Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Chu Xianmin was so surprised to see this familiar face that she almost bolted from her seat. It really is Chu Liuyue! How could this be? Song Lian and his two lackeys aren’t weaklings. It should be a piece of cake for them to deal with a mere Chu Liuyue. Everything has been arranged, but Chu Liuyue still…
“Yue’er!” Chu Ning rushed over nervously the moment he saw his daughter. “Yue’er, what happened to you?”
The worrying look in Chu Ning’s eyes warmed Chu Liuyue’s heart. She could feel it. Chu Ning truly loved his daughter. Even though she was a loser, his love for her as a father had not lessened.
A pity. The real Chu Liuyue was dead.
Chu Liuyue patted Chu Ning’s hand and gave him a reassuring smile. “Don’t worry, Father. I’m fine.”
Chu Ning was still unconvinced even after her reassurance. However, upon a closer look, she didn’t seem to be hurt. He finally let go of that stone in his heart. For some reason, he was puzzled when he saw the smile on his daughter’s face. There was something different about her. In the past, Yue’er was always submissive and delicate. However, at this moment, her black irises seemed to be sparkling like the brightest stars in the night sky.
“Sister, you’re back! I was sick with worry.”
Chu Liuyue looked up and saw that Chu Xianmin looked ecstatic as if she was truly happy to see Chu Liuyue.
Worried? Chu Liuyue sneered inwardly. Chu Xianmin’s worry was more from fear of seeing her safe return. “Oh? Were you really worried about me, Third Sister? I seem to recall that you were accusing me of theft just now when I was standing outside,” retorted Chu Liuyue, unflustered.
Chu Xianmin felt a cold sweat form on her back in an instant. What the h*ll is going on with this Chu Liuyue? Not only did she survive her ordeal, but she also seems to be a changed person! She actually dared to question me in front of so many people!
“Dear Sister, you must be mistaken. You were not back, and it was getting late. I was anxious and came to ask First Elder about it.” With that, her eyes started to well up with tears again. “After all… you can’t even protect yourself. If you were bullied while you were out, I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself.” Chu Xianmin was deliberately mocking her for being a loser because she couldn’t cultivate.
If it was the former Chu Liuyue, she would have been deceived by Chu Xianmin’s act, that the latter had truly been worried. However, Chu Liuyue was a changed person. She would not be tricked by Chu Xianmin’s unorthodox means.
Chu Xianmin was the most gifted amongst the Chu family’s younger generation. By saying such things, she was implying that Chu Liuyue was useless. Even her leaving the house was a problem!
Sure enough, First Elder’s eyes immediately filled with disgust as he reprimanded angrily. “Who knows what you’ve been doing out so late today! If you can’t even handle such trivial matters, don’t bother going out anymore! You’ll only shame our family name. Such a good-for-nothing!”
Chu Ning’s expression suddenly turned cold. He stepped forward, shielding Chu Liuyue behind him. With both fists tightly clenched by his side, he forced himself to restrain his emotions. “First Elder, Yue’er is still a child. Aren’t you being too harsh on her?” He might not be who he used to be, but he simply couldn’t allow other people to bully his daughter.
Chu Liuyue was startled as she stared at the towering figure in front of her. She was overwhelmed. In her last life, she was destined to be a strong and noble princess. She always handled everything herself. To her, being loved was a foreign feeling that was too precious.
She would do everything to protect the people who truly loved her this time. Whatever it took.
“Father.” Chu Liuyue tugged his hand and stepped forward.
Chu Ning looked at her, fully expecting her to give in like she always did. However, all he saw was calmness in her eyes.
The petite girl straightened her back and lifted her chin. There was an inexplicable strength within her. “Don’t worry, First Elder. Everything that needed to be bought is in order and is being delivered to the warehouse. You can go and check if you don’t believe me. As for why I came back so late today, I think Third Sister knows best.”
“Sister, what nonsense are you spouting?” Chu Xianmin panicked when she heard this. The tone of her voice became hostile. Has Chu Liuyue already guessed that I sent Song Lian and the others?
Chu Liuyue looked at her with a smile, feigning surprise. “Sister, didn’t you give me the silver taels to help you to buy something?”
Chu Xianmin was stumped. She did no such thing! But… that was exactly what she had just said to First Elder and Chu Ning. She had wanted to take this opportunity to frame Chu Liuyue, but the latter had taken advantage of the situation for her benefit.
Chu Liuyue stretched out her hand. A jade pendant shaped like a pomegranate was lying in her palm. “Third Sister, since the money you gave me was not enough, I left your other Flower Moon Pomegranate Jade Pendant as collateral in Zhen Bao Pavilion. You may have it back when you send the rest of the money tomorrow.”
The jade pendant was a dowry brought by Chu Xianmin’s mother. Not only was it very precious because of its exquisiteness, but also because it could warm one’s body. There was nothing like it in the whole of Imperial City. Chu Xianmin was very fond of it, and she wore it often.
Everyone would testify that it belonged to Chu Xianmin for precisely the same reason.
When First Elder heard this, he looked at Chu Xianmin with suspicion. “Minmin, is what she said true?” The pendant was her treasured belonging. It would be difficult for anyone to take it unless she gave it to them.
It would have been fine if she had bought something else, but Zhen Bao Pavilion was the most luxurious place in the entire Imperial City. Everything inside was of good quality and considerable value.
Although the Chu family was also a noble family, its status had gradually declined in recent years. It was not as glamorous as it appeared to be. Even as one of the Chu Family’s elders, he couldn’t just squander money in a place like Zhen Bao Pavilion!
Chu Xianmin gritted her teeth secretly. It was a deliberate plot to make everyone believe that Chu Liuyue had stolen something and fled. Who would’ve thought that her plan would backfire?
“Y-Yes… I like one of the items in Zhen Bao Pavilion. I asked Sister to go on my behalf. Lately, I’ve been too occupied with my cultivation to leave the house.” She had no choice but to go with the flow. The things in Zhen Bao Pavilion might be costly. Nevertheless, she could still afford to buy one or two items.
She would have to find out about the Song Lian trio’s situation before she could deal with Chu Liuyue.
At the mention of her cultivation, First Elder’s demeanor softened considerably. He said warmly, “What does it matter? You are the best in our Chu family’s younger generation. You can have anything you want!”
Chu Xianmin smiled sweetly. “Thank you very much, First Elder.”
Chu Liuyue laughed inwardly. It’s not that easy to get away with this. For the time being, she couldn’t completely antagonize Chu Xianmin. However, it was also impossible for her to suffer in silence. “First Elder, are you planning to help my sister pay the rest of the money using the family’s accounts?” asked Chu Liuyue curiously.
First Elder and Chu Xianmin were stunned in unison. Then, both hesitated.
The Chu family’s rules were strict. Everyone’s monthly salary was distributed according to their ranks. If First Elder forked out money for Chu Xianmin from the family’s account, he would be upsetting the other family members.
“This is Minmin’s business. She should be responsible for it.”
Chu Xianmin worked hard to maintain her reputation over the years. Naturally, she couldn’t allow it to be tarnished. She took matters into her own hands right then and there.
The items in Zhen Bao Pavilion might be expensive, but she was everyone’s favorite, so she managed to save a fair amount of silver. It wouldn’t be a problem for her to spend several thousand silver taels on one or two items.
She pretended to be generous and gentle as she looked at Chu Liuyue with a smile. “Sister, you can pick up the treasure tomorrow?”
Chu Liuyue nodded as a sly look flashed in her eyes. “That’s right. I’ve already paid Zhen Bao Pavilion with the 1,000 silver taels you gave me. You only have to give me the remaining 199,000 taels tomorrow.”
Chu Xianmin thought she had misheard, and she screamed subconsciously. “What?!”