young Mistress will scold me for slacking off, which I cannot afford! Please forgive me, Miss Gu! If you’re really fond of our Second Old Mistress, I’ll let Young Mistress know later before accompanying Second Old Mistress to be a guest at your place!”
Gu Fangzi sighed lightly and said softly, “Liu Ya, what’s wrong with you? Aunt Sang and I get along well and I merely invited her over to my place to have a chat . Why are you bent on stopping us? Is this your idea or Sister Sang Wan’s? Sister Sang Wan’s relatives are also mine so I’ll treat them with due respect . Besides, she might even be grateful to me if I receive her guests on her behalf . Why would she blame you?”
At the side, Lan Xiang also added, “We’ll let Second Old Mistress decide . As a servant, you shouldn’t overstep your authority . ”
Upon hearing that, Li Shi puffed out her chest and said with a frown, “Liu Ya, that’s enough . You can go back first! I’ll go over to Fangzi’s place, I don’t need you to come with me! No matter how much Sang Wan spoils you, you’re but a servant so don’t try to control what you cannot! I may have closed both eyes in the past, but you’re now in the Shi family and there are rules to follow . It isn’t like you’re here just recently, so how could you not know a principle this simple?”
Gu Fangzi slightly smirked and said quietly to herself, “It seems that the both of them don’t get along well . That’s good, I can make use of it . ”
Liu Ya did not know whether to cry or laugh upon hearing that . She responded, “Please forgive me, Second Old Mistress . It isn’t easy for you to make a trip here from so far away . I’m sure you’ve got a lot to say to Young Mistress, right? It’s better if you follow me back to Ning Garden to make it more convenient . Young Mistress has always disliked troubling others . She will definitely be unhappy if she finds out I wasn’t doing my job and troubled Miss Gu . ”
Li Shi hesitated all of a sudden . She had rushed to find Sang Wan because she had something to tell her . If Sang Wan was really unhappy, would she still help her? Even though it felt nice being flattered by someone, she knew what to choose nevertheless after comparing the benefits .
“You sure know how to speak now! But Sister Sang Wan has always been gentle and sweet-tempered . Why would she be unhappy? Aunt Sang, let’s go . At most, I’ll accompany you to meet Sister Sang Wan later on and tell her clearly that I was the one who pulled you along to relieve your boredom . I think Sister Sang Wan won’t mind!” Gu Fangzi pulled Li Shi when she saw her hesitating .
Li Shi was at a loss and finally said with a nod, “That’s fine too . I’ll follow you to your place! Liu Ya, don’t talk so much now and go back . ”
“Second Old Mistress!” Liu Ya panicked and stepped forward to stop her with both arms extended .
“Impudent!” Gu Fangzi scolded deeply to herself . She held back what she had wanted to say and only tilted her head towards Li Shi .
Upon seeing Liu Ya’s improper behavior, Li Shi was furious . She glared at her and said, “What? How dare a servant like you want to control what I do? Is this how Sang Wan has taught you? It isn’t up to you to mind where I want to go, so get lost!”
“Liu Ya, what is going on?” An honest middle-aged woman could be heard coming from the side . It was Nanny Li accompanied by two other servants .
Nanny Li was on the way back to Ning Garden after taking care of some matters . When she heard from the servants that Young Mistress’ relatives were here and Liu Ya had gone to receive them, she was not bothered at first . She gave out instructions to the servants to identify places in the courtyard or even inside and outside the house that needed to be cleaned and had some tidying up to do so that their Young Mistress would not be dishonored when her guests arrived .
Who knew that after waiting for a long while, Liu Ya still had not returned . Based on experience, Nanny Li knew something must have happened . As such, she hurriedly brought a few servants to search for Liu Ya . Luckily, she managed to come across the scene of Gu Fangzi wanting to bring Li Shi and her daughter away while Liu Ya stepped in to stop them .
“Godmother!” Liu Ya was relieved when she saw Nanny Li . She hurriedly told her what was going on and rested her hands in front of her as she stood by the side to let Nanny Li decide on what to do .
Nanny Li said with a smile, “Miss Gu, how can we trouble you to take care of Young Mistress’s relatives? Aren’t you clearly embarrassing Young Mistress? Second Old Mistress, it’s better if you return to Ning Garden with me . Young Mistress will probably return soon!”
When Gu Fangzi saw Nanny Li, she knew that she would not have her way . Followed by her firm words, Gu Fangzi’s expression slightly changed and she immediately hung her head low while looking aggrieved .
At the sight of Nanny Li, Li Shi was unhappy, and when she heard Liu Ya called Nanny Li her ‘godmother’, she immediately classified them together . When she saw Gu Fangzi looking aggrieved, she was disgusted and said with a frown, “I say this nanny, it was me who wanted to follow Gu Fangzi . And this is none of your business! How dare a servant——”
“Second Old Mistress!” Liu Ya promptly interrupted her and defended, “My godmother is Old Mistress’ servant . Young Master and Young Mistress always treat her with respect . She isn’t just any servant . ”