5 Chapter Five

Placating Zhou Jian Kong took a lot of effort, Zhou Hua Fan wanted him to wait as she did not have the time to set Zhou Feng Ming up quite yet. The old man even became somewhat dissatisfied with Hua Fan for stopping him, thinking her too soft-hearted. But Hua Fan coaxes the old man by bringing him the gifts she had bought when she had gone shopping earlier, causing his temper to momentarily subside. Hua Fan hid a smile, the old man's anger had dissipated seeing the handsome porcelain tea set and his favorite type of tea leaves. He admires the cup's craftsmanship while Hui Ning quickly went to make Jian Kong a pot of tea, he did not know the girl's intentions of trying to make the old master stay.

But whatever her intentions were, he was sure it was not to harm the old master, or else he would have stopped her already. How could he tell she did not want to harm him? The tender way the girl gazes at her grandfather and the way her eyes held a sort of melancholy and admiration was not something a girl that young could fake. Although he did not know why her eyes were so dark, they could not hide the love she had for the old master. Hui Ning hands the girl the pot of tea for her to pour a cup for her grandfather which she took with a thankful smile.

He gave her a polite smile in return and watches carefully as she pours the tea with ease and practice, it was surprisingly refined and refreshing seeing her pour the tea. Hui Ning hid another suspicion in his heart, a girl so young knew how to properly serve her elder with grace as if she had done it for years. Was this truly the same spoiled young miss who never liked getting her hands dirty or doing things "lower class" people would do? His eyes shift over to the old master who seemed delighted with her filial actions and was blind to the great change in the girl who was his granddaughter. He even had a rare smile on his face where moments ago he was frowning at her displeased with her actions of stopping him from punishing Feng Ming.

Hui Ning felt conflicted inside. Jian Kong had never had a filial child attend to him before, he must be truly delighted and happy right now. Being a matriarch of a powerful family, especially the Zhou family was tiring, it was lonely. The first time he had worked for Jian Kong, even way back then he could tell right away Jian Kong was a powerful but lonely man who could trust no one. Even his own family he could not trust entirely, especially that Zhou Feng Ming. To be blessed with three sons but one more incompetent than the other to take over the family company, it was as if the man was cursed to never have a perfect heir and peacefully retire. Hui Ning knows the old man still sits on the second-floor terrace as if waiting for someone to come to this old villa after each business trip, for any of his family members to at least come to see if he is alive and well.

But after all these years none of his sons came to visit besides the yearly one from his third son who was still traveling around the world spending his life living like a free spirit restlessly. To have his granddaughter visit so suddenly and not only that but she came bearing gifts and did not ask for anything in return like Feng Ming would have done. Hui Ning did not want to see the face of Jian Kong become gloomy so he did not speak up and burst the bubble of happiness the young miss gave her grandfather by drinking tea and chatting with the old man. He continues to watch them interact as if the years they had spent as practical strangers with the same last names did not exist. The young miss even surprisingly had a wealthy load of knowledge about tea and herbs which the old man listened to seriously and encouragingly.

Little did they know it was only because the girl spent most of her time that morning reading up on her grandfather's favorites and the things he liked to listen to or had an interest in. It was only when the sky was turning a vibrant purple and orange did Hua Fan finally stand up reluctantly to leave. She gave Jin Kong a reluctant smile, "Ye Ye it's getting late, Fan should return home before father becomes angry." Hearing this the smile on the old man's face fell into a frown again. His eyes grow cold, he also stood and nods at Hui Ning who understood what he wanted and went to prepare.

"No need, if he does not treat well over there then do there is no need to return for tonight. Hui Ning will prepare a room for you and your maids." Her heart warms more and the smile on her lips became more sincere. It was no secret to people that Jian Kong put family above all else, before Feng Ming went completely out of line he always did his best to hide scandals or clean up the messes his second son had created. In her past life, he also did these things for her, most likely he spent an equal amount of time cleaning up for both her and Feng Ming. But he had stopped supporting Feng Ming a bit too late and did not realize Feng Ming hid a lot of things from him while he was away overseas trying to keep the Zhou company running on his own.

Before he could stop it, Feng Ming had already used many malicious means to get to the top and corrupted many employees around him to also believe the future of the Zhou family was in his hands and his alone. Luckily though, before her grandfather passed away due to the shocking events of her death and her father's betrayal he had signed her third uncle the rights and shares to the Zhou company. Although Jian Kong had grown older and wistful in his old age, he is still a man who spent more than two decades in the world of elites and he had connections Hua Fan was sure Feng Ming did not know about.

So although Feng Ming succeeded in the battle, Jian Kong had won the war in a single move. Hua Fan smiles to herself bitterly, her grandfather must really be cursed to have given birth to a stupid son who gave birth to a stupid daughter. She had always wondered where the smarts went in their family, for they did not run in Feng Ming or her at all. Aunt Li came in and assist her in putting on a coat for it was rather chilly out at night and Hua Fan sent her grandfather a warm smile. "Ye Ye I will be fine, father will not harm me twice. Fan is just happy that Ye Ye does not disdain Fan like father does for being a girl."

Jian Kong was reluctant to let her go back to such a hostile environment but seeing the confident glint in her eyes he did not protest anymore and mentally notes to himself to pay more attention to his son's actions these days. Hua Fan also knew that her grandfather had yet to fully cut ties with his son in his heart and mind quite yet, although he was extremely displeased. She was sure that when he saw Feng Ming's attitude towards the boy he will change his mind entirely though as Feng Ming's goal is not only to adopt Gou Heng but it was to make the boy his successor. Feng Ming never considered women to be capable of handling the business world and skipped over his daughter to give his lover's child a place in the world of elites.

In the last life, Hua Fan was foolish enough to vie for her father and mothers' love still so she had spoken up for her parents to her grandfather foolishly when he had taken time to visit her and check on her state of mind and health. She had thought she was being filial by sticking up for them. Little did she know she was merely used as a foolish puppet who covered a cold-hearted snake. Well, her gaze darkens, like father-like daughter I suppose. Playing sweet and innocent Hua Fan was seen off personally by Jian Kong at the door and promised to visit him the next day to keep him company.

Hui Ning wanted to comment about Jian Kong's full schedule the next day but seeing the old man's face ease significantly at her promise he bit his tongue and wished the young miss a safe drive back instead. Hui Ning watches Hua Fan for any signs of deceit but the young girl was only filial and sincere till the end, not even for a second did he see any ill intent in her eyes towards the old master. Hui Ning stood beside Jian Kong who watched at the front door as the car drove out of the villa gates and the lights were out of sight before he spoke in a low voice. "Ning."

Hui Ning quickly answers him with a lowered head a step behind him, "Yes old master?" Jian Kong shook his head and his aged face became somewhat nostalgic as he continues to stare off in the direction of where Hua Fan had long ago left. "My granddaughter, do you believe she and her people speak the truth?" The housekeeper was startled but quickly schools his expression carefully gazing at Jian Kong's neutral expression beside him. "Do you want me to answer as a person who works under you, or as an old friend?"

Jian Kong returns from the world he was lost in and chuckled to himself, "As a friend." Hui Ning relaxed and thought back to Hua Fan's actions today as well as the words she had spoken, the gestures, and the facial expressions she had shown. He spoke slowly while keeping a close eye on Jian Kong's reaction. "The young miss....has grown up." Jian Kong shut his eyes and went silent as if coming to accept what Hui Ning had said yet he was reluctant to. The old man nods his head slightly with understanding without saying anything else under Hui Ning's concern.

Jian Kong sighed and gazes up at the stars that shined above them, their blue light lighting up the world alongside the cloud-covered half-moon. Hui Ning saw it, even though he stood right beside Jian Kong, that large lonely shadow cast behind the powerful man who had everything yet had nothing. Such a heavy burden to carry alone he had, no matter how hard Hui Ning tried he could never lighten the burden for his old friend. But he would still try, Hui Ning adds quietly to comfort Jian Kong. "The young miss will now become an even safer heir for the Zhou family, Kong. She can be carefully nurtured to become as great as you, maybe even more due to her maturity at such a young age."

He could not see Jian Kong's entire expression at the angle he stood at so he could not discern his friend's emotions easily as all he got in return was another nod of acknowledgment. Hui Ning knew better than to say more than he already had, he quietly orders the people in the villa to quickly turn up the villa heat for it seemed like Jian Kong would spend a bit longer outside to think to himself. When Zhou Jian Kong retreated into his thoughts he did not answer anyone, Hui Ning was lucky to even get a nod for his words. The best the man could do was make sure when Jian Kong came back to reality, his home was at least warm and comfortable.

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Zhou Jian Kong stood at his front door and spoke to the ghost at his side, "Qingyue, I have failed to raise our sons to the point where they cannot raise their own children properly. Do you hate me for this?" The old man smiles bitterly, resembling Hua Fan's own self-mocking look from before. "Now our granddaughter is suffering due to my mistakes...What can I do to fix the past?" He sighs once more as he recalls his wife's face, her bright smile that Hua Fan held so much resemblance to as well as the large eyes that seemed to hold galaxies in them. "She looks so much like you..you would have known what to say and do to comfort her more than I have done."

But what could he do? Jian Kong steels his mind and heart, if he could not comfort her with words then he would do his best to show her the care she should receive from her parents. That was the least he could do to make up for the things he had done in the past that are now affecting her life. And he knew where he had to start. When Jian Kong returns to the foyer Hui Ning and the other stood at the sides all sigh with relief but they don't have long to relax as Jian Kong quickly starts having them working. After having a room set aside for Hua Fan's use when she visits the next time Jian Kong has Hui Ning contact his assistant, it was late but Hui Ning knew better than to question his orders and hurriedly did as he was told.

After all who would dare to ignore a call from the chairman himself? "Kong, the things young miss said.." Jian Kong sent him a cold look, "What about them?" Hui Ning furrowed his brows, as Jian Kong kept speaking in a cold voice with a gaze that showed no mercy. "Did Feng Ming not strike her face? Did he not try to use her to make another person look good? As the patriarch of the Zhou family, I too am ashamed to have such a disgraceful and scandalous person in my family. Hua Fan's plans and ideas will not cross the line." If she knows how to be a filial child and hug onto a golden thigh then she will also know where the bottom line was. Hui Ning was reassured by his words and let the matter go, trusting Jian Kong's words.

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