538 The Secret About the Past 156
"I just don't fancy them."
Tuoba Danxue nodded and said, "See? That's one reason why she's so different from you guys. Just take my handsome brothers as an example. My eldest brother may be more plain-looking, but my elder brother is such a dreamboat that even men could fall in love with a heartthrob like him. Yet, Mu Ning is not in the least bit attracted to him at all."
"Your Highness, I understand why," Zhi Yin rushed to answer.
"It's because Mu Ning has self-awareness. She knows very well that no outstanding men would ever fall for her. So, she always has her walls up like a hedgehog. She doesn't have the guts to develop feelings for men, in fear that they would reject her," Zhi Yin answered.
An Xiaoning took a deep breath and said, "Your Highness, see, all she does is make use of every opportunity to insult and criticize me."
"I've seen it. Zhi Yin, why are you always mocking Mu Ning? I really have to chide you for this. Mu Ning already has an inferiority complex. You're only going to make things worse for her by shaming her all the time. What if she decides to stay single for the rest of her life?"
An Xiaoning was speechless.
She could not tolerate them at all…
Fortunately, she was not overly sensitive. Otherwise, her heart would have shattered into pieces long ago.
"Your Highness, I'm glad to see that you're in a better mood now. Zhi Yin and I were worried sick about you when you were so upset back then," said An Xiaoning.
"Well, I don't have a choice. I'm getting married in half a year's time anyway. They won't be able to restrict me anymore by then. I think that's how the rest of my life is going to be," Tuoba Danxue said helplessly.
"Mr. Jin seems to be a good catch. He's very handsome too. Don't worry, Your Highness. He'll definitely treat you well," said An Xiaoning.
"How are you so sure that he'll treat me well? You sound as if you know him personally."
"I may not know him, but I have a feeling that he's a good man."
Tuoba Danxue nodded and said, "I think he's a good choice too. Actually, I think he feels just as helpless as I do."
"Your Highness, why do you feel so?"
"Perhaps it's because we've only met a few times and don't know each other very well yet. He's about the same age as me. Maybe there's a girl he fancies too. However, he has no choice but to abide by his parents' wishes and marry me. But there's nothing I can do about that anyway."
An Xiaoning had only met Jin Minxing once before she entered the Autumn Palace. She did not know him too well and thus was not sure if he carried a torch for anyone else.
"Your Highness, I actually find Mr. Jin to be very outstanding in every aspect too. If only I was as fortunate to be able to marry such a good man," said Zhi Yin, blushing shyly.
"I know you fancy those good-looking men. Zhi Yin, you've been following me around for too long. It's indeed time you started dating someone. If you fall for someone I can help you with, I'll give you a hand. However, if you fall in love with someone you're not supposed to harbor feelings for, I'm afraid there's nothing I can do to help you," Tuoba Danxue said calmly.
"Your Highness… I know I'm destined to marry and settle down with a mediocre, average citizen. So, I've never dared to harbor any designs on those wealthy men who belong on the same upper-class status as you," Zhi Yin said with a sigh.
An Xiaoning sneered, thinking to herself: You were already brazen enough to spike Tuoba Gucheng's drink, yet you still have the cheek to say that you dare not harbor any designs.
Even until now, An Xiaoning could not figure out what Zhi Yin's real motive was.
Could it be that she really only wanted to have a one night stand with Tuoba Gucheng?
Or was she thinking of taking the risk to get herself pregnant with Tuoba Gucheng's child and then force him to marry her for that very reason?
An Xiaoning was clueless.
However, she felt that Zhi Yin's chances were bleak.
After experiencing such an absurd night, how could Tuoba Gucheng allow her another opportunity to drug him?
"Your Highness, may I go out to take a walk?" An Xiaoning asked, still eager to go to the front yard to have a look.
"Sure, but don't stray too far away."
"Yes, I'm only going to take a casual walk." An Xiaoning then stood up and left.
She closed the door and remained still instead of moving off immediately.
"Your Highness, making Mu Ning your bodyguard is only going to make your beauty stand out more. When she stands beside you, you instantly become as vibrant as a flower while she's the lush, green leaves that complement you," Zhi Yin remarked.
"Of course, Your Highness. I think Mr. Jin does fancy you. He gazes at you with so much passion in his eyes…"
An Xiaoning walked away slowly, beginning to despise Zhi Yin.
Since when did Jin Minxing gaze at Tuoba Danxue with burning passion in his eyes?
I couldn't tell at all.
All she does is exaggerate things and curry favor.
No wonder she could become Tuoba Danxue's trusted confidante. Turns out, she was merely a bootlicker who butters Tuoba Danxue up all day.
Deep down, Zhi Yin was nothing like the quiet and reserved, demure lady she appeared to be on the surface.
An Xiaoning swiftly strode out of the entrance.
There were street lamps to light up the road, though they were a little dim.
She quickened her pace and treaded along the sidewalk.
Having already recced the area in the day and mapped out a clear route, An Xiaoning found it an easy feat to make her way there.
Usually, it would take about half an hour of walking at an average pace to get to the front yard from where An Xiaoning set off. However, she would be able to shorten the duration by running there instead.
She ran continuously along the sidewalk, which was fortunately not too painstaking, thanks to the vigorous training she had undergone at the exercise boot camp in the past. Nonetheless, she began to pant heavily after running a distance.
She soon arrived 15 minutes later.
It was a bungalow with guards watching by the entrance, though they did not pose as a hindrance to An Xiaoning.
Having trained in rock climbing before, scaling walls was a piece of cake for her.
Although she could not climb over the walls of the Autumn Palace because they were too high, she could easily manage this one, which was much lower.
An Xiaoning swiftly crept toward the bottom of a particular wall and threw her rope up, which quickly latched onto the top of the wall. She tugged on the rope and quickly made her way up in one fluid motion.
Sitting on top of the wall, she cast the rope down the other side and slowly climbed downward.
The pair of night vision spectacles she was wearing enabled her to see clearly in the pitch darkness of the night. Her first impression of the place was that it was very desolate.
The entire yard appeared extremely empty and lonely, with no trees, grass, or flowers in sight.
An Xiaoning scanned her surroundings to find that it was surprisingly nothing like the Autumn Palace at all. Instead, it reminded her of the woods.
She walked inside slowly.
An Xiaoning's heart palpitated even more vigorously with each step she took.
She wanted to find out the truth and wanted to know if the person inside was her biological father.
Just as she made her way up the flight of stairs, An Xiaoning noticed that the lights were still on inside the house. She took lighter steps and approached slowly.
"Who's there?" a man asked loudly from inside the house.
"It's me." An Xiaoning reached a hand out to remove her human mask and speedily put on a surgical mask, leaving only her eyes exposed.
"You'll know once you open the door."
An Xiaoning was on edge while waiting for him to open the door.