There was a horse riding field in the resort. After lunch and a break, everyone went to the field to ride. Ning Xi had previously learned some riding skills just for filming, but when she saw Chang Shi Gui dressed in a riding suit on the back of a horse, she was awestruck by the immensely noble and refined aura that he exuded.
It turned out in this world, it wasn't only princes who rode white horses; kings also rode on white steeds. The image of him lightly raising his chin mimicked the pride and grace of a king. At this moment, Ning Xi felt that she was completely mesmerized.
“Xixi,” Chang Shi Gui rode towards her, and when he saw that she didn’t mount a horse, he thought she was afraid, hence he reached his hand out towards her, “Let’s ride together for a round.”
Ning Xi touched her hat, then put her hand in his as she replied, “Sure.”
In one move, Chang Shi Gui pulled her into his embrace. He lightly shook the reins in his hands, letting the horse run in a steady stride.
A mild breeze on her face, a running steed, and her man who was carefully protecting her from behind. This made Ning Xi feel like she was gently cared for by this entire world.
“Should I speed up?” Chang Shi Gui lowered his head lightly, his lips touching her soft ears. She felt her numb ear, then covered it with her hand. Oh, that was such an alluring voice, she was worried that she couldn’t hold herself back.
Noticing her reaction, Chang Shi Gui let out a low chuckle. He used the horsewhip to lightly tap the horse’s bottom. Immediately, the horse sped up, tapping its hooves as it ran around the race course.
Zhao Meng and Tao Shenyan followed behind them, and as they observed the ever-sweet couple, they started feeling sick, “Shenyan, I think I should find a girlfriend too.”
“Oh?” Tao Shenyan raised a brow, “What type are you looking for?”
“Heh,” Zhao Meng giggled in a somewhat embarrassed way, “Someone like Ning Xi would be nice.”
Tao Shenyan shot him a look of pity, “What audacity. I dare you to tell this to Brother Chang.”
“I wouldn't dare to.” Zhao Meng’s neck shrunk back in self-awareness, “I won’t go even if you kill me.”
As the two men were chatting, Bai Lu rode over. The duo immediately kept quiet, pretending that nothing had happened, and they started chatting about other things. Bai Lu couldn’t tell that they had been discussing Ning Xi. She simply slowed down, then rode alongside the two men, not intending to be an annoying lightbulb, because she felt that the way Brother Chang was looking at her… it was as though he was looking at a love rival. That was simply unimaginable.
Logically, shouldn’t Ning Xi feel vigilance or animosity towards her? Why did it turn out that Ning Xi was close to her, but Chang Shi Gui was guarded against her?
“Sister Lu,” Zhao Meng looked cheerily towards Bai Lu, “Shall we have a race?”
“With those riding skills of yours, forget it.” Bai Lu looked at him disdainfully, “I’m here to relax, not to race.” Every family had their own problems. Her parents were biased towards her brother, but her brother wasn’t management material. Now her family wanted to introduce a son-in-law who would marry into the family, then make her future husband help her brother manage the company.
To ask her, as a sister, let her own man work for her brother, and allow her idling brother to become the largest boss in the company without doing anything, her parents surely were calculative. Yet, they didn’t even ask if she was willing to use her entire life to fill in for her brother’s shortcomings.
The Bai parents’ problem of valuing males over females was something that everyone in the upper classes knew about. Looking at Bai Lu, they knew that she was probably upset due to family matters. Outsiders like them weren’t in a suitable position to comment on these matters, hence they could only joke around and change the topic of conversation.
Bai Lu heaved a sigh of relief, then looked forward, whipped the horse, and threw Tao Shenyan and Zhao Meng behind.
Ning Xi and Chang Shi Gui were chatting on the horseback when they saw Bai Lu speeding past them, waving her horsewhip. Immediately, they laughed, “Sister Lu rides well.”
“Yup.” Chang Shi Gui replied lightly, and didn’t say anything further.
Ning Xi looked down and saw his arm, wrapped around her waist, then looked up at the sky. The clouds were like marshmallows sprinkled across the azure sky. It was considered somewhat rare to be able to see such a view in the city.
The couple rode together for two rounds before Ning Xi dismounted from Chang Shi Gui’s horse and mounted the one that she chose, and the couple continued riding side by side.
“It’s so good to be able to relax and have fun like this. Ning Xi smiled at Chang Shi Gui, “I don’t even feel like working now.”
“It’s fine if you don’t want to film,” Chang Shi Gui said to Ning Xi, “I’ll accompany you when you want to play, I’ll support you when you want to film, you can do anything you like.”
Hearing Chang Shi Gui’s words, Ning Xi showed a tense smile, and she said in a somewhat relieved tone, “When I was eighteen, I didn’t have anyone to rely on. During my darkest moments, I had once fantasized that a rich and handsome prince would find me and tell me - you don’t have to work so hard anymore, I’ll bring you home as my princess.”
She was nonchalant about the past, but Chang Shi Gui felt exceptionally upset when he heard this. If he had found her then, he would really be willing to pamper her like a princess.
“It’s been close to eight years since then, but I’m actually thankful that there was no prince or young master who saved me back then.” Ning Xi’s face lit up, “There are some paths that one can only rely on themselves to walk out of, so that they can experience what’s on the path. What I want is not to be a princess who’s cared for by a prince; I want to be the queen in my own life.”
“You’ve done it, Your Majesty.” Chang Shi Gui grinned at her, “If you’re the princess, I’ll be your prince. If you are the queen, I’ll be your most loyal knight.”
“Oh?” Ning Xi raised a brow, “Don’t you want to be the Queen’s consort?”
Chang Shi Gui couldn’t hold back his laughter, “To be the Queen’s consort… would surely be better.”
The corners of Ning Xi’s lips curled up, flowers of bliss blossoming in her heart.
At the TV station, Zhao Hong sat in the office, her full attention on the TV. The interview that was recorded a few days ago at Ning Xi’s villa was being broadcasted. Onscreen, Ning Xi was gorgeous; her posture was graceful, and her voice was clear and polite. She exuded an aura of poise and maturity; this was a woman that even other women would admire.
The editing was well-done; even though it was a conversational interview, it wasn’t boring at all. Coupled with some images of Ning Xi’s production stills and playback of exciting scenes, audiences would unconsciously watch the programme all the way to the end.
The only thing that Zhao Hong didn’t expect was Ning Xi’s admission that her marriage wouldn’t be too far away.
However, exactly how near would this date be?
Not long after the programme ended, the ratings for that timeslot was released, and their programme topped the charts. To achieve such high ratings surprised Zhao Hong, but at the same time, it wasn’t too difficult to understand why. Ever since Ning Xi made the police report, she didn’t show herself in public. Even at the Qu family’s party a few days ago, the media only managed to sneak a few shots, and aside from that, there was no other news of her.
The appetites of the gossipy people were whetted for so long, now that they saw Ning Xi finally on a programme, it would be strange if they weren’t excited by it.
“Sister Zhao’s really amazing. So many people couldn’t get an interview from Ning Xi, but you could get it once you asked.”
“That’s true. This other station was shameless enough to boast that they were top in ratings for that timeslot.”
Hearing the animated chatters from her colleagues, Zhao Hong was somewhat distracted. What she was thinking about, was that after the interview that night, when she was invited for dinner at Ning Xi’s house.
People who didn’t personally witness it would probably never know that the usually solemn Mr. Chang would have such a gentle side to him.
There was no one who was truly cold and heartless, unless he never met the one he truly loved.
After that release of the ratings, Zhao Hong called Zhang Qingyun to thank him. After exchanging some pleasantries, they ended the call.
After Zhang Qingyun hung up, he immediately called Ning Xi and told her about the ratings for the interview.
“Top in the timeslot?” Ning Xi was in a bathrobe, lounging on the soft bed, unwilling to move. After having fun at the resort for two days, she was exhausted, and once she returned home, she rushed to shower, then prepared to go to sleep. “That’s good.”
Hearing the fatigue in her voice, Zhang Qingyun looked at his wall clock. It wasn’t even 8PM, and Ning Xi was already going to sleep?
“The matter about your police report has slowly died down over the last few days.” Zhang Qingyun added, “‘Great Selfless Love’ is going to start filming the day after tomorrow. I’ll accompany you to the set that day.”
“Great Selfless Love” was the movie that Ning Xi and the elder actor Zhang Yimin were filming together. Hence, when she heard Zhang Qingyun’s words, she agreed without hesitation.
By the time Chang Shi Gui entered the room, he saw that Ning Xi was holding her phone, but she was already sleeping prone on the bed. One of the slippers had fallen to the floor, while the other was still hanging on her foot. He chuckled, then removed the slipper from her foot, carried her up, and changed her sleeping position.
Sleeping prone wasn’t good for her health, as it was putting pressure on her heart.
After all these were done, Chang Shi Gui’s phone started vibrating; the caller was Jiang Yuanpeng. He looked at Ning Xi, who was still sleeping soundly, and after leaving the room, he picked up the call.
After Jiang Yuanpeng hung up the call, he stared darkly at the dim phone screen. He then stood up, walked towards the window and pulled the curtains open slightly. The lights were bright outside, the night view a picturesque scene. However, his mood was like the corners that the lights couldn’t reach, an enduring darkness.
He stood before the window for a while, then picked up the jacket from his chair before pulling the study’s door open and stepping out.
“Eldest Uncle.” Jiang Yun had thick make-up on as she rushed into the house. She stopped in her tracks when she saw Jiang Yuanpeng, and even retreated a few steps back.
“Xiaoyun is home?” A trace of a smile appeared on Jiang Yuanpeng’s face, as though he hadn’t seen the messy makeup on her face. He said gently, “Rest early.”
“Al… alright.” Jiang Yun retreated to the side, and after Jiang Yuanpeng left, she strode quickly back to her room and shut the door tightly.
After arriving at the designated meeting place for about ten minutes, Jiang Yuanpeng saw the car that he had been waiting for had parked outside. With a pleased smile on his face, the wrinkles at the corner of his eyes scrunched together, revealing hints of viciousness.
Even heroes would fall before beauties; Chang Shi Gui still came in the end….