“Obviously not here to see you,” said An Xiaoning as she shot Ma Jianguo a glance.
“We’re from the Special Crime Investigation Unit. Shi Shaochuan, I suggest you bring us to see your grandmother. You may be present to hear what we have to say, since you’re the culprit after all. Bring us in,” Ma Jianguo instructed.
“Alright, come with me,” said a puzzled Shi Shaochuan who, nonetheless, brought them to old Mrs. Shi’s bedroom.
Upon sight of An Xiaoning, old Mrs. Shi proceeded with the formalities out of basic courtesy, despite having detested her.
“What brought you here, Young Madam of the Jin family?” said the old Mrs. Shi as she sat up straight while Shi Shaochuan adjusted her pillow.
“I’m here clearly because of the atrocious misdeeds your family has committed. I won’t beat around the bush, old Mrs. Shi. There’s an extraordinary reason for the sudden death of your son and daughter-in-law.” She took a glance at Shi Shaochuan and continued, “I really wonder if the late old Mr. Shi will forgive you for causing your family such a disaster in order to save the only heir you have left.”
“What do you mean?” asked old Mrs. Shi as her face stiffened.
“Old Mrs. Shi, truth be told, we’ve just returned from Wang Fangfang’s grave, and it was a hair-raising experience. I know you’re doubtful, just like we were at first, but her spirit had caused the deaths of Mr. and Mrs. Shi. We hurriedly made our way here, right after witnessing it with our own eyes. She even warned that she would never forgive anyone involved in the bribery to cover up for Shi Shaochuan. Hence, your grandson has caused all of these mishaps faced by your family members. We’re afraid you’ll be her next target. By the way, Xiaoning is our newly recruited investigative assistant. If it weren’t for her, we’d probably never find out the causes of many other deaths,” Pan Zhenghui explained.
Old Mrs. Shi quickly sat up straight, upon hearing the shocking piece of news.
An Xiaoning held an amulet in her hand and began chanting in her head. “Hold this. She won’t be able to do any harm to you, as long as you hold on to it,” An Xiaoning explained, handing her the amulet.
Old Mrs. Shi looked up and asked her while taking the amulet, “Does it really help?”
“Could you give one to Shaochuan too?”
“Do you think I’m running a charity? Just be thankful that I gave you one. To be honest, I was reluctant to make my way here, and I hope this will be the last time I ever step foot into your house. Shi Shaochuan, you’re the one who caused your parents’ death,” An Xiaoning said calmly, retaining her composure.
“Their deaths were an accident. I’m not going to believe your twisted ideologies. What’s this nonsense about? A mere piece of paper is capable of keeping you safe from harm? Utter bullshit!” Shi Shaochuan sneered as he snatched the amulet away from old Mrs. Shi’s hand.
He then tore it into shreds.
“Let’s just stay out of their business, it’s up to them if they’d like to stay alive or not. Just why do such horrid people even exist? We should’ve just closed Shi Shaochuan’s case right from the start and sentenced him to death. He wouldn’t be so haughty and arrogant then,” Ma Jianguo said distastefully.
“Get lost from my house now, you’re not welcome here! Especially you, An Xiaoning!” Shi Shaochuan barked haughtily, not appreciating their help at all.
“The sight of you absolutely gets on my nerves, hurry and get lost,” he hissed, pointing a finger at An Xiaoning.
Suppressing her anger, An Xiaoning glared at him and said coldly, “It doesn’t matter if you die, but don’t get the rest of your family killed as well.”
“Are you done? You may have managed to get the Jin family wrapped tightly around your finger with those nonsensical superstitions of yours, but let me tell you, An Xiaoning, those don’t work on me.” He then opened the door and said to the bodyguards outside, “Send them out.”
An Xiaoning turned around to leave while the rest followed behind her, with Ma Jianguo being the last. He pointed a finger at Shi Shaochuan and yelled, “You don’t know better!”
Shi Shaochuan watched them leave, after which he returned inside. He then sat by the bed and said to his grandmother, “They’re just spouting nonsense, Grandma. Let’s just let Father and Mother rest in peace. The government had always been actively advocating the laws of science, yet even the police are buying into that superstitious rubbish. An Xiaoning must be an expert at manipulating others.”
“But I don’t think An Xiaoning is being manipulative or merely spouting nonsense,” old Mrs. Shi said solemnly.
“We have indeed committed some shameful deeds, after all. Although I dislike Wang Fangfang, she was still carrying your child at the time. Shaochuan, go apologize to her and atone for your sins, regardless of whether you mean it or not. Just go. I don’t wish to see anything bad happen to you. You’re the only male heir left to our family. Our bloodline will really cease to exist, should something happen to you too.”
“I’ll get someone to perform a ritual tomorrow, be it real or not.”
Amongst the few people in the police car, Ma Jianguo was the one who had the most to say.
“Xiaoning, give me one of those amulets you’ve given old Mrs. Shi,” he requested.
“You weren’t involved in the bribery of Wang Fangfang’s case, she won’t come for you,” said An Xiaoning as she glanced towards him.
“I know, but I’d like to have one just in case.”
“I’ll give you one tomorrow.”
“Xiaoning, can I have one too?” Pan Zhenghui hurriedly asked.
“Me too, Sis Xiaoning,” Gong Le added.
“Count me in,” said Zu Dong, in fear of missing out.
“Alright, I’ll give them to you guys tomorrow.” An Xiaoning looked out from the window and said, “Chief Pan, do you think we should continue meddling with the matters concerning the Shi family? It’s not that I want to poke my nose into their business, but I just think we’ll lose our leads, if we let this go on.”
“How are we supposed to continue doing so? Haven’t you seen how adamant Shi Shaochuan was? We should’ve just sentenced him to death back then. That would have saved us from this hassle,” Ma Jianguo said in annoyance as his blood began to boil at the thought of Shi Shaochuan.
“Xiaoning has a point. It’s up to him to say whatever he wants, we still have to carry out the necessary actions. It’s just, I’m not sure how we should go ahead with it. I don’t think we can defeat those spirits.” Pan Zhenghui then shifted his gaze onto An Xiaoning and continued, “We’re counting on you.”
“It’s not enough to count on me. It may still not be enough, even with Shi Shaochuan’s apology and remorse. Besides, he’s so obstinate and strongly against it, I doubt we can do anything. We have to think of a way to convince him,” An Xiaoning answered.
“Didn’t you see his attitude earlier? Is it even possible to convince him? We don’t have a valid reason to arrest him for detention, either.”
An Xiaoning arrived home to see that the living room was still brightly lit. Upon noticing her arrival, Auntie Chen quickly stood up and greeted her, “You’re home, Young Madam.”
“Has Young Sir gone to bed?”
“He’s gone upstairs for a long while. I suppose he has already fallen asleep.”
With a nod, An Xiaoning said, “It’s getting late, you should turn in soon, Auntie Chen.”
“I’ll go right away,” Auntie Chen answered smilingly.
An Xiaoning headed upstairs quietly, taking light and small footsteps. She stood outside the bedroom and opened the door gently, making sure not to make a single sound. She then quickly entered and guided herself to the bed with the flashlight on her phone, only to realize that the bed was empty.
All of a sudden, she felt a hand picking her up by her waist from behind, shocking her out of her senses. “Ahh! You scared me!” she gasped in astonishment.
Jin Qingyan then lowered her onto the bed and removed her home slippers from her feet. “It would have been more than just a scare if you’d come back any later,” he said in a clear and alluring voice.
She turned over and retorted with a humph, “You wouldn’t have scared me if it weren’t for the fact that I had visited a graveyard this evening.”