Two servants, when passing the corner, took Ling Zhang to another direction, not really to the room for a rest.
They took Ling Zhang to the garden behind the main hall and threw Ling Zhang to the ground rudely. The floor was covered with rough stones and his left arm was scratched to bleed when hitting the ground.
“Oops! Didn’t wake up at such a bad situation. He is really unconscious.”
“Mr. Ling! Mr. Ling!”
“Stop shouting and take his coat off.”
The two men roughly took off Ling Zhang’s coat, loosened his collar, and unbuckled his belt. Then they took his hand and laid it on a slippery, warm thing.
Ling Zhang’s finger twitched slightly, and the touch of this thing reminded him of a very bad memory. The nausea was almost uncontrollable, but his anger and resentment had kept his physical response in check under his strong will power.
“All right, get back to report to our young master.”
The two men walked away quickly. Although Ling Zhang closed his eyes, his hearing was very sharp.
After the sound of the footsteps had disappeared, he opened his eyes. He quickly pulled his hand back and sat up. Then, desperately, he rubbed his hand against the grass by the side of the road to clean it up. His cold eyes swept around and landed on the woman in a coma beside him.
Her face was ruddy, and her body was covered with the traces and the awful filth after sex. Her clothes were stripped to the ground and the naked body was exposed.
Ling Zhang had a look and quickly took his eyes away. There was an almost suffocating rage in his heart.
The woman was Jia Yuanling’s stepmother, a young dancer. Because she was so beautiful that Jia Yuanling’s father, Jia Yin, bought her freedom from the brothel and doted on her.
In the last life, he had visited the Jia’s family after the coming-of-age ceremony. He had drunk a lot in the feast and went out to take a breath. But he accidentally fell asleep in that pavilion. He could not remember how long he had slept. When he woke up, he returned to Jia Yuanling’s yard in a daze and was fed a bowl of soup to kill the hangover and lost consciousness.
Later he was wakened by a basin of cold water on the face, and with this woman lying beside him. Her screams and the curses of those around her punctured his eardrum. It was such a mess and also a nightmare to think of now.
No one believed that he was innocent, and the only woman who could testify for him had chosen silence. Then Jia family took her away. Then he heard that she was dead, but so what, he had become the target of taunts and curses in Tanyang, and the dirty crime poured on him could not be washed away.
Because of this, Ling family was also implicated. His uncle who was about to be promoted was degraded and his grandpa was humiliated. Ling family became the laughingstock of the whole Tanyang overnight.
Since then Ling family had suffered a series of blows: his uncle was removed from office shortly after his promotion was ruined; the books and paintings his grandfather had identified suddenly became fakes, rendering a plummet of his fame.
The worst was that Ling family was accused of colluding with bandits.
The whole Lu family was killed overnight without any survivor. All the property had been looted. The authorities found his uncle’s pendant on the crime scene and asserted that Ling family colluded with bandits to murder Lu family.
When the crisis came, his grandfather disclosed his engagement with Yuwen family from the imperial city and revealed the marriage contract.
This marriage contract intimidated everyone and gave Ling family a time to breathe.
Although Ling Zhang himself was shocked by the marriage contract, the circumstances of that time did not allow him to think much. They must take this opportunity to find out the truth about the murder of Lu family.
But one step ahead of them in finding out the truth was a divorce paper from the imperial city. This letter of divorce became the last stone to crush the family.
The authorities had no scruples. Ling family was wrongly convicted of the crime.
Dozens of his family were tied to the open space outside the city and scorched to death under the blazing sun.
He resisted but was thrown into a mass grave outside the city after they broke his legs.
Up to now, Ling Zhang still remembered his uncle shouting, “The heaven is unfair!”
His uncle had said that Ling family was brought down because they were in the way of some people.
His uncle was right. When he was thrown into a mass grave, he heard the executioners above the pit say that Ling family’s property had been plundered by other families, and his uncle’s position had been usurped by Jia Yuanling’s second uncle, Jia Zhong.
At the thought of this past memory, Ling Zhang held back all the emotions in his heart. He then got up, adjusted his clothes, and looked down at the dancer, trying to find a clue to uncover the real adulterer. But there was nothing else and the place was handled very cleanly.
However, Ling Zhang spread a cold smile and took out a jade pendant, which was very valuable with a “Ling” carved on the front. He put it into the dancer’s hand.
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