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“Rui’er, your father seems to have stopped breathing. Hurry and come home to take a look,” Mrs. Chi said frantically over the phone.

“Yes.”

After hanging up the phone, Chi Rui’er waited a few minutes before she set off.

In fact, she had already prepared to go all out before arriving at Mrs. Chi’s house.

She had planned to poison him to death in front of her mother.

However, Mrs. Chi happened to be away from home at the time, giving Chi Rui’er the chance to execute a seamless murder.

Several minutes later, Chi Rui’er arrived back at the entrance. She entered the door only to be greeted with the sounds of Mrs. Chi weeping in agony.

A smile formed on Chi Rui’er’s face as she made her way inside.

Mrs. Chi was sprawled across the bed, bawling in grief. Upon hearing footsteps approaching, she quickly stood up and said to Chi Rui’er, “Rui’er, quickly send your father to the hospital to see if he can be resuscitated.”

“It seems like he’s already dead,” said Chi Rui’er, leaning forward to test if he was still breathing.

“How did he just suddenly… Rui’er, why don’t we call the police and allow the forensic scientists to carry out an autopsy to find out the cause of his death?” suggested a perturbed Mrs. Chi.

Little did Chi Rui’er expect that her mother would be so well informed about such procedures.

“Let’s not bother wasting time and just bury him.”

Mrs. Chi stared at her, in disbelief of what had just happened. “But, we don’t even know how he died. I want to know the cause before burying him. Otherwise, I would never be at ease.”

“It seems he had died from alcohol poisoning. Can’t you smell how much he reeks of alcohol?”

“He reeks of alcohol?” After taking a few sniffs, Mrs. Chi said, “He really does. Who did he drink with?”

“How would I know? We don’t have to hold a funeral for him. Let’s just bury him straight.”

Mrs. Chi was displeased to hear that Chi Rui’er had planned to handle his corpse so casually and hastily. “We have to inform his relatives in the countryside about it. How could we just bury him straight away? That’s too disrespectful and not in accordance to traditional customs,” she chided.

Mrs. Chi then got up in a bid to give Mr. Chi’s relatives a call. “I’ll inform them and discuss about his funeral together.”

“Don’t inform them,” Chi Rui’er objected.

“Why?”

“Just don’t.”

“No matter how much you may dislike him, we still ought to hold him a funeral. Rui’er, you’re being too much!” Mrs. Chi snapped in bewilderment.

Staring at her mother, Chi Rui’er said, “If you wish to send your daughter to prison, then go ahead and inform them.”

“What… what do you mean?” Mrs. Chi asked, dropping her phone in shock.

“I poisoned him to death.”

“What!?! Rui’er!” Mrs. Chi gasped in shock, her eyes brimming with tears.

“After all these years, there are some things I ought to tell you about now,” said Chi Rui’er, not wishing to hide the truth anymore. Besides, it would allow her mother to see her stepfather’s true colors.

Disregarding the fact that her mother was tearing up uncontrollably, Chi Rui’er sat down and continued to reveal the truth, “I actually disliked him from the very start, when you said you wanted to marry him. But, you tried to convince me that he was a reliable and trustworthy man. You said that an ill woman like you would need a man to provide for us so we could lead a stable life. All these years, he’s been a man of exemplary character to you, and in fact, you’ve always chosen him over me.”

At this point, painful memories and images of the past began to flash across Chi Rui’er’s mind. “But, did you know? This man who you thought treated us well had begun violating and raping me a short while after we moved in together.”

Mrs. Chi stopped weeping and stared at Chi Rui’er with her eyes widened in astonishment. “Rui’er… what… what did you just say?” Mrs. Chi stuttered, unable to believe her ears.

Looking at her mother, Chi Rui’er answered, “I said he had begun violating me a while after we moved in together, and he has never stopped doing so since. I’ve kept it from you because I was afraid that you’d suffer a huge blow and it would cause your heart disease to worsen. I didn’t dare to tell you about it when I was younger; neither did I see a point in telling you since nothing would change anyway. Given your character, would you have put him behind bars? I highly doubt so.”

“Who said I wouldn’t? Rui’er, why didn’t you tell me earlier! Mother didn’t know about this. If I did, I wouldn’t have let things turn out this way,” Mrs. Chi exclaimed in utter shock and devastation, bursting into tears yet again.

“I’ve had an abortion once, and the aborted child belonged to him. The father of the child I have now is also him. He has ruined my life, yet he still had the audacity to threaten me with this disgraceful matter that has marred me. He threatened to destroy my marriage, which didn’t come easy. If Dongcheng finds out about this, he would definitely chase me out of the family. That scroundrel came to look for me at my place this morning to extort me for money. I gave him 10 thousand dollars, but he wanted another 10 thousand dollars, which I then agreed to give him during my visit here this evening. When I arrived here, he said that you went to visit your church friend. I brought some beer and food along to have a meal with him, after which he died because I handed him a pair of chopsticks that were coated with poison,” Chi Rui’er explained as tears began to well up in her eyes.

Mrs. Chi was greatly shaken by her words. “You mean… your child belongs to him?”

“Yes.”

Mrs. Chi’s legs turned to jelly, and she fell onto the bed. Staring at her deceased husband, she flew into a rage and began punching him forcefully. “You shameless, despicable bastard! Why didn’t you die earlier? You should’ve died earlier!” she exclaimed in fury.

Chi Rui’er held onto her and said, “Let’s just bury his corpse without informing anyone. Pack your belongings and move in with me. Don’t forget to tell the neighbors that both of you came to live with me together.”

Wiping her tears, Mrs. Chi answered, “Let’s cremate him tomorrow instead and cast his ashes into the sea. There wouldn’t be any remnants of his body then. If we bury him, I’m afraid it would be dangerous for you. You’ll be in great trouble if his distant relatives decide to report it to the police.”

Chi Rui’er found that her mother did make some sense. “Let’s cremate him tomorrow.”

“Alright.”

——

At almost midnight, it was still snowing heavily. An Xiaoning was stopped by Pan Zhenghui just as she was about to leave the office.

“Hey, Xiaoning, this is the latest task,” said Pan Zhenghui.

“Chief, we’ve just solved a case, I ought to take some time to rest now. I believe I’ve mentioned before that I wouldn’t be working on cases consecutively without breaks,” An Xiaoning said in a serious tone.

Pan Zhenghui nodded and answered, “I know. We’re just letting you guys prepare yourselves for the upcoming task. You don’t have to start investigating yet. It’s not a case to be solved. Just hold on for a while, I’ll brief all of you together when the members of the Serious Crimes Investigation Unit arrive.”

Upon hearing that it would involve the Serious Crimes Investigation Unit, An Xiaoning began to get curious and asked, “What task is it?”

“It’s a secret operation which will involve a spy. We’ll select two of you to go undercover,” said Pan Zhenghui.

“I’m not taking part,” An Xiaoning refuted.

“Why don’t you hear what it is before deciding?”

“Hmm, alright,” An Xiaoning agreed and took a seat.

All the members of the Serious Crimes Investigation Unit arrived and remained standing since there were not enough chairs.

Feeling bad for sitting while the rest were standing, Ma Jianguo, Zu Dong, and Gong Le immediately stood up as well. However, An Xiaoning, Pan Zhenghui, and the team leader of the Serious Crimes Investigation Unit remained seated.

“I called you guys here to inform you about an extremely important mission handed down from the Police Headquarters. They’d like us to select the most outstanding male and female officer to join the Narcotics Bureau as undercover agents,” Pan Zhenghui explained. As soon as he finished speaking, all eyes were on An Xiaoning.