Soon, Janet had been brought over to Henrick forcefully.
As soon as she saw Henrick, Janet started shouting in panic, “Mr. Southall, I'm innocent! I went out only because my useless son got into trouble again! I have nothing to do with the cobra incident! Please, I've always been loyal to the Southalls!”
Janet's pleas fell on deaf ears as Henrick ordered for her to be tied up.
Without any hesitation, the housekeepers did as instructed.
Still ignoring Janet's cries, Henrick walked around the hall and found a leather belt left behind by a guest.
“Whip her!” he ordered as he handed the belt to the housekeeper.
Despite his initial hesitation, the housekeeper eventually carried out Henrick's orders.
Snap! With just one whip, Janet's skin instantly split open. The pain was so unbearable she started screaming and writhing on the floor.
Arielle watched silently by the side, her gaze cold and unfeeling.
It looks like the person who had snuck onto my balcony to release the snake is this old hag.
Arielle was furious and felt no pity toward Janet. It's only fair that she pays the price for this.
After ten lashings, Janet was drenched in a cold sweat, unable to make a sound anymore.
Despite the pain she was in, she still refused to tell the truth. She'd be charged with murder if she did, and she couldn't let that happen.
The housekeeper who had been whipping Janet couldn't tolerate any more and spoke up. “Mr. Southall, we can't hit her anymore. At her age, if we keep this up, she's not going to be able to take it.”
Henrick understood the concern, and likewise, he didn't want any mishaps before he got to the bottom of the matter.
Before he could give the order to stop hitting Janet, another housekeeper returned from his investigation.
“Mr. Southall, I've asked around the markets in the southern district. One of the sellers said he sold someone a venomous snake at midnight.”
Janet froze when she heard that, and the subtle change in her demeanor didn't go unnoticed by the eagle-eyed Arielle. “Was it Janet who bought the snake?” Arielle asked.
The housekeeper shook his head. “I didn't ask, but I did bring the seller here. He'd also be able to confirm if the snake did come from him.”
“Very good,” Henrick replied. “Bring the man in!”
Soon, the snake seller walked in cautiously and greeted Henrick.
After getting someone to bring the severed snake over, Henrick asked, “Is this the snake you sold?”
It only took one glance before the seller nodded. “Yes, sir, this is the one. Some of the scales on its tail had come off during the transaction. That's why I recognized it immediately.”
Henrick scoffed and walked over to Janet, who hadn't dared to look up since the mention of the snake seller. He brought her to the seller and once again asked, “Did this old lady buy the snake from you?”
The snake seller had no idea what was going on, only that he shouldn't lie to a man like Henrick. He took one good look at Janet and nodded. “Yes, that's her. She said she wanted to try making some exotic snake wine, so I recommended her the most venomous snake I have.”
With a witness and evidence, the truth was finally out.
Henrick pushed Janet away angrily and asked coldly, “So? What do you have to say for yourself now?”
Janet sat on the floor shaking like a leaf. And yet, she remained silent.
“Janet, look what this has come to,” Arielle chimed in. “It's time to come clean about everything. Before the police get here, tell us why you want to harm Shandie! You watched her grow up, and yet you want to see her dead? Don't you think that's too cruel of you?”
“No, I didn't. Why would I want to harm Ms. Shandie? She's like a daughter to me!”
“Then who exactly did you want to harm? Is it my father?” Arielle continued. “Did someone else put you up to this to frame me? Or are you going to say I was the one who got you to buy the snake?”
Janet was taken aback by that last sentence.
She had wanted to insist that Arielle was the mastermind behind all this. However, now that Arielle had brought it up herself, it'd be foolish to accuse her.
Just as Janet was hesitating about telling the truth, Arielle turned to her father and said, “Dad, call the police. Someone as vicious as her deserves to spend the rest of her life behind bars!”
Janet immediately looked up at Arielle and pleaded, “No! Please don't! Both my sons still need me.”
“Then tell us the truth. If you do, Dad might still let you off on account of your long service.”
Janet had given up completely. She knew what she had to do.
If she told the truth, there was still a possibility that she could get away with it. If she didn't, she'd be serving jail time for Shandie.
No matter what Cindy and Shandie had done for her, Janet wasn't going to sacrifice that much for them.
“I'll tell you everything...” Janet cried out. “It was Ms. Shandie who instructed me to do it! She ordered me to buy the snake and release it into Ms. Arielle's room. But I don't know how the snake ended up being in Ms. Shandie's room...”
Arielle immediately piped up, “My room is very near Shannie's, so the snake could have crawled over from the balcony. I just never expected Shannie to hate me this much. I thought she had always treated me well...”
Arielle's voice trailed off as she stared into the distance in shock and disbelief.
“You old scumbag! And that little b*tch! You reap what you sow!” Henrick hollered.
He let out a deep sigh and took a few deep breaths to calm himself down. “Bring Cindy down. Let her see for herself how her good daughter had turned out!”
Henrick had spent so much money and effort on Shandie, only to have her turn out to be so cold and vicious. What have I done to deserve this?
“Dad, don't get too mad,” Arielle comforted. “I showed up so suddenly that Shandie probably couldn't accept it. But I believe she will accept me in time...”
“You're still speaking up for her even after all this? Your kindness is going to be your downfall! If things had gone her way, you'd have been the one bitten by the snake!”
Arielle shook her head sadly. “Everyone makes mistakes. Shandie is still young. There's much for her to learn...”
Before Arielle could go on, Cindy had been brought down from her room.
After Janet recounted the entire incident again, Cindy's face instantly paled.
How could I have given birth to such a foolish daughter?
Cindy had reminded Shandie over and over again how the time wasn't right to strike at Arielle. Not only did her words fall on deaf ears, but Shandie had even gone to extremes behind her back.
“I'm sorry, dear. I've failed to teach our daughter. When she comes back, I'll give her a good lecture! Arielle, I'm so sorry. I've let you down and even accused you. But, please, forgive your sister. I'll get her to be a good sister to you.”
Seeing how Cindy had taken the initiative to apologize to Arielle, Henrick calmed down a little.
“Fine. I don't want to air our dirty laundry in public, so this matter ends here,” Henrick said before looking at Janet. “As for this old hag, she has to go. Get someone to send her to the farm, and make sure she doesn't come into contact with anyone!”
With that, Janet was taken away, never to step into the Southall residence again.
Before long, Henrick received a call from the hospital.
“Mr. Southall, Ms. Shandie has woken up, but she doesn't want to stay in the hospital. She wants to come home as soon as possible.”
“She can do whatever she wants!” Henrick replied harshly.
I still can't believe Shandie can be so vicious. If she has the gall to harm Arielle now, she might do the same to me in the future! How did my daughter turn out to be such a monster?
Shandie had signed the discharge papers at the hospital and couldn't wait to return to the Southalls.
Even though her initial plan had gone awry, she was going to use it to her advantage by telling Henrick the snake had been placed in her room by Arielle.
She was going to tell everyone that Arielle wanted her dead!