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“Alright, take care of yourself too,” said a teary-eyed Fan Shixin.

“Instruct the search team in N Nation to keep searching. If there aren’t any updates yet, just stay here with me.”

“Okay.”

In the evening, all the members of the Xu family were present at the dining table.

Xu Youran was beaming with joy and constantly cozied up to her parents. “I knew Father and Mother wouldn’t leave me in the lurch.”

“If it weren’t because Jin Qingyan had met with a mishap, you definitely wouldn’t be released. The Jin Corporation is in chaos now. I’ve long heard about the fact that Jin Qingyan and his sister don’t belong to the same father. Jin Qingyan’s father is confined in the hospital, and there’s no one to hold the fort in the Jin family. Otherwise, I would’ve really wanted you to be locked up for six months, just so you would reflect on your own mistakes. You’re already an adult, yet you still don’t know your limits. All you do is get into trouble,” Military Commander Xu said with a tinge of gentleness in his voice, though he had a stern expression on his face.

“Father, can you really bear to lock me up in prison? Jin Qingyan wanted to set me up for a hard time, yet he met with a tsunami during his vacation. This just shows that he got the karma he deserves,” Xu Youran said with pouted lips.

“An Xiaoning has taken over Jin Qingyan’s position in the company. I saw on the news that she and Jin Qingyan have registered their marriage,” said Xu Yang, who was far less optimistic about the situation.

“She’s just an uncultured fortune-teller. Does she seriously think she’s capable enough to manage a company? I’m not looking down on her, but in my opinion, I really don’t think she has what it takes to run such a major corporation,” Xu Youran said bluntly.

Xu Yang begged to differ. “Youran, to be honest, I think there’s more to her than meets the eye. So don’t incur her wrath again. She’s no kind soul or saint. If you attempt to kill her again, I’m afraid even Father wouldn’t be able to defend you.”

Madam Xu agreed with her son, “Youran, your father has pulled his connections in order to save you. Could you just let us stop worrying about you from now on? Besides, An Xiaoning seems like a nice person to me. Why do you keep wanting to kill her?”

Xu Youran began fiddling with her chopsticks, appearing to be rather peeved. “I just don’t like her. I find her utterly detestable. Maybe… our birth characters are ill-matched and we simply can’t get along by nature.”

“What kind of a reason is that? Silly child, stop looking for trouble. You’re only going to put your brother and father in a difficult position if you keep behaving this way,” Madam Xu reiterated.

“That’s enough, Mother. I heard you. I’m so happy right now. How did something so marvellous happen? Jin Qingyan met with a tsunami. Hahaha,” Xu Youran gloated, brimming with joy.

“You’re not to spread rumors when you’re outside. He might still be alive since they haven’t found him,” Madam Xu instructed.

“Mother, it’s a tsunami we’re talking about, an earthquake beneath the seabed, not just a harmless wave. Jin Qingyan is dead for sure. Tsunamis are frightening.”

“Okay, that’s enough, stop talking about such things and start eating.” Reminded of her schedule for tomorrow, Madam Xu asked Xu Youran, “I’m going to a temple on the mountains tomorrow. Would you like to accompany me?”

“No, I have something important to do tomorrow. I’m not free.”

“Alright then, I’ll go by myself,” Madam Xu said with a look of disappointment.

After they were done with the meal, Madam Xu returned to her room to grab her purse in a bid to go out.

“Honey, where are you going?” Military Commander Xu asked.

“I’m going out to get the necessary items for visiting the temple tomorrow.”

“Alright, hurry and come back quick.”

“Got it.”

After watching her mother leave, Xu Youran sat down beside Military Commander Xu and said, “Father, why don’t you take Mother in hand? She’s always so superstitious. What’s the point of visiting the temple on the mountains?”

Military Commander Xu let out a long sigh before explaining, “You have no idea, your mother had a hard time giving birth to you. I wasn’t by her side back then and it was a passerby who lent her a helping hand. The passerby happened to be a monk of that temple, which she had been frequenting ever since. Regardless of whether it helps, your mother feels a sense of assurance by visiting the temple regularly.”

“Oh…” said Xu Youran, staring at the ground.

Madam Xu headed to a shop specialized in selling incense and joss sticks. She would always refuse to use the joss sticks provided at the temple and insist on bringing her own whenever she visited the mountains. The chauffeur and the bodyguards waited for her patiently in the car.

She entered the shop alone. To her surprise, she bumped into An Xiaoning inside.

An Xiaoning had bought a pile of items that she carried in a black plastic bag.

“Hello, Madam Xu,” An Xiaoning greeted, rather surprised to see her too.

“Hello, Ms. An. You’re here to buy something too?” Madam Xu asked smilingly.

“Yeah. What are you here for?”

“To buy some joss sticks.”

“Why didn’t you get your servants to buy them for you?”

“I prefer to buy such things myself. Um, Ms. An… we’re really sorry about Youran,” Madam Xu said with a faint smile.

“I find your daughter a stark contrast from you. Madam Xu seems to be a person of principle. Enjoy your shopping, I’ll be taking my leave,” said An Xiaoning, who did not resent Madam Xu because of Xu Youran.

“Sure.” Madam Xu turned around to watch An Xiaoning leave, feeling a strange sense of familiarity and connection towards her.

An Xiaoning placed the items she bought inside the car. She had run out of paper and ink pens she needed for drawing amulets, as well as joss sticks, and thus decided to head to the shop to buy some.

Upon reaching Wei Ni Estate, she saw Mei Yangyang and Long Tianze standing by the roadside. She parked the car at the gate and alighted.

“Sis,” Mei Yangyang greeted.

Just as An Xiaoning walked towards them, Mo Li, who was standing beside Long Tianze, immediately walked away and got inside another car. The car then drove away quickly.

“Why is Mo Li behaving so strangely? She didn’t even bother greeting Sis,” Mei Yangyang questioned in surprise.

“She probably feels awkward and embarrassed. After all, her husband has been going toe-to-toe with Qingyan’s company the past few days,” said Long Tianze.

Upon hearing his words, An Xiaoning said, “Whoever stands against me will no longer be my friend, regardless of who it may be.”

“Sis was the one who saved her when she attempted suicide back then. How great, now that she’s married to Ye Xiaotian, she just turns her back and obeys him. Long Tianze…” Mei Yangyang scoffed before looking at him sternly all of a sudden.

“Why are you looking at me like that?”

“You are to cut off all ties with Mo Li from now on! I’m obviously on my Sis’ side, and since you’re with me, you have to stand on Mr. Jin’s side without a doubt,” Mei Yangyang ordered.

“That goes without saying. I’m obviously standing together with you guys. It’s just, Mo Li is helpless too in this situation,” Long Tianze said with a sigh.

“No matter how helpless she may be, she should at least say something, shouldn’t she? Mr. Jin helped her so much in the past. Although he didn’t quite succeed in helping her find a suitable marriage partner, he still helped her nonetheless. She’s not even in the least bit concerned now that Mr. Jin has met with a mishap.” Mei Yangyang scowled in disgruntlement.

An Xiaoning gave Mei Yangyang a pat on her shoulder and said, “That’s enough. Tianze and Mo Li are childhood friends. Don’t put him in a spot. There’s no way they can cut off ties completely. I’m going home.”

Mei Yangyang grabbed her hand and said, “Sis, I want to sleep with you.”

“Does he agree to it?”

“He wouldn’t dare to disagree. Let’s go.”

Long Tianze stared blindly as his wife and An Xiaoning walked towards the house opposite. He could not help but feel lonely at the fact that he had to go home alone.

Long Tianze was extremely troubled and saddened at the thought of his buddy who had gone missing – he did not even know whether he was dead or alive. He felt as if a boulder was weighing down his chest.

Looking up at the blanket of stars above him, Long Tianze prayed fervently in his heart, “If Heaven is fair, please let Qingyan return safely. Please, I’m begging you.”