The community hospital where Ji Anning got medicine for her grandmother was only two stops away from the Huada Family Building. She could either take a bus or walk there. However, since she would have to wait for the bus, as long as the weather wasn’t too bad, Ji Anning usually preferred to walk.
After the Spring Festival, the temperature had been getting warmer with each passing day.
Ji Anning had collected the medicine, exchanged greetings with some familiar elderly people, and with a backpack on her back, she walked briskly back.
During this back and forth journey, she couldn’t help but think of Wen Yu.
In this lifetime, she thought, she would never miss this chance again. She would always be with him, accompanying him through this most difficult period.
As for Yang Bo, Ji Anning wasn’t particularly worried.
Based on the information she had heard and seen in the time vortex, regardless of the grievances between Yang Bo and Wen Yu, if it weren’t for Zhao Chen’s involvement, Wen Yu should have been the winner from the beginning.
In this lifetime, Zhao Chen’s matter would not happen again. Wen Yu would not be caught by Yang Bo, and he wouldn’t lose everything.
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Tl oswze cl vbl sdl obs wzvkxyvlzu vakwxrble.
Ebkzl oyzjkdt sd vbl asye, Kk Gddkdt blyae vbl pswde sq pkaldp yrrasynbkdt qasx y ekpvydnl. Fbl vwadle yaswde yde pyo y qkalvawnj prllekdt rypv sd vbl asye clpkel bla, blyekdt vsoyaep vbl ekalnvksd sq Twyey.
Rv oyp lmynvzu kd vbl ekalnvksd sq Twyey.
Bdyczl vs alpkpv, Kk Gddkdt tzydnle shla qsa y xsxldv. Mblal oyp pxsjl kd vbl pju, cwv kv oyp czsnjle cu dlyacu cwkzekdtp, xyjkdt kv wdnzlya oblal vbl pswanl oyp.
Gqvla y qlo xsal pvlrp, pbl ldnswdvlale yd lzelazu osxyd oyzjkdt vsoyaep bla. Mblu jdlo lynb svbla.
Mbl lzelazu osxyd sd Kk Gddkdt’p pkel yrrasynble yde ypjle, “Tlu, oblal’p vbl qkal?”
Mbl lzelazu osxyd sd vbl svbla pkel alrzkle, “Rv’p ynaspp qasx Twyey, iwkvl pnyau!”
Kk Gddkdt’p pvlrp byzvle qsa y xsxldv yv vbkp pvyvlxldv. Fbl blpkvyvle yde yrrasynble, ypjkdt, “Gwdvkl, oblal lmynvzu kp kv? Pke usw pll kv?”
“I saw it! I saw flames!” the elderly woman said. “It’s behind KFC.”
Behind KFC… that’s the Huada Family Building!
Ji Anning sprinted away!
The two elderly women looked at each other.
One of them said, “This…”
The other one said, “Could it be this unlucky?”
Ji Anning sprinted desperately!
Her heart felt like it was about to leap out of her chest, intense unease and fear gripping her. A foreboding feeling tightened around her neck like an iron chain, preventing oxygen from reaching her lungs, almost suffocating her.
Adrenaline surged, and Ji Anning had never run so fast in her life.
But it was too late.
It was visible to the naked eye that the flames and thick smoke were emanating from the third floor. It was Ji Anning’s home.
Ji Anning let out a heart-wrenching scream and pushed past others frantically, running inside as if she had gone mad.
The onlookers realized what was happening and made way for her, but she was still stopped.
There were firefighters and police at the scene, even the security team from Huada University. They blocked her, not allowing her to go any further.
“My grandmother is inside! My grandmother is inside!” The girl’s piercing scream pierced through eardrums. “Please save her! I beg you to save my grandmother!”
Nearby spectators instinctively covered their ears.
Later, when they recounted the events of that day to others and talked about the girl, they thought for a long time and couldn’t come up with any other adjective except “heart-wrenching.”
“Tragic,” they said, shivering involuntarily when they spoke.
One advantage of old buildings is that they aren’t very tall. The aerial ladder was set up, and high-pressure water hoses sprayed, quickly bringing the fire under control.
Firefighters broke into the building and carried out the grandmother’s body.
The body was placed in a black body bag, preventing anyone from seeing.
At first, Ji Anning didn’t even know what the black bag they carried out was.
At the time of the incident, Director Xu from the logistics department happened to be at the school and rushed over upon hearing the news to take charge of the situation. He communicated with the firefighters first.
When Ji Anning saw the firefighters whispering to Director Xu, she pulled another firefighter aside and asked, “Did you see my grandmother? Did you see an old lady? Is she okay?”
After Director Xu finished his communication, he looked at Ji Anning with a complex and hesitant expression.
“Xiao Ji, Xiao Ji, come here for a moment. Let the teacher talk to you…” Director Xu beckoned Ji Anning with a particularly gentle and soothing tone.
Ji Anning rushed over in a panic, “Director Xu! Director Xu! Did they see my grandmother? Is she okay?”
Her young face was pale, filled with fear. She grabbed Director Xu’s arm so tightly that it hurt.
Director Xu had always seen through the ways of the world and wasn’t one to easily show compassion or sympathy, but at this moment, he felt a pang of reluctance in his heart.
But he could only muster the courage and said, “Xiao Ji, listen to the teacher. Life is full of ups and downs…”
With just that sentence, Ji Anning’s mind went blank.
“That’s right, we must go with the flow, go with the flow…” Director Xu continued to comfort her.
The firefighters were more composed in such situations, and when they saw that Director Xu was beating around the bush, one of them said directly, “Miss, could you please come and identify the deceased?”
He was squatting on the ground, and beside him was the black body bag.
Ji Anning froze.
She took a step forward, almost stumbling. Director Xu quickly held her, supporting her arm as they walked over together.
Those few steps drained all the strength from Ji Anning’s body. She stood a few steps away from the body bag and didn’t dare to go any further.
Her legs trembled, and her teeth chattered.
The firefighter sighed and lifted a corner of the body bag.
Ji Anning glanced inside.
Her vision went black, and she fainted…
Ji Anning had a dream.
She saw a massive scale.
Out of nothingness, a colossal hand reached out and gently placed her on one side of the scale.
She immediately sank downward.
The giant hand paused for a moment, as if contemplating, then suddenly opened and grabbed her body…
The hand passed through her body, but in that moment, Ji Anning felt her own loss. The hand had taken “a part” of her, making her feel lighter.
But Ji Anning knew deep down that this “part” was too crucial for her. Because she felt a tearing pain in her body.
The fragmented her let out a sharp, piercing “No!” but couldn’t stop the hand from disappearing into nothingness with a satisfied attitude.
The scale returned to balance.
Ji Anning opened her eyes and saw nothing but white, as if she were in a hospital.
Her hand was tightly held by someone, and a person was leaning by her bedside. Upon her slight movement, the person woke up suddenly, “You’re awake?”
Ji Anning turned her head, and that person was Wen Yu.
His face was pale, his eyes were red, and he looked tired and haggard, even worse than yesterday.
This is what she got.
She lost her grandmother because fate didn’t allow her to have too much.
Tears streamed down Ji Anning’s face as she looked at Wen Yu. She tried to speak, but all that came out was a hoarse “ah ah,” rendering her speechless.
“What are you saying? What do you want?” Wen Yu anxiously leaned in closer to her, trying to hear more clearly.
However, Ji Anning could only produce “ah ah” sounds, hoarse and difficult to understand.
Unable to speak, she closed her mouth and simply wept silently.
“Aphasia,” the doctor came to see her and told Wen Yu, “due to a strong shock, she has temporarily lost her ability to speak.”
Wen Yu’s eyes were bloodshot, and his voice was hoarse as he asked, “What should we do? Can she recover?”
“Usually, in most cases, yes. But there are isolated permanent cases,” the doctor replied. “There’s no other way; she has been affected, and she needs rest and self-adjustment.”
They were outside the hospital room, avoiding Ji Anning’s communication. The doctor left.
Wen Yu, feeling restless in the corridor, lit a cigarette and took two puffs. He was immediately scolded by a nurse who rushed over, “What are you doing? Put that out! Can you smoke here?”
Wen Yu extinguished the cigarette and his phone rang.
“Wen Yu, it’s me, Director Xu,” the voice on the other end said. “How is Xiao Ji?”
“She’s awake,” Wen Yu replied.
Director Xu said, “That’s good. She really scared me when she suddenly collapsed.”
Wen Yu wasn’t present at the time, but hearing Director Xu’s casual description still made his heart ache.
Director Xu called not only to ask about Ji Anning but also to bring new information.
“The fire department has investigated the scene and determined the cause of the fire,” he said. “The fire started in the living room, and the source of the fire seems to be a lighter. Since the old lady had dementia, it’s possible that she accidentally ignited the sofa.”
Wen Yu’s body froze, and he remained silent for several seconds.
When he spoke again, even he could hear his voice wavering.
“A… lighter? What kind of… lighter?” He felt an inexplicable fear rising within him and, in an attempt to suppress it, asked, “Was it… a disposable one?”
“No,” Director Xu replied, “it was metallic, blackened by the fire, but they mentioned it was probably silver with patterns on it.”
Wen Yu felt as if an invisible hand had viciously gripped his heart.
His head felt light as if he might faint.
Instinctively, he reached into his pocket but only found a disposable lighter—an hour ago, while Ji Anning had been unconscious, he had gone to buy cigarettes and couldn’t find his silver-patterned Dupont lighter, so he had spent a dollar to purchase a disposable one.
Wen Yu didn’t know how the call ended.
When he entered the hospital room again, he felt like his legs were made of lead.
Ji Anning lay on the hospital bed, her eyes fixed on the ceiling, devoid of life. She seemed miles and miles away from him.
Obviously, he had seen the iron lock on her kitchen door.
Obviously, he had asked about it.
Obviously, she had told him about her grandmother previously burned the kitchen, so he should have been cautious.
But he hadn’t thought along those lines. He hadn’t spent as much time with her grandmother and didn’t meticulously remove all potential fire sources from her reach.
He couldn’t have imagined that his lighter would end up in Ji Anning’s house.
Yesterday, Wen Yu had thought that he was already facing the most difficult time in his life.
Today, he realized that even after the most challenging times, there could be more difficulty, and even in the depths, there could be deeper lows.
He almost exhausted all his strength just to reach Ji Anning’s bedside.
Ji Anning didn’t look at him; her gaze was fixed on the ceiling, with vacant eyes.
She had once been a girl who, despite life’s hardships, lived with resilience, vigor, and determination, radiating vitality.
Now, all that vitality and spirit were gone. It seemed as if her grandmother had taken away her life force.
Wen Yu was in such pain that he wanted to tear himself apart, to scream wildly. But when he saw Ji Anning in this state, he knew he couldn’t.
If Ji Anning had fallen, he couldn’t fall too.
Between the two of them, at least one had to remain standing; they couldn’t both collapse.
Wen Yu took a deep breath, reached out, and gently touched Ji Anning’s forehead, saying softly, “The doctor said there’s nothing seriously wrong, just that you need to go home and rest. Can you get up, or do you want to lie here a little longer?”
Ji Anning gave him a lifeless glance and attempted to support her body.
Wen Yu helped her sit up, put on her shoes, and helped her to the ground.
As soon as Ji Anning’s feet touched the floor, her legs went weak, and she nearly stumbled.
Wen Yu held onto her, realizing that her entire body was limp, making it difficult for her to walk.
With determination, Wen Yu bent down and lifted her legs, carrying her horizontally.1princess carry
“Let’s go, we’re going home!”
Sansukini: It’s crying time again. Hang on sweeties!
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