Xia Ling looked up at him, her feet rooted to the ground. She squeezed out a smile, hoping that her joyous expression would be the last thing that he remembered of her.
However, before she could think of how to explain her decision to leave, he walked over and gave her a tight slap across the face. “Xia Ling, I didn’t know that you were so cruel! You went so far as to poison someone to death!”
Poison someone to death?
She could not understand what he was talking about, falling weakly to the floor from the shock of the impact. Her forehead hit against a corner and blood started flowing down her face, blinding her line of sight. She stared up at him in shock, with her ears buzzing and consciousness in a blur.
He bent over, grabbed her shirt by the collar and bellowed. “You have great guts, daring to kill Wang Jingwan! The Wang family is now chasing us down to ask for an explanation. Do you know how much trouble you have caused?!”
Wang Jingwan, his fiance, was dead?
The thought flashed through her mind for a split second before disappearing. She tried her best to open her eyes to look clearly at the man in front of her, but the gushing blood made it hard for her to see through. Her face was smarting from the pain, likely starting to swell up, which affected her speech. She mumbled unclearly. “I want… to go, let me… go…”
Whether that woman was dead or not, it no longer mattered to her. Her focus was on one thing alone — Pei Ziheng had actually slapped her. This was the first time that he had ever hit her without an ounce of pity or care as if she were his mortal enemy.
Alas, their relationship was so fragile.
For this random woman… ha, probably not completely random. For this woman that was supposedly from a compatible family, a political marriage, he had thrown away their ten-year relationship.
They were really over.
Xia Ling did not kill his fiance, but he would not believe her.
Apparently, the last person who saw Wang Jingwan was her. She was found dead on the sofa of the private room in the coffee shop that they had met, shortly after their negotiation. Xia Ling’s fingerprints were found on the toppled glass of drink beside her body.
Pei Ziheng then kept her under house arrest.
Everything that happened after that, Xia Ling could only wish to forget forever. It was a torturous year that only served to let Xia Ling learn one thing — the kind Pei Ziheng that had promised to protect her all the days of her life was dead. Replacing him was a savage animal, an abusive monster…
A cold autumn breeze blew over, causing Xia Ling to shiver.
She emerged from her stupor of the memories of the past and hugged the paper bag in her hands tightly to her chest. The paper bag contained all the items that she had bought for the outdoor filming, and the weight of the bag gave her the feeling of being alive. The streets were crowded with people, pushing at her from all around, making her steps unsteady. Surprisingly, being a part of this bustle made her feel safe. Just a month ago she could never have imagined being able to escape from Pei Ziheng’s clutches and walking normally along the streets.
It was already more than a month since she had died and reincarnated.
She did not intentionally count the days, but —
Xia Ling looked up and found herself in the middle of a shopping square. People around her were going about their business, with many young people walking by carrying white daisies in their arms. Some of them were sobbing quietly, others were whispering to the people beside them. She made out some of them saying things like, “Xia Ling…” “What a pity…”
A familiar melody was playing in the background. It was a song that she had sung a long time ago. On the screen in the middle of the square, a black-and-white eye-catching caption was playing repeatedly.
“The sleeping butterfly — commemorating 77 days since the passing of Xia Ling”
The credits roll was Imperial Entertainment.
It was a live broadcast.
Watching her own death commemoration live broadcast was a bizarre situation. Xia Ling did not expect that she would coincidentally watch this on a random day that she decided to come shopping. She suddenly felt lost. She wanted to turn and leave, but her feet seemed to have grown roots and she was unable to move. Deep down in her heart, a voice was calling out in anticipation. Would Pei Ziheng show up? After her death, how was he… doing?
Xia Ling, you’re beyond saving.
Another voice in her heart was sneering at her. He caused you so much pain, yet you are still pining for him?!
People around kept bumping into her, and impatient voices became louder, “Hey, are you walking or not? Why are you standing in the middle of the road.” “Move over, stop playing dead here.”…
She was shoved right and left until she bumped into a sturdy chest.
“Ye Xingling, are you looking where you are walking?!” It was Lu Tao, who pulled her to the side of the road. “Go somewhere else to daydream if you want to. Here is full of Xia Ling’s crazy fans. If you stand in the middle of the road and get caught in a stampede, no one would know who to blame for your death.”
Xia Ling stared at him, her mouth agape.
“Why are you looking at me like that? Did I say anything wrong? Don’t tell me you are also one of Xia Ling’s crazy fans.” Lu Tao stuffed his hands into his trousers’ large pockets, looking immensely irritated. As he spoke, he turned to glare at several “Xia Ling’s crazy fans” who were glaring at him as well.
Xia Ling was speechless.
She finally found her voice and asked, “What are you doing here?”
“I came out to buy some stuff. If not for the MV filming being tomorrow and today being the only rest day, I would not be caught dead out here in this crowd during Xia Ling’s death commemoration ceremony.” Lu Tao waved to someone behind as he replied. “Over here—!”
Xia Ling turned to see two of Lu Tao’s sidekicks carrying many bags, large and small, squeezing through the crowd with difficulty. They came up to Xia Ling and Lu Tao, breathing heavily.
“Oh my freaking God. Brother Lu, you would not believe what these crazy fans are capable of. These people are mad, there are walls and walls of them jamming up this place. There are so many of them crying… look over there, and over there…” The two boys put the stuff that they were carrying down, complaining animatedly as they pointed out the fans to Lu Tao.
It was only a while later that they saw Xia Ling standing in front of Lu Tao.
“Eh, isn’t this Ye Xingling?” They remarked in shock, staring at her as if she were a ghost. “Brother Lu, why are you with her?” It was no wonder that they were so shocked, just yesterday Lu Tao and her were locked in battle. Not only did they have a dance battle, but Lu Tao also had to kneel down to her in front of all those people in the training camp. How was it possible that he was together with her here today, talking to each other so amicably?
Even Xia Ling thought it weird. Was Lu Tao simply easygoing or very forgiving? If it were anybody else, they would avoid her like the plague after having to kneel down to her yesterday. Who would still be so kind and pull her to safety?
Lu Tao looked up to the sky and rolled his eyes. “She’s lucky that I happened to bump into her, otherwise, she would have been run over by these people by now.” He prodded her, the chains on his wrist clinking together. “Ye Xingling, yesterday I lost the bet and held up my part of the bargain. I just saved your life today, how are you going to repay me?”
“How do you want me to repay you?” Xia Ling realized that Lu Tao was like a kid that had not grown up. No wonder he would childishly pour ink all over her table. A mature adult would never do that.
On hearing her question, Lu Tao’s eyes lit up. “Yesterday when I was watching you do the windmill, you would do something with your ankles as you kicked through the air that was different from what we typically see in the windmill dance moves… I’ve never seen that before. I tried several times this morning and I cannot get the angle right. Where did you learn to do that? Quick, tell me!”