Chapter 4 – Cannon Fodder Awakening
In the author’s portrayal, this so-called “kind-hearted” real rich daughter doesn’t seem genuinely kind. Throughout the narrative, Xu Fangfang’s selfishness and cunning are evident.
【Xu Fangfang doesn’t like the Xu family at all. Otherwise, after returning to the city, she wouldn’t immediately request to change her name to Lin Wangshu.】
Xu Jinning felt fortunate that she had a strong tolerance for insensitivity. Otherwise, facing the clothes left behind by Xu Fangfang and her biological mother’s words, any biological daughter, if even slightly sensitive, would feel very sad and upset.
At this moment, listening to her daughter’s inner thoughts, Zhang Ailian stood frozen in place.
Her gaze fell on her younger daughter.
Thin and without an ounce of flesh, hair dry and yellow, skin darker than theirs.
How could they have thought, based on this appearance, that Ningning was living a prosperous life in the city?
Recalling Xu Fangfang, who was raised in a pampered manner, even her figure was plump, a rarity in the village.
Thinking about this, Zhang Ailian’s eyes suddenly reddened.
Unable to endure it any longer, she put down her chopsticks and rushed back into the room.
“Ailian, what’s wrong? Are you feeling unwell?” Xu Aiguo, without finishing his meal, followed his wife into the house.
Xu Fanghua glared at Xu Jinning, “It’s all because of you. You must have angered Mom, made her sad. What’s wrong with wearing Fangfang’s clothes? They’re much better than what you’re wearing. You don’t know how to appreciate things.”
Listening to the words by her ear, Xu Jinning remained indifferent, saying nothing.
As for Xu Xiangbei, he didn’t say a word throughout, as if everything in front of him had nothing to do with him.
Back in the room, Zhang Ailian, unable to hold back any longer, finally began to cry.
Seeing his wife crying, Xu Aiguo was immediately alarmed. “What happened? Why are you crying? Did Ningning say something to upset you? That girl doesn’t know what’s good for her. Just ignore her. Let her do whatever she wants.”
“What’s the matter? Feeling wronged because of wearing Fangfang’s clothes? Don’t mind her. Let her wear whatever she wants. Okay, stop crying.”
Xu Aiguo hugged his wife, patting her back.
However, Zhang Ailian shook her head, tears in her eyes, and choked, “No, it’s not that. It’s that we’ve made Ningning suffer. We’ve wronged Ningning…”
Then, Zhang Ailian shared her interpretation of Xu Jinning’s inner thoughts with her husband.
“…What if, for over a decade, Ningning has been living in the countryside? What kind of life has she led?”
“Look at her appearance, so thin, almost just skin and bones. Clearly, she’s struggling to eat and dress warmly.”
“And Fangfang, we sent her to school, she didn’t have to do any chores at home or in the fields, always wearing new clothes. I dare say, we’ve raised Fangfang very well. But Ningning, when we were carefully nurturing another family’s daughter, our biological daughter was suffering somewhere else, and we didn’t even know. Aiguo, that’s Ningning. Ningning is our biological daughter, and we owe her too much.”
“I even suspect if the mistake over a decade ago was truly just an accident?”
The words of his wife made Xu Aiguo suddenly enlightened, as if he had been living in a fog all along. Now, his wife’s words cleared away the mist in front of him, giving him instant clarity. His once rusty brain started to function normally.
The more he thought about it, the more he felt that his wife’s words made sense.
“Ailian, what you said makes sense…” Xu Aiguo was in a daze. However, the reality was right in front of him. Why hadn’t he noticed it before?
Looking at Ningning’s appearance, thin and emaciated, she looked almost like an orphan whose parents were absent.
How could she possibly have been living a prosperous life in the city?
Moreover, if the mistaken switch wasn’t an accident, then the whole incident was a conspiracy.
Xu Fangfang’s biological parents had planned a good first half of life for their biological daughter, deliberately letting Xu Aiguo’s daughter suffer.
But why? The reason he cherished Xu Fangfang so much was because Xu Fangfang was his and Ailian’s biological daughter.
For over a decade, they had been showering affection on the wrong person, while their biological daughter, Ningning, suffered somewhere else.
“Ailian, I’ll investigate this matter. I’ll find out the truth. If it turns out to be as you guessed, I won’t easily let this go.”
Xu Aiguo had some connections.
Currently, in the Xu family, Xu Aiguo was a worker in the textile factory and one of the few workers in the Qinghe Production Team. In this era, being a monthly wage-earning worker was an honorable and proud accomplishment.
However, it was challenging for rural people to enter the city as workers.
The reason Xu Aiguo was able to become a city worker was because he saved someone. That person’s identity was extraordinary, so after graduating from junior high school, Xu Aiguo had the opportunity to participate in the textile factory recruitment exam. Thanks to his efforts, he passed the exam and stayed in the textile factory.
Xu Aiguo was an honest, enthusiastic, and sociable person. Over the years working in the textile factory, he had accumulated some connections.
Now, these connections could be put to good use.
“Okay, Aiguo, you must investigate,” Zhang Ailian affirmed.
“I will, as for Ningning, take good care of her and show her more concern. We’ll make it up to her together. Even though she hasn’t been with us for these past ten years, she is still our biological daughter.”
“I understand, I’ll do my best, I promise.”
The conversation between Xu Aiguo and Zhang Ailian was unknown to Xu Jinning. After lunch, she returned to her room to rest. The original owner’s health was not great, and even with the change, her health wouldn’t suddenly improve. She needed more rest.
While resting, Zhang Ailian entered the room. Somehow, Xu Jinning felt that Zhang Ailian’s eyes seemed a bit red, and her gaze was gentle. It resembled a mother looking at her pitiful and suffering child, full of pity and guilt.
Honestly, when she first encountered this gaze, Xu Jinning, who had never experienced maternal love in two lifetimes, almost got lost in it. But she quickly snapped out of it.
Illusion, it must be her illusion.
This was the world set by the author. In this setting, cannon fodder characters were NPCs without emotions, whether it was Zhang Ailian or the original owner, both were cannon fodder. According to the setting, even if Xu Jinning was the biological daughter, even if she did everything perfectly, Zhang Ailian would still only like Xu Fangfang, not her.
【Xu Jinning, wake up. Your mother only likes Xu Fangfang, not you.】
On the other side, Zhang Ailian, seeing Xu Jinning’s momentary daze and the avoidance in her eyes, felt a pang in her heart. She wanted to say, “No, you are my biological daughter, how could I not like you?” However, when the words reached her lips, Zhang Ailian found herself unable to say them.