833 A Million Times for You 195
Jin Yiheng guffawed relentlessly and gloated over his father's misfortune. "Daddy, will you tell me a story?"
"Don't you hate hearing the stories I tell?"
"I'm just really bored. Tell me a story, maybe I'll fall asleep then."
"Let me tell you a story about an ugly duckling, then."
"I already know you're going to bluff me just by hearing the title."
"I won't continue, then. It's just going to be a waste of my breath."
"Tell me, tell me, Daddy, hurry, I want to hear it."
Jin Qingyan switched off the lights and said slowly with his eyes open, "A mother duck laid six eggs that hatched into six ducklings, one of which was extremely ugly. Ever since it hatched from its egg shell, it was mocked and ridiculed by other animals around it. It became the laughingstock of the animal world. Everyone thinks that it's not fit to be a duck. The ugly duckling lived a miserable life every day, and life was practically a living hell. It would hear words of criticism and humiliation wherever it went. In fact, even its mother despised it."
"Did it become a swan afterward?" Jin Yiheng interrupted.
"No. The ugly duckling grew up slowly day by day, and it soon gained the ability to finally leave the toxic environment it was in. Thus, it managed to escape successfully and moved to a comfortable environment. A family of humans then adopted it and fed it well every day. It was in complete bliss and became the family's beloved pet. It no longer had to suffer any humiliation or mockery, and it could even enjoy delicious food every day. Life was simply amazing."
"Daddy, this ugly duckling is so lucky."
"Yeah, it thought it was lucky too, until one day, its owner found out that it was a male duckling that could not lay eggs. The owner then sold it to an abattoir, and it became a crispy roasted duck in the end."
"I'm not going to listen to your stories ever again."
"Son, that's just how pragmatic the world and society are. If you're incompetent, you'll be eliminated ruthlessly. This is a teaching I'm imparting to you. Haven't you heard of the popular saying regarding hens? 'An egg a day keeps the cleaver away.'"
"I understand, I won't be an incompetent parasite when I grow up."
A smile formed on An Xiaoning's face as she quietly listened to their conversation.
The family of three were sound asleep at three o'clock in the morning. However, Jin Yiheng was jolted awake by his sudden urge to answer nature's call.
He fumbled about and got out of bed slowly. Sleepy-eyed, he made his way to the bathroom.
By the time he returned to the bed, the spot in the middle no longer belonged to him.
His father was already hugging his mother tightly.
There was no space for him to squeeze in at all.
He had no choice but to lie down on the side.
Jin Yiheng woke up again later, only to discover that his parents were no longer lying beside him. Upon seeing the fresh set of clothes on the chair, he changed into it and skipped downstairs.
His mother was practicing yoga while his father was nowhere in sight.
"In the kitchen."
"Wow…" He hurriedly sprinted toward the kitchen and exclaimed, "Daddy's actually making breakfast!"
"Your Daddy is a great cook to begin with," said An Xiaoning.
"But he's never made breakfast especially for me before. Indeed, he's very selective." Jin Yiheng then walked toward Jin Qingyan and asked, "Daddy, what are you making?"
"Porridge made of black rice."
"Daddy, why don't you make Eight Treasures porridge instead? I don't like black rice."
Jin Qingyan turned off the stove and asked, "Is there anything else you won't eat other than black rice?"
"Liar. Will you eat a plate of dog feces?" Jin Qingyan quipped.
Jin Yiheng humphed dejectedly and left the kitchen.
During breakfast, he did not have any of the porridge and instead only drank a glass of milk.
Staring at the two bowls of porridge that belonged to his parents, Jin Yiheng remarked, "It's so black and murky, it looks just like ink."
Jin Qingyan glared at him and said, "We don't think so. We should have left you to fend for yourself in ancient villages. You won't even get to eat plain noodles there. You'll stop being picky then."
"Daddy, did Grandpa hit you when you were younger?"
Jin Yiheng said confidently, "I don't believe you. You must've been beaten up frequently when you were younger, with that character of yours."
"Don't spout nonsense, I've been outstanding ever since I was a child."
At this moment, Mr. Jin arrived.
Jin Yiheng hurriedly asked, "Grandpa, Daddy said that you've never hit him before when he was younger. Is that true?"
Mr. Jin answered truthfully, "Oh, I did beat your father very frequently when he was younger. He was always creating trouble and up to mischief. He was never as obedient as you are."
Jin Yiheng glanced at his father smugly and gibed, "Grandpa is the most honest. Daddy, you're still lying at such an old age. Do you have any shame at all?"
"I don't remember any of the things your Grandpa said I'd done," Jin Qingyan said composedly.
Mr. Jin exposed him relentlessly, "What do you mean you don't remember? When you were seven years old, you particularly enjoyed emptying bird nests and stealing our neighbors' chickens, which you killed and roasted. I even gave you a beating for that. Did you forget?"
Jin Qingyan was speechless.
Jin Yiheng chimed in, "Turns out you were such an insensible child, Daddy. You were already seven years old and yet you still emptied bird nests. How childish."
Jin Qingyan glared at him menacingly, after which he immediately kept quiet and continued eating.
Jin Qingyan then looked at Mr. Jin and asked, "What brings you here early in the morning?"
"Well… I'm running low on cash."
"How much do you need?" Jin Qingyan asked, wiping his mouth slowly.
"Five million dollars."
Mr. Jin avoided eye contact with Jin Qingyan, for he felt a little ashamed for asking him for money again, especially since Jin Qingyan had just given him some money not long ago.
Jin Qingyan took out a cash check of two million dollars from his wallet. "Here."
Upon seeing the amount written on the check, Mr. Jin said, "I'm asking for five million."
"Take it or leave it."
Mr. Jin did not argue any further and took the check quietly.
He then left soon after.
Fan Shixin sent Jin Yiheng back to the academy after breakfast.
Lin Shishi pushed the door open and peeked inside the office.
Tuoba Gucheng did not return to their bedroom last night and instead slept in the study.
Lin Shishi immediately proceeded to take a look once daybreak arrived. As soon as she stepped foot inside the lounge, she was greeted with a strong odor of alcohol.
She walked toward the bed and caught sight of the camera on top of it.
It was the same camera that was inside the locked safe…
She bent forward quietly and picked up the camera.
She then looked through the camera album, in which there were several photos of a woman sleeping.
Her features were blunt and she had a lackluster appearance.
Lin Shishi recognized her to be Mu Ning, the bodyguard who used to follow Tuoba Gucheng around.
To her knowledge, Mu Ning was a woman who was not mute but had never spoken to her before.
Was it because she just did not want to speak to me?
Did this female bodyguard have an extraordinary relationship with my husband?
Is that why she never wanted to speak to me?
Lin Shishi continued to browse through the photos in the camera, only to find that there were no more photos of Mu Ning, merely of scenery and objects.
Lin Shishi took a close look at Mu Ning and memorized her features.
She could tell right away that Tuoba Gucheng had taken the photo sneakily while Mu Ning was asleep. Lin Shishi's insecurities grew deeper. Women's instincts have always been accurate.