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“What did I say before? I told you to stop clinging onto Nick. He’s very nice and kind toward us, don’t keep testing his patience.”

“Mother, how am I clinging onto him? I was merely talking to him for a bit. It’s not that serious,” Bu Xianxian protested.

Mrs. Bu exposed her, “Don’t think I don’t know what you’re thinking. Nick will never develop any feelings for you. Look how outstanding his wife is. Do you really think he’d be so blind as to fall for you?”

“Mother… I’m very outstanding too, okay?”

“How are you in any way outstanding? Why don’t I see it at all?” Mrs. Bu chastised.

“Is this how a mother should be? You’re so biased towards others and prejudiced against me.”

“I’m giving you my honest, objective opinion precisely because I’m your mother. You were already being very selfish by hindering Nick’s family from bringing him home when they came to look for him on the mountains back then, yet you still have the cheek to try and come between him and his wife now. Do you really think what you’re doing is right? I’ve discussed it with your father and we’ve agreed to find you a husband once we’ve mastered the local language, lest you create any trouble and make us worry further,” Mrs. Bu said firmly.

Bu Xianxian dared not rebut or talk back to her mother.

In fact, she was well aware deep down that Jin Qingyan did not fancy her at all. If only I knew earlier and made him mine back when we were in N Nation, perhaps everything would be better now.

Yet, there was no longer much she could do now…

“Mother, average men are not my cup of tea.”

“Take a good look at yourself before criticizing others. Be thankful if someone actually accepts you. What’s there to be picky about?”

“Mother, don’t you want me to marry a good man? Marriage is not child’s play. I’m not going to end up like you and Father. Didn’t you two get married and give birth to a child hastily just because you felt good about each other?”

“What kind of attributes must a man possess in order to deserve a shot with you, then? Don’t take Nick as an example. Outstanding men like him will never fall for you unless he’s really blind.”

“He should at least be as good-looking and hold a similar position as Chief Fan.”

“I’ve already asked Chief Fan before. He doesn’t fancy you,” said Mrs. Bu.

Bu Xianxian was speechless.

“Even Chief Fan doesn’t like you, let alone Nick. Xianxian, don’t raise your standards and expectations too high.”

“That’s enough, Mother. I’m still young, it won’t be too late even if I got married at 30 years old. I’ve got plenty of time to find a husband slowly,” Bu Xianxian exclaimed in frustration.

Mr. and Mrs. Bu shot each other a glance and stopped speaking.

——

An Xiaoning was about to go to bed after texting Jin Qingyan when she heard a knock on the door.

“Mu Ning, come out for a while,” said Zhi Yin.

“Alright.”

An Xiaoning got out of bed and opened the door.

“Her Highness has an order for you.”

“Alright.”

Just as she entered Tuoba Danxue’s room, Zhi Yin handed her a note and said, “Her Highness would like you to hand this to Feng.”

“Why don’t you send him a text message or give him a call, Your Highness?”

“I guess you didn’t know this, but all of the text messages and calls we place are closely monitored. I won’t be allowed to contact him,” said Tuoba Danxue.

An Xiaoning immediately understood. “Alright.”

She had seen Feng before. He was a shy and youthful young lad who was just as old as Tuoba Danxue. However, his fair skin and slender figure made him appear much younger than his actual age.

“Your Highness, may I know where his bedroom is?”

“To the left of my second brother’s bedroom. Rest assured and go ahead. I’ve already informed the guards there. They won’t be stopping you.”

“Alright, I’ll go now.” An Xiaoning turned around to leave. She took a look at the time to find that it was already past ten o’clock.

There were not many people outside apart from the guards on patrol duty.

She ran all the way toward Tuoba Gucheng’s door before stopping to catch her breath.

Just like what Tuoba Danxue said, the guards outside acted as if they did not see An Xiaoning at all when she entered through the main entrance. Clearly, they had already received special instructions.

An Xiaoning proceeded to make her way upstairs to the second floor. To her astonishment, she realized that she had no idea which room belonged to Tuoba Gucheng and thus would not be able to find the room on his left.

She was vexed and at a loss for what to do.

She scanned the second floor to find that there were fortunately not too many rooms. She eliminated the room on the outermost right and began searching, starting from the second room from the right.

She took light footsteps and tried to open the doors of each room, only to find that they were all locked from inside.

Thus, she had no choice but to ask the guards on duty downstairs, “The Princess has ordered me to look for Feng. Which room does he stay in?”

“The third one from the left. But, the door might be locked and knocking on the door will alarm others easily. Here’s the key to his door,” the guard answered.

“Alright, thanks.”

An Xiaoning grabbed the key and made her way upstairs again.

After counting the number of rooms from the left, she proceeded to unlock the door of the third room.

To An Xiaoning’s surprise, there was no strange odor in the room. She had always imagined male dormitories to be unhygienic and reeking of pungent odors. However, it seemed that that was not the case.

Shining the light from her torchlight around the room, she realized that it was neat and tidy with two bunk beds for four.

Since the lower layers of both bunk beds did not belong to him, his bed should be on the upper layers.

An Xiaoning climbed up the ladder of the bed while holding the torchlight to guide herself. To her dismay, his head was facing the other end of the bed instead.

She had no choice but to climb onto the bed and move to the other end. She shone her torchlight at him, only to be greeted with the sight of the person staring at her wide-eyed.

To make matters worse, the person was not Feng but Tuoba Gucheng.

“Why is it you…” An Xiaoning spluttered in astonishment.

Just as she was about to retreat backward, the person on the lower layer woke up all of a sudden. She quickly ducked and fell onto Tuoba Gucheng, who let out a grunt of discomfort.

She finally heaved a sigh of relief after watching the man on the lower bed leave the room to visit the washroom.

To her surprise, Tuoba Gucheng did not yell for the guards to come in at all.

While he was still patient, she hurriedly explained, “I’m sorry, Your Highness, Her Highness was the one who told me to come here and hand something to Feng. I didn’t know you’d be here.”

Tuoba Gucheng continued to stare at her while remaining quiet and still.

“I’ll excuse myself then.” An Xiaoning was about to leave when the man who went to the washroom returned.

She hurriedly ducked again, sprawling herself across Tuoba Gucheng for the second time.

The scent of her shampoo wafted up to his nose while she buried her head in his chest.

This damned country bumpkin!

An Xiaoning lay there for a full five minutes and only got up after sensing that the man below had already fallen asleep.

“Your Highness, I’m genuinely sorry for causing you great disturbance and shock. I’m so sorry,” An Xiaoning apologized.

He finally broke his silence and exclaimed, “You’re the one who received a great shock!”

An Xiaoning nodded and said, “Yes, yes, yes, I was shocked too. I’ll scram right away.”

She hurriedly climbed down the ladder and walked to another bed to find that it was Feng.

She felt a huge sense of relief.

“Feng?” she called, nudging him.

Jiang Feng opened his eyes only to receive a great shock. Just as he was about to shriek, she quickly covered his mouth and said, “Don’t shout. I was sent by Her Highness to give you this note.”

She let go only after he acknowledged it with a nod. She then stuffed the note into his hands before dismissing herself immediately.

She swiftly vanished without a trace.