Sasha arrived in Lostaria.
“Excuse me, may I know how to get to the Tsurka family residence?”
“Might you be asking about Jade Garden?” the Jetroinian girl bowed politely and inquired in return.
Sasha did not know too much about the Tsurkas, but nodded reflexively when she heard that name. “Yes.”
“You should take a taxi and go about three miles in this direction, Miss. When you see a yard full of peonies, you’ll know that you’re in the right place,” said the girl who went on to offer further details.
Sasha thanked her promptly before she flagged down a taxi and headed toward the place described.
Does Jetroina have peonies? And an entire garden of it?
That was the one question Sasha obsessed over the short ride.
After ten minutes or so, her eyes widened in astonishment when greeted with the sight of a sea of deep purple and brilliant red before she steadily alighted.
They really are peonies!
Not only that, the entire garden was intricately imbued with an old-world charm. The walls which enclosed this sea of blossoms were constructed using blue bricks and red tiles, with circular sectors hollowed out at intervals within its wave-like form.
At first impression, she felt like she have stepped into a Chanaean garden back home rather than any place in Jetroina.
Why would a Jetroinian family employ such an architectural style?
That did much to pique Sasha’s curiosity, and when she came closer, she discovered a sweet voice emanating from the other side of that wall.
“He’s being difficult.”
“What’s the matter? Has he upset you again?”
The discontent conveyed through that delicate voice was followed closely by the gentle inflection of a concerned older male.
The woman sounded mildly miffed, and it was not certain what she was doing before the splashing of water was heard.
“He’s not being appreciative at all. The reason why I kept that lass around was because he couldn’t seem to move on from her, and now he’s cussing at me and even threatening to jump to his death? Is he mental?”
Sasha was slightly taken aback.
This voice, doesn’t sound that lovely anymore.
After hearing how the demure voice from before had seemingly morphed into that of a mean-spirited and foul-mouthed shrew, Sasha could no longer refrain from peering inside through that fan-shaped opening.
There was, indeed, a woman and a man inside, but to Sasha’s surprise, they were not in a yard, but a hot spring surrounded by peonies on all four sides.
At this moment, a bikini-clad woman with a wicked figure was canoodling with a pot-bellied elderly man.
“So, this is what it’s about. There’s no need to get all worked up over this. The kid cares a lot about his pride and surely won’t make a move for as long as that girl remains Sebastian’s wife. But worry not. With Frederick now dead, we’ll just have to wait until we secure all of Hayes Corporation’s shares. When the time comes, wouldn’t it be easy for us to have her marry Solomon?”
Sasha was all thunderstruck and mouth agape as she listened in.
Is Frederick… dead?
However, this was not the worst of it. The more terrifying sight she picked up through her vantage point was when the woman was happily coaxed into facing around toward the elderly man.
Sasha’s mind blanked out when she glared at the woman, stupefied.
How could this be?
This woman… why does she resemble that person in the photograph Mom had always kept close to her?
Mom said she’s called Yancy Young, her very best friend who, unfortunately, passed away when her child was only eight.
Shell-shocked to see the woman still alive and kicking, Sasha staggered backward and missed her footing.
The man inside the hot spring turned around sharply with a murderous gaze.
Sasha brought a hand over her mouth to prevent herself from crying out, but she had no time to escape before several deft shadows rose from within the Jade Garden and pounced upon her.
“How disappointing. I’ve considered letting you off this once on your mother Heather’s account, but you just have to show up here. Now, you’ve no one else to blame but yourself.”
After Yancy got dressed, she walked over with arms akimbo and regarded the woman who had been subdued by the bodyguards.
Sasha jerked her head up and glared back. “So, it really is you. Why did you do it? Why did you lie to my mother?”
“Hmm…” The woman finally evoked some semblance of self-consciousness. “It was… a matter of expediency back then.”
“A matter of expediency? My mother supported and raised your son like her own until he turned eighteen, and kept his identity a secret at your request. When you wanted to send him abroad at eighteen, she put in the money and effort to make arrangements. And now, you’re turning around to casually dismiss it as a matter of expediency? How could you, Yancy Young?”
Recalling everything that her mother did for this woman made Sasha choke up when she confronted her.