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“I happened to see them by chance. I really hit the roof when I found out. But then again, isn’t it common for wealthy men to have affairs and keep mistresses? Thus, I decided to curb my urge to look for her and give her a warning. I’ve never seen her again since then,” Chi Rui’er explained.

Both Chi Rui’er and Gu Dongcheng then returned after having their statements recorded at the police station.

Once they got into the car, Gu Dongcheng again questioned, “You really weren’t the one behind it?”

“Must I kill her just because you two were having an affair? You need evidence before jumping to conclusions,” Chi Rui’er scorned.

“That’d better be the case. If you were the culprit, the police will find out sooner or later. There’s no way you can escape the law,” Gu Dongcheng warned.

Chi Rui’er snapped in fury, “I said it wasn’t me! Could you have more trust in me, your wife?”

Gu Dongcheng did not respond and instead began driving home.

Chi Rui’er looked out of the window, filled with a mix of emotions.

As soon as they arrived home, Chi Rui’er noticed how unconcerned Gu Dongcheng was towards her child. She lifted the child into her arms and carried him towards the bedroom.

“Let your father carry you,” said Chi Rui’er as she cast the child onto the bed.

The child laid in Gu Dongcheng’s embrace, saliva drooling from his mouth.

Gu Dongcheng lifted the child in his arms and began teasing and playing with him.

“I married you and bore you a son. Yet, you actually had an affair. Gu Dongcheng, you’ve really let me down,” Chi Rui’er chastised while standing by the side.

“You’ve brought this up time and time again. Are you finished yet?”

“If you dare have another affair again, I’ll tell your son about your shameless acts when he’s old enough to understand what’s going on. I suppose you don’t wish your son to have a bad impression of you, do you?” Chi Rui’er threatened.

Gu Dongcheng let out a long sigh and retorted, “If you had been understanding and caring towards me, would I resort to having an affair? Reflect on your mistakes before criticizing others.”

“Wow, that’s what all adulterers say. All they do is find excuses for themselves. Just admit that you enjoy fooling around, don’t push the blame on me.”

“I can’t communicate with you at all.”

“…”

Chi Rui’er glared at him, filled with disdain and annoyance.

Mrs. Chi gently pushed the door open and called, “Rui’er? Come out, Mother has something to ask you.”

“Okay.”

She turned around to leave the room and entered Mrs. Chi’s bedroom.

Once the door was closed, Mrs. Chi asked softly, “What did the police call you for?”

“They wanted to ask some questions, but I just covered up with some lies. Mother, you have to remain tight-lipped. As long as you do, the police won’t be able to find out much.”

“Yes, I’m just worried.”

“What are you worried about? I’m not worried at all. Mother, there are a bunch of aunties who practice line-dancing below our estate everyday. You should go join them and have some fun too,” Chi Rui’er said smilingly.

“I’ll just have a look and watch them dance. I can’t dance myself.”

“You may chit-chat with those aunties and uncles whenever you’re free. Otherwise, you’d be pretty lonely.”

“You’re my only daughter. I’ll be happy as long as you’re living well,” Mrs. Chi said unhurriedly.

Chi Rui’er nodded and said, “I will live well, even if it’s just for your sake.”

——

An Xiaoning woke up with a slight tummy ache.

The pain in her leg wound had alleviated significantly.

She supported herself up with a torchlight in her hand and proceeded to break the cemented wall with the digging tools.

In order to get out as soon as possible, she toiled and moiled continuously without breaks.

She thought that it would not take much effort since the wall should not be too thick. However, due to the freezing temperature during wintertime, the cement and ground had hardened, which made it more difficult for her to work.

After going hard at work for some time, she began to feel her stomach rumbling. She was famished and could not continue working on an empty stomach any longer. Guiding herself with the torchlight, she found a lighter and started a fire on the gas stove.

She made some rice and cooked up a dish of stir-fried cabbage.

Although the meal was bland and tasteless, she could not care less since she was starving and just wanted something to fill her stomach.

She finished two large bowls of rice in one sitting and took a short break before resuming work.

At last, her efforts paid off and the cemented wall was broken. She finally got to see the light of day again, though it was already night time.

An Xiaoning was panting heavily, exhausted beyond limits as she had already expended all her energy.

She quickly changed into a set of clothes that she was buried with and left together with her shroud.

She pushed the soil outwards with all her might and resealed the opening.

A radiant smile formed on her face as she took in a whiff of fresh air, feeling lucky to have survived yet another ordeal.

She spread her shroud open and placed her belongings onto it before wrapping it into a bag and securing it tightly. She then carried the makeshift bag and left the place.

An Xiaoning did not see a single soul when she reached the foot of the mountain. She began to ponder where she should head to first – Jin Qingyan’s place, the Gu family home, or her own home in Dongpo Road?

She was stuck in a dilemma.

After much thought and consideration, she decided to head home first to take a warm bath and clean up before looking for Jin Qingyan.

The crowds on the street were sparse since it was already the wee hours of the night.

There was not a single soul in sight at the ATM which An Xiaoning went to.

She withdrew 10 thousand dollars from her bank account before hailing a taxi back to her home in Dongpo Road.

The lights were all switched off in the house. Could everyone be sleeping? she thought to herself.

An Xiaoning entered her PIN number into the security lock on her door, which opened shortly after.

There was no one in the backyard at all. She then walked to the servants’ room and knocked on the door a few times, but did not get any response.

She pulled the door handle and opened it effortlessly.

An Xiaoning switched on the lights, only to discover that the room was empty.

She took a look at the other rooms to find that they were all empty as well.

The first thing that came to her mind was, “Did everyone leave because they thought I was dead?”

She went back inside the house and made her way upstairs with her bag of belongings.

She turned on the heater and headed inside the bathroom.

She removed her clothes and realized that there was medication applied on her wound underneath the bandage. However, she reeked of a pungent odor and desperately needed to take a shower.

An Xiaoning had no choice but to sit on a stool and wash herself while holding the shower head above her body. In order to prevent her wound from getting wet, she lifted her leg high up and kept it away from the water.

After the painstaking shower, she proceeded to wash her hair in the basin. An Xiaoning beamed with joy at the sight of her squeaky-clean self.

She dried her hair before exiting the bathroom. Her bedroom was completely devoid of any electronic devices, which made it impossible for her to contact anyone at all. Thus, she had no choice but to catch some sleep and wait until the next day to see her loved ones.

She began to wonder if she would be giving them a great shock or a surprise.

It had been a long time since she last saw Jin Qingyan, though she did not count how many days it had been exactly. However, she missed him dearly, and the thought of being able to see him in less than a day made her more excited than ever.

Filled with immense joy, she looked forward to the arrival of daybreak.

An Xiaoning turned to lay on her side. Her lips curled into a smile before she closed her eyes.

In the middle of the night, thunder rumbled all of a sudden and the sky began to pour heavily. However, An Xiaoning was not disturbed at all and continued to sleep peacefully until morning.

She woke up feeling refreshed and got out of bed to draw the curtains open, only to find that it was drizzling outside.

She then opened her closet to retrieve her feathered jacket and put it on before fixing her hair and applying some makeup. Sporting a scarf and a hat, she put on a surgical mask and strode downstairs leisurely while carrying her purse.

With an umbrella in hand, she exited the door and walked along the sidewalk towards the office building of the Jin Corporation.