After the audition, the contestants were brought to the villa that they would be staying at. After successfully getting past the second round of auditions, they now had to undergo a week-long training.
The program team had invited a teacher over to give them lessons.
These 15 contestants were able to stand out from so many applicants, so they were pretty well-rounded and had good qualities in all aspects, and their capabilities were pretty comparable to each other.
Entertainment International also took the opportunity to send someone over to check on the contestants and see if they were willing to sign their names under the company. Those who came to participate in the audition naturally wanted to enter the entertainment industry. The majority of them decided to sign the contract, but a few said that they wanted to know the outcome of the final audition before deciding. If they didn’t make it to the end, they might choose to give up on entering the entertainment industry.
However, all of this had nothing to do with Jiaojiao. The agent sent by the company would take care of all of these matters.
Sheng Jiaoyang accompanied Shen Zhining to visit the Ning Family to celebrate the New Year and pay respects to the Ning elders.
The two elders had an alright attitude, but Uncle Ning and his wife, who coincidentally came to visit and join in the fun, spoke with a grouchy tone.
"Zhining, I read online that your betrothal gift to your girlfriend is a huge gift of all your shares in Entertainment International. It seems that your wedding is just around the corner. Your betrothal gift is truly a large gift!"
"Entertainment International?" Grandmother Ning asked.
"Auntie, you might not be aware of this since you’re not interested in the entertainment industry. Entertainment International is a media company with a market value of hundreds of billions of dollars, and 50% of its shares are worth a lot. Others won’t be able to make that much money, even after struggling for a lifetime," Aunt Ning explained.
Uncle Ning added, "It's not a bad thing to spoil your wife."
"But they aren’t married yet. It's not that I want to preach, but relationships in the entertainment industry are very superficial," Aunt Ning continued while casting a glance at Grandmother Ning.
"Zhining, you…" After hearing what Uncle and Aunt Ning said, Grandmother Ning's expression changed.
Shen Zhining immediately clarified, "Those who have the ability to earn a fortune would never entertain those unfounded rumours. I have made it clear on Weibo the shares of Entertainment International were bought over by Jiaojiao. Some people like to read those fake news, so no wonder these random gossips never end."
Sheng Jiaoyang reached out beneath the table and held Shen Zhining's hand. She squeezed his hand and silently praised him.
All is fine if Boss Shen doesn't speak. But, as soon as he opens his mouth, you will surely die under his verbal attacks.
Uncle Ning and his wife became somewhat awkward. They knew that Shen Zhining was referring to them when he mentioned the people who ‘couldn’t make a fortune’ and ‘liked to watch fake news’. He didn’t speak rudely, but when one understood the meaning behind his words, they would be too ashamed to hold up their faces.
"Zhining, you don't need to cover for her. Although your girlfriend won an award for her drama, the money she earns is not enough to buy those shares. So where did she get that much money from? Although we’re not familiar with the entertainment industry, we know that it’s impossible to get that much money from merely acting in dramas and shooting ads," Aunt Ning thought she could continue arguing.
Grandmother Ning fixed her eyes on Shen Zhining. Even if what Zhining said was true, and he actually sold his shares to Sheng Jiaoyang, he must have sold it to her at a very low price.
At this moment, Grandmother Ning found herself agreeing with the age-old saying: ‘those who are in love are truly blind’. Even her most outstanding grandson wasn’t an exception. Afterwards, she shifted her gaze towards Jiaojiao with a cold gaze, as if she was looking at a crafty thousand-year-old fox.
"Actually, many people think like that, and I usually ignore those conjectures, because they are irrelevant in my eyes. However, since we are a family, I don't want to cause any misunderstandings. If I recall correctly, I still haven’t said anything about who my main backer is, right?" Sheng Jiaoyang asked.
Besides Shen Zhining, everyone turned to look at her.
"Although he’s not related to me by blood, he’s now my closest kin…"
"Oh, I almost forgot. You just inherited a lot of assets!" Ning Xiaoruan exclaimed.
The Sheng Xun legacy incident was blown out of proportion, and everyone knew about it. After all, a person, who wasn’t blood-related to the deceased, had inherited a large portion of the deceased’s assets in one go. The media liked to report on these kinds of things because it attracted a lot of attention.
"As I have already said, I’m going to donate those assets I’ve inherited to improve public welfare." Sheng Jiaoyang glanced at Ning Xiaoruan and added, "Please don't interrupt me and let me finish."
"The person I was talking about earlier is my grandfather, Yang Wenting. Gramps and Granny must have heard of him before."
"Yang Wenting?" Grandfather Ning and Grandmother Ning looked at each other. They met him before, so they naturally knew who he was.
"What? Jiaojiao, when did you become Grandfather Yang's granddaughter? How come I wasn’t aware of this?" Ning Xiaoruan asked in surprise.
Sheng Jiaoyang cast a sidelong glance at Ning Xiaoruan. "There are many things you’re not aware of. Do you want me to tell you about them, one by one?"
"Yes, tell me, tell me!" Ning Xiaoruan happily exclaimed.
"…You can ask Zhining." Sheng Jiaoyang revealed her trump card.
Ning Xiaoruan received a cold look from Shen Zhining and shrunk back in fear.
Although he’d changed a lot, and he had become physically stronger now, his cousin was still a lofty mountain that could crush him to death at any moment.
"Two years ago, my grandfather acknowledged my mother as his foster daughter, and me as his foster granddaughter. As a result, I was appointed the heiress to his assets," Sheng Jiaoyang confidently explained.
Everyone but Shen Zhining was shocked at this revelation.
"Hence, I have never agreed with those who said that I'm very lucky to marry into a rich family. I am indeed lucky, but to say that I’m lucky to marry into a wealthy family…haha, do I even need to marry into a wealthy family? I’m a rich heiress myself!"
Sheng Jiaoyang cast a meaningful look at Uncle Ning and his wife. "Originally, Zhining and I are a family, so we don't need to go through the trouble of selling and buying shares. However, there are too many gossipers around, so I have bought Entertainment International. Now, I can confidently retort those ignorant gossipers whenever I face them."
Uncle Ning and Aunt Ning’s expressions turned indescribably ugly.
"Alright, let's have dinner," Grandfather Ning instructed.
Everyone remained silent as they ate.
After dinner, Uncle Ning and Aunt Ning were too ashamed to stay any longer and left.
"Jiaojiao, what you said earlier is really satisfying! They are really ignorant and annoying gossipers." Ning Xiaoruan gave Sheng Jiaoyang a thumbs-up.
Sheng Jiaoyang’s lips curled into a smile.
"Your child will be born with a golden spoon, and he or she will be the richest child in the future," Madam Ning beamed.
Sheng Jiaoyang and Shen Zhining looked at each other and smiled.
At this moment, Grandmother Ning’s mood was complicated. She initially thought that Jiaojiao was after Zhining's assets. However, Jiaojiao turned out to be a rich heiress, and she’d already achieved so much in the entertainment industry at such a young age. It was really difficult to tell who was more worthy of the other between Zhining and her. She could only say that they were a match made in heaven.
Grandfather Ning looked at Sheng Jiaoyang and said, "The International Art Exchange is happening tomorrow, let’s go there together."
Sheng Jiaoyang froze for a moment, "This…"
"Rest early tonight. I don't want a dispirited person to accompany me tomorrow," Grandfather Ning indifferently added.
"Okay," Sheng Jiaoyang obediently answered.
When they went back to their bedroom. Sheng Jiaoyang said, "It seems like Gramps attaches great importance to me. He’s even taking me to the International Art Exchange. Say, should I ask someone to bring over a painting tomorrow?"
Shen Zhining drew her towards him and replied, "Gramps didn't ask you to bring anything, so you don't have to do this. Just follow him there and look around."
The next day, Sheng Jiaoyang wore her hair up in a high ponytail and appeared especially energetic.
When Grandfather Ning saw her, he nodded in satisfaction. The two of them then departed after having breakfast.
Not long after, they arrived at the International Art Exchange Association.
What came into sight was beautiful ladies donning elegant cheongsams, as well as groups of patrol guards.
A middle-aged man walked over and greeted, "Elder Ning, you’re here."
His eyes then landed on Sheng Jiaoyang, and he asked, "Who’s this beautiful young lady?"
"She’s my granddaughter-in-law." Grandfather Ning raised his chin with pride.
Although Grandfather Ning never praised Sheng Jiaoyang, he was still very satisfied with her as his future granddaughter-in-law. In any case, his friends’ granddaughters-in-law that he’d met before weren’t so outstanding, and many of them were young ladies who didn’t understand traditional art and blindly pursued modern art. This was also one of the reasons why the other elders hadn’t brought their grandsons and granddaughters here today.
The middle-aged man smiled at Sheng Jiaoyang and before leading them inside.
"Elder Ning, Elder Wu and the rest are already inside. The esteemed foreign guests will arrive a bit later. Feel free to look around our exhibition centre. We have already displayed all your works there."
Grandfather Ning entered the exhibition hall and saw a group of people chatting in front of an oil painting. He then walked over with Sheng Jiaoyang.
"Old Ning, you came!" Some of them recognised Grandfather Ning at a glance.
Sheng Jiaoyang also looked over. She only recognised one person in the group, and that was Mr. Wu Yinghui.
She liked Mr. Wu's painting a lot. His paintings contained a splendid artistic conception that greatly intrigued her.
"Hey, you brought an assistant along?"
"She's not my assistant, she's my granddaughter-in-law!" The word ‘granddaughter-in-law’ flowed out of Grandfather Ning’s mouth very naturally this time.
Besides Mr. Wu, the others were shocked. They had never seen Grandfather Ning bring a junior to these kinds of art exchanges before.
A few relatively young people were also present in the group, but they were mainly the elders’ apprentices and assistants.
One of the youngsters recognised Sheng Jiaoyang.
"It’s Xu Jiaojiao!" the youngster exclaimed.
"Who is Xu Jiaojiao?" another person asked.
"Xu Jiaojiao is currently the most popular female celebrity."
"A female celebrity? Elder Ning actually accepted someone from the entertainment industry as his granddaughter-in-law?"
Speaking of which, some people in the literature and arts scene didn’t think much of people from the entertainment industry. They thought that celebrities were entertainers who sold their body for work. Thus, they weren’t as noble as them.
The youngster who recognised Xu Jiaojiao couldn’t help but retort, "Xu Jiaojiao is quite adept at oil paintings."
"How well can a young girl like her draw?" someone remarked disapprovingly.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
TL: Yuna | Editor: Cookies | TLC: Grace