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“I agree. Shi Shaochuan can’t be compared to Oppa Long here. Tianze can beat him to a pulp within seconds. When we were younger, Tianze had put in a great ton of effort on Qingyue. It’s a shame she did not reciprocate,” said Ling Ciye as he sat cross-legged and began browsing through a book.

Long Tianze pushed him playfully and said, “Mind your words, what do you mean I put in a great ton of effort on Qingyue? You’re making it sound like I was in love with her.”

Ling Ciye closed the book he was holding and looked up. “Hey, that wasn’t what I meant at all, you’re the one who’s overthinking it, yet you’re blaming me. However, you’re my best buddy whom I grew up with, and I can’t help but worry for you. You’re already this old and you still don’t have a proper girlfriend. All you do is date random girls frivolously, to put up a front. Seriously, when do you plan to lose your chastity?”

Amused by his words, An Xiaoning almost choked and spat her milk out.

Long Tianze began to blush in embarrassment while still trying to defend himself. “I’ve dated plenty of women in the past. More than you can count with your fingers and toes.”

“Yeah, right. That’s what you always say. We know. Point is, when are you going to lose your virginity?”

Long Tianze closed his eyes and pretended to fall asleep.

“You’re always like this. Strangely, you haven’t been meeting those models lately,” said Ling Ciye.

“Who said so? I’ll bring a prettier one tonight, just you wait and see.”

“Sure, I’ll see if she’s really that gorgeous, then.”

——

It began to snow heavily in the evening, causing the temperature to drop even lower, as if it wasn’t already cold enough.

Seeing that there were no more potential customers on the street, Mei Yangyang packed up and closed the store, leaving Xu Jingwen and Zhang Li to watch over it.

As soon as she arrived home by bus, she was greeted with the sight of a spread of dishes on the table, prepared by her father. “Shuangshuang came home this afternoon and asked me for money. I didn’t give her any, so she threw a tantrum and left angrily.”

“She doesn’t take her studies seriously, and her attendance in university is so poor. All she does is fool around outside all day. If she doesn’t wish to continue studying, then she should just get a job, it’s at least better than wasting her life away like this. She’s not getting any younger either.”

“It’s not like she listens to us. We can’t quite interfere with her matters anymore now that she’s all grown up. Actually, she could also stay at home to take care of your mother while I go out to work to earn some money. That’ll help lighten your burden. I feel really bad that you have to shoulder the burden of providing for the family all by yourself,” sighed Mr. Mei.

Mei Yangyang picked up her chopsticks and said in response, “I’m currently working at Sis Xiaoning’s clothing store and it’s really great. Sis Xiaoning is so nice to me, and she treats me like her actual sister. Never once has she ill-treated or taken advantage of me. Father, don’t worry too much, just focus on taking care of Mother. I’m earning enough to support our family and foot Mother’s medical bills too.”

“That’s not my main concern, but rather, you’ve already grown up and you’re of a marriageable age now. I’m just afraid we will become a heavy burden to you and your potential future husband. He would have to provide for not only you but us too.”

“I’m still young, there’s still a long way to go before that happens. Well, at most, I’ll remain unmarried for the rest of my life, no big deal. There’s no such thing as ‘my burden.’ Father, let’s just spend our lives the way they are, for now. We’ll worry about the rest when the time comes in the future. Come here, let’s tuck in.”

“Go out and look for Shuangshuang again later. I’m really worried that something might happen to her. She’s a girl, after all. How about you stay at home to look after your mother and I’ll go look for her instead?” Mr. Jin said.

“I’ll go. I have the contact number of a few of her classmates. Perhaps they might have a clue about where she is.”

“That’ll do, too.”

After dinner, Mei Yangyang was stopped by her father just as she was about to begin doing the dishes. He asked her to go look for Mei Shuangshuang instead. Thus, she had no choice but to leave in her scooter and call each of Mei Shuangshuang’s classmates, one by one. However, the latter’s whereabouts were still unknown.

An idea struck Mei Yangyang’s mind, and she proceeded to find Mei Shuangshuang’s MySpace account. She then added the users who had commented on the latter’s posts and finally managed to obtain some information about her whereabouts.

Mei Yangyang did not ask them about her directly. Instead, she asked about where they were at and if Mei Shuangshuang was around, while remaining anonymous at first. However, they constantly asked about her identity, to which she replied in the end, “Her sister.”

She quickly rode towards the largest entertainment nightclub in the city.

Having arrived, she parked her scooter in a parking spot along the entrance and entered the nightclub, with her bag slung across her shoulder and wearing a mask.

She arrived at the third floor of the nightclub via the elevator and realized that there were a significant number of rooms. She quickly sent a message to Mei Shuangshuang’s classmate to ask for their room number, only to realize that she had already been blocked.

Mei Yangyang stood by the elevator landing helplessly. She had only two options: one was to search every single room, one by one, for Mei Shuangshuang; the other was to just stay there and wait.

Searching the rooms one by one would be rather inappropriate, though it was indeed the quicker option. After all, she was a girl and it would be hard to escape should she get herself into trouble while searching the rooms.

After giving it some thought, Mei Yangyang lowered her cap and adjusted her face mask in order to conceal more of her face, then she stood leaning against the wall.

She decided to stay and wait for Mei Shuangshuang to appear. Mei Yangyang would drag her home as soon as she did.

” Ding …” went the elevator as it’s doors opened. A tall man strode out of the elevator, with three gorgeous women beside him. They were clad in feather dresses, which exposed their thighs, and wore boots.

“Everyone here is a big figure, you’d better behave yourselves and put up a good front. Be mindful of your etiquettes and you’ll get your money, for sure,” the tall man said to the women.

They followed behind him and nodded abidingly. Mei Yangyang stopped looking at them as soon as they entered a room not too far away.

She began to feel rather anxious and panicky while waiting. However, she had no choice but to wait patiently.

After two entire hours had passed, a door opened and Mei Yangyang exited with her classmates in a single file. Mei Yangyang went forward and grabbed Mei Shuangshuang at the instant that she saw her, despite her legs being sore and achy from all the standing. “Come home with me,” she ordered.

“How did you know I was here?” Mei Shuangshuang asked in confusion.

“Nevermind that, just come home with me. Let’s go,” Mei Yangyang said sternly as she dragged her along with much force.

“Why are you guys still standing there? Hurry, get my sister away from here,” Mei Shuangshuang yelled at her friends in a bid to urge them to save her. A few men came forward and pulled the two apart, and Mei Shuangshuang quickly snuck inside the elevator. The men hurriedly followed suit, and one of them kicked Mei Yangyang mercilessly as soon as he saw her approaching, causing her to fall onto the ground. Clutching her stomach in pain, she stood up and quickly zoomed down the stairs.

She finally reached the bottom of the stairs and fortunately found that they had not gone too far yet.

She sped up and quickly chased after them, feeling furious and embarrassed at the same time. As soon as she caught up, she grabbed the man who had kicked her by his hoodie and clawed at his face. The man was caught off guard and winced in pain. At the next instant, he instinctively turned around and kicked Mei Yangyang.

Mei Yangyang retrieved the narrow whip she had prepared in her bag and began lashing it at the three men. She was red with fury. Her doll-like face was twisted into an angry frown.

A crowd began to gather around the commotion on the first storey. However, no one stepped in to stop the fight, despite it involving a single woman who was outnumbered by three men. Instead, they simply continued to watch the scene before them nonchalantly. Mei Shuangshuang was taken aback by the sight of the whip, for it had never occurred to her that her sister would bring that along. She began to wonder in fear and astonishment if Mei Yangyang had intended to punish her with the whip.