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241 A True Culprit Behind the Artist’s Poisoning

    At this point in the story, the details became vague. Madam Liu did not speak in detail about these moments of the past, as if she couldn't remember all the details. Or, as if she didn't want to remember all the details.

    She skipped over a few years, jumping to the point where something happened again between her and Yang Chen, who had his own failures in his family. Unlike his destiny of inheriting his father's position in the government, certain events caused him to drop to the low status of a merchant. And that was when he met Yuxi again.

    Yujia was born.

    And in this part of the story, Madam Liu described it with deep hatred. She told Yujia while gripping both of Yujia's hands tightly, her eyes wide, her gaze drilling into Yujia's stare.

    It was a part about Madam Zhang, Zhang Ruoyu, the official wife of Yang Chen, the childhood friend that Yuxi once had. The friend whose father was the cause of Liu Yuxi's father being killed and her family falling apart. The friend who stole the man that Liu Yuxi loved.

    From the first place, Zhang Ruoyu had already stopped Yang Chen's numerous attempts to bring Yuxi into the Yang Household. Furthermore, Ruoyu could not stand the idea of her husband having a child with Liu Yuxi. Maybe it was jealousy. Maybe it was insecurity.

    Because of this, Zhang Ruoyu managed to poison Liu Yuxi, to the point where Yujia was almost a stillborn baby. Only because of the fact that Madam Liu had knowledge of medicine was she capable of saving Yujia's life. Nevertheless, it didn't stop the fact that Yujia was born with significant health issues that would soon develop. She was always sickly, and despite the large amount of medicine that she consumed, her health couldn't be fixed.

    Liu Yuxi took care of her child at first. But when Yujia grew old enough, Yang Chen came and took her away, believing that raising Yujia in the villa would only make things better. Except, without her mother's care, and with the neglect she received in the villa, her health only worsened.

    "So," Madam Liu told Yujia towards the end of her story, "That is why I always told you, my dear daughter, to never trust that woman, Zhang Ruoyu. She is a liar. A backstabber. A woman with no morals. Her father wronged my family so much, just for the sake of power and his threatened position as a fourth-rank physician. But despite this, we were still childhood friends at one point. We were still as close as sisters at one point. And still, she managed to have the heart to poison me, to try to kill you before you were born. Who is to say that she will not continue her cruelty towards you? Who is to say that she didn't raise her children, your half-sisters, the same way? No one in the villa can be trusted. You believe me, Daughter, don't you?"

    Yujia looked at Madam Liu, managing a nod.

    She wasn't sure if Madam Liu told a completely factual story. Though her mother didn't seem like the type to lie to her own daughter, it still felt like there would be some bias in there.

    Yet on the other hand, Yujia had seen and heard of how cruel Madam Zhang could be. Madam Zhang had the capabilities to cause her own daughter, Yang Qingxia, to miscarry. Liu Yuxi's claim that Yujia was almost killed by Madam Zhang when she was a fetus didn't seem all that far-fetched.

    And if this was the case, if everything she heard today was all true, then things began to make sense now. The poison and her poor health was all due to Madam Zhang.

    It also explained the second letter that Yujia read in the box she opened. That letter said, "Liu Yuxi, I hate you," and it seemed like it was probably written by Madam Zhang.

    Though now, Yujia was conflicted about what Madam Zhang had to hate about Madam Liu. Surely, shouldn't it be the other way around, considering how much Liu Yuxi was wronged by her? Just jealousy didn't seem to explain all of it.

    Plus, if the letters were both written by Madam Zhang, then what did the first letter mean?

    Yujia seemed to have reached an answer to the entire poison mystery that had bothered her all along. But the more she thought about it, the more questions and uncertainties there were.

    Even though she arrived at seemingly a conclusion, there was still the nagging feeling that there was something more to it.

    Madam Liu shared a few more stories of Yujia as a child, mostly funny, light-hearted ones. Yujia thought they were cute, but she was more concerned about the entire poison deal. So, she thought about that while Madam Liu talked.

    Suddenly, her concentration was broken when Madam Liu gripped her hand tightly again. She leaned to Yujia, saying, "Tell me about how your days in the villa are going right now. Are they treating you poorly? Has Madam Zhang tried to do anything to you?"

    Yujia gulped.

    She was no longer living into the Yang Villa. How could she explain that?

    "You know the marriage arrangement I had?" Yujia started by saying.

    "Marriage arrangement?" Madam Liu blinked, a look of utter confusion crossing her face.

    Yujia's eyebrows knitted. Could it be that Madam Liu didn't know about her daughter's own engagement to the Yu Household's Old Master? How could it be? She thought that the old Fourth Miss must've told her mother about it. They seemed to have a good relationship.

    "I mean... Madam Zhang tried to marry me off," Yujia tried to explain, twisting her hands in her lap, "But... Father canceled it. So now, the engagement doesn't exist anymore. That's all."

    "Is that so?" Madam Liu breathed a sigh of relief. "That's good. Men cannot be trusted- they are all like your greedy father. It is better to never marry, to never fall in love, than to make the same mistakes that I made in my life."

    Yujia managed a smile.

    Seeing her smile, Madam Liu smiled too. "You know, Daughter," she said, "everything I do for you, all the advice that I give you, it's all for your own good. I only want to give you happiness. You understand that, right? I tell you everything, so I hope that you do not keep any secrets from me either."

    "Of course, Mother," Yujia replied. She smiled again.

    Except, on the inside, Yujia wondered how many lies the Fourth Miss told her birthmother that she was supposed to love so much. She wondered how many things the Fourth Miss kept as a secret.

    Yujia couldn't help but pity this woman in front of her. Her best friend betrayed her. Her family was all gone. And even her own daughter, her own flesh and blood, kept the full truth from her.

    Madam Liu lived a pitiful life.
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