Chapter 261 - Escaping Without a Trace

“Ah! I just remembered; I heard Xu Jiaojiao has a very rich boyfriend.”

When the man heard his female companion’s murmur, he felt like he was about to go mad with anger. “Then why didn’t you say so earlier!”

“Erm… I forgot,” the woman replied timidly.

The host was about to start speaking so the man had to lower his voice as he grumbled, “Do you know I’m going to lose a million because you forgot such an important detail?! It’s not even just the money, I’m also losing face!”

“I only remembered when I saw the man sitting beside Xu Jiaojiao,” the woman hastily said when she saw her male companion roll his eyes, “If her boyfriend bids for it, you can refuse to acknowledge it and say they colluded with each other.”

The man was momentarily startled before he relaxed and even showed a smile. “Apart from her boyfriend, who else would bid for such an expensive but unknown painting.”

The host on the stage began the preamble, presenting the presentation on the big screen while explaining the importance and goal behind the public welfare fund. After finishing the preamble, the highlight of the event, the charity auction, began.

Starting from the first floor’s items, the big screen showed a 3D model of the items.

Usually, before the bidding began, the host would introduce the donor. This way, some people who wanted to forge a good relationship with the donor would spend a lot of money for the item.

The first floor’s items were sold one after another.

Soon, they moved onto the items on the second floor.

The second floor had some items that weren’t as good as the first floor’s, but because the donors’ statuses were a lot higher or deemed as special, the items’ values were much higher. When the bidding began, the scene became very lively as bids were called one after another, soon far surpassing the auction price.

Sheng Jiaoyang also bid for a little handiwork craft and spent 100,000 RMB.

After the second floor’s items were auctioned off, it was the third floor’s turn.

For the donated items on the third floor, the host would naturally introduce each with greater detail.

When Sheng Jiaoyang’s painting appeared on the big screen, the host introduced, “Miss Xu Jiaojiao personally painted this painting. It depicts the goals of our welfare fund. Whether it be the layers of colouring, the unordinary technique, or the profound meaning it holds, it is all extraordinary. Our host and his crew all very much adore the painting, so this painting’s starting price is one million RMB with a ten-thousand increment per bid. Those who wish to bid may begin.”

“Who’s Xu Jiaojiao?”

“Why did they set the price so high? Is it really worth it?”

The man who made the bet with Sheng Jiaoyang listened to the whispers proudly. Sure enough, he wasn’t the only one who thought so.

“One million and fifty thousand!” Suddenly, an old man bid.

“Two million!” Another middle-aged man called.

Some people cried out in surprise; they did not expect anyone to bid for the painting.

Sheng Jiaoyang looked over. The first bidder wasn’t surprising, as it was her grandfather. The second bidder was rather unexpected though. It was actually Pan Zihui.

After Pan Zihui bid for two million, he intentionally glanced over and even smiled back when he saw Sheng Jiaoyang looking at him.

What’s that guy planning? Sheng Jiaoyang thought.

“Two million, going once!” the host shouted.

“Two million, going twice…”

“Three million.” Shen Zhining's tone was flat, the same as if he was just buying a popsicle for three RMB.

“My God, they really have a lot of money.” The man who bet with Sheng Jiaoyang sighed, his face relaxing. He was really worried when the other two bid earlier, then he wouldn’t be able to argue later.

“Cousin’s really generous.”

“This amount of money means nothing to my cousin, what are you fussing about.”

Sitting elsewhere, a cousin of the Ning Family commented. The second speaker didn’t need to be guessed, the proud and disdainful tone naturally belonged to Ning Xiaoruan.

Just as the host was about to slap the table, another voice called out.

“Four million!”

Everyone looked over and saw a middle-aged man, face marred by the vicissitudes of life, slowly set down his card.

Sheng Jiaoyang frowned and reached out to hold Shen Zhining’s hand, saying softly, “Forget it, just let him buy it.”

Sheng Xun was the one who called four million.

“Four million going once, four million going twice, four million going thrice- sold!” With a boom, it was done.

“Congratulations to Sheng Industrial’s President Sheng for winning the painting!” The host’s voice was filled with excitement, “This money will be donated in Miss Xu’s name.”

“President Sheng, I didn’t think you loved paintings so much.” Pan Zihui who happened to sit next to Sheng Xun said.

Sheng Xun glanced at him, “It’s not the painting I love.”

Pan Zihui received a huge fright as he looked at Sheng Xun, disgust filling his heart. It felt like his family’s beautiful swan was being coveted by an ugly, old toad. He was so old yet still wanted to be an old cow eating young grass. Most importantly, if he wanted to eat young grass, then sure, but what he wanted was his family’s young and tender grass! Even if Jiaojiao never called him Dad, she was still his daughter!

“Why are you looking at me like that?” Sheng Xun glanced at Pan Zihui.

“Haha, this…” Pan Zihui didn’t finish when Jiang Yin, sitting next to him, pulled his arm and interrupted his words.

“It seems President Sheng really likes Xu Jiaojiao. It just so happens my daughter and Xu Jiaojiao share a dorm room and she even has a pretty good relationship with our Old Pan here.” Jiang Yin said.

Sheng Xun narrowed his eyes, a dangerous light flashing through them as he looked at Pan Zihui. Could it be that the original Xu Jiaojiao was kept by him? And now Pan Zihui wants to ruin Jiaoyang’s reputation? As if he would let him!

In the eyes of an outsider, the two men who were exchanging a few words in a cordial manner just a moment ago suddenly fell out. Now, they were glaring at each other like they were enemies.

“I heard that President Sheng divorced not long ago? Wouldn’t much of your assets have been taken? Can President Sheng really bring out four million at once?” Pan Zihui asked, his tone filled with ridicule.

“President Pan doesn’t need to worry,” Sheng Xun replied indifferently.

Both of them looked at the other vigilantly. On the other hand, the man who made the bet with Sheng Jiaoyang felt his knees go weak.

“Is something wrong with his brain? Why would he spend so much on a painting?” the man scolded softly.

The woman beside him didn’t dare to speak.

“In a bit, I’ll take the chance to go to the bathroom and leave. Find an opportunity to leave yourself.”

“Huh? Then what about your bet?” The woman looked at him, startled.

“What bet, does she know who I am? What can she do if I leave?” the man shamelessly boasted.

Later on, when everybody was focused on the end of the auction, the man turned and walked to the bathroom. He waited until he was out of the audience’s view before slipping away.

His female companion originally wanted to find a chance to slip away, but was dragged into a conversation with the man next to her. She thought of how the rich attending the banquet could easily spend four million, and decided to chat with the middle-aged man.

After the auction was finished, Sheng Jiaoyang found out that the man who had made the bet with her had already disappeared.

Sheng Jiaoyang sneered. He can run but he can’t hide.

She only needed to call someone to investigate to figure out the identity of the person who looked down on her

After the evening party was over, the attendees slowly left.

Sheng Jiaoyang and Shen Zhining stood up. Just as they were preparing to head home, Sheng Xun suddenly came up to her.

“Jiao… Jiaojiao, can we talk for a bit?” Sheng Xun asked. [1]

Apart from her last birthday, this was the first time Sheng Jiaoyang had seen him this year. Sheng Xun really seemed to have changed. His half white hair was no longer dyed black, making him look close to an elderly.

“You bought my painting, not me, so I don’t have an obligation to talk to you?” Sheng Jiaoyang’s lips twitched.

“Really, not even a single sentence?” Sheng Xun asked, his eyes filled with sadness.

“Aren’t I speaking with you now? How funny you are.”

Sheng Xun’s lips seemed to form words but none came out as he stared at Sheng Jiaoyang before finally nodding. “Then I won’t bother you.”

Watching him turn around and slowly leave, Sheng Jiaoyang couldn’t suppress her childhood memories. Every time she heard her father return, she would jump up and run to his side. The young, handsome, and steady man had completely changed, making her nose a little stuffy.

“Wait.” Sheng Jiaoyang called softly.

Since Sheng Xun had only taken a few steps, he heard her. It was as if he had heard the call of angels, and excitement could be seen on his face as he turned back around.

Sheng Jiaoyang walked over. “Find a place to speak.”

There were still quite a few people in the auction hall, so the two left to find somewhere to talk alone.

“What did you want to talk to me about?” Sheng Jiaoyang asked.

“I know it won’t matter regardless of how many times I apologise. When I saw your painting, I suddenly realised how deeply I actually missed such an important period of your life.”

Sheng Jiaoyang didn’t reply, her expression indifferent as if she was about to leave.

“Originally, everything of mine should’ve been yours alone, but now… part of it was taken. But don’t worry, I’ll work hard to earn back all of what should’ve belonged to you; so when it’s time, everything is yours.”

Sheng Jiaoyang’s eyes flashed with surprise. She frowned at Sheng Xun. “Are you joking? Right now, there is no relationship between us. How would your adopted son and brothers agree if you give all your assets to me?”

“Susu and I already struggled about it and made a decision. I don’t have a relationship with anybody else.”

“We are no longer related.”

“No, you’re our child. Even if we made more money, it would’ve all been for you to spend. Jiaoyang, I’m sorry. There were many things I did wrong and I know you won’t forgive me for it. I just hope that if I die someday, you could attend my funeral and send me off. In the future, I would be grateful if you can come visit me along the way while you visit your mother’s grave.”

1. Sheng Xun originally called the ‘Jiao’ from Sheng Jiaoyang (骄) before switching it to the Jiao (娇) in Xu Jiaojiao.

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TL: Kiki | Editor: Grace | TLC: Grace