Such a selfish woman who had no thought for others besides herself. Nothing could compare to the importance of her own problems. No matter how badly others were hurt, she would still place herself first.
But Jiang Changdai had misunderstood and her face looked frighteningly cold. She looked at the old principal viciously and made no attempt to hide her contempt.
"I know you have a grudge against me. Taking apart the orphanage would just bring more misery to these originally homeless children. But you can't really be angry at me, the future of these children and where they would be placed have nothing to do with me. The only thing you should be angry about is their fate of being orphans. They were condemned to a lousy life for being thrown away by their parents the moment they were born. The only thing I have right now is the power to decide your future. There is no changing the fact that the gap between us is so huge. Since I have a natural advantage in this case, there's no reason for me not to use it. Besides, I have no obligation to be considerate on your behalf. It has nothing to do with me that fate had dealt you this hand."
"It is too late for you to blame fate anyway. But, you can blame Lin Chu. If she had listened to me in the first place and broke up with Beicheng, you wouldn't be having this problem right now," Jiang Changdai said slowly. The look in her eyes was condescending. It was filled with arrogant superiority.
The old principal was filled with anger, she pointed her fingers at Jiang Changdai as her wrinkled hands trembled. "You are a shameless woman with a black heart! Just listen to what you are saying! You don't even have the common decency of a basic human being, what right do you have to be so arrogant and to look down on others? What's wrong with Lin Chu? Lin Chu is a million times better than you are! She might not earn much but she has given half of what she had to these children. And what about you? You have all the advantages of life and yet, you chose not to help others. All you care about is your meaningless little selfish gains!
"People like you are the kind that knocks down a person on a road and places the blame on the victim for dirtying your car!" The old principal raged as she pointed at Jiang Changdai.
She was rarely this angry, and it was even scarier looking at someone this elderly getting this angry. One would be worried that something would happen to her in all this anger. Teacher Yuan was getting concerned standing next to her.
The row in the living room had worried Teacher Wang, who was watching over the children. Teacher Wang quickly gathered all the children deeper into the house, worried that the loud argument would scare them. Teacher Wang gave instructions for the oldest child, a five-year-old, to take care of the other younger children before heading to find out what was happening.
Jiang Changdai was now enraged after the principal's lecture. She glared at her and straightened her neck as she said, "Well, that's just what fate gave them, what has that got anything to do with me?! You commoners should stop taking advantage of others. So what if we're rich? Is it necessary for us to give money to you just because we have them? Does it mean we're not kind people if we refuse to give money?"
Who even mentioned money?!
The old principal felt that she could not communicate with Jiang Changdai at all. Was she even talking about the same subject? Did it sound like she was asking for money?!
What she meant was that Jiang Changdai treated her shallow matters involving as something that was more important than anything else under the heavens, and treated the lives of others as inconsequential.
She would destroy these innocent children's lives because of some small, selfish matter!
The children did nothing to her, how could she do this?!
No wonder Yan Zhiqing was so unreasonable. No wonder Yan Beicheng had never mentioned this mother of his.
"But, this doesn't mean that you can't salvage this situation," Jiang Changdai said stiffly.
The old principal already knew what she was about to say before she even said it.
Just as the principal had thought, she said, "As long as you get Lin Chu to break up with Beicheng and stay far away from Beicheng, then I won't touch the orphanage. If she treats this place as her home and is really that filial, then she would definitely listen to you. I don't care how you do it. As long as you can convince her, then not only will I not touch the orphanage, I will even make a donation. It will be no problem for me to sponsor a few children."
The old principal held on to Teacher Wang's shoulders to help herself up. "There is no need! If you weren't Beicheng's mother, I would have kicked you out long ago. Lin Chu and Beicheng's relationship has been approved by the two elders of the Yan family. What are you doing still with these underhanded means?!"
Jiang Changdai jumped up, agitated. "So, you're not planning to listen to reason, are you?! You keep claiming to be kind and moral, that you love these children. But when it comes to Lin Chu, you choose to abandon all these children, how much of a hypocrite are you?!"
"Out! All of you get out!" The old principal was raging mad and could not care less about sounding rude.
This Jiang Changdai was really good at misrepresenting facts. She even turned everything topsy turvy!
How… How could there be such a hateful woman!
If she was a few years younger, she would have beaten up Jiang Changdai immediately.
Yan Zhiqing stood up as well, helping up Jiang Changdai. With the misconception that she was being sensible, she analyzed the situation in what she thought was sound reason. "Principal, please do stop being this way and keep calm. You can't force things. Since our family is obviously not happy with Lin Chu, then why should you care about Lin Chu's situation? It would be good for everybody if you'd just get Lin Chu to break it off with my brother. Everyone would be happy. The orphanage can stay, the children would not need to lose their homes and we would not need to create so much trouble for Lin Chu or for any of you. There's no denying that Lin Chu is unworthy of my brother. My grandma and grandpa may have agreed to their relationship, but that's because they're always spoiling him."
"Besides, they've been cut off from the real world a long time and are unaware of what's happening out there, so naturally, they're not really bothered much. But now, people out there are laughing behind my brother's back, saying that he does not have a good woman at his side, only an orphan who has nothing to her name. The two elders are unaware of this, and if they are, they would definitely not agree to Lin Chu being with my brother."
"Then tell that to the two elders, that everyone out there is laughing behind Beicheng's back. What's the use of telling us this?!" The old principal replied angrily.
She really could not understand how Jiang Changdai brought up Yan Zhiqing to be such a terrible judge of right and wrong. How could she think she was being on the side of reason when she was being so obviously stupid?
Her speech would have been the biggest joke of the day and yet she was clearly unaware of how ridiculous she sounded!
The old principal laughed bitterly. "You understand the concept of not forcing things together, then why don't you gift these wise words to Miss Lu? Beicheng and Lin Chu are in love with each other and yet, Miss Lu keeps on insisting to come between them. She doesn't even care if Beicheng is willing and continues to throw herself at him. And now, Beicheng finds her even more annoying. The man she likes is disgusted with her and yet, she has the gall to come here clamoring for him?"
"One of you claim to be doing the best for your son, the other claims to saving her brother's face, but at the end of the day, both of you just want Lu Weining and Beicheng to be together. You don't even care if he is willing. All you want to do is to push this person onto him. You don't care about his feelings; you don't care about what he thinks. Aren't you afraid of pushing him away? What you are doing really chills the heart!"
The old principal pointed at Jiang Changdai. "He is your son!"
Then, she pointed at Yan Zhiqing. "He is your brother!"
"Yet today, both of you are creating a terrible situation for the person closest to you all because of a woman that has no relations to you at all! Does your son owe you anything? Does your brother owe you anything? Does he not treat you well? What did he do to the both of you to make you want to have revenge on him so much?" The old principal was so angry that her face was flushed blood red and she could not stop trembling all over.
She stomped her feet in anger. "No wonder he never wants to talk about any of you. You are forcing your son, forcing your brother, into something terrible over an outsider. Is it because you can't stand seeing him happy or comfortable in life? How much do you like this person with the surname Lu, that you love her more than your own son, your own brother?! Did he do something wrong to the two of you to deserve this treatment? Don't you feel guilty?! Don't you feel any remorse?!
"You're nothing but a selfish pair of mother and daughter. All you think about is your own happiness, with no consideration for Beicheng's feelings. Pushing Lu Weining to him would make you happy, but what about Beicheng? Miss Yan, give a thought about it. If you liked someone and your mother tried to match you up with another man with bad intentions who only wants your money by breaking you up with your boyfriend, would you be happy?" The old principal asked angrily.
Yan Zhiqing replied shrilly, "How can that be the same?! How can you compare Big Sister Lu to that kind of person? Big Sister Lu is much better than Lin Chu! She's already rich, what more could she want from my brother?! My brother has just been momentarily blinded by Lin Chu and thinks that she is a good person. He will understand in the future what we are doing was for his own good! Stop trying to degrade us and misinterpret our intentions just because you want to help Lin Chu. We are his loved ones. If we don't care for him, who else is going to?!"
Yan Zhiqing took a deep breath and exhaled heavily. She seemed to have calmed down and continued, "Principal, at the end of the day, this is our family matter. It won't be appropriate for you to simply comment on it! We will take care of our own matters. It's not for outsiders to say if we are treating my brother well or not. You side with Lin Chu, so, you would not admit it if she was not a good person. There is no longer any need to argue about the matter."
Teacher Wang and Teacher Yuan did not say a single word throughout, but two words came to their minds at the same time when it came to Yan Zhiqing. 'Silly girl!'
She was nothing but a child who had yet to graduate from high school. She may already be 18 years-old but, as she has yet to graduate, she was still a child in their eyes.
It meant nothing if she had won little arguments in school. She was still not exposed to the real world. Lu Weining was 10 years older than she was, how easy would it be for her to manipulate this little girl? Besides, this girl was nothing more than a silly, stupid one.
Lu Weining was one shrewd, scheming person, it was not difficult to wrap Yan Zhiqing around her little finger.
The old principal looked at the 18-year-old Yan Zhiqing. It angered her that she fancied herself mature and intelligent enough at such a young age, yet at the same time, it was laughable.
"Fine, I'll stop arguing about this with you. But you should all stop harassing us as well! Get out, immediately!" The old principal pointed to the door and said angrily.
Yan Zhiqing pulled Jiang Changdai along but Jiang Changdai refused to budge. "Wait. Does this mean you do not agree to our terms?"
"Of course I don't! I'll figure out something on my own for the children! I won't allow you to have your way and I won't allow Lin Chu to sacrifice herself! Who do you think you are? You really should get over yourself and stop forcing others to follow everything you want! I will never agree to the terms and you should never come here again!" The old principal was livid.
Jiang Changdai sneered. "We will definitely be back. Do you think we like coming to this trashy place?"
Jiang Changdai glanced the place contemptuously. The look in her eyes was saying that this place was not worthy of her presence.
"Since Jiang He has already bought this piece of land, we'll be back to discuss matters of moving this orphanage. There will be someone from the company coming over this afternoon to talk to you about this. Since you are not agreeable to the terms, then you'll just have to watch these children being sent away." There was an evil glint in Jiang Changdai's eyes and her lips curved into a sinister smile.
With that, Jiang Changdai left with Yan Zhiqing and Lu Weining.
It was only after the three had left that the old principal felt weak and fell onto the sofa. She was short of breath and her heart was palpitating fast. She looked like she had difficulty breathing.
Teacher Yuan watched as the old principal grabbed at her chest and looked like she was in pain. Shocked, she called out, "Old principal!"
She quickly got Teacher Wang to watch over her while she went to grab some medicine for the principal.
The more one panicked, the harder it was to do something right. She was all over the place. Although she looked to be quite fast, her clumsiness slowed her down.
Not long after, Teacher Yuan finally came in with a glass of water and a bottle of medicine.
The old principal took the medicine with her trembling hands and popped them into her mouth. Teacher Yuan did not pass the glass to her but helped feed her the water instead.
It was only after a while she took the medicine that she had calmed down and felt much better.
"How are you feeling right now?" Teacher Yuan asked in concern.
The old principal waved her hand. "I'm feeling fine. I feel much better now."
"Old principal, what should we do now?" Teacher Wang asked worriedly.
"We can't tell Lin Chu about this. She will just blame herself. We shouldn't be giving her so much stress. This child has a difficult life. Even at her most difficult moments, she would be thinking about the orphanage. She's helped the orphanage so much and we should not be troubling her in times like these. That Jiang Changdai is targeting us because of Lin Chu's affection for the orphanage. At the end of the day, we are the ones that are giving her trouble," said the old principal.
Teacher Yuan did not feel the same way. To put it in another way, Lin Chu did cause this trouble for the orphanage. If it was not for Lin Chu and Yan Beicheng's problem, the orphanage would not be facing this disaster.
However, Teacher Yuan did not say it out loud. She had seen for herself Lin Chu's contributions to the orphanage. She and Teacher Wang had joined the orphanage much later. At the time, Lin Chu was already adopted by the Lin family and they had not interacted with the young Lin Chu before. But they were well aware of everything Lin Chu had done for the orphanage after she had grown up.
If they told Lin Chu about this, Lin Chu would not stand by and do nothing, but it would certainly make her feel sad about it.
This was why Teacher Yuan and Teacher Wang had no objections to the old principal's decision.
The old principal stood up after her words.
"Where are you going?" Teacher Yuan quickly helped her up.
The old principal waved her hand. "I need both of you to work together and get in touch with our volunteers. Check with them on who has time to drop by and give us a hand. I'm taking the younger children who don't need to go to school to protest."
Teacher Wang and Teacher Yuan were shocked as the old principal continued, "We may not be telling Lin Chu about this, but that doesn't mean we are not going to take any action. This is an old housing area and is actually quite a strategic spot. It's only a matter of time before we're forced to move away. Even if it was not because of Lin Chu, this would have happened sooner or later. When that time comes, wouldn't we still need to depend on ourselves? Jiang Changdai wants to use this excuse to threaten us, and I really want to teach her a lesson. She can't be having everything she wants and force everyone to follow her way!"
"Even if the orphanage would need to be demolished in the end, we'll make sure her company's reputation would be demolished as well!" The old principal declared as she clenched her teeth.
The old principal was a person who was resilient when it came to matters of the orphanage. She would sometimes be gentle, at other times, she would be actively taking matters in her own hands as well. When it was time to do something, she did not hesitate.
It was no wonder that Lin Chu's personality was exactly the same way. She had grown up at the old principal's side and was sure to have picked up some traits.
Teacher Wang and Teacher Yuan thought that it sounded like a good plan and hurriedly made phone calls to all the volunteers.
As this was a working day and most of the volunteers were university students while some had just started their jobs, they were not sure if they could make time.
Teacher Wang and Teacher Yuan told them about what had happened. They did not mention that it was because Jiang Changdai wanted to threaten Lin Chu, and only informed the volunteers about the orphanage being slated for demolition and the children were being forced to move somewhere else. After all, that was Lin Chu and Yan Beicheng's private matter. It was not really a good thing to announce it to the world.
They did not expect the volunteers on the other end of the line to go berserk over this piece of news.
Many of the volunteers who were university students did not have classes at the time while those who did have classes did not mention them at all. They decided to skip their class and ensured that they had time to help out the orphanage.
As for those at work, they were not able to leave but for those whose work was more flexible, they decided to take a day's leave and promised the old principal to meet and congregate at the entrance of City Hall.
With that, the old principal, along with Teacher Wang and Teacher Yuan, brought the children along in a taxi to City Hall.
Teacher Wang and Teacher Yuan each had a bag which they had packed up a banner made at the last minute.
They did not have time to have a banner specially made. The red banner was created on the spot with A4 paper. Each paper had one character written on it and the papers were glued on one by one onto the banner. They carefully folded it up to fit into their bags.
The other bag was filled with some cushions for the children to sit on. They did not want them to catch a cold.
When the old principal arrived, most of the volunteers were already there. There were 15 of them, much more than the old principal had expected.
The old principal's eyes went red as she heard the volunteers call out to her worriedly, their expressions full of concern. She kept nodding her head, touched by them. "Thank you, thank you, everyone."
She had thought that it was good enough if three or four of them turned up. She did not expect so many of them to come here on behalf of the orphanage, for the children.
"Don't mention it, Principal. What should we do next?" another person asked.
Teacher Yuan took out the banner and everyone helped her unfurl it. They directed it towards the entrance of City Hall.
Teacher Wang got the children to sit on their cushions. All of them were aware that this was something major that would involve their future. All the children were around four to five-years-old. They were at an age when they began to understand what was happening around them.
The five children sat obediently on their cushions and did not move at all.
The volunteers helped hold out the banner, which read, 'Jiang He Has No Humanity, They Want To Demolish The Orphanage!'.
The old principal placed a recorder at the front, she did not need to say anything with its help. The recorder had a strong broadcasting function which made every word clear and loud. It was reiterating the reason for their protest. "The old houses on Xin Yang district will be demolished and rebuilt. The land has been bought by Jiang He but they are looking to demolish the orphanage and turning it into a commercial-residential area. The children will lose their home and have nowhere to go…"
This was a bustling road with many tourists and visitors at the leisure square in front of them while on both sides were office buildings, the central business district, and rows upon rows of major shopping malls. That was why there were always so many people there.
Passers-by could not help looking at them and listening to the recorder. They eventually slowed down and looked at the pitiful children sitting on the cushions.
These children were not wearing branded or expensive clothes but they looked clean and tidy. They were young and adorable. It was evident that they have been taken good care of.
As there were always people visiting City Hall, the security guards were calm about the situation. As long as the protestors did not create any trouble or chaos, they would not do anything to them.