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An Xiaoning turned to the waiter and said, “I’d like to have two cups of coffee without sugar.”

“Ms. An, please just tell me straight.”

“Calm down, I’ll tell you everything in detail when the coffee is here. May I ask, when did you fall in love with Ye Xiaotian?” An Xiaoning asked smilingly. Upon hearing her question, the image of her first encounter with Ye Xiaotian popped up in Bai Ranran’s mind as a radiant smile of bliss formed on her face.

“It’s been a really long time since I did, but I still remember clearly my very first impression of him, even to this day. We used to be schoolmates, but he still didn’t know my name even after several years. Ever since then, I’ve always loved him,” said Bai Ranran as she reminisced the past.

Noticing how blissful Bai Ranran seemed, a heartwarming smile hung from An Xiaoning’s lips and she continued, “You’re 23 this year, right?”

“Yes, I’m 23.”

Soon, the coffee was served by the waiter. Looking down, An Xiaoning began stirring her cup of coffee as she rehearsed her lines in her head. All of a sudden, she looked up and said bluntly, “Ms. Bai, you don’t have much time left to live.”

Although Bai Ranran had already prepared herself for the worst, she was still taken aback by An Xiaoning’s words, which had made her feel rather upset nonetheless. However, she tried to contain and suppress her emotions with all her might and asked calmly, “Ms. An, I believe you completely. Could you tell me exactly how long I have left?”

“You won’t make it past another three months.”

An Xiaoning’s words hit her like a hurricane and her hands began to tremble uncontrollably. With a bitter smile, she said, “I’m getting married on the 26th of March. Does that mean I won’t live until the day of my wedding?”

“I’m afraid so,” An Xiaoning answered. She did not bother telling Bai Ranran the other aspects of her life, for they had all paled in comparison to the life-and-death matter at hand. After all, there was no point in knowing the details of those aspects since she was going to lose her life soon.

“Heaven is so unfair to me. I’m still so young, why must this happen to me? It’s so unfair!” Bai Ranran wailed in despair with tears flowing from her eyes continuously like a tap. The news had come across as a heavy blow to her. What she had dreaded most was still going to happen in the end.

Unsure of how she should comfort her, An Xiaoning said, “Do you know of karmic retribution in past and present lives?”

“I know of that, but I’ve never believed it in the past. I used to think it was just illogical nonsense.”

“It’s not. Fate and destiny are endless cycles. You will be punished in your present life for the sins you’ve committed in your previous one. This is also known as karmic retribution. Some may not receive the punishment they deserve for committing numerous acts of evil in this life, simply because they’ve accumulated a great ton of good karma from the many kind deeds they’ve done in their previous life, which offset the sin accumulated. Yours is a case of severe karmic hindrance. Life is short and death is inevitable to all. It’s only a matter of time. You still have some time left to do the things you’ve always wanted to do and accomplish the goals you’ve always had. Ms. Bai, the greatest thing in life is to die without regrets, isn’t it?”

Bai Ranran began to feel a little more optimistic after hearing her words.

Covering her face with her hands as tears streamed down uncontrollably, she said incoherently, “Now that I think of it, here’s what happened. Ever since I was diagnosed with a rare spontaneous disorder whereby my body is not capable of producing blood on its own, lots of people have been forced to donate their blood to me. I’ve once kicked a pregnant woman’s belly and caused her to have a miscarriage. She was carrying Xiaotian’s child at the time. While I was still in school, I used to detest a fellow female schoolmate, whom I then hired people to… to strip naked. I also instructed for photos of her naked body to be taken and circulated around everyone in school. She ended up taking her own life…”

Bai Ranran broke down further and wailed in agony while An Xiaoning handed her a packet of tissues from her bag.

“Do you plan to tell Mr. Ye?”

“No, I don’t. I don’t wish to spread the word about my impending death. Please help me keep this a secret. Just take it that we didn’t meet at all today. Please,” she pleaded, shaking her head in refusal.

An Xiaoning agreed to her request, for she did not wish to interfere in her matters. Besides, she was not in any place to intervene, since they’ve merely had a brief encounter with each other.

“Actually, I came to look for you because I bumped into a fortune-teller by the streets, who had piqued my interest and curiosity. Thus, I decided to give it a try and have him read my fortune. Upon reading my birth characters, all he said was that I should proceed to accomplish my wishes as soon as possible. However, I was rather untrusting of his words since there are just too many swindlers out there. Hence, I decided to seek your help. You must be really capable to have been recruited by the police to assist in criminal investigations. I believe it’s not mere superstition, and I trust you completely.”

When it was time to leave, Bai Ranran’s eyes were red and swollen from all the crying, but she had managed to calm down and get a grip on her emotions.

She touched up her makeup in the car and proceeded to meet Ye Xiaotian.

Since he was still in the midst of a meeting, she headed to his resting room and laid down to get some rest.

Not long after, she heard the voices of Ye Xiaotian and his mother coming from outside.

They were having a conversation. Feeling down and low in spirits, Bai Ranran decided to go out of the room only after his mother had left.

Upon hearing them approach the topic of his assassination, she began to eavesdrop attentively.

“I’ve got someone to investigate this matter. Before you were attacked by the assassin, you visited Y Nation, but not for business reasons. Were you there to look for Mo Li?”

“Of course not.”

Clearly not believing his words, Mrs. Ye retorted, “That’s enough, drop the act. I often saw her inside your room whenever I was at your place. If it weren’t for the fact that she was donating blood to Ranran, I would’ve chased her out long ago. She’s already married, what designs do you still have on her? Don’t forget, you’re getting married yourself very soon.”

“Mother, I know what I’m doing. Rest assured.”

“I know, you would’ve never agreed to marry Ranran or treat her that well if it weren’t for my insistence. Xiaotian, she really treats you very well, and she’s made such a great sacrifice for me. We ought not to let her down or take advantage of her.”



Bai Ranran closed her eyes, and her temples began throbbing continuously.


Long Tianze went to look for Jin Qingyan at his place, in a bid to invite him to go fishing, only to find that the latter was taking a nap.

Without hesitation, Long Tianze forcefully tugged at his shirt and woke him up. “It’s wintertime, how are you going to go about fishing? Go look for Ciye instead,” Jin Qingyan refuted.

“He doesn’t have that kind of patience. Let’s go, just us two. We’ll enjoy some time alone together.”

Jin Qingyan rolled his eyes at him and answered, “Why would I want to enjoy some private time with you? I heard you were wooing that little lass. How’s it going?”

“I haven’t succeeded yet.”

“It’s already been so long, yet you still can’t get her to fall for you, stupid.”

Long Tianze could not help but agree with his criticism in shame, “Unlike you, I’m pure and innocent. Showing off your skills in bed is all you have to do to get everything settled.”

Jin Qingyan smacked him playfully and said, “You deserve a beating. Where do you plan to go fishing?”

“The usual spot. It’s quiet and empty there, I’m free to be myself. I’ve already prepared everything we need, you’re the missing puzzle piece,” Long Tianze answered confidently.

They then headed to the entrance where they bumped into An Xiaoning and Mei Yangyang, who had just returned together.

“You’re going fishing?” An Xiaoning asked upon noticing the fishing rods.

“Yes, we’re going fishing.”

“Both of us don’t have anything on, let’s go fishing together and train our patience. Are we welcome to join you guys?” An Xiaoning suggested.

“Of course, the company of such beautiful ladies is always welcome. But, don’t you have to report to the investigations unit, Xiaoning?” said Long Tianze, applauding in approval.

“Not today, I have to go tomorrow. We won’t be fishing though, we’ll just sit at the side and watch you guys. We don’t have anything else to do anyway,” An Xiaoning replied. The group of four then got into the car and embarked on a journey towards their destination.

They arrived at a unique-looking bridge, where the river was not frozen, after which they sat down in a single file.