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He even boasted that he was not one to falter easily, unless the person was irreplaceable to him.

Had she become that important him?

An Xiaoning’s jaw trembled uncontrollably as tears continued to flow freely from her eyes like a tap.

She arrived at the hospital in no time. Just as she was about to get down from the car, Mei Yangyang grabbed her by her arm and said, “Sis, put on some clothes before going down.”

They then quickly changed into proper clothes and got down from the car.

Not wanting to waste any time, they picked up their tracks and ran towards the emergency unit.

All of Jin Qingyan’s family was present except old Mrs. Jin. Upon sight of An Xiaoning, Mrs. Jin rushed forward to give her a tight slap across her face and hollered, “You wretched woman! What right have you got to make my son attempt to poison himself to death! What right have you!”

“What are you doing?” Mr. Jin said as he hurriedly pulled her backwards.

“What am I doing? I thought she could bring us some fortune by marrying Qingyan, but look at the mess she has created!”

An Xiaoning clutched her face and stood still, at a complete loss for words.

“I’m sorry.”

Mrs. Jin’s attitude towards her had changed completely from before. She stared at An Xiaoning with eyes red from crying and hissed, “An Xiaoning, if Qingyan fails to pull through, I want you to be buried together with him!”

“Sure, I’ll do just that if he dies,” An Xiaoning answered as she turned to glare at Mrs. Jin.

“Now’s not the time to talk about these things! Can you all just be quiet and wait for the results?” Long Tianze snapped in exasperation, extremely perplexed and frustrated at Jin Qingyan’s decision to kill himself.

The corridor was filled with silence all of a sudden.

Throughout the entire hour in the operating theater, the doctors repeatedly conducted a gastric lavage procedure on Jin Qingyan. They were puzzled to find that he had managed to stay alive, since one would definitely die within five minutes of ingesting the poison, in usual cases. To their bewilderment, he showed no signs of abnormalities at all after the gastric lavage, and his stomach was intact, seemingly as if the poison had not infiltrated his organs at all.

Jin Qingyan was conscious when he was pushed out of the operating theater.

Having already sobered up by then, he quickly closed his eyes the instant that he saw An Xiaoning.

An Xiaoning continued to follow him into the hospital ward, nonetheless.

“Doctor, how’s my son?”

“Mrs. Jin, Mr. Jin is well and fine, which puzzles us as well. We’ve run another checkup, and he’s confirmed to be alright. He may be discharged in a few days’ time.”

“Thank you, thank you so much,” said Mrs. Jin as she put her hands together, pleased and relieved to hear that her son was safe and sound.

“It’s our duty.” The doctor and nurses then left the ward.

“How are you feeling, Son?” Mrs. Jin bent forward and asked worriedly.

“Great. I just overdosed on alcohol and ate something bad, nothing much to fuss about,” Jin Qingyan answered.

Mrs. Jin then turned towards An Xiaoning and said, “You may leave now. Since you’ve already divorced Qingyan, don’t show up in front of us again in the future, lest you become an eyesore.”

Teary-eyed, An Xiaoning stared at Jin Qingyan, who was avoiding eye contact with her and remaining silent.

She then turned around and walked towards the entrance while Mei Yangyang hurriedly chased after her.

Mrs. Jin waited ’til An Xiaoning and Mei Yangyang had left before saying, “Qingyan, you’ve really infuriated me, what do you mean you ate something bad? How could you have possibly mistaken poison for food? What’s going to happen to us if you die? What are your father and I supposed to do?! Are you going to allow our family business to land in the hands of an outsider!?!”

“I’m sorry, Mother, it won’t happen again.”

“How foolish of you, you’ve almost scared me to death. I won’t want to live anymore if I’m living without you. You can get any woman you want, why did you have to be so silly?” Mrs. Jin exclaimed agitatedly.

Jin Qingyan remained quiet as he stared blankly at the duvet.

“Ciye is overseas, but he’s rushing back now. Are you still going to refuse to admit that you’ve already fallen for her? Your actions have already proven otherwise,” said Long Tianze, after Jin Qingyan’s family had left.

“Yes, I’ve indeed fallen for her, but so what? We’ll have nothing to do with each other from now on. I’ll just forget that I’ve ever had feelings for her,” Jin Qingyan said in admittance.

“Sure, it’s all up to you. You’ve really given me an eye-opener. Attempting suicide, eh? Impressive much. Never in my life have I ever expected you to commit such a silly act. What a miracle that you’ve managed to survive, though. You’re bound to enjoy great fortune after surviving such a disaster,” answered Long Tianze, giving Jin Qingyan a pat on his back.

Jin Qingyan stared at him and said coldly, “Open your eyes widely and watch me. This is the first and last time something like this would happen.”

With a smirk, Long Tianze replied, “Okay, let’s hope so.”

Jin Qingyan raised his hand and stared at the jade ring on his thumb, on which there were now newly-formed streaks of black. He knew deep down that he would not have survived if not for the ring.

——

By the time she arrived home, An Xiaoning was no longer sleepy but rather wide awake. Mei Yangyang proceeded to boil some eggs to help reduce the swelling in An Xiaoning’s eyes.

The two sat on the bed together, remaining silent.

An Xiaoning then went online to browse through the latest news but did not come across any updates regarding Jin Qingyan’s attempted suicide.

She felt a little relieved at the fact that news of his attempt at suicide would not be leaked, since it would definitely affect the Jin Family Corporation’s stake in the stock market.

They continued to sit there until daybreak arrived. In the end, news of the incident was leaked nonetheless, though nothing was confirmed and the titles of the news reports were merely made up of speculations and rumors spread by the media.

The matter was not laid to rest as Jin Qingyan, who was initially adamant about responding to the rumors of their divorce, suddenly called for a press conference.

It was already past nine o’clock in the morning when An Xiaoning came across the video of Jin Qingyan at the press conference while surfing the internet.

He was dressed in a black suit and shirt, which were immaculately tailored to fit him perfectly, allowing him to appear even more lanky than he already was.

He appeared less sickly and pale unlike before, seemingly having put on some makeup deliberately.

He stood in front of the microphone and began to speak, “I know there had been several rumors regarding my personal life circulating online. I’d hereby like to give my response and shed some light on the recent events, in hopes that that would put an end to these rumors. It’s true that Xiaoning and I have gotten a divorce. But, we separated amicably, and there are no conflicting interests or animosity between us regarding the distribution of assets or property. On the other hand, I would like to confirm that the news about my attempt at suicide which broke out this morning are merely false accusations. Do I seem like someone who would kill himself because of a woman? Never would I ever do something like that. As for other matters, I won’t be addressing them, but that doesn’t mean I will refrain from taking legal actions, should I find out who the culprit behind the spreading of such false news is. I’ll definitely be pursuing the matter and sue the culprits for slander and defamation. Please stop casting the spotlight on my personal life and respect my privacy instead. It is not my duty to be here for your entertainment and pleasure.”

He had kept his eyes fixed on the camera throughout his speech, thus causing An Xiaoning to feel as if she was making direct eye contact with him as she watched the video.

She then switched off the video with a heavy heart, overwhelmed with sadness and agony.

“Boss, someone is calling you again!” She took a look at the caller display, only to realize that it was Gu Beicheng who was calling.

“Hello.”

“…”

“Really?”

“…”

“Alright, got it. Okay, don’t worry, I’ll be fine,” said An Xiaoning before hanging up the phone. She then went inside the kitchen to look for Mei Yangyang, who was washing the dishes, and said, “Yangyang, let’s go out to replenish our stocks, and at the same time, I’ll shop for a few pieces of clothing. My family will be celebrating a joyous occasion in a few days.”