Xu Shan San’s parents were successful millionaires from their businesses outside the village.
But when Xu Shan Shan was eight years old, her parents passed away, and their property was divided among her paternal relatives. But none of them was willing to raise Xu Shan San.
So they sent Xu Shan Shan back to Huang Shan Village.
Xu Shan Shan’s grandmother was still alive at the time, and she was living with her. But since her grandmother passed away, Xu Shan Shan has been living alone.
Usually, the villagers are the ones helping her scrape by.
“Do you have any dreams?” Shi Sheng asked her.
Xu Shan Shan’s eyes gleamed, “I want to learn stuff, go to college, and make a lot of money so everyone in the village can have a good life.”
She had already seen the depths of humanity’s wickedness.
But also the peak of its kindness.
“How would you like to come with me?”
Xu Shan Shan blinked confusingly at Shi Sheng as she did not know what she meant.
“I can get you out of this place, get you into school.”
“But why?” Xu Shan Shan asked. Though she was young, she understood that there was no such thing as a free lunch in this world.
“You’re just too cute.” Shi Sheng shrugged.
“......” How can I be cute when I’m so tan?
Xu Shan Shan asked Shi Sheng many questions, and in the end, she couldn’t give Shi Sheng an immediate answer. She hurried to find the other village as soon as the sun rose. Shi Sheng waited until almost ten o’clock before she came back, along with many villagers.
“Are you the one who wants to take Xu Shan Shan away? You’re still so young…” A man with a local accent asked Shi Sheng in crude Mandarin, “How do we know you’re not a con artist?”
She’s so young, there’s no way she’s reliable enough.
Xu Shan Shan is usually very obedient, and therefore very liked by the villagers. In fact, when her parents were alive, they also contributed a lot to the village.
But everyone has their own difficulties. They couldn’t adopt and care for her. They could only help her out whenever they could.
If there was really a good person who would adopt her, they would be happy for her as well.
But this young maiden came here looking for someone. Why does she want to adopt Shan Shan all of a sudden after just one night?
The villagers were not sophisticated people, but they were not stupid.
They spent half a day discussing but still couldn’t come up with a decision.
“What should I do to make all of you trust me?” Shi Sheng asked as she folded her arms in annoyance.
The group discussed this issue for a very long time. Finally, the man from earlier stood up, “Let’s go to the police in town, let them show if you can be trusted.”
Human traffickers are usually especially afraid of facing the police.
Shi Sheng was not bothered. Since she wanted to adopt Xu Shan Shan, she would need to go to the police station to make it official.
When they all saw Shi Sheng’s indifference towards their suggestion, they were otherwise convinced that she wasn’t a human trafficker.
However, the villagers still sent a few of their more knowledgeable people to accompany Shi Sheng to the town’s police station.
Because Shi Sheng was still considerably young, the police were quite sceptical of her ability to raise a child, and it took some effort to reach an agreement.
Xu Shan Shan still wanted to go back to the mountains to say goodbye to the villagers, so Shi Sheng had to accompany her back.
The villagers were all anxiously waiting for them at the entrance of the village.
As soon as they got back, Shi Sheng was overwhelmed by the villagers’ local dialect, so she could not understand a word they said.
But the villagers could still see the good intentions in Shi Sheng’s eyes.
The villagers butchered and prepared their ducks and chickens as a farewell gift. It was as lively as a New Year’s festival in the village.
Shi Sheng took a seat, watching their liveliness as they each took turns saying goodbye to Xu Shan Shan.
The man who suggested they go to the police station came up to Shi Sheng and sat down beside her. “I heard you were looking for Li Cui Hua?” He asked in broken Mandarin.
“Yeah.” Shi Sheng nodded.
“...That woman is not much to write home about. What business do you have with her?” The man cursed for a bit, but Shi Sheng did not understand what he was saying.
“I wanted to find another person through her, but unfortunately, she’s dead.” Replied Shi Sheng, the unlucky stepmother.
“This woman went to the city as a mistress when she was young, but she turned to ‘other means’ of making money as she got older. When she was sent back here, she’d lost so much weight she was barely recognizable…”
“Did you say she was sent back?” Shi Sheng interrupted the man.
“That’s right. And I could tell the person who sent her back was obviously wealthy.” The man said as he scratched his head.
The man only remembered that he looked rich, but he could not recall any other details.
“Did you know where she worked before?” Shi Sheng asked. If I’m able to obtain Li Cui Hua’s identification card, I might even be able to access her bank account. She might be someone who used to be close to Yan Mian.
But currently, she couldn’t find any leads, so this was the only way to investigate.
I could kill someone right now!
“Work? You call that work?! Pfft!” The man scoffed, “Let me think. I think I heard some people gossiping about it…… It was in A City, I think it was called… What was it…”
The man thought long and hard, “I remember the name had the word ‘Huang’…”
Because it was already dark, Shi Sheng had to stay the night at the village and left early the next morning.
At sunrise, the villagers all stood at the village entrance preparing to send Xu Shan Shan off.
“She’s your responsibility now. Be sure to give us a call when you two arrive. That would put us all at ease.” One of the villagers said to Shi Sheng.
Shi Sheng lightly nodded.
“Shan Shan, make sure you study hard when you get to town. Be obedient and try not to cause too much trouble for the young lady, okay?”
Xu Shan Shan agreed obediently, and after saying goodbye to each of the villagers one by one, she left the village with Shi Sheng.
Xu Shan Shan had lived in this village for so many years and was still reluctant to leave it all behind, but she knew that she would not be able to reach outside society if she stayed. She would have no means of going to school, and she would be stuck in the village her whole life.
She has to be diligent and study hard to eventually return the favour to the villagers who helped her.
Shi Sheng first bought two new sets of clothes for Xu Shan Shan when they reached the city. Shi Sheng did not let her throw away the clothes the villagers had prepared for her, allowing her to bring along these clothes that she would probably never wear again.
The journey back was relatively slow. Especially for cars since there were so many during the festival.
“What do you think you’re doing, you brat? Can’t you see that I’m pregnant? Hurry and give me a seat.”
“Children these days are too much. You think pregnancy is easy?”
As soon as she got on, Xu Shan Shan was already being yelled at by this pregnant woman.
Xu Shan Shan saw her pregnant belly and was about to stand up, but Shi Sheng grabbed her wrist and sat her back down before she could stand.
Shi Sheng looked at the pregnant woman, slowly staring her down.
“What are you looking at? Never seen a pregnant woman before?” The pregnant woman said, holding her belly while she stared fiercely at Shi Sheng.
“Big sister, I’ll give her my seat.” Xu Shan Shan said as she went to stand up again.”
Shi Sheng did not stop her, “Xu Shan Shan, you must remember, you shouldn’t give up your seat to just anyone.” Shi Sheng told Xu Shan Shan calmly.
Xu Shan Shan could not understand what Shi Sheng meant by this.
The pregnant woman got very upset as she heard what Shi Sheng said, “Just what do you think you’re saying? Why shouldn’t she give me her seat, you rude and stupid girl? Isn’t it taught at school to give your seat to pregnant women?” she shouted, “You city folk just love to look down on us villagers don’t you?”
As the pregnant woman said this, everyone around turned aNd fixed their gaze on Shi Sheng and Xu Shan Shan.
Shi Sheng frowned irritably. She suddenly leaned over and forcefully tugged a piece of string dangling below the pregnant woman.
The pregnant woman’s ‘belly’ suddenly fell onto the floor.
The entire cart suddenly fell eerily quiet.