Blood instantly drained from the stylish lady’s face, and she anxiously gripped her son’s arm.
Chen Peng frowned at his mother’s reaction.
He shrugged her hand off impatiently, and said in rebuke, “Nonsense!” Turning to Chen Yunzhi, he said, “Dad, you can’t believe her! She’s a con artist! She’s definitely here to con money out from us.”
Chen Yunzhi’s face was grim, but he waved a hand to silence his son and said to Tang Tian, “Continue.”
“Second Young Master,” said Tang Tian.
“Boss Chen has personally reviewed my medical reports, so I’m sure he is more aware of my background than you are.
Moreover, I’m about to die, so what’s the point of trying to take your money?” Suddenly dropping her voice, she added, “It would make more sense if I was scheming to take your lives.”
The coldness in her voice sent shivers down everyone’s spine.
Tang Tian swept her eyes across their faces while she enunciated her next words clearly.
“Regardless, I’m here as a messenger for Chen Xu.
He wishes to know how he was murdered.”
Chen Peng widened his eyes at Tang Tian.
At first, he turned bright red in fury, but after hearing the last part of her sentence, all the colour drained from his face.
“What nonsense! He was drunk-driving, and he drunk-drove the entire car into the river.
He killed himself!”
“Xiao Peng!” the well-dressed Lin Luoyan whispered fiercely, gripping her son’s arm tightly to restrain him from lashing out.
As her fingers dug into his skin, she bit on her own lip to hide her own anxiousness.
Boss Chen, who had been an experienced entrepreneur for many years, had no trouble maintaining a poker face in any situation.
But now, there was a grave, ominous look on his face.
He stood up to close the door and gestured to Tang Tian.
“Please, Xiao Tang, take a seat.”
Once Tang Tian was comfortable in her seat, Chen Yunzhi lifted his teacup and took a moment to get a whiff of the freshly brewed tea before saying in his low, deep voice, “Now Xiao Tang, you’re still alive, but I promise, there shall be no pressure from us at all.
Continue your stay here and get some rest.
Think of this place as your own home and enjoy it the best you can.
I, myself, will not treat you any less either.”
With just a few concise sentences, Chen Yunzhi had made his position clear.
There was no other choice but to keep her here as they had already paid her.
Chen Peng exploded in fury, shouting, “Dad! She was trying to mislead us with some silly ghost stories! What if rumours get out beyond these doors? What would others think of us?”
Chen Yunzhi raised a hand to silence him.
His shrewd, reserved eyes never left Tang Tian’s face as he said, “You’re still very young, too young to see the world’s true colours.
Naturally, people will easily take advantage of that, try to compel you into doing wrongful things.
“I have provided you with a rather high sum of money and promised you a proper burial after you pass.
You will also receive the same offerings as my eldest son every year during festive events… If you have any further requests, I wouldn’t mind if you told me directly.
But to collude with matchmaker Wang and come up with such a ridiculous spectacle… would be truly unbecoming of you.”
He had a slight suspicion that Tang Tian, Wang Li and her husband, the Feng Shui master, were trying to extort more money from him.
As the seed of scepticism sprouted roots deep into his mind, he even began to reconsider the authenticity of her medical reports.
As he came to a final decision regarding her earlier words, Chen Yunzhi’s hard, wrinkled face smoothed into a pleasant smile.
However, underneath his amiable facade, he was still wary and distrustful of her, as he said in a cold, warning tone, “You might be unaware of this fact, but Chen Xu’s car actually went over a cliff before plunging into the river below.
As it happens, it’s the period in summer when the water levels are high and the torrents are strong.
The professional dredging team that I hired was only able to find his car after a week.
I spent more than ten thousand just to lift his car out from the river, but his body was nowhere to be found, not even after an extended search.”
The woman beside Chen Yunzhi lowered her gaze in silence, her hands clasped together in a tight knot, whilst Chen Peng smirked arrogantly.
He slammed his palm onto the table and berated, “Did you hear what my father said? We’re not going to believe your little ghost story.
Even if ghosts do exist, his body is not buried here.
So which dead person were you ‘wed’ to? Ha! If you’re trying to deceive us, next time make sure your story is airtight!”
Tang Tian adopted a contemplative pose, placing a hand under her chin.
Turning to Chen Yunzhi, she asked, “So, it means that an empty coffin was buried during Chen Xu’s funeral?”
“Hey! Can’t you hear me? How dare you!” Chen Peng was infuriated at being completely disregarded by Tang Tian.
Chen Yunzhi nodded slightly.
His eyes were fixated on Tang Tian’s expression and he studied every micro-change as he said, “In a sense.
The coffin contained some of his things.
I do—truly—feel anguish and ashamed of myself for failing to find his body.
I know that without a proper burial, he wasn’t able to rest in peace—the inexplicable events that occurred during his funeral were proof of that.
So, I decided to follow the locals’ tradition of holding a ghost marriage for him, in hopes that his soul will finally be at peace.”
He paused for a moment before continuing in a low, commanding voice, “Xiao Tang, you might be able to pretend you’re ill for a day or two, but you cannot lie to us forever.
If you’re being coerced to do this, stop.
“If you confess, right now, that your stories are made-up, I will not hold it against you.
All you need to do is announce the same to everyone else out there.
As for the money I’ve paid to you, you may write a promissory note and return it in due time.”
Initially, Chen Yunzhi’s plan had been nothing more than to host a ghost marriage, in order to help Chen Xu’s soul rest in peace.
Unfortunately, it seemed that he had exposed the entire family to significant detriment.
Rumours about his son would definitely spread across the neighbourhood, and even worse, affect the family’s reputation.
As a well-experienced businessman, he knew he had to stop the loss immediately, before it was too late.
He kept up a calm, amicable façade for Tang Tian, but he was already deliberating the many ways he would get his revenge after this.
Tang Tian’s eyes shifted from Chen Yunzhi to glance at an empty space over his shoulder.
The corner of her lips curled up into a small smile.
“Boss Chen, you are the businessman here, and I would never hope to best you in a verbal dispute.
But, I have an idea.
If I were to reveal the location of Chen Xu’s body, surely that will enable you to investigate his death, thoroughly and meticulously.” She paused.
“Would that be alright?”
She aimed a wide smile at the empty space behind Chen Yunzhi, as if the last few words had been directed at someone, or something, that was invisible to everyone else.
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