29 Release

The judges tried to calm down the witnesses of the trial and the reporters.

After Lawyer Chang asked the representative, she sat back on her seat calmly. 

Prosecutor Huo proceeded to closing arguments followed by Lawyer Chang.

However, everyone knew it was no different from a farce.

The lead judges then gave everyone a break. They turned to the panel and instructed them the appropriate laws for the verdict.

In the afternoon, while waiting for the verdict to come out, the public was in a mess.

They were all pointing their fingers towards CJ for deceiving them. Many were asking for investigation of the promo sales since a lot of people bought from those promos. They wanted the government to investigate CJ Company, and refund their money.

After a long while, the judges called everyone again for the outcome.

The court was silent as the judges started to read the ruling. Cameras focused, the reporters readied themselves to write, the CJ's representative sweated nervously, Lawyer Chang intensely gazed at the paper that the judge was holding, Huo Dian calmly gazed forward, Xiao Mei breathed shakily, and Xiong Zhi sipped on her tea.

While everyone was anticipating for the result, Xiong Zhi was drinking tea at the nearby cafeteria mainly catering to the public servants working in the building. After the break, she immediately went to this coffee shop. She did not like the crowd. Besides, she already knew the result after seeing the earlier show. Everything went smoothly as planned. She just had to wait.

As she expected, the jury proclaimed that the accusation filed against Xiao Mei lacked evidences against her, so she was proven not guilty. Other than that, the evidences were pointing to CJ Company instead. Thus, the panel of judges announced that the relevant departments would conduct a thorough investigation in CJ Company to give the public satisfactory answer.

President Long had long gone to the hospital after the break, and the board of directors handled the remaining procedures, as well as the warrant for investigation. 

They did not know what to do. If the government investigated them, it would only spell a disaster for them. They had been smuggling fake diamonds since the start of President Long's term. It has been nine years.

While the CJ Company met their ill-fate with pale faces, Lawyer Chang's team breathed in relief and satisfaction with the results.

Finally, they were able to clear Xiao Mei's name in public! No one would ever point their fingers at her.

They waited outside for Xiao Mei.

After a while, Xiao Mei came out and she was greeted with Bivia Chang's and Huo Dian's hugs.

She finally broke out into sobs.

"I'm free... I'm free," Xiao Mei repeated, sobbing. How she had despaired before. The immense betrayal chilled her. She was disappointed, furious, and desperate. She was hurt by how people looked at her in condemnation, as if she really was a criminal. Even when she shouted out that she was innocent, no one believed her. Her friends and family could not be reached. She was all alone.

It was over now. She has finally cleared her name.

Xiao Mei was still feeling unreal and was still in a daze, choking in sobs. She let herself drown in their warm hugs to convince herself that it was all real.

'I can go home to grandma now. Thank you...'

She freed herself from their embrace and thanked them deeply. She finally noticed that the young girl she saw earlier was not with them. She looked at Lawyer Chang in confusion.

"She's in the café. Do you want to meet her now? She really helped a lot," Lawyer Chang said.

Xiao Mei nodded and they both went to the building's café.

In one corner bereft of people, beside the window, a girl with a cap and a jacket was sitting alone. She looked up and waited for them to come to her table.

When Xiao Mei sat comfortably, she lowered her head and bowed, sincerely expressing her gratitude to Xiong Zhi.

"I'm really lucky that you lent your hand to us. I have heard everything from Bivia, thank you so much. I know that by working with you, I cannot pay you enough. I will work loyally, with everything I have for your company," Xiao Mei said solemnly with her head still bowed. She did not care if she was lowering herself to a younger person. She had learnt a lot from this experience. 

No matter what status or age, it could not measure a person's worth. Like how she had been naive to trust CJ Company, thinking that they were a century old company who have a good public image, then they must be really good. How wrong she was. That very company almost ruined her simple and honest life.

Now she was freed. She thanked the people who had helped her, and was willing to return the favor for a lifetime.

"If Young Miss Xiong Zhi wants me to sign the contract right away, I can do it now." 

She would work hard to repay them.

"It's alright, there's no need to be so urgent. You need to focus on your grandmother first. I'll give you a week to settle everything. Just tell me when Mrs. Ping's surgery is. After that, contact me so we can start."

Xiao Mei was deeply moved. She gave another bow to Xiong Zhi again.

Soon after, Xiong Zhi stood up to leave.

"Congratulations for getting out." 

_______________________________

Caroline Jewelries, brand name CJ, was started in 1910. Being a hundred year old company, their roots were deep. However, with this series of controversies regarding the fake diamonds, CJ Company was being uprooted little by little. In a week before the trial, their expansions overseas had mishaps. Foreign investors canceled their deals. Stores, malls, and establishments were closing their doors. 

In the country where CJ Company was born, public trust had gone down to zero and sank into negatives. Their business partners breached their contracts without even earning penalties due to CJ's misconduct, leaving them. Their VIP's and usual customers, the wealthy families, were all ashamed of them, even throwing out their products in public, making their already ruined image go beyond redemption. To the point that when their company's name was heard, the public would only think of one word: fake.

Moreover, they faced the public's rage. Most customers were demanding for refund. They criticized CJ to the point that even the many employees ashamedly resigned from the company. The employees also did not want to face the public's wrath. 

With the investigation coming, the board of directors were fleeing to other countries one by one, hiding their identities. 

The CJ Company was really going further down to the point of no return.

President Long was lying down on the hospital bed. He was watching the news. He saw CJ Company, the company he worked so hard to prosper, going bankrupt.

'It's gone. It's gone for sure. My company...'

President Long stared dazedly at the television.

'What should I do? Should I run and never come back here? But that was my company... I worked so hard for many years to become the president, now it's all gone.'

'I...I can't accept this!'

Then he remembered something... or should he say someone.

'Right. That person can change everything. He is the one who helped me become the president and taught me those means. He's powerful, for sure he can help me...'

He reached for his phone and searched for that person's contact. When he saw it, he dialed the number.

After a ring, a woman's voice answered.

"Hello? President Long? "

"Hello, can I talk to Mr. Lu? I really need to talk to him right now," CEO Long said in a hurried voice.

"I-I am sorry, but Mr. Lu is not available at this moment."

"Please, I really need to talk to him, my business is at stake here. Can you at least tell me what time he will be available?"

"I-I think I should advice you, President Long, this is not really a good time—"

"Who's that?" Another voice interrupted the woman. It was a male voice. Hearing that voice, President Long got a chill on his back. But he suppressed his fear, he needed that man's help right now!

The assistant handed the phone over. A cold and deep voice with a tinge of amusement said,

"Oh... so it's President Long. How have you been? "

"CEO Lu, I really need your help. CJ needs a backing right now—"

"Heh~ so you called me for help? Why do you think I will help you? I don't have time to swim to the bottom of the ocean and retrieve a broken ship that had sunk already."

President Long gritted his teeth. He knew this man was fearsome. But he needed to be brave right now. 

So he said in a hard tone,

"CEO Lu, have you forgotten who introduced me to 'those' businesses? If not for you, I will not be in this position right now! The government will investigate CJ. If they find that file, won't your company be also implicated?"

"Ha. Ha." A cold laugh that seemed to come from the depths of hell reached President Long's ears. He felt afraid. Still, he bit his lips.

"So, you are threatening me? You can't probably think straight right now." The voice chuckled. "Going against me? Are you sure?" the man asked tauntingly.

President Long's fingers were now numb and cold. His breathing stopped for a moment. He was... really afraid right now.

"N-no, no, no. H-how c-can I go against you... I'm just saying the f-file..."

"Oh, you're worried about the file? Don't worry, just check your drive and you will be relieved. Goodbye, President Long, I hope you won't make a bad decision. I really enjoyed our time as business partners." Then the man ended the call.

President Long stared at the phone. With a shaking hand, he checked the drive in his laptop. He tried to find the file. But no matter how much he scrolled and searched, he could not find it. 

The L file was gone.

Meanwhile, in the other line, the man handed his phone back to his assistant. He just answered the call earlier to escape from the old man's inquiries. If there's anything that made things hard for him, this old man in front of him, was one of those. 

Hard to remove. 

A challenge.

He returned to the room and took the seat in front the old man and faced him. He then said,

"Sorry. It was a business call. Where are we again, father-in-law?"

"I want my grandson back," the old man said with a determined voice. 

No matter what, he would take that child away from this monster.

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