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Upon hearing that the team was there to collect information for further investigations on the case, the victim’s uncle and auntie were quick to answer the questions An Xiaoning had asked. However, the two started to get a little tongue-tied when it got to the question about whether she had a boyfriend or not.

“We’ve never lived together with her in the past and only met her occasionally. So, we wouldn’t know if she had a boyfriend or not. ”

“Well, then, do you guys know who her friends were or who she usually went out with?”

Shaking their heads in unison, the middle-aged couple answered, “We’re not quite sure about that.”

Unable to obtain any useful information from the session, An Xiaoning had no choice but to return to the police car and wait for the rest of her colleagues.

In fact, Gong Le, Zu Dong, and Ma Jianguo had questioned the victim’s teachers, classmates, and close friends, who had all mentioned that they were not aware of the existence of her boyfriend. Because, well, the victim had never once mentioned that she had a boyfriend.

However, being the meticulous and alert person he was, Ma Jianguo had also managed to obtain all of the victim’s social media usernames, including Weibo, WeChat, QQ, MSN, as well as her gaming account. Although he did not manage to get the passwords, they could at least continue investigating with the additional details of her life they now had.

They had ended up spending the entire day traveling to and fro around the city.

However, they did not waste any time slacking and managed to reset the passwords of all the social media accounts belonging to the victim, as well as her gaming account, which was reset with the help of the online video game company.

After much investigation, they finally found some new clues.

An Xiaoning looked through the victim’s WeChat account and found that there were several flirtatious and ambiguous comments left on the latter’s posts by a particular user. Thus, she instantly added the user who had left the comments using her private account.

She began chatting with the user using the false identity of an 18-year-old girl, only to find out that he was a local in the city who was currently residing in Benyang District.

It was a crucial piece of information that would aid them greatly in their investigations.

After making sure there were no more clues to be found from the other accounts, An Xiaoning decided to ask the man on WeChat out.

“Seriously, how could the victim have possibly had a boyfriend who was a local if she was just here for a vacation?”

“This man here is not her ‘friend’ on WeChat, don’t you find that very suspicious? Besides, the victim had posted something on her account just before she arrived here in A City. At that point of time, she had mentioned in her post that they had already known each other prior to her arrival. One look and you can tell it’s a cyber-relationship. She had come here to look for her online boyfriend, with the excuse of going on a vacation,” said An Xiaoning, pointing at her mobile phone.

Ma Jianguo’s eyes lit up in a moment of enlightenment. “In that case, does that mean we’re really close to cracking this case?”

“We can’t be too sure about that. What we have to do now is to verify if he’s really her boyfriend. I’ll be meeting him under the pretense of a female cyber-friend later,” said An Xiaoning, not wanting to promise anything.

“Is it safe for you to go alone? Why don’t you get Zu Dong to go with you?” Ma Jianguo suggested.

“We might give it away easily, with an extra person around. Besides, the man would be more reserved and careful about leaking any information. I’ll stay alert, just park the car somewhere nearby while I go meet him alone,” An Xiaoning instructed. Being well aware that it would be rather dangerous for a woman like herself to meet a stranger alone, An Xiaoning made sure to have eyes watching so as to ensure her own safety.

After dinner, the team of four drove towards An Xiaoning’s house, after which she instructed the three of them to wait for her by the gate while she went inside to change into a set of youthful-looking clothes. She put on a pink parka and let her long locks down, which cascaded down her back, looking convincing enough for her to pass off as a teenager.

She was informed that Jin Qingyue had been waiting by the gate for her since morning but decided to leave after having waited for a long period of time.

However, An Xiaoning did not have much of a reaction to the piece of news.

She then left the house again and got onto the car. She took out the face mask she had bought for two million dollars from the bag she was carrying and put it on. “Oh my, this is so convincing, you look just like a different person. It’s no different from actual human skin,” said Ma Jianguo as he touched the mask carefully in utmost awe of how realistic it looked.

“You’re not to breathe a single word about the fact that I own a mask to anyone, including my husband. Not a single soul. It’ll be easier for me to carry out investigations that way. Got it?” An Xiaoning warned her colleagues.

“Got it!” the three of them chorused.

“But, Sis Xiaoning, the mask must’ve cost a bomb, didn’t it?”

“Yes, I bought it for two million dollars.”

They were greatly taken aback by the hefty amount she had paid. “Where did you get this? Don’t you know the country is banning these?” asked Ma Jianguo.

“So what if they’re banned? It’s not like I’m using it to commit crimes. But, I heard the shop I patronized had closed down shortly after my purchase. I’m afraid it’s going to be difficult to get our hands on masks of such great quality in the future,” An Xiaoning said nonchalantly.

An Xiaoning took out a handheld mirror and began looking at her own reflection while asking for their opinions, “How do I look? Can’t tell the difference eh?”

“Not at all.”

“Did you guys forget that I’m Jin Qingyan’s wife? I’ve been on television, and our plan will be foiled should he recognize me. So, I’ll have to disguise myself this time, as well as for any other special cases in the future. Otherwise, it’ll be tough for us to get things going,” An Xiaoning said with a smile.

“You’re right.”

After discussing in detail the plan they were about to execute, they proceeded to make their way towards their destination.

An Xiaoning got down from the car and began walking leisurely along the sidewalk, her hands in her pocket.

Holding her phone in her hand, she arrived at People’s Square, the location where they had agreed to meet at.

She then sat down somewhere and waited for the man to arrive.

However, he had yet to show up even after hours had passed.

The sky began to turn dark gradually.

Cold air filled the entire plaza.

Every now and then, An Xiaoning would stand up to stretch her limbs to prevent them from going numb. Gradually, the crowd became smaller and smaller.

Finally, she decided to send him a message to inform her that she would be leaving, thinking that he was not going to show up.

Just as she’d sent the message, she received another one from him, informing her that he would be arriving in no time.

An Xiaoning then sent another message to Ma Jianguo and instructed him to keep waiting.

Two minutes later, a rather suave-looking man showed up before her. A joyous smile appeared on his face as he looked her up and down, seemingly pleased with her appearance.

“I’m sorry for turning up late.”

“It’s okay,” An Xiaoning said with a smile.

“Have you eaten?”

“Yes, I have,” An Xiaoning answered in a delicate voice, a smile on her face. Her sweet and cutesy demeanor was sure to make any man fall head over heels in love with her.

“Let’s take a walk then?”

“Sure,” An Xiaoning agreed with a nod.

“How old are you?” she asked.

“I thought the first thing you’d ask for would be my name, but turns out you wanted to know my age,” he said, chuckling.

“You don’t look that much older than I am,” said An Xiaoning, covering her mouth as she giggled.

“I’m 21.”

“Oh, you’re three years older than I am,” An Xiaoning remarked with composure, as if she was really 18 years old.

“My name is Dong Hai, what’s yours?”

“Hmm… my name is… my name is Chi Rui’er,” answered the quick-witted An Xiaoning as an idea struck her mind.

“What a nice name.”

An Xiaoning began to realize that he was walking towards the exit of the plaza. Though she was unsure where he was about to bring her, she had a feeling it was going to be somewhere he felt was safe.