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42 Fear

 Xia Qingyi got excited at the sudden thought of the gossip she had heard yesterday at the law firm. She turned to look at Mo Han, who had been immersed in driving, and said, "Older brother, I heard from your colleagues that you have a girlfriend. Why haven't I met her?"

Mo Han furrowed his eyebrows. "Who told you that?"

"Why do you care who told me? She's my sister-in-law, why haven't I heard you talk about her at all?

Mo Han's expression barely changed, as if he was about to talk about something of little importance. He calmly continued, "There's nothing much to say about her. She's in America and we're both pretty busy."

What Mo Han did not mention is that he and his girlfriend, Shen Rou, had had an argument about a month ago, owing to his busy work schedule and the long distance issues. It had been a while since they had communicated. Not only so, he had slowly forgotten about Shen Rou with his recent cases and Xia Qingyi's arrival. He had only remembered all these with Xia Qingyi's reminder of his girlfriend.

"But... shouldn't you still call each other no matter how busy you are? I haven't seen you call anyone outside of work. Older brother, you shouldn't neglect your girlfriend's feelings because of work." Xia Qingyi was confused. She would never have known about her older brother's girlfriend if she had not heard the gossip from his colleagues. His life basically revolved around work.

The atmosphere in the car turned icy. Mo Han's tone was icy. "This is a personal matter. Don't ask so much. You only need to worry about yourself."

Xia Qingyi froze. Perhaps because she had spent the last few days with Mo Han, she had felt that the thick frosty layer protecting Mo Han had melted slightly. She thought that maybe as a friend, she would be able to care for him and alleviate his work. Though, looking at his expression now, Xia Qingyi's mood dropped. She had overstepped her boundaries.

"I got it. I won't ask anymore." Xia Qingyi quietly said.

Mo Han had regretted it the moment he had spoke. He knew that his tone had been too harsh. He was used to being more forceful, facing aggressive opposing lawyers at work. He tried to neutralize his tone as he spoke to Xia Qingyi, "I'm sorry... What I meant is... that I'll settle my own problems."

"I know."

Mo Han glanced at the quiet Xia Qingyi. He did not know how to explain himself. Nothing seemed to enough. It was normal for Xia Qingyi to show concern as she did not know anyone here and he was the closest person to her. In return, he had made her unhappy because of his issues with Shen Rou.

Mo Han went to speak again. Xia Qingyi, however, interrupted before he could speak, "The school is right in front. You can just drop me by the side of the road."

Mo Han looked out the window. They had arrived at her school unknowingly. He stopped the car as he watched Xia Qingyi got out of the car with her bag. He stopped her asking, "What do you want to eat? I'll buy it for you on my way home later."

Xia Qingyi's eyes sparkled, "I want to eat the red bean pastry from the shop we had last time."

Mo Han laughed, "Alright, I'll bring some home for you tonight."

Xia Qingyi turned happily to walk into the school. Mo Han wanted to laugh as he watched her bounce up her steps. She was so easy to appease. It took just one red bean pastry to make her happy immediately like a child with candy.

Due to the fact that she had just entered the school, Xia Qingyi did not know any of her classmates. They were all strangers to each other. Xia Qingyi was not eager to get to know them. She had only agreed to attend school because she did not want Mo Han to worry. She always treated matters she was not interested in coldly. Neither did she initiate contact; she always waited for people to approach her instead.

She always sat right at the back of the classroom. She acted as though she was paying attention, but her mind always drifted elsewhere. The other students in the class had barely noticed someone new was present.

Xia Qingyi spent a day in class like that. After her night class had ended at 8.30 PM, she tidied her things. She was ready to go home to eat the red bean pastry that Mo Han had said he would bring home for her.

It was already dark outside. The dim street lights seemed to have covered the world like an invisible net. She was utterly unfamiliar with the school campus. After her class had ended, she found herself in an unknown corner after much clueless stumbling. She scratched her head, realizing that she surrounded by trees. The lush volume of leaves from the trees covered every ray of light, as darkness surrounded her. The air was completely still and silent.

It was too quiet. She was suddenly terrified. She turned to leave immediately, only to hear a soft voice. It sounded as though someone was stepping on the leaves, creating a crunching sound. Xia Qingyi was definitely afraid to hear such a sound in this extremely silent place. She quickened her footsteps to head towards where there was light, only to trip over something unknown and fall to the ground.