558 The Secret About the Past 176
An Xiaoning forced a smile and said, "I reacted that way too when I first saw you."
An Xiaoning remained silent and followed closely behind him.
Upon arriving home, he instructed the kitchen helpers to prepare some food that he then told An Xiaoning to send upstairs.
She was puzzled by his actions. Didn't he just have lunch with Byron? Did he not have enough to eat? she wondered.
After the kitchen helpers were done preparing the food, An Xiaoning proceeded to bring it to him upstairs. She initially thought that he was already sleeping. To her surprise, she entered his room to find that he was playing with his mobile phone while sitting on the bed.
"Your Highness, the food is ready."
She placed the bowl on the cabinet beside the bed and turned around to leave. However, she was stopped in her tracks.
Noticing the stern expression on his face, An Xiaoning asked, "What's the matter?"
"Sit here," he said, pointing at the bed.
An Xiaoning did not know what he was up to, though she sat down abidingly.
What happened next completely caught her by surprise.
Pointing at the screen of his mobile phone, he asked, "Out of all these men, who do you find the most handsome?"
An Xiaoning took a look to find that it was a photo collage of Ling Ciye, a famous male celebrity, a sports champion, Ye Xiaotian, Byron, and Jin Qingyan.
There were six of them in total.
Yet, Tuoba Gucheng was not included in the collage.
"Your Highness, why isn't your photo up there?"
"I'm asking you, who do you think is the most good-looking out of all of them?" he reiterated.
An Xiaoning swallowed her saliva and asked, "Um, why isn't Long Tianze included?"
"Who's Long Tianze? Is he better-looking than all the men in this collage?"
It seemed like Long Tianze was not as well known as Ling Ciye, despite being the owner of an entertainment company.
"Nah, I just heard of his name before. Actually, all the men here are pretty good-looking…" Noticing the frown on his face, she continued, "But! They're not as handsome as you, Your Highness!"
Surprisingly, there was actually such an immature side to him.
Was he really a 26-year-old man?
Why did he seem like he was only 16?
"Good that you know. Alright, you may go out."
Tuoba Gucheng was rather annoyed and regretted asking her to pick the most handsome one out of those men.
This silly country bumpkin would find anyone handsome. How unloyal.
"Daddy, who's that ugly woman? Why does she have the same hairstyle as Mommy?" Jin Yiheng asked, pointing at a photo of An Xiaoning standing behind Tuoba Gucheng, which was published on the news.
"Is she really ugly? Daddy thinks she's quite pretty."
Jin Yiheng glanced at him apprehensively and remarked, "Daddy, has your vision been getting worse lately?"
"Maybe," Jin Qingyan answered, resting both his arms on the couch and crossing his legs while staring at the television screen.
"Daddy, you've changed."
"How did I change?"
"You used to call only Mommy pretty, yet now, you actually complimented such an ugly woman. I'm definitely telling on you when Mommy comes back."
"Since you've said that, let Daddy ask you a question. Between Wen Yuechan and Long Xiaoxi, who do you think is prettier? Tell me honestly."
Jin Yiheng seemed to be stuck in a dilemma. He pulled a long face and answered, "But they're two different people. How am I supposed to decide?"
"Purely based on looks, who's prettier?"
"Daddy, Xiaoxi once got upset at me for a really long time because of this question."
"Seems like you said Xiaoxi wasn't pretty back then."
Jin Yiheng let out a sigh and said, "But I was just stating facts… judging purely based on looks, Yuechan is prettier."
"Jin Yiheng!" yelled a voice coming from the door.
The two of them turned around to find that Long Xiaoxi was standing right by the door. Needless to say, she had heard everything they said!
Jin Qingyan switched off the television and stood up to say to Long Xiaoxi, "Xiaoxi, Godpa is going to the office now. Have fun, you two."
Jin Yiheng stepped forward slowly and said, "Xiaoxi…"
Long Xiaoxi stood rooted to the ground with tears in her eyes. "I thought I was the prettiest to you, but it seems I was wrong. I won't give birth to your child anymore when we're older. Get Wen Yuechan to give birth for you!"
Jin Yiheng was dumbfounded. By the time he recovered from the shock, Long Xiaoxi had already run far, far away.
Long Xiaoxi returned home and burst into tears while covering her eyes with her arm.
She was bawling in agony, devastated to hear the same few words coming out of his mouth twice.
"Xiaoxi… who made you cry?" Zhong Minhe asked.
The teary-eyed Long Xiaoxi put her arm down and answered, "Do you remember the girl I pointed out to you the other day?"
"Do you think she's prettier than I am?"
"Do you want to hear the truth?" Zhong Minhe asked.
"In my eyes, she's not as pretty as you. Hush and stop crying, you won't be beautiful anymore if your eyes become swollen from all that crying."
Long Xiaoxi stepped forward and tugged on his shirt. "Let's go have some popsicles. I made them myself under Mommy's guidance. I'll treat you to some."
They then began walking toward the living room. As soon as they stepped foot inside, Long Xiaoxi was greeted with the sight of her mother tearing uncontrollably.
"Xiaoxi, my Mommy is gone," Mei Yangyang said in between sobs, after which she immediately set off to her mother's place.
After returning from the hospital, Mei Yangyang had continued to help her mother administer the medication imported from overseas. Ten days ago, Mrs. Mei slipped into a partially-conscious state and would wince and shriek in pain all day. One can only imagine how much discomfort and misery she had been experiencing.
She passed away in the end.
Mei Yangyang wondered if death meant that her mother would now be free from suffering.
Once she entered, she leaned against Mrs. Mei's bed and broke down into tears. Mei Shuangshuang too was bawling in misery. After all, she was her biological mother.
The grief-stricken Mr. Mei had a look of moroseness and agony in his eyes.
A somber mood filled their hearts instantly.
However, the funeral would still have to go on.
Mei Yangyang proceeded to buy a shroud personally while Long Tianze rushed back from the office to help her arrange the funeral.
Tears welled up in Long Xiaoxi's eyes upon hearing about her grandmother's death, and she stood rooted to the ground in shock next to Zhong Minhe and Long Wenlun with a popsicle in her hand.
An Xiaoning had also received Mei Yangyang's text message. Unfortunately, she could not step foot out of the Autumn Palace.
She expressed her condolences in her reply and apologized to Mei Yangyang for being unable to attend the funeral. Mei Yangyang did not hold it against her.
Thinking to herself that Mei Yangyang must be in extremely low spirits and yet she could not be there for her, An Xiaoning instructed Jin Qingyan to tell Long Tianze to accompany Mei Yangyang throughout this tough time.
Jin Qingyan, too, gave her a set of instructions.
He reminded her that it would be hers and Jin Yiheng's birthday on the 15th of July, which was only a few days away, something that she had always remembered.
On the 15th of July in a previous year, she had fallen ill and feeble, allowing the female spirit to possess her body. This time, Jin Qingyan vehemently instructed her to be extra careful and mindful of her health.
Although An Xiaoning agreed verbally, she actually did not have a concrete plan to guard against those evil spirits.
After all, it was not something within her control. She told him to take good care of their son on his birthday.
An Xiaoning could not help but feel ill at ease at the thought of the 15th of July.
Ever since the first time she was possessed by the spirit of the female teenager, she would feel exceptionally weak and feeble at twelve midnight on her subsequent birthdays. Fortunately, she would often prepare herself mentally beforehand and thus made it through her past few birthdays peacefully, partially also because there were no wandering spirits around.