Liangqiu Huang didn’t know what he should feel. The letter that merchant Wang had given him had clearly pointed at the Mo family. And then when he came out and saw that unconscious guy on the ground, he had felt that there must be something to it and the Mo family was trying to shift the blame to somebody else.
But now, there were actually several of these letters. The Mo family certainly didn’t have any reason to forge evidence against themselves. That only left two possibilities:
One, since these letters were currently distributed in merchant Wang’s estate, it could’ve been him who ordered one of his people to forge the letters and the unsuccessful ones had somehow been blown about. This was rather likely all things considered.
The other possibility was that there was an unknown third person that somehow would benefit from pitting the Mo family and merchant Wang against each other or make him suspect either or maybe even both of them. It wasn’t impossible but he also couldn’t think of somebody who might be benefiting from this.
Now, the problem was that he still needed to find out what exactly was really going on. That definitely wouldn’t be easy. But, thankfully, there were a few at least a few links that he could follow.
For one, if somebody had really forged letters in merchant Wang’s house and they were only just now appearing, then that must mean that this had been a recent thing. Maybe the letter that the merchant had handed him had even just been finished right before he came to see him. In that case, whoever had forged the letters might still be there. He just needed to check for some clues.
He couldn’t be sure of this conjecture but something told him that maybe he should go and check that man that he had just brought somewhere so he could rest. Maybe there was actually a clue there after all.
With that idea in mind, he turned on his heels and ran back to the room, finding the man still lying there unconscious. Since he had already checked his clothes before, he didn’t bother with that again and instead took a look at his hands.
There were a few ink marks there as if he had been startled and touched a letter that hadn’t been dried or maybe let go of the brush and smeared some ink on his fingers that way.
Liangqiu Huang checked the pattern of lines on the man’s hand and then looked at the letter that he had already found. There wasn’t a clue to be had but something told him that most likely, these three were not the only copies that were around. He sighed and left the room again, going to hunt for another few pieces of paper.
It didn’t take long and he found what he had been looking for: a piece of paper where the same letter was written almost until the end until a few drops of ink smeared some of the characters. There was the print of a part of a hand at the edge from when the person had probably put that piece of paper away and taken another one. Looking closely at it, it did resemble the one of that man’s hand. Thus, most likely, he was actually the one that had forged the letters.
Liangqiu Huang furrowed his brows and went to make sure that there weren’t any other copies around so that nobody would know that he had found this clue. Then, he restored his expression and returned to the entrance of the estate.
Seeing two people less and Zhou Ming with a mutton skewer in his hand, he slightly raised his brows. “Did something happen?”
Mo Ju An gave a wry smile. “We thought that we should let the other two go and get the carriage already so we can leave afterward. And Mister Zhou here said he got hungry again.”
Liangqiu Huang nodded with a complicated feeling and then motioned at the entrance. “Well, then we should really go. I’m sorry for having kept you here for so long. Especially since it turned out that nothing was the matter.”
Mo Ju An nodded as well but she didn’t seem happy.
Liangqiu Huang pondered her expression and finally couldn’t help but speak up when they all sat in the carriage and were on their way back. “Young Lady Mo, might I ask if something is the matter?”
Mo Ju An pursed her lips, not sure if she should say anything. This person was her future brother-in-law after all. She didn’t want to cause any bad blood between them that might make things troublesome in the future when she got married to Liangqiu Min.
Ao Jing glanced at her and gave her an encouraging smile. “Young Lady Mo, please speak freely. Anyway, maybe what you say will help us solve the mystery of that missing painting.”
Mo Ju An really doubted that that was the case but she could hardly stay silent after Ao Jing brought it up this directly. “Actually, it has nothing to do with that. I was just wondering how Young Master Liangqiu knew that merchant Wang.”
Liangqiu Huang raised his brows. “Is that so strange? Or, rather, is that a bad thing?” With how displeased she looked, that really seemed to be the case.
Mo Ju An pursed her lips even further. “Don’t you know that he is in direct rivalry with my family? He has been trying to sabotage my father’s work for quite a long time already. I’m really surprised that you would associate with him even though I’m going to marry your brother soon.”
She really seemed put out and Liangqiu Huang’s face immediately turned pale.
Mo Ju An blinked in surprise. “Uh … It’s not that bad. You can associate with everyone you want to. I wouldn’t want to tell you what to do.”
Liangqiu Huang actually wasn’t thinking about this. In fact, it was rather that he suddenly realized that things had been right in front of his nose all the time.
Hadn’t he asked one of his subordinates to investigate the situation of the Mo family? Back then, he had thought it had to be one of the branch families but thinking back now, the name on top of their competitors … had been exactly that Merchant Wang. He had just been too blind to see the connection between that.