While lying on her bed, Mei Yangyang scrolled through her phone and stared at his mobile number. She found a photo of herself pouting like a goldfish and decided to send it to him, along with a text message which read: “Take a look at me when you’re upset. Don’t you feel better now?”
Not long after, he replied.
It was a short and brief sentence: “Good girl, little piggy.”
Upon reading the message, Mei Yangyang quickly began to blush as red as a tomato, her blood rushing to the veins on her face.
Despite having put away her phone, she was still shy as ever as her brain was flooded with the words, “Good girl.”
Since she had nothing much to do at home, Mrs. Jin decided to brew a pot of nourishing soup for An Xiaoning, which she personally delivered to her house early in the morning.
Feeling a sudden warmth in her heart, An Xiaoning said, “Mother, did you prepare this especially for me?”
“Of course, it’s all yours, and none for Qingyan.” Mrs. Jin placed the soup on the table and instructed Auntie Chen, “Bring a bowl and a spoon here.”
An Xiaoning took a seat and, at the sight of the soup getting poured out of the container, exclaimed, “It smells delicious!”
“I especially attended classes just to learn how to prepare this soup. It’s the most nourishing and beneficial for women,” Mrs. Jin said, grinning from ear to ear.
An Xiaoning gave the soup a few puffs to cool it before tasting a mouthful, after which she said in delight, “It’s so delicious! Since it’s all for me, I shall finish it to the last drop.”
Having witnessed everything before him, Jin Qingyan interrupted, “That’s plain favoritism, Mother, all you care about is your daughter-in-law. Why didn’t you cook for me too? I’m your son. Xiaoning, did you know? In all the years after I’ve moved out to live alone, my mother has never once brought me soup personally.”
“Is that so? Thank you, Mother,” said An Xiaoning, who found Mrs. Jin’s gesture very heartwarming.
Mrs. Jin was delighted to see how well they got along with each other. “She’s my daughter-in-law. If not her, who else am I going to dote on? Everything’s been going rather well lately, except with your sister, who’s causing me so much worry. She even stays out late every night, I’m really at my wits’ end. There’s no way I can take her in hand anymore,” said Mrs. Jin.
“Well, then, just wash your hands off her matters and let her be. She’s only going to realize her mistakes when it’s too late. Shi Shaochuan ran Wang Fangfang over before strangling her to death, just so he could get her off his back. I doubt Qingyue can make such a malicious person like him change his ways. We’ll observe if changing her fate really works. If it doesn’t make much of a difference, then we’ll just leave her be in the future.”
“Got it, I’ll head home now,” Mrs. Jin agreed with a nod.
Just as Mrs. Jin left, Fan Shixin entered through the door and stood next to Jin Qingyan. He whispered into Jin Qingyan’s ear, after which, a sullen expression formed on his face.
Fan Shixin nodded and turned around to leave.
“What’s the matter?” An Xiaoning asked as she took a sip of the soup.
“Let’s have our meal first. I’ll bring you to see something after we’re done.”
“Alright,” she agreed with a nod.
After a while, An Xiaoning finally realized why he had asked her to finish her meal before heading there, for the sight of a bunch of dead rats sprawled across the floor was truly nauseating and would have been sure to ruin her appetite.
A look of dismay formed on An Xiaoning’s face. She had previously received a dead rat mailed to her doorstep, but she did not pursue the matter and simply dismissed it. However, it seemed the culprit behind the act did not plan on giving up. Instead, he/she had taken even more extreme measures.
At this point of time, An Xiaoning yearned more than anything to find out who the culprit was.
“Clean up this mess and store them well. I’m going to return these to the sender, personally. All of them, not one less,” An Xiaoning instructed.
“Yes, Young Madam,” Fan Shixin said profusely.
“By the way, when you obtained the fingerprints on the parcel the previous time, it’s verified that the fingerprints belonged only to the courier, right?”
“Yes, the delivery man was wearing gloves at that time.”
“The culprit is indeed very meticulous, to be able to come up with such a seamless scheme and commit such a revolting act of misdeed while leaving no trace nor clue. I really wonder, who could it be?”
Jin Qingyan glanced at her from sideways and said, “Whoever it may be, and no matter how meticulous and seamless the plan, there’s bound to be a flaw which will give the game away. We have to find out who the culprit is.”
“I’ll investigate about this matter myself. Don’t burden yourself with this.”
“Didn’t you want me to stand up for you? Have you decided to seek your own justice, this time?” he asked with a raised brow.
“It’s better that I go ahead with the investigation myself. I’m certain that I’d be able to find out who the culprit is and return her the dead rats personally. Only then will I feel a great sense of achievement.”
An Xiaoning turned around and returned inside the house. She knew deep down that the culprit was definitely someone she knew.
There were only very few people who knew her personally; thus, it would not require too much time even if she investigated them one by one.
However, Jin Qingyan thought otherwise. He was not positive that she would be able to find out the identity of the culprit within a short period of time, considering the fact that the culprit was so secretive about it. Moreover, there were no fingerprints, no face to be verified, nothing except the vague memory of the courier’s voice. It was, indeed, a tall order to find out who the culprit was.
Besides, there was no need to get involved personally, for he could simply hire someone to investigate the matter.
An Xiaoning was well aware of that fact. However, she had to interfere in the matter because she could no longer sit back and just ignore the culprit, who had tried to provoke her time and time again.
Moreover, it was no easy feat to be able to get one’s hands on a silicone face mask.
After leaving home, An Xiaoning headed to the obscure location in the city where silicone face masks were sold.
If not for Jin Qingyan, she would have never expected for such a place to be a location for secret transactions, where the items displayed to the public were only a facade. In reality, face masks were being sold.
It was a shop that appeared rather ancient, with several calligraphy writings all over the walls.
Jin Qingyan reminded her once again that Fan Shixin had already investigated the location of transaction, but he did not manage to find anything suspicious. Thus, she would just be making another wasted trip.
Yet, the purpose of her visit was not to try and find out who the culprit was.
Instead, she was there to purchase a mask for herself.
It had never occured to Jin Qingyan that that was her plan.
Upon noticing her arrival, a man who looked to be in his fifties welcomed her warmly with a smile, “Are you here to shop for some calligraphy writings? Feel free to look around, we have all types of writings here.”
An Xiaoning slid a note to him and said, “I want this.”
After reading the note, the man stuck two fingers out and said, “That’ll cost this much, at the very least. If you don’t have that much money with you now, I suggest you better not.”
“20 thousand or 200 thousand? Make yourself clear.”
“The cheapest one costs 20 thousand dollars. Missy, I can assure you that the quality offered here is the best. It’s a risky business. The ones found elsewhere cannot be compared to this. Besides, those from the upper class society particularly enjoy patronizing me. So, are you interested in buying one?” the man asked, seemingly pleased and proud of his goods.
“Of course I am, please show me the way.”
“Please come with me,” he said as he led her inside.
An Xiaoning followed closely behind and asked while walking, “Boss, you mentioned that your goods are of the best quality in the entire city?”
“That’s for sure. Let me put it this way, the ones sold by others at cheaper prices of say, hundreds or thousands of dollars, cannot compared to the ones I have here. The ones sold here are so realistic, you won’t be able to tell the difference. The cheaper ones, on the other hand, are of much lower quality, and they don’t look realistic at all,” he answered.
An Xiaoning nodded and said, “Oh, I see. How much does the most expensive one cost?”
“I’m afraid you can’t afford that one,” the man said with a laugh. “It’s not that I’m looking down on you, Missy, but rather, every customer of mine comes from a wealthy family. That’s because I don’t ever advertise my craft, and people only know of this place based on word-of-mouth and introduction amongst the upper-class social circle. Most people who come forth often purchase those that cost tens of thousands of dollars per mask. So far, there hasn’t been anyone who has purchased the one of the best quality.”