"Why isn’t she awake? Did the doctors find the cause yet?"
"After a thorough examination, they found that there was nothing wrong with her body. As for other possible causes, nothing has been found yet."
"Ask Eve to come and watch over her. We’re leaving first since the funeral is about to begin."
Following the sound of the door closing, the room went completely silent.
Not long after, Sheng Jiaoyang opened her eyes. She’d heard the conversation in a semi-conscious state. Now that she was awake, her mind was still a bit hazy, so she didn’t think too much about the details from the earlier conversation.
Meanwhile, the door was opened, followed by footsteps.
Sheng Jiaoyang turned around and saw a familiar face. It was Eve, a maid who’d been working at the Aureate Manor for more than a decade already.
“Wow! You're awake!" Eve immediately noticed that she’d woken up.
Sheng Jiaoyang sat up and held her forehead, thinking about what had happened before she’d fainted. She remembered getting close to her original body, but then everything went black and she didn’t know what had happened afterwards.
A thought suddenly flashed in her mind and she hurriedly got out of bed, running into the bathroom. When she saw Xu Jiaojiao’s reflection in the mirror, she didn't know whether she should be feeling happy or feeling sad.
"Miss Xu, can I help you with anything?" Eve stood at the door and asked.
Sheng Jiaoyang turned to Eve and asked in return, "Do you know how I got back?"
"Young Master was the one who brought Miss Xu back yesterday, but I don't know what happened after you went to the sanatorium. You’ll have to ask Young Master about it."
Yesterday….the day before yesterday…
At this thought, surprise flashed in Sheng Jiaoyang's eyes. How could she have slept for so long?
"If Miss Xu has no further instructions, I’ll go out to help."
Eve, who usually liked to wear bright coloured outfits, was surprisingly dressed in black today. Sheng Jiaoyang found it a little odd and casually asked, "Is there something special going on today?"
Sorrow washed over Eve's face as she said, "Miss Jiaoyang’s funeral is about to begin."
Sheng Jiaoyang’s eyes widened and she hurriedly asked, "Are you sure you’ve said the correct word? Funeral?"
Eve nodded. She sighed and turned around to leave, muttering under her breath, "Every time Miss Jiaoyang came to visit, she’d always bring me a present. Now, it’s my turn to do something for her. I can't do anything else, but I can do the cleaning. I'll make sure that Miss Jiaoyang can depart in a clean and neat manner. "
Sheng Jiaoyang turned to the sink and splashed water on her face. She looked up, and so did the person reflected in the mirror. The shock on her face had clearly not disappeared yet. She raised her hand and touched the mirror, muttering, "I’ve passed away?"
It looks like I can no longer go back…
In fact, she’d long thought of this possible outcome. However, now that it had really happened, she didn’t know how to face this situation.
There was a meadow in the Aureate Manor which was surrounded by flowers and fruit trees on three sides. The day before yesterday, it was decorated as a wedding venue, but today, it had been turned into a funeral site.
Cars entered, one after another, from the Aureate Manor’s gate.
Everyone was dressed in dark coloured clothes, looking solemn as they entered in an orderly manner.
Those present were acquaintances and friends of the deceased.
In the middle of the meadow lay a coffin surrounded by flowers. A circle of shelves was erected on the periphery of the site, on which many framed paintings, photos, and a timeline of the deceased’s life journey were placed.
Grandfather Yang was sitting in a wheelchair, and in front of him was a poster of a girl standing in front of an easel. She was holding onto a paintbrush and had a bright smile on her face.
Nearby, two foreigners from English-speaking countries were conversing as they appreciated the paintings.
"Jiaoyang was an amazing person. She accomplished a lot of great things at such a young age."
"I’ve been to one of her art exhibitions in the past. She was indeed an ingenious painter!"
“I actually don’t know how to appreciate paintings, but I can still make out that her paintings are filled with some kind of mystical power that makes one feel relaxed and happy. It gives one the feeling that the future is brimming with hope and that there’s no fear in this world.”
"It's really a pity that even though she helped so many people realise their dreams, she wasn’t able to let herself live a few more years."
Grandfather Yang was originally staring at the poster with a smile on his face. However, after hearing the conversation beside him, the smile tugging at the corner of his lips suddenly disappeared.
He’d previously asked Sheng Jiaoyang what she wanted to do in the future, and although his memory has deteriorated a lot, he could still remember her response clearly.
At that time, Sheng Jiaoyang was still a very young girl. She snuggled up to him, hugged his arm, and with a look of anticipation for the future, she wittily said, "Since my grandfather is good at making money, it isn’t necessary for me to accomplish any great achievements because I’m not short of money. Of course, I still hope to accomplish something with the things I like to do. Besides, I’m also looking forward to meeting a gentle and responsible handsome guy and getting married. Then, I’ll give birth to a smart and lovely baby like me and watch her grow up."
Jiaoyang had told him that it was because he’d lent her a shoulder to rely on, she was able to enjoy her wanton life. Thus, even though he could have enjoyed his later years like others his age, he still worked hard to manage his corporation, striving to create a better environment for his beloved granddaughter.
His beloved Jiaoyang had also told him, “Grandfather, I’ll give birth to a lot of children in the future and let them accompany you every day. This way, I won't have to worry about you being lonely anymore.”
As Grandfather Yang reminisced all this, tears uncontrollably fell down his cheeks.
"Grandfather Yang, I'm sorry for your loss," Shen Zhining, standing on the side, softly said.
He was also staring at the enlarged picture. Seeing her carefree expression, a mix of emotions emerged in the recesses of his eyes.
When they’d first met, he’d initially disliked little Jiaoyang. She would simple-mindedly follow him everywhere with a carefree smile plastered on her face. At that time, he’d especially wanted to see her cry, so he’d thought of a lot of ways to make things difficult for her just to make her cry. Later, when she grew up, she no longer allowed him to bully her like before. In the blink of an eye, she was no longer that little follower and was able to stand next to him, side by side. However, she seemed a little afraid of him, and he also knew that he’d done a lot of childish and hurtful things to her in the past, casting a psychological shadow over her childhood.
She’d accompanied him through the gloomiest days of his life, so she held a special place in his heart.
When he was young, he’d wanted to make her cry, but later, he’d hoped that she could remain carefree and smile as she used to, without the need to force herself or pretend to be happy. For this reason, he was willing to help her accomplish all the things she’d wanted to do.
She liked painting, so he recommended her to a world-famous painter.
When she started a public welfare funds program on a whim, he utilised his network to pave a path for her in advance so that she could act at her own discretion.
Then, she started a company with her best friend, so he sent her resources, contacts, and talented managers.
The only thing that he didn't help her with was dealing with those hateful people of the Sheng Family because he knew that she wanted to solve the matter with her own hands.
Of course, she wasn’t aware that he was helping her behind the scenes.
Shen Zhining didn’t know how to interpret his feelings towards her. Were those feelings of like, guilt or something else?
He was willing to give her the freedom she wanted and clear away all the obstacles in her way, allowing her to move forward without a hitch.
However, all this was no longer possible…
Even though he was willing to continue, she was no longer there to accept his help.
Did he feel like crying? No…his tears had already dried up ten years ago, after his parents had passed away.
Shen Zhining’s lips arched slightly as he stared at the beaming Sheng Jiaoyang in the photo, a layer of haze condensing on his forehead.
Now that you’re gone, you can leave the rest of the unfinished work to me. I won’t let those who’ve hurt you before off the hook!
At this time, Grandfather Yang suddenly said, "Zhining, we all thought that Jiaoyang and you would end up together. Jiaoyang’s mother even prepared a gift for you two, saying that she’d give it to you two when you were together. Who knew that…"
Grandfather Yang shook his head with a wry smile. "In the end, Jiaoyang fell in love with someone else, while you only regarded her as a little sister."
Shen Zhining was silent.
"Sigh, now that things are like this and you have a share in this gift, you can accompany me to the Swiss bank later to withdraw the items left behind by Jiaoyang’s mother."
"Alright," Shen Zhining replied.
Shortly after, An Jing walked over. He was the young man who’d watched over Jiaoyang’s room that day.
"Grandfather, Jiaoyang’s father is here," An Jing reported.
Grandfather Yang sneered. "Since he’s here, let him come in and see Jiaoyang off for the last time."
An Jing nodded and went out to receive Jiaoyang’s father. Soon after, he came back with a haggard-looking middle-aged man.
"Father," Sheng Xun bitterly called out in a low voice upon seeing the once able-bodied man, who was now sitting in a wheelchair.
"Forget it, we’re no longer related now that Jiaoyang is gone," Grandfather Yang said without giving him a glance.
Sheng Xun's lips quivered as he took a deep breath. When he turned to see the coffin surrounded by flowers, he immediately collapsed.
How he wished that his daughter would make a sound at this moment. She was the daughter he’d once doted on like a precious treasure. He’d promised his beloved wife back then that he’d take good care of Jiaoyang for the rest of his life. But…now his daughter was lying there and he could no longer hear her call him father, or hear her comforting words of, “Although mother is gone, you still have me.”. Additionally, he could no longer witness her look of disappointment when she questioned him, “How long are you planning to live as a walking corpse for?”
His heart was ridden with guilt as he’d always felt that he’d let her down. No one could understand the despair and helplessness he was currently feeling while facing his daughter's death.
Everyone on-scene simply saw a middle-aged man suddenly collapse and weep bitter tears.
Grandfather Yang looked away with moistened eyes and coldly said, "Even if you cry now, it’s already too late. Pull yourself together and quietly send Jiaoyang on her way."
Sheng Xun raised his hand to wipe his tears away, but tears continued to fall uncontrollably. He tried to hold back his emotions, but he still lost control of himself and started to cry bitterly again.
"Who is he? Why is he grieving so much?"
"He must be Jiaoyang’s father."
"I see, no wonder he’s mourning like that. How sad that he had to see his child die before himself. Jiaoyang was such an excellent child as well."
"It’s truly a great pity!"
The onlookers quietly discussed the situation amongst themselves.
When Sheng Jiaoyang arrived on scene, she happened to see Sheng Xun weeping in sorrow. She looked around the funeral site and had an absurd feeling that she was attending her own funeral.
Because she didn't carry the solemn feeling of attending someone’s funeral and also didn't have any dark-coloured clothes in her suitcase, she stood out amongst the crowd in her white sweater and pink coat.
Grandfather Yang also saw her.
He turned to Shen Zhining and said, "Zhining, I learned of something yesterday. She’s the person Jiaoyang hit with her car, were you aware of this?"
A glint flashed across Shen Zhining’s eyes as he answered, "Yes, I was aware of that."
Grandfather Yang calmly nodded. He pointed at Sheng Jiaoyang, who was walking towards them, and said, "Ask her to leave, I don’t want to see her ever again!"Previous Chapter Next Chapter
TL: Yuna | Editor: Purpledragon | TLC: Grace