"So you're saying that Qiao Nan has been keeping all her items in the residence of the Zhai family?" Ding Jiayi was stunned. "Qiao Nan, that stupid girl, her mouth seems to have been sealed by a needle. She doesn't even know how to properly greet others when she sees them. How's it possible that she got to know someone from the Zhai family? Impossible!"

Even if the highly-regarded Zhai family was approachable, they would only accept a smart and intelligent child such as Qiao Zijin. How could they be on good terms with Qiao Nan?

"Mom, do you think Dad or Grandpa have any relation with the Zhai family? Maybe Qiao Nan found out about this and simply went to fawn on them?" If that was the case, it would not do. The Qiao family bore the surname Qiao, and so did she. If her grandpa had left this opportunity for them, Qiao Nan should not be the only one who benefited from it.

"How is that possible? This is the Zhai family, not the Lee family. Even when the Lee family sees the Zhai family, they have to courteously greet the old chief of the army. If your grandpa was so capable and knew such a prominent figure, would your dad lose his army job when we gave birth to Qiao Nan?" How she wished she had such a capable and powerful father-in-law. Too bad she didn't!

"So formidable?" Qiao Zijin was shocked by Ding Jiayi's admiration and inferiority complex toward the Zhai family.

Could the young man who bears the surname of Zhai, the one she met previously, be related to the formidable Zhai family?

If that was indeed the case, then she had missed an opportunity to become Cinderella!

Impossible. Mom was right. Qiao Nan was not eloquent and did not know how to get along with people. She would not be so fortunate as to get to know that kind of family.

Moreover, she only heard Qiao Nan calling that young man Brother Zhai. She was not even sure which 'Zhai' word it was. It could have been a word that sounded similar.

"Mom, I'll keep a close watch on Qiao Nan tomorrow! It's around this area right?!"

"Yes, it's definitely around this area. Qiao Nan gets up early. It's been hard on you at school. Are you sure you can wake up so early? Don't tire yourself out. If you can't, let Mom do it."

"Mom, don't look down on me. If Qiao Nan can wake up early, why can't I? Don't worry. There won't be any problem this time!" Qiao Zijin narrowed her eyes and revealed a scheming smile. This time, her name would not be Qiao Zijin if she could not catch Qiao Nan!


"Yes, Mom. Just wait and see."

This evening, Qiao Zijin stood up as soon as she finished her meal. "Dad, it's been so tiring these few days at school. It's late. I'll be going to bed early."

"It's still so early. Are you not going to watch the TV?" It's only slightly past seven o'clock, and Zijin was already going to sleep. Was the sun going to rise from the west tomorrow?

"No, I'll sleep early today and wake up earlier tomorrow. I have to put in more effort and study hard too so that I can progress. An hour in the morning is worth two in the evening. I must make use of the morning time. Good night, Dad, Mom. Good night, Nan Nan." My 'dearest' sister, see you again tomorrow morning.

Qiao Dongliang looked at Qiao Zijin strangely. "What's with Zijin today?"

"Isn't that good?" Ding Jiayi replied smilingly. "I'll go and wash the dishes."

"Nan Nan, what do you think?"

"…" Qiao Nan frowned. Did Qiao Zijin take the wrong medicine today?

Qiao Nan accompanied Qiao Dongliang until about eight o'clock before returning to her bedroom.

At half past six in the morning the next day, Qiao Nan woke up as usual. She brushed her teeth and washed her face, preparing to head to the Zhai's residence.

"Nan Nan, you're awake too?" Qiao Dongliang had just come back from his morning exercise. He was delighted to see his younger daughter.

"Too?" Qiao Nan looked at Qiao Dongliang curiously. "Did Sister wake up earlier than me today?" In the Qiao family, the only person her father would use the word 'too' on was Qiao Zijin.

"Yes, I think your sister was going to meet someone at the library. She couldn't afford to be late, so she woke up earlier than you and left the house ten minutes ago." It seemed that his elder daughter had made some progress and was keen on learning now. However, Qiao Dongliang was not as excited as he used to be.

"Ten minutes ago? What time does the library open?" Qiao Nan was sullen. The earliest opening for public places was at eight o'clock in the morning.

"Not sure. Let your sister do as she wishes. Are you going out to study now?"

"Yes, Dad. Have you taken your breakfast? Shall I prepare for you?"

"No need." Qiao Dongliang shook his hands. "Here's the fritter I bought for you. Bring it along and eat it." Qiao Dongliang did not need Qiao Nan to prepare his breakfast. On the contrary, he bought breakfast back for her instead.

"Thanks, Dad. I'll be leaving first, then."

Qiao Nan hugged her schoolbag and headed toward the Zhai's residence with the fritter in her mouth. As soon as Qiao Nan appeared in the small alley, Qiao Zijin, who picked the best spot and had been hiding there since, kept her eyes on Qiao Nan. She would not allow herself to miss anything.

When Qiao Zijin stopped in front of the back door of the Zhai's residence, Qiao Zijin's heart flipped. Wasn't this the Zhai family?

Keys… Qiao Nan actually had the keys to the back door of the Zhai's residence?!

As Qiao Zijin watched her open the door with the keys before entering the house, she was stupefied. She totally could not understand what was happening before her eyes.

There was not much interaction between the Zhai family and the Qiao family. They didn't have any blood relations as well. Why would Qiao Nan have the keys to the residence of the Zhai family? Moreover, it was the key to the back door.

"Dad, I'm back." In the evening, when Qiao Nan reached home, she realized that Qiao Zijin was already back.

"Nan Nan, you're back. I've boiled some water for you. Pour some for yourself."

"Thanks, Dad." Qiao Nan had been very thirsty. She simply gulped down two cups of water. The Zhai residence was the best place to read, but there was no place to get water. The bottle of water that Qiao Nan brought with her was finished before noon.

It was still tolerable during wintertime, but summertime was pure torture.

Qiao Zijin, who was sitting near the television, was not watching the show at all. She was secretly looking at Qiao Nan. She discovered that Qiao Nan was very thirsty as if she had not had a single drop of water for the entire day. Qiao Zijin paused and thought.

Qiao Nan had been in the Zhai's residence for the whole day. Would they be so petty as to not give her any water?

"Zijin, I'm back." Ding Jiayi, who came back from work, placed the keys on the table and wiped away the sweat on her forehead with her sleeves.

"Mom, you're back!" Qiao Zijin's eyes lit up. She wasted no time to pull Ding Jiayi to the bedroom. "Mom, I have something to tell you!" When they were in the room, Qiao Zijin told Ding Jiayi everything she saw in the morning. She also told Ding Jiayi about what she had just observed at home. "Mom, what do you think is happening?"

Ding Jiayi's mouth was so dry that it was almost torn, but she instantly perked up when she heard Qiao Zijin's words. "Qiao Nan, that wretched girl, was too daring. She dared to beard the lion in its den. It looks like there's really a thief in the family!!!"

Ding Jiayi did not sound ashamed. Contrariwise, she seemed to have a sense of excitement.



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