"If one day, Uncle's family and I become enemies, will you stand on my side or his?"
Xu Qing never thought that she would ever hear her daughter ask such a question. And yet, due to the blind trust she had in her daughter, she answered, "Of course I would stand on your side."
After so many years of suffering, her daughter was the one who pulled her through the hard times so that she could enjoy the good life that she had now. So, although Xu Qing wasn't smart, she knew who really cared for her, and who would give her a life without worries.
Sheng Jiaoyang's tensed expression became relaxed when she heard Xu Qing's answer.
"Jiaojiao, why are you asking this? Does this incident have something to do with your uncle's family?" Xu Qing broached the topic cautiously.
"I don't know if it had anything to do with them. But I have asked the driver to go and pick them up. The simplest way to approach many things is with a face-to-face confrontation."
Xu Qing waited anxiously for the arrival of Xu Ze and his family.
Xu Ze and Liang Dahui, who were still in the dark, naturally came over happily. They even brought Xu Qi and Zhang Aiyan along. The moment they stepped into the house, they could feel the heavy atmosphere in the room. It was rare for the whole family to be gathered together, yet no one was smiling.
Even a fool could sense that something was amiss.
"What's the matter?" Xu Ze looked towards Xu Qing.
Xu Qing parted her lips, but ultimately didn't speak a single word.
Though she felt that her brother's family wouldn't do anything to harm Jiaojiao…What if they did?
"Please have a seat," Sheng Jiaoyang looked at the few of them.
"What is so serious? Could it be—" Zhang Aiyan looked at Sheng Jiaoyang with sparkling eyes, "both of you are getting married?"
Sheng Jiaoyang was left speechless for a moment. If it was a marriage announcement, everyone should have smiles on their faces. This cousin-in-law is still as simplistic as usual.
"I want to talk about something," Sheng Jiaoyang looked at the Xu family and was inwardly glad that they didn't bring Grandmother Xu along. She was afraid that what she was going to say would traumatize the old lady.
"Woah, so it's true?" Zhang Aiyan looked at Sheng Jiaoyang and Shen Zhining with a gaze that seemed to scream out, "Of course they would be getting married."
Actually, it wasn’t Zhang Aiyan's fault for her to assume that the two were going to announce the news of their marriage. It’s just that she had been so into the ‘Peerless Couple’ that she felt that they were bound to be together. And since the couple had called their relatives over, Zhang Aiyan thought that they were definitely going to announce something important.
Sheng Jiaoyang glanced at Zhang Aiyan, before turning to look at Liang Dahui and Xu Ze. Then, she continued, "Last night, five people tried to harm me."
"Ah? Are you okay? Are you hurt anywhere? The others were just startled, but Zhang Aiyan had already blasted her mouth away with a stream of questions.
"I'm fine. We managed to apprehend three of my assailants," Sheng Jiaoyang answered.
"It's good that you are not injured. Why would someone want to hurt you without any rhyme or reason? Did you get in someone's way?" Xu Qi expressed his concern too.
"Your competitors must want to take revenge on you!" exclaimed Zhang Aiyan.
Sheng Jiaoyang was silently observing Xu Ze and Liang Dahui's expression. Other than shock, there was also a tinge of concern on Xu Ze's face, whereas Liang Dahui's appearance was quite intriguing. She looked less surprised, and more pleased instead, almost as if she was deriving pleasure from Sheng Jiaoyang’s suffering.
However, judging from their expressions, it was evident that neither of them knew about the incident, Liang Dahui included. Though she looked like she was feeling a sense of schadenfreude, she was indeed surprised when she heard of what happened.
Of course, one couldn't rule out the possibility that Liang Dahui was acting. However, Sheng Jiaoyang felt that if Liang Dahui was indeed acting, she would definitely see through the latter's facade.
"After filing the case, the police launched an investigation into the men. Surprisingly, one of the men, Zhang Yougui, has Aunt's number on his phone." As Sheng Jiaoyang said this, she paid particular attention to Liang Dahui's expression. At the mention of the name ‘Zhang Yougui’, a mix of surprise and panic could be seen on Liang Dahui's face.
"What?" Xu Ze, Xu Qi, and Zhang Aiyan immediately turned to look at Liang Dahui.
Liang Dahui hurriedly waved her hands, "This has nothing to do with me. I… Zhang Yougui is just an acquaintance."
"What is your relationship with him? Why did you contact him last night?" Sheng Jiaoyang stared at Liang Dahui and interrogated her.
"He's my fellow townsman. I was just looking for him for something," Liang Dahui said while under immense pressure. "It's true. I know nothing about what he did. He must have taken others' money to do this. If I had known that he was going to deal with you, I would have definitely persuaded him not to take the job."
Sheng Jiaoyang slowly nodded. Just as Liang Dahui was about to heave a sigh of relief, Sheng Jiaoyang said, "Then, do you dare to take out your handphone now to prove your innocence?"
Liang Dahui froze.
Xu Zu shoved Liang Dahui anxiously and urged, "Quick, take out your handphone and prove your innocence. I believe that you won't do such a thing, but you have to prove to everyone that this incident has nothing to do with you."
"Yeah, Mother, this is no trivial matter. Don't let that so-called fellow townsman ruin your reputation," Xu Qi concurred.
Liang Dahui took out her handphone, "Okay, I will call him and confront him."
"Wait." Sheng Jiaoyang stopped her.
Liang Dahui looked at Sheng Jiaoyang, "What is it again?"
"Many smartphones now have the function to automatically record calls. You can playback the recording of the call from last night between you and Zhang Yougui for all of us to hear," Sheng Jiaoyang said calmly.
Everyone's gaze was on Liang Dahui. Under the watch of so many pairs of eyes, any small movement of hers would be magnified. If she dared to delete the recording, it would definitely mean that she had something to do with the incident.
Of course, Liang Dahui knew this as well. She took out her handphone and clicked on that particular recording.
"Yougui, what have you been busy with lately? Are you free this evening?"
"If you have a job to recommend me, I'm free."
"Someone will contact you later and ask you to do something. Of course, you will get your due rewards."
"Great, I have been so bored lately."
"I already gave her your number, just wait for her call."
The conversation was brief, but it revealed a lot of information.
"So you played the part of the middleman in this whole incident. Tsk tsk. Aunt, it seems like a book really can't be judged by its cover." Sheng Jiaoyang looked at Liang Dahui with a slight smile.
"No, I just, uh, I was just asking him to do something for my friend," Liang Dahui was close to being incoherent.
"Do something? Do what?" Sheng Jiaoyang continued pressing her.
"I don't know either," Liang Dahui shook her head. She really didn't know anything.
Sheng Jiaoyang gave a meaningful smile. She stared at Liang Dahui, her fingers lightly rasping against the tabletop, and she said, "Yesterday, when the police found out that you had been in contact with Zhang Yougui, they wanted to invite you to the police station. But I said that you are my aunt, and that this thing surely had nothing to do with you. That's why they didn't go and find you."
Xu Ze cast a grateful glance at Sheng Jiaoyang before turning towards Liang Dahui and said, "What job did you recommend to this Zhang Yougui? Why did it have to go through you?"
"This… I… They didn’t tell me what they were planning to do, so how would I know what they wanted to do?" Liang Dahui said, apparently annoyed.
"Then, my dear Aunt, can you tell me, who is the employer whom you recommended Zhang Yougui to?" Sheng Jiaoyang smiled at Liang Dahui.
"It's my… a friend of mine. Come on, she definitely wouldn't do such a thing. She has no grudge against you, so why would she do something like that?" Liang Dahui was going to reveal the person initially, but held herself back.
Sheng Jiaoyang let out a chuckle. "No grudges? Didn't she tell you that both she and her daughter were kicked out of the Sheng Family because Grandfather and I exposed the fact that she stole her stepdaughter's jewelry?"
Liang Dahui stared at Sheng Jiaoyang with widened eyes. She actually knew who it was!
When they heard the two words, ‘Sheng Family’ being mentioned, Xu Ze and Xu Qi looked at Liang Dahui. They clearly understood who Sheng Jiaoyang was referring to when she mentioned the mother and daughter pair.
Only Zhang Aiyan seemed to be a little confused on what they were talking about.
Sheng Jiaoyang retracted the smile on her face and said icily, "Aunt, I still address you as Aunt for my Uncle's sake. Have you thought about the consequences when you helped your good sister deal with me?"
Sheng Jiaoyang was roaring in anger by the time she finished her last sentence, and this sent a shiver down Liang Dahui's spine.
"No, I really had no idea. Jiaojiao, is there some misunderstanding? Xiaohui is very timid. How could she do something like that, I…"
Sheng Jiaoyang interrupted Liang Dahui's words, “Timid? She's timid, but she came up with such a meticulous plot to climb up the bed of a married man? She clearly had an ectopic pregnancy and terminated it through surgery, but she maligned an eight-year-old girl by claiming that she pushed her. Do you consider that timid as well? She also got Zhang Yougui to threaten a pregnant mistress and force the woman to jump off a building just to escape from the many threats piled onto her. Is that considered being timid too?"
"How do you know about that?" Liang Dahui was shocked.
"If you don’t want to get caught, don’t do it. Do you think the police are all being paid to do nothing?" Sheng Jiaoyang gave her a wry smile.
Liang Dahui's face turned pale, "They found out?"
"Zhang Yougui confessed everything, including how he was instructed to do bad things, and then told to pin the blame onto me after doing it." Sheng Jiaoyang spoke in a confident and assertive manner.
Liang Dahui completely believed in her lies. She thought of the phone call she received in the middle of the night. It came from Zhang Yougui, but he didn’t even speak a single word during the call. Panic seized her heart.
Sheng Jiaoyang observed all of the subtle changes in Liang Dahui's expression, and a glint flickered across her eyes. She said the final sentence that would crumble Liang Dahui's last line of defense. "Zhang Yougui said that you were the mastermind behind it all."
"No, he-he's lying!" Liang Dahui was in a complete panic.
"Yes, he could be lying. In the past, he lied and pinned the crime onto a ten-year-old girl. Similarly, he can pin the crime onto you this time, just for the sake of money," Sheng Jiaoyang switched to a softer tone.
Liang Dahui repeatedly nodded, "He must have received other people's money. That’s why he is framing me now."
"And whose money do you think he received to pin the crime of being the mastermind onto you?"
Liang Dahui froze. She couldn't think of anyone who would do this.
Sheng Jiaoyang narrowed her eyes and smiled, "Aunt, it's your good sister!"
Liang Dahui's eyes widened in disbelief, "No… this is impossible…"Previous Chapter Next Chapter
TL: Cosy | Editor: Cookies | TLC: Grace