The two woke up early next morning. They hurriedly got dressed and had a light breakfast before heading out.
For the homecoming, Sang Wan did not bring a single maidservant from the small garden along with her to her parental home. Instead, she instructed Zhide to have her chamber and the garden looked after, and only brought Liu Ya along with her.
As for Shi Fengju, he made a few adjustments to have only two maidservants, Zhang Huan and Shi Ming, and their husbands who aids him in his business, Li Yan and Song He, to accompany him to Sang Wan’s parental home.
Two horse-drawn carriages were prepared beforehand; one for Sang Wan and Shi Fengju, and the carriage behind for the maidservants. The two confidantes would steer the carriage, and their wives together with Liu Ya would settle in the carriage. The gifts prepared were kept neatly in the compartment of the carriage the maidservants were in.
Before leaving, Shi Fengju glanced at Sang Wan; seeking for her green-light. Upon seeing her smile and nod at him slightly, Shi Fengju waved his hand and ordered everyone to board the carriages.
The carriages drove past the gate and left the Shi family behind them. The sounds of the horseshoes hitting against the pebbled floor gradually became softer. There, behind a dense cluster of pomegranate trees, stood Gu Fangzi with a gloomy face. “Pā”, a branch in her hand snapped in half and the green leaves in her hand were crumpled. That pale white palm of hers was stained with different shades of green.
However, Gu Fangzi cared not for the stains on her pale white palm. Instead, her eyes boiled with rage as she gazed in the direction of the gate.
That woman, cousin has gone to accompany that woman back to her parental house!
Though she knew the homecoming was unavoidable, she could not help but feel sullen. Her eyebrow raised slightly as the smile Sang Wan gave to Shi Fengju just then floated in her mind. The devious seed in her heart began to grow.
“Shi Fengju has no feelings for her! Shi Fengju has no feelings for her…” Gu Fangzi murmured to herself but only to pout her lips and shook her head as she sighed. “To run out here to take a look, I sure asked for it! What’s there even to see? Seriously!”
The carriages left the city gates. Pulling the curtains apart, the repeated slopes of the distant hills could be seen. Her hands that were clutching tightly onto the handkerchief finally relaxed, and her body would occasionally sway from side to side. As if she were trying to suppress the excitement and nervousness within her, Shi Fengju could not help but size her up.
Sang Wan laughed awkwardly, ” To think that I’m about to meet my brother and his family, my heart’s feeling a little nervous!”
“Chi”, Shi Fengju suddenly burst out in laughter. “It hasn’t even been a week since you last met them, what’s there to be nervous about?”
Sang Wan was suddenly brought to a daze by Shi Fengju’s words but managed to force a smile. “That’s true; it has only been a few days. I sure am hopeless! Hēhē!”
A few days? To him, and everyone else, it may have indeed been a few days; however, to her, it had already been several years! To finally be able to see her blood relatives whom she had not seen for several years, how could she not feel nervous? How could she not feel a sense of longingness?
Her honest and good-natured elder brother, her daring yet simple sister-in-law, her lovable nephew and niece; do they still look the same as before? Will they still treat her well like before? Of course they will! Why? Because all the unpleasantness has yet to begin, or better still, will never begin!
Sang Wan’s heart did a few somersaults, but she quickly held a deep breath.
“No need to feel so anxious; there’s still a two-hour journey to go! If you’re feeling tired, you can take a shut eye for a while.” But the moment Sang Wan snapped, Shi Fengju stopped and dared not joke with her. Being an understanding person; perhaps every newly-wedded bride feels this way?
Sang Wan’s heart was in a chaos, but upon hearing those words from Shi Fengju, she instinctively closed her eyes to organize her thoughts. She gave a slight nod to Shi Fengju and leaned to the side of the carriage wall.
As noon approaches, the carriage finally arrived in the outskirts of Yangliu Town, Sihe Village, and Sang Wan’s parental house was located near the east entrance of the village.
The Shi family’s carriages, drawn by two strong and healthy horses, were gorgeous; the wheels were half the height of a full grown man; the body was thickly coated with paint and decorated with magenta flowers sewed from fine silk. The four sides of each carriage hung a gold tassel, and the four edges of these carriages were decorated with sachets hung from a string of jade beads. The moment the carriages entered the village, it attracted the attention of many villagers. Although there were only two carriages, they still garnered the envy of many. Seeing that the carriages were heading towards the Sang house, many couldn’t help but lament in their hearts. “Nothing less from Qingzhou’s Shi family! Impressive!” Moreover, there were a number of children giggling and following closely behind the carriages as they enjoyed the liveliness within the village.
The carriages halted at the entrance of the Sang house. Liu Ya, who was dressed in new clothes, hurriedly jumped off the carriage and went to assist Sang Wan as she exited the carriage.
Not far away in the bustling crowd stood many wives gossiping among themselves. “Yí, isn’t that Liu Ya? The dress she’s wearing and those beautiful ornaments on her hair; āi, I’ve never seen such beautiful clothings before! The Shi family sure is rich; even a maidservant’s apparel looks better than ours!”