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“How’s it going?”

Yuan Mingzhu explained briefly and said, “There’s no turning back now even if An Xiaoning performs a ritual herself.”

“Good job, Mingzhu. The previous mediums I sought in the past are nowhere as efficient or capable as you are. I knew I could count on you,” Xu Youran thanked agitatedly.

“I only managed to complete the ritual using an extremely sinister method.”

“It doesn’t matter which method you used as long as it’s done. Mingzhu, you’re really incredible. It’s such a blessing to be able to befriend you. I came across two dresses from a luxury label when I went shopping today. I think they’d suit you very well. I’ll send them over to you later.”

“You shouldn’t have.”

“They don’t cost much anyway. Wait for me to come over. By the way, have you eaten? If you haven’t, I’ll buy some food and bring it over to your place.”

“I haven’t… I bought some groceries though, I’ll just fix a simple meal.”

Xu Youran objected vehemently, “You accomplished a great task today. Don’t bother cooking, I’ll just buy some food and send it to you personally.”

Yuan Mingzhu smiled and said, “Sure, I’ll be waiting for you.”

Yuan Mingzhu was rather glad to receive such kind treatment as a reward for her efforts.

Xu Youran showed up half an hour later with several bags in hand.

“Here are the two dresses. Put them on and see if they fit, quick. This is a bag I bought along the way, and these are the food I bought for you…”

“You really shouldn’t have spent so much on me.”

“Mingzhu, it’s not a lot. Have some food first before you try on the dresses.”

“Alright.” Xu Youran sat down on a chair beside the dining table and asked again, “Has it really been settled?”

“Of course. Rest assured, no one can save her, not even An Xiaoning,” Yuan Mingzhu said, smiling.

“I can rest my mind then. Hurry and eat before the food turns cold,” said Xu Youran, grinning from ear to ear.

“Yeah, the Jin family will definitely not report Madam Jin’s death to the police. They’ll probably just find an excuse to bury her.”

Xu Youran was well aware of that fact. After all, face and pride still mattered to the Jin family.

Mrs. Jin did not come to again ever since she slipped into unconsciousness.

Initially, the amulets could still delay the effects of the curse. However, everyone began to realize that something was amiss as the amulets on Mrs. Jin’s face began to turn wet gradually.

Soon, they were completely soaked. “The person who put the hex has poured water onto the puppet. The amulets have become impotent. I’m afraid the puppet might’ve been submerged into water.”

She let out a sigh at the thought of Mrs. Jin’s fate in the end, which she had read based on the latter’s birth characters. She then placed a finger below Mrs. Jin’s nose and discovered that she was no longer breathing.

There was no way she could be saved even if they sent her to the hospital.

“Qingyan…”

“Hmm?”

“Her life is almost coming to an end.”

An Xiaoning tried to summon Mrs. Jin’s spirit, only to find that her spirit had been trapped as well.

An Xiaoning was not powerful enough to free her spirit. At this point, An Xiaoning had a moment of epiphany and realized that one would have to constantly increase their powers in order to overcome all problems. Otherwise, they would only be putting themselves at risk of being subdued.

Jin Qingyue began bawling loudly in agony while covering her mouth. Tears streamed down Jin Qingyan’s face as he stared at his mother, who was lying motionless on the bed.

“Sister-in-law, is it really impossible for Mother to be saved?”

“Yes, the curse is fatal and we found out way too late. My skills are not powerful enough to get rid of the curse either. I’m sorry.”

“Sister-in-law, you don’t have to be sorry. Brother and I both know you’ve done your best,” Jin Qingyue said softly. She walked towards the bed and called, “Mother…”

There was no response from Mrs. Jin, whose eyes were closed.

Jin Qingyue held onto her mother’s hand, tears flowing from her eyes like a broken tap.

An Xiaoning removed the amulets from her face to reveal a pair of tightly shut eyes and purplish lips.

“Tell Shixin to remove all information regarding the birthday of our closest friends, family, and subordinates from the Internet,” An Xiaoning instructed Jin Qingyan.

Jin Qingyan shot Fan Shixin a knowing glance, after which the latter responded by making an OK sign with his hand. He then turned around to call his subordinates at Wei Ni Estate.

Everyone stood rooted to the ground like a statue and remained silent for several minutes.

“Mother has left us,” An Xiaoning declared.

Jin Qingyue wailed in agony while Jin Qingyan teared up silently.

Tears welled up in An Xiaoning’s eyes as she stared at the ground. At this moment, she realized that both she and Jin Qingyan had to work harder in order to achieve a peaceful life.

Clearly, her own abilities were not sufficient to ensure the safety of the people around her.

Their enemy was hiding in the dark while they were in the open, susceptible to all possible attacks.

While it’s true that there are some things that simply cannot be guarded against, An Xiaoning ought to still do her best to strengthen her power.

“Yangyang, follow me to buy a shroud.”

“Alright,” Mei Yangyang agreed.

The two of them left to buy a shroud from a shroud garment store before driving back to the mansion.

They arrived home to find that there was already a coffin.

It was made of wood of the best quality.

An Xiaoning and Jin Qingyue helped Mrs. Jin put on the shroud.

Jin Qingyan then lowered Mrs. Jin’s body into the coffin.

Fang Xiaotian could not recover from the shock of what was happening.

He wanted to leave but was not allowed to.

In less than an hour, they managed to prepare all the necessary items for a funeral and placed Mrs. Jin’s coffin in the living room.

“Young Sir, do we inform the media about Madam’s death?”

“They’ll find out even if we don’t tell them. There’s no way we can keep this under wraps. Release a statement to say that she passed away due to an illness.”

“Yes.” Fan Shixin strode out quickly.

An Xiaoning reached out to hold his hand and asked, “Do we hold an extravagant funeral?”

“No, Mother died a painful death. I don’t want anyone else to disturb her. I’ll definitely get to the bottom of this matter. I won’t spare the culprit’s life, no matter who it may be,” Jin Qingyan said sternly with a sullen expression on his face, almost as austere as Hades.

“Where do you plan to bury her?” An Xiaoning asked.

“I doubt we can bury her in the ancestral graveyard. Mother was the one who caused Grandma’s death, after all. Father will never agree to it. Let’s bury her in the mountains.”

“The burial can only proceed three days from now, according to customs.”

“No need for three days. We’ll bury her tomorrow since you have to return to the Autumn Palace tomorrow evening. Yo wouldn’t be able to attend the burial ceremony if we wait three days. By then, the media will definitely make an issue out of your absence. I don’t wish to see any negativity about you being spread online,” said Jin Qingyan. She was heartened to see that he was still sparing a thought for her despite the grave situation.

An Xiaoning expressed assent and said, “Let’s take this opportunity to find out who Mother had been seeing and where she had gone lately.”

“I’ve already instructed Shixin to carry out the investigation. Mother is getting on in her years, she doesn’t really go anywhere else apart from the garden, mahjong dens, or beauty salons. It should be easy to find out what she had been up to recently.”

“Brother, do we call Father?” asked a teary-eyed Jin Qingyue.

“Go ahead.”

Jin Qingyue nodded and whipped her phone out to give Mr. Jin a call.

Mr. Jin was at a sudden loss for what to do the moment he heard the shocking piece of news. However, he stated clearly over the phone that he would not be attending the burial ceremony and that they could forget about burying her in the ancestral graveyard.

Jin Qingyue ended the call. She did not hold it against Mr. Jin for making such a harsh decision.

Somehow, she could not help but feel disappointed and heartbroken.

It was hard to pinpoint who to blame, for it seemed that everyone was at fault for their mistakes.