“That’s… incredible. It’s seriously so amazing. I used to think fortune telling was just a hoax and never believed in it. But now, it seems I was wrong.”
“Sis Mei, it’s extremely accurate, isn’t it?” Madam Jin chirped.
“It’s not just accurate, it’s spot on. How were you able to tell? It’s really incredible,” asked Madam Lin, staring at An Xiaoning in awe.
An Xiaoning smiled and said, “I grew up on the mountains with my Master. I think I might just be naturally gifted in this aspect.”
“Sis Xiaoning, could you read mine too?” asked Lin Shishi, who was quickly stopped by Madam Lin.
“You’re too young for that.”
An Xiaoning thought otherwise. “Madam, can I be honest with you about something? My sister-in-law, Jin Qingyue, was extremely doubtful of my predictions when I read her fortune back then. She insisted on marrying Shi Shaochuan while completely ignoring everyone else’s advice. In the end, her fate turned out to be exactly the way I predicted, and she absolutely regrets it now. Fortune-telling may only serve as a warning in advance. To be honest, there’s nothing much one can do to change what’s already predestined.”
“Could I trouble Mrs. Jin to tell my daughter’s fortune then?” Madam Lin conceded at last.
Upon hearing her mother’s approval, Lin Shishi hurriedly picked up the pen and wrote her birth characters onto the piece of paper.
Instead of revealing the results to Lin Shishi privately, An Xiaoning looked at both Lin Shishi and her mother with a grim expression and said, “Madam Lin, regarding your daughter’s destiny… I’d like to talk to you about it privately, is that okay?”
Panic engulfed the pair of mother and daughter. Madam Lin hurriedly said, “Yes, of course. Let’s go there, there’s a small private room. Please follow me, Mrs. Jin.”
“Sis Xiaoning, may I hear it too?” Lin Shishi asked.
“Yes, come with us.”
Mei Yangyang stayed behind to chat with Madam Jin while the three of them proceeded inside the room. After closing the door, An Xiaoning revealed the truth upfront, “Pardon my bluntness, but Shishi will be met with a calamity in the upcoming week. Fortunately, you allowed me to read her fortune, Madam Lin. Otherwise, I’m afraid she would’ve been unable to escape the ordeal.”
They were both frightened by her words. “A calamity? What is that about?” Madam Lin asked worriedly.
“A fatal one. If you have any doubts, you may consult other fortune-tellers as well,” said An Xiaoning.
“I believe you, I believe you. You’re so accurate and precise with your readings, of course I’d believe you. Mrs. Jin, is there anyway to overcome the omen?”
“There are two types of calamities in one’s destiny, one of which can be escaped while the other can never be overcome no matter what you do. The one Shishi is going to be facing soon is the type that can’t be escaped. But, I’m willing to do my best to help her minimize the damage as far as possible,” An Xiaoning explained solemnly.
Lin Shishi was frightened and shocked beyond her senses. She grabbed An Xiaoning’s arm and pleaded eagerly, “Sis Xiaoning, I’m only 19 years old this year. Please save me.”
An Xiaoning gave her a pat on her shoulder and tried to comfort her, “I’ll do my best to help, but you have to cooperate with me. Are you willing to do so?”
“When the gathering ends later, follow me home and stay over at my place for a week. Don’t step out of the house at all within the next week. Madam, you may move in together too. I’ll give Shishi an amulet every day.”
Both Madam Lin and her daughter agreed readily.
Still feeling extremely worried, Madam Lin asked, “What happens after you minimize the ordeal?”
“Madam, to be frank, her life is destined to end at the end of this calamity. I’m defying Heaven’s wishes by doing my best to help her overcome the fatal ordeal. But I feel that since fate brought us together, I’m willing to do what I can to help. At the end of the calamity, she might at most just shed some blood.”
“Mrs. Jin, you’ll become our benefactor if you’re really able to save my daughter. I’m willing to acknowledge you as my Goddaughter,” said Madam Lin, who knew that the business-minded An Xiaoning would never make deals where she would incur a loss.
Madam Lin’s offer was exactly An Xiaoning’s heart’s desire.
She nodded in agreement and said, “Come to Wei Ni Estate later after you’ve packed your belongings. I’ll be waiting for you guys at home.”
They exchanged mobile numbers before coming out of the room.
Madam Lin was no longer in the mood to continue socializing at the gathering. Just as she was about to leave with Lin Shishi, she coincidentally bumped into Madam Xu and Xu Youran.
Xu Youran completely ignored the presence of An Xiaoning and Mei Yangyang when she saw them.
Madam Xu approached them to say hello. “Hey, Madam Lin, are you leaving already?”
“Yes, something cropped up at home. Enjoy the rest of your night, Madam Xu. My daughter and I shall take our leave first.”
Madam Jin followed suit and left as well. So did An Xiaoning and Mei Yangyang, who found no reason to stay any longer.
Noticing that Madam Lin was leaving in a hurry, Mei Yangyang asked, “Sis, what’s wrong with the Chief-of-Staff’s daughter?”
“She’s about to meet with a calamity, but I fortunately managed to discover it in time. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been able to get closer to them that easily. I instructed them to move in with me for a week, mainly to pull them closer to me and also to make it easier for me to break her daughter’s curse,” An Xiaoning explained while buckling her safety belt.
“Sis…” Mei Yangyang rested her head on her shoulder and continued, “Great, if you manage to become associated with the two big shots, the Chief-of-Staff and the Commander-in-Chief, you wouldn’t have to worry about Military Commander Xu anymore.”
“Madam Lin said she would take me as her Goddaughter if I could help her daughter survive this calamity.”
Mei Yangyang lit up in surprise and sat up straight quickly. “Really? That’s awesome!”
“Yeah, wait for my news at home.”
Little did An Xiaoning expect that Madam Lin and Lin Shishi would not proceed to Wei Ni Estate as agreed upon.
Madam Lin gave An Xiaoning a call to tell her that she had just received a lashing from her husband for believing in such superstitions, and he forbid her daughter from leaving the house the entire week.
An Xiaoning did not get worked up or worried and instead said, “Since Chief-of-Staff is bent on proving me wrong, I shall wait patiently for your call, Madam Lin. I believe you’ll definitely call me again within the next week.”
Madam Lin was filled with panic upon hearing how confident and composed An Xiaoning sounded. She could not fall asleep at all for the rest of the night after ending the call.
Since Jin Qingyan was heavily injured, Bu Xianxian had been taking meticulous care of him the entire time with no complaints at all. She did not mind the fact that he was filthy or that it was a hassle to take care of him. Clearly, she adored him to bits.
After spending the past few days with her, Jin Qingyan began to feel touched by her kindness. After all, it was indeed noble of her to be taking care of someone completely unrelated to her for no special reason.
She provided him assistance even when he had to answer nature’s call.
She would help him out of the tent slowly and turn away while he was getting on with his business.
Once he was done, she would then help him back inside the tent.
Both of them could not fall asleep that night, especially Jin Qingyan, who was bedridden most of the time and could not get to do anything strenuous that would deplete his energy.
“Look, there are so many stars tonight. The weather should be great tomorrow.” Bu Xianxian turned to the side and continued, “Once you’ve recovered, I’ll bring you to the mountains to gather some medicinal herbs and sell them for money. We’ll then use the money to buy you some meat. Do you like eating meat?”
“What do you like to eat then? I’ll satisfy your cravings when we’re a little less cash-strapped.”
“I don’t know either.” After some thought, he asked, “Do you have a mobile phone?”
“My father has a retro-style mobile phone, but there’s no power supply here on the mountains so he stopped using it. What’s the matter?”
“I’d like to put my photos up online. If my family sees them, they’ll come here to look for me.”