"Xiao Li, when you return home, ask your father to contact me to discuss the wedding details over the phone. No matter what, we ought to make the proper arrangements and make sure that it’s going to be a lively and memorable day," Grandfather Yang instructed.
Li Jihua didn’t dare decline Grandfather Yang’s request nor mention anything about the break-up for fear that it would reopen old wounds.
Seeing the dilemma with the Li Family solved in a breeze, Xu Qing, who was mentally prepared to fight a long battle, still found this somewhat hard to believe. She smiled at Li Weiqi and then turned to look at the Li family members, who didn’t seem as lofty as before. Afterwards, she cast Grandfather Yang a grateful glance before shifting her gaze to the smiling Jiaojiao.
I’ve found you a powerful backer! From now on, no one is qualified to nitpick about your family background. Jiaojiao's words echoed in her ear. Xu Qing was moved and felt proud of her daughter. She didn’t need any distinguished family background or admirable qualities, because as long as Jiaojiao was there for her, no one would dare look down on her.
After dinner, Li Jihua’s family of three went back to their hotel to contact the two elders of the family, while Xu Qing and Li Weiqi went on a date. Sheng Jiaoyang, on the other hand, accompanied Grandfather Yang back to his hotel.
"An Jing, help me look for a house with a nice view in a peaceful and quiet area. I’m already old, so I’ve decided to spend my retirement days here in the future," Grandfather Yang instructed.
"Alright." An Jing nodded and left the presidential suite, leaving the grandfather-and-granddaughter pair alone in the room.
"Grandfather, thanks for cooperating with me today!" Sheng Jiaoyang smilingly exclaimed.
"What are you thanking me for? It’s a given, don’t worry about it. Although I’ve helped you solve the dilemma concerning Xu Qing’s wedding today, it’s still not enough to let her hold her head high and stand her ground in the Li Family."
Sheng Jiaoyang agreed. "No matter what, what’s theirs is theirs and not ours. The Li Family wouldn’t dare to do anything to my mother out of consideration for Grandfather, but I’m afraid that they’ll feel stifled in their heart. If we want them to treat mother as an equal, mother must stand up to them on her own."
"With your mother's mellow personality, this’ll be a bit difficult," Grandfather Yang smilingly said.
Sheng Jiaoyang shook her head helplessly. "Indeed, if she could stand up to them by herself, she would’ve done that long ago."
"Now, our only option is to let her gain the high ground so that the Li Family can genuinely value her existence."
"High ground? Grandfather, what do you mean by that?"
"I will transfer 5% of my FLY Corporation shares to her."
"Grandfather…" Sheng Jiaoyang was startled.
Grandfather Yang smiled. He raised his hand and patted her head as he gently said, "This is what we owe her."
Sheng Jiaoyang understood, of course. It was because she was currently occupying Xu Jiaojiao’s healthy body, granting her a second chance at life.
"All along, my greatest wish was for you to live and grow up healthily. If someone could realise this wish of mine, I was willing to give up everything. Now that my wish has been fulfilled, even if you ask me to transfer all my assets to her, I wouldn’t mind. However, it’s not necessarily a good thing for an ordinary person like her to have too much wealth, and it might arouse suspicions. Thus, 5% of my shares is just right! It won’t make her greedy and it will stop anyone from looking down on her."
Sheng Jiaoyang pursed her lips as she listened attentively to Grandfather Yang's explanation. She was somewhat moved, yet she didn’t know how to express her current feelings in words. She looked up at Grandfather Yang's aging face and thought: She must’ve accumulated a lot of good karma in her previous lives to have been born in this family. If accumulating good karma in this lifetime could let her be born as Grandfather’s relative in the next life, she was willing to do good deeds for the rest of her life.
"Before their wedding, I’ll hold a banquet to officially acknowledge Xu Qing as my foster daughter. Then, you’re nominally my granddaughter again."
Sheng Jiaoyang nodded. She rested her chin on Grandfather Yang's knees and murmured, "Grandfather, I'm so happy that I can be your granddaughter again."
"Silly girl, you've been my granddaughter all along!"
Sheng Jiaoyang looked up and grinned.
Suddenly, a ringtone sounded and interrupted this touching scene.
Sheng Jiaoyang frowned and fished out her cell phone to see the caller ID announcing that Demon King Shen was calling. She was momentarily dumbstruck.
Noticing the change in her expression, Grandfather Yang asked, "What's wrong? Who’s calling?"
"It's Shen Zhining."
Seeing Demon King Shen’s name flashing on the screen, Sheng Jiaoyang hesitated. All she could think of were the words that Grandfather Yang had said to her before: ‘Zhining likes you.’ If this is really true, then how should she face Shen Zhining from now on?
"Answer the call and see what’s happened,” Grandfather Yang said with smiling eyes.
Sheng Jiaoyang cast another glance at the enthusiastic old man before answering the phone.
As soon as the call got through, Shen Zhining asked, "Where are you?"
"What's the matter?" Sheng Jiaoyang didn’t answer and asked rhetorically.
Hearing that indisputable tone of voice, the corner of Sheng Jiaoyang’s mouth lifted slightly. Grandfather had already acknowledged her, so she didn’t need to act as his fake girlfriend anymore!
"Alright," she replied.
It was about time to end this messy relationship with Shen Zhining.
When the call ended, Sheng Jiaoyang turned to Grandfather Yang and said, "Grandfather, I'll be right back."
"Why was Zhining looking for you?" Grandfather Yang curiously asked.
"He didn't say."
"In that case, I'll ask An Jing to drive you there."
"There’s no need. My assistant is nearby, so I’ll ask her to pick me up."
Sheng Jiaoyang waved and left.
When she walked into the house in the Northern suburbs, the lights on the first floor were already dimmed. Sheng Jiaoyang walked upstairs and saw light escaping through the door of the study, so she walked over and knocked.
"Come in," Shen Zhining said indifferently.
Sheng Jiaoyang opened the door and entered. As she glanced around the room, her eyes met Shen Zhining’s cold and indifferent gaze. It seemed as if they’d gone back in time as he was staring at her with the same cold expression he’d used when she’d first met him as Xu Jiaojiao.
"Why did you call me back?"
Shen Zhining didn’t answer and merely looked at her with an impenetrable expression on his face.
"If it’s nothing important, then I’ll…"
"What did you want to tell Grandfather Yang that day?"
Shen Zhining narrowed his eyes, his expression turning a few shades darker. He got up and walked towards her. "Do you need me to remind you?"
Sheng Jiaoyang was startled by his imposing manner and subconsciously took a few steps back. However, her arm was seized by Shen Zhining.
"Why are you avoiding me?"
"I…" Sheng Jiaoyang didn’t know what to say. She felt somewhat guilty for keeping a secret from him.
"You said the other day that you know something concerning Jiaoyang’s life and death? What’s the secret you spoke of?" Shen Zhining looked at her with a burning gaze, and his tone was unyielding and determined as he questioned.
Sheng Jiaoyang swallowed and didn’t dare to look him in the eye. After a moment of silence, she perfunctorily said, "There isn’t any secret. At that time, I just used this as an excuse to stay behind and attend my idol's funeral."
"You! Are! Lying!"
Shen Zhining suddenly raised his other hand and gripped her chin forcefully.
"Ah! That hurts!" Sheng Jiaoyang was compelled to lift her head. She took a breath before extending her hands to move his hand away, but his grip was as steady as a rock and unwavering.
"Shoot!" he coldly roared.
"L-let me go first and I'll talk." Sheng Jiaoyang grabbed his hand.
Shen Zhining stared at her for a few seconds longer before releasing her.
Sheng Jiaoyang rubbed her chin and bared her teeth in pain. She glared at Shen Zhining, and fearing that he’d grip her chin again, she covered her chin with one hand and blurted, "I can tell you, but on one condition!"
"Pfft~" Shen Zhining laughed, but his expression was so dark that if looks could kill, she would’ve died an instant death already.
He took a step forward.
"It looks like I was too indulgent with you before."
Seeing him approaching, Sheng Jiaoyang subconsciously took a step back.
"So much so, that I gave you…"
She retreated and he advanced.
"…the misconception that you can bargain with me."
She took a few steps back again while he advanced.
"You want to bargain with me, but are you even qualified?"
In the end, she was forced against the wall.
She wasn’t a petite person to begin with, but now she was completely shrouded by his shadow. His eyes locked on her like a hungry lion on the brink of madness after being taunted by its prey.
Sheng Jiaoyang was intimidated by the fierce look in his eyes. She’d never seen him like this before. There was one time she’d watched him ruthlessly step on a traitor's hand with a contemptuous and indifferent smiling expression, but it wasn’t as gloomy and cold as his current one. With a blank expression, she could feel her heart thumping like crazy, but it was all due to terror.
Demon King Shen is simply too scary… She was now all the more determined to use this ‘secret’ in exchange for her freedom.
"If you don't agree, you won’t know if the words I’m about to say are truthful or not!" Sheng Jiaoyang looked into his chilly eyes and continued, "This condition is easy. I’m telling the truth, it’s very sim—nggh—"
Sheng Jiaoyang was wide-eyed as she stared at Shen Zhining, who was strangling her, leaving her words stuck in her throat.
"I'll give you one more chance. Are you gonna say it or not?!" Shen Zhining's voice travelled to her ear while the grip around her neck gradually tightened.
At this moment, Sheng Jiaoyang could feel his killing intent washing over her.
When Shen Zhining loosened his grip slightly, Sheng Jiaoyang breathed a sigh of relief, but she didn’t let her guard down completely. She stared nervously at the infuriated man in front of her and said, "Let me go first."
"When you're done talking, I'll think about it."
On this cold day, Sheng Jiaoyang felt as if she was sweating. The secret was nothing but her being alive and well, but how could she tell him that? Demon King Shen had suspected that she was deliberately imitating Jiaoyang right from the start, so if he were to hear her say that she was Jiaoyang, wouldn’t he deem that she was plotting to take Sheng Jiaoyang’s place?
Shen Zhining grew up in Germany and he’d received a western education that was both strict and scientific. As for those unrealistic paranormal things, he wouldn’t even consider it. Unless her grandfather stepped forward to clarify, he definitely wouldn’t believe her. Still, she didn’t want Demon King Shen to know that she was Sheng Jiaoyang!
What should she do? Sigh, what should she do…?
Sheng Jiaoyang bit her lip. She then felt the grip around her neck tighten again and started to feel all the more worried. Must she really tell the truth? The point was, even if she did tell Demon King Shen, would he believe her?
"Have you come up with an excuse?" At this moment, Shen Zhining suddenly smiled.
She witnessed Demon King Shen's smile…Previous Chapter Next Chapter
TL: Yuna | Editor: Purpledragon | TLC: Grace