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There were five big and burly men in the room, who seemed to be up to no good and appeared rather villainous.

“Sorry, I made a mistake and got the wrong room,” she said calmly and turned around in an attempt to leave.

A sly smile formed on the face of the man at the door as he said, “Ms. An, you didn’t get the wrong room, it’s this one indeed.”

Although she was unaware of their intentions, An Xiaoning was certain that she would not have an easy time escaping.

Two of the men came forth and snatched her phone away. Although deep down, she was at a loss on what to do, she remained composed and stood rooted to the ground.

“Who are you people? What do you want? Shoot.”

“You’ll find out what we want soon enough. What a shame, you’re such a pretty little lady,” said the man tauntingly, gesturing for the rest of the men to come forward. They began to tie her up with ropes while one of the men forcefully covered her mouth with a towel. An Xiaoning passed out in that instant.

“Boss, she’s Jin Qingyan’s wife. Look at her, it would be great if we could have some fun with her,” said the man lecherously.

“Go have fun in hell, we’re working right now, it’s not the time for fun. Untie the ropes and carry her away. We need to get out of here right away,” he hollered.

“Got it.”

They quickly left the teahouse in a single file. After searching An Xiaoning for the key to the car, three of the men hopped on while the other two drove away in their van.

One of the men in An Xiaoning’s car began to ask, “Boss, is the teahouse safe?”

“My Sister-in-law owns the place, obviously she wouldn’t sell me out. Hurry up and get it done, we were paid to do this. Cut the crap,” answered the man.

“Well, Boss, why don’t we just strangle her to death? That would save the hassle.”

“Damn, are your brains fried? She’s the Young Madam of the Jin family, it would not be a small matter that she went missing. It’s only a matter of time before they find out that we’re the culprits behind the act. We have to think of a way to make it appear as if she had caused her own death and died in a car accident because of drinking and driving.” As he spoke, the man took out a bottle of liquor with high alcohol content and ordered, “Force her mouth open, then chug this down her throat.”

The other two men did as they were instructed and chugged about half the bottle.

They drove in the direction of a riverside near Heyuan Mountain and pulled up at a blind spot which cannot be captured by the surveillance cameras. The men then pulled An Xiaoning into the driver’s seat and rigged the gas pedal before alighting from the car. Two of the three men then lifted the cover of the front hood of the car, then removed an accessory part from the engine.

“Boss, it’s done.”

“Okay, start the engine.” The man, who seemed to be the leader, began to gesture for the other men in the van to drive towards them, after which two of them hopped on. The remaining one then quickly followed after starting the engine.

The gang of five kept their eyes fixed on An Xiaoning’s car and watched as it automatically drove away onto the bridge.

They then began to pray and hope fervently in the van.

“Fall off, fall off, please.”

“Hurry and fall off.”

“Why is it taking so long!”

“It’s already on the middle of the bridge, fall off quick!”

“Stop making such a ruckus!” roared the leader, glaring at them angrily before looking out of the window. Whether or not they would be getting paid would all depend on whether the car slipped off the bridge.

A sudden silence filled the van. Just like what they had prayed for, An Xiaoning’s car began to incline downwards towards the left and moved east. In unison, they let out a celebratory roar, as if they had struck the lottery.

And as if they had committed a commendable act.

Unfortunately, the barriers of the bridge weren’t secured or paved with cement. They were simply metal barriers, which was the reason why the car could easily ram through it. The men had taken that into consideration, and that was why they had chosen that location.

Their efforts were not futile and their meticulous plan had not gone to waste: the car fell off the bridge and into the water with a massive splash, which could be seen from afar.

“Yay!” they cheered and drove away from the site excitedly. They were careful not to arouse suspicion by avoiding the main roads and instead took several detours around a dilapidated area where surveillance cameras were scarce. Last but not least, they abandoned the van, which they had bought at a cheap price, in a secluded and hidden cave.

As soon as they received their reward, the gang walked away and left in their raincoats, full of energy and rigor.

“With this money, I’m going to build a huge house in my hometown and leave it for my son and his future wife when he’s older. I’m going to return to my hometown in glory,” said one of the men.

“I’m going to invest it and start a business. It’s too tough making a living in the city. Finally, it’s time to leave. It’s actually pretty sad now that I think of it,” said another.

“For me… first things first, I’m going to use it to treat my father’s illness. I haven’t quite thought about the rest though. I’ll be contented as long as my father’s illness can be treated and he can recover.”

“I’m going to live lavishly for a few days and find a few babes to have some fun with. Hahaha, I’m getting so excited just thinking about how great that would be. Finally, there’s something in life to look forward to again.”

“…”

“…”

It was already past seven o’clock in the evening when Jin Qingyan arrived home.

After parking the car in the garage, he realized that An Xiaoning’s car was missing.

He alighted from the car with a black umbrella in hand and walked to the entrance of the living room. Auntie Chen then came out and asked, “Young Sir, where’s Young Madam? Why didn’t she come back with you?”

“I have no idea, I didn’t see her car in the garage. I’ll give her a call.”

“But didn’t she go to look for you? She told me you instructed her to go look for you,” said Auntie Chen.

“Really? But I didn’t, though,” said Jin Qingyan, his face stiffening.

Auntie Chen stopped talking immediately as a thought crossed her mind that that was just an excuse An Xiaoning had probably given her for her sudden need to go out. At least, that was what Jin Qingyan had thought as well.

He quickly gave her a call, only to hear the lifeless automated voicemail message, which said that he was unable to get through to her at the moment.

“Head inside first, perhaps she will be home soon.”

“Alright.” Aunt Chen wiped her hands on her apron and headed back in to serve the dishes. Jin Qingyan sat at the table and had his dinner alone. After just a few mouthfuls, he picked up his phone to give her another call, but yet again, there was no response.

Ever since they got married, he had never been unable to get through to her phone. He had also remembered seeing her charge her phone the night before, which ruled out the possibility that it was out of battery. It was further impossible that the phone line was cut off due to overdue telco fees. Could she have lost her phone? He began to wonder.

All of a sudden, he had lost his appetite and prepared to go look for her after wiping his mouth.

He wondered why she was still not home yet despite the heavy rain.

He hit the roads again, making her store on Dongpo Road his first stop only to find that it was closed when he arrived there.

Thinking that she might be at the Gu’s, he again embarked on a journey towards the Gu family mansion, during which he suddenly received a call from Fan Shixin.

“Boss, the police had called to inform us that Young Madam’s car is suspected to have plunged into the river near Heyuan Mountain.”

The shock robbed Jin Qingyan of his senses, and he did not process the rest of Fan Shixin’s words.

Jin Qingyan’s hands began to tremble and he answered, “I’ll go have a look for myself…”

He cast his phone aside onto the passenger seat and drove towards the river near Heyuan Mountain. He had always been insistent on driving safely, yet this time, he acted out of character and sped way past his usual speed limit. His car zoomed so quickly that it was almost impossible to have a clear sight of the view outside the car.

His mind was flooded with a whirlpool of questions as he was filling with worry. Something had happened to her…