"This... young miss..." Hui Ning stood at the backdoor entrance sporting a puzzled and helpless expression. Although he did nothing to stop the girl from doing as she wished he obviously wanted to as he was worried she would hurt herself and did not know what to do to convince her otherwise. Zhou Hua Fan did not pay Hui Ning any heed and stayed where she was, sitting on the edge of the balcony railing taking in the view of her grandfather's backyard. Behind her were the worried maids and butlers who wanted to pull her back to safety. But they were afraid they would make her fall instead and could only keep watch below her balcony in case she did fall.
Hua Fan was in a daze and seemed to be in a world of her own, no one knew how to pull her back. Little did they know Hua Fan had long been in this dangerous position for three hours already staring into space like she had been possessed. The maids tasked to watch over her by her grandfather had walked into this scene early in the morning to check her bruise and almost fainted from shock. They had immediately called Hui Ning to help them deal with the situation as Zhou Jian Kong had already left to work. They were too afraid to tell the old master in case he would strangle them personally for allowing his precious daughter to do such a dangerous thing.
"Young miss? Miss Zhou?" He called out to her slowly and carefully to get a reaction from the seemingly lost girl. Although he seemed calm on the surface Hui Ning was actually very worried deep down and wondered if the shocking events had caused the young girl to contemplate suicidal thoughts. Little did they know all know though, Hua Fan was merely reflecting on what had happened to her the night before. Seeing her move they all tense, including Hui Ning who was prepared to leap across and grab her in case she really did try to jump.
Hua Fan raises a hand to her bruised cheek, the numbness in her heart had returned and she was even more painfully aware of the time she had left. "Nine years." They had told her. "You have nine years to prove me wrong and prove him right." She mumbles to herself as she tries to organize her thoughts, " Nine years to live..." "Miss Zhou?" Seeming to have wakened from her daze Hua Fan sent a look behind her towards Hui Ning and the line of maids in her room.
She blinks once and turns back towards the view. She tried to remember this place, she tried to forever implant this beautiful view in her mind so she would never forget it. When Hui Ning thought she was going to ignore them again he started planning on how to force her back safely, but he worried for nothing a Hua Fan climbs down from the railing on her own a second later. Seeing this, only then did the maids dare to rush forwards and cover Hua Fan with a blanket as she had only come out with a tiny nightgown. Fussing over her they were terrified to feel her hands and found they were as cold as ice.
They toss finding out the reason for her reckless behavior and instead focus on making her more comfortable and warming the girl up. Hui Ning was quick to have tea brought in and changed the temperature in the house to a warmer setting upstairs. As he did this downstairs in the corner of his eye he saw the others bringing the mattress back inside and let out a subtle breath of relief. When he returned to Hui Fan's room to personally serve her, (he was afraid that if he let others watch her a similar incident like early would happen again) he did not ask her anything since he could sense the gloominess coming from the girl. Filling her cup he carefully analyses her blank expression.
Suppressing her emotions that threatened to break her calm Hua Fan could feel Hui Ning's prodding yet respectful glances and looks down into her cup to have a sip. The warm yet soothing liquid causes a chill to run down her spine as Hua Fan only just discovered how cold her body was. Her eyes flash subtly and Hui Ning caught her strangeness, but before he could think more on it though Hua Fan spoke. "Does Mr. Shuang also think I am willing to let my life go so easily?" She does not give anything away in her voice, her question was asked dismissively as if she did not care if he answered her or not.
Hui Ning looks over her expression to try and figure out her thoughts, Hua Fan lets him try to peel the mask off her face. Knowing he would fail she took another sip of the tea to warm her insides again in a carefree manner pretending not to see the sharp housekeeper scrutinizing her as if she was a ticking time bomb. Hui Ning stares at Hua Fan for a minute and did not dare answer carelessly making Hua Fan want to laugh. Grandfather's people are really good. Not knowing what he found Hua Fan could see from the corner of her vision his tense posture relaxing suddenly as if a great burden had been lifted from him.
This time Hua Fan did react and smiled to herself before looking up and asking him with humor in her voice even if her eyes were still cold and distant. "What did you learn to make you relax so?" Hui Ning smiles back and did not hide anything, "It is not my place to question the young miss's actions. The miss has her own thoughts and plans but as long as they do not interfere with Master Zhou this old man will not interfere." Oh?
Hua Fan places her empty cup on the coffee table and rests her chin on her hand, she was curious to see Hui Ning actually shed all pretenses with her and speak bluntly. "You are not afraid I will go cry wolf to grandfather and have you fired for speaking like that to me?" Hui Ning refills her cup obediently under her chilling gaze, he was not afraid at all. His actions were perfect and his posture was respectful but not submitting to Hua Fan despite her status as Jian Kong's granddaughter. "The young miss can do as she wishes, it is not my place to advise Miss Zhou I am just a housekeeper."
He made his stance clear and instead of being annoyed Hua Fan respects the man even more for his loyalty and eloquent way of redirecting her fire. The turmoil she had suffered this morning seemed to be for nothing as she felt a fondness for this distant but polite person. Right, when I die, there are still people who care for grandfather like Shaung Hui Ning, and third uncle. Unintentionally a small giggle escapes her lips stunning Hui Ning as she really smiles at him genuinely this time. The steel in her eyes softens as well as the way she spoke.
"I can rest assured with you by grandfather's side it seems. Although I am late to say this as well, thank you for standing by Ye Ye's side for all these years. Please continue your hard work in the future." The subtle relief in her tone set him off and rubbed him the wrong way so he took another look at Hua Fan but she only smiled at him gently and sincerely. Seeing his surprised expression made her want to laugh but she held back.
"Mr. Shuang most likely thinks I am a dangerous person who will seek revenge blindly without consideration of who I involve in my schemes. And you are correct in thinking this, I am a child who is still in the process of growing up with a black heart." Hui Ning purses his lips not denying or admitting that those were indeed his thoughts about her. "But since Mr. Shuang has spoken his piece, I will speak mine to give you peace of mind." Picking up her cup to take another fulfilling drink Hua Fan laid bare her intentions with a beautiful smile that resembled a rose.
Her lovely face was pulled into a charming smile that dazzled the eyes, but her words made those who knew better to shiver and dread the woman she would grow up to be. "The people I, Zhou Hua Fan, drag to hell with me will never be able to climb back up to dirty grandfather's sights no matter who they are. Blood relation or not, they will not be given the chance to beg him for mercy from my hands before they are already settled in hell by my side." Her eyes reflect how serious she was and with her pretty smile, it was all the more believable and chilling. Despite his age and experience over the girl, Hui Ning felt a chill run down his spine and unintentionally one word pops into his mind. Demoness.