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An idea struck An Xiaoning’s mind as she suddenly got reminded of the fact that the keys to the handcuffs were on him. She would get a chance to escape as long as she got her hands on them.

But then again, how is she supposed to grab the keys with her hands behind her back? Even if she managed to get the keys, how was she supposed to unlock the handcuffs?

It was a huge obstacle.

Nonetheless, An Xiaoning decided to first get her hands on the keys before planning her next move.

An Xiaoning remained still while keeping her eyes fixed on Xi Bolai. Twenty minutes later, he was confirmed to have fallen asleep.

She then shifted her gaze to the pocket of his denim shorts.

She moved sideways slightly at snail’s pace, careful not to make any noise in case she woke him up.

She then tried to pick at his pocket using her toes and finally managed to retrieve the keys from his pocket.

It was a bunch of keys secured together.

An Xiaoning was overwhelmed with agitation and panic. Upon noticing his body jerk, seemingly about to wake up, she quickly moved back beside him, not wanting to arouse any suspicion.

She got up again after making sure that he was sound asleep before using her toes to move the keys beside her. She then laid down next to him again while fiddling with the keys, trying to find the keyhole with her hands behind her back.

Although she could not see the handcuffs, she knew roughly what they looked like and was aware of where the keyhole was positioned. Thus, it was rather easy for her to find it.

She proceeded to poke every key inside the keyhole and try to unlock the handcuffs. At last, her efforts were not in vain despite the multiple attempts.

She managed to unlock it successfully.

An Xiaoning was filled with nervousness and euphoria.

However, she tried with all her might to not let her emotions show.

She moved her hands gently between her legs and finally freed herself.

Due to the fact that her hands had been kept in an awkward position behind her back for an extended period of time, her arms had gone sore and numb by the time they were freed.

However, this was a great opportunity for escape which was not to be missed.

She proceeded to unlock the chains on her ankles with the key. However, she continued to leave the chains hanging from her ankles, conjuring a false appearance so as to prevent him from finding out that she had unlocked them, in case he wakes up.

Holding the handcuffs in her hands, An Xiaoning stared at Xi Bolai, who was lying beside her.

A menacing glare formed in her eyes.

——

A frown creased Jin Qingyan’s forehead upon seeing the scene before him when he arrived. “Get Xi Bolai to come out.”

“I’ll relay your message to my master,” said the bodyguard as he retreated backwards.

Jin Qingyan and Byron watched as An Xiaoning brought Xi Bolai downstairs while holding him at gunpoint.

Byron’s jaw dropped in astonishment as he turned towards Jin Qingyan and said, “No wonder she’s your woman, she’s extraordinarily brave indeed.”

“Of course,” Jin Qingyan agreed proudly, raising his brows.

An Xiaoning walked towards them while still pointing the gun at him. “If any of you dares to pull the trigger, I’ll shoot him right away. Release us and I’ll let him go,” An Xiaoning warned Xi Bolai’s bodyguards.

Thus, they then proceeded towards the main entrance with An Xiaoning leading the way. She then pushed Xi Bolai towards Jin Qingyan and Byron’s bodyguards, who were guarding closely outside the door. Xi Bolai staggered along with a look of dismay on his face.

Staring at An Xiaoning, who was opposite, he said, “I’ve really underestimated you, An Xiaoning. Indeed, you didn’t fall short of my expectations. You’re a very smart and clever woman.”

“Xi Bolai, if you ever dare to find trouble with me again, I’ll shoot you to death.”

“Don’t let me get my hands on you again then. Otherwise, it won’t be as simple next time.”

He glared at An Xiaoning again before turning around to enter his mansion.

——

Jin Qingyan immediately pulled her into an embrace.

Wrapping his arms around her tightly, he exclaimed, “You’ve scared me.”

An Xiaoning remained still and answered coldly, “Thank you for rushing to make your way here, there wasn’t a need to though.”

She freed herself from his embrace and walked towards the car.

Pursing his lips, Jin Qingyan gave Byron a pat on his shoulder to express his gratitude for the latter’s help.

He then proceeded to chase after An Xiaoning.

They boarded a plane back to S Nation.

Feeling a little jealous about the fact that she had eaten and quenched her thirst, Jin Qingyan lamented, “You’ve had your fill but I’m still hungry.”

“I didn’t stop you from eating.”

“You’re the only thing that can satiate me,” he answered suggestively.

“I’m sorry then,” An Xiaoning rejected as she laid down to sleep right away.

Noticing that she had fallen asleep, Jin Qingyan picked up a blanket and laid it over her body.

An Xiaoning was a light sleeper who awakens easily, even by the slightest movement. Thus, she was aware that he had covered her with a blanket.

However, she simply could not bring herself to give him a passionate hug and tell him that she could feel all of his love. She was very tempted, yet she just could not reciprocate with her actions.

It was almost evening by the time they arrived back in S Nation.

An Xiaoning was greatly worn out and exhausted after the string of catastrophic events she had experienced the past few days.

As soon as she alighted from the airplane, An Xiaoning hailed a cab and made her way towards Dongpo Road right away.

She arrived at the store only to witness an ongoing commotion and argument between Xu Jingwen and Mei Yangyang. Meanwhile, Zhang Li was holding them back in a bid to get them to stop arguing.

“What happened? Why are you guys arguing?” asked An Xiaoning.

Upon the sight of An Xiaoning, Mei Yangyang hurriedly scampered towards her to give her a hug. “Sis, where did you go? You’ve made me so worried!” Mei Yangyang exclaimed in agitation.

“We’ll talk about that later. Yangyang, what were you arguing about with Jingwen?”

Appearing to have calmed down a little, Mei Yangyang explained, “Jingwen has really gone overboard. While we were away at the boot camp, she falsified and tampered with the accounts. I tallied the records this afternoon and discovered that there is a total of 30 thousand dollars missing from our profits. I contacted the supplier, and he told me that they’ve been instructed to minimize the production costs of our clothing since a few months ago. Compared to the pieces we’ve brought in previously, the new ones are really poor in quality, and the costs have been reduced by half. Hence, this resulted in a great loss of customers.”

Mei Yangyang began to grow angrier and continued, “Sis, she’s even gotten involved with Chi Rui’er, who had been visiting our store frequently. She did pay for the clothes she bought the first few times, but she stopped paying completely for the subsequent visits. Jingwen even allowed her to do so by voiding the receipts. I made her compensate for the loss of 30 thousand dollars from her own pocket, but she refused to admit to it no matter what. That’s how we started arguing.”

A sullen expression formed on An Xiaoning’s face upon understanding the situation.

“Is what Yangyang said true?” An Xiaoning questioned, glaring at Xu Jingwen.

“Sis Xiaoning, I didn’t pocket any funds.”

“Then where did the money go? The records don’t tally or match the ones we’ve talked about over the video conference. You’ve falsified the accounts,” said Mei Yangyang.

Xu Jingwen pouted her lips and remained silent.

There was nothing left for An Xiaoning to ask, for it was clear what had happened and Xu Jingwen was already blown out of the water. The latter must have taken the chance to commit the act during the time that Mei Yangyang and An Xiaoning were too busy to tend to the store.

She sat down at the desk and looked up at Xu Jingwen. “Putting the embezzlement of funds aside, who gave you the authority to allow Chi Rui’er to purchase the clothes without paying?” she questioned.

“I… I thought you and Sis Rui’er got along well since you are sisters-in-law.”

“Did you really think I’d be on good terms with someone who tried to kill me?” An Xiaoning snapped, glowering at her.

“Well… I really didn’t know.”

“Putting that aside, you ought to give me an explanation for the money you pocketed.”

“Sis Xiaoning, since you’re so affluent, could you please just let me off this time? I’ve spent all that money, I don’t have much left on me now,” Xu Jingwen admitted.