"Damn loathsome creature! How dare you steal the pig grass my grandson mowed! They'll tell tales of how this old woman beat you to death!"
A sharp, scolding voice broke the quietness of the early morning in Hetu village.
In front of the dilapidated thatched-roof cottage, a malicious-faced old woman shoved little MengMeng to the ground, trying to grab the basket she carried on her back.
MengMeng, hurting from the fall, tearfully clutched on the straps of her basket.
"Tha.....That's not true. I mowed these myself. I didn't steal..." she helplessly shook her head and whispered in defense.
"Mowed them yourself? Who saw you?" retorted the vicious old woman, "I saw you steal them from my grandson! You worthless young brat, what makes you think you can compete with my precious grandson? Let go now, or I swear I'll beat you to death!"
"Right, she stole them! Hehe!" The old woman's grandson, an arrogant, chubby boy of about seven or eight, who was lazy and took pleasure in bullying MengMeng, proudly chimed in.
Their quarrel attracted several villagers.
Upon seeing the old woman, their faces crinkled in disgust.
"Listen here, old Mrs. Wang. If you were just bullying MengMeng— who is, after all, an orphan— it's one thing. But now you're even stealing the pig grass she mowed? She's merely four or five years old! Have you no conscience?"
"Exactly! Aren't you afraid that her grandmother will not rest in peace in the afterlife and come back to haunt you in the night?"
"Sod off! You people are all worthless!" old Mrs. Wang spat venomously, "Stop trying to scare me! That old hag has long been buried. This brat caused her death! If she hadn't insisted on taking in this wretched girl, she would have been alive. Serves her right!"
"You can't say that about my grandmother!"
Angry tears welled up in MengMeng's eyes, anger flared in her clear pupils, sending shivers down everyone's spine.
"You…" Old Mrs. Wang was taken aback momentarily. Recovering, her face changed again, she sneered, "Go ahead and say whatever you want. Why don't bite me? You're just an orphaned girl with no one to depend on, don't even know if you'll survive to adulthood, and yet you dare to challenge me? How laughable!"
"This pigweed is mine! Today you've stolen from me, so you must cut me a basketful every day as compensation! Plus, those chickens and ducks you're raising, you'll compensate them all to me, or else don't blame me for not being polite!" Granny Wang declared as she lunged to seize back her basket.
Wang's grandson was quick to help, "Hand it over to me! Hmph!"
Mengmeng, greatly outnumbered and powerless, could only glare at them, "No, I won't give it to you!"
"Granny Wang, if you keep bullying her like this, I'm going to report to the village branch secretary!" Some villagers passionately defended.
"What use is telling the village branch secretary? He may discipline her once, but he can't control her forever!" Granny Wang retorted proudly, chest puffed up.
"My house is the closest to her rundown thatched cottage. As long as she lives here, she must obey me! If I say east, she cannot go west! After all, who commanded her to be so alone, a helpless orphan?"
"Who says she's a lonely orphan?"
A cold voice, tinged with severity, echoed throughout the crowd.
The villagers turn around instinctively, only to see the village branch secretary approaching rapidly with a group of people.
The man and woman leading the group were both elegantly dressed, with outstanding demeanor. Excitement was written all over their faces, as if they were forcing themselves to hold something back.
It was evident that the cool remark was made by the handsome man.
His commanding presence caused the villagers to automatically make way, opening up a path.
As the man moved forward, his body seemed to stiffen upon seeing Mengmeng. Each step he took seemed heavier.
"Are you... Mengmeng?" He squatted in front of the little girl, his voice trembling, laced with caution.
The elegant and graceful woman also approached her, looking at the little girl's face, unable to stop her tears from falling.
After crying, Mengmeng's eyes were as clear as if they had been washed by water. She stared at the man, somewhat at a loss.
At this moment, the village head also came over and quickly said, "Mr. Chu, this is Mengmeng!"
Upon hearing this, the elegant woman immediately burst into tears, sweeping Mengmeng into her arms, "Mengmeng, my precious daughter, Mom has finally found you..."
The man's eyes turned red. He cautiously revealed a smile to Mengmeng, "Mengmeng, I'm your father, and this is your mother..."
As these words came out, all villagers present were dumbfounded.
Old lady Wang was even more stunned. How did this girl, who has always been bullied by her, suddenly have parents?
And these two people seemed to be very wealthy!
Old lady Wang quickly formulated a new strategy and voiced, "I've never heard that Mengmeng has parents. Are you two human traffickers?"
When Old lady Wang's words came out, the villagers immediately became wary.
The village head was instantly furious, "Watch your mouth, Woman! What nonsense are you spouting? These are Mengmeng's biological parents. Do you think I would harm Mengmeng?”
Hearing these words, the villagers' expressions seemed to lighten somewhat.
Regardless of whether this couple was good or bad, the village head was always a good man.
The elegant woman slowly let go of Mengmeng, reaching out to touch her hair, and choked out, "Mengmeng, don't be afraid, mom is not a bad person.”
After she finished speaking, she looked towards her husband.
Chu Zeyuan nodded, extended his hand, and a black-suited bodyguard behind him brought out some papers.
"This is the birth certificate of our daughter, along with photos of her from when she was little. Mengmeng has been lost for a whole three years, and her current appearance hasn't changed much, you can look at the photos."
Inside the clear file holder were Mengmeng's birth certificate and photos.
The little girl in the photo looked around two years old, wearing a pink princess dress, unbearably adorable. She looked nothing like the way Mengmeng is now, thin and frail.
But upon a closer look at her facial features, it was clear that they looked alike.
The village head also said, "Mengmeng has been in our village for nearly three years, the time matches up. As for the matter of identifying Mengmeng’s parentage, the police station is following up on it too, and they will arrange for a parentage test. If the result of the test shows that Mengmeng is not Mr. and Mrs. Chu’s child, then the police station will still return Mengmeng back to us."
As soon as the police station was mentioned, everyone felt much more reassured.
Throughout all this, Mengmeng had been timidly watching the elegant woman. It was only now that she asked cautiously, "Are you... my mother?"